Run a Dedicated Polkadot Managed Controller with Bison Trails

Bison Trails’ managed controllers allow large-scale DOT holders to run validators on the Bison Trails platform or delegate to our staking-as-a-service nodes to easily manage Polkadot delegation as network dynamics change.

Run a Dedicated Polkadot Managed Controller with Bison Trails

Jul 5 2020 By Bison Trails

Bison Trails offers multiple ways for DOT holders to earn participatory rewards on Polkadot. Because of Polkadot’s equitable distribution of rewards, large-scale DOT holders can distribute their stake to delegate and/or run multiple validators—their own or Bison Trails’ or both—to optimize their participation.

“Bison Trails offers a unique way for large-scale DOT holders to optimize Polkadot participation. Bison Trails’ managed controllers can nominate your own Polkadot validators and fall back to a Bison Trails staking-as-a-service node in the event that you don’t have enough DOTs to run your own validator in a given epoch. This relieves one of the most challenging parts of managing your Polkadot nominations and is a huge benefit for easily optimizing your participation on Polkadot.” —Aaron Henshaw, Co-founder and CTO of Bison Trails

Learn more in our guide to Polkadot’s Token Economcis.

Controllers + Polkadot

A controller is a 1-to-1 proxy for your stash (where your tokens live). It acts on behalf of the DOTs in your stash to nominate validators and participate in consensus, without being able to access your funds. Using a controller allows you to participate in staking and securing the network without accessing the stash account that controls the custody and movement of your funds.

Setting your stash as the controller is risky and not advisable. Controllers on Polkadot allow you to manage your nominations while keeping your stash account offline. Using a Bison Trails managed controller provides those benefits of additional security with additional ease of use, while still ensuring you maintain full custody of your assets.

Managing a Polkadot controller yourself is time-consuming and difficult; it requires you to take frequent actions to properly maintain, distribute, and manage your participation. If done incorrectly, self-management puts your funds at risk of slashing due to the liveness requirements of the Polkadot protocol. Specifically, during times of severe network instability, it is prudent to take stake offline to avoid downtime slashings from validator downtime (e.g. the slashing events on Kusama).

Bison Trails Managed Controller

A dedicated Bison Trails managed controller is non-custodial and helps optimize your Polkadot participation. It provides you with two options that are unique to working with Bison Trails:

1. Run Your Own Polkadot Validators
Automatically scale validators and distribute DOTs in your stash to increase your presence in the elected validator set. Fall back to the Bison Trails active Polkadot validators if you don’t have enough DOTs to run your own validator because of changing network conditions.

2. Easy Nomination Management for a Staking Only Approach
Running your own validator is not for everyone. Even if you don’t run your own validator, when staking with Polkadot you will still have to monitor validators you are nominating, to make sure your DOTs remain in the active set. Bison Trails’ managed controllers provide a service to remove this burden, without ever taking custody of your DOTs. You can provide a list of public validators you would like us to optimize for, or just choose Bison Trails’ public validators. We take care of the rest, to optimize your DOT participation.


  • Retain custody and control of your stash and nominations
  • Keep your DOTs secure in cold storage where they’re safest
  • Automatically distribute stake across multiple validators to optimize your participation to ensure you are earning as many DOTS as the protocol will allow
  • Participate with your own validators while automatically falling back to your choice of StaaS providers if the DOTs required to participate in the active set changes
  • Enable delegations from your community. If you’re in the active set, community delegations to your node receive participatory rewards, and you receive a percentage!
  • Reduce the risk of slashing: Since rewards are evenly distributed among validators elected to the consensus group, there is no economic advantage in staking more DOTs to a single validator than is required to be in the active set. In fact, because slashing is proportional, staking excess DOTs increases the loss in the event of slashing.

Contact us today to set up your managed controller.

Get Started

  • For large-scale DOT holders, our managed controller helps optimize participation on Polkadot. Reach out to set up your managed controller for delegation or to run dedicated validators with Bison Trails.
  • You can also delegate directly to one of Bison Trails’ Polkadot community nodes yourself, following these instructions.

Contact Us for Pricing

Bison Trails: Pioneering Blockchain Infrastructure™

Bison Trails is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service company, based in New York City, specifically focused on blockchain participation. We’ve built a platform for anyone who wants to participate in new chains effortlessly (e.g. by running Cosmos Validators, Tezos Bakers, and Libra Validators, etc.)—without having to invest time and resources into developing any of the engineering, protocol, dev ops, or security competencies in-house. Our goal is for the entire blockchain ecosystem to flourish by providing robust infrastructure for the pioneers of tomorrow.

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.

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