Learn how Polkadot supports slashing.

Slashing penalizes a validator for misbehaving. Slashing removes a percentage of the validator’s stake, rather than a fixed amount. Validators with higher stakes will therefore receive higher penalties. Slashed DOT is added to the treasury to help fund the growth of the ecosystem. Nominators who support slashed validators also have their own stake proportionally removed.

Chilling removes a validator from the active validator set, and takes them out from the pool of eligible candidates in the next NPoS election cycle. Validators can do this themselves (when they know their services will be offline, for example) to eliminate the risk of slashing. This voluntary chilling lets them keep active in the current epoch, but not in the following. Chilling can also be used as a punishment to disable validators from taking part in consensus, when a validator was unresponsive or found to have committed a slashable offense within two eras.

Slashing Risks

Polkadot slashing is the removal of a percentage of an account’s DOT as a penalty for a validator’s poor behavior. This poor behavior might be acting maliciously against the best interests of the network, or incompetence. An example of slashable behavior would be remaining offline for a long period of time, removing the chance for them to produce a block. Slashing exists to incentivize good behavior while discouraging bad behavior by validators. Slashable offenses carry different penalties depending on the severity of the behavior or lack thereof. A full account of the levels of slashing can be found here.

Nominators in Polkadot should be aware that if their validators are slashed, their bonded stake is at risk of slashing also. Validators with larger amounts of the stake will be punished more in proportion to their total funds. This incentivizes nominators to nominate smaller validators, contributing to the decentralization of the network.

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