Staking with Nominator Pools
With TON smart contracts, you can implement any staking and deposit mechanics you want.
However, there is "native staking" in TON Blockchain - you can lend Toncoin to validators for staking and share the reward for validation.
The one who lends to validator is called the nominator.
A smart contract, called a nominator pool, provides the ability for one or more nominators to lend Toncoin in a validator stake, and ensures that the validator can use that Toncoin only for validation. Also, the smart contract guarantees the distribution of the reward.
Validators vs Nominators
If you are familiar with cryptocurrencies, you must have heard about validators and nominators. These words often appear in crypto-related channels (our channel is no exception). Now, the time has come to find out what they are – the two major actors ruling the blockchain.
First, let's speak about validators. A validator is a network node that helps keep the blockchain running by verifying (or validating) suggested blocks and recording them on the blockchain.
To become a validator, you must meet two requirements: have a high-performance server and obtain a serious amount of TON (600,000) in order to make a stake. At the time of writing, there are 227 validators on TON.
New version of Nominator Pool available, read more in the Single Nominator and Vesting Contract pages.
It's evident that not everyone can afford to have 100,000s of Toncoin on their balance – here's where nominators come into play. Simply put, the nominator is a user who lends his TON to validators. Every time the validator earns a reward by validating blocks, it is distributed between the involved participants.
Some time ago, Ton Whales ran the first staking pool on TON with a minimum deposit of 50 TON. Later, TON Foundation launched the first open nominator pool. Now, users may stake Toncoin in a fully-decentralized way, starting with 10,000 TON.
From TON Community post.
How to participate?
The theory of nominators is described in TON Whitepaper, chapters 2.6.3, 2.6.25.