Polkadot

Last updated: Apr 06, 2021

Protocol teams occasionally change the delegation / staking process. If the following instructions do not work, please email support@bisontrails.co for assistance.


Polkadot is a network of interoperable but independent blockchains that share security.

Minimum Stake

Variable

Unbonding Period

28 days

Change Nomination

Up to 24 hrs

Service fee

8%

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Delegation Instructions

Alert:

As of Aug 6, 2021, the Polkadot network is close to reaching its maximum nominator parameter. If/when the network’s maximum nominator capacity is reached you will not be able to delegate DOT to any Polkadot validator, including Bison Trails’ public validators.

The Polkadot community is preparing a proposal to increase this capacity limit via on-chain governance. This alert will be removed when the Polkadot network is no longer near its maximum nominator capacity.


Important:

Fake URLs impersonating the secure wallets and UIs used to delegate are circulating on the internet. Always confirm you are using the exact sites we link to here:

  • https://claims.polkadot.network/
  • https://polkadot.js.org/
  • https://www.ledger.com/ledger-live


Before you start

Please be sure you have claimed your DOTs. If you need help claiming your tokens, follow this guide.

You may delegate your DOT using the Polkadot UI, or on Ledger Live with a Ledger S or X hardware device.

Tip: If you are a Coinbase Custody customer, you can delegate your DOT in one-click from your Coinbase Custody management console. Learn more.

There are two different types of accounts for managing your delegation funds in Polkadot:

A controller is used to make staking decisions, like nominating and bonding funds, but does not have direct control over the funds themselves.

A stash directly controls the funds, and designates a controller to be used to make staking decisions. The stash/controller system is used to maintain secure control over one’s funds while still enabling users to make and change staking decisions easily. You must import your stash to the Polkadot UI in order to conduct the steps needed to delegate your funds, including nominating them to the Bison Trails public validator.



To delegate using Ledger Live...

STEP ONE: INSTALL POLKADOT APP AND CREATE ACCOUNT

  1. Ensure your Ledger hardware device is connected to your computer and unlocked, and that you are operating the latest version of Ledger Live
  2. Within Ledger Live select Manager
  3. Search for the Polkadot App in the catalog and follow the on-screen prompts to install the app on your hardware device
  4. Select Accounts within Ledger Live and click Add account


  5. Select continue. Follow the on-screen prompts to authorize the account with your Ledger hardware device, and select Add Account


STEP TWO: TRANSFER DOT

  1. Once the Polkadot App is installed, select Receive within Ledger Live


  2. Under Account to credit select the Polkadot account you just created
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to authorize the action on your Ledger hardware device
  4. Copy the public hash code of your Ledger Polkadot account that appears on the screen of Ledger Live. You will need this in Step 7 to transfer your DOT.
  5. Ensure that the public hash for your account matches the address showing on the screen of your Ledger hardware device, and, if so, select Accept on your Ledger hardware device
  6. Select Done on the confirmation screen
  7. Transfer your DOT from the exchange/wallet in which it is held by sending it to the Ledger Polkadot account public hash code that you copied in Step 4
  8. Your DOT balance should now show in your Ledger Live Polkadot account. It may take up to 10 minutes to show the balance


STEP THREE: BOND YOUR DOT

  1. Select Accounts within Ledger Live and open your Polkadot account

  2. Under Nominations on the Polkadot account dashboard, select Earn Rewards
  3. Select Continue

  4. Select your Rewards Destination:

    - Select Bonded Balance to compound your rewards on your Stash account (most common), or
    - Select Available Balance to leave your rewards un-bonded and spendable in your Polkadot account
  5. Under Amount to bond enter the amount you would like to delegate. You must leave enough DOT in your account for future transactions, such as sending and withdrawing your delegation
  6. Select Continue and follow the on-screen prompts to confirm the transaction on your Ledger device
  7. Wait for the transaction to complete for your DOT to be bonded and ready for delegation



STEP FOUR: DELEGATE YOUR DOT

  1. Once your transaction has completed to bond your DOT, select Nominate
  2. In the search field, search for Bison Trails


  3. Select all four Bison Trails validators (listed below) to evenly distribute your delegation amongst them
    1. Bison Trails - Bison Trails 1
    2. Bison Trails - Bison Trails 2
    3. Bison Trails - Bison Trails 3
    4. Bison Trails - Bison Trails 4
  4. Select Continue
  5. Confirm that the validator addresses are correct on your Ledger hardware device’s screen, and, if so, select Accept to confirm
  6. A verification page will show that your delegation is complete

Congratulations! You are now delegating to Bison Trails' validators.

To delegate using the Polkadot UI...

You may delegate your DOT from the Polkadot UI by importing your DOT stash using a controller, or importing via the Polkadot app on a Ledger S or X hardware device.

Note: IF YOU HAVE ALREADY IMPORTED YOUR POLKADOT STASH TO THE POLKADOT UI, SKIP TO THIS STEP.



To import stash using a controller…



STEP ONE: IMPORT YOUR STASH

The current version of the Polkadot.js extension requires you to first create an account before you can import your own stash account. You may delete this account after you have imported your stash.


  1. Install the Polkadot.js extension
  2. Click the extension icon in your browser
  3. Click + to add an account
  4. Copy the provided mnemonic seed
  5. Enter a name for your account
  6. Enter a password
  7. Verify the password
  8. Click Add the account with the generated seed
  9. Click + in the top right corner
  10. Click Import account from pre-existing seed
  11. Enter the mnemonic seed for your stash account
  12. Name the account
  13. Create a password & verify
  14. Click Add the account with the supplied seed


STEP TWO: IMPORT OR CREATE YOUR CONTROLLER*
YOU CAN USE YOUR STASH AS YOUR CONTROLLER, HOWEVER, FOR SECURITY REASONS, THE POLKADOT TEAM RECOMMENDS YOU CREATE A SEPARATE CONTROLLER ADDRESS. IF YOU ARE IMPORTING AN EXISTING CONTROLLER ACCOUNT, REPEAT STEP 1 WITH YOUR CONTROLLER MNEMONIC.


  1. Open the Polkadot.js extension
  2. Click +
  3. Click Create New Account
  4. Enter the password for your stash account
  5. Click Create derived account
  6. Name the controller account
  7. Create a password & verify
  8. Click Create derived account
  9. Save your seed in a safe place


STEP THREE: TRANSFER DOT TO YOUR CONTROLLER TO PAY FOR TRANSACTION FEES*
*IF YOUR CONTROLLER ALREADY AT LEAST 5-10 DOTS IN IT, SKIP TO STEP 4.


  1. Go to Polkadot UI
  2. Click TRANSFER under ACCOUNTS in the top navigation
  3. Select your stash as the send from account
  4. Select your controller as the send to address
  5. Enter the amount of DOTs you want to transfer to your controller. You will need 1 DOT for your “existential deposit” (the minimum balance the network requires to keep your account open) and 5-10 DOTs to cover transaction fees.
  6. Click Make Transfer
  7. Click Sign and Submit
  8. Enter your stash password in the pop up
  9. Click Sign the transaction

To import stash using a Ledger hardware device…

STEP ONE: IMPORT YOUR STASH*

Starting conditions: The user should have the Polkadot app installed on their Ledger S or X, and be using Chrome or an equivalent browser.


  1. Plug in your Ledger hardware wallet device, unlock the Ledger, and navigate to the Polkadot app.
  2. Navigate to the Settings tab of the Polkadot-JS app


  3. Select Attach Ledger via WebUSB and select Save
  4. Navigate to the Accounts tab of the Polkadot-JS app. You should now see a button that says Add via Ledger
  5. Select Add via Ledger


  6. Name your account as you would like. Leave the standard settings so that the Account Type = 0 and the Address Index = 0 (you can learn more about those settings here). Select Save


  7. Ensure your Ledger is unlocked and that the Polkadot app is open on it. Select your Ledger from the connection list and select Connect. You should now see your newly created account.


  8. Select the 3-dot hamburger menu on your Ledger address and select Show address on hardware device. This should show you the address on your Ledger.


  9. Click on any of the block explorers to the right of the 3-dot menu, This will open up an explorer view of your address. Confirm the address that the explorer opens with the address on your Ledger. If they match, like the right button one time on your Ledger device to approve the address.


  10. To send your DOTs to your new Ledger account, select the name of your account from your account list in the Polkadot UI. In the pop-up sidebar, click the multicolored icon above your account name to copy your account address.
  11. Send your DOTs to this address. Your DOT balance should now show in the Polkadot UI.

To delegate your DOT...

STEP ONE: BOND YOUR DOT AND NOMINATE BISON TRAILS’ VALIDATORS

  1. Go to Polkadot UI
  2. Click STAKING under NETWORK in the top navigation


  3. Select the ACCOUNT ACTIONS in the Staking navigation at the top
  4. Select + Stash at the top right of the screen


    Note: For most people using their single Ledger account for both the Stash and Controller accounts is the best choice. More advanced users can select a non-Ledger account as their Controller for easier access to their nominations while they keep their DOTs in the Stash on the Ledger.

  5. In the modal, select your stash account and, if applicable, controller account.
  6. Double check your controller has the nominal funds (6-11 DOTs) it needs for the “existential deposit” and to pay for transaction fees.
  7. In the value bonded field, input the amount of DOTs you’d like to bond. If you’d like to bond all of your DOTs, leave 5-10 DOTs in your stash account for transaction fees.
  8. Select your preferred payment destination:

    - Select Stash account (increase the amount at stake) to compound your rewards on your Stash account (most common), or
    - Select Stash account (do not increase the amount at stake) to leave your rewards un-bonded and spendable in your Stash account
  9. Click Bond


  10. Select Sign and Submit. this should prompt you to sign the Bond transaction with your Ledger, if using. Review the prompt and sign if it matches your inputs.


  11. Select Nominate


  12. Disable autoselect to enable searching for nominators
  13. Enter each of the Bison Trails’ validator addresses from the list below into the search box. After entering each one, it should appear in the Candidate Accounts box on the left. Click it to move it to the right Nominated Accounts box. Selecting all nodes will distribute stake among them evenly.

    Bison Trails' Validator Addresses:


    1VrKDfXunzstY5uxPpjArUbZekirGXcpMDYvCBJmjV1KdEm

    16Dgcx1qJzp8kme1CWsySDf3JWd1oKtbChYVm2yAYqM44woY

    12Yz9HPcF66pAGpwEW5cyFZ59TFeXFGVnkuxTphC3Lrap29z

    12e1tkDgfF3GYdiTkRq1vunXrvvhpKq3BQZYbJ1haXHApQTn

    12eKZbGJKVyHfTPkUs9MrJeGkbFrZRqzhKBBeRJ3G3YoWPun

    12q76RYkETZ6UACiiznBicXgcXZ8EMFAuPv8QtfSrc6KSLYo

    1A2ATy1FEu5yQ9ZzghPLsRckPQ7XLmq5MJQYcTvGnxGvCho

    15V6NjwmKkZihe644Tyr8GVLxjEzBAHktf6ZcJCTx7RPCoYS

    124YFXA3XoRs9Epcx3aRUSk3EKYaznocqMWfrMKtGjx8TJ2W

    12ECDEb18Wiy4MoLn3NTM5zhJfDfpS4mLNvjHpcEr8ogGrMZ

    12HFymxpDmi4XXPHaEMp74CNpRhkqwG5qxnrgikkhon1XMrj

    12WmM98h4Ar6y7ZyyMKPXwSyuP5GSZvXTbEkDXm1tirbZFW4

    13BN4WksoyexwDWhGsMMUbU5okehD19GzdyqL4DMPR2KkQpP

    14XefeqDxiaVQEo7Xv7WBs3Wz8GZPes7DBjQxsNuxu683B9o

    1486kNkPxvF7Pmgfr4MskGnn4p4KXCigMejv5Q7szMowioKK

    14wFkAiTSxhUUdpkN37QMhZv6dYcURJVgSGwqDRd4TK2qhrL
  14. Click Nominate


  15. Select the down arrow to unroll the validators you are nominating. It should show the Bison Trails validators your selected. If everything looks correct, click Sign and Submit
  16. Enter your stash password in the pop up and click Sign the transaction, or confirm the nominate transaction on your Ledger. The 4 targets should match the 4 validator addresses above. Once you’ve confirmed the details, approve the transaction.
  17. Wait for the Transaction Success banner to pop up. This process can take a while if the network is behind.


Congratulations! You are now nominating the Bison Trails validators.

Support

We are available to answer your questions 9am–6pm ET Monday-Friday. Please contact us: support@bisontrails.co



FAQ

Polkadot’s inflation rate is dependent on the staking rate of the network. It increases to 10% as the staking ratio approaches 50% (for a reward rate of 20%) and then declines sharply thereafter.


Polkdaot Inflation and Reward Rate
The blue line is the rate of inflation in the network and the green line is the rate of reward (the inflation divided by the staking rate). Source: Web3 Foundation

The minimum amount of DOT required to delegate is dynamic and changes every era (~24 hours). Delegators should also always leave 0.1 - 1.0 DOT in their account un-nominated to cover the cost of transaction fees.

You can find the current minimum required stake to delegate by identifying the least “other stake” amount nominated to the smallest validator in the active set. On a Polkadot validator explorer such as Polkadot.js, scroll to the bottom of the validator list and locate the last validator on the list (this is the smallest validator). Select the drop-down arrow to view all “other stake” delegated to the validator. The smallest quantity of DOT listed is the minimum required to stake in the current era.

Validators can be slashed for misbehavior (e.g. being offline, equivocation). The slashed amount is a fixed percentage. A validator with more stake gets slashed more total DOTs. Since rewards are evenly distributed among validators elected to the consensus group, there is no economic advantage in staking more DOTs than required to be in the active set. In fact, because slashing is proportional, staking excess DOTs increases the loss in the event of slashing.

In general, Polkadot slashing is based on security threat levels:

THREAT LEVEL

SLASHABLE BEHAVIOR

MAX % SLASHED

Level 1 Low security threats such as isolated cases of unresponsiveness 0.1% (or kicking the validator out of the active set)
Level 2 Misconduct that occurs in good faith but is due to bad practices 1%
Level 3 Misconduct unlikely to happen in good faith or by accident, but does not lead to serious security risks or resource use 10%
Level 4 Misconduct that a) poses a serious security risk to the system, b) shows large levels of collusion among validators, and/or c) forces the system to spend a large amount of resources to deal with them 100%

Bison Trails charges a percentage service fee on all rewards earned by tokens delegated to our validator. The service fee is paid to Bison Trails automatically by the protocol. You can then withdraw your rewards from the protocol directly.

A controller is a 1-to-1 proxy for your stash (where your tokens live). A controller can act on behalf of the tokens in your stash to nominate validators and participate in consensus, without being able to send transactions. This helps protect your funds because your stash account will not need to be accessed often.

Managing a Polkadot controller yourself is time-consuming and difficult. It requires you to take frequent actions to maintain and properly manage your participation effort. If done incorrectly, self-management of your controller and validators puts your funds at risk of slashing due to the liveness requirements of the protocol.

Bison Trails’ managed controllers provide increased security, stability, and convenience, while reducing the risks of slashing. In addition, Bison Trails’ can optimize your participation in the network by spinning up and down validators on your behalf. You retain custody and control of your stash and nominations.

Choosing to delegate to another controller account is a simple 2-step process within the PolkadotUI. Keep your stash in cold storage where it’s safest and choose a Bison Trails managed controller for accessibility and security.

Follow the above instructions to bond to our validators directly or contact us if you have questions about getting started bonding to a non-custodial Bison Trails controller, managed on your behalf.

More

We offer multiple ways for DOT holders to earn Polkadot participatory rewards by securing the network:

  • For DOT holders who just want to delegate, we offer delegation to one of our public nodes, powered by the Bison Trails platform with enterprise-grade security. View delegation instructions below.
  • For large-scale DOT holders, our managed controller helps optimize participation on Polkadot. Reach out to set up your managed controller.
Contact us for pricing

Bison Trails Managed Controllers

A controller is a 1-to-1 proxy for your stash (where your tokens live). A controller can act on behalf of the tokens in your stash to nominate validators and participate in consensus, without being able to send transactions. This helps protect your funds because your stash account will not need to be accessed often.

Managing a Polkadot controller yourself is time-consuming and difficult. It requires you to take frequent actions to maintain and properly manage your participation effort. If done incorrectly, self-management puts your funds at risk of slashing due to the liveness requirements of the protocol.

Bison Trails’ managed controllers provide increased security and convenience, while reducing the risks of slashing. You retain custody and control of your stash and nominations. Choosing to bond to another controller account is a simple 2-step process within the PolkadotUI. Keep your stash in cold storage where it’s safest and choose a Bison Trails managed controller for accessibility and security.

Follow the above instructions to bond to our validators directly or contact us if you have questions about getting started bonding to a non-custodial Bison Trails controller, managed on your behalf.

Contact us

Interested in delegating on other protocols?

Have tokens on other networks? Learn more about delegating to our public validators on Celo, Cosmos, Edgeware, Kusama, Livepeer, Ontology, Solana, and more. We also offer dedicated participation clusters.


Contact us




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THIS DOCUMENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE DO NOT CONSTRUE ANY SUCH INFORMATION OR OTHER MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT AS LEGAL, TAX, INVESTMENT, FINANCIAL, OR OTHER ADVICE. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION OR ENDORSEMENT OF ANY DIGITAL ASSET, PROTOCOL, NETWORK OR PROJECT. HOWEVER, BISON TRAILS (INCLUDING ITS AFFILIATES AND/OR EMPLOYEES) MAY HAVE, OR MAY IN THE FUTURE HAVE, A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL INTEREST IN, AND MAY RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RELATED TO, ONE OR MORE OF THE DIGITAL ASSETS, PROTOCOLS, NETWORKS, ENTITIES, PROJECTS AND/OR VENTURES DISCUSSED HEREIN.

THE RISK OF LOSS IN CRYPTOCURRENCY, INCLUDING STAKING, CAN BE SUBSTANTIAL AND NOTHING HEREIN IS INTENDED TO BE A GUARANTEE AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSS. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN ARE BASED ON INFORMATION WHICH IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE AND HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE BUT BISON TRAILS MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE FAIRNESS, ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, REASONABLENESS OR COMPLETENESS OF SUCH INFORMATION.

ANY USE OF BISON TRAILS’ SERVICES MAY BE CONTINGENT ON COMPLETION OF BISON TRAILS’ ONBOARDING PROCESS, INCLUDING ENTRANCE INTO APPLICABLE LEGAL DOCUMENTATION AND WILL BE, AT ALL TIMES, SUBJECT TO AND GOVERNED BY BISON TRAILS’ POLICIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ITS TERMS OF SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY, AS MAY BE AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME.

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Questions?

Learn more about delegation in our guide to delegating digital assets.

If you have questions, or if you are interested in running a validator, please contact us. Our protocol specialists are happy to assist you.