news and opinion|19 December 2022|share

A Spotlight on Stake Pools: SolPi Stake Pool

Nicolas CernyCommunity Manager - Austria

In each installment of the series “A Spotlight on Stake Pools”, a different stake pool operator (SPO) explains the motivation for establishing their stake pool, while also detailing some of their contributions to the Cardano community, whether these include building tools, maintaining code repositories, or contributing to the Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs). Indeed, last year the Cardano Foundation refined its delegation methodology to reflect the importance of builders actively contributing to the improvement of the Cardano ecosystem.

Alessandro Konrad, of BERRY Pool, described in the previous installment of the series  how becoming a SPO provided an opportunity to engage in the ecosystem and helped him gain a deeper understanding of the Cardano protocol. Konrad’s contributions to the Cardano ecosystem include co-founding Nami Wallet, an open source wallet, as well as Spacebudz, an NFT collection. The community also recently voted Konrad the inaugural winner in the Standards (CIPs) category of the Cardano Summit Awards.

This fifth entry in the series focuses on the SolPi Stake Pool, co-founded by Marco and Dominik. Similar to BERRY Pool, they initially used Raspberry Pi (RPI) hardware in setting up their stake pool. Moreover, SolPi's co-founders prioritize building and running an energy efficient stake pool, donating proceeds to environmental-minded causes and looking to utilize renewable energy. In addition, the SolPi co-founders consistently contribute ideas, suggestions, and improvements to open source projects.

Why did you become a stake pool operator?

It all started with a big interest in the crypto environment. We wanted to be a part of it and searched for possibilities. In the end, we chose Cardano. The low hardware requirements and the possibility to run everything on Raspberry Pi convinced us. Running on renewable energy is very important for us.

What is the mission of your stake pool?

As stated, we are both crypto enthusiasts and want to have a positive impact on the world. By running a stake pool on Cardano, we can support projects we believe in, such as Seaspiracy and C-Innovations. While our donations to Seaspiracy help to save our oceans, C-Innovations focuses on innovative products to reduce CO2 emissions.

Can you give us a brief history of your stake pool?

In the beginning, our pool was running on three Raspberry Pi computers in Dominik's home using energy produced by the solar panels on the roof. That's also where the name "SolPi - Solar Powered Pi" came from. It was really exciting to see that it is possible to run a part of a worldwide financial system on such low specs. When the hardware requirements changed and the Raspberry Pi was no longer suitable as a block producer, we moved the block producer and one of the relay nodes to the Strato cloud where they are still running on 100% renewable energy. One of the relays is still running on a Raspberry Pi using solar energy.

How did the Cardano Foundation delegation impact your stake pool operation?

Thanks to the Cardano Foundation delegation, our pool is able to consistently create blocks in each epoch. We see more activity in our pool since we received delegation (joiners and leavers), which is great. And we are happy to be able to donate to the projects we are supporting.

Did you find the Cardano Foundation delegation enabled you to either build or improve your tools, projects, or open source repositories?

We have not built any tools or projects ourselves. However, if I (Marco) see the need or opportunity, I always try to contribute to any open source project I personally use. I have made small contributions to several Cardano related projects, such as 

CardanoSharp wallet, where I added support for PreProd and Preview networks, updated some broken example code and fixed a small bug with fee calculation. With cardano-node, I suggested improvements for error messages that I struggled with. Likewise, I suggested improvements for BitBox02, a fully open source hardware wallet that I would like to see more support for in the Cardano wallet ecosystem. For Minswap, I provided missing German translations for the DEX UI; and for blockfrost-dotnet, I implemented client side request throttling to align with the API's restrictions. 

I recently started using the Koios API and had the problem that I could not call the API from my website due to their CORS policies. Therefore I created a tiny proxy server that I can run locally to call the Koios API from my web app. This is just for development purposes and should not be used yet as it is still in production, but it is a helpful tool to get started with the Koios API in a web app. Many small contributions from many people around the world make a big difference. That is what I believe in and that is why I love contributing to open source projects.

How would you summarize your contributions to the Cardano ecosystem?

While Dominik is mainly focused on keeping the pool up and running, I am an active member of the Cardano Stack Exchange community. I was recently elected as a community moderator

Are you currently building something that you would like to share?

I am part of the Shipy.Space team. They are building a small independent Web3 game with Cardano integration. The goal of the project is to bring utility to as many Cardano NFT collections as possible.

Apply for Cardano Foundation Delegation

Marco and Dominik provide updates about SolPi Pool on Twitter.

Delegation of Cardano Foundation Wallets opened in early December, and the deadline closes on 8 January 2023. The Foundation encourages all eligible stake pools to consider applying for redelegation.