This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a mission-driven stake pool that donates 50% of their fixed fee to supporting projects in the world’s poorest countries: Lighthouse Stake Pool [LHS].
Last week’s guest was a stake pool helping the fight against illegal fishing and ocean pollution.
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 Lighthouse Stake Pool [LHS]
Hi, thanks for being here. Tell us about yourselves, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?
Hi Patryk and hello to all the readers. We are a team of two, Nick and Max, and we both live in Italy. I (Nick) was born and raised in Denmark and I have a scientific background, having completed a masters degree in Geology. I mainly handle the social media part and the charity. Max is Italian and he is a software engineer with 15 years of experience and he handles most of the technical stuff.
We have both lived, worked and studied in several European countries (including: Denmark, Holland, France, Portugal and Italy), so we have a natural curiosity towards other countries and cultures.
How did you discover cryptocurrencies and blockchain? And why does Cardano stand out?
There was a lot of talk in the media about Bitcoin and that was what initially caught Max’s attention. He wanted to understand and invest in blockchain technology/projects, but first he wanted to understand what it was all about.
So he started gathering information about the top 10 projects and Cardano stood out. It was actually the only one based on formal methods and a good overall philosophy (built for the masses, to provide services rather than making money through pure speculation). It also became clear to him that he could be part of it running a node rather than just investing some money. That is also when he discovered that there is a very supportive and helpful community behind Cardano.
When Max first tried to get me aboard I was a bit hesitant. What really got me interested was that from the beginning the idea was to create a mission driven pool with a big focus on charity. I have travelled for long periods in Africa and have always wanted to get involved with a charity program. Also I really liked the peer-reviewed scientific approach of Cardano, having published several scientific papers myself. The energy efficiency of the Cardano proof-of-stake protocol, compared to the massive energy consumption of the proof-of-work protocols of other blockchains was also something that we both felt strongly about. The more we learned about Cardano the more we liked it and it just made a lot of sense to us and so the Lighthouse Stake Pool was born.
What is your mission and how do the donations work? Are the rewards of delegators affected?
We wanted to do charity in Africa and we wanted to help people improve their own lives in some of the poorest countries. After a bit of research we choose Malawi, which often seems to be overlooked.
We have chosen a project that works in 25 villages in the Mangochi District in Southern Malawi. The project called “Water for All”, provides foot operated water pumps for crop irrigation, thereby fighting malnutrition and food insecurity. The project also digs wells for clean drinking water in order to combat diseases like cholera.
Our first goal is to donate 995 Euros which will finance 5 foot pumps for irrigation, thereby helping 5 families (roughly 50 people) get a better harvest and improve their living conditions. Some past recipients have been able to harvest enough to sell a part on the market and thereby pay for their children’s education or improve their housing situation.
The money for the donations comes from the stake pool operator fee (the fixed fee), not from the rewards of the delegators. We donate 50% of the fixed fee to the charity, so as soon as the stake pool starts to produce blocks on a regular basis the amount should be considerable.
The charity has no effect on the delegators, except for hopefully making them feel great about supporting a good cause. Their rewards are the same as they would be in any other pool with the same stake and the same margin (in our case 0%). Their delegation to our stake pool helps by increasing the total active stake of the pool and thereby increasing its production of blocks.
What excites you the most about the future of Cardano now that smart contracts have been implemented?
The implementation of smart contracts is a game changer. It means that Cardano is finally becoming a real third generation blockchain. It finally goes beyond just being a store of value (Bitcoin) and having basic programmability (Ethereum).
Unlike its predecessors, Cardano has from the start been engineered with scalability in mind and to have the ability to serve millions of users. With smart contracts comes the possibility of mass adoption. Developers will be able to create and launch their own decentralized applications (dApps) and they will be available for anyone to use.
Atala Prism is a great example, giving people identity on the blockchain and letting them manage their own data and disclose it only to organizations of their choice. The project in Ethiopia aiming to use the blockchain to track students’ performance and credentials is extremely interesting and could clear the way for many more such uses.
The most exciting part will be to see what the developers in the Cardano community will create and to see the community grow. Nobody can imagine all the new applications that this technology will have, but we have no doubts that it will bring huge benefits to every one of us, and especially people in developing countries.
I appreciate your time, any final comments? Where can people get in touch?
We hope that you found this little insight into a mission driven pool interesting and that you might consider staking with one. We feel strongly about our charity in Malawi (a country Nick has had the pleasure of visiting) and about helping families that lack basic amenities such as clean drinking water or irrigation for their fields in a notoriously dry continent.
If you are interested in supporting a mission driven pool, but are not sure our mission is the one you want to support, then please have a look at www.missiondrivenpools.org or the MDP Twitter account.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.