Validator Stealing

Greetings, we run a crypto fund and I had a basic question

Is it possible for a validator to just take the NEAR we’ve staked with them?

Once we’ve delegated our stake then technically they have custody correct? What’s to stop a validator from just going offline and keeping the NEAR that’s staked with them?

I’m concerned because the current staking process in the NEAR wallet doesn’t give any information at all on the validators. No links, reputation, stake held, etc. Very opaque, and doesn’t inspire confidence.

Hey @shaff ,

No, staking your NEAR does not hand over custody to the validator. That would only happen if you choose to utilize a liquid staking solution, such as MetaPool (but in that case you get stNEAR - staked NEAR - in return).

I’d recommend that you take a look at Staking Guide | NEAR Wiki to familiarize yourself with how staking works in detail. It also contains links to help you do your own due diligence about validators.


Thanks for the reply. I did check out the staking guide but it doesn’t actually explain that the tokens don’t leave my custody. I believe you, but as the staking process requires a transaction, it’s reasonable that someone would assume their delegated tokens are actually leaving their custody and being sent to the private key of the validator.

You prompted me to make the rounds, and you are absolutely right - the magic words “non-custodial staking” don’t make an appearance in writing, well, really anywhere it would make sense to look.
We will remedy that (though it might take some time, because it would likely be part of a more robust approach).
Thank you for bringing this forward!

For now, rest assured, you retain control of any staked NEAR.