This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a mission-driven stake pool with the aim of financing the school education of children in Tanzania as well as using NFTs to help single mothers in need of support: King TUT StakePool [KTUT].
This initiative is a point of reference for everything Cardano and every week or two we will invite a Stake Pool Operator (SPO) to answer some questions and give us an update directly from within the Cardano community.
Considering that many of our readers are new to the crypto space, we will have a mix of simple and technical questions.
Hi Michel, thanks for this contribution. Tell us something about yourself, where are you based and what is your background?
Hello this is Michel, I am a vascular surgeon resident in Frankfurt, Germany. I am one of the 2 King Tut Stake pool owners along with my friend, Mina, who is an automotive engineer with a decent cryptography background. Our friendship dates 15 years back for we used to be lead solo singers in our church’s choir.
How did you find out about Cardano and what fascinates you about it?
I first stumbled upon Cardano in 2020 after watching Charles Hoskinson’s famous whiteboard video from 2017. The visionary concept postulated by him was inspiring to say the least. Nothing has triggered me to go all-in for years as Cardano did. It was at that moment when Shelly Mainnet went live in August 2020 that it struck me: there is actually hope that a project can scale to give Africans a chance to have a financial identity, to make their dreams come true, to give back to their own communities.
Banking the unbanked, especially in Africa, is not a new concept. But the approach that Cardano took establishing an ecosystem where a peer-to-peer lending system can actually work without a middleman ripping both parties off was groundbreaking. It all came alive when in the Africa special update it was announced that a deal was struck with the Ethiopian government, where five million Ethiopian students would receive a Cardano blockchain-based ID that will allow the ministry to track their academic performance, with 750,000 teachers having access to the system.
It would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the Ethiopian Minister of Education, Getahun Mekuria. An educated man with a background in cryptography. That was the inspiration to set up a stake pool dedicated to supporting the education of African Children.
On the Cardano SPO Column we try to give a voice to smaller pools like yourself, can you share your experience? What could be done to help smaller pools?
Starting a stake pool with all the published open source material is not technically challenging to anyone. That is what most people think. Starting and maintaining a pool is a serious business that if not approached with caution and technical knowledge can end up badly.
King Tut approached the proof-of-stake with caution and loads of research before starting it. Running two relay nodes in the US and Europe with a third one coming soon in Asia, setting a reliable security protocol and migrating the pool to dedicated servers with zero downtime are all specs to having the necessary knowledge of how Cryptography works.
A small pool can yield slightly higher profit than a bigger pool in the middle and long term. But we are still in the phase of teaching people about the dangers of leaving their coins on Exchanges. So talking about how important the decentralization of the network is, might not be an appealing argument to most of the newcomers.
Exposure is also another issue that is ripping the small pools off. Being a YouTube influencer making bullish videos everyday or technical analysis reports helps getting the necessary amount of exposure to run not one but up to TEN stake pools.
The change in the K-parameter might be effective, if the large pool owners decided not to double their multiple pool industry. The stakes are high, the incentives are strong. Only time will tell how things might change in the upcoming months.
Yours is also a mission-driven stake pool, what constitutes one and what is your mission?
A mission-driven stake pool is one that shares the good with others. As simple as that. The concept is not unique to the Cardano ecosystem but the level to which the Cardano community decided to take it to, is unprecedented. On missiondrivenpools.org there are 100 Missions supported through almost 90 stake pools with over 6,000,000 ADA pledged to those causes.
We at King Tut StakePool (Ticker: KTUT) decided to pursue a sustainable mission: education. A well educated person can change the lives of millions. There is no better example than the Minister of Education in Ethiopia himself, Dr. Getahun Mekuria. He knew exactly that Crypto was a viable solution to an endemic problem of lack of data. A proof-of-stake blockchain like Cardano is the better and eco-friendlier way to go.
An educated person can make better decisions and help build better communities. King Tut stake pool started off by paying tuition to orphan children in Tanzania. This is only the start. We are aiming at scaling that to a wider range of African, south American and south east Asian countries.
Our wild dream is to build: Cardano School.
I appreciate your time. Any final thoughts? Where can people find you?
I appeal to the Cardano community to make informed decisions when it comes to delegation. The whole industry is depending upon it. If an Exchange platform with hundreds of millions of ADA staked to their name decided to rip the whole ecosystem off through manipulating the decision making process, we will lose everything we have been seeking for the past years.
Remember, folks: not your keys, not your coins.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.