Nominators (Stakers) Important Role Explained

Nominators (Stakers) Important Role Explained

Ever wonder why stakers are referred to as nominators on certain networks? It’s because they are locking up their funds in order to earn income on a Nominated Proof of Stake (NPoS) network such as SwapDEX and Kusari.

Nominators stake their coins to validators adding security to the network by distributing the wealth of the community. NPoS ensures a group of persons (whales) don’t control the network by hijacking governance voting decisions. By appointing their stake, nominators are able to elect an active set of validators and share in the rewards that are paid out to them by their nominated validators.

The nominator role does not require running a node of your own having to worry about online uptime. However, a good nominator should perform due diligence on the validators they elect. When looking for validators to choose, a nominator should pay attention to their own reward percentage, and their risk should the validator get slashed. Please refer to the best practices choosing a validator article linked below:

Five Things to Consider When Staking

How does Staking work in SwapDEX and Kusari Chains

Nominate validator candidates that you trust to help you earn rewards in the chain’s native coin. You can look at the linked nominator guides listed below to understand your responsibilities as a nominator on the SwapDEX network.

SwapDEX Staking Guide

Kusari Staking Guide

Nomination Period

Anyone who wants to become a validator can decide to become a candidate at any time. The candidacy is made public to all nominators, who can vote (nominate) for their favorite candidates. At the beginning of a new era the network selects the highest nominated validator candidates to become the active set for the forthcoming era. It is strongly recommended to take a close look at the performance and reputation of the validators you want to stake on. Nomination is not a set-and-forget approach.

Staking Rewards Distribution

To explain how rewards are paid to validators and nominators, we need to consider the validator and nominator pools. A validator pool consists of the stake of an elected validator together with the nominators backing it. The nominator pool consists of the sum of nominated coins for that validator.

Every validator pool receives essentially the same number of coins (rewards) for equal work. The network distributes the coins at the end of each era. However, there is a probabilistic component to staking rewards in era points and tips, but these will average out over time.

Every validator can set a customized commission, and the rest is paid pro-rata (proportional to stake) to the nominators. The validator position includes coins the validator bonds and the coins nominators stake to the validator, so the validator not only receives the commission, but a portion of the pro-rata rewards as well.

Substrate Account Generation

Since Polkadot and SwapDEX share the same foundation, namely Substrate, the Polkadot{.js} browser extension is the recommended way to create your SwapDEX account. Please refer to the links below:

The extension provides a reasonable balance of security and usability. It’s comparable to MetaMask for Ethereum. It provides a separate local mechanism to generate your address and interact with SwapDEX.

Nominators are recommended to set up separate stash and controller accounts. Explanation and reasoning for generating distinct accounts for this purpose is elaborated in the keys section of our Wiki.

You can generate your stash and controller account via any of the recommended methods that are detailed on the account generation page

A standard wallet or account is composed of two keys:

  • The PUBLIC KEY (Wallet address)
  • The PRIVATE KEY (The key that allows you to access and manage your funds)

SwapDEX and Kusari accounts follow the same rules. Key security is of the utmost importance therefore you must keep your PRIVATE KEY, SEED PHRASE, or JSON KEYSTORE file safe at all times.

Securing funds

Currently, our coins are designated as bSDX and bKSI on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and can be purchased on PancakeSwap where the transaction fees are considerably lower compared to the Ethereum chain. Our SwapDEX and Kusari websites show in detail how to purchase coins including instructional videos. This will be a temporary solution until our EVM DEX Kazama and our SwapDEX Substrate DEX is deployed later this year. Here are the steps involved to purchase our Binance wrapped coins and to bridge back to our native coins in order to enable staking. Follow steps 1–2 to buy bSDX, and steps 3–4 to bridge bSDX back to the native coins on our SwapDEX network. Please see the comprehensive article linked below to show how this process is undertaken:

How to Buy SDX on PancakeSwap

  1. Install MetaMask and the add BSC chain information
  2. Buy bSDX on Pancake Swap with BUSD. Add bSDX to MetaMask, and have a little BNB for gas fees.
  3. Create a Substrate Wallet by downloading Polkadot.{JS}
  4. Bridge bSDX via our custom dashboard back to SDX and place in your Substrate wallet where they can be used for staking, and on-chain Governance.

Using the SwapDEX-JS UI

Step 1: Bond your tokens

On the SwapDEX-JS UI navigate to the “Staking” tab (within the “Network” menu). The “Staking Overview” subsection will show you all the active validators and their information including their identities, the amount of SDX staked for them, amount of their own bonded stake, how much they charge in commission, the era points they’ve earned in the current era, and the last block number that they produced.

If you click on the chart button it will take you to the “Validator Stats” page for that validator which shows you more detailed and historical information about the validator’s stake, rewards and slashes.

The “Payouts” subsection allows you to claim rewards from staking.

The “Targets” subsection will help you estimate your earnings, and this is where it’s good to start picking favorites.

The “Waiting” subsection lists all pending validators that are awaiting more nominations to enter the active validator set. Validators will stay in the waiting queue until they have enough SDX backing them (as allocated through the Phragmén election mechanism). It is possible a validator can remain in the queue for a very long time if they never get enough backing.

The “Validator Stats” subsection allows you to query a validator’s stash address and see historical charts on era points, elected stake, rewards, and slashes.

The Account actions subsection allows you to stake and nominate. Pick Account actions underneath Network > Staking, then click the + Nominator button.

Select a value bonded that is less than the total amount of SDX you have, so you have some leftover to pay transaction fees, currently around 0.01 SDX, but they are dynamic based on various factors including a load of recent blocks.

Choose whatever payment destination makes sense to you. If you’re unsure, you can choose “Stash account (increase amount at stake)” to simply accrue the rewards into the amount you’re staking and earn compound interest.

2: Nominate a validator

You are now bonded. This means your tokens are locked and could be slashed if the validators you nominate misbehave. All bonded funds can now be distributed to up to 16 validators.

Click on Nominate on an account you've bonded, and you will be presented with another popup asking you to select some validators.

Although you may choose up to 16 validators, due to the Phragmén election algorithm your stake may be dispersed in different proportions to any subset or all of the validators you choose, and this may change some from era to era if multi-staking is employed. Select them, confirm the transaction, and voilà, you are now nominating.

Your nominations will become active in the next era. Eras last 6 hours on both SwapDEX and Kusari. Your nominations will become active in a little over an hour if you nominate in the next to last, or 5th, hour before the election period. Otherwise, the wait will be longer. You can check how far along the eras are by viewing the staking page.

Assuming at least one of your nominations ends up in the active validator set, you will start to get rewards allocated to you. In order to claim them (i.e., add them to your account), you must manually claim them on the payout's subsection.

At some point, you might decide to stop nominating on one or more validators. You can always change who you’re nominating, but you cannot withdraw your tokens unless you unbond them.

Remember, rather than leaving assets sitting around idly in your wallet, nominating (staking) them can provide a great source of income increasing the number of coins you hold.