What Is Offline Staking and How Does It Work?

Did you know that you can keep your tokens in cold storage and still stake them? Here’s how offline staking works.

May 20, 2024
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How Does Offline Staking Work

Key Takeaways:

  • Offline staking allows users the opportunity to earn rewards by participating in the consensus and validation processes of Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchains without needing a continuous online presence, offering a secure way to generate passive income​.

  • Offline staking offers improved security by keeping private keys offline, reducing the risk of online threats like hacking and malware.

  • With offline staking, users can delegate their stake to chosen validators, allowing them to maintain control over the staking process while supporting specific validators.

  • By allowing users to delegate staking responsibilities to third-party validators while maintaining control of private keys, offline staking can minimise the risk of slashing — a penalty for validator misconduct or downtime — since validators do not have direct access to staked assets​.

What Is Offline Staking?

Offline staking is a method that allows cryptocurrency holders to earn staking rewards without the need to keep their tokens online in a hot wallet. This technique, also known as cold staking, is gaining in popularity, as it offers enhanced security, flexibility, and the ability to earn passive income with reduced risks compared to traditional staking methods​.

In this article, we discuss how it works, plus its pros and cons.

Understanding Offline Staking

Offline staking involves participating in a Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain network without connecting to the internet or disclosing private keys. In traditional staking, participants must keep their wallets online and connected to the network, creating a potential risk of online attacks. Offline staking addresses this risk by allowing users to delegate their staking responsibilities to a third-party validator or staking pool while keeping their assets in cold storage​.

The PoS system relies on validators, who validate transactions and create new blocks in exchange for staking rewards. They are chosen based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold and are willing to stake as collateral. With offline staking, users can maintain a secure offline presence while still participating in this process, offering a unique balance between security and staking rewards.

Offline Staking vs Traditional Staking

The key difference between offline staking and traditional staking lies in the level of user control and involvement. Traditional staking requires users to keep their wallets online and actively participate in the network’s consensus process. 

Offline staking, on the other hand, allows users to stake their tokens without a continuous online presence, reducing risk and energy consumption​​. It offers several benefits, including enhanced security and flexibility. By delegating staking responsibilities to third-party validators, users can earn staking rewards without sacrificing asset security.

However, this approach also involves a degree of trust in the staking pool or validator, as users rely on these third parties to validate transactions and distribute staking rewards.

Security Measures in Offline Staking

Security is a top priority in offline staking. Follow the measures below to ensure the safety of your staked assets:

Cold Storage

Offline staking uses cold storage to keep private keys offline, reducing the risk of online threats. Hardware wallets are a common choice, providing a secure physical device to store private keys and protect against phishing or malware. Additionally, air-gapped systems offer extra security by physically isolating staking devices from the internet​​.

Multi-Signature Wallets

Multi-signature wallets, also known as multisig wallets, are highly recommended. These wallets require multiple private keys for transaction authorisation, providing an added layer of security. This approach helps prevent unauthorised access and ensures that even if one key is compromised, transactions cannot be authorised without additional keys.

Regular Updates

Keep staking nodes and software up to date to maintain security. Regular updates address vulnerabilities and protect against known threats, ensuring a secure staking environment.

Backup and Recovery

Routine backups of wallet data and private keys are essential for recovering staked funds in case of unexpected problems or hardware breakdowns. Proper initialisation and setup procedures are the first step to ensuring the security of your staking wallet.

Risks Associated With Offline Staking

While offline staking offers significant security benefits, it is not without risks. Some key risks include:

Hardware Wallet Failure

Hardware wallets, while secure, can still malfunction or be damaged. If a hardware wallet fails, accessing staked assets can be challenging.

Lost Recovery Phrase

The recovery phrase is crucial for regaining access to staked assets if a hardware wallet is lost or stolen. Losing this phrase could result in permanent loss of staking funds.

Limited Functionality

Offline staking may have limited functionalities compared to traditional staking platforms. Features like automatic restaking or easy validator switching might not be available with offline staking.

Potentially Lower Rewards

Offline staking relies on third-party validators or pools — if these fail to perform or distribute rewards, users can lose out.

How to Get Started With Offline Staking

If you are considering getting started with offline staking, follow these general steps:

  1. Choose a PoS Blockchain: Not all blockchains support staking, and offline staking might be limited to certain platforms. Research blockchains that offer offline staking functionalities. For example, Cosmos and Polkadot allow offline staking.
  1. Acquire a Hardware Wallet: Hardware wallets like Ledger or Trezor provide secure storage for cryptocurrency and private keys. These wallets often have built-in staking features for supported blockchains.
  1. Set Your Hardware Wallet Up: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up your hardware wallet. This typically involves creating a PIN, recovery seed phrase, and initialising the device.
  1. Transfer Cryptocurrency to Your Hardware Wallet: Send the cryptocurrency you want to stake from your exchange or hot wallet to your hardware wallet’s address.
  1. Choose a Validator: Validators verify transactions and secure the network. Research reputable validators with good uptime and commission rates.
  1. Delegate Your Stake: Following your hardware wallet’s instructions, delegate your chosen amount of cryptocurrency to a validator. This locks your tokens for a specific period and allows you to earn staking rewards.

Conclusion

Offline staking offers a unique way to potentially earn staking rewards while maintaining enhanced security by keeping assets offline. By utilising cold storage and trustworthy staking providers, you may enjoy attractive returns with a lower risk of online threats

However, selecting the right validators and understanding the associated risks are essential for a successful offline staking experience. As the cryptocurrency ecosystem evolves, offline staking may become an increasingly popular choice for security-conscious traders looking to maximise their returns​.

Due Diligence and Do Your Own Research

All examples listed in this article are for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, cybersecurity, or other advice. Nothing contained herein shall constitute a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Crypto.com to invest, buy, or sell any coins, tokens, or other crypto assets. Returns on the buying and selling of crypto assets may be subject to tax, including capital gains tax, in your jurisdiction. Any descriptions of Crypto.com products or features are merely for illustrative purposes and do not constitute an endorsement, invitation, or solicitation.

Past performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future performance. The value of crypto assets can increase or decrease, and you could lose all or a substantial amount of your purchase price. When assessing a digital asset, it’s essential for you to do your research and due diligence to make the best possible judgement, as any purchases shall be your sole responsibility.

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