Stakeboard, a Social Staking Platform

Problems with the Current Staking Landscape:

Currently an estimated 11% of staked ADA is being staked on Binance Exchange alone. And more than 50% of all delegated ADA is currently delegated to just 25 multi-pool owners. Currently delegated ADA should be more broadly distributed, both for the health of Cardano’s Stakepool Operator community, and the security of the Cardano network itself.

Current staking-compatible wallets provide delegators with a limited number of metrics to ascertain the yield they might expect in delegating to a given stakepool. But this information is only useful to delegators with a solid understanding of what these metrics mean. Less savvy delegators typically become intimidated because they don’t fully understand what these metrics mean, and these delegators become frustrated when their delegations don’t result in the rewards they expect.

Additionally, for delegators trying to identify stakepools that align with their values, finding the right stakepool quickly becomes a tedious and labyrinthine search. Even savvy delegators find themselves running web searches of numerous stakepools without a clue about what they’ll find, and find themselves visiting numerous stakepools websites where there’s no standardization of information presented.

What’s worse, many scammers are exploiting the good will of Cardano Stake Pool Operators (SPOs) and Cardano projects by spinning up imposter stakepools. There are scammers further exploiting delegators via social network accounts impersonating SPOs. And for the vast majority of delegators who want to stake their ADA in a purpose-driven way — with a pool that uses renewable energy, is operated in a given location, supports diversity in blockchain, etc. — there aren’t practical ways to verify claims made by SPOs.

Currently, some centralized exchanges offer a fixed yield on ADA with two clicks of a mouse. And with the significant learning curve involved in delegating prudently with a smaller SPO, and the lack of tools to foster the growth of trust in smaller SPOs, it’s no wonder the bulk of ADA is delegated to so few pools. If the perceived balance of incentives for most delegators is going to tip back in favor of supporting a healthy, growing SPO community, it’s going to take more than collective marketing efforts, support from the Cardano foundation or charitable intentions: We’ll need to make it easier, more trust-inspiring, and more lucrative for Cardano users to drive decentralization.

Stakeboard’s solutions

Our team at Stakeboard is building a social staking marketplace to provide SPOs and delegators the tools and incentives to support a growing number of prosperous SPOs. Stakeboard will:

  1. Make delegating easier, more informed, and more rewarding;
  2. Promote decentralization by fostering transparency and trust between SPOs and delegators;
  3. Grant SPOs and delegators access to a growing number of staking-centered, decentralized business opportunities

Improved Staking Experience:

The platform will aggregate all Cardano stakepools in one place, where delegators can run targeted searches based not only on quantitative criteria, but also based on their values. So whether they want to support single-pool operators, women in blockchain, Cardano developers, charitable causes, and/or other value propositions highlighted on Stakeboard, delegators can narrow their search for the right stakepool in seconds.

For delegators who find the right fit and are ready to stake, Stakeboard will provide an easy, intuitive staking interface. Delegators will have clear (yet unobtrusive) access to explanations of what specific stakepool metrics mean (so they can make an informed staking decision). And Delegators will even be able to ask stakepool operators (SPOs) questions via Stakeboard’s messaging application.

For Stakepool operators without a lot of time or money to spend on marketing, Stakeboard will bring some equity to the Cardano staking landscape by giving every SPO a space to present their unique value proposition to the delegator community, along with tools to easily and effectively communicate with their delegators.

2. Transparency and Trust:

a. To combat the rise of imposter stakepools, Stakeboard will enable SPOs to verify ownership of their stakepools using a protocol made possible by CIP (Cardano Improvement Proposal)-022. Further, it will enable SPOs to link their verified stakepools to its authentic social accounts and website. And our team will be able to identify, flag, and send out alerts to Stakeboard users about any fraudulent stakepool that claims to be owned by a legitimate project or pool owner.

One of the best things about Cardano’s staking system is there isn’t a high barrier of entry to setting up a stakepool. But the drawback to this is bad actors can create one or more stakepools with a relatively modest investment. And especially since the advent of the Initial Stakepool Offering (ISO) funding model on Cardano, we’ve seen an alarming rise of fraudulent stakepools. That said, to give delegators the confidence they need to embrace a greater degree of decentralization, it’s critical to provide them with a way to know they’re interacting with real SPOs and not imposters.

b. Alice, Stakeboard’s staking detective, is a bot which scans Cardano for questionable and suspicious SPO actions that could negatively impact delegator rewards. Users who sign up for a free, Stakeboard account will be able to receive notifications from Alice pertaining to their delegation(s).

Alice’s notifications, combined with the pool information metrics displayed on Stakeboard (derived in part via integrations with adapools.org), will increase user confidence in delegating to smaller, less established pools. Stakeboard will inform and educate delegators upfront, and Alice will monitor their delegations on an ongoing basis, so they’ll feel more confident in breaking away from the delegation herd without feeling the need to constantly check on their delegations.

c. Stakeboard’s functionality will allow delegators to verify SPOs’ claims.

Stakeboard will encourage a culture of “trust, but verify” in delegating. If a delegator is uncertain about whether a stakepool’s specific claims are true (for example, that they use predominantly green energy or are owned by a woman in blockchain) then Stakeboard’s messaging application enables them to ask the SPO for supportive documentation. And Stakeboard will provide verified stakepools with the ability to upload documents to their profile that evidence the truth of their value propositions.

[To learn what the Stakeboard team is already doing to combat scams attacking Cardano’s staking community, and how we aim to make Stakeboard one of Cardano’s most valuable tools in disarming disinformation cyber attacks, please check out our proposal focusing on this topic.]

3. Decentralized Business Opportunities:

At Stakeboard we think of Proof-of-Stake (POS) consensus as foundational decentralized finance (defi). And we believe the power of POS combined with Cardano’s UTXO model will only begin to realize its full potential once Cardano delegators and SPOs come together in innovative ways to leverage their collective block rewards into the growth of decentralized business (debiz). The reality is, even if projects like Stakeboard improve trust, transparency and ease-of-use in the Cardano staking landscape, a huge amount of ADA will still remain on centralized exchanges unless delegators are provided more compelling financial incentives towards decentralization. And at stakeboard we believe this financial incentive will be the chance to participate in the growth of staking-centered debiz. The advent of the Initial Stakepool Offering (ISO) funding model is already beginning to show the potential here, and at stakeboard we want to push this potential forward with debiz products built into the Stakeboard platform — starting with the following three:

a. StakePad
With Stakepad, SPOs wanting to use block rewards to launch and/or grow a business (or non-profit organization) will be given special space and additional functionality on Stakeboard to realize their entrepreneurial goals. StakePad will essentially allow stakepools to present proposals to the delegator community, including the SPO’s experience, what the stakepool intends to build, what margin they’ll require (in other words, what level of ADA rewards delegators can expect while staking to the stakepool), what kind of progress reports will be provided, and what benefits (financial or otherwise) delegators will receive for delegating to the stakepool.

Additionally, for projects needing a considerable amount of seed funding to launch, SPO’s will have the option of setting an initial funding contribution requirement prior to launching their pool. If this contribution requirement is reached prior to a deadline stated in the proposal, the SPO will launch their Stakestarter proposal plan and receive the seed funding through Stakeboard, but if the seed funding goal isn’t reached by the deadline, any ADA contributed to the seed fund will be returned to the contributor(s).

Essentially, Stakepad will aim to combine the best of Patreon and Kickstarter models, and integrate them into the POS mechanism to help launch and sustain Cardano ventures.

b. StakeStarter
StakeStarter will leverage Stakeboard’s infrastructure and resources to improve the Initial Stakepool Offering funding model. Building upon MinSwap’s Fair ISO (FISO) model, StakeStarter will further improve the fairness, feasibility, and delegator experience of the FISO model in several ways, including:

  1. Stakestarter will greatly lower the barrier to entry for Cardano projects wanting to raise funds via an FISO, thereby creating more opportunities for SPOs and delegators to participate in FISOs.
  2. Stakestarter will allow projects to introduce criteria for selecting their partner stakepools that go way beyond basic parameters like pools’ fixed costs and minimum pledges. If projects wish, they’ll be able to include criteria to specifically include stakepools utilizing renewable energy, women and/or minority owned pools, pools located in specific regions, SPOs developing applications for the Cardano ecosystem, etc.
  3. With Stakestarter, the Stakeboard team will encourage partner projects to opt for a hybrid stakepool partner selection model which balances fairness to SPOs and the need for community participation in the selection process.

c. Opportunity Board
The Opportunity Board will enable Stakeboard users to list job, gig and collaboration opportunities for projects within the Cardano ecosystem.

[For a more detailed overview of the tools Stakeboard is building to facilitate new business opportunities for SPOs and delegators, please check out our proposal focusing on this topic.]

Roadmap

Challenge question:

How can we promote a decentralized, globally distributed and sustainable pool of operators to run the Cardano network?

Currently an estimated 11% of staked ADA is being staked on Binance Exchange alone. And more than 50% of all delegated ADA is currently delegated to just 25 multi-pool owners. Delegated ADA should be much more broadly distributed, both for the health of Cardano’s Stakepool Operator community, and the security of the Cardano network itself. And our team at Stakeboard believes this can be achieved by improving Cardano’s staking landscape in three key ways:

· Connecting Consensus Stakeholders

· Establishing Trust in Decentralization

· Incentivizing Decentralization through Staking Centered De-business

Problem #1 — The Delegation Jungle

Current staking-compatible wallets provide delegators with a limited number of metrics to ascertain the yield they might expect in delegating to a given pool. But this information is only useful to delegators with a solid understanding of what these metrics mean. Less savvy delegators typically become intimidated because they don’t fully understand what these metrics mean, and these delegators become frustrated when their delegations don’t result in the rewards they expect. For this reason, most delegators gravitate towards the largest stakepools and Stakepool operators, and unfortunately many delegators entrust centralized exchanges with the custody and delegation of their ADA.

Additionally, for delegators looking beyond basic metrics to identify stakepools that align with their values, finding the right stakepool quickly becomes a tedious and labyrinthine search. Even savvy delegators find themselves running web searches of numerous stakepools without a clue about what they’ll find, and visiting numerous stakepools’ websites where there’s no standardization of information presented. For delegators, this process is incredibly inefficient. And for stakepool operators, there’s no fair and transparent “marketplace” where they can present their unique value proposition to the delegator community.

Stakeboard Solution #1 — Connecting Consensus Stakeholders

Stakeboard is a Social Staking platform designed with Decentralized Business (De-Business) in mind.

The platform will aggregate all Cardano stakepools in one place, where delegators can run targeted searches based not only on quantitative criteria, but also based on their values. So whether they want to support single-pool operators, women in blockchain, Cardano developers, charitable causes, and/or other value propositions highlighted on Stakeboard, delegators can narrow their search for the right stakepool in seconds.

And for delegators who find the right fit and are ready to stake, Stakeboard will provide an easy, intuitive staking interface. Delegators will have clear (yet unobtrusive) access to explanations of what specific stakepool metrics mean (so they can make an informed staking decision). And Delegators will even be able to ask stakepool operators (SPOs) questions via Stakeboard’s messaging application.

For Stakepool operators without a lot of time or money to spend on marketing, Stakeboard will bring some equity to the Cardano staking landscape by giving every SPO a space to present their unique value proposition to the delegator community, along with tools to easily and effectively communicate with their delegators.

Problem # 2 — Trust … but Verify?

Cryptocurrency is often referred to as “trustless,” but this is only true in a limited sense. I can send ADA to a friend without having to trust the individual nodes comprising the Cardano blockchain. But this is only because the game theory underpinning Cardano’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism compels these individual nodes to be trustworthy. By design, the proof-of-stake system which maintains the trust of users, rewards good actors and punishes bad actors. But this ingenious system that protects us as ADA holders, does not protect us as delegators:

Cardano enthusiasts who live by the mantra “in decentralization we trust,” have no doubt found themselves scouring through understandably low-budget websites in attempt to support a small SPO, only to find themselves doubting whether their faith in decentralization means they need to trust this website. The problem is, there’s currently no way for delegators to know if Stakepool providers are who they claim to be, or do what they claim to do. As crypto is a new and largely unregulated industry that’s centered around digital currency networks, it’s full of scams and charlatans, and the Cardano ecosystem is not immune from this problem: As soon as the Initial Stakepool Offering (ISPO) funding model was introduced, scam ISPO pulls started springing up. Stakepool Operators sometimes go off-line for extended periods — or worse, dramatically raise their margin, negatively impacting their delegators’ rewards. And for all of the philanthropic and purpose-driven claims being made on Stakepool websites, one finds very little proof of these claims on these sites. So how does one know who to trust? It seems clear that unless we establish more delegator trust in more SPOs, the lion’s share of ADA delegations will remain on centralized exchanges and a small number of other stakepools.

Stakeboard Solution # 2 — Establishing Trust in Decentralization

Stakeboard will foster the growth of trust in honest stakepool operators in four key ways:

  1. Stakeboard will allow SPOs to verify ownership of their stakepools: In a process that’s comparable to how Cardano users prove ownership of their private keys (without sharing their private keys) to transact within the network, SPOs will be able to prove to Stakeboard their ownership of their stakepool’s private VRF keys, without having to share those private VRF keys with Stakeboard. Mult-pool owners will be able to verify ownership of all their pools. And once their pool or pools are verified, SPOs will be able to customize their profiles, verify social accounts, and link those social accounts and website to their Stakeboard account.
  2. The Stakeboard team has devised reliable methods by which we can use a combination of on-chain and off-chain data to verify that stakepools seeking to be verified on Stakeboard are not scam or imposter stakepools. And we’ll be able to identify, flag, and send out alerts about any scam stakepool that fraudulently claims to be owned by a legitimate project or pool owner.
  3. Alice, Stakeboard’s staking detective, is a bot which scans Cardano for questionable and suspicious SPO actions that could negatively impact delegator rewards. Users who sign up for a free, Stakeboard account will be able to receive notifications from Alice pertaining to their delegation(s). And these notifications, combined with the pool information metrics displayed on Stakeboard (derived in part via integrations with our partner, adapools.org), will increase user confidence in delegating to smaller, less established pools. Stakeboard will inform and educate delegators upfront, and Alice will have their backs on an ongoing basis, so they’ll feel more confident in breaking away from the delegation herd without feeling the need to constantly monitor their delegations.
  4. Stakeboard’s messaging application will allow delegators to do their due diligence on SPOs’ specific claims, and Stakeboard will encourage a culture of “trust, but verify” in delegating. If a delegator is uncertain about whether a stakepool’s specific claims are true (for example, that they use predominantly green energy or are owned by a woman in blockchain) then they can ask for some supportive documentation. And Stakeboard will provide verified stakepools with the ability to upload and display documents on their profile that support their value propositions. In the future, our team may even create a reward system between users to incentivize the verification of stakepool claims, but even without this incentive system we’re confident the tools we provide early on will be utilized to increase transparency and trust between SPOs and delegators.

(For more information on how Stakeboard is combatting scams and disinformation attacks on Cardano, visit our Catalyst proposal addressing this specific topic here.)

Problem # 3 — Delegators Demand More

Besides the issues of ease-of-use, trust and transparency, the last key factor keeping delegations overly concentrated is a lack of compelling incentive for delegators. Centralized exchanges are simple, and allow skittish holders to be a few clicks away from selling. Larger stakepools have implicitly earned trust, and often come with a charismatic (or at least personable) SPO. And the reality is, the incentives thus far employed by SPOs in general have not resulted in a more diverse and dispersed distribution of delegations. Charitable causes have helped move the needle towards decentralization, but increasing numbers of scarcely profitable, small SPOs vying for more delegation by giving increasing shares to charity is not a sustainable model — not if it’s the only model. The problem is there are numerous SPOs using their stakepools as platforms to fund the development valuable things on Cardano and in their broader digital and local economies, but the power of the new economic paradigm Proof of Stake gives rise to is yet be realized: Delegators want innovative, purpose-driven products and services, and stakepools, their associates and team members want to provide them, and there are infinite possibilities for these groups to use Cardano’s consensus as the foundation for grassroots economic cooperation. But so far too few pieces have been put together; if you want proof of that, just look at the ton of ADA is still sitting on Binance.

Stakeboard Solution # 3 — Incentivizing Decentralization through Staking Centered De-business

At Stakeboard we think of Proof-of-Stake consensus as foundational decentralized finance (defi). An amount of collateral is staked to become a trusted validator of transactions within a monetary system, and rewards for one’s efforts increase in proportion to one becoming a known and trusted validator within the system. But we also believe Proof of Stake protocols will only truly hit their stride when network actors collectively demand that real economic buildings — real, innovative and purpose driven businesses — grow out of this proof-of-stake, financial foundation. And we believe the “Binance Killer” — the incentive that will pull vast amounts of ADA of centralized exchanges, will be these decentralized businesses (de-businesses) that pull together SPOs, developers and delegators for more than block rewards, salaries, or 5% interest. At Stakeboard, we want to do everything we can to uncover the entrepreneurial and investment potential of Cardano’s proof of stake protocol, and to that end we’re initially building de-business functionality into the Stakeboard platform, beginning with three related applications:

SeedStake -

A Space on the Stakeboard platform will be dedicated to Cardano developers and other SPO entrepreneurs looking to support their business development with block rewards from their stakepool. Similar to applications like Patreon, SPOs will be able to post progress on their projects, and offer delegators a variety of benefits for delegating to their pools — special access to applications under development, tokens for projects under development, future dividends from a business under development, etc. In addition to needing to verify their stakepools, SPOs who want to use this platform while raising their margin over a certain threshold (presumably to accelerate their project’s development) will be subject to due diligence from the Stakeboard team, so not to erode Stakeboard’s good will with our users.

StakeStarter — Stakeboard’s Fair Initial Stakepool Offering (FISO) Model:

For the purposes of the proposal, I may just say we’ve “devised reliable methods by which we can use a combination of on-chain and off-chain data to verify that when an SPO applies to be verified on Stakeboard, they a given stake pool is associated with the project and/or multi-pool owner

allowing them to verify ownership of their stakepools. Similar to how Cardano user don’t need to share their private keys, but of their private keys in order to transact with the network, without having to share their private keys For shrewd delegators, and the increasing number of institutional delegators who will doubtless join the Cardano community in the future, it’s not enough for a Stakepool operator to claim they use renewable energy, or operate out of a given location, or are working on this or that project. Delegators want proof, so Stakeboard is creating a system whereby SPOs can present a package of proof to Stakeboard to prove their claims. And if they sufficiently prove a claim, stakepools will receive a certificate of verification and attached NFT that differentiates them on the platform. Because their claims have been verified, their pools will show up more prominently in searches than pools making those claims who have not had them verified. And delegators also will be able to filter their searches to only display verified claims.

Second, Stakeboard will give more confidence to delegators by watching their backs. Users with a free account on Stakeboard can opt to receive email notifications from Alice, Stakeboard’s staking detective, which scans Cardano for questionable and suspicious Stakepool actions that could negatively impact delegator rewards. Part of the reason so many delegators gravitate towards large stakepools is 1) they trust that (since the delegation herd is there) these large pools must at least be good faith actors, and 2) most delegators don’t have time to babysit their stakepool operator on Yoroi or Daedalus to ensure they’re acting in good faith. But with Alice watching their back, more delegators will have more confidence in supporting smaller, less established stakepools.

If you like what we are doing and you want to support us along the way. Please consider delegating to our stake pool [BOARD]

We have written 3 proposals, our proposals can be found on Ideascale, have a look and if you support the proposal throw us some claps and feedback! Cheers and have a good read.

1. Stakeboard: Social Staking Platform https://cardano.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Stakeboard-Social-Staking-Platform/383858-48088

2. Beyond ISO: SPO-driven Funding https://cardano.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Beyond-ISOs-SPO-driven-Funding/384955-48088

3. Defending Cardano Staking Ecosystem: https://cardano.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Defending-Cardano-Staking-Ecosystem/384952-48088

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store