Today’s guest on the Cardano SPO column is a bare-metal stake pool operated by two French twin brothers living in France and Sweden: Laponia [LAPO].
The previous guest was a stake pool part of the Cardano Single Pool Alliance (SPA ) and operated by Leandros, a full-stack Cardano engineer.
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 yourselves, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?
Hi, thank you for the interview. We are a team of two French twin brothers living in two different countries. My brother lives in France and I live in the far North of Sweden, close to the arctic circle. We took this opportunity to run an international 100% bare-metal pool. I moved to Sweden in 2015, and met my wife here. This region is fantastic for outdoor life.
A really cool thing about the Norrbotten region is that all the electricity comes from hydro, one, if not, the best source of energy.
At this latitude, the sun never sets in summer and we have long winter nights lightened by the northern lights.
We don’t have a college education in IT but we are both M. Sc. engineers working in the metallurgic industry. It made us naturally curious, wanting to understand how things are working at their core.
What’s the path that led you to Cardano and to become Stake Pool Operators (SPO)?
It all started when I began to educate myself on investments / how and where to place your money. The financial world is not so complicated. People make it sound complex, but it’s not.
Quickly, I started to read about crypto. It was maybe 2019. I had all these prejudices about Bitcoin, like “it’s a dark web money” or “it’s a ponzi”. But the more and more I tried to understand it, the more I realized that it was a fantastic system. So I invested a little.
But I didn’t stop there and continued to discover what an altcoin is, what market cap is, and all the basics.
I would say that I am a quick learner, so I caught up quite fast. And then I discovered Cardano. I liked the idea that there was more science behind it than the other chains. So, again, I invested.
In the future months, I was just a regular ADA holder, nothing special, but I was doing everything by the book: passphrase security, staking to first big MSPOs, then big SSPOs and finally small SSPOs.
I remember at some point wondering: “why couldn’t I become my own stake pool operator?”
And, again, after many, many hours of research, understanding how everything works , I decided to launch my pool. I had to overcome some technical difficulties of course. But I learned a lot and it was a pleasant journey.
To sum it up, I would say that my progress was really linear, with progress every month in the core understanding of blockchains and Cardano.
What does it mean to be a bare-metal stake pool? And why is it important? Can you share something about your setup and operation routine?
To create a stake pool you need to have servers.
Well, what’s a server? It’s a computer that provides a service to a client. A regular desktop machine will instead request the services from the servers.
Then you have two choices. Either you have your own server (physical machines = bare-metal) or you use a cloud service (you rent one sitting in a datacenter = NOT bare-metal).
Sometimes people forget that behind the “cloud”, there are simply computers. The difference is that you don’t have physical control over those.
The choice was obvious for us. Why rent when we can buy? It’s so much better for the longevity of the pool. Our overall financial spending to operate is much lower than if we had a monthly cost.
Owning the computer also means that we do not depend on big companies like Amazon and co.: it improves decentralization.
We are in control. Isn’t that the philosophy of crypto?
Then let’s talk about setup. As engineers, we like to optimize. We have future-proof computers that all run on QubeOS (go check this OS, it’s amazing!), that consumes a really low amount of electricity (we can compare to maybe LED lamps equivalent here).
So we have:
- computers we control (bare-metal) in two different countries
- a setup that has a low energy consumption without compromising performances
- a security mindset and idiot-proof systems for keys management
We can sum it up by saying that we have a beefed up version of the setup described in this video.
What are you most looking forward to within the Cardano ecosystem? Are there any particular projects that are your favourites?
Talking about the development of Cardano, I would say that the most exciting phase will be the implementation of CIP 1694 about governance.
We, as a community, will have a true decentralized financial platform. And it’s amazing.
We plan to become Delegate Representatives (aka Dreps) in the future. We will participate in the governance of the chain.
And the other exciting project is Midnight. Of course, right now we don’t have much details, but I am already imagining applications that are useful.
For example: imagine you are in a country where you can’t buy alcohol if you are under 18. With Midnight, you could show that you are older than 18 without having to disclose your age. I am also thinking about medical journals, picking up a package and many more.
We also plan to become validators of the Midnight blockchain, but we’ll wait to have more details.
Great contribution. Any closing remarks? Where can people stay in touch?
It’s always fun to talk about Cardano.
An advice: Never stop learning. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
If you are interested in staking with us [LAPO], you will be interested in the tool I created on my website to simulate (precisely) how much rewards you could expect, go check it out at Laponia.io!
The easiest way to contact us is by X: @Laponia_pool
We’ll be really happy to help people understand how staking works and educate on Cardano.
Now it’s time to go check the northern light outside of the cabin, cheers.
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.