At the end of last month, Cardano shipped its highly anticipated mainnet, Shelley, alongside network staking capabilities. On Sunday, users got a first taste of what staking via Cardano holds.

On August 23, the first day of the rewards, 7 million ADA ($831,000) was handed out. On August 28, IOHK expects 12 million ADA to be given out.

According to the Cardano staking calculator, rewards currently sit at an annualized return of approximately 5.1%. This is higher than the 4.6% estimate put forward before Shelley's launch.

"We couldn’t have asked for a better response from the community, who have jumped into operating stake pools and are reliably making blocks. This is shown by the 1,138 stake pools currently active, which is around the desired equilibrium for the network," said Aparna Jue, Cardano product director at IOHK.

Jue added that there are already 40,221 addresses that are staking a total of 13.6 billion ADA.

The transition to a proof-of-stake blockchain comes with some intrinsic benefits for network validators, namely, staking rewards. By staking their funds, users are rewarded with Cardano's native token, ADA, for their part in securing and validating network transactions.

"First Cardano staking rewards are in!" exclaimed one Cardano staker, adding, "This is now the norm every 5 days 🙂 Pretty much every stake pool made +-5.5% (that made a block)."

Prior to Sunday's initial staking handout, there was a total pool of 13.8 billion ADA (roughly $1.6 billion) reserved as staking incentives for network participants. Every five days—or Epoch, in Cardano terminology—0.3% of this total reserve, around 41 million ADA ($4.7 million), is distributed among all active stakers.

Founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson, took to Periscope Sunday night to ensure everything went according to plan with the first staking reward issuance.

"I just wanted to make sure everyone got what they expected, the staking calculator was accurate if there were any problems. Or if everything was looking good," Hoskinson said.

Update: This article has been updated with comments and information from IOHK, plus the dollar value of the staking rewards has been fixed.