On the Polkadot network, an address is only active when it holds a minimum amount (currently set at 1 DOT). This minimum amount is called an existential deposit (ED).

Dust accounts are accounts with very little funds, generally less than the amount needed to conduct a transaction. Too many dust accounts add unnecessary data to the blockchain, which would make it difficult for full nodes to sync with the network (since every full node has a complete copy of the blockchain). 

If an account drops below the ED, the account is deactivated (“reaped”) and its funds are destroyed. The address can only be reused by reactivating it with a new deposit over the minimum amount. This will not restore the destroyed funds. 

What to pay attention to

  • Accounts that have never received a deposit are not visible on the blockchain
  • If you send funds lower than the ED to an empty account, the transaction will fail.(nominators need to pay attention to this when collecting staking rewards. See below.)
  • If you are sending all (or almost all) of your funds out of an account, which will leave the remaining balance under the ED, the account will be deactivated and the funds reaped
  • An account can be reactivated anytime, however, this will not bring back any previously reaped funds
  • To protect yourself from accidentally slipping below the ED amount and losing your funds, keep the option "transfer with account keep-alive checks" on 

How to prevent your account from going below the ED 

In order to keep your account alive, make sure the “keep alive” option on Polkadot.js is active when sending funds. This will not let you send a balance transfer that would reduce your account below the ED.

Important note for nominators (stakers)

Accounts need to be activated with the existential deposit before staking rewards can be sent to it. DO NOT direct staking rewards to an account with a balance less than the existential deposit. They will not arrive and you will lose them.

Video Tutorial 

For more detailed information, please watch this tutorial by our tech team. 

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