A Pool of Pools: a feeler/invite to start a coop

I’m a new SPO with over 25 years exp in server devops/security and software development, 30 years as an entrepreneur and IM, and 6 years of expertise in blockchain including minor blockchain development, day trading, etc.

I have an idea that perhaps has been floated before I would guess, for small SPOs, meaning people like me with much less than 1MM ADA (I only have about 10K) who would like to operate a pool without the struggle. So my idea is that we form a pool of pools so to speak, wherein we group together to form X number of actual pools with individual tickers and work as a community coop, putting our individual skills to work and pooling our resources as such, including of course our available delegation funds.

The idea is as follows:

  • Begin with 1 pool, the person with the longest running history would make sense
  • Keep that pools name and ticker / OR create a new one called “COOP” to help attract other interested coop participants and grow the coop.
  • The rest of us retire our pools and delegate to the 1, however those of us who can redistribute our hardware to become additional nodes for the 1 (this way we can continue to contribute to decentralization AND we don’t need to trust the technical owner of the BP with our ADA as multi-owner, we only trust them on payouts to the coop)
  • When our 1 coop pool reaches an internally-decided-upon saturation (pre-actual saturation) - we stand up a new pool and redistribute our relays or create new ones, we redistribute our delegations as we see fit for this.
  • We hold virtual meetings to discuss ownership and roles, governance of the coop, etc
  • All coop owners receive equal shares of rewards from fees, after hardware “hard costs” are distributed amongst all those providing for the infrastructure.

I’d love to hear thoughts on this and if enough of us little guys and gals come together I can see it being a really great community organization and rewarding to us all beyond what perhaps our individual pools could otherwise achieve.

Open to DMs but prefer transparent conversation here to begin and see if the idea has legs.

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That’s actually a great idea, and I am a fan of the concept, but there are some implications that needs to be overcame first in order to achieve this.

For example, from a SPO’s point of view: Retiring the pool just like that won’t be an easy thing to do. Personally speaking, I know I would never retire my pool, because I’ve spent countless and restless hours to create and run it, and it’s still a small pool. If you check my website, you will see what I am talking about. I am sure that the rest have invested a good amount of time in their pools too, but the commitment varies from a pool to another.

Therefore, retiring pools might not be the wisest thing to do, unless some SPOs are willing to do that voluntarily for whatever reasons. What I can suggest, is for a group of people to join forces, regular people, doesn’t have to be SPOs, then when a pool reaches a pre-saturation, a sister pool is created, handed to another owner, and it gets promoted/funded through the original pool to speed up the process, then when it’s pre-saturated, another sister pool is created…etc.

By doing so:

  1. Everyone will be helping everyone.
  2. It will be a great chance for people who have the ADA but doesn’t have the technical knowledge.
  3. If will be a great chance for people who have the technical knowledge but doesn’t have the ADA.
  4. We will be promoting decentralization.

I am open to such ideas.

Interesting topic. This reminds me of @waldmops post at The Cardano Foundation’s Delegation Methodology is Changing - #145 by waldmops in May, talking about cooperation and the Cardano Foundation’s incentive to NOT cooperate.

I’ll definitely be watching this topic with interest. My pool is fairly new and also very small, having attracted only one delegator other than myself. My current marketing efforts are falling flat. I’m willing to give it a little more time but it’s not promising. I would’ve made more money for the charity by delegating my operational costs and pledge to one of the established pools. But if co-ops prove to be workable, it might be worth joining one.

I’ll definitely be watching this topic for more posts.

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It is a really good idea but i don’t think people are going to retire their pools also. Last time i was on Twitter space and Charles Hoskinson has suggested a similar idea. He said that it would be really interesting if small Pools joins forces to create an alliance and apply for projet Catalyst ! By doing so they can get fund to run their pools. Since i’m not a technical dude i didn’t know how to get i done but i think it can be an alternative though.

Hey! I don´t have much Technical knowledge but I would like helping u in anyway I can

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I am definitely interested in this. As others have suggested retiring our old pools may not be what everyone may want to do because of the effort we have a put in to get it running (even if it isn’t minting any blocks), but that doesn’t mean we cannot remove 99% of of pledge and delegate it to the COOP and just keep the pool alive on the bare minimum.

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I would be interested in participating in a co-op. I’ve spent the better part of my free time over the past week getting my pool up and running only to dig further and realize there’s virtually 0 chance I’ll ever make a profit from it, and perhaps not even be able to cover the cost to run my $40/mo linode relay.

I too have about 10k ada to pledge, and am continuing to invest in more regularly.

I could go either way on continuing to operate my own SP, but if I haven’t minted 1 block in a single year, and the more time passes w/o doing so the harder it becomes to attract delegates, I could see myself giving it up… but if nothing else it’s been fun learning how to set one up.

I would be interested in this. It’s unfortunate that a decentralized system needs so much starting capital to be truly involved.

Already being done by [https://l2fb-sandbox.mxapps.io/]

Welcome to F2LB
We are a group of small pool operators that band together to find our place in the Cardano network. Feel free to join us by making an account. You can support us as a Pool or as a regular Wallet holder.

Thanks for the replies everyone! Sorry for my absense, had some tech reorgs going on and now coming back around to center more of my tech focus more efficiently.

I’m just going through all the replies now but I am still interested in pursuing this idea and perhaps with smart contracts we can achieve this more seemlessly in a trustless way! I am a dev but new to marlowe, haskel, etc…however am familiar with coding solidity contracts. Anyone else have Cardano-specific coding expertise?

Great point around retiring. A consideration: Say an SPO spent 300 hours working on building a pool which has produced 1 block so far, and has little delegation and little community if any (active communication or relations with any delegators). If enough spos banned together, pooling their own pledges and personally delegating to the coop pool, retiring their pool in order to reap the benefits and more probable rewards from a larger group pool, may offset this loss of opportunity, especially if the coop is splitting all fees.

In other words, a focus shift wherein loss is accepted in favor of new and more probable gains. Similar to a crypto trader who works hard to recover a loss rather than spending the new energy in creating new opportunities and gains that would offset or supercede the loss. In most cases (in my experience) one has to choose one or the other, usually you cannot have both as energy is a trade-off…working to fight a slight overcharge on a credit card vs using the same energy to produce something (whether financial or other, like time with family, having a laugh, etc) is another example of this concept which admittedly would be the case for many of us who have also spent many hours building.

Another way to justify these “losses” is to transform them into experience and education, the cost being the tuition, the new opportunity being what we can offer the Coop and how we setup governance will/should reflect these aspects and those with more expertise and “lessons learned” should be able to have that “education” reflected in a meaninful way within the Coop.

Philosophy aside, many of us are in a similar situation as you describe, myself included. And part of why I want to pursue this idea is to “stop the bleeding” so to speak, and think outside the box of being an island, and see how we might help each other all benefit while supporting and affording ourselves more time and focus into Cardano.

Because most of us have day to day expenses outside of our SPO work, I’m betting I speak for many of us small/new or simply underproducing SPOs when I say it would be really fantastic if we could find a solution wherein we can have sustainable livelihoods exclusively from delving in and supporting the cardano ecosystem!

So TLDR: it definitely will require some level of risk to make a COOP work and get launched effectively, on all our parts, and many of us may have to accept the “loss” of energy spent on something we may need to retire…temporarily…in order to build something stronger and potentially far better than any one of us would be able to do without a large sum of money upfront or a very long timeframe with our energy being split in a way that does not favor our SPO work.

The idea of retiring pools comes with a caveat that I didn’t think about until I read @DevJohn 's reply above.

The caveat is, it would be essentially a “temporary” or “reorg’d” retiring, wherein yes, some of us/most of us who want to be in the COOP may want to retire our pool to redirect both ADA and hardware resources. BUT, this is a temporary step, and the temporal nature can be accellerated based on participation level.

In other words, the more of us who redirect our resources into a single COOP, the sooner we see that COOP pool begin to pay out to the coop. The faster our marketing can move, the larger a wave it makes which drives more delegation and growth, the sooner we reach saturation and can stand up another pool, thereby reinstating pools in way of resource/cost recovery.

Alternatively, those who don’t want to retire their pool but want to be in the coop, can do so by maintaining their pool at a minimum and with a new cert wherein their pledge is reduced and any delegation redirected to the new coop. So simply redirect ada resources but keep hardware online and even propose in the coop’s government their hardware/pool for future use.

Lastly, the coop would need a pool, and the new members and government can setup a means by which we vote which pool becomes the first, or if we want to start with 2 or 3 etc., depending on participation and looking at the math, to determine viability, etc.

Cool! Are you an SPO? What’s your “wheelhouse”?

Exactly what I suggested just now in another reply :slight_smile:

Exactly, I even find it impossible for me to attempt to market my pool to newbs, I just can’t because I know I’d be advising them to just help me build my pool over the course of “who knows how long” - when the majority are looking for a pool that pays out. And as a concientious person I can’t advise anyone to delegate to me at this time lol. So it becomes a standstill with a pay-to-play entry barrier regardless how tech savvy and qualified I may be!

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At least we are able to run pools with very accessible hardware from a cost perspective. I think it was Solana or another project perhaps, where running a pool required such high minimum specs it was financially infeesible for me to do in a meaningful way.

I’ll look into this, thank you!

Im not an SPO, but I would like helping though

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I am digging this up again for two reasons:

  1. I think the COOP can still be a great idea if implemented.
  2. We, as SPOs are in the same boat, and I assume none us managed to reach their goal, or maybe retired the pool already.

Talking about myself, between August 2021 and now, the delegation in my pool only increased a few hundreds of ADA. Trying so hard and not getting anywhere. It’s almost frustrating, but rather than complaining, we can do something about it.

Therefore, I am happy to contribute towards establishing this COOP. I don’t have much ADA, my pledge is only 1K. However, my staking pool is running on high end servers, and everything is fully up to date and secure. So I can help in any technical aspect.

Thoughts anyone?