SPOt-light #006 [TAPC]

Hello Everyone, We’re back at it with another interview of an SPO from the F2LB initiative. Since we are gaining momentum, its time to give the spotlight to a guy thats been very active in supporting other SPOs in troubleshooting and setting up their pool. His name is unusual, but hes a wonderful person. read on and drop this guy a visit if you liek what he’s about!

Hello Tapioca, Tell us a little bit about yourself, what are your areas of expertise? (Tech, finance, other)

I’m glad to be here! Thanks for having the Tapioca Stake Pool in your show. I’m a programmer and a system administrator (Linux), my area of expertise is web development, backend development to be precise, but I also have a background in electronics, I have an electronics degree and worked in the Telecom Industry but I don’t do that anymore, I crossed to the bright side, which is I.T.

how did you learn about Cryptocurrencies and what led you to adopt the role you currently play in the ecosystem?

As I stated in the Tapioca Web Page I started with other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, started as an “investor”, I was afraid to lose money, as I think many of us if not all of us have had that “fear to lose”. After I got the mechanism of sending and receiving money, after understanding about the security implications I was motivated to know more about how it worked. I mean, I knew about proof-of-work but I was curious if something could be done as back in the days that with a laptop computer an a good graphics card you could mine something like ‘satoshis’. I knew though that you needed a lot of computational power in order to be somewhat competitive. So I gave it a try and I joined a Bitcoin pool. I didn’t feel satisfied with the overall experience, I didn’t feel I had some control maybe they would scam me and I wouldn’t notice it, besides all that my hardware wasn’t that powerful.

So I stumbled on Monero and studied it a little bit, I learned that it offered privacy and the proof-of-work mechanism was adaptive and ASIC resistant, so I gave it a try. At that time, the ledger only was about 90GB, and the miner software was buggy (maybe there was something wrong with my system, I’m speaking of my personal experience, I’m not blaming anyone here) and heavy at the time. Most of the times it went out of sync so I was disappointed again. Not even able to contribute as a bootstrap. Ethereum was out of discussion, investing a lot in hardware and then in money 32ETH was about 32000€, so it was impossible for me.

So your search continued, and then there was cardano? Or was it more subtle or accidental?

I stumbled on Cardano thanks to a YouTube video of Crypto Bureau where he talked about this cryptocurrency called Cardano. He mentioned something about how Bitcoin doesn’t gain more speed as the number of nodes increases but talked about that due to the low overhead of its consensus mechanism Cardano was planning to improve this. More or less at the same period I watched other videos about network entanglement, my brain at the time kind of mixed the both and the I was intrigued. Even though I know now that Cardano is not IOTA, I became passionate about the technical part, it all seemed feasible, even at the monetary side of the equation, I could give a try, at full potential, a very low starting point investment and if something went wrong because I couldn’t make by any means no disgrace would happen.

As I started testing the grounds for Cardano I was hooked, and seeing other people having a lot of success at the Shelley Incentivised Testnet encouraged me even more. I’m a person who likes to have control so I started compiling stuff from source code as the Official Cardano Stake Pool School suggested. The more I learned the more I got hooked. I did all of the steps of the Testnet and set up an otherwise costly configuration for the webpage. What I’m trying to say is this: If I had to pay somebody to set up the same architecture for setting up Tapioca it would have costed a lot. I feel fortunate for this. I’m saving in those costs because I did it myself. It has a test environment and a production environment, headless CMS, and an automated deploy system linked with the source code repository, all of this without over-bloating the server with stuff. I have done this out of love. I’ve put passion into this project. I’m not here only for love though, I’m honest. But I can’t deny the love poured into it!

Ok so, live on the Testnet, all went well, then Mainnet. Were there similarities in terms of growing a pool, or more differences?

After two months in the Testnet I prepared for the real deal: The Mainnet. It was already hard being on the Testnet with only my delegation. There were many things I did not know that I learned when I went live on the Mainnet. One of them is obtaining the ‘lifeblood’ that keeps any node up: delegators. How can I get them? The pool is ready and desiring to be used but no one is using it! It was heartbreaking I must admit.

I kept going into obscure meeting groups of SPOs that were focused on the tech aspect of the community. I learned good things from them and at the same time offered my help to set up pools for others as a way to give back. This is one of the things I like the most about this community, you find people eager to help and this encourages you to do the same, a positive loop I would say. So I subscribed to the Official Cardano Forum just to get to know more people like me; SPOs interested in the internal works. And that’s when I found a post about an initiative where small SPOs united forces in order to increase the chances of minting blocks, that’s how I met F2LB. The requirements were more than affordable and it was better than struggling on my own, so I decided to give it a try.

I found very cool people among its members, pool operators willing to help others pools by promoting them, by standing for the group and for themselves. This really caught me up and within my means I felt inspired to help out as well by giving support to others on the subject I feel more comfortable about, the tech stuff.

Great to read the story, how different skills and approaches led you to joining forces and bring insights and knowledge to further the Cardano community. Do you have any additional info on you and your pool? The floor is yours!

First of all I hope everyone enjoyed the reading of the interview and they will consider helping me stay in the race. My pool is named Tapioca Pool, search for [TAPC] And most of the relevant info and an extensive story is written on my website, about me, well I’m not a shy guy, but I care a lot about privacy, so I try not to expose myself that much. If you’re wondering about the name of the pool, it isn’t any of transcendental, just wanted to make sure no one else could get my ticker before me, so I though about a staple, a very uncommon one but yet important, I liked that one so I started to name everything after it as a joke but then it sticked, and became my alter ego.

My field of work has given me the opportunity to learn from proven companies and how they organize their business infrastructure, on the years working for them I have faced many challenge, hence allowing me to gain experience, now all of this is giving some fruition because in this industry you face a lot of challenges, and we ALL are learning here, everyone, even the founders and their teams, they struggle and work hard in order to solve issues that were not foreseen. (I’m talking about IOHK and Emurgo), if even they face problems, why won’t we? I have found in this community people in this same situation, tackling problems, exposing them, we help eachother. Is a good feeling to support your fellow SPOs and receiving help from them as well in times of need.

As an SPO I can offer my delegators a lot of dedication and hard work to keep those nodes running smooth and tidy, I just don’t ONLY rely on tools that makes you go lazy, I have my tools but I don’t blindly rely on them, I enjoy tinkering, checking out stuff to see how they work. You know, I see this operation like having a farm, you go to your farm, you check on your livestock, you help them to grow healthy, you take care about lots of aspects, you establish a connection with your livestock when you really care about overall well being of your farm. I know that I’m not dealing with living creatures here but servers but the passion is there. I check my nodes personally everyday.

I’m not much of a Twitterbird, so promotion can be difficult, this interview may be of great help! Also, pay the F2LB website a visit, any and all help is appreciated. Thanks again for bringing me to your space!

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