Staking in Cryptocurrency refers to the process of holding and locking up digital assets in a specific wallet or staking pool to support the operation and security of a blockchain network. As a reward for staking, users earn interest on their tokens or receive additional tokens, depending on the platform. It is a means of validating blocks on a blockchain and maintaining network consensus, similar to mining in proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains.
The objective of Staking is to encourage participants to provide validation and participate in securing the network, creating a robust and healthy blockchain network with verifiable integrity. The Staking process differs from platform to platform, but the core principles remain the same.
How Staking Works
To begin the staking process, a user must hold a certain amount of cryptocurrency that the blockchain network accepts for staking. The minimum staking amount varies depending on the platform. After acquiring a stake, the user must hold it in a compatible wallet, including third-party wallets, to earn rewards. The staking wallet is then locked away and is inaccessible for a specific period, which varies by platform.
Staking requires participants to put some crypto tokens in a pool, validate transactions, and create new blocks. The more tokens staked, the better their chances of being selected to validate transactions and earn rewards. The process makes it difficult and expensive for somebody to attack the blockchain as it would require owning more than 50% of the stakes.
Staking also enables a low barrier to entry for users who wish to join cryptocurrency networks. Users do not require expensive equipment, specialized technical knowledge, and high computational power, which is required when mining cryptocurrencies in proof-of-work networks.
Staking vs. Mining
Staking and mining are two ways to validate blocks on a blockchain network. While mining is mostly used in proof-of-work protocols, staking is used in proof-of-stake (PoS) and delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) protocols.
The major differences between staking and mining are:
Energy Consumption: Mining requires high computational power that consumes a lot of energy, which makes it an environmentally unsustainable alternative to staking. Conversely, staking requires relatively little energy, making it an eco-friendly alternative that offers a more sustainable solution.
Infrastructure and Cost: Mining requires high computational power involving specialized equipment, making it expensive to get started. Staking requires minimal setup costs, making it a more cost-effective alternative.
Security: Staking offers more significant security since a 51% attack is expensive, requiring owning more than half the stakes in the network. For mining, the cost of controlling the network goes down over time, making the network increasingly vulnerable to attack, resulting in potential security risks.
Benefits of Staking There are several benefits to staking with cryptocurrency:
Passive Income: The primary benefit of staking is the ability to generate passive income. Users earn interest or new cryptocurrency tokens by simply holding their crypto assets in a staking pool.
Security: Staking supports the operation and security of blockchain networks by decentralizing the validation process, making it difficult for hackers to take central control.
Eco-Friendly: Staking requires less energy than mining, making it an eco-friendly alternative.
Barrier to Entry: Staking is accessible to users with little technical expertise, unlike mining that requires advanced technical knowledge.
Liquidity: Staking cryptocurrencies locks them up for a specified period, which reduces the liquidity of those assets. However, platforms like OKEx enable users to trade their staked tokens.
Price Volatility: Holding cryptocurrency comes with risks from price instability. The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile, and the price of cryptocurrencies can drop suddenly, causing users to lose money.
Protocol Risk: When staking, users are trusting the network’s technology and the infrastructure on which it operates. If there is a flaw or a protocol issue, the network could be compromised, affecting the value of the staked crypto tokens.
Counter-Party Risk: Users who stake their tokens in a third-party staking pool are at risk if the company holding the funds goes bankrupt or becomes insolvent.
Locked Funds: When staking, users are locking away their crypto tokens for a specific period, which reduces their liquidity. It may become difficult to sell the tokens if the need arises before the lock-up period ends.
Staking is a way to validate transactions and maintain network consensus in cryptocurrency networks. It is a more eco-friendly, secure, and accessible way to participate in blockchain networks. Users can gain passive income by simply holding their crypto assets in staking pools. However, as with any investment, there are risks associated with staking, which users should take the time to understand before participating.