Updated: Mar 3
The Daedalus wallet is now available for download from the official Cardano Testnet website. This means all members of the general public now have access to Cardano staking on the Shelley Incentivized Testnet if they had their ADA stored in Daedalus at the time of the snapshot which happened at 12:00 UTC on 29th November 2019.
Claim your Testnet ADA
Once downloaded, open the Daedalus wallet and follow the on screen instructions to claim your testnet ADA. You will need your 12 word seed phrase from your mainnet wallet during this process.
Once your Testnet ADA has been claimed you can begin staking. A screengrab of the Daedalus staking screen is pictured below. When staking begins the newest stakepools will appear at the top of the Daedalus wallet. As the testnet progresses the algorithm which determines each stakepool's ranking order in the Daedalus wallet will be changed to see how stakers are influenced by stakepool position. It is expected most stakers will select stakepools near the top of the list at first because modern day life has conditioned people to act in this way. It will be very interesting to see how staking habits change as the ranking algorithm is changed though, because stakers are being incentivized to select the best performing stakepools, so will this incentivisation cause stakers to spend more time selecting the best performing stakepools or will they tend to stick with their preconditioned habits. This behaviour is very important to understand.
All rewards earned during the Incentivised Testnet will be turned into real ADA and credited to the participant's Mainnet account when the testnet is complete. There is a total of 13.8 million ADA being awarded each day in the testnet, so selecting the best performing stakepools will be key to maximizing these rewards.
While in theory stakers should earn exactly the same rewards from staking to any undersaturated stakepools, this is a testnet environment where problems are expected, so the stakepools which are better able to deal with these problems quickly will be expected to make the largest rewards "per ADA staked". It's important to realise that rewards per ADA staked is an important metric as it means that pools creating the most blocks per ADA staked will pay their stakers the most rewards, and this means the most important factor is going to be "blocks per ADA staked" and not "number of blocks created". Will stakers realise this or not? It's important to find out!
The way to select the best performing stakepool will be to look for stakepools with 100% performance, as this means they are creating all of their blocks. But Daedalus will begin by only providing performance metrics for the current epoch, (Cardano day), so it will be very difficult for stakers to keep track of the best performing pools over time until a better way of tracking this data is created.
Because of this it is expected small pools will appear ranked #1 from time to time as and when they create a block, and larger pools which will be creating blocks more frequently will appear highly ranked most of the time. So if stakers behave in the way they have been preconditioned to behave in then they will likely end up staking to the largest pools at the beginning of the testnet until the ranking algorithm in Daedalus is changed. It will be interesting to see if this is how people behave, and one of the important reasons why this testnet is required. Because when staking goes live on Mainnet next year this kind of staking bahaviour is not what is best for the security of the Cardano system, and so over the coming months the ranking algorithm will be changed again and again until it persuades stakers to stake in a way which is both in their own interests AND also in the interests of the highest posisble security of the entire netfork.