Neuron Management and ICP Tokens

How do I stake ICP utility tokens?


To stake ICP utility tokens, you'll first need to buy some ICP. If you were a seed-round participant, you can check out How-To: Claim neurons for seed participants for further instruction on how to claim your neuron. Otherwise, you can buy ICP at any of the following exchanges:




Creating an Internet Identity

If you have not previously created an Internet Identity, please refer to the How do I create an Internet Identity? help center article for detailed instructions on how to do so. 

Creating an Account in the Network Nervous System (NNS)

Once you have registered an Internet Identity you can head over to the Network Nervous System (NNS) dapp. The Network Nervous System is the staking and voting system that governs the Internet Computer Protocol.

To log in, you'll need to Sign in with Internet Identity and verify your Internet Identity.

After authorizing this action through your device or a dedicated security key, you have successfully logged into the Network Nervous System (NNS) and created your NNS account. Now, you should be able to go ahead and add ICP to your new NNS account.

Adding ICP Tokens to your NNS Account

On the main screen, under the My Tokens tab, you will see all NNS supported tokens. When you click on the Internet Computer token you will see a long number called a wallet address and the total amount of ICP in your ICP wallet. If you have other wallets/ledgers attached to your NNS account, they will also appear here. 

Your wallet address is the number you need to use to transfer ICP token to your NNS account. Check out this article on the Internet Computer Wiki for more information on ICP Custody with the NNS dapp.

Staking ICP in a Neuron to Earn Rewards

You can use the Network Nervous System dapp to create and manage neurons, vote on proposals, and create canisters on the Internet Computer.

Staking Criteria

Neurons are required to participate in governance and earn rewards. In order to create a neuron and start earning voting rewards for participating in governance the following criteria must be met:

  • The minimum stake required to create a neuron is one ICP utility token.
  • The minimum dissolve delay must be at least 6 months in order for your neuron to vote and earn rewards. The maximum dissolve delay allowed is 8 years.

Creating a Neuron

From the main page of the NNS dapp, click the My Neuron Staking tab. Here you can see your principal id, and any neurons that you current have. You'll be able to see the length of their dissolve delay, whether they are locked or dissolving, and the amount of ICP they hold. To stake ICP and create a new neuron, click Stake Neurons at the bottom of the screen.

You'll then need to choose which wallet you'd like to stake ICP from.

Type the number of ICP tokens to stake, then click Create.


Configuring your Neuron

After creating a neuron, and transferring ICP to it, you will then be prompted to configure the Neuron parameters. First you will set the dissolve delay to your preferred years of stake, and click set delay. You can learn more about staking and dissolve delay here. Update and confirm again to successfully create a neuron and vote on proposals.

Once you have locked the stake and created a neuron, you'll be able to:

  • Start the dissolve delay timer by clicking Start Unlock
  • Increase the dissolve delay period by clicking Increase Dissolve Delay
  • Increase the number of ICP utility tokens you have staked.

Check out this Internet Computer Wiki article on ICP staking with NNS dapp for more information on how to manage your dissolve delay.

Voting on Proposals to Earn Rewards

In order to earn voting rewards, your neuron needs to vote on proposals. You can choose the proposal types and topics that you see and vote on—either directly or by following other neuron stakeholders—using filters in the Network Nervous System dapp. You can still vote manually on any proposal even when you are set up to follow another neuron. When you cast your manual vote, you override the vote following feature for that proposal.


You can use the Vote on Proposals tab of the NNS to manually see and vote on various proposals. Click any of the proposals listed to view information about the proposal, including a brief description of the proposal, a link for viewing additional information about the proposal, the number of votes that were cast to adopt or reject the proposal, and the votes cast by your neurons. Be sure to use the Topics, Reward Status, and Proposal Status to filter out which proposals you'd like to see and vote on.


Click any Open proposal to see its details and the voting power for the neurons associated with your identity.

Select the neuron identifiers with voting power that you want to use to cast your vote, then click either "Accept" or "Reject" to cast your vote. For more information on voting and voting rewards, check out Earn Substantial Voting Rewards by Staking in the Network Nervous System.

Please note that if the neuron you are following has already voted on a proposal, you will no longer be able to change or modify how your neuron voted after the vote has been cast.

Users can look up their neuron's vote history by searching for the Neuron ID using the search box on the Internet Computer Dashboard.


How-To: Set your neuron to follow another neuron

Below is a brief tutorial explaining how users can configure their neurons to follow another neuron using the NNS Frontend dapp. When a neuron is set to follow another neuron, the neuron will automatically vote on proposals in the same way that the neuron it is following voted.

A user can select any neuron to follow. All users have to do is input the neuron id. For convenience, there a few neurons which are listed in the NNS frontend dapp.


In the NNS dapp, Navigate to the Neurons Tab. 



Within your selected neuron, scroll to the section on FOLLOWING and click on Select "Follow Neurons"



In this case, select "All topics except governance", and Click on Add Followee button.

Screenshot 2024-01-24 at 12.32.31 PM.png


Choose a default neuron or input a neuron id manually that you would like your Neuron to follow.

Screenshot 2024-01-24 at 12.33.34 PM.png


Congratulations! You are now successfully following a neuron. Your neuron will now vote automatically in the same way that the neuron you are following voted. 


Important: Please note that following does not guarantee full participation. It is possible that the followee neurons may not always vote, so users need to be aware of this risk when selecting neurons to follow. For example, when configuring a followee neuron, the DFINITY Foundation neuron abstains from voting on certain categories of proposals, such as "Governance" and "SNS & Neurons Fund" proposals. Therefore if a neuron is configured to follow the DFINITY Foundation neuron on votes related to "Governance" and "SNS & Neurons Fund" topics, then the neuron will not submit a vote on proposals within that category.

A helpful resource to determine a particular neurons voting history can be found here


Following multiple neurons in a given category

If a neuron has multiple followees, the vote that is cast on behalf of the neuron is the consensus of the followees. When following multiple neurons for a topic, a neuron votes REJECT if half of those followed vote REJECT, and votes ACCEPT if more than half vote ACCEPT. If enough of the followed neurons abstain -- so neither half vote REJECT nor more than half vote ACCEPT -- the neuron will abstain as well. More information on this topic is available here



Further resources

Learn more about staking ICP tokens by reading this guide on