Cardano Journal
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Cardano Journal

Cardano SPO Column #033: CloudStruct Cardano Staking [CSCS]

This piece was published November 13th, 2021 on The Cryptonomist

This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a stake pool dedicated to help protect online privacy and rights by supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) with donations: CloudStruct Cardano Staking [CSCS].

Last week’s guest was a stake pool committed to providing the Cardano community with the ability to achieve 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.

Hi, glad to have you here. Tell us something about your team, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?

Patryk, thanks for having us.

CloudStruct is a small DevOps as a Service company. We’re based in the US, but in true cloud fashion, all of us work remotely. I’m in Rhode Island, Jason in New Jersey, and Andrew in Missouri. Andrew and I have known each other for over 15 years from our previous open source work together. Jason found Andrew through another open source project and recruited him to CloudStruct, and Andrew recruited me.

We’ve been providing managed cloud infrastructure ever since. My background is in big data and distributed systems, while Andrew and Jason specialize in global scale operations and infrastructure automation. Together, we built Cardano CloudStruct Staking as a passion project, combining our experience and best practices.

How did you discover Cardano and what has captivated you about this blockchain?

At our core, our team are infrastructure people. We like infrastructure and we like cryptocurrencies. We each have various investments, but were looking for a Proof of Stake (or similar) chain where we could use our expertise to provide infrastructure for a blockchain and leverage our abilities to engage with the blockchain community. As everyone should, we did our own research and came across not only all of the papers and works from IOHK, but also the growing Cardano community.

We’re open source developers. We believe in open and equitable systems. Cardano fits this bill perfectly. The research-driven approach is the opposite of the move fast and break things mentality of Silicon Valley, and we believe in that approach to building a global financial system for the next generation that’s going to have the ability to adapt to an ever changing world’s financial needs.

Low transaction fees, a large but capped total coin supply, and the non-custodial staking were the current set of features that pulled us into the ecosystem. However, it’s the future that has us excited, with the upcoming DEXs and Hydra giving us increased scaling requirements and the tools to meet it. I’m excited. Wen Hydra? :)

You support the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) with your operator rewards. Please tell us more about this.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, is a non-profit which is focused on the protection of civil liberties in our growing digital world. Many of the same fights against surveillance, government overreach, and invasion of individual privacy are also being fought in the digital world. The EFF stands on the side of the individual and works to protect our rights.

Our team are individually members of the EFF, and we wanted to do something to help protect the freedoms which have allowed us to be successful. The EFF has fought court cases against big corporations and governments alike in the act of protecting us from those who would use their power to abuse the individual. One example that comes to mind is the case of Medinex v. awe2bad4mdnx et al, where the EFF defended the rights of anonymous critics to express their views without fear of the legal system being used for force disclosure of their identities.

We’re still a growing pool, so we have not minted any blocks, but will donate 10% of our pool operator rewards received to the EFF, and we’ll bring receipts. Currently, our pool is run entirely out of pocket.

There are people criticizing Cardano for not focusing much on privacy. What are your thoughts? Isn’t something like a Digital Identity a danger to privacy?

I would agree that Cardano is not very focused on privacy, specifically, as a goal. Transactions are easy to trace between sender and recipient, and the use of the Unspent Transaction Output (UTxO) model can cause an individual who is not privacy aware to expose the contents of their wallet, or at least the containing UTxOs used in the transaction, to the receiver. This has come as a surprise to some, but it’s a natural part of the UTxO model and exists in other blockchains which utilize UTxO, such as Bitcoin. This leaves a lot of room for privacy related tooling to emerge in the ecosystem.

Digital Identity is one of these areas where we can use the power of the blockchain’s cryptographic roots to help make for a more secure society while reducing friction. Government identification can be issued or renewed in a cryptographically secure manner. Renew your ID card with a click. Need a new photo? No problem, just take a selfie with the DID app, which signs the transaction and updates your picture. This process requires a third party to act as a validator, potentially centralizing information, making it primed for abuse.

Unlike in a centralized DID system, Atala PRISM is Cardano’s decentralized answer, removing the need for trusted validators by anchoring the identity on the blockchain, essentially turning the blockchain itself into the validation party. Information exchange is transacted and validated, and only pertinent information is shared between parties.

Thank you kindly for your time. Any final remarks? Where can people contact you?

One last thing that I wanted to mention here is our promise to always remain a single pool stake pool operator. As part of this promise, we have joined the Cardano Single Pool Alliance as well as the xSPO Alliance (eXtra Small Pool Operators), where we work with other small pools on cross-promotion, technical support, and otherwise cooperating to create a healthy and decentralized ecosystem of independent pool operators.

You can contact CSCS via one of several means. We’re available on Twitter and Telegram as @CSCS_pool and we have a Discord server where you can find me as Chris [CSCS]. If you prefer older, asynchronous communication, you can always email us, which goes to the entire team.

Thanks for having us. I would like to extend a thank you from all of us at CloudStruct Cardano Staking. It’s been a pleasure.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.

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