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Cardano stake pool operator delegation – a new round

We are again inviting community stake pool operators to apply for ada delegation

1 September 2021 Ben O'Hanlon 3 mins read

Cardano stake pool operator delegation – a new round

The Cardano network continues to grow exponentially, thanks to the efforts of the stake pool operators (SPOs) who secure and maintain it.

During 2021, we have been delegating a proportion of our corporate ada holdings to help bootstrap our SPOs. In the first two rounds of delegation, IOG’s strategy has focused on supporting geographically distributed pools, mission-driven operators, pools creating content or driving social awareness. We also supported geographically distributed lower-middle-sized small pools to help balance the network. In previous rounds, we have tried to identify pools where our delegation can support strong performers, while making a positive impact for the whole community.

To date, around 200 pools have received IOG delegation of c. 3M ada each. It's a healthy number of pools but just a fraction of a vibrant SPO ecosystem now numbering in the thousands. Inevitably, we haven't been able to support as many pools as we’d have liked and plainly, a number of valued community contributors have been missed.

So this time, we’re doing things a little differently. In this third round, as we enter a new era of smart contracts, we wanted to acknowledge and applaud the community contributors that are widely recognized yet so often without much fanfare. As well as applying for themselves, we’re asking the SPO community to nominate the best of their own. As well as requesting delegation to their own pools, SPOs will also be invited to nominate up to two additional pools they feel should be recognized and supported for their positive contribution to the community.

We’re looking for outstanding contributions made to the ecosystem that fall into at least one of these categories:

  • Build: SPOs contributing to ecosystem growth by providing tools, dev advice, resources, etc.
  • Create: SPOSs producing high-quality written content and creative artwork such as infographics that adds value to the wider community.
  • Educate: SPOs building alliances, groups or educating delegators on important topics, role modelling technical excellence, or contributing to the Plutus Pioneer body of knowledge.

In addition, SPOs should operate only a single pool and have a current stake of 12M or less.

Once we have received all the delegation requests and community nominations, we shall evaluate all the candidates against these criteria, publish the pools selected and make delegations in October after the Cardano summit.

And another thing. It’s not often we get a chance to survey the whole community. So this time, we’re also asking SPOs to contribute to our study on sustainability. Along with the questions for the delegation survey, this time we’re also polling SPOs at the end of the survey on their pool’s setup and green credentials. We’ll share the results of this survey with the community.

I’m an SPO. How do I take part?

Each month, we publish an ‘SPO Digest’ newsletter bringing together key news for the stake pool operator community. The next SPO Digest, which we will be sending out shortly, will include the survey where you can apply for delegation. SPOs seeking delegation should fill this in and also add up to two additional SPOs they’d like to see recognized. To receive the delegation survey, please ensure you are signed up to the digest list via by midnight UTC on Sunday 4th September.

Announcing a new round of community stake pool delegation

We’re using our ada to support operators running single pools helping support the Cardano network and community

1 April 2021 Ben O'Hanlon 4 mins read

Announcing a new round of community stake pool delegation

As we celebrated in yesterday’s blog about D=0 day, block production is now 100% in the hands of the Cardano stake pool operator (SPO) community. Community pools are the lifeblood of the network. And earlier this year we confirmed our commitment to a vibrant proof-of-stake (PoS) ecosystem when we delegated over 300M ada to our first cohort of community stake pools.

The number of pools now stands at over 2,000 – responsible for nearly three-quarters of the ada in circulation. Their efforts sustain the network and greatly contribute to the success and recognition of the Ouroboros protocol, setting a clear standard for any competing PoS protocol.

At the start of the year, we committed to making fresh delegations quarterly to help bootstrapping community pools. Running a successful small pool is hard, and needs to be entered into like any other business endeavour, with fixed and variable costs planned, hours needed to operate, reach break even point, plan marketing approach, etc. With each delegation round, our goal is to delegate enough ada to every SPO that they can create blocks, giving them a certain level of financial security while they look to grow their delegation base.

We’re again asking every operator out there to seek delegation from IOHK’s ada funds. We’ve already done a survey of the existing pools to guide our progress, and now we want every pool to fill in our survey to apply. Besides supporting your own application, your answers will help us shape our community delegation approach based on factors such as potential impact and each stake pool’s goals.

We favour operators running single pools, and we ask for details in support of each application. We are also looking for pools with a clear sense of mission or purpose – pool operators need to be in it for more than just the ada. We also look for an ability to ‘market’ – whether it’s through content creation, clear articulation of mission etc. Evidence of technical commitment to supporting the Cardano system is also likely to influence our decisions, so a clear statement of your pool’s goals and motivation is vital. You may have created educational content; have strong environmental credentials; or run the pool to raise funds for charitable works – tell us about it and provide evidence of your successes. For ease of reference, here’s an outline of what we’ll ask you in the application form.

  • Your name
  • The region and country your pool is located in
  • Your pool ticker
  • When you established your pool
  • Details of any SPO group or guild affiliation (e.g., SPOCRA, Guild, SPA etc.)
  • Details of your web presence, Twitter handle, Telegram, YouTube, etc. so we can better understand how you market your pool
  • Number of pools (we favor operators running single pool)
  • Your mission statement and the goals of your pool
  • Whether you or your Stake Pool have created educational content that is publicly available and the language it is in
  • Links to evidence of that content and any successes
  • If you host a meetup, what the results have been
  • Your pool’s environmental credentials (carbon offset/renewables etc.)
  • Whether your stake pool is a charity or runs on behalf of a charity, non-profit, or non-governmental organization, with details
  • If your stake pool has ever been bootstrapped or compensated by another organization, including - but not limited to - the Cardano Foundation or EMURGO
  • Details of any contribution that you have made to the community or ecosystem not mentioned above that support your application for the delegation (e.g., running a pool on the ITN, technical contribution, GitHub PRs, CIPs, content/marketing contribution etc...)

To apply, you can access the typeform here.

While we ask all SPOs applying to warrant that the information they have supplied is truthful and accurate, we do not ‘police’ pool activity or forensically examine claims for accuracy. We do however expect transparency from every member of the community.

Stake pools can apply for delegation from today; applications will close for this cohort at midnight UTC on Thursday 15th April. We will then review all the applications and announce which SPOs will receive delegation, which will be made in early May. We look forward to your applications.