This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a stake pool member of the Single Pool Alliance who donates 10% of operator rewards every month to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, to fight against illegal fishing and ocean pollution: Valhalla [VLHLA].
Last week’s guest was a stake pool operated by the host of the YouTube series Crypto Over Coffee.
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.
Cardano SPO, interview with Valhalla [VLHLA]
Hey, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Tell us something about yourself, where are you based and what is your background?
Hi, My name is Tom, and I’m the main owner of the Cardano staking pool Valhalla (VLHLA). I currently live in Scotland and work as an IT professional here. I’m 35 years old and overall I have almost 15 years of experience working in the industry. I first heard about Bitcoin in 2015 and about Cardano in early 2017 during the previous market cycle. I was always interested in cryptography (SSL/GPG/PKI infrastructure etc). In my opinion, blockchain is a fascinating technology that will change the concept of money and how people interact with each other.
Why Cardano? What fascinates you most about this Proof-of-Stake blockchain?
This is mostly because of my networking and web application security background. In 2017 I worked as a network engineer dealing with compromised devices and helping customers combat DDOS attacks. It was obvious to me that most of the hacks and vulnerabilities are because of the rapid development practices. So companies release products as fast as possible to the market with the intention of fixing things later. There’s minimal research/planning and thinking about all the potential issues and what can go wrong.
I think this is how the entire cryptocurrency industry is looking right now with hacks targeting smart contracts and exchanges. Add inexperienced developers creating all these cryptocurrency projects, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Now, Cardano takes a completely different approach with its peer-review process. It actually reminds me of the early days of networking protocols like TCP/IP and all these RFC documents written back then. People would submit their proposal, and then a bunch of other smart people would review it, provide constructive feedback and point out all the things you did wrong. As a result, we have many network protocols invented in 80/90 that are being continuously used to this day. Peer review is even better in that regard, and by following that process, you can be sure you actually get a much better product at the end.
That’s why I like Cardano and the fact they are taking their time with research and development. Also, the very important fact is that Cardano is Proof of Stake (PoS) which is much more environmentally friendly (and sustainable) than Proof of Work (PoW).
You are a member of the Single Pool Alliance, what is it? And why is it important to stake with single pools?
It’s a group of similarly thinking pool operators who believe in decentralization. The problem we have right now is that many pools in the Cardano ecosystem are owned by a single entity (be that company or person). These people (or exchanges) operate multiple pools, and when one becomes saturated, they start another copy. Too much stake in the hands of a single entity is bad for decentralization. If that one entity misbehaves, it can hurt the network.
Single Pool Alliance is fighting this problem by promoting true decentralization where a single entity is only allowed to run a single Cardano stake pool. For more information and a complete list of active members of the alliance, I would recommend visiting the SPA website.
You donate 10% of operator reward to Sea Shepherd, who are they and how are they combating illegal fishing and ocean pollution?
Sea Shepherd is a non-profit organization mostly known for its fight to protect marine wildlife and environment worldwide.
Not only that, but they also combat ocean pollution around the globe with their various campaigns.
Moreover, many environmental organizations act only superficially which means they only create various types of petitions, billboards or organize protest marches.
Sea Shepherd, on the other hand, uses a direct action tactic. For example – they have rammed and sank several ships to stop their illegal activities. These tactics can sometimes be a little controversial yet their mission to defend, conserve and protect our oceans and marine life has never resulted in a single injury to any person.
To learn more about Sea Shepherd and the problems related to fishing, watch Seaspiracy on Netflix.
Thank you for your time, any final words? Where can people find you?
Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here.
If you want to know more about us, you can check our website, or you can follow us on Twitter, where we share any updates about the pool and post things related to Cardano and Crypto.
We are also very active on Reddit, and we have a Telegram group where you can chat with us about anything.
Please consider staking your ADA with Valhalla [VLHLA] Pool if you guys have read so far. Thank you so much, and wish you a nice day.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.