This week’s guest on the Cardano SPO Column is a stake pool launched with the desire to better engage with the Cardano Community and try to gain a foothold on the path to financial freedom: stakeTREK.io [TREK].
Last week’s guest was a stake pool launched at the end of February to help refugees from Ukraine.
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.
Cardano SPO, interview with stakeTREK.io [TREK]
Cardano SPO [TREK] is also an Earth Node Operator for World Mobile
Hi, thanks for your time. Tell us something about yourself, where are you based and what is your background?
TREK is a single-person operation. I (Rob) do all of the operating and the marketing for the pool, including handling all of the social media accounts. My wife is a huge supporter and takes care of many off-line things for the family to allow me the time to commit to making the pool more successful. We have 5 kids and live in Western Iowa. We have an acreage and run a small hobby farm. I’ve had a long career in law enforcement and security, so working with computers and blockchains is pretty new to me.
How did you find out about Cardano and what prompted you to launch a stake pool?
I originally found out about cryptocurrencies (BTC and ETH) from a friend of mine back in 2018. I was at his place one day looking to buy some cows from him, actually. I’m a total city-boy and had no experience with animals at all, but I wanted to get a few cows for my new farm and he was looking to get rid of his small herd. In one of his outbuildings he had a massive crypto mining operation. He ended up explaining cryptocurrencies to me over the next several hours and it piqued my interest. I started researching when I got home and immediately came across Cardano.
I began buying Cardano over the next 2+ years and started staking the day Shelley went live. After several months of making noise for many great stake pools, I decided I wanted to have my own pool. Since I didn’t have the computer skills, I relied heavily on the help of a few SPO friends (Amanda -DEAD and Keith -POWER) to help me learn and grow in order to acquire the skills necessary to operate my own pool. It was a big learning curve and it took some time, and TREK would not be here without the help and patience of my friends (who I met by staking to their pools early on).
What are your thoughts on the NFT space on Cardano? Do you have any favourite projects? Tell us more
I’m learning more about NFTs all the time. I’ve missed out on so many great projects because I haven’t truly understood them.
My favourite project right now is the Mandala Metaverse. I was invited to be a part of this project by my friend Ray (GROW Pool). The more I looked into the project, the more excited I became with it. There is an NFT component, and it is a very important part of the project, but Mandala is more about your consciousness and improving the reality around you in order to better yourself and the world. Mandala incorporates NFTs (collecting and staking) with an MMORPG, a virtual-reality simulator, comic books (Dark Horse publishers) and more. It is a way to incorporate who you are as a person into the game, and the NFT is a way to further develop who you are as a person and who you are as a character within the Mandala Metaverse. It sounds amazing and I’m extremely excited for it!
Another thing I am excited about is Adosia. This is the brainchild of Kyle (FROG Pool, SpaceCoins, Jet Chickens, DripDropz CEO, etc). This is going to be an expansive project and I was fortunate enough to be asked to help out. The part of Adosia that I am helping out with is literally printing 3D models of actual NFTs! How cool will it be to purchase a unique NFT (whether it be a SpaceCoins Rocket, a SpaceBudz, a Goat Tribe Goat or whatever) and be able to get a physical 3D print of the item as well?!? Adosia will initially be releasing their own NFT with the option to purchase the physical item as well, and take this level of manufacturing and partner with other NFT projects in order to make physical NFTs for their customers. I am really excited about where this could go!
As an Earth Node Operator, what will your role be in the World Mobile ecosystem? How are they going to connect the unconnected?
World Mobile is a telecoms company that is using the Cardano Blockchain in order to further its reach and enhance the capabilities of their network. My understanding is that all of the usage information and user records will be stored on the blockchain. Earth Nodes will be utilised to gather the data and bring it to the blockchain, much like stake pools do for the Cardano Network.
We are still waiting on World Mobile to provide us with much of the information and we have only recently been given the technical specs required to operate the Earth Nodes. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but our hope is that World Mobile is able to bring telecoms and internet to millions throughout Africa and that our Earth Nodes are able to help in that process by securing the blockchain for World Mobile. If I can, in some small way, help World Mobile secure their network in order to allow them to better focus on helping those throughout the world gain connectivity, I would feel like I’m doing something good to benefit others.
Thank you kindly for your time. Any final words? Where can people stay in touch?
TREK will be announcing an NFT launch AND a small stake pool initiative in the coming weeks. The aim of the NFT sale is to provide funds to stake to many small stake pools. The small stake pool initiative will not only provide stake to multiple small pools throughout the world, but will encourage other SPOs, NFT Projects and private companies to do the same. I’m very eager to announce these two projects and give more details.
The best ways to stay in touch with TREK are our website, our email and our Twitter. I want to be available to help out our Cardano Community. It is an amazing group of people and I’m very proud to be a small part of it. As a stake pool, TREK tries very hard to be active in the Cardano Community and to be available to anyone needing assistance.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the SPOs are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cardano Foundation or IOHK.
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