Cardano Shelley Mainnet is live, and I'm running a highly-available stake pool

2020-07-31 · Computing

Cardano is a third-generation proof-of-stake blockchain platform, running the Ada cryptocurrency. In contrast to many other digital currencies, it does not require large amounts of computing resources to maintain, or even to generate new currency. This I believe to be a factor which will turn out to be of critical importance in the long-term success of cryptocurrencies. What is Ada? goes into detail about how Ada is extraordinarily innovative, and very different in research, design, and development to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others. I’ve decided to be a part of this journey by running an independent, highly-available stake pool: CRAB.

Cardano hard-fork

This week, on Wednesday at 21:44 UTC, a long-awaited hard-fork occurred, taking the Cardano blockchain into the decentralised Shelley era. Like so many in the community, I’ve spent much of the last couple of weeks researching for days, wading through hundreds of pages of fast-changing and frequently-inaccurate documentation, and testing my relay and block-producing nodes setup. I wanted to not only participate in this new cryptocurrency opportunity by buying Ada, but also to be a part of its success by running an independent stake pool within my fault-tolerant and highly-available infrastructure, which I developed for Isoxya. As part of this, I built my own container images within my private CI, and tracked and installed various versions of Cardano in the run-up to launch. When it became clear that Cardano Node 1.18.0 would be the one suitable for going live, I spun up new production servers, and installed them using Ansible. Had I known, I would have started syncing the Mainnet production blockchain earlier, since it currently takes a few hours to update.

Stake pool registration

After that, I completed the stake pool registration, and my stake pool went live about 4 hours later. This made another very late night, but was ultimately worth it, and there was a great sense of community—apart from being blocked earlier in the week from the stake pool operators’ Telegram channel, and then booted off entirely shortly after Mainnet launch—possibly by an angry robot. I’ve given up, and will keep to the Cardano forum in future.

CRAB stake pool now live

And so, right from the very first Shelley epoch, I present to you CRAB—a stake pool with highly-available block-producing nodes (most other stake pools don’t seem to offer this). The pool margin is just 1%, and the pool cost is 340 ADA (the minimum allowed). I’ve pledged 10K ADA to the pool (~ 1186 EUR)—so you can see I’m serious about running a high-quality setup. It’s already possible to delegate to it using the Daedalus wallet, to be a part of the adventure right from the beginning of this phase—and to hopefully earn rewards based on your Cardano cryptocurrency (which at all times remains safely in your own wallet, and spendable as desired).