On the Polkadot network, an address is only active when it holds a minimum amount, currently set at 1 DOT (and 0.0000333333 KSM on the Kusama network). This minimum amount is called the 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 any remaining funds are destroyed. The address can only be reused by reactivating it with a new deposit larger than the existential deposit. 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 
  • Exchanges have their own minimum deposit requirements for each deposit and they're usually slightly higher than the ED. Make sure to check on your exchange what these minimums are before sending any funds to it.

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 UI is active when sending funds. This will not let you send a balance transfer that would reduce your account below the ED.

Please note: You can send your entire balance out anytime

The existential deposit is NOT unspendable. It just keeps your account alive. If you decide you do not need this account anymore, you can send your entire balance out anytime. You just need to disable the "keep-alive" check and enable the switch to transfer your entire balance. Please refer to this article for more details.

You can also reactivate your account anytime by depositing at least the existential deposit.


Important note for nominators (stakers)

An account needs to be activated with the existential deposit before staking rewards can be sent to it. DO NOT direct staking rewards to an inactive account. If they are below 1 DOT, they will not arrive and you will lose them.

Video Tutorial 

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

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