SPOs that deserve you delegation and why!

Hello! As you may know, in Cardano there’s a parameter, called K, that regulates the optimal number of stake pools which mint blocks on the network. The parameter does it by regulating the saturation threshold, that is the amount of stake that a pool can manage before reaching the maximum rewards possible for each epoch: if a stake pool exceeds that threshold, then delegators will receive lower rewards.

As you already may know, k is currently set at 150 with saturation happening at around 210M ada. IOG recently announced that on December, 6th, k value will be changed to 500, setting the new saturation threshold at around 64M. This means that if you’re currently delegating to a stake pool managing more than 64M, you should redelegate to a smaller pool in order to maintain maximum rewards.

So, I decided to compile a list of stake pools that in my opinion deserve more success; unlikely other lists I see around, I decided also to specify WHY they deserve more stake. In this list you’ll find pools managed by people that contributed to the success of Cardano in many ways, and in my opinion, they should not be left behind!

Of course, there are many other contributors that aren’t in the list, either because they already have a decent stake, or because I forgot them! I apologize in advance, and feel free to add other pools (and why) in the comments below!


I’ll start the list with my own stake pool, RIOT, so you can make an idea if it’s worth listening to my advices, even if my contributes are definitely lower than the others in the list!

With 1,6M stake, of which 560k of my personal pledge, I think that RIOT it’s quite underrated. As pool operator, I contributed since August-September 2019, trying every node version since Jormungandr 0.5.6 and trying to help other pool ops in the telegram channels. My pools (previously VAULT, APEX and now only RIOT), were online since epoch 0 of the ITN and minted more than 2500 blocks. On mainnet RIOT already minted more than 30 blocks, without losing a single one. I also have a powerful bare-metal setup and so far I never had a downtime in 14 months of operations.

Apart from that, I translated more than 120 articles for the Italian Community, I translated the website pooltool.io in Italian and I participated in this CIP (Cardano Improvement Proposal) to improve the current treasury system. Being an ada holder since 2017 and very passionate about the project, I’m active daily on the various telegram official channels, on Twitter and on the Ambassador slack channel. Oh and of course I give my help daily on the 2 Italian Cardano telegram channels!

With the current 1,7M stake, RIOT it’s a great choice for your long-term delegation (even with the future k increase to 1000!)


CSP is managed by Antonio, an Italian theoretical physicist that I met thanks to Cardano. He’s one of the most expert pool operators that I know and his pool made more than 4,000 block in the ITN without a single downtime. Beside that he translated pooltool.io in Italian with me, and gave a fundamental help to Andrew Westberg’s leader logs script. Also, he is co-author of this CIP and wrote a couple of papers that you should definitely check out: Rewards and Treasury

He’s also active daily on the two Italian Cardano telegram channels!

At 2.2M stake, CSP it’s a perfect choice for your “set and forget” delegation!


RDLRT is operated by the user Priyank. I’m sure that almost every stake pool operator knows him, because during the last months he helped thousands of people on the SPO telegram channel! Also he helped countless users with wallet problems and moderating the support channels. He really made a huge job and we all should thanks him! Apart from that, he’s a Cardano Ambassador and  a main contributor to Cntools and the Guild, making these useful tools for us pool operators!

With 20M stake, RDLRT it’s a good choice if you need a reliable pool!


1LOVE it’s managed by Glitch. He’s another user that helped countless aspiring pool operators during the last months. His effort was very precious for the many new users willing to spin up their stake pools! At around 3M stake, 1LOVE it’s a solid choice for you delegation.


This pool is managed by the creator of pool.pm (I suggest you to have a look at the website if you don’t know it). Apart from that Smaug it’s a contributor of the Guild and Cntools and an expert pool operator. He’s also been very active helping other operators during the HTN (Haskell Testnet) phase (hw was the 5th most mentioned user in the Telegram channel!) and manages the @pool_pm account on twitter, always giving useful tips and informations about Cardano.

SMAUG currently only has around 6,4M ada in stake, so plenty of room to grow!


This pool is owned by Shawn McMurdo; you may have heard his name before, he’s the creator of this CIP, “Curve Pledge Benefit” which proposes a different way to calculate the pledge benefit, making the pledge itself more meaningful and making the entire network more secure against Sybil Attacks. The CIP is currently being discussed by the community. SQUID also participated to the ITN so the operator is quite expert. Being under 7M stake, SQUID is a great choice!


BNTY1 is managed by Jesse Smith. This guy was already present at the beginning of the ITN (his pool was among the best performing ones) and currently he’s teaching high school kids about blockchain and Cardano (his student are running 20+ pools on Rapsberry PIs in the Cardano testnet!!). Apart from that he’s always active helping new SPOs in the telegram channels. If you’re looking for a provably reliable stake pool,  BNTY1 is a great choice!