Food for thought - Delegate a small percent of your ADA at a small pool?

Let’s take a look at an example scenario (since we don’t have the rewards stats yet) - consider the following;

In the above example, 75,677 ADA is the total generated rewards (after all the fees are applied).

Let’s say you are staking 50,000 ADA at a big pool that is producing lots of blocks, it will likely have a 100s of delegators for example and let’s presume the pool has an live stake of 231.88 Million ADA like this:

Your relative stake percent of 50,000 ADA at this pool is: 231.88 Million / 50,000 ADA = 0.00022%

So given one epoch example reward is 75,677 ADA and your share of that reward is 0.00021562877% - you will get total rewards of 16.65 ADA (for 1 epoch - based on my example scenario above).

Now consider staking only at a smaller pool with a live stake of say 5 Million ADA , now your 50,000 ADA relative stake percent is 0.01% . Let’s say this pool generates 10 blocks, yielding total reward of 437 ADA after all the fees applied.

Now, your 0.01% reward slice is 4.37 ADA - I know, it’s not great compared to staking at a big pool.

Here’s a thought experiment - what if you only staked 10% of your balance at a small pool and the remaining 90% at the big pool?

For the above scenarios:

Big pool rewards = (40,000 / 231,880,000) * 75,677 = 13.05 ADA
Small pool rewards = (10,000 / 5,000,000) * 437 = 0.874 ADA
Total combined rewards = 13.924 ADA

So you would loose about 2.726 ADA doing the above split delegation (90% at big pool, 10% at small pool).

Now why would you want to do this? Well, if more people did this - we’d elevate the live stake levels at small competent stake pools and giving them a chance to produce blocks and march towards decentralisation, as opposed to what is happening now -

Most of the small stake pools are setup well; they are secure and stable and just as good as any big pool. Only difference right now is their notoriety.

I will put this out to you ADA holders - would you take a loss of 2.726 ADA per epoch (in the above example) in the pursuit of decentralisation by staking at a small pool?

Not all stake pools are created equal; when choosing a small pool - it would be mighty awesome of you if you could look into some of these factors:

  • Whose running the stake pool operation? Are they competent? Are they transparent?
  • Have they put sufficient pledge towards the stake pool to show their commitment?
  • Do they have excellent uptime record? Preferably monitored by a independent third party.
  • Is the pool well equipped and setup securely on par with the big pools?

Do a little bit of research before committing to a pool, lots of good small pools out there waiting for a chance to prove their worth. Only you the delegators can give them the opportunity to shine.


Thank you for your summary! That’s what I was thinking those days as well.

Sadly, the current setup has no real metric that supports small indenpendet pools. And if one does get a slot this epoch, the pool will not be listed equally anymore (as far as I understand). Which makes basically 85% of the pools ‘invisible’ to the common delegator who does not already care about decentrilazation…

I am hopeful again, seeing this video by Charles makes me think he might’ve seen my post

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I’m concerned that centralization is being incentivised due to two primary factors:

  1. k - So long as the saturation limit is high the general public will continue to pile into stake pools with high active stakes so they see returns generated on a consistent basis. Yes, I’m aware that large stake pool operators can spin up more pools when k is increased. But, at least they’d be forced to distribute their pledge amounts and bring them more inline with small pools.

  2. The stake pool sort order in Daedalus and (now that it’s being integrated with Yoroi) is the heaviest influence in stake pool selection. People are simply not going to scroll down and choose pools ranked > 20-30. I believe it would be best to randomize the pools on initial load and (optionally) build in complex search so people can select their desired metrics. i.e. Wouldn’t it make sense to search for pools with high pledge amounts and limited delegators to capitalize on block rewards and pledge bonus? Combine that with 1:Many delegation that Charles recently announced and you can build a portfolio whose ROA theoretically exceeds that of the larger pools, correct?
    Bottom line - official tools shouldn’t give preference to anyone by using their own scoring methods. That is not the case and the small guys are getting hurt because of it.

You can see I’m correct regarding #1 because you can view the delegation trends for the large pools on

You can see I’m correct regarding #2 because during the current epoch (212), SPO’s are setting their fees to 0% so they’re listed at the top. Sort order means everything and SPO’s know their best chance of obtaining delegators is at the top.

P.S. I also noticed an increase in delegators to my small pools when the order was randomized (epoch 211) and my pools periodically showed in the top 20. They’re no longer at the top and delegation has dried up.

Regarding #2 I am afraid you are right, our pool had a good start up to 1.7m and then started to bleed stake. We did not wanted to participate in the race to bottom - now it looks like there is no other way and operate at a loss.

They have to make it possible to delegate to multiple pools from one wallet. I would love to spread my ADA around to help but do not want to create multiple wallets / phrases / passwords.

On the latest update from Charles - it looks like one-to-many staking feature is one of the Shelly focus in September, so this is coming and what I am currently waiting on.

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Thanks for link.

" say 5 Million ADA , now your 50,000 ADA relative stake percent is 0.01%" - this is 1% not 0.01% !!