A Spotlight on Stake Pools: Hazelpool
Stake pool operators (SPOs) often contribute to the Cardano ecosystem in multiple ways—they update libraries, add repositories, develop open source tools, and might even help shape the network through submitting or commenting on Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs).
The Cardano Foundation knows that SPOs are critical to network resilience today and in the future. Our “A Spotlight on Stake Pools” series reflects this understanding by featuring some of the diverse players across the Cardano ecosystem. We hear from a different SPO in each installment, showcasing their work, projects, and open source practices. In the previous entry, Lido Stake Pool highlighted the need to support independent stake pool operators. Through this project, co-founders Stephanie King and Darlington Wleh aim to provide accessible Cardano education for everyone.
The Hazelpool team endeavors to support the Cardano network while donating to charity. Concerned with the number of abandoned cats in the streets, founder Nils established the stake pool to encourage feline fostering and raise awareness of no-kill shelters. The Hazelpool ecosystem now includes additional tools like the HAZELnet Discord bot. Users can access this tool at no cost by delegating their stake, incentivizing network decentralization efforts.
Why did you become a stake pool operator?
I became a stake pool operator back in 2021 because I saw it as a great opportunity to learn about the technology of Cardano while supporting the network at the same time. Turns out it was also a great way to get to know the community and promote a cause I believe in.
What is the mission of your stake pool?
HAZEL is on a mission to educate, support and promote cat fostering by everyday people through shelter programs, significantly reducing suffering in the animal population. Along the way, we get to share tons of kitten photos with our community and delegators, which we see as a major perk.
Can you give us a brief history of your stake pool?
Initially, our stake pool was designed purely as a decentralization-encouraging way to support cat fostering and raising awareness of programs by no-kill shelters. Over time, we realized that while a great cause, it does not provide enough incentive to really garner delegation. A year after launching our initial concept, we added the ability to provide discounts to users of our well-known Discord bot HAZELnet through staking, thereby helping decentralization while gaining the ability to get a normally paid service for free.
How did the Cardano Foundation delegation impact your stake pool operation?
After missing funding through Catalyst Fund 9, the delegation was a blessing in two ways. First, it allowed us to support our delegators, bringing us up from 700,000 ADA to now a bit over 2 million in delegation. In addition, the consistent rewards allowed us to cushion the additional costs that the HAZELnet infrastructure incurs as it grows.
Did you find the Cardano Foundation delegation enabled you to either build or improve your tools, projects, or open source repositories?
We would have always pushed to continue building, with or without the Foundation's delegation. But with a consistent block production also came the ability to not worry about paying for the seven different servers that power the HAZELnet ecosystem, and focus on actually building. We have continued our quest to improve the best community integration tool available while keeping it open source so that its parts or the whole can help others build better tools on Cardano.
How would you summarize your contributions to the Cardano ecosystem?
I have taken a storied journey through various parts of the ecosystem, starting with stake pool operations in the background, to making tech-educational YouTube videos about Cardano NFTs, to becoming a developer for HAZELnet, and lately a proud Ambassador for the terrific DAO platform team around Summon. Personally, my biggest contributions are my positive attitude and the nerdy jokes and kitten photos that I can provide while we all wrestle with the current state of the world.
Are you currently building something that you would like to share?
While not a new tool, we have some great plans for HAZELnet in 2023. This includes a rebrand, managing your Community via the website, Twitter integrations, CIP-0068 support, and many collaborations with exciting NFT, DAO, and De-Fi projects in Cardano.
The Cardano Foundation encourages all eligible stake pools to apply for delegation. If interested, the Foundation provides SPOs with the details to complete the application. The latest redelegation of the Cardano Foundation Wallets happened on July 18, with over 300 valid applications received and 45 pools selected for delegation.