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How to nominate

This guide will walk you through how to nominate your DOTs to a validator node so that you can take part in the staking system and earn fresh DOTs.

It has been updated for the Alexander testnet and Polkadot release PoC-4.

Create Stash and Controller account

We will assume that you will be starting with two fresh accounts. If you already have a stash and controller account and DOTs for which to nominate with, go ahead and skip to the next section.

The first step is to create two accounts by going to the accounts tab on the Polkadot Dashboard and clicking on create account. Name one account My Stash and another account My Controller.

Creating an account

After you've created your accounts you will need to acquire some DOTs. See the DOTs page for recommendations on getting testnet DOTs. Each of your accounts should have at least 150 milli-DOTs to cover the existential deposit and transaction fees.

Nominating with your accounts

Go to the staking tab on the Polkadot Dashboard and click on the account actions tab.

Here you will see your created accounts with the options for actions available as buttons in the top right. Your new accounts should have the option to Set Session Key available as shown in the picture.

Setting the session key

Click the Set Session Key button and sign the extrinsic by unlocking your account. After the extrinsic has been included in the next block, the button should change to read Bond. Do this for both your Stash and Controller accounts.

The bond button has appeared

With your Stash account click on the Bond button and set the controller to your Controller account. For the value, you can use most but not all of the funds in your stash account (you want some left over to cover any transaction fees). You have three options for the payee:

  • Pay to your Stash account increasing the amount at stake.
  • Pay to your Stash account keeping constant the amount at stake.
  • Pay to your Controller account.

For this guide we go with the second option to pay to the Stash account without increasing the amount at stake.


Unlock your account and sign the extrinsic, when the transaction is included in the next block you should see two new buttons available on your Controller account, Validate and Nominate.

New  buttons

Nominating a validator

Go to the Staking Overview tab on the staking page of the Polkadot Dashboard. On the left side you will see a list of validators (on the right side are validators who have signaled intention to join the validator set and you can ignore them for now). From this list of validators, find one that you would like to nominate for and copy the address.


Go back to the Account Actions tab and click the Nominate button on your Controller account. Fill in the blank field with the address of the validator you have chosen to nominate. After signing and submitting your transaction the two buttons should turn into one pink button that says Stop Nominating and you should see your Stash account and the validator you are nominating show up in the box.


Congratulations! You are now a nominator.

If you return to the Staking Overview page and scroll until you find your validator you should see your own Stash account appear as one of the nominators.


How to stop nominating

To stop nominating simply return to the Account Actions tab and click the Stop Nominating button. Your account will be set to chill and at the next era will no longer be nominating to the validator. This may take up to an hour to take effect!