Interview - Cardano SPO #103: Star Forge [OTG]

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Today’s guest on the Cardano SPO column is a stake pool operated by Wayne who is passionate about off-grid living and is successfully validating blocks in his motorhome: Star Forge [OTG].

The previous guest was a stake pool operated by Kal who is also a World Mobile Earth Node Operator and participates in the Droperatorz program.

This column is where I invite Stake Pool Operators (SPO) to share their stories and vision as a way to connect with and learn about the Cardano Community.

Hi, thanks for your time. Tell us something about yourself/your team, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?

No team, just myself and a backup operator should something happen to me. My name is Wayne, I am a 50 year old Linux enthusiast who started tinkering with cardano-node on Raspberry Pi’s in the BERRY pool Telegram group. Then a bunch of us formed the Armada Alliance to help others run Cardano software on low powered ARM processors.

I am the owner/operator of the Star Forge [OTG], based out of New Hampshire, USA, and recently started moving the Off Grid pool operations into a motorhome with a Starlink Roam high performance panel for connectivity.

The motorhome has 900 amp hours of lithium storage which for the most part is charged with solar panels on the roof. I have a propane generator that makes up the difference. The pool can be powered on a full lithium charge for about 4 days and a full propane tank and solar charge could keep it going for over 50 days. The largest draw by far is the high performance Starlink panel that draws on average about 70 watts.

I just recently drove up to a very remote area in Maine where I forged blocks successfully for 4 days. An in motion block forged is the next test as all others have passed testing.

What’s the path that led you to Cardano and to become a Stake Pool Operator (SPO)?

I was building a lithium battery bank from reclaimed laptop 18650 cells at the same time and realised the two projects complimented each other nicely. A Raspberry Pi running cardano-node uses about 4 watts of power and the idea of running a pool off solar panels intrigued me.

I built the pool and ordered Starlink. The ticker is OTG for Off The Grid and a satellite internet provider coming online at the same time was the perfect addition. If you visit my website you can see an image of the original Pi-Pool box that used 12 watts and flawlessly forged over 250 blocks. I have since upgraded the servers to Apple Mac M1 Mini’s that use 6 watts :).

Please tell us about your experience living off-the-grid, how are you able to run a stake pool and what does a typical day in your life look like?

Well, this is just the start. For the past 4 months I have been living in the RV but on family owned land while I wired up the batteries and mounted solar panels. There are a lot of moving parts to a mobile stake pool. I have the responsibilities of an SPO and while pushing the boundaries of that position. I also must be near certain that my delegators do not lose any rewards.

My recent trip to the wilderness of Maine was the first test run of the mobile pool. Watching “tank” levels. Whether it’s diesel, propane, lithium, fresh water, grey water, black water or the operator’s stomach. To be self contained with reserves for a month at a time is the goal. Which foods and the best way to store it. Prep and cook before a trip and freeze it? With limited freezer space is it better to use the propane to cook the food on the go? I very much enjoy all of it.

My desire to “unsubscribe” from a financial system that is rigged, my technical background and a series of fortunate events has made this possible. I love being a stake pool operator and have made so many friends along the way. I continue to try and find a path where I can live free and be happy.

What do you think will it take for the vast majority of humans to understand the benefits of a decentralised financial operating system? What are your thoughts on CBDCs in this context?

The vast majority will accept whatever authority presents to them. I find it similar to the fight for privacy. Most will trade privacy for convenience, freedom for security etc. We need to fight to create open source privacy protecting alternatives for the ones who wish to free themselves. The CBDC control grid is all but complete, we are living through a very interesting time for humanity. Blockchain technology holds the potential to free all of us from a system of debt based enslavement.

I do not have a lot of hope that the people who finance wars, debt enslavement, who control the media and politicians will easily allow a new system that is fair across the board. This technology can be used for the good of humanity as a whole or it can be used as a way to enact the worst parts of digital currency like what we see in China, now rolling out across the globe.

Great contribution. Any final remarks? Where can people stay in touch?

Shout out to all the SPOs who have become my close friends along the way. We have all helped each other in our own ways, each playing off of one another’s strengths.

Especially the Armada Alliance. Focusing on running extremely low powered ARM based nodes. You can find me through the links on the bottom of the pool’s website.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my project.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the people interviewed are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOG. Moreover, this content is for educational purposes, it doesn’t constitute financial advice.


Congratulations @Wcats

Off-The-Grid :parrot: :pirate_flag: