Delegate your stake to build the network, earn rewards, and become part of the Cardano journey.

Ada held on the Cardano network represents a stake in the network, with the size of the stake proportional to the amount of ada held. The ability to delegate or pledge a stake is fundamental to how Cardano works.

There are two ways an ada holder can earn rewards: by delegating their stake to a stake pool run by someone else, or running their own stake pool. The amount of stake delegated to a given stake pool is the primary way the Ouroboros protocol chooses who should add the next block to the blockchain, and receive a monetary reward for doing so.

The more stake is delegated to a stake pool (up to a certain point), the more likely it is to make the next block – and the rewards are shared between everyone who delegated their stake to that stake pool.

Delegation is the process by which ada holders delegate the stake associated with their ada to a stake pool. It allows ada holders that do not have the skills or desire to run a node to participate in the network and be rewarded in proportion to the amount of stake delegated.

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Incentives are used to ensure the longevity and health of the Cardano network and ecosystem. The incentive mechanism is underpinned by scientific research that combines mathematics, economic theory, and game theory.

Cardano wallets

Delegation is supported by Daedalus - a full-node wallet developed by IOHK - and Yoroi: a browser-based wallet developed by EMURGO. To learn more, select either wallet.

For more information on best practices and safety tips, see our support article.

Stake pools are run by stake pool operators. These are network participants with the skills to reliably ensure consistent uptime of a node, which is essential in ensuring the success of the Ouroboros protocol and the Cardano network as a whole.

The protocol uses a probabilistic mechanism to select a leader for each slot, who will be expected to create the next block in the chain. The chance of a stake pool node being selected as slot leader increases proportionately to the amount of stake delegated to that node. Each time a stake pool node is selected as a slot leader and successfully creates a block, it receives a reward, which is shared with the pool proportionate to the amount each member has delegated. Stake pool operators can deduct their running costs from the awarded ada, as well as specify a profit margin for providing the service.

Yes. Delegated stake can be re-delegated to another pool at any time. Re-delegated stake will remain in the current pool until the epoch after next (from the point of re-delegation), after which your delegation preferences will be updated on the chain and your stake moved to the new stake pool. Rewards are distributed from the end of each epoch, so you’ll continue to receive rewards from your original stake pool for two epochs before your new delegation preferences are applied.

In Yoroi, it is possible to delegate to multiple pools using a single wallet, but not in Daedalus. To delegate to multiple pools in Daedalus, you will need to create separate wallets. The stake associated with each wallet can then be delegated to a specific stake pool.

It is worth noting that multiple-pool delegation using a single wallet will not be supported on the mainnet.

The performance metric is an indicator of how well a stake pool is performing. It is given as a percentage, and is measured by how many blocks the stake pool has produced compared to how many it was expected to produce. For example, if a pool only produces half the number of blocks that it was nominated for, its performance rating is 50%. This could happen because the pool has a poor network connection, or has been turned off by its operator.

Performance ratings make more sense over a longer period of time. If a pool has not yet been selected to produce a block in the current epoch, its performance rating will be 0%, even if it is likely to produce blocks later in the epoch. Performance ratings of over 100% are possible if a pool creates more blocks than it was nominated to produce.

In Daedalus and Yoroi, performance contributes to a stake pool’s ranking.

Saturation is a term used to indicate that a particular stake pool has more stake delegated to it than is ideal for the network, and once a pool reaches the point of saturation it will offer diminishing rewards. The saturation mechanism was designed to prevent centralization by encouraging delegators to delegate to different stake pools, and operators to set up alternative pools so that they can continue earning maximum rewards. Saturation, therefore, exists to preserve the interests of both ada holders delegating their stake and stake pool operators.

The goal is to avoid any single pool becoming too large – thereby disincentivizing delegation to other pools – and receiving a disproportionate amount of the rewards. The health of the network is partly determined by having a high number of active stake pools with a balanced amount of stake delegated to them. The more numerous and geographically diverse the network’s pools, the better. Each stake pool’s saturation percentage is shown within the Daedalus stake pool selection menu.

Desirability measures how desirable a stake pool is to an ada holder seeking to delegate their stake. It is influenced by a number of factors – including a stake pool’s margin, fee, performance, the total reward available in the current epoch, and saturation percentage – and contributes to determining a stake pool’s ranking.

Stake pools are ranked mainly through a combination of their desirability and performance, in addition to other factors.

Shelley Daedalus features a list of all participating stake pools directly via the UI, while Yoroi shows the same information via their Seiza blockchain explorer. These pools are ranked and color-coded to help stakeholders make the best decision about where to delegate their stake.

You can use the rewards calculator to get an idea of how much you will earn in rewards. It’s important to note that the calculator produces only reward estimates and shouldn’t be considered definitive or a guarantee of reward amounts. In the future, we will likely test different parameters that may affect reward margins. Amounts calculated are therefore subject to change, but represent a realistic and sensible level of return.

Both Daedalus and Yoroi wallets support delegation within Shelley. You can download your preferred wallet client using the links above.

Yes. You can use Daedalus to restore an ada balance from a hardware wallet. However, we advise caution doing so. Entering your hardware wallet recovery phrase in Daedalus can expose your hardware wallet private keys to additional security risks. Recommendations to minimize security issues are available via Daedalus during the hardware wallet recovery process.

Yes. Rewards earned accrue with your original stake. When rewards are received, the balance of your reward account increases – and, consequently, the delegated stake is increased.