NuCypher is a cryptographic infrastructure for privacy preserving protocols and applications. Their Key Management System (KMS) plans to address the current limitations that consensus networks have securely storing/sending/manipulating private and encrypted data. 

Their proxy re-encryption scheme, allows encrypted data to be sent across their network without having access to anyone’s private key. 

The NuCypher token (NU) functions as a security deposit on the network, and is not used to pay for services on the network. Fees are paid to workers in Ethereum (ETH), and worker nodes will also be rewarded in NU for being online.

Rewards Distributed every epoch (every 24 hours)
Slashing For nodes that return incorrect re-encryptions
Inflation Fixed maximum supply of ~3.8 billion tokens
Unbonding End of selected lockup period
Compounding Rewards can be automatically restaked

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NuCypher FAQ

Wallet: Metamask – add custom token: 0x4fE83213D56308330EC302a8BD641f1d0113A4Cc


NuCypher’s native token, NU, is used to stake and will be used to participate in DAO governance.

NU rewards and transfers began on Oct 14, 2020. However, the vast majority of NU must vest before unlocking.

Good question!

NU is a work token. This means that instead of validators being selected based on the amount of stake that they have available, they are elected based on the amount of work that they can do. In return, they receive NU as a form of rewards. 

Work opportunities are awarded randomly, but over time, the amount of work a delegator is chosen for will be proportional to the amount of NU delegated. Read more about NU’s token design here.

Stakers will also capture fees from network transactions, so as NuCypher transaction volume increases, NU stakers will earn more than new issuance subsidies.

The NU also gives stakers the right to vote on policy decisions for how NuCypher will operate.

Rewards become liquid at the end of your selected lockup period, and this process begins only once you have sent the transaction to “wind down.”

You can self-custody your NuCypher NU tokens, ideally using a Ledger hardware wallet.

Figment has partnerships with a number of top-in-class custodians:

The NuCypher protocol takes control of your NU tokens while you are staking. If you “wind down” your stake, this process will take whatever number of days you have committed to (e.g., 180 days) before the protocol returns your NU tokens. While your NU is staked, you may participate in DAO governance by voting on different proposals.

Only in specific circumstances.

NuCypher detects instances where Ursula nodes return incorrect re-encryptions. The staker that controls the Ursula node will be slashed a number of tokens.

You can read more about NuCypher slashing in detail here.

Staking income on NuCypher is automatically distributed every epoch (every 24 hours). Figment is never in control of your rewards.

Staking income can be staked automatically, which means you will need to unstake to withdraw your staking income.

Delegators can opt-out of this process.

Yes, if your worker node fails to perform or to be online you will lose rewards.

On offline node will miss rewards for the period that it didn’t make a successful commitment transaction. And if “winding down,” its remaining duration will be extended by 1 day.

A maximum of 366M NU will be minted and added to the initial 1B circulation by the end of Year 1.

A maximum of 366M NU will be distributed to staking nodes each year until Year 5 (Day 1825), at which point the NU reward distribution rate will begin exponentially decaying at a half-life of 2 years, forever approaching the maximum of ~3.885 billion NU.

NuCypher uses a “decentralized autonomous organization” (DAO) to govern the policies and processes for the network protocol. 

Additional Resources

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