NEAR is a decentralized development platform that uses a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism and will eventually feature a sharded architecture to scale transaction throughput. Its block generation scheme is called Doomslug and its proposed sharding design is dubbed Nightshade. These technologies will work together to scale the network and minimize congestion. NEAR has also been designed to be developer and user-friendly as it features a few key innovations to accelerate the application development and user-onboarding processes. The NEAR blockchain was created and developed by the NEAR Foundation. Its mainnet went live in April 2020, and network validators voted to unlock token transfers in October 2020. NEAR's bridge to Ethereum (called the Rainbow Bridge) launched in March 2021 and the native token NEAR is used for governance and to secure the network.
NEAR doesn’t implement delegation on the protocol level, like many other “Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) blockchains do. Instead NEAR allows smart contracts to stake, because in NEAR contracts and accounts are the same. Thus, if validators want to accept delegated stake, they must deploy a contract with specific rules of how delegation and reward splitting works and advertise that contract as destination to delegate.
Why should I stake my NEAR?
Staking is the process of locking up a digital asset (NEAR) to provide economic security for a public blockchain, therefore staking your NEAR helps secure the PoS network. Further, most PoS blockchains are initially inflationary in nature, so staking your NEAR prevents you from getting inflated out of your position as you earn rewards for helping secure the network and validate transactions. Lastly, you can participate in network governance.
- Secure the network – With NEAR, you have the power to contribute to the security and governance of NEAR protocol through staking and voting on governance proposals.
- Earn rewards – When you stake to a validator, you are contributing to the security of the network and are rewarded with NEAR through staking rewards.
- Vote for the future – Staking NEAR allows you to vote on governance proposals and contribute to making decisions on the future and direction of the network.
What happens when I stake my NEAR?
As the NEAR Protocol utilizes a PoS consensus mechanism, you can delegate an amount of NEAR you hold to a "validator", making you the "delegator". Validators on the NEAR blockchain (and most other PoS blockchains) validate the network by approving transactions. The more NEAR a validator holds the more powerful they are and the more "vote" the have in the network, which allows them to validate more transactions, thus earning more rewards. By delegating your NEAR, you trust the selected validator to be a good network participant. From the earned rewards, the validator gives a certain percentage (stipulated by the network) back to the delegators that have delegated (staked) their NEAR to them.
That's how you earn rewards.
How much can I earn from staking my NEAR?
At the time this post was published, the APY (Annual Percentage Yield) for staking NEAR is 11%.
For the most up-to-date rewards rate, you can check out the Steakwallet app.
What is the minimum amount of NEAR I can stake?
There is no minimum stake, however, you should always make sure to have enough NEAR available to pay for network fees, as all blockchain interactions (such as sending a transaction, staking, unstaking, or interacting with other dApps) require them. You should leave about 0.35 NEAR in your wallet for the unstaking process as well.
How do I stake my NEAR?
When you stake your NEAR, you are able to choose how much of your NEAR you want to delegate to the validator. You can stake any amount of NEAR, for which you immediately start accumulating rewards. You will not be able to use the staked STARS for anything else or sell them during the period the STARS are staked.
Make sure you have enough NEAR in your wallet to pay for network transaction fees.
Please note: You don’t need to manually claim your rewards and re-stake them to earn the maximum possible rewards, as NEAR automatically claims and re-stakes tokens from the validator pool. Thus, your rewards are already compounding.
Why are my assets stuck?
If you are trying to stake: You do not begin to earn rewards immediately. When you start staking your NEAR and the delegation is confirmed, you will start earning rewards on the staked amount after one epoch.Thereafter, rewards are distributed after each epoch (~12 hours) and automatically re-staked.
If you are trying to unstake: Unstaking takes 3 epochs (with 1 epoch equaling roughly ~12 hours in length) to complete, during which your unstaked NEAR are not earning any rewards. After the unstaking period, you may withdraw your NEAR from staking pool. This means the tokens become available on the 4th epoch after release which is usually between 52–65 hours in time. When you unstake your NEAR, any unclaimed rewards you may have will be auto-claimed.
Which validator is my NEAR staked to?
Currently, if you stake your NEAR with Steakwallet your stake gets delegated to validators run by Figment. Figment is a reliable partner and one of the most trusted validator providers in the industry. We plan to offer more optionality in the future.
How do I unstake my NEAR?
When you unstake your NEAR, you can decide on the amount you want to unstake. Once you confirm the amount, your NEAR will now be "unbonding" from the validator. Unstaking takes 3 epochs (with 1 epoch equaling roughly ~12 hours in length) to complete, during which your unstaked NEAR are not earning any rewards. After the unstaking period, you may withdraw your NEAR from staking pool.
This means the tokens become available on the 4th epoch after release which is usually between 52–65 hours in time. When you unstake your NEAR, any unclaimed rewards you may have will be auto-claimed.
When will I start earning rewards?
When you start staking your NEAR and the delegation is confirmed, you will start earning rewards on the staked amount after one epoch. Thereafter, rewards are distributed after each epoch (~12 hours) and automatically re-staked.
How do I claim my staking rewards?
On the NEAR blockchain, you don’t have to manually claim your rewards. NEAR automatically re-stakes all staking pool rewards, so your staked balance just grows over time and your rewards are compounding.
If you decide to unstake your tokens, you will also claim your rewards automatically.
Does Steakwallet take a cut of my rewards or charge a fee?
No. Steakwallet never charges a fee on your staking rewards.
Is NEAR staking safe?
Given that you always maintain custody of your assets (as Steakwallet is non-custodial), you always remain in full control.
As a delegator, you also don’t face any slashing risk on NEAR. The NEAR protocol doesn't punish delegators. So, if your validator screws up and gets slashed, you will only lose a few rewards, and your stake will remain untouched. Whereas on other networks, your staked balance is also at risk of slashing, on NEAR your staked balance is safe from slashing risk.