Cardano SPO: GrahamsNumberPlus1 [GNP1] – The cryptonomist

This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO column is an issue pool led by Russell from the UK whose mission is to decentralize the Cardano network and support mental health charities: GrahamsNumberPlus1 [GNP1].

Guest of last week was a stake pool managed by the family of Vasil St Dabov, in order to continue his important work interrupted by his untimely death.

This initiative is a point of reference for all of Cardano and every week or two we will invite a bet pool operator (SPO) to answer a few questions and give us a update directly from the Cardano community.

Considering many of our readers are new to the crypto space, we will have a mix of simple and technical questions.

Cardano SPO column, interview with GrahamsNumberPlus1 [GNP1]

Gimbal SPO [GNP1] supports mental health charities

Hi, thanks for your time. Tell us about yourself, where are you based and what is your background?

My name is Russell Wallace and I own the GrahamsNumberPlus1 (GNP1) Pooling. GNP1 is a UK registered company where I am based. The pool was registered in October 2020 and we are a member of the Mission-Driven Pools Alliance.

GNP1 aims to support the decentralization of the Cardano ecosystem while supporting mental health through partnerships with dedicated charities. Our goal is to provide donations of approximately 20% of StakePool revenue. Our block production node is located in Germany with a relay also in Germany and a second relay in the United States.

Currently we have hit 26 blocks maintaining an average stake of 300K ADA but I just had a very long dry spell without being selected as the slot leader.

My journey consisted of a combination of survey and related technical work. This included high-tech investigations, compliance and e-Discovery. I have worked for law enforcement, Big 4 consulting firms, financial institutions and regulatory bodies. The goal for GNP1 is to defy the odds and eventually build sufficient delegation for us to be a profitable Stakepool supporting decentralization and sanity.

What is the path that led you to Cardano and becoming a Stake Pool Operator (SPO)?

Technical training, I was interested in Blockchain technology since the creation of Bitcoin. I first tried mining bitcoin in 2013 but given the already increasing difficulty levels, I changed this to Litecoin mining to learn the process. I later got involved with Ethereum mining in 2016 and 2017 and built a few platforms for me to mine Ethereum and expand my knowledge. I’ve also mined a number of other smaller cryptocurrencies just for fun.

Other companies included running a Bitcoin Lightning node for a while and when I heard about Cardano I was very keen to see how I could get involved. I followed a number of tutorials and learned what I could and set up the GNP1 Stakepool in 2020.

As I got more involved in the Stakepool, I joined a number of discussion groups on Discord, Telegram, and Twitter Spaces to learn more about how other Stakepool operators were managing. I was pleasantly surprised at how helpful the community was and felt that Cardano was a project with real long-term potential. The level of support and assistance within the community has been essential in overcoming the ongoing challenges of running a Stakepool, especially during dry runs when no blocks are hit.

What are the costs and tasks involved in managing a stake pool? What challenges are you having and what do you think you can do protocol-wise to help small stake pools?

Running a Stakepool takes a lot more effort than some people might think. There are the obvious costs of setting up, running and maintaining the hardware. It requires reasonable time and effort to make sure everything continues to work properly and that all updates are made at regular intervals.

At first, I used my own equipment before migrating to the cloud. Both systems have their pros and cons but the actual cost for a small pool like mine is quite prohibitive. We don’t hit regular blocks so we are currently losing money but continuing with the Stakepool because we believe in Cardano and our mental health mission.

Ultimately, we hope to build our delegation to the point where we can make regular charitable donations and bring in a small profit. Therefore, we incur a lot of promotional costs via random giveaways, NFT creation and associated giveawayspublicity and the time simply spent promoting the Stakepool to potential delegates.

Our main difficulty is obviously to obtain the delegation. We are a very active Stakepool and are on Twitter daily. Even with all our promotional giveaways and time spent on social media we find it almost impossible to get more participation. Sometimes when we received a large delegation, we lost it due to inconsistent block production.

It has been said before and will probably be repeated that there needs to be basic changes to things like k value and minimum pool fees. It is impossible for a small pool that only hits a block once in a while to attract a bet when the protocol automatically takes more than 50% of the rewards and gives them to the pool operator. Yes, this can be returned to the delegators, but this is a cumbersome and inconvenient manual process.

In general the system is heavily favored by influencers and people with large followings. It would seem that even with all the effort an FS can put into promoting their pool, they will generally have no success unless they can build a general public thanks to a parallel presence on social networks.

To finish it would be much better if the CF (Cardano Foundation) and IOG delegations could be split into smaller amounts and distributed to more PSOs so that these OPPs have at least the possibility of developing their breeding ground. I know the argument has been made that they need to maintain large delegations so that regular block production can attract delegates. I disagree with this approach because delegation support should be about helping a pool help itself. There is no point giving a pool of 15 million just so they can hit blocks for 3 months and then withdraw once the delegation is removed. Providing 1 million to 15 pools instead will allow those 15 pools if they want to put in the effort to at least craft a few blocks, then if they put in the effort they might be able to promote, attract and retain delegators from this moment. Delegation shouldn’t be about giving a few a free ride, but rather about giving a lot more of a chance of success if they want to work at it. After all, decentralization should aim to attract more people to the project.

You also focus on mental health support. Can you tell us more about this? Why is this important to you and how are donations handled?

Mental health is always something that has marked me a lot. The reality is that everyone knows or has known someone who has had mental health issues for some reason. Without your sanity, it can be difficult to appreciate even the most basic things in life based on gravity. To make things worse people with mental health issues may find it very difficult to receive the attention they deserve. On top of that, people unfairly suffer from the stigma that can be attached to a mental health issue due to a lack of knowledge and education regarding their condition.

GNP1 pledges to donate 20% of its revenue to mental health charities. Every time we win by hitting a block, we donate a payment to a mental health charity in the UK or overseas. We recognize that many of our delegates are not from the UK so we want to try to donate to organizations located in the countries our delegates come from as well.

We are also actively trying to partner with UK-based mental health charities. All donations and receipts are posted on our website with complete information provided on Github for audit by the Mission Driven Pools alliance. After hitting 26 Blocks we donated over $4000 in charitable donations. Unfortunately, due to a very long period without allocation of new slots, we have not been able to make charitable payments for a few months now, but we hope to resume this soon.

Great contribution. A final thought? Where can people contact you?

GNP1 has been engaged in our Stakepool since its origin in October 2020. We have been very active in promoting our cause through various means on social media and worked hard to produce promotional NFTs, organize giveaways and actively contribute to various Cardano-related platforms. However our survival depends on getting more delegations and support and we would be happy to welcome new delegates.

I can be contacted through my website, E-mail and Twitterwhile the NFT collection can be viewed here.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views of SPO are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOG.

Source: https://en.cryptonomist.ch/2022/07/16/cardano-spo-column-grahamsnumberplus1-gnp1/

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