Cardano SPO Column #019: Berch Pool [BERCH]
This piece was published August 7th, 2021 on The Cryptonomist
This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a mission-based staking and development company committed to a decentralized Cardano network and cleaning up the oceans: Berch Pool [BERCH]
Last week’s guest was a mission-driven stake pool with the aim of financing the school education of children in Tanzania.
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 there, awesome to have you here. Please introduce yourselves, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?
Thanks for having us! You’ve interviewed some great pools and we are delighted to be included! There are two partners in Berch Pool. My name is Chris Nekvinda and I’ve been in crypto since 2016. I’ve got a PhD in instructional design and I’m a consultant on strategy for traditional financial institutions.
Bernie Apshago is the other partner, and he’s a technology consultant with more than 20 years in the business. Bernie also runs ADAMinthouse.io; an NFT marketplace with tools to help artists create their own NFTs… or Cardano NFTs (CNFTs)
Tell us how you discovered Cardano and the path that has led you to become Stake Pool Operators (SPOs)
Both of us have been into cryptocurrency for a while. I started mining ETH and LTC back in 2016 and Bernie was interested in blockchain development for several years. We both get the value prop that Ethereum has, but didn’t jump in on the development side due to costs and time. High gas fees and network congestion were a killer.
I’m an academic (Chris) and was drawn to both the mission and research-based approach taken by Cardano. So in Jan 2021 I consolidated several holdings and went into Cardano. I still mine ETH but convert it to ADA. Bernie was interested in developing dApps with real-world applications… not just DEXs and trading cards. We both agreed Cardano was the platform on which to build. So… we put our “stake in the ground” with Cardano so to speak lol.
This column had plenty of mission-driven stake pools, what is your mission and how are you pursuing it?
We choose to share our rewards with companies cleaning up oceans and waterways. We donate to the Ocean Clean Up Project who invests time and effort cleaning plastic from the great Pacific Ocean garbage patch. Bernie is a free diver and lives on the ocean 3–4 months per year with his family. Chris has been passionate about the water issues since learning about the garbage patch a few years ago. Bernie saw it first hand on the water.
We agree this would be the cause to which we would donate and raise awareness. Water is life and we cannot keep polluting the oceans with plastic and garbage. We publish our donation transaction numbers online. We donate in ADA. We know there is concern that some mission-based pools are not sharing their rewards. We wanted to be as transparent as possible. That’s why our real identities are on our pool website and TX numbers are posted on berchpool.io as well. We want our delegators to know they can trust and rely on Berch Pool.
You’ve recently participated in the lottery for the Minswap FISO, can you please explain what a FISO is and what is the Minswap project bringing to Cardano?
Yeah, we did apply but didn’t make the cut in their lottery. We have mad respect for the Minswap team for their idea. Rather than raising awareness and capital by keeping ADA rewards and swapping them for MIN tokens, they chose to focus efforts on several smaller SPOs. Then as people delegate to those SPOs they earn Minswap tokens which will be likely used on their DEX. That’s their story to tell but it’s a Fair Initial Stake Offer to raise awareness, distribute their tokens AND support SPOs rather than sidestep them.
Their Cardano DEX will likely use those tokens to facilitate the swap of tokens. It’s a great idea and I love how they worked with SPOs. We qualified but didn’t make the cut… but that happens. They were transparent and fair about it. Looking forward to their launch! Again that’s how we’ve interpreted what they are doing.
Thank you kindly for the contribution. Any final thoughts? Where can people stay in touch?
We talk a lot about what’s next in tech and the economy. Those are some of our respective strengths and both strongly believe that the future will be tokenized. We spend a lot of time discussing products and building use cases. Our first collaboration has been with Akademia Brewing Company in Athens Georgia in the US. They helped to create a Cardano inspired Ada4oceans India Pale Lager. We use the site Ada4oceans.com for NFT giveaways.
The beer label NFTs from Ada4oceans go on sale in a week and all proceeds go to the Ocean Cleanup Project. So register for the free ones now and you will get notified when the sale and auction start. We believe these are the first collectible beer label NFTs on Cardano. So you can get there from Ada4oceans.com or from the berchpool.io site.
Delegates who stake with Berch also earn BerchCoin — a Cardano native asset and they can redeem it monthly for prizes. Hoping to list it on Cardano DEXs in the fall for sure. We have some great products coming on Cardano and there will be more partnerships with Akademia as well for more collectible beer label NFT art. So much to come on Cardano — we are early and it’s so great to be part of this warm community! Thanks for including us. Delegators can find us on social sites like Twitter and Facebook. Please connect with us. Delegators get extra rewards in ADA and BerchCoin when they delegate so we’d love to know who you are and answer questions if you have any!
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.