6 High Yield Proof-of-Stake (PoS) Altcoins for Easy Passive Crypto Income

Proof-of-Stake (PoS) is an alternative to traditional blockchain mining which allows users to earn passive income from their cryptocurrency investments.

Read: What is Proof-of-Stake?

As covered recently on Hacked, there are several promising PoS projects that have the potential to shake up the crypto landscape. In the meantime, let’s take a look at six of the best current altcoins for earning passive income by staking.

Passive Income: High ROI Proof-of-Stake Coins


Beginning in 2016 as Antshares, the project was eventually rebranded to NEO and has since gone on to compete as a top ten cryptocurrency. In that time the NEO platform has played host to multiple token launches – 26 of which are listed as actively trading on CoinMarketCap.

As well as airdrops, NEO holders are granted free Gas (GAS) just for holding their coins either in cold storage, or in an appropriate wallet. The option to earn GAS by keeping your NEO in cold storage makes it an easier option than most when it comes to passive income.

The staking yield for NEO holders was as high as 7% back in October 2018. That was before the coin price sunk along with the staking dividends, as well as the price of GAS itself.

NEO Staking Profitability

Right now a NEO holder can expect around 2.94% returns in the form of GAS. Just one NEO coin is needed to get started generating free GAS, and with no maximum in place, this makes the NEO/GAS pair just as valuable as some of the best high-interest savings accounts.

The difference is that NEO doesn’t have a monthly or yearly maximum stake, and after hitting an eighteen-month low in December, the value of both coins appears to now be on the rise.

Ontology (ONT)

As with NEO, the staking process on Ontology is helped by the fact that your wallet doesn’t need to be live or online to earn rewards. Just keeping your ONT in a suitable wallet, such as the native OWallet is enough to start generating free ONG – otherwise known as Ontology Gas.

As its name suggests, ONG is used in much the same way as ‘gas’ on Ethereum – acting as fees for transactions and token creations. The accumulation of those ONG fees are then distributed to ONT holders who have their coins staked.

Five ONG are created with every block, which come along every few seconds according to the Ontology blockchain explorer. That’s in addition to the current daily average of 58 ONG accumulated via network transactions.

As of the first day of Q2 2019, ONG tokens are valued at around $0.60 – up almost 200% from the December low in the $0.20 region. The price of Ontology tokens also quadrupled in that time also, meaning stakers would have benefitted two-fold from the ONT/ONG relationship.

Ontology Staking Profitability

Ontology staking comes with a 500 ONT minimum ‘buy-in’ – equal to $656 at time of writing. In return for staking those 500 coins you’ll receive a yearly return of 3.73%.

Keep an eye on the ONG staking yield because it fluctuates according to the coin price of its parent coin. Ontology began as a free airdrop granted to NEO holders in early 2018, and it recently overtook its own parent coin by market cap. An investment in NEO in 2016 would thus have spawned three generations of freely generated cryptocurrencies: NEO Gas, Ontology, and Ontology Gas.

Decred (DCR)

Alright, now we’re talking big money. Staking with Decred currently offers a yearly return of 10.79%. The sticking point is that there’s a minimum staking amount of 118.56 DCR – or $2,451 in dollars.

Unlike the coins mentioned above, Decred does require a constantly online staking wallet to be running 24/7. The process is complicated for the non-technical user, and involves the use of a Decred-specific command-line interface.

For users who’d still like to get in on DCR staking but without the technical hassle, there are staking pools where users delegate their funds to Voting Service Providers (VSP). These individuals run 24/7 Decred nodes and will handle your stake in return for a small fee. Since multi-sig wallets are used in the process, the VSP’s never have access to your funds.

Decred Staking Profitability

If you can afford the minimum stake amount of $2,451 at time of writing, and can set up a 24/7 Decred wallet yourself, then those 10.79% returns seem very attractive.

If not, there’s always the option of staking with a VSP, which can be done from the official Decred wallet. Reputation is always a factor when it comes to deciding which coin to throw your money behind, and Decred benefits from a good rep, and a rising rank among the top thirty coins by market cap.


As with Decred, PivX offers a staking reward in line with most masternodes. PIVX stakers can currently expect a yearly return of 8.85%, with no minimum buy-in required. (Compare this to the PivX masternode, which requires 10,000 PIVX to set up).

To get the full benefit of PIVX staking you’ll need to keep an active wallet running at all times. If that sounds like something you can handle, you might also want to look into PIVX’s private staking feature – allowing users to remain anonymous while earning coins. The staking reward for private staking (known as zPIV staking) is even higher than normal (11%), and may be worth investing in learning how to keep an active wallet running.

PivX Staking Profitability

Very profitable to stake, but comes with some difficulty and requires 24/7 connectivity. Also note that due to security mechanisms, block payouts on PivX are subject to an element of randomness. This means the ROI quoted should be taken as a likely average, and not a solid figure.

Qtum (QTUM)

Ranked 27th by market cap, Qtum holders can expect a yearly ROI of 5.99% at time of writing. As with PivX, staking rewards are given an element of randomness for increased security, so payout windows are rarely regular. That said, Qtum stakers have been earning rewards since well into last year, and many can vouch for its profitability.

Qtum staking requires no minimum amount. Block times are every couple of minutes according to the 30-day weighted average, and 4 QTUM come along with every block. A further 2 QTUM come along in the form of fees as per the previous monthly average.

Qtum staking can be done from the Qtum Core Wallet, QT Wallet, or can be set up via command-line interface for more technical users. Wallets do need to be running live 24/7, but the hardware requirements are minimal enough that it can be done with a smartphone.

Qtum Staking Profitability

For staking just over $100 worth of QTUM you can expect a yearly return of $6. Expect that to fluctuate slightly in practice.

Lisk (LSK)

This three-year old blockchain was offering passive stake rewards as high as 10% back in Q3 of 2018. Now LSK holders who choose to stake their funds can expect a reasonable 3.76% according to the latest available data.

Like some others on this list, Lisk uses a delegated Proof-of-Stake (dPoS) system where only 101 ‘delegates’ are responsible for forging blocks at any one time. Regular users like ourselves would then delegate our funds to these 101 ‘block forgers’, and in return they distribute block rewards back among the stakers.

EarnLisk.com displays a list of current delegates and the share of block rewards they are willing to distribute in return for your stake. The staking/delegation process can be done from the official Lisk web wallet, or the Lisk Nano wallet.

Lisk Staking Profitability

A minimum of 10 LSK is required to activate staking rewards. A stake of $100 would return $3.76 at the current yearly rate.

Not the highest passive income to be found among coins on this list, but Lisk can point to three years of blockchain stability – a factor which could prove more valuable than a few extra percentage points.


There are numerous other PoS coins currently in operation, and many offer returns of two or even three times those mentioned in this list. I opted to leave those out for now, since, much like masternode rewards, high returns often come with even higher risks.

Proof-of-Stake is ultimately a two-way dance. You gain financial dividends in return for placing your faith in the network, and the network keeps on running as a result. Thus, reputation of coins is as important as advertised ROI.

Staking of coins via desktop, mobile or even hardware wallets give the average user access to the kind of passive cryptocurrency income that was only previously available to miners, or later on – node and masternode operators.

Unlike miners and masternode operators, earning via Proof-of-Stake doesn’t require excessive startup costs (unless a high minimum stake is required, like with Decred), and won’t eat up as much electricity as Proof-of-Work.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.