At this weekend’s Rare Evo blockchain community event in Dever, Colorado, Hosky and a handful of his Rug Pool operators appeared on a Panel Discussion. It was a lighthearted peek into this corner of the Cardano ecosystem, where people are having fun doing work that they are serious about. Four Rug Pool operators appeared on the panel, including the moderator, and I spotted several more in the audience, including EPOCH, VEGAS, and LIDO. For this article, we will refer to all the participants by their community-facing monikers, including of course Hosky, as well as the stake pool operators.
The panel was moderated by HERO pool, who is also known as one of the founding hosts of the Twitter/X space show Cardano over Coffee. Hero kicked off the discussion by asking SALT pool how he got started with Cardano. Salt shared that he got introduced to Bitcoin and Ethereum in the early days, and said that he found the technology interesting, but saw some flaws in those projects that left him looking for something different. When he heard about Cardano and the Proof-of-Stake concept, he decided to participate, starting with the ITN (Initial Test Network). He enjoyed the thrill of participating and experimenting with something brand new. He was also attracted to the idea of personally owning a part of something much larger, and earning a little income at the same time. Salt pool wanted to leave the audience thinking about the importance of trust in building our communities.
Next, Hero turned to HAZEL pool to ask what were the initial challenges of participating as a stake pool operator. Hazel responded by quickly jumping past the initial challenge of figuring out the technical requirements, asserting that this challenge was also what stirred his interest. To anyone considering trying their hand at running a pool, his advice was “Don’t hesitate. Just do it.” He emphasized that even newcomers who are interested and tenacious can figure it out, especially if they are willing to ask for help. This, he said, is what makes being an SPO so great - people are willing to help! Here, Salt jumped in to affirm that his pool would not exist without the supportive community that is always willing to help. Hazel also pointed out that you can participate on the testnet with zero risk, and when you are ready to launch your pool, you get the satisfaction of contributing to network operations and security. Responding to a question about what else stake pools can do, Hazel pointed out that there are two kinds of opportunities that stake pools should be thinking about: First, remember that a stake pool is a business. Like any other business, stake pools should think creatively about what other services they can offer their community. Second, traditional businesses should think about how they can use stake pools to enhance what they do.
Finally we heard from ASPEN - the newest Hosky Rug Pool. Aspen shared that he was initially introduced to blockchain from an investment standpoint, but as a long time web developer, he soon became interested in the underlying technology, comparing Proof-of-Work with Proof-of-Stake, learning about block validation, consensus, and more. He mentioned that development is not a career for people who want to feel like they have mastered everything, and if you're frustrated by problems and constant change, it might not be for you. But those who are excited by ongoing learning and problem-solving might enjoy it! He encouraged people to find resources that match their preferred learning style: reading, video channels, chatting with real people… however you like to engage, you can find what works for you. Aspen encouraged new and existing SPOs to think about what other projects and opportunities they can participate in with the infrastructure and expertise that they have with their pools.
All three panelists agreed that the benefit they gained by joining the Hosky Rug Pool benefit started with the increased delegation they received, but didn’t end there. The relationships and network that they enjoy is the real value.
Hosky came on stage to say some closing words, reminding the audience that stake pool operators are the engine that makes the network run! If you are not a pool operator you can still help Cardano by staking your ADA. Staking to a HOSKY pool allows you to earn HOSKY too.