Crypto Token Staking — How to Get Started

Add3, Content

September 26, 2023

13 min reading

Cryptocurrency staking is an innovative concept within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, offering investors a unique opportunity to actively participate in blockchain networks while earning rewards in the form of additional digital assets. Unlike traditional investment strategies, crypto staking doesn't involve merely holding coins passively; instead, it involves locking up a portion of one's cryptocurrency holdings to support the network's security and transaction validation processes. 

In this post, we provide insights into the advantages and disadvantages of crypto staking, offer guidance on how to stake cryptocurrency and discuss the potential profitability of this venture. 

Whether you are an experienced crypto enthusiast or a newcomer to the blockchain world, this article equips you with the knowledge needed to navigate the complex landscape of crypto staking and make informed decisions. 

What is Crypto Staking? 

Crypto staking is the strategy that allows users to harness their digital assets' full potential while contributing to a blockchain network's vitality. In essence, staking coins works by the same logic as depositing money into a high-yield savings account but with a significant twist—substantially higher returns.

When the holder entrusts their coins to the staking process, they are essentially making a commitment to support and maintain the underlying blockchain's security and integrity. This way, they actively participate in the blockchain's operations. The prospect of staking rewards lies at the base of cryptocurrency staking. Like a traditional savings account accrues interest over time, staking crypto generates additional cryptocurrency. Here, instead of being passive investors, crypto starkers actively validate transactions on the blockchain and ensure its security. In return, they receive a portion of the coins they helped secure in addition to their initial sum. 

The working mechanics of crypto staking differ from traditional investing mechanisms. Staking is exclusive to blockchains that operate on the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus system. Unlike the energy-intensive Proof of Work (PoW) model employed by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, PoS offers an eco-friendly alternative that doesn't require mining hardware and intense computational power. Instead, it relies on participants who lock up their assets to validate transactions and secure the network. 

Validation of transactions via locking up coins helps ensure that only legitimate data and accounts operate on the blockchain. Participants who stake their crypto assets serve as a form of insurance, vouching for the accuracy and integrity of the transactions they validate. If, for some reason, a user validates incorrect or fraudulent data, penalties may incur, including the potential loss of a portion or all of their staked assets. It follows a simple logic: if their money is "at stake", meaning there is a chance they may lose it if the blockchain operation goes down due to fraudulent activity, the validators will make sure that everything is done by the book. Because if they are diligent in validating correct and legitimate transactions, they are assured that the blockchain will reward them with even more cryptocurrency. Indeed, it is a system that encourages active participation, honesty, and integrity within the blockchain community. 

On the flip side, staking does come with a trade-off— the locked-up coins become less liquid while they are committed to the network. In other words, there may be limited access to them for other purposes until they are no longer staked. Nevertheless, users' financial return at the end of the staking period typically outweighs the temporary liquidity limit. 

How Does Crypto Staking Work

Cryptocurrency staking is the process that transforms digital holdings into active participants in the world of blockchain. When a coin holder decides to stake their crypto holdings, he is willingly letting them get locked up in his crypto wallet for a predefined period. However, it does not mean these coins remain motionless in cryptocurrency wallets. The blockchain network, constantly looking to add more blocks, utilizes these staked assets to forge new links in its ever-growing chain. This process is called "validating". The weight of staked crypto determines one's chances of getting selected for this vital task. In other words, the more you bring to the table, the higher your odds of winning the game. The staked holdings play a critical role in creating new blocks, where vital information is etched into the blockchain's history. The staked crypto's 'baked-in' data from the blockchain serves as the ultimate validator, the proof of a transaction occurring. As a result, the blockchain rewards the users for allowing their assets to be used as validators. 

Staking works exclusively on blockchain networks that deploy the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. The PoS system ensures that only honest and committed participants are attracted to the opportunity. Validators or "stakers" are required to purchase and lock away a certain amount of tokens. This financial commitment acts as a pledge of good faith, discouraging any malicious activities. Since any negative engagement within the blockchain network would cause a drastic plummet in native tokens's value, every participant would lose big time, even the wrongdoers. In exchange for their loyalty, validators receive returns in the form of the native cryptocurrency, which are called "staking rewards". The bigger the amount staked, the greater the participant's chances of proposing a new block and reaping the rewards. 

Staking Pools

In some cases, staking could be a collective activity. Validators often run staking pools, like a community effort to safeguard the blockchain. These pools attract funds from a group of token holders who delegate their assets to the pool operators. It is like a financial team effort, making staking accessible to a broader audience without the heavy lifting. But this is more complex. Validators need to play by the rules, and there are consequences for minor breaches. Going offline for extended periods or violating protocol rules can lead to penalties or suspension from the consensus process, known as "slashing". While rare, it is a reminder that integrity and responsibility are essential in the crypto staking process. 

In short, staking is how proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies create a vibrant ecosystem. Participants' stake is their voice in the network, determining their chances of adding new blocks and earning more rewards. As validators attract more delegations, they demonstrate trustworthiness, and their votes carry more weight. For those with smaller holdings, staking pools offer a collective path to earning rewards and participating in the blockchain's success.

How to Stake Cryptocurrency

Learning how to stake crypto is a valuable asset for crypto holders who are looking for alternative ways to put their coins to work within the crypto exchange ecosystem. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to stake cryptocurrency. 

Step 1: Choose a Crypto with PoS Mechanism

You must pick a cryptocurrency that utilizes the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, as staking relies heavily on this model. Some popular PoS cryptocurrencies include Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Polkadot (DOT), and Solana (SOL). Dive into details of each, understanding how they work and what rewards they offer. 

Step 2: Meet the Minimum Requirements

Different cryptocurrencies have varying minimum staking requirements, often dictated by the network's rules. For instance, Ethereum requires 32 ETH (valued at around $53,000 at the time of writing) to begin staking. Make sure you are ready to meet these prerequisites before diving in. 

Step 3: Secure a Crypto Wallet

Head over to the official website of your chosen cryptocurrency and download the corresponding software wallet. This wallet is where your staked coins will reside, so it is crucial to choose a reliable wallet. 

Step 4: Gather the Right Hardware for Staking

You'll need a stable and uninterrupted internet connection to participate in crypto staking. For PoS networks, a standard desktop computer will do the trick. If you are looking to cut down on electricity costs, consider using a Raspberry Pi. 

Step 5: Begin Staking

With all your preparations complete, you can now start crypto staking. Here's how it works:

—The staking program of your choice will outline the rewards you can expect. For instance, as of September 2023, CoinDCX offers an annual percentage yield (APY) ranging from 5% to 20% for Ethereum 2.0 staking. 

—The program will reward you as promised once you are committed to staking. These rewards come in the form of the staked cryptocurrency itself, which you can then hold as an investment, restake, or even trade for cash or other cryptocurrencies. 

Crypto Staking: Advantages and Disadvantages

Staking Advantages

  1. Energy Efficiency 

Proof-of-Stake networks are generally more eco-friendly than their energy-intensive counterparts, namely, the Proof-of-Work (PoW) systems. With PoS, you don't need a room full of specialized hardware; an average desktop computer will do just fine. 

2. Accessible Rewards

Staking and mining may share the same goal of earning rewards but starkly differ regarding access to earned rewards. Staking is the user's choice, open to almost anyone. With only a small amount of crypto, you can start staking on a crypto exchange and receive the yields. On the other hand, mining demands a substantial commitment—from expensive hardware to a steep learning curve. 

3. No Special Equipment

For staking, a regular computer is more than enough as long as you can afford to keep the validator node running non-stop. Compared to mining, which demands specialized hardware, staking is user-friendly and low-cost. 

4. Passive Income

If you are in it for the long haul and do not plan on liquidating your crypto any time soon, staking offers an attractive proposition—passive income. Instead of letting your tokens gather dust in your wallet, you are putting them to work, earning rewards as they safeguard the blockchain's security and efficiency. 

5. Supporting Blockchain Projects

By staking a portion of your funds, you are fortifying your chosen project's security and transaction competency. Your staked coins render the blockchain more resilient against attacks. 

Staking Disadvantages:

  1. Security Risk

Compared to the vanguard Proof-of-Work (PoW) networks, Proof-of-Stake (PoW) is a relatively new consensus network. PoW networks create a robust defence against threats by harnessing extreme computational power. In contrast, PoS networks rely on a different security approach, and their resilience is still being proven. The exact mechanism behind PoS security needs to be clarified, potentially leaving room for loopholes that could get exploited by external adversaries. 

2. Price Volatility

Cryptocurrencies are known for their rollercoaster price swings. A sudden drop in value can quickly erase the rewards earned from staking, leading to substantial losses. Staking is ideal for long-term holders who can weather price fluctuations. 

3. Token Dominance

In the Proof-of-Work (PoS) mechanism, power is directly related to wealth. Those who hold the most tokens can exert significant influence over the network. Unlike Proof-of-Work (PoW), where attacking requires monumental computing power, taking control of a PoS network boils down to one thing: money. Additionally, many PoS coins are pre-mined, meaning they are created in one go by a select few. This reliance on mere trust in creators may cause concerns regarding fairness and control. 

4. Shift From Decentralisation to Centralisation

Blockchain's original vision is decentralization, a system free from a central control authority. However, PoS networks sometimes unintentionally drift towards centralization. Nowadays, becoming a validator in a PoS network can be costlier than becoming a miner. This price gap could potentially lead to a concentration of power and increased centralization. Ethereum's transition from PoW to PoS illustrates this shift vividly. To start staking in Ethereum's PoS network, you need an initial 32 ETH of about $53,000. The high prices in minimum staking amounts prompted centralized exchanges to enter the stage, sharing staking rewards with their users while increasing centralization. 

5. Lock-up Periods

When you stake your crypto, you commit to a predetermined lock-up period. During this time, access to your coins may be restricted, obscuring your ability to respond swiftly to changing market dynamics. 

6. Slashing 

In PoS networks, validators can face penalties for violating network rules, such as double-signing or prolonged offline periods. These penalties can result in the partial or complete loss of staked coins. 

What Crypto to Stake?

Numerous cryptocurrency projects have made the shift to PoS networks to offer staking opportunities to users.

Here are some popular staking coins and their expected annual average yields.

Ethereum (ETH): The well-known blockchain, Ethereum, demands a minimum of 32 ETH for solo staking, which equates to $53,000 as of September 2023. Anticipated annual returns are ranging from 5% to 20%. 

EOS: Supporting decentralized applications like Ethereum, EOS offers staking for its native coin, EOS. Staking EOS can earn you a steady 3% in return. 

Tezos(XTZ): Tezos' native coin, XTZ, can be staked on specific platforms thanks to its open-source foundation. Staking XTZ can yield an estimated 6%. 

Polkadot(DOT): Created in August 2020, Polkadot is a relative newcomer among its peers. It strives for interoperability and supports various parachains. Staking DOT on platforms like Kraken could result in an attractive 15% annual return.

Where to Stake Crypto?

Renowned exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken offer staking services. Users can opt-in to start staking their chosen coins on these platforms. Familiarity and reliability make these exchanges a comfortable choice for many.

For those seeking specialized staking services, a wave of "staking-as-a-service" providers awaits. Platforms like MyContainer, Stake Capital, and Staked focus solely on staking, and they offer to ensure expertise and tailored solutions. Each platform will present unique offerings, rules and fees, so diligent research is crucial to align your goals with the right fit.

Is Staking Profitable?

Staking vs. Stock Dividends:

At its core, staking rewards mirror the concept of stock dividend payouts—both offer a form of passive income. Their attractiveness lies in their simplicity: you only need to hold the right assets in the right place for a set duration. The longer you stairs, the greater your potential for profit, thanks to the operational logic of compound interest. However, staking introduces unique variables inherent to the proof-of-stake coins that can sway the probability scales. Hence, diligent research into specific criteria is paramount to staking endeavours. These three factors should be considered:

Block Rewards Size: The magnitude of rewards hinges on the block reward's generosity.

Staking Pool Size: The size of the staking pool affects how rewards are distributed, with larger pools potentially offering steadier returns. 

Locked Supply: The amount of supply locked in staking plays a pivotal role in determining rewards. 

Moreover, remember to factor in the fiat currency value of the staked coin. If it holds steady or appreciates, staking can be a lucrative endeavour. Conversely, a coin's price decline can swiftly erode profits. 

Potential for Profit:

Although they are subject to fluctuations, data shows that the average staking reward rate for the top 261 staked assets exceeds an impressive 11% annual yield. 

Fees, too, play a pivotal role in determining your overall percentage yields. Staking pools often deduct fees from rewards, impacting your bottom line. The key here is to opt for a staking pool with low commission fees and a proven track record in validating blocks. A proven track record minimizes the risk of penalties or suspension from the validation process. 

Carefully reviewing the staking terms, the staking period, and the reputation of the partner company in the Web3 ecosystem and expecting realistic interest rates is crucial before investing your crypto assets. 

Crypto staking can be profitable for those willing to play the long game. It offers a gateway to earn consistent returns while supporting blockchain networks. However, this blockchain validation process is not without its complexities and risks, and careful evaluation of your goals and risk tolerance is essential. 

Closing Thoughts

The Web3 ecosystem is dynamic and ever-changing. In this article, we have delved into the core workings of crypto staking, exploring the mechanisms that transform digital assets into active blockchain participants and its potential drawbacks. 

Crypto staking, akin to a high-yield savings account with a twist, anticipates higher returns. By entrusting your coins to staking, you help actively protect the safety and integrity of the blockchain of your choice and generate returns of your dedication afterwards. 

At its essence, crypto staking relies on the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, an eco-friendly and efficient alternative to the Proof-of-Work (PoS) network. Still, there are possible security challenges. Price volatility, token holder dominance, re-shift towards centralization, and long lock-up periods that limit liquidity may pose some challenges for participants. 

Another area of concern is choosing what cryptocurrency to stake and where to stake it. Coin holders embarking on their staking journey should know that profitability hinges on thorough research. Considering factors like block rewards, staking pool size, locked supply, fees, and commissions is essential before investing in your crypto assets. 

Crypto staking offers profit and complexity. It sure is a gateway to steady returns, but it also demands thoughtful evaluation of your personal goals and risk tolerance. However, crypto staking does not have to be confusing and time-consuming. Whether you want to deploy a staking contract, provide utility to your crypto project or customize your staking options, Add3 is your reliable resource for all your crypto needs.