Interview - Cardano SPO #113: RIOT [RIOT]

Original Placement:

Today’s guest on the Cardano SPO column is a stake pool operated by Piero, a Cardano Ambassador who has been translating content into Italian: RIOT [RIOT].

The previous guest was a stake pool also operated by a Cardano ambassador from Switzerland who has been active in the community since 2018.

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, where are you based and what are your backgrounds?

Hello and thank you for this interview opportunity!

My name is Piero, I am originally from Tuscany, but I have been residing in Panama for about three years.

During my professional career, I have served as a technical sales officer at major multinational companies operating in the building and construction products industry. However, my passion for computer science has always been there, going back as far as the age of 7, when my father gave me the Commodore64.

Outside of work, I devote my free time to photography and travel, two passions that I cultivate with enthusiasm.

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

I began to show interest and invest in the cryptocurrency sector in 2017, initially casually and quite superficially. During the bearish market period of 2018–2019, I was in a phase of uncertainty regarding my investment path in this sector. My expertise in the field had grown and I had found that many projects in the industry lacked a solid technical foundation and a supportive community.

In this deepening process, I rediscovered Cardano, of which I had already been a holder since 2017. I was struck by the vibrant community and consistency in technical development, convincing me that it was the right project for me.

I looked for ways to contribute to the project myself and thus joined the beta testers of Jormungandr, Cardano’s first node, thus beginning my adventure as an SPO (Stake Pool Operator). It was not an easy path, as I had never used Linux before. Hence, in the first few months, prior to the ITN (Incentivized Testnet), I spent many, many nights studying to learn the new operating system. My previous knowledge of the DOS command line was particularly helpful in this learning process.

Nonetheless, I was among the first SPOs (my pool back in the day was called VAULT) active since the ITN era 0, and I ended among the top 25 pools in terms of performance for delegators (13.7%).

You have been a Cardano Ambassador for a long time, how has your experience been? And what role does the Cardano Foundation play in the ecosystem?

My adventure as a Cardano Ambassador began in broadly similar fashion to that of becoming an SPO. It was 2020, we were halfway through the ITN (Incentivized Testnet) phase, and my enthusiasm for the Cardano community and ecosystem was driving me to look for new ways to contribute.

Already operating as an SPO since the beginning of ITN, I was actively participating in the “Best Practice” Telegram channel, offering support to other SPOs to resolve technical issues related to their configurations. However, I wanted to make a broader contribution to the community, so I began translating Cardano-related articles into Italian and discovered the Foundation’s Cardano Ambassadors program.

In April 2020, I became the first Italian Cardano Ambassador and, to date, I am among the longest serving in this role. I have translated about 600 articles for the Italian community. In collaboration with an SPO friend, we founded the Telegram channel “ Cardano Italy,” the only Italian channel supported by the Foundation that complies with CF rules, and now has about 300 members.

I express profound gratitude to the Foundation for its commitment to the evolution of the Cardano ecosystem, especially for educational initiatives, such as the Cardano Blockchain Education course, and during 2023 also technical ones, such as the Cardano Ballot voting software and the Open Source rewards calculation tool.

You have been operating since the very first ITN (Incentivized Testnet), how has your role as an SPO progressed, and what do you think can be improved at the protocol level to help SPOs?

Having gone through all phases of Cardano’s ecosystem development, I have experienced the challenges of the SPO role firsthand. Currently, the predominant problem in the industry concerns the limited mobility of the stake, an obstacle that complicates progress for smaller SPOs. Most delegators have already selected their operator, often based more on social visibility than on technical merits or historical performance.

As the operator of a “smaller” size pool, I believe the entire community should reflect on the consideration that the value of the Cardano blockchain is intrinsically linked to its decentralization. The latter should serve as a guiding beacon for all decisions, both by planners and by individual proxies, and should never be neglected in favor of other factors.

I have always supported the idea that, before making changes to parameters, such as the K value, we should address the issue of the influence of the pledge. Unfortunately, so far, pledge has not been implemented as described in the technical documents on which the Ouroboros consensus protocol is based, and it is a problem we have been carrying around for years now.

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

Thank you again for the opportunity and the contribution you make to the Cardano ecosystem!

You can find me actively engaged every day on Telegram with the username @Lordwotton, participating in the Italian Telegram channels (particularly Cardano Italy) and, of course, in the Telegram group of my stake pool, RIOT. I can also be reached on X (formerly Twitter) at the username LordWotton83.

In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the delegators of the RIOT pool. Through this amazing adventure, I have had the privilege of meeting wonderful people, and without your support none of this would have been possible!

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.

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Thanks a lot @Patryk_Karter for this interview, it was a great pleasure by my side!

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