This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a family-run stake pool using a network of low-powered Raspberry Pi devices: Antrix [ANTRX].
Last week’s guest was a stake pool with the aim to better engage with the Cardano Community and try to gain a foothold on the path to financial freedom.
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 Antrix [ANTRX]
Hey, thanks for your time. Tell us something about yourselves, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?
We are a family-run pool based in the farming community of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in the US. My house is surrounded by corn fields and diaries. Our city is famous for the Sweet Corn festival which is held around the second week of August. Whenever I turn on my local radio station I hear commercials of seeds and fertilisers.
I am a software developer with over 25 years of development experience. My wife is a microbiologist. My two kids are studying in college. Both are working towards a degree in business administration. I am a huge Green Bay Packers fan and Sundays are reserved for football games during the season. My son is into basketball and is a Milwaukee Bucks fan. My son has played both basketball and golf in high school.
The name of my pool is Antrix, which is a hindi word, which means sky or outer space.
What’s the path that led you to Cardano and to become a Stake Pool Operator (SPO)?
My son introduced me to crypto a few years back around the time of Doge hype. I bought some Doge and that got me started with crypto. By early 2021 I was trading in crypto regularly and bought Cardano and Algorand. I also thought of getting into mining but did not want to make a big initial investment as the GPU cards were in short supply. They are still in short supply.
I researched and started my mining journey by mining a coin called DUINO. These are coins that you can mine with an Arduino and ESP boards. I started this in early 2021 and as of March 2022, I am still mining this coin. Around the middle of 2021 I looked into my drawer and saw that I had a few Raspberry Pi’s from another project and wanted to see if I could use that to mine a coin.
I started looking at PoS coins and came upon Cardano. I went to their stack exchange page and put a question out there to see if I could use my Pi for mining Cardano. Luckily for me, one of the folks from the Armada Alliance contacted me and got me started on my journey of mining Cardano.
You are part of the Armada Alliance, what is it? And on the topic of energy efficiency, what are your thoughts about blockchains like that of Bitcoin and Ethereum which use staggering amounts of electricity?
Armada Alliance is an alliance of independent stake pool operators who want to build a sustainable community of decentralised, low cost, and energy-efficient stake pools on the Cardano blockchain. The alliance provides zip files for new stake pool operators that they can use to get a pool up and running within an hour. All they need to do is to copy the zip to a SSD, connect it to Raspberry Pi and power up. The zip file is a self contained file that contains the operating system and all Cardano binaries. All the pool operator needs to do is update the environment files, choose testnet or mainnet, update the IP address etc. We verify their setup before accepting new operators into the alliance.
PoW blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum need a dedicated GPU and an enormous amount of electricity to power them. The GPU’s are not available and buying the GPU from the secondary market is prohibitively expensive. The initial cost of set-up even with a single GPU can run into thousands and you need a setup with multiple GPU’s to make mining profitable which again increases the cost of initial setup. My setup cost was around $500. For mining Bitcoin you need to set up mining farms with multiple GPUs and a system to cool them. They generate enormous amounts of heat. All this power use has a negative effect on the environment.
DeFi on Cardano is blooming. What are your favourite dApps and how are you interacting with them?
We have not played too much with any DeFi product so far as we are spending all our energy and resources into making our pool successful. From what little that we have played with the DeFi product we have found MinSwap so far. The UI is very intuitive and there is lots of liquidity for several pools.
Amazing! Any final thoughts? Where can people stay in touch?
We are a xSPO [Ticker: ANTRX] with very low saturation and are looking for delegates who can help us bootstrap our pool. Currently we are not minting any blocks but with your help we are hoping that our luck will change quickly. Do remember that in the long run the ROA will come to be around 5%.
We are on Twitter where you can follow us or DM us with any questions about our pool. You can also read a blog post about our pool in the pinned tweet in our Twitter profile.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.