What's the point?
What are the advantages of a stake pool over old-school direct validator delegation?

Background

Solana Network and Validators

For the Solana network to be fast, efficient, and censorship-resistant, it requires a number of independent validator nodes (or simply Validators). The Validators participate in adding new blocks to the blockchain, which happens every 400 milliseconds.
The Solana network is using the Proof-of-Stake model. This means that each Validator, in order to perform its crucial functions, needs to hold a so-called Stake – a bunch of SOL delegated by other people. The Stake is used to vote on each new block.
Delegating your SOL to a Validator is called staking.

Delegators

Users who delegate their SOL to Validators are called Delegators.
Every epoch, the network mints new SOL to give out rewards to Delegators. The effective APY (annual percentage yield) of such rewards is about 6.5–8%, depending on the performance of the Validator you stake with.

Stake Pools

​Stake Pool is a new concept that has been recently introduced to improve the Stake distribution across the Validator network.
Delegating via Stake Pool is good for the Solana network, which increases the value of your SOL over time:
Direct staking
Staking via Stake Pool
❌ Many users pick one of the top validators, the network's decentralization and censorship-resistance
βœ… The Stake is distributed in optimal fashion across Validators, ASNs, data centers, and countries.
Delegating via Stake Pool is good for the Delegator:
Direct staking
Staking via Stake Pool
❌ Delegator needs to carefully watch the Validator(s) he stakes with in terms of performance, uptime, and/or sudden fee changes.
βœ… A Stake Pool utilizes its strategy to automatically redistribute the Stake in real time, aiming at maximum rewards.
❌ Your funds are locked up in your stake, and there is nothing you can get out of them except for the passive income Solana network generates.
βœ… You stay liquid with your JSOL tokens which can be used as a DeFi instrument for liquidity mining, lending, etc.

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See what's under the hood to get a good overview.