How to choose a stake pool
Deciding which stake pool is the best for you
There are more than 2500 stake pools available. Choosing which stake pool(s) to delegate your stake is an important decision. There are many differences between stake pools. We can classify those differences into two broad categories:
- From the protocol standpoint
- Off-protocol considerations
From a protocol standpoint
The key differentiator from the protocol point of view is the performance of the stake pools. The Daedalus Delegation Center displays relevant performance indicators for all of the available stake pools.
Let's see what these performance indicators mean and how to interpret them to help you make the best decision about your stake delegation.
- Saturation : Measures the stake in the pool and indicates the point at which rewards stop increasing with increases in stake. This capping mechanism encourages decentralization by discouraging users from delegating to oversaturated pools. Delegating to a pool that is closer to saturation can lead to more rewards.
- Rank: A hierarchical ranking based on the potential rewards you will earn if you delegate the intended amount of stake to this pool, assuming it reaches saturation. This ranking represents a long-term expected outcome.
- Live Stake: Percentage of the total stake in the system controlled by the pool. Calculated as follows: the stake pledged by the pool (stake delegated by the pool owners to their own pool) + the stake currently delegated to the pool, divided by the total stake in the system.
- Pool margin: The share that the stake pool takes from the rewards before distributing them among its delegators.
- Pledge: This is the amount that the stake pool owners commit to delegate to their stake pool. One can expect that operators with higher balances delegated to their own pool have more incentives to perform well. Stake pools that do not meet their pledge requirement may produce blocks, but will not produce rewards.
- Cost per epoch: The fixed fee per epoch that the stake pool charges to cover its operating costs.
- Produced blocks: The total number of blocks that the stake pool has produced up to date.
The above are the key performance indicators. However, there are tools created by community members that display other useful information: ROI, number of delegators, active epochs, current reported height, involvement in adversarial forks, and their performance. It is a good idea to consider these other indicators when selecting a stake pool to delegate your stake. Some resourceful community built tools are:
There are some off-protocol factors that you might want to consider before delegating your stake. For example, you might be interested in delegating to a stake pool that:
- Is operated by someone that you trust
- Is operated by an NGO
- Runs on green energy
- Donates part of its profit to a particular cause that you want to support
- Is in a particular location you like
- Is owned by more than one stakeholder
- Provides you information about their performance regularly
- Has an application that allows you to track your rewards easily
You can find this kind of information on the stake pools' websites. Daedalus and the Explorer provide links to the websites reported by the stake pools when they registered.
Now you know everything you should consider to choose the best stake pool to maximize your rewards. For more information on delegation, please see How to delegate to a stake pool