This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a stake pool based in beautiful South Tyrol in Italy. Southtyrol Pool [SUDTI] is trying to attract new delegators to its mission-driven pool by providing incentives on top of the regular rewards.
Last week’s guest was a mission driven stake pool doing their bit for Cardano decentralization and paying it forward by donating to charities.
This initiative is a point of reference for everything Cardano and every week or two we will invite a Stake Pool Operator (SPO) to answer some questions and give us an update directly from within the Cardano community.
Considering that many of our readers are new to the crypto space, we will have a mix of simple and technical questions.
Hi Markus. Tell us something about yourself, where are you based and what’s your background?
Hello everyone, my name is Markus Fischnaller and I come from the beautiful South Tyrol in Italy. My work background is in electrical engineering and I’m working as a service technician for industrial printers. I have a passion for Linux systems and Raspberry Pi. For this reason I used Linux and Raspberry Pi 7 years ago as the backbone of home automation where I live.
How did you find out about Cardano and what has led you to set up a stake pool?
I ventured into the blockchain world in early 2020 with investments in Ethereum & Bitcoin. While searching for other projects that can solve the problems of Ethereum, I found Cardano. After dozens of hours of studying the Cardano blockchain I decided that I did not want to just invest money but to support the project in another way. And so, given my experience with Linux, I decided to create a Staking Pool and in this way help to further decentralize the blockchain. For this reason, I chose not to install a pool on a big virtual server but to run the pool on servers in my house. Creating a network and an infrastructure that withstands power failures to ensure the proper operation of the pool 24/7.
Why are there many small pools like yours that struggle to attract delegators and what are your plans/incentives to change that?
The problem with a small pool at the beginning is the lack of trust of the delegators in the pool. Because they don’t receive rewards after each period and therefore they think that the pool has technical problems. But the reality is that every pool, whether small or big, can guarantee an average of 5% interest in one year.
And so what happens is that some delegators leave a pool after a few weeks because they have not yet received a reward. At the moment a pool has to have a minimum of 1.2 million ADA in the pool to receive a block every period.
With the Southtyrol Pool I am continuously trying to increase the pool pledge to show my delegators that we believe in our pool.
For the big delegators we have created a special prize called “Tiroler”. Everyone who delegates more than 50k ADA receives an extra 17 ADA every time the pool receives a block. In this way a large delegator becomes a kind of partner.
In terms of the physical operation of a stake pool, what are the steps and what is important to look for when choosing the hardware?
When choosing hardware, it is of course very important that they meet the technical specifications set out by the Cardano Foundation. Currently a quad core processor and 8GB of RAM is recommended. Since one of the goals of Cardano is to be a green blockchain, I would say that it is important to use low consumption hardware. I recommend using hardware that can be easily upgraded in case more memory is required in the future.
Also of great importance is a stable internet network to ensure that the pool is operational 24/7.
Once the hardware has been chosen, a Linux operating system is required, for example Ubuntu. After installation of the operating system, the security side must be configured, which includes the firewall, fail2ban and ssh deactivation, etc. Once the server is protected from external attacks, the packages from the pool can be installed.
What is important to bear in mind is that a pool must be operational 24/7 and that it requires daily monitoring.
Thank you for the contribution. Any last comments? How can people get in touch?
Small pools require your support! By delegating to small pools you help the decentralization of Cardano.
It has been a pleasure answering your questions and talking about the SOUTHTYROL POOL. Anyone who needs more information can contact me via Twitter, Telegram or visit my website https://southtyrolpool.it. Thank you!
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.