A Detailed Guide on Proof-of-Stake, Staking and Validating
Proof-of-Stake, staking and validating are all important concepts to understand when it comes to cryptocurrencies. The debate over which system is more secure and which one will eventually dominate rages on. However, it’s essential to understand how each system works to know how the cryptocurrency landscape could change in the future.
As with all blockchains, transaction records are published and stored in a block. Once a block is complete, it is hashed, and the hash is added to the next block, thus creating a chain. The consensus protocol of a blockchain operates like a democracy, whereby the majority of nodes, or those with the most power, have the final say. Whether that consensus protocol relies on Proof-of-Work, Proof-of-Stake (PoS), or something else entirely, is the main distinguishing factor from one blockchain to another.
Under a Proof-of-Work system, blocks are mined by nodes with the most powerful computers. Over the years, the debate over the scalability of Proof-of-Work (PoW) systems, such as Bitcoin, has intensified. The main problem with Proof-of-Work is that it requires a lot of energy to run the computers that validate transactions and mine new blocks.
On the other hand, blocks are validated by nodes that stake or lock up the most coins under a Proof-of-Stake system. While PoS does offer some advantages over PoW, it also features some vulnerabilities.
Here, we’ll break down what Proof of Stake, staking, and validating are and how they all fit together.
What is a Proof of Stake Consensus Mechanism?
To begin with, a consensus protocol in any blockchain network is a set of rules that all participating nodes agree to follow. These rules determine how transactions are validated and how new blocks are added to the blockchain.
Under a Proof-of-Work consensus protocol, as we just mentioned, blocks are mined by nodes with the most powerful computation resource. Miners who represent nodes in a PoW network use their computational power to compete for the chance to validate a block of transactions. The winner of that race receives rewards in the form of newly minted coins and transaction fees.
In contrast, a Proof-of-Stake network relies on validators to stake or lock up their coins to have the right to validate blocks. The more coins a node stakes, the more likely it is for that node to validate a block. When a block is validated, the validator receives newly minted coins.
The major advantage of a PoW consensus mechanism is that it is very secure. For a hacker to tamper with the blockchain, they would need to control more than 50% of the computational power in the network. This is known as a 51% attack and is very difficult, if not impossible, to carry out.
On the other hand, the security of a PoS system depends on how many coins are staked. If someone were to control more than 51% of the coins in a PoS system, they could theoretically validate fraudulent transactions.
It’s important to note that no mining is involved under a PoS system. Instead of miners, we have validators. And instead of powerful computers, all you need to validate transactions is the coins themselves.
How Does Staking Work?
As we just mentioned, for a node to become a validator under a PoS system, it must stake or lock up its coins. When a node stakes its coins, it is essentially putting its money where its mouth is and saying it will behave according to the network rules.
If a node breaks any of the other network rules, it risks losing a part of its staked coins. For this reason, nodes that stake their coins have a strong incentive to play by the rules.
The process of staking coins is often referred to as having “skin in the game.” By staking coins, validators are essentially saying that they have skin in the game and will behave appropriately.
Who or what is a validator in a PoS Blockchain?
A validator is a node chosen to validate transactions and add new blocks to the blockchain.
For a node to be a validator, it must stake or lock up its coins. The more coins a node stakes, the more likely it is to be chosen to validate a block.
When a block is validated, the validator is rewarded with newly minted coins and transaction fees. Validators are also responsible for maintaining the state of the blockchain and keeping it secure.
If a validator is caught validating fraudulent transactions or breaking any of the other network rules, that validator risks losing a part of its staked coins. For this reason, nodes that stake their coins have a strong incentive to play by the rules.
What is the difference between a node and a validator?
A node is a computer that is connected to the blockchain network. Nodes can be used to validate transactions and add new blocks to the blockchain. A node can also refer to any individual participating in the network. For example, a user with a smartphone connected to the network would be considered a node.
A validator is a node that has been chosen to actively participate in validating transactions and adding new blocks to the blockchain. As mentioned earlier, such a node will need to stake its coins to stand a chance of becoming a validator.
What is the minimum amount of coins required for staking?
The minimum amount required for staking will depend on the network rules. Generally, the more coins you stake, the more likely you will be chosen as a validator.
What are some of the risks of staking coins?
There are a few risks associated with staking coins:
- If you stake your coins on a validator node that breaks the network rules, you may lose all of your staked coins through slashing.
- If the value of the coin you have staked goes down, you may lose money.
- Delegating nodes don’t get to earn as much as validator nodes.
What does stake slashing mean?
Slashing is when a validator is caught breaking the network rules and is punished by having a portion of their staked coins taken away.
The purpose of slashing is to incentivize validators to behave appropriately and play by the rules. If a validator knows they may lose a portion of their coins if they break the rules, they will be less likely to do so.
Some networks also punish validators through slashing when their node is offline for too long. Again, this incentivizes validators to keep their node online and running smoothly.
What is the purpose of transaction fees?
Transaction fees are a way for users to pay miners or validators for processing their transactions.
The amount of the fees collected will depend on the network rules and the size of their stake.
Benefits of Proof of Stake and Staking Coins
There are a few benefits associated with Proof of Stake and staking coins:
- Energy efficient: Since no mining is involved, PoS is much more energy efficient than Proof of Work.
- Greater decentralization: Since anyone can become a validator by staking their coins, PoS is more decentralized than PoW.
- Lower barriers to entry: Unlike mining, which requires expensive hardware and electricity, all you need to stake your coins is a computer or smartphone with internet access.
- Passively earn an income: If you stake your coins on a validator node, you can earn rewards passively.
How Ubik Capital Facilitates Staking and Delegation
Ubik Capital is a PoS validator across several networks, including Solana, Cosmos Network, Polkadot, Oasis Protocol, Crypto.com, Band Protocol, Aleph Zero, ICON Network, xx Network to mention a few.
Ubik Capital makes it easy for users to stake and delegate their coins by providing them with a simple interface and 24/7 support. Furthermore, with 100% uptime across all networks, users can be assured that their coins are always being staked and earning rewards.
If you’re interested in staking your coins with Ubik Capital, you can check out some of their top guides on how to do so:
- How to Stake Cosmos ATOM with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake SOL with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake Polkadot DOT with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake Oasis Protocol ROSE with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake Crypto.com CRO with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake Injective INJ with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake Band Protocol BAND with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake Aleph Zero AZERO with Ubik Capital
- How to Stake ICON Network ICX with Ubik Capital
Proof of Stake is an increasingly popular consensus algorithm, especially with Ethereum’s transition into PoS. There are many variations of a PoS consensus algorithm; however, with this guide, you should understand how it generally works.
Ubik Capital is an excellent option if you’re interested in earning rewards by staking your coins.
About Ubik Capital
Capital is a Proof-of-Stake service provider, validator, and investor. Ubik Capital provides staking-as-a-service as well as investments to various blockchain projects. Ubik Capital secures major networks and is a trusted staking provider with years of industry experience.
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Disclaimer: Not financial advice. Cryptocurrency and blockchain investments are high risk, can incur substantial losses, and are not suitable for everyone. Please consult a professional before considering investment in any cryptocurrency. This article does not encourage or support any specific investments, use of applications or technology, or financial direction. This article is for informational purposes only and should be verified and validated externally for 100% accuracy.