Lets face it; the tech side of Cardano is hard. Guides like Coin Cashew have made it easy to get in to the stakepool business. But make no mistake; these things are really bleeding edge. A slight lack of technical understanding can create a very bad outcome.
When I first stood up HS0LO stake pool (now renamed to BUDZ), I had an idea for preventing missed blocks. What if I set up two block producers, that have the same operating certificate. That way my blocks would make it out, even if one was offline for whatever reason. Its with good fortune that I asked around prior to implementing this. I was told at that time that this was a big no no, and there were plans to punish SPO’s that did this. I did not know the circumstances as to why it was bad; but I abandoned the plan before ever implementing it.
Well the reason you dont do this became apparent this week. For those of you who are not familiar with Andrew Westberg; he is a very well known Cardano Developer. He has developed tools such as CNCLI, Poolperks.io, and the upcoming DripDropz. So when he points out something; people take notice. The other day he released a bit of code that showed pools that had been using multiple block producers. It was a big enough deal, that Tim Harrison at IOHK responded.
But no one took more heat than the legendary Kaizen Crypto. His pool ended up towards the top of the naughty list. Being how well known he is in the community, this was a really bad look for him. And many a small pool operator was quick to publicly shame him.
But this post isnt to further drag him through the mud. Instead I’m hoping to offer some perspective. I’ve been working with computers since I was 12 years old (I’m now 43). I’ve been a professional computer/network engineer for 25 years. When I put some thought to high availability, my first instinct was to set up two block identical block producers. Had I of not asked, prior to implementing, BUDZ pool would have been guilty of the same thing. As an SPO operator, you are obligated to ensure you are minting your blocks for you delegates. This is paramount. So having a mechanism to make sure you mint if your datacenter is having an outage is a logical conclusion. As soon as he was made aware of the problem, he owned it publicly, and rectified it. These are the things a leader does.
The operators who were really quick to shame him publicly, only were really hoping to snap up some delegates who might have been planning to walk away. We all want to succeed. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Please try to keep it civil folks. What I didnt see was a backlash for 1 percent pool; the pool that does literally everything that it possibly can, to contradict the ethos of Cardano.
Andrew Westberg created a really great podcast, that explains the problem created with having multiple block producers. Its worth the watch.