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  • Writer's pictureTraveler Jo

Diversity at Work

What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.

~ Edward Kennedy

Cardano is, right now, rearranging commerce and creating new channels for capital to flow around the world. It addresses complex problems of legacy finance and is in the process of dismantling barriers to equitable distribution of funds in the new global economy. Cardano protocols were created by people who understand that such a system requires the inherent flexibility to adapt as products are introduced. It is changing in front of our eyes as new dApps and DEXs are introduced. Sundae Swap, for example, has impacted Cardano in inordinate ways and this is only the beginning. It is important that we understand that this is a complex system that must grow and adapt to survive. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the Cardano of 2030 will barely resemble the Cardano we know today.

Eventually we will transition to community governance. Therefore it is imperative we begin to understand that growth is as much a part of Cardano as is decentralization. The protocols were not written in stone and will be tweaked hundreds of times with the introduction of new people, places, and things. Once the scaling phase is complete we will begin to transition to the Community Governance phase. This means that anyone with staked ADA will have a vote as to the future direction of the ecosystem. It also means that everyone who is voting should become educated about diverse perspectives and listen to a wide variety of voices. This is critical to building a system that is envisioning global finance. The interests of an ADA holder in Malawi may be different that those of one from Idaho. How do we accommodate that? How do we build a community that allows people to leverage their strengths and build their best future no matter what part of the globe they start from? These are all important questions for us to review and think about. They are important because we are already a vibrant and diverse group today and we are just getting started.

In this post we are looking at three stake pool operators that attended Chef Theo’s 2/10 Twitter space: Drinks Pool, Candlestake Pool and Lighthouse Pool. Their differences are glaring. They are spread out across the globe geographically. They have wildly varied backgrounds and goals. They found Cardano in different ways and yet they are all deeply committed to Cardano and its ability to change the world. They are a great example of how Cardano connects disparate forces and unites us for a purpose. Here are their stories:

Drinks Pool - Shalom

Like so many people in customer service, Shalom was deeply impacted by the Covid lockdowns which caused her to lose her job and her home. She could have given up at that point. Instead, she turned those losses into an opportunity to choose a new path to financial freedom by working with a partner to become a Cardano stake pool operator.

Never one to sit still, she has convinced her employer (Kitchen 24 in West Hollywood) to accept tips in ADA - thus creating both a real life use case and an opportunity to educate and start a conversation. Forging her own path has made her realize the importance of financial education, particularly for women. Shalom is dedicated to her success within Cardano. Even though she is working three jobs at the moment, she still finds time to work on the upcoming NFT project with her partner, which creates characters that personify drinks. They are finalizing the project now and announcements will be forthcoming.


Cody David Smith (the operator of Candlestake Pool) arrived, feet first and screaming, in 1991. He has been a force to reckon with ever since. He is a man on a mission to reinvent traditional finance and help people understand how to achieve financial freedom. With a degree in finance and previously certified as a financial planner, Cody understands legacy financial systems - he just isn't a fan of them. He sees Cardano as a means to financial independence and envisions growth to a loose collaboration of SPOs all benefiting local communities. Candlestake is a relatively new pool, having started in December. Therefore Cody is primarily focused on increasing his delegators, both internationally and locally. While he is just starting on his Cardano journey, Cody is firmly committed to the vision, mission and the great success that will surely follow.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Nick from Lighthouse stake pool is focused on providing clean water for some of the poorest regions of Africa. This isn’t theoretical charity. This is revenue from a Cardano stake pool funding wells in remote Southern Malawi villages (in the Mangochi District) through the help of a trusted partner. Nick currently resides in Italy, but feels a deep connection to Malawi after traveling there some years ago. His experiences there helped him understand the challenges faced by people who, without these wells, would have to walk miles to obtain water that is safe to drink. This is possible through a close collaboration with trusted local contacts and annual site visits.

Nick, with the help of the Cardano community has also facilitated the filtration of water from a captured spring in Uganda. The pool was approached directly by Gloria who runs an orphanage in the village, with the problem that the water is often muddy, especially when it has rained. The solution they came up with after consulting with a hydro-geologist who specializes in spring capture in Africa, was to plant Vetiver grass in the area above the spring. The roots of this grass are a fine mesh that grows to a depth of 3-4 meters and naturally filters the water. The grass can also be cut several times a year for animal food. This was an interesting pilot project at a much lower cost and the technique will also be used in other villages and other countries.

Nick is also very focused on the growth and sustainability of the Cardano ecosystem. He feels that there is not one single parameter that Cardano should change to support single pools and maintain balance. Rather, he is focusing on a nuanced combination of parameter changes and community education as key to Cardano’s success. To focus on simply changing the k parameter, for example isn't sufficient to make a positive impact. Nick feels that the community must look at all components including k, the fixed minimum fee and others to create impactful, lasting growth. He is also mindful of the impact of too much regulation. After all, we don't want to create a rigid, unyielding system that mirrors all the problems in legacy financial that we are trying to avoid.

Drinks, Candlestake and Lighthouse are three very unique and active pools - all focused on making a positive difference in the Cardano ecosystem. Please get in touch if their missions resonate with you. They would love to hear from you.

By Traveler Jo |

You can find Traveler Jo somewhere close to the sea. She loves Cardano, kayaking and food - not necessarily in that order. She's busy exploring the world, always in the company of her husband, tired dog and indignant felines.

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