Staking could perhaps be seen as being somewhat similar to mining, but without consuming the same resources. Security/stability is provided to the blockchain network, in exchange for the possibility of receiving an incentive. Instead of vast amounts of energy being used to generate new blocks, individuals make use staked crypto to generate new blocks.
"Cold staking" allows a person to hold their crypto in their own wallet, but give permission to another wallet to generate 'proof of stake' rewards. If someone does not have sufficient collateral for a masternode, then cold staking with the aim to earn rewards, is certainly a viable alternative.
The size of the input is relative to the likelihood of the staking wallet ("node"), being chosen to produce the next block. Should the node create a block successfully, then the staker receives a reward.