Delegators are DATA token holders who don’t want to be run nodes and be Operators themselves, but would rather earn by delegating their tokens to Operators and sharing the earnings from their work. Delegators are passive liquidity providers for Operators. Delegators are needed when there is an oversupply of technically capable node runners that lack the required DATA tokens in order to stake into Sponsorships. In exchange, they earn a share of the Operator's rewards. Since Operators need to stake tokens to mine Sponsorships, having access to tokens from Delegators helps them to earn more, creating a win-win situation.
Delegators select Operators to delegate tokens to. The funds in the Operator contract can then be used by the Operator for staking on Sponsorships. Operators can freely determine the cut they take from the earnings enabled by the Delegators' funds, creating a competitive market for Delegator tokens.
In addition to revenue, Delegators also share risk. When Operators are slashed, the Operator itself is prioritized in paying the penalty, but the value of Delegators’ positions can decrease as well. Delegators also have liquidity risk when they want to undelegate. If Operators are deploying the delegated tokens efficiently, they are staked on Sponsorships most of the time. This also means that tokens aren’t available to fulfill undelegations immediately. In this case, undelegation requests enter a queue, and funds become available as soon as Operators unstake from Sponsorships or after 30 days at the latest.
Becoming a Delegator
To become a Delegator, you'll need to find an Operator to delegate to. You can find these operators on The Streamr Hub and you can practice on the The Mumbai Streamr Hub with fake tokens. Then simply delegate the amount of tokens you wish to allocate to the Operator. If he/she is a well performing Operator you would expect them to use your delegated capital to stake on high earning sponsorships while avoiding getting slashed.