Bond or stake? UX consistency

Hey everyone, it’s DJ from SubWallet here.

We’ve been working on UX optimization for a while, and one of the goals is to maximize consistency of terms. For staking, we encounter “bond” and “stake” quite often, and it seems that these two terms are interchangeable. Should we use only one term so that it’s easier for users to understand and navigate? I’d prefer “stake” in this case since it’s more popular.

Any feedback & thoughts are welcome!

Many thanks,

Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that “bond” means to bond your tokens to a validator, regardless of whether or not your tokens meet the minimum to earn rewards (the minimum to bond is 250 DOT), and “stake” means to bond your tokens to a validator and earn rewards for participating in securing the network by doing so (the minimum to stake is dynamic, 451 DOT currently). In other words, “stake” is a subset of “bond”.

The Staking Dashboard uses “Minimum to Nominate” and “Minimum to Earn Rewards” for these categories, however, and that seems much less ambiguous to me.

Thank you for bringing this up :). At least in the code, bond has no relation to a particular validator. It’s really closest to Websters’ definition (Verb 2c): “To provide an insurance agreement pledging that one will become legally liable for financial loss caused to another by the act or default of a third person or by some contingency over which the third person may have no control”. That just says you are putting a bond into the staking system, but you have not designated a particular validator (the third person). To get out of this bond, you can wait the 28-day “unbonding period” without any claims (offenses) against you. If you’ve never actually designated a validator (either via nomination or running your own), then there’s really no party in the system that could make a claim against you.

Stake, on the other hand, literally means to have something “at stake”. If there is no slashing (e.g. on a parachain’s collator selection), then nothing is actually at stake. Therefore, I actually disagree with @mister_cole - staking has nothing to do with rewards and everything to do with whether your DOT is liable to be slashed. You put your DOT at stake (which implies a risk) and in turn you get rewards. You are willing to take the risk based on your (hopefully not blind) faith in the validators you nominate.

Since, as noted in the first paragraph, the system doesn’t have a way to slash bonded DOT that has never backed a validator, I do agree with @mister_cole that “stake” is a subset of “bond”. As in, there are some DOT that are bonded but in practice not at stake. This should in practice be a very short step in the user journey, because there’s really no benefit in just bonding and not staking.

TLDR: Bonding is just step 1 in staking.