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What is Solana?
Solana was founded in 2017 when Anatoly Yakovenko published a whitepaper draft detailing a new concept called Proof of History (PoH). Anatoly believed that with this new technique, he could automate the transaction ordering process for blockchains, in order to allow a higher scalability.
Later on, Anatoly teamed up with Greg Fitzgerald to build a single blockchain network that uses POH.
What is staking?
Staking is a process similar with mining and it implies actively participating into transaction validation process. This is done on a proof of stake blockchain (POS Blockchain). This means that anyone that has any kind of balance of a specific cryptocurrency can validate transactions and earn staking rewards.
Warmup vs Cooldown period
Both, the warmup and cooldown period refer to the state of your Stake Account.
The Warmup Period is represented by the period of time between the moment you issue the delegation transaction and the moment that your Stake Account is fully delegated. This means that you already start earning staking rewards. In between these two moments in time, your Stake Account is considered to be “activating”.
The Cooldown Period is represented by the period of time between the moment you issue the undelegation transaction and the moment that your Stake Account is fully undelegated. In between these two moments in time, your Stake Account is considered to be “deactivating”. This means that you do not earn staking rewards anymore, and is illiquid.
Any change to the state of your Stake Account is taken into consideration by the protocol only at the beginning of an epoch. This means that if you change the state of your Stake Account, you would have to wait until the new epoch for the change to take effect.
An epoch lasts approximative 2–3 days, so this is the amount of time you will have to wait in order for the current epoch to finish and for your state changes to become effective.