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Staking for beginners — A step-by-step guide

Are you ready to stake?

Today’s hard fork marks the release of Shelley and with it, the arrival of stake pool creation and delegation.

Cardano is a proof of stake (PoS) blockchain. This means that even if you do not have the time or resources to run a stake pool, you can still stake your ada by delegating it to another pool operator.

The Cardano Foundation’s Community Management team has been busy answering your questions surrounding the Shelley hard fork, and we know that many community members are eager to begin participating in staking and earning rewards for taking part in consensus on Cardano.

That is why we have put together this short guide for beginners, where we discuss when you can start staking ada, how to start delegating your ada to a stake pool, and we also explore some of the technical terms surrounding staking.

This guide is primarily for ada holders who wish to delegate their ada to a stake pool, but are not sure about where to start. There is a separate guide for stake pool operators coming soon, so make sure you read that if you want to run your own stake pool.

When can I start staking?

The hard fork will begin a new epoch on Cardano — a period in which new blocks are created through slots. Slots occur every 20 seconds within an epoch, and each epoch lasts exactly five days. The first of these blocks will be epoch zero on the new Shelley mainnet. We recommend watching this video to learn more about slots and epochs.

Technically, staking will be possible as soon as the hard fork from Byron to Shelley has concluded — at 21:44:51 UTC on the 29 July 2020 to be precise. However, in practice, eager delegates will have to wait a while until registered stake pools become visible on the Shelley mainnet before ada can be delegated to them.

For stake pool operators that participated in the incentivized testnet, the registration process should be completed fairly easily — but those looking to delegate thei...

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