This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a mission-driven stake pool operating in support of TotaLife.org: ADASquirrel [SQRL].
Last week’s guest was a stake pool that supports US veterans and their families.
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 ADASquirrel [SQRL]
Hi, thanks for your time. Tell us something about your team, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?
Hi, it’s a pleasure to introduce ourselves, our team is decentralized like the Cardano network.
It consists of 3 members, 2 Stake Pool Operators and a Social Media Manager. We are based in Genoa, Salerno and Vietnam. There’s our most active Stake Pool Operator Antonio, who has been working for more than a decade in IT and directly manages our server farm, Emanuele from Genoa who with his more than 20 years of experience in the field gives a valuable contribution, and our “squirrel” Trang who is of Vietnamese origin and actively helps us in marketing, acquiring new delegators both in Europe and Asia.
Of all the different blockchain ecosystems out there, why have you chosen Cardano, how does it stand out among others?
From a technological point of view, Cardano represents a real revolution, the foundations have now been laid for what we believe will be, in the not too distant future, an extremely solid reality.
After the release of the Smart Contracts, development is moving towards a series of optimizations that will make the network increasingly competitive. The folks at IOHK do things really well, and their approach is extremely professional, nothing is left to chance. As we are also active on theTESTNET, we can testify the care and attention with which the developments are carried out (we compile a new build almost every week). Scalability, security and speed make Cardano a blockchain with incredible potential.
You are a member of the Cardano SPA (Single Pool Alliance), what is it? And why is it important to stake with single pools?
The SPA (Single Pool Alliance), is a group made up of STAKE POOLs, with the promise that the associated pool does NOT add other validator nodes but remains with a single node. For many it may seem a limitation, and it is if we limit ourselves to considering only the “remunerative” aspect (many crypto-influencers, youtubers, etc, take advantage of their popularity to indirectly manage 2/3/4 stake pools). The aim of this alliance is to guarantee security by decentralizing the CARDANO network as much as possible. In a “PoS” (Proof of Stake) blockchain we believe this is fundamental, since without a high level of decentralization there cannot be a high level of security.
The hope is that investors will understand how important the work of many small pools is, compared to large entities such as exchanges that manage dozens of nodes.
There are many small stake pool that are struggling to attract delegators. What are you doing in this regard? And what do you think could be done at a protocol level to help SPOs?
The life of a small pool is more difficult than it may seem, with many pools not being able to afford the costs of maintenance and management and being forced to close. Since we have access to a business IT infrastructure, (directly managing major data centres) the active expenses are already absorbed. This allows us to distribute to our delegators more than half of the “rewards” allocated by the protocol to the pools, and we do this through a promotion that allows them to receive extra ADA (up to 85 per epoch) depending on the amount delegated. To date we have distributed almost 150 ADA. In addition, we donate another 10% of what should go to the pool to the non-profit organization TotaLife in Kenya/Africa, where only a few years ago healthcare was an abstract concept. Today, the “mobile clinic” provides many people with access to basic medical care. Covid has discontinued a large part of their funding activities (based on events etc.), which makes it all the more important to support them.
There are several possibilities/solutions currently under consideration to help small pools, but it is certainly not the K-parameter (pool saturation) that will solve the problems. Probably a mechanism to be taken into account could be the concept of “pledge” (the amount of ADA bound to the pool by the operators). It’s a very complex and delicate subject…
Any final thoughts? Where can people find you?
I have to thank “CARDANO” from the bottom of my heart because it gave us the chance to get involved, both technologically and socially. We have met wonderful people who believe in us, we have often spent hours explaining how the seed works or how to configure a ledger, we have (more than once) spent time on the phone to explain how on-chain staking works… This is what ADASquirrel is, this is the added human value we want to offer. Those who choose us don’t just “delegate”, they become part of a wonderful group of friends. Our Telegram channel is always very active and offers interesting insights into the entire crypto world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the time and space you have given us.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.