This guide will serve as your source for everything you need to know about staking MATIC and using the Polygon Network for transactions. Our staking guides simplify the staking process, show you the benefits and risks associated with staking and are here for you to decide if staking makes sense for your digital asset portfolio.
What is MATIC?
MATIC is the native token of the Polygon Network and is a Layer-2 scaling solution designed to increase transaction throughput and lower transaction fees for Ethereum users and developers. Uses a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism for the verification of transactions while maintaining the security level of Ethereum’s blockchain. When staking, you are delegating MATIC to validators who run nodes on the Polygon Network. Essentially, staking helps secure the network and is rewarded for doing so.
In order to stake MATIC you will need it. So where can you get it? MATIC is quite popular and can be found on multiple exchanges, including:
After you have obtained some MATIC, you will need to send it from the exchange to your Ethereum wallet in which you plan to use for the staking process. If you obtained MATIC from a DEX such as Uniswap, in that case, you can use the same wallet you used to interact with the DEX.
You will need a web3 browser extension Ethereum wallet, such as Metamask. In this tutorial we will be using Metamask. Also, your Ethereum address will need some Ethereum for transaction fees that you will incur during the staking process. For current Ethereum fees check out Etherscan’s Gas Tracker Page.
A hardware wallet such as a Trezor device is recommended for securing your assets, but is optional. Currently the Ledger hardware wallet is incompatible with the Polygon Network and should NOT be used for sending ERC20 tokens from Ethereum to Polygon.
It is recommended that you bookmark this tutorial for reference. Depending on how long you actually stake your MATIC, you’ll have this guide bookmarked for when you would like to exit your staking position (aka ‘unbond’), and for other options used to control your stake.
USING THE POLYGON NETWORK FOR TRANSACTIONS
Note: Sending MATIC to the Polygon Network is not required for staking MATIC, but is important for stakers to realize how the network operates.
WHY USE POLYGON?
The main reason for using Polygon is to save on transaction fees. Using dApps on Ethereum can sometimes be very costly, especially when a dApp takes multiple transactions to perform a single task. Some Ethereum dApps are becoming available on the Polygon Network. So, if you are planning on using a dApp for a long time, or would like to interact with the dApp using a substantial number of transactions, it would be wise to check and see if that dApp is available on the Polygon Network.
Some things to keep in mind when deciding on whether to use the Polygon Network include:
- Timeframe for using dApps on the network.
- When sending funds to Polygon, try to only send the funds you’ll need. Sending too little may require you to send more, and sending too much could have you sending funds back to Ethereum. The more cross-chain transactions you send the less you’ll save on transaction fees.
- If you mine Ether in a pool, some mining pools have an option to get paid out more frequently when using Polygon.
Let’s begin by preparing our Web3 wallet. In order for MetaMask to communicate and interact with the Polygon Network, it must be added. Click on the MetaMask icon within your browser and login. Once you have logged on, click on the currently connected network, ‘Ethereum Mainnet’ is displayed in the screenshot below. A dropdown menu appears with the title, ‘Networks’. Near the bottom, you should find ‘Custom RPC’, click this option to continue.
A form will be displayed within MetaMask which will need to be filled out like the screenshot below. It is important that the information that is NOT optional be entered/copied verbatim.
Network Name: Polygon Network
New RPC URL: https://rpc-mainnet.maticvigil.com/
Chain ID: 137
Currency Symbol(opt.): MATIC
Block Explorer URL(opt.): https://explorer.matic.network
SENDING ASSETS FROM ETHEREUM TO POLYGON
To use the Polygon Network, users must send MATIC to the network using the Polygon Bridge. MATIC is used to pay for gas on the Polygon Network, similar to how ETH is used on the Ethereum blockchain. To get to the bridge go to Polygon’s web wallet (it’s a good idea to bookmark this page for future visits). You will be greeted with a ‘Login’ screen with a list of supported wallets you can use to interact with the website. Select the web3 browser extension wallet you want to use and sign the message with your wallet. If done correctly you should see this page.
You will click the button ‘Move funds from Ethereum to Polygon’ which will bring you to Polygon’s bridge (Polygon Bridge v2 user interface).
Click on the dropdown button that says ‘Ether’ (it may say another asset, so the button is highlighted in the above image). You will see a list of assets that are available within your wallet that are transferable to Polygon. Select ‘MATIC’.
Now enter the amount that you are wanting to send to Polygon. You can also click ‘MAX’ to send all of the selected asset. Once the amount is entered, click on the ‘Transfer’ button below. A pop-up will appear with the heading ‘Important’.
Read the pop-up and make sure this is what you are intending to do. If so, Click ‘Continue’.
Another pop-up will appear, titled ‘Transfer Overview’. Again, check to make sure you agree to the estimation of gas fees associated with the transfer and then click ‘Continue’.
One last pop-up appears titled ‘Confirm Transfer’. Here you are able to review the transaction details.
Notice, it should say that you are transferring from the Ethereum Network >> Polygon Network. If all looks correct, click ‘Continue’.
This will prompt Metamask to bring up the transaction details for you to view. After viewing the details, click ‘Confirm’ to send the transaction. This transaction should take between 6 – 7 minutes after being added to an Ethereum block to appear on the Polygon Network.
If everything went well you can revisit Polygon’s web wallet to see your funds on the Polygon Network! Congratulations!
SENDING ASSETS FROM POLYGON TO ETHEREUM
Now that we have assets on Polygon, we may want to transfer them back to Ethereum. To do so, we will be using Polygon’s bridge. So, navigate to Polygon’s bridge to get started.
We need to click on the ‘switch’ button that the green arrow is pointed at until we see ‘Polygon’ at the top of the gray box, as shown with a green circle in the screenshot. This is telling the bridge that we want to transfer funds from Polygon to Ethereum.
Clicking the dropdown button will allow us to choose an asset to transfer. I have chosen MATIC when looking at the screenshot above. Enter the amount of the asset in which you are transferring then click ‘Transfer’ to begin the process.
The following pop-up will be displayed:
Click ‘Continue’. Another pop-up will appear, titled ‘Transfer Overview’, explaining the withdrawal process and fees associated with the withdrawal.
Click ‘Continue’. One last pop-up will appear, titled ‘Confirm Transfer’, which allows you to review the details of the transfer.
Clicking ‘Continue’ will bring up a Metamask notification asking you to switch the connected network.
Note: If you have pending transactions, on ANY network, within your Metamask wallet, switching networks will cancel those transactions. If you have no pending transactions, Click ‘Switch network’. Once you switch the network within Metamask, you will be able to approve the transaction. This transaction going from Polygon to Ethereum will take quite a bit of time. The Polygon Network uses 2 different methods of transferring assets, either PoS or Plasma. The method used depends on the asset you are transferring. Currently it will take about 2 hours using PoS and will take 7 days using Plasma for the asset to appear on Ethereum.
IMPORTANT INFO: USING POLYGON NETWORK TO SEND ASSETS
You must be careful when sending assets with Polygon, just as you do when sending assets with similar addresses, like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Sending tokens to any valid Ethereum address is possible. This is because each Ethereum address is the same on Polygon. Make sure recipients, such as an exchange, can and will accept your deposit/funds using the Polygon Network.
MATIC STAKING TUTORIAL
Now that we know how and when to use the Polygon Network, we are ready to stake MATIC and earn rewards for helping secure the network!
CHOOSING A VALIDATOR
Staking MATIC is the entire process of delegating to a validator or multiple validators. First, we will look for and choose a validator by going to Polygon’s staking page. On this page, you will see links to the staking calculator, support, Polygon explorer and the network overview stats.
Scroll down to see a list of validators (see below). Since Polygon is a truly decentralized network these nodes are run by 3rd parties including teams, websites, exchanges or by technically savvy individuals. They are NOT run by the Polygon (MATIC) team. Each validator on the list is running a unique node and acts independently from one another. Validators can modify their commission rate. A higher commission rate will effectively reduce the delegators’ rewards.
This chart contains very important stats needed to select a good validator. The column ‘Checkpoints Signed’ lets us know if a validator has missed any checkpoints or went offline. 100% is great, meaning that none of the validators on the screenshot above have missed a checkpoint or went offline. Anything less than 100% in this column will result in less rewards and possibly even slashing rewards. If you delegate to a validator who is intentionally producing fraudulent blocks, your stake will be slashed, or lose value.
The ‘Commission’ column shows us the percentage of rewards that the validator will take from the total stake. Many of the commissions are currently set to 0%, most-likely for onboarding delegators to have more MATIC staked to them. Commissions can be changed by the validator. This is used to offset the cost incurred by the validator who is maintaining the node, but could also be increased to any percentage the validator chooses.. The ‘Stake’ column is the total amount of MATIC the validator has “self-staked” plus the MATIC currently being delegated to the validator. Clicking on the validator’s name, will bring up more info about the validator. Some validators have websites you can visit which may tell you more about who they are.
Before delegating a stake to a validator it is recommended to do more research than only reviewing the stats within the staking page above. The following websites may give you more knowledge on which validator to choose:
ESTIMATING STAKING REWARDS – TOKEN ECONOMICS
Now is a good time to review what affects how much passive income you will receive while staking as a delegator.
- 1.2 Billion MATIC tokens (12% of total supply) to be distributed to stakers/validators in the first 5 years.
- The number of MATIC distributed annually decreases each year as per the table below. After the 5th year, an active network should support validators/delegators in the form of transaction fees, without extra rewards coming from Polygon’s treasury.
|Year||Reward Pool (in MATIC)1|
* -About 12,000,000 MATIC are left to distribute in the first year. As of 7/15/2021.
- Staking Rewards MATIC Calculator and/or Official MATIC Reward Calculator are great resources.
- When choosing a validator, their commission rate will reduce rewards you receive. If their commission is set at 10%, then you will earn 10% less rewards than delegating to a validator with their commission set at 0%.
- Staking to a validator which goes offline for any checkpoint or fails to maintain the hardware needed to keep the validator operational can negatively affect a staker’s passive income. Not only does the stake not earn rewards with an offline validator, the rewards can be slashed. Slashing is the taking of a portion of stake that is delegated to a validator who misses checkpoints.
- All percentages are based on MATIC, not USD. This means that if the APY is at 12% when you begin staking, but MATIC’s price to USD price declines by 12% during the time you have staked it for a year, you will have increased your MATIC balance by 12%, but the USD value of your position is 0% gain/loss. On the other hand, if you average 12% APY during 3 months of staking, and MATIC price has increased by 12%, the USD value of your position will have increased by 15%.
THE STAKING PROCESS
Head over to the Polygon Web Wallet and login using your Web3 wallet. Click on the ‘All Validators’ tab on the top-left of the screen. You should see a list of validators.
Above, you see that I went with the Binance Node, they do have a 10% commission which is deducted from my expected rewards. However, I’ve used Binance exchange for a couple of years and have built my trust more than any of the other validators on the list.
Choose the validator you would like to delegate your stake with and click the ‘Delegate’ button. A small pop-up will appear and should look similar to the one you see below.
This pop-up allows you to enter the amount of MATIC you would like to stake, click ‘MAX’ to stake all the MATIC within your connected wallet. Then click ‘Continue’. MetaMask notification appears, this first notification is only to give the Polygon Network the access needed for the process of staking MATIC. Please verify that you are connected to the Ethereum mainnet within your wallet, then click ‘Confirm’.
A popup appears titled ‘Delegate’. Click on the button that says ‘Delegate’ to continue.
Are you still excited about earning passive income through staking? GREAT! Congratulations! Once that transaction is added to an Ethereum block, your stake has been delegated!
HOW TO CHECK YOUR STAKING STATS
To check on your rewards/passive income, and other information about your staking account, go to the Polygon Wallet Staking tab and click on my account. If you just finished the staking process and are excited to see the details of your stake, then you may be disappointed with the linked page not showing your stats. HINT: Just click the refresh button on your browser.
This page should be bookmarked as this page details your staking position. This page also allows you to Stake more, Restake Reward, Unbond and Withdraw Reward, which we will be going over in the next sections of this guide.
OPTIONS TO CONTROL YOUR STAKED MATIC
Now that you have staked your MATIC you have 4 options which can be used to change your position. These options appear on the Polygon Staking page. The options are:
- Stake more
- Restake Reward
- Withdraw Reward
The stake more button is one of the 4 options available on the Polygon Staking page as seen in the screenshot above. Again, this page should be bookmarked because this is where you will go to control your stake. The stake more option is what you can do to increase your stake with the validator you have chosen.
Clicking on the ‘Stake more’ button will bring up a popup that will let you know that your reward earnings will be transferred to your Ethereum account shown in the following screenshot.
Click ‘Continue’ to bring up the following popup.
The popup above allows you to fill in the amount of MATIC you would like to delegate to the selected validator. In the screenshot above, the validator is ‘Binance Node’. Once you have filled in the amount of MATIC you would like to stake, click ‘Continue’.
Clicking ‘Continue’ will prompt MetaMask, or your selected wallet, to ask if you would like to ‘Confirm’ or ‘Reject’ this transaction. Click ‘Confirm’ to stake more.
Restake Reward is another option you can do from the Polygon Staking page. This option uses your reward balance to stake more to the chosen validator.
As seen in the screenshot above, Click on the ‘Restake Reward’ button to begin the process. The following popup will be displayed.
Some things to consider when choosing to restake are your reward amount and gas fee (shown with an exclamation point). It is highly recommended that your reward amount be much higher than the gas fee before performing this task. Take notice that the quoted gas fee is much higher than my reward in this screenshot.
Within the popup, shown above, click ‘Restake Reward’ to see your actual gas fee, which will prompt MetaMask to display the transaction details as shown in the screenshot below.
The gas fee, highlighted in orange, shows you the maximum of what this transaction will cost.
When looking at the MetaMask notification, as shown above, you must decide on whether or not to restake rewards. It is recommended you click ‘Reject’ if the gas fee is greater than your reward amount. If the gas fee is less than your reward amount, click ‘Confirm’ to add the reward amount to your stake. So, with that said, and using the screenshots from this tutorial, I have decided to click ‘Reject’, since the reward amount is less than the gas fee.
Withdrawing your reward simply takes the amount of MATIC that you have been rewarded with, and places it into your Ethereum address you used to stake. To withdraw your reward go to the Polygon Staking page.
Click on the ‘Withdraw Reward’ button to begin the process. The following popup will appear.
In this screenshot you notice the gas fee beside the exclamation point. The gas fee is higher than the total reward. You should never choose to withdraw your reward if the gas fee is more valuable than your reward amount. Doing so will reduce your overall cryptocurrency portfolio value.
To verify the gas fee is correct within the popup shown above, click the ‘Withdraw to Wallet’ button to prompt the MetaMask notification window.
The gas fee, highlighted in orange, shows you the maximum of what this transaction will cost.
When looking at the MetaMask notification, as shown above, you must decide on whether or not to withdraw your rewards. It is recommended you click ‘Reject’ if the gas fee is greater than your reward amount. If the gas fee is less than your reward amount, click ‘Confirm’ to add the reward amount to your stake. So, with that said, and using the screenshots from this tutorial, I have decided to click ‘Reject’, since the reward amount is less than the gas fee.
The unbond process is used to close your staking position. This will remove your stake from the validator and allow you to claim rewards. Your rewards will be dispersed immediately while your original stake (and any stake you have added) will be delayed by 80 checkpoints. The amount of time between checkpoints varies. Checkpoints have taken anywhere from 15 minutes (20 hours for unbonding) to ~9 hours (~28 days for unbonding).
To unbond, go to the Polygon Staking page and click the ‘Unbond’ button, as highlighted in the screenshot below.
The following popup will be displayed after clicking on the ‘Unbond’ button. The popup notifies you of the 80 checkpoint unbonding process.
Click the ‘Confirm Unbond’ button to continue and prompt the MetaMask notification popup as shown below.
Click on the ‘Confirm’ button to begin the unbonding process.
Now that you have begun the unbonding process, you’ll have to wait for 80 checkpoints to take place on the Polygon Network before you will be allowed to claim your staked MATIC. Currently there is no notification method in place to tell you when those 80 checkpoints have taken place and your staked MATIC is available to withdraw. So, using the Polygon Staking page, which I hope you have bookmarked by now, you’ll be able to see the number of checkpoints left in the unbonding process for your account.
Once the unbonding period is finished, within your account page on Polygon’s Staking page, you will see the ‘Claim Stake’ button below the validator’s name. Clicking on the ‘Claim Stake’ button will bring up a popup titled “Claim Stake”.
On the “Claim Stake” popup you will click the ‘Withdraw to Wallet’ button. The MetaMask notification window will appear. Click the ‘Confirm’ button within MetaMask to claim your stake so that it will be added to your wallet balance.
1Chart data obtained from: https://blog.matic.network/matic-network-staking-economics/