Polkadot (DOT) Staking Punishment: Offenses And Slashes

As an experienced analyst, I strongly believe that Polkadot’s approach to disincentivizing bad behavior and incentivizing good behavior through offenses and punishments is a commendable design. The network’s ability to identify and penalize six major types of validator offenses, ranging from Backing Invalid to Seconded + Valid Equivocation, demonstrates a robust and comprehensive system that ensures the security and integrity of the Polkadot network.

Polkadot functions as an open, permissionless network that discourages misconduct through a built-in system while encouraging positive actions.

In natural and easy-to-read language, you could say: “Several significant violations can occur among validators in the system, such as casting a vote for an invalid transaction (Backing Invalid), voting against a valid one (AgainstValid Vote), submitting an equivocating vote that supports conflicting transactions (Equivocation), or engaging in specific types of equivocation involving double seconded votes (Double Seconded Equivocation and Seconded + Valid Equivocation).”

Polkadot responds to misconduct through a set of penalties, which include reducing rewards (slashing), restricting network access (disabling), and modifying the offender’s reputation.

Offenses On Polkadot 

There are six main validator offenses on Polkadot. 

  • Backing Invalid – This offense occurs when a para-validator backs an invalid block. 

  • ForInvalid Vote – A ForInvalid Vote occurs when a validator votes in favor of an invalid block. 

  • As a cryptocurrency investor, I would explain an AgainstValid Vote offense this way: When a validator, who is responsible for verifying transactions on the blockchain, intentionally casts a vote that goes against a valid one, it results in wasted network resources. This behavior is known as an AgainstValid Vote offense.

  • Equivocation – An Equivocation happens when a validator produces two or more of the same block or vote. This could be a GRANDPA and BEEFY Equivocation, which occurs when a validator signs two or more votes in the same round but on different chains. The second is the BABE Equivocation, which occurs when a validator produces two or more blocks on the Relay Chain in the same time slot. 

  • In a group of five para-validators serving as backers, only five parablocks can be validated at a time. Each parablock necessitates one confirmation (seconding) and a minimum of two additional affirmative votes from the five potential backers. By imposing this restriction, the system manages the number of parablocks while preserving some flexibility for Relay Chain authors. Backers have the responsibility to choose which parablock they will confirm (second). Importantly, each backer can only second one parablock and cannot second another. If a backer attempts to second more than one parablock, penalties will be imposed.

  • Malicious nodes can engage in duplicitous behavior by endorsing a statement and then falsely claiming they agreed with another party after someone else takes accountability. This tactic allows the nodes to evade responsibility. However, such deception is exposed when the system identifies conflicting votes.

Punishments On Polkadot 

In Polkadot, transgressions against the network are met with consequences that correspond to the gravity of the misdeed. Three primary forms of repercussion exist in Polkadot: slashing, disabling, and reputational adjustments.


On the Polkadot network, validators may face penalties, colloquially referred to as “slashes,” if they exhibit misconduct. Both the erring validator and their nominator stand to lose a portion of their staked DOT tokens, ranging from a minimal 0.01% up to a significant 100%. The confiscated DOT is then transferred into the Polkadot treasury. This penalty applies exclusively to active validators under a specific nominator’s supervision and cannot be offset by having other inactive or waiting nominations. Additionally, running multiple nodes operated by the same validator does not provide a shield against slashes.

During equivocation or disagreements, a small slash of only 0.01% may be imposed for each instance of equivocation. This amount can progressively grow as more validators engage in such behavior. In contrast, when validators try to distort the content of a block during disputes, a severe penalty in the form of a 100% slash could be imposed.


Preventing validators from carrying out certain functions following a misdeed on the network is referred to as disabling. This concept can be broken down into on-chain disabling and off-chain disabling.

Reputational Changes 

On Polkadot, infringements of minor rules are addressed via reputation adjustments. When validators interact on this network, they employ a reputation system to evaluate each other. This mechanism rewards validators when they contribute valuable information and adhere to proper conduct. Conversely, it penalizes them for misbehavior or providing erroneous data. Should a validator accrue insufficient reputation, their peers may temporarily suspend their communication channels.

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2024-07-03 14:07