Staking is a way to validate blocks on the Cardano blockchain and establish consensus. Ouroborus which is Cardano's staking mechanism uses cryptography and mathematical game theory to ensure the protocol is secure and sustainable. In return for this protocol participants receive staking rewards.
Your money is never at risk. It does not leave your wallet and you're are always in control of your private keys. You are able to send, spend or delegate your stake at anytime.
No. You should never send your ADA to any pool ever in order to stake with them. The beauty of the Cardano Network is that your money remains safely in your wallet at all times. By choosing a pool to stake with and entering that pools ticker into your wallet you are simply endorsing that pool or node within the system.
This is wallet and platform dependent but by typing in ticker XPNTL you can select XPNTL pool.
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