Polkadot Staking Update: August — September 2022

Fast unstake, nomination pool support, democracy proposals, and more

Democracy Proposals

A number of noteworthy governance proposals and runtime upgrades have been proposed and/or executed in the last two months in the world of staking.

  1. More importantly, now, with the enablement of nomination pools just around the corner, these inactive nominators can now join pools and actually participate in staking in a fruitful way. Therefore, it is sensible for Polkadot to adjust its staking parameters such that there is less incentive for inactive nominators to exist.

Fast Unstake

Speaking of inactive nominators wanting to migrate to pools, there is finally a PR that addresses a long anticipated feature in Polkadot’s staking system: Fast Unstake.

Nomination Pools Resources

Here is a short recap on everything you need to know about nomination pools:

Notable Contributors

The staking system of Polkadot, albeit being a critical system, has proudly been open to external contributors and has seen a lot of pull requests from the Polkadot community, many of which have been successfully reviewed and merged.

Staking Dashboard Updates

Additional functionality, advancements in existing modules and polished UX are the themes of this September update for the staking dashboard.

Nomination Pools Now Fully Supported

What you can do in a Pool

Anyone can claim rewards

Pool rewards are generated per era. In fact, each pool has a stash address that is assigned as a nominator in exactly the same way as nominators do in solo staking. Pools are nominators.

  • Re-bond the rewards back into the pool.

Anyone can bond and unbond

Bond more funds to the pool, or unbond down to the minimum required deposit. This amount differs between pool members and pool owners.

Pool owner can rename the pool

Renaming a pool actually sets the pool’s metadata attribute on-chain. This value is used as the pool’s display name. It supports any utf8 character including emojis, so pool owners can be creative in naming their pool.

Pool owner and nominator can nominate

When we say pool owner we are referring to the account who created the pool. The pool owner inherits the root and depositor roles of a pool, and these cannot be changed.

Pool owner and state toggler can manage pool state

The state toggler is able to change the pool state to locked or destroying.

Other noteworthy Nomination Pool Support

Along with the above management functions, the staking dashboard attempts to make pool management intuitive and useful with dedicated UI, such as:

  • A pool stats module outlining the current state of the pool, featuring the total bond amount, total members, outstanding unclaimed rewards, and more.
  • A list of all pools along with their member count, bonded funds, and the pool’s nomination status. This is very useful for determining whether a pool is actively earning rewards at a glance.
  • Pools are searchable via a dedicated search bar alongside the pools list.
  • Once you join (or create) a pool, a dedicated pool members tab allows you to browse all pool members, along with the amount they have bonded in the pool.
  • The ability to delve into a pool’s nominations list and browse each of those nomination’s status, so users can view how many of the pool’s nominations are active.
  • The ability to add favorite pools, that are housed in a separate tab on the pools page.

Enhanced Methods of Generating Nominations

Staking dashboard attempts to make it easy to discover and nominate validators.

  • Active Low Commission selects a range of currently active validators prioritizing low commission.
  • From Favorites selects validators from your favorites list.
  • Manual Selection does not generate any nominations, allowing the user to fine-tune their selection manually.
  • The ability to select and remove validators from the list, and add from favorites; these functions were already present prior to this update.
  • The ability to generate a single active parachain validator, a single active validator (non-parachain), or just a single random validator that could be active or inactive.

UX Enhancements

Various improvements have also been made to the staking dashboard UI this month. This section lists the most notable of them:

  • A dedicated Accounts button is now always present in the top right corner of the app. The account bubbles beside the button are no longer interactive, and simply provide guidance to which accounts are actively staking (both nominating or via pools).
  • The “reserve amount” for transaction fees has been completely removed, and tx fees now dynamically adjust bond amounts and display warnings when tx fees cannot be fulfilled.
  • Animated icons are being rolled out, the first of which now live in the side menu.
  • The new Unbounded Polkadot font has been installed and applied to top page and modal headings.
  • The main app font has been changed to Inter, a more screen-friendly font and keeps consistency with the main Polkadot branding.
  • More border-radius and spacing consistency between the various button styles.
  • The Validators page is now searchable with a dedicated search bar.
  • The default validator list and pool list ordering is now shuffled on every page reload.
  • The Community page is now populated with over 20 validator entities, providing their bios, social media links and list of validators.

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