STAKING YOUR CARDANO
Staking your cardano is the process in which you delegate your cardano to a stake pool. Stake pools serve a very important purpose in the cardano network. Their job is to create blocks - in other words, add lines to the ledger; i.e Alice sends Bob 5 ADA. Without stake pools and their operators, the network would fail as we could not complete any transactions. The network chooses a stake pool to create the next block. The creator of this block is rewarded with cardano and both the stake pool operator and the delegators reap the rewards.
Essentially, you are earning interest in the form of cardano. Typically, pools are generating around a ~4-6% return on their stake (consider that banks are paying less than 1%).
**When you delegate your cardano to a stake pool, your ADA is not locked in and it does not leave your wallet. Do not be concerned of losing your ADA when you are delegating as stake pool operators do not have access to these funds.
Staking using Daedalus
I recommend using the Daedalus wallet for the best staking experience. Especially if you are a new user to cryptocurrency or cardano. This wallet is the most user friendly and the one used and updated first by the developers. You can not use this wallet on your mobile phone. You will need to use a PC. The link to download is below along with an image for reference.
Once downloaded, open and install the daedalus wallet on your computer. Once completed, you will find a desktop shortcut to the application. Open the application.
Here you will need to create a wallet. The most important part of this process is your 24 word recovery phrase. Please ensure you have followed steps to securely handle this phrase. Consider your wallet lost if you lose this.
After creating your wallet. You must wait for Daedalus to fully sync with the blockchain prior to you gaining full access to your wallet. Refer to pictures below.