Cardano SPO Column #005: Stake with Pride [PRIDE]
This piece was published May 2nd, 2021 on The Cryptonomist
Today is the turn of another mission-driven Cardano SPO: Stake with Pride [PRIDE].
Last week the Cardano SPO Column had as guest a Stake Pool Operator helping the fight against climate change.
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.
Hello, happy to have you here. Where are you based and what do you do?
I’m your run of the mill engineer who’s entire working career has been in California, building infrastructure for large websites. Before that I finished school in Canada, and prior to that, spent 13 years growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where my parents still reside.
Last week we had another mission-driven stake pool, what is your mission?
I was the stereotypical skinny gay kid who got bullied in school, and being in Africa meant no support nor acceptance. Moving to Canada to complete my studies allowed access to several youth LGBTQ+ organizations that taught me to love myself, and by the time I was in college, I was leading activism, and have carried that throughout my professional career.
Running a Cardano stake pool allows me to pay it forward, spotlighting inspirational LGBTQ+ causes, give to nonprofits, and celebrate diversity and inclusion in the crypto-space.
I’m overjoyed that the wonderful Cardano Stake Pool operating ecosystem enables so many other mission driven pools to deliver on their diverse purposes. We’re truly blessed.
What does the process of becoming an SPO look like, and how hard is it to compete with larger stake pools?
The process of becoming an SPO is quite easy! All you need is a little *nix admin experience or the willingness to learn as there are plenty of resources for beginners. Fortunately my day-to-day involves running Linux services so it was pretty easy to set things up, but I still did run into a couple issues. The Cardano SPO community is extremely welcoming, so after jumping into their Telegram channel for help and getting a giant bear hug, I had 3 expert volunteers helping me 1:1, some past midnight. Shout out to GliTↄH_ (1love) , Adam Dean (BUFFY), and Pierre (GREEN) for creating an incredibly friendly first experience.
After a certain saturation level, almost all pools generate the same ROI for delegators, yet delegators tend to converge onto larger stake pools. Delegators sometimes don’t understand that picking a smaller pool doesn’t materially impact their returns and that it helps decentralization. Solving this in my opinion involves better education through improved delegation UIs in the official wallets.
How does the Cardano blockchain address the issue of having few large stake pools and promote decentralization?
This is a superb question! I often hear Proof of Work folks criticize Proof of Stake, and in their diatribes they fail to ever mention the Ouroboros protocol. Ouroboros gamifies the staking algorithm to encourage decentralization by penalizing pools that get too big. By reducing saturation levels as the network evolves, we encourage a “state of irrevocable decentralization”. I expect the Ouroboros protocol to win a Nobel prize some day for having allowed blockchain to flourish in an environmentally friendly way.
Thanks for your contribution. Any final comments? Where can people follow you?
I consider myself a futurist and have seen disruptive technologies change our world many times now. We all know that blockchain is the next big disruptor, but I don’t think folks understand how much of a role Cardano will disrupt the blockchain space. I love that you’re immortalizing these thoughts publicly as it’ll be fun to revisit this in a few years.
You can follow me at https://twitter.com/StakeWithPride
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.