Cardano Foundation's New Delegation Methodology: Supporting the Architects of the Future

We at the Cardano Foundation would like to announce a change to our delegation methodology. The requirements of the protocol are constantly evolving as we deploy our technology stack. We will continuously update our delegation methodology to support our community.

For earlier delegations, our delegation strategy focused on supporting the decentralization and deployment of the Cardano protocol. This is why we delegated to smaller stake pools. It is also why we supported those who run single pools over those who run multiple pools. Our focus has now shifted to building the ecosystem.

With the successful implementation of Alonzo and smart contract capabilities unlocked, we feel it is now more important than ever to attract and support ecosystem builders and contributors. From our next round, we will delegate to stake pools that make a considerable contribution to the community. Stake pool contribution will be evaluated based on what they build or how they support the community and/or the greater ecosystem.

Going forward, we want to encourage people to build something that the community needs, is open-source, and helps the ecosystem thrive.

We want to support the people who create value on Cardano; who build the tools that others can use to build on Cardano; that contribute to projects like the Developer Portal; who create Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIP); and participate in the discussions to define new standards.

We want to encourage people that are active in the Cardano Stack Exchange (CSE) and the Cardano Forum.

We want to encourage people to build what that community needs, create open-source solutions, and help the ecosystem thrive.

We want to support people that help others!

And so, for our next round, in three months time, we will follow the below process:

1. Application Form - As a first step in our transition towards a contribution-driven approach, we have created a new Delegation Application Form that contains quantitative criteria. This form will allow you to highlight strong contributions and engagement.
2. Data Collection - We will collect the data you input into the form. With each cycle, the data in the form will be collected up to a certain date, this will be approximately near the end of the 3-month cycle.
3. Scoring - The stake pools that have applied will get a pre-run score which is based on an automatic quantitative evaluation.
4. Assessment - We will examine the score and run verification checks on the data submitted to ensure all data is accurate. Then, we will rate the individual entries, a qualitative evaluation.
5. Shortlist - Once we have rated the applicants, we will publish a shortlist of stake pools eligible for delegation. This makes the whole process even more transparent.
6. Delegation - From the shortlist, we will then draw a randomized list of 45 stake pools for delegation and publish the result.

The new strategy will no longer enforce a certain pledge or active stake. However, we will make sure that we do not oversaturate pools with our delegation. Furthermore, delegations are allowed multiple times in a row and even 0% pools will be allowed. We will continue to delegate only to single pools, not to pool clusters. We rely on the community tools pool_clusters.json and to determine pool clusters.

Apply now, as a builder and/or contributor, you could be considered in the next cycle.

Keep watch on for live delegation updates.

What was the strategy for this latest delegation then?

As we are in flux between the past and future methodology we have a slight hybrid for this round. As such, the current delegation is a combination of our:

  1. New Delegation Strategy - As a first step, we made a list of pools and noted all (or at least the biggest) contributions. Then we filtered out multi pools and checked suitable stake. From here, we removed the stake pools that did not meet our criteria. On this occasion we filtered out manually but going forward our application form will help out here.
  2. Old Delegation Strategy - the leftovers from the previous round. For more info see here. We also filled up the rest with random pools.


  • Cardano Foundation’s delegation strategy is separate from IOHK’s delegation approach. The IOHK and Cardano Foundation approach are not aligned.
  • If you are interested in receiving notifications about new delegation rounds and other related information, please provide us with your ticker and email address:

This is not actually true, you have delegated to a multi pool that has 6 pools.


Thanks for flagging @SPAAS, for the random delegation we relied on the community tool to determine pool clusters. Yesterday GOAT6 was listed as a single pool. They fixed this now. We will address this soon.


I’m quite surprised it wasn’t manually filtered out considering it has “6” in the ticker name which is the convention for multi pool.

I would suggest not only using pool groups, which are often determined by the pool themselves. But also that you make a quick pass with or even cardano-db-sync to verify pools are unique.

Really love the upcoming process of next delegation, particularly the final steps.

Will the shortlist include the notable contributions/reasoning a pool made it to the draw?


I’ve never been more proud to be part of the Cardano ecosystem which is FAR from perfect. At least they adjust sometimes and make course corrections. Thanks for the hard work and keep having an open mind to those ideas with those ideas with which you disagree.

#BuiltOnCardano #DTPToken


Thanks for supporting pools in the Cardano ecosystems, I have noticed that couples pool that received the delegations are multi-pools or have 4-5M already. Lots small pools like FasoPool are doing their best to contribute and educate newcomer. FasoPool is an idea proposer on Catalyst ( and building french community in West Africa. Please support new small pools that bring value into the community but not always the big pools.


Well done @Cardano-Foundation !
Keep on rocking


Transparent & very well explained. Its a fairer approach compared to IOG’s which was easy to influence among friends. Hope you also publish the reports of your data tracking but even if you don’t, it still reads like the kind of careful & considered quality process we’ve come to expect from Cardano.


I like the fact that the single pool operator requirement stays. This in contrast to IOG’s recent delegation. I think such a delegation doesn’t align with the whole pledge incentive.


changes and development is all the time great


We like the new transparency and the new approach. However, I have few suggestions for future delegation selection process.

  1. Filtered out the pools that already received delegation in the pass so some new pools can have a chance to be selected if even if they were nominated or contributed to #cardano ecosystem.

  2. Great if CF can coordinate with IOG during the selection process to avoid pools that had received delegations in the past and also to eliminate pools to received delegation twice at the same time. we understand that these are two separate entities but working in collaboration to build better Cardano ecosystem is one of the ultimate goal, correct?

  3. Even though GACHI and many others are small pools but we are part of building stronger Cardano network so can we have have at least 50% of small pools to be considered and other 50% are eco contributors?

  4. I still think pools with enough stakes to produced blocks every epoch shouldn’t be considered. As aforementioned, small pools are part of stronger network so please give us a chance to be “stronger”.

Last but not least, I wanted to say “Thank you!” to CF team for putting all this together. Whether GACHI pool get selected or not, we appreciated everything you guys do. You guys are awesome.


Great to know about the new methodology! It’s on the lines of Build, Create and Educate which I really like because it supports pools that are doing good work for the Cardano community but are not expert at marketing by posing nice pictures :slight_smile:
How long will the registration be open for the next round?


Great development! We will keep supporting in any way we can! Even though we do not develop software solutions there are enough other ways to contribute. A big thank you to the Cardano Foundation for staking with us over the last 3 months!


We at RADAR were sorry to see your @Cardano-Foundation whale go, but we so appreciated your support over these last 3 months! The pressure of producing blocks 24/7 have trained us to streamline our hardware and software in a way that has made it stronger for our delegators and the network forevermore. We can’t thank you enough to have had the opportunity.

I ask that you please continue to realize the disproportionate value your contributions provide to smaller pools. As you know, the high reliability of minting a block every single epoch begins at around 3 million stake. I feel that a grant of this size (rather than 15 million) would provide the most incremental value.

The difference to me as a pool operator of minting 15 blocks vs 1 block per epoch is marginal compared to minting 1 block vs 0 blocks. In addition, the 0% ROI a delegator will see during a 0 block epoch might cause them to leave for a larger pool even if the average yearly ROI is statistically similar, further undermining my pool.

Getting over that 3 million “hump” will not only allow the pool operator to gets a pool fee reward every epoch, but it will also assure that his/her delegators can expect a return on investment equal to that of the multi-pools and exchanges. In short, giving 15 million to a pool that already has 15 million changes the overall math much less than giving 3 million to a pool that only has 500k in delegations.

Again, I can’t be more appreciative of you trusting RADAR with your ADA, and am proud to have added almost $200,000 ADA to the Foundation’s whale during your stay. Gaining the ability and confidence to get that done began right here on this forum 9 months ago. It feels good to now be in a position to help others. So I applaud you moving in the direction to reward those who are most active and important to the Cardano Network. But if you were to split your delegation down closer to 3 million you could reward 225 contributors rather than just 45, providing much more incremental value.

Thanks again for your support!
-Sully at RADAR


Very good update. Thx


Might have been a mistake, ain’t we all human after all ?

Screenshot 2021-10-15 at 15.00.54
cc: @SPAAS


Great to hear, because we did a lot to get attention from CF and IOHK to get support. But unfortunately not with succes. And with the last week delegation rotation, it felt like we were invisible for the CF and IOHK team. Because only the bigger pools were in their sights for support, which is in conflict with decentralization in my opinion.

However, we will try again next time. Hopefully multi pools and large pools will be invisible this time, smaller pools really need the support at this stage.

Btw, I think mission driven pools are also really good to support in my opinion ;)!



Thank you :grin: