Updated with clarification about fees, Spacefarmers will be 0 fee for more than a month, that is the minimum
This one was a bit different, and interesting because of it. This pool is significantly more open and transparent than the others I have spoken to so far. There are 2 names, sort of, to attach to the project on their website, with the team being right now AJ, the senior developer, and Charles the CTO.. They seem to be building an open dashboard that does not require login (you can see their testnet progress just today). They chose to do our interview live in their discord, in front of their members. This is a refreshing change, but I hope that it does not bite them later on when people are upset about decisions they make.
This pool seems to be a little smaller than the others we have spoken to so far, with less than 100 people in their discord at all times and it does not appear that they are taking pre-signups. This is a pool based on the Chia Network on-chain pooling protocol, so they will not be able to go live until that is released. You will need to replot to join this pool, but they – like 21Chia and the other on-chain pools – fully expect the issues faced by the off-chain pools to be nonstarters for them due to the architecture of the pool.
Spacefarmers started as a group of solo farmers who built a little shared-reward pool as the netspace started to grow. This was a private affair and built on trust, so they did not have some of the issues seen by Hpool and Core-Pool. As the netspace grew more and the Chia Network team announced the on-chain pooling protocol they decided to “take it to the next level” by expanding into a public pool.
They will be kicking off with no fees for at least a month, and they have a policy in their FAQ about giving 7 days notice for any fee changes so that will give anyone who doesn’t care for the fee changes to switch easily. Their system is designed to pay out immediately, and any users who hold funds will do so in a separate system far from the pool. They are telling me they have a secure architecture, but don’t want to detail that out which makes sense.
So far I am hearing from them about Chia Network the same thing I am hearing from everyone else, that they are friendly and helpful during development and are putting in effort to make sure this works. However, the development is difficult at times due to the changing protocol. Developing for a in-flux protocol can mean a lot of rework and rewrites and the Spacefarmers team is certainly feeling that. They do believe that the hard work will pay off because the technical advantages over the off-chain pools will mean lower fees and higher payouts for farmers across the board. They are definitely expecting to siphon off users from the Core-Pool and Hpools of the world.
Based in Holland, they do have some legal hurdles to overcome – which they are on schedule for – but they do not have the same issues that face US based pools or some other regions. They are taking the issue seriously, and will be providing tax information to users and ensuring they stay compliant with relevant laws. This is a big deal, and definitely not universal. I have heard from a few pools now that are very nervous that their compatriots will land headfirst in the US justice system if they aren’t careful and make it a big problem for everyone.
All in all this seems like a very community-focused pool, with the developers choosing transparency whenever they can. Because of the lack of pre-signups and the small footprint of their discord server, I worry that they will not get enough users to compete adequately. But I hope they do, since they seem to be a smaller plucky choice and I get the feeling they will service their community well.