Who Makes Up Freeloaderz?
When you are investigating any cryptocurrency project, it makes sense to look at the composition of the project team. Who are these people? Do they have experience? Are they invested in the ecosystem? While there is no guarantee of success, a well-known and experienced team lends confidence to a crypto project. It also gives you some insight into the motivation behind the project leaders.
This is why I wanted to provide some information about the SPOs involved in Freeloaderz. There are 60 stake pools involved at the moment, making it impossible to detail each and every one. However, there is a team of 15 core contributors behind the project. These are people who are heavily involved in the structure and growth of Freeloaderz. 10 of the core contributors are stake pool operators. Today I want to talk about these stake pools as I think it's important for the community to understand who is working behind the scenes.
Hedges Stake Pool
Keith, the primary stake pool operator of the Hedges Stake Pool.is a software engineer with experience in multiple different programming languages. He is located in the United States. He was drawn to Charles’ Whiteboard Video and has never looked back. The stake pool has been running since epoch 254 and has produced over 300 blocks. Pool size at the time of writing is just under 2 million ADA. Running the pool has quickly turned from a hobby to a profession. Keith feels that “We must build the systems of the future, tamper-proof, transparent, and open-source, all three things that Cardano does very well”. Keith is always finding new ways to grow, engage, and learn with the Cardano community. Visit https://www.hedgespool.com/ to learn more about the opportunities there.
Darlington and Stephanie honestly don’t get enough recognition for all the work that they do to educate the Cardano community, particularly in regard to Catalyst. Their website is full of educational material. If you are interested in writing a Catalyst proposal, they have a phenomenal three-part series you can check out here. Darlington has a strong understanding of blockchain technology and Stephanie is a great communicator. They both agree that Cardano is changing the world and want to help the community keep up with the technology. Lido is still a small pool with an operator pledge of 42,000 and plenty of room to grow. They are committed to the community and feel that Freeloaderz aligns nicely with their goals of ecosystem improvements and blockchain education.
Guy, the operator of this pool is all about community. He's, well, everywhere. He moved to Los Angeles shortly before the Covid lockdowns began. He took advantage of the free time that followed by learning about Cardano and starting a stake pool. He didn’t stop there, however. He realized that it was rough going to build a pool as a small, independent operator so he reached out to others in the same situation and became one of the founding members of xSPO, which has become one of the most successful and supportive cooperatives in Cardano. The same desire to participate in community collaborations led Guy to participate in Freeloaderz where he sees an opportunity to use the team’s skills to provide enhancements to the Cardano ecosystem. Guy is also a filmmaker and advocate for those dealing with chronic disease. If you want to learn more about his stake pool you can find him on Twitter or the pool’s website.
Rhys is also everywhere. One thing you will find about the Freeloaderz team - they are busy and into everything. Anyway, Rhys has assisted Freeloaderz in so many ways. He has written the Catalyst proposals and managed them to successfully receive F8 funding for the load balancer project. He has a great team interview about Freeloaderz on his YouTube channel which you can see here:
Driven to support small pools, he is also the driving force behind Staking DAO, which is an ongoing project to create an algorithm that will support decentralization and small SPOs. Staking Dao will make it easier to delegate to groups - like all pools under a million or mission driven pools - with a few simple clicks. Personally, I think it sounds much more efficient than manually moving ADA around all the time. You can learn more about Staking DAO here.
Rhys is also a member of the Climate Neutral Cardano group and a personal trainer. If you are interested in learning more about his stake pool you can follow them on Twitter.
Rabbit Hole Pool
How do you follow all that up? You go down the rabbit hole to find Stefano, of course. Also a busy guy, Stef just received Catal, a Cardano based product tracking software that he is building in cooperation with Harmonic Pool. This is exciting as it creates a use case for businesses at large to engage with the Cardano blockchain. Rabbit Hole Pool is also a supporter of Sea Shepherd and other charities. Hardworking and highly organized by nature, Stef is involved in many aspects of Freeloaderz, from documentation to the promotion team. His organizational skill and academic background help him keep his stake pool, catalyst project and Freeloaderz running smoothly. If you are interested in learning more about Rabbit Hole stake pool you can link to the website here.
4WARD Stake Pool
Steven, the owner of 4ward stake pool, is a tech guy at heart who brings over 22 years of software and systems engineering experience to the table. He knows things about front end development that I'm not even qualified to spell, much less explain. Needless to say he is an incredible asset to the Freeloaderz team as they are in the process of building SmartClaimz. 4WARD is a mission driven pool. They support the Third Option Foundation. This organization “seeks to heal, help and honor members of the CIA’s special operations community and their families”. Their work is incredibly important as when these patriots are killed or wounded the families often struggle in silence. The Third Option is able to extend a hand when these families are in need. On a decidedly lighter note, 4ward stake pool is also participating in the new Ziber Bugs game which will allow delegators to participating stake pools to earn their token without sacrificing ADA rewards. 4ward is a unique and busy pool. You can learn more about them here.
Sean is a force for good and the unofficial Freeloaderz welcome committee. He operates ENVY stake pool in conjunction with his brother. Sean has taken on a variety of responsibilities as a core contributor to Freeloaderz, including managing the discord, website and much of the documentation. ENVY is a small but growing pool that supports the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which is the only charity in the U.S. that focuses on the adoption of foster children. Sean is committed to building in the Cardano ecosystem for the long term, which is one of the reasons he became involved with Freeloaderz. ENVY is also involved with the Ziber Bugs Project.
George, who runs Apex Pool is a technical genius and an all around nice guy. Seriously, he helps everyone with everything. He also operates a top notch pool and has contributed numerous open source applications including FreeDropz and a Cardano Token Registry API which can be used to find information about Cardano native tokens that are registered in the Cardano Token Registry. George has over 24 years of IT experience, and is a go to guy for IT security and best practices. He has received both the IOG and CF delegations in the past. He is an amazing contributor to the Freeloaderz team and the broader Cardano ecosystem. You can learn more about APEX pool here.
PANL is short for Providing ADA Network Longevity. Ryan, Brandon and Bob share the responsibilities of running the stake pool. They are all committed to the Cardano ecosystem. Ryan, along with Chris from Santo Pool, was one of the earliest Freeloaderz. They are problem solvers by nature and, when they realized that some chain congestion could be alleviated by spreading transactions across a coalition of stake pools, they jumped into action. In regard to Ryan and his colleagues at PANL pool, they are the people who just get stuff done. You don’t hear about them as much, because they aren’t big self promoters. They are, however, incredibly technologically proficient and always happy to help anyone in the community. They’re members of the xSPO and mission driven pools alliances. You can learn more about PANL pool here.
How does one even begin to sum up Chris with Santo Pool? Even the basics are impressive: 4.5 million staked, 243 delegators, part of the ARDANA ISPO, founder of Freeloaderz, runs professionally managed Linux servers on multiple continents, and has decades of executive experience. He’s a serious, get-it-done kind of guy. On the other hand, his pool donates to the less fortunate via Samaritan's Purse and he spends an inordinate amount of time mentoring and guiding Freeloaderz in order to build a strong community. This is not the easiest thing as there are a lot of type A personalities floating about. Freeloaderz is a DAO, so it doesn’t have a CEO. However, I think I'm safe in saying that Chris is the unofficial leader of the group and that we are all happy for his guidance.
What a team! Hopefully after learning more about the core contributors it is clear why I was honored to become a part of the Freeloaderz family and why I believe that this group is and will be an asset to the Cardano ecosystem for years to come. These people are not only technically proficient, they are engaged in the community. They believe that Cardano is the future, as do I. In fact, the unique, decentralized structure of Cardano is what allowed the Freeloaderz team to come together. In my opinion we are the right team in the right place and time to make a difference. I invite you to join us on our website, Twitter or Discord to learn more and become a part of all the exciting things we are building together.
By Traveler Jo | CardanoArmy.io
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.