We would like to put together a few useful and practical pieces of information related to Cardano staking. We plan to regularly update the article to keep the information precise and valid.
The document is split into more chapters. Every chapter is dedicated to one topic and you can skip between them.
Epochs and snapshots
Cardano network splits time into periods called epochs. One epoch lasts approximately 5 days. It means that if an epoch starts in the middle of Sunday then it ends approximately in the middle of Friday. The next epoch would start in the middle of Friday and ends in the middle of Wednesday.
At the beginning of each epoch, a snapshot is created. A snapshot is basically a record related to the distribution of ADA coins that have been used for staking in the previous epoch. It is the combination of pledges of pool operators and all delegated coins to their pools. Snapshots directly influence the total stakes of pools and their number of chances to become slot leaders and create blocks.
Let’s have a look at when you as a stakeholder can expect a reward.
Let’s assume that the current epoch is 210. You can delegate ADA coins in the whole epoch and you can change the delegation as many times as you wish. Only the last update before the snapshot is valid. A snapshot of the distribution of coins from epoch 210 is done at the beginning of epoch 211. It is important to know that the snapshot is not used directly in epoch 211 but will be used in the next epoch. The snapshots of epoch 210, which will be made in epoch 211, will be used later in epoch 212. In epoch 212, the protocol will assign slot leaders based on the distribution of coins that is valid in epoch 210.
In the current epoch, the network always calculates rewards for the previous epoch. It means that in epoch 213 the protocol will calculate rewards for epoch 212. The calculated rewards are always distributed in the next epoch. It means that in epoch 214 the protocol will distribute rewards calculated in epoch 213 and rewards are for stakes that have been used…