SPOt-light #010 [ZOE]

Hello everyone, the tenth edition of SPOt-light is a fact, and we’re spending it with ZOE Pool! One of the very few #WomenInBlockchain. Let’s hope we can learn about her story, motivations and ideas and inspire other women into pursuing a leading role in Cardano! Lets visit Nigeria!

Hello @zoepoolz Tell us a little bit about yourself, what are your areas of expertise? (Tech, finance, underwater welding), how did you learn about Cardano and what led you to adopt the role you currently play in the ecosystem?
       
Hi my real name is April, I’m from Nigeria. Aside from being a stake pool owner, I have my LLB (Bachelor of Law, red) in view. In 2019, my friend Josh, who is the Nigerian Ambassador of Cardano, introduced me to blockchain and everything tech. Prior to that time, I had zero interest in this field but he inspired and motivated me. He gave me articles, videos, literally taught me what blockchain was all about including Cardano. Everything was still so strange to me because I was entering into a whole new world entirely. As I made my research, I stumbled upon Mr. Hoskinson’s white board presentation and that blew me away. I just fell head over heels for cardano not just because it was a crypto currency, but because I saw potential. I saw this thing helping Africa. Not many Africans, especially women know about this whole new and interesting project called Cardano. They can’t adopt it if they don’t know about it. This is why Zoepool was birthed. To educate and create awareness about how this tech can solve issues here in Africa, and then adoption.    

So from getting to know Cardano, you now are a core part of it, or as most SPO’s do, trying hard to solidify that role. How is that going, walk us through the process if you will.

Being an SPO is not an easy task I must say. Especially here in Africa. I no longer handle the technical aspect of the pool, it was outsourced to a professional IT specialist because it wasn’t sustainable running it here in Nigeria. My daily activity as a stakepool owner includes; staying updated on the happenings in the network, doing a lot of research and studies because I teach people about this thing every month, I write articles alongside my partner every week. I’m also working on two new projects that will be announced soon. Basically, I keep the vision rolling.

What is the current state of your Pool, We know its in Africa, but that’s about as far as most people will get it! Get technical if you like, describe your journey.
   
ZOE is still relatively small in size. Honestly, the work here is in getting delegates; not just getting them, getting them to stay in your pool. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not managing the technical aspect of Zoepool, but ZOE is doing really well. We have minted over 170 blocks, and right now we’re over 950k ada in stake.  

Were there any problems, obstacles to overcome on the way, and if yes, how did you tackle them, what resources did you use?
   
There were problems on my way to Zoepool because I am from a non-IT background, all the running of commands and codes for nodes were just so new to me. I made so many errors, there was even a time I almost lost my pledge. My first trial wasn’t easy but I appreciate the community members who came through for me and that was how I overcame this. A few months later, I was teaching my female developer friends how to build a node! How awesome!        

So, you have a mission right? One that has been covered briefly but energetically in the #AfricaSpecial (We loved you btw ;)) but it’s regarding Women in Blockchain, please elaborate!
   
Thanks for the compliments. Yes! Zoe has a mission and that’s to reach out to as many people as possible about this tech and how we can use it to better our lives. Over here In Nigeria, almost everything we have is centralised. Just recently, the government banned the use of Twitter. We can just wake up one morning and they will just decide to cut off our internet. And there is nothing we can do about it. I feel Cardano can liberate Africans from a centralised government, and lead it to a decentralized one. Zoe has her focus on women simply because she wants to see more participation from women in this space not because she wants to compete with men.           

Do you feel there is a special barrier of entry for women? One that might not be so obvious? Or are there other, more covert or personal factors at play? Share your personal views on this if you like.
   
Well, growing up as a young lady In Africa, I had the mindset that tech related subjects are only for the boys. It’s funny but that’s how so many ladies in Africa grew up. So many ladies still have this idea that this space is a male dominated one because it’s a male thing. There’s actually no barrier of entry here. I believe if you put your mind to it, you’ll do it. Something ladies need to know is that you don’t need to be all techy techy to be here.       

You have received a good chunk of delegation from IOG, what was that like? And maybe more important, what are your efforts now to make sure you attract delegates since IOG left?
   
IOG delegation was really helpful to Zoepool and to attract more delegations, I’ll just do my part by promoting Zoe and praying for the stakes!

What can people do when they don’t operate a pool, but do have some ADA in their portfolios, can you give some general recommendations? Do’s and don’ts so to speak.    
   
If you don’t run a pool, you should definitely be staking. This is the mechanism adopted by the Cardano network for issuing rewards. Basically, you get rewarded for staking with a particular stakepool. You have nothing to lose because your funds are not locked in a pool, you still have full control of your funds. I’d advise you to stake with either daedalus or yoroi wallet and not at an exchange.       

We see a lot of different operators successfully managing multiple ways of running pools. Think of exchanges, clusters, custodial wallets etcetera. Do you see any threat to the network in regards to the direction it’s headed now? Does it affect the central goals of the project?

The main goal of Cardano at the end of the 5 eras, is to be fully decentralised and that means that the community will have control over the network. I see exchanges and people running multiple pools, but I choose to remain optimistic about it. With the unity of the cardano community members, I don’t think that there will be any of that kind of threat to the network.      

Why should people delegate their ADA to your pool, or what benefit do they get from supporting this initiative?
   

Well, if you want to support Africans but don’t know how to, you should definitely delegate to Zoepool. By doing so, you are automatically helping Africans. This is a mission driven pool, and you sure want to be part of a really good mission to empower Africans.

Any final thoughts?

Zoepool is much more than just a stakepool. The vision is really big and you can be part of it by delegating a portion of your stakes. Finally, I want to give a huge shout out to the community, especially Amanda, operator of DEADPOOL, she has been super amazing. Supporting small pools the best way she can. I love you Amanda!    

Thank you so much for having me Bas, I’m really grateful for this opportunity.

It was my pleasure, bringing attention to these initiatives is key, and even if we dont have many followers yet, I feel that every bit counts towards spreading the vision of cardano! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, even though you had many things to handle!

Follow us @STAYKPool and lets go #WomenInBlockchain!

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