Delegate or Pledge to my own pool?

So I started the RADAR stake pool and pledged 25k just to make sure everything worked. Got another 100k to dedicate. Do I pledge it all? Do I delegate it instead? Do I split it half-way? I don’t want to beg others for delegations, and realize that’s it’s a tough sell to delegate to a new pool that has produced 0 blocks so far.
As adoption increases more of us will certainly be needed, but what’s to keep pools
like 1PCT from operating 20 more pools with only 50k pledged to each? We all want a predictable return, but we risk centralization in the hands of those with the most money.
Anyway, where do I put my nut to give me the best chances?

Pledging is not required at all if you’re coming at it from a “how much do I need to really pledge.” You can get away with delegating the full stake and just do a 50 ADA pledge but pledging low amount of ADA shows the stake pool has not much “skin in the game.”

Pledging shows how serious a pool is and if you have multiple first investors/partners (and they are willing to stake to your pool for your success), they can be considered pool owners so when they delegate to your pool, it gets counted as pledge.

The whole concept of pledge is to prevent a Sybil attack.

Nothing stops bigger pools from creating more pools, but it is really up to the delegator to pick which pool at the end of the day. If your pool maintains consistency/up-time/etc. (even with less stake - you will still hit blocks, just not as often as a larger pool). You can support the community and eventually your pool will get attention. Patience and consistency will pay off.

Keep in mind, IOG/IOHK are supporting smaller pools with a purpose. You can apply here:

Welcome btw, and best of luck!

I’m familiar with the reasoning for pledging and have already applied for the grant. I’m really just here since I’ve bought into the movement. I could easily leave all my money in a pool that basically guarantees me 5.5% a year. But I wanted to do my part because I have the time, skills and hardware. So I’m willing to sit my stake earning nothing until it contributes blocks for the network.

But as much as I’m a fan of the vision of Cardano, the reality is that a bunch of banks with unlimited capital could control and “de-decentralize” the whole system pretty quickly, right? I know the plan is to eventually decrease saturation points to help spread the nodes out further, but as the cost of ADA rises, it seems the reality of the system is going to require even more incentives for the small stake pools to promote them keeping skin in the game and not bailing for some larger outfit.