Cardano stake pool [CRAB] update: 0% pool margin; 50K ADA pool pledge

2020-08-24 · Computing

I’ve just updated my high-availability Cardano stake pool, CRAB, lowering the pool margin to 0%, and increasing the pool pledge to 50K ADA. The pool margins are a race to the bottom, and in under a month, I reluctantly feel the need to join in.

pool margin decreased to 0%

Previously, the pool margin was 1%. This was, I felt, an acceptable initial offer to the market, whilst the stake pools stabilised and profit data started to become available. I didn’t expect to make any profit from running a stake pool, at least not at present, but in combination with the 340 ADA pool cost, I felt this would help to offset the infrastructure cost. When Shelley launched, there was talk of there being a few hundred pools. At the time of writing, however, there are 1003 stake pools listed in Daedalus, and competition is fierce. Some stake pools have been successful in attracting a lot of delegated stake in a very short time, even to the point of stake pool saturation. Meanwhile, CRAB has lost around 46% of its small stake within a couple of weeks, adjusting for additional funding I’ve delegated to the pool. While the pool cost has a minimum (the 340 ADA I’ve set for CRAB), the pool margin does not. This creates a race to the bottom, which I feel I must participate in, even though I don’t really want to.

Realistically, the difference between a 0% and 1% pool margin makes very little difference to me, at present; although the decentralised value has increased quickly, it is still at 22%, and the probability of making blocks for such a small amount of delegated stake is also small. Additionally, I’ve noticed a number of the largest stake pools have announced that they only plan to run at 0% pool margin for a limited time; of course, regardless of such statements on social media or websites, the thing which actually counts are the parameters inserted into the blockchain, since stake pool operators might well choose, or be forced out of necessity, to change their minds. Thus, I’ve decreased the pool margin to 0%, meaning that the only cut I’ll get of blocks is the pool cost. It remains to be seen what happens to the network as a whole as a result of this effect; personally, I’d like to see a minimum non-zero pool margin, however small, which would apply a corrective sustainability measure across the network. I will reconsider the pool margin at a later date, when, hopefully, there are more blocks floating around—and more bathers in the CRAB rock pool.

pool pledge increased to 50K ADA

Previously, the pool pledge was 10K ADA. I’ve planned for a couple of weeks to increase this, and to further show my commitment to the stake pool, and my belief in the network as a whole. Unfortunately, Bitpanda exchange still has ADA wallets in maintenance, and I’ve been unable to find anything published by either Bitpanda or Cardano giving a timeline for when the Shelley upgrade will be complete and funds will once more become available. In the meantime, I’ve used Kraken exchange, whose upgrade is complete, to move additional funds to increase the pool pledge. This has enabled me to increase the pool pledge to 50K ADA (~ 5273 EUR), which is hopefully enough to draw attention not only to the pool itself, but to its high-availability design, detailed here. Hopefully, enough people will see this as a positive signal, and increase the delegated stake enough to give a reasonable chance of making blocks as the decentralisation parameter increases. Once Bitpanda goes green for Cardano, I’ll consider increasing the pool pledge further.

now with added crab

Last, and quite possibly least, the stake pool title has been updated to 🦀 HA pool by tiredpixel, which emphasises that in contrast to many other stake pools, CRAB has been designed for high-availability for both the relay and block-producing nodes. Not only that, but the crab symbol should soothe and bring joy to all those who see it—except, of course, if they’re using the Daedalus wallet, which, although otherwise a very promising piece of software, sadly doesn’t appear to support the crab Unicode character.