HAZELnet.io – Social Connectivity for Stakepool Operators, Delegators and Communities


Communication between Stake Pool Operators (SPOs) and their delegators have always been tricky. The main social media for crypto related content and news is Twitter but not every Cardano user has a Twitter account or is interested in having one. Other more decentralized alternatives like Matrix or Mastodon are not very popular outside of geek and nerds circles. Several SPOs also have a Telegram channel and a Discord server to interact with their community but the same problem as with Twitter arises, not everyone is on them and most delegators are not so invested in the ecosystem to take the time and effort of installing new apps or creating new accounts just for this purpose. For these reasons Nils Codes has presented the proposal titled Social Connectivity for Stakepool Operators, Delegators and Communities.


The proposed solution to the issue of communication between SPOs and their delegators will allow verified SPOs message their delegators and delegators receive updates on their pools in an automated fashion using their preferred instant messaging apps. 

As we get deep into the era of Voltaire, polling has become a common practice for SPOs and other organizations to try to understand the common sentiment. However, delegators use a big array of different messaging apps and social networks depending on personal preference and what’s popular in their country of origin. Other issues arise when trying to keep identities anonymous and not tangle with their wallets. Users often need to reveal their identity to participate in discussions related to delegation or holdings. 

One of the main issues between the broken communication between SPOs and delegators is when the stake pools get retired but an important percentage of the delegators never find out and keep delegating to a retired pool. This has two negative impacts, on one hand the delegator has stopped earning rewards and it’s not aware of it and on the other hand the ADA is not securing the network, which has an impact on the entire chain.

Nils Codes already has HAZELnet up and running for quite some time, this is an enterprise-grade community integration tool that allows SPOs and NFT creators to connect and engage with their audience, verify their delegators and holders via website, Discord, Twitter and other social media applications. You can check the statistics of HAZELnet use here. The proposal therefore, aims to keep building on top of the already established toolkit developed by Nils. 

The objective of this proposal is to add new features and capabilities to the existing system. Stake pool operators will be able to verify their identity via CIP-22, after validating they own and operate the pool they will be able to send messages to anyone who is delegated to their pool. On the other hand, delegators can subscribe to basic stake pool parameter changes like margin fee, pledge, minimum pool cost and pool retirement via the HAZELnet website. Messages will be delivered via Discord and at least one additional supported channel like Twitter, Telegram or Facebook. SPOs will also be able to configure Discord channels to have automatic pool updates displayed. Delegators will be able to set privacy settings to accept or deny receiving notifications. Finally, a public API will be made available for SPOs to integrate into their own websites and projects.

These proposed features aim to bring value to the ecosystem and stake pool operators that struggle to have a fluid communication channel with their delegators. Connecting with a diverse set of delegators, each with their own preferences for receiving and consuming information. These channels of communication will become more relevant when governance in Cardano is in full swing. Nils Codes will measure success on this project based on the number of actively subscribed delegators. These are the users that have verified delegated wallets and allow opt-in messages to receive updates about their stake pool of choice. The second metric to measure success will be the number of SPOs that get onboarded and verify their identity to communicate with delegators.

This project is fully open sourced and the outputs of the development work will be visible in the public github repository for HAZELnet. Nils also has a public dashboard that shows statistics about the use of existing HAZELnet tools. This dashboard will be updated to display new metrics regarding the number of verified SPOs and delegators without revealing any private or revealing information about who is participating.


Nils Peuser A.K.A Nils Codes is director of development at a leading business process management solution company that builds enterprise grade web applications. He has 25 years of web development experience, building full stack applications for companies. His HAZELnet services are already being used by more than 600 Discord servers serving more than 600 thousand users. He also has experience in building Twitter and Telegram integrations and on the stake pool side Nils has worked with cardano db-sync and Oura, the tools needed to provide updates to delegators.

Since Fund 10, proposers of Project Catalyst need to provide a detailed explanation of the project’s milestones and the main tasks or activities to complete them. The proposal has an intended development lifecycle of four months, each of these months represents a milestone.

Milestone 1: During the first month, the project focuses on establishing communication with stake pool operators who are willing to test the project’s capabilities. The team will solidify the requirements of the SPOs to ensure their needs are met. Additionally, they will develop a basic event and database model to handle on-chain stakepool updates. This model will serve as the foundation for various features such as notifications, privacy settings, and verification confirmations. Extensive research and prototyping will be conducted to create a service that can consume and check events and data related to stake pool changes from sources like Oura, Ogmios, and db-sync. The month concludes with the creation of mockups for the SPO verification user interface and delegator privacy/notification options.

Milestone 2: In the second month, the project moves towards enhancing the platform’s functionality. Individual accounts will be given the ability to verify themselves as stake pool operators using CIP-22. Based on feedback from SPOs and considering technical feasibility, the team will decide on a social integration to prioritize. This integration will complement the existing Discord integration and will be prototyped either from scratch or by leveraging existing code. Additionally, the team will develop a user-friendly interface and functionality for delegators to set their privacy levels. To provide transparency and showcase the progress made in Milestone 1, a public dashboard will be created to display data from the models developed.

Milestone 3: Month number three is dedicated to improving stake pool configuration and communication channels. The team will add commands to Discord channels that allow SPOs to configure stake pool updates, specifically focusing on fee and margin changes. This functionality will be tested with SPOs to ensure its effectiveness. Additionally, website functionality will be implemented to enable verified SPOs to send messages directly to Discord users, enhancing communication between stakeholders. The team will continue their work on integrating a second social media/messenger platform. To ensure the platform’s reliability, the first mainnet SPOs will be onboarded to verify their accounts and test Discord-based messaging.

Milestone 4: The final month focuses on expanding user participation and refining the project’s features. Opt-in messages will be sent to active delegators, inviting them to join the platform and participate in its services. Simultaneously, the onboarding process for end users will commence to ensure a smooth transition. Public APIs will be developed, allowing external websites to integrate with SPO projects and access relevant data. The second social media/messenger integration will be finalized, offering users multiple options for engagement. Moreover, the platform’s functionality will be expanded to support additional update types, such as pledge changes and retiring pools, in both messaging and Discord channel-based delegator notifications. Throughout this milestone, valuable feedback will be collected from participating SPOs to further improve the platform based on their experiences and insights.

Value for money

Another modification for Fund 10 is that the budget is now in ADA and not in USD. This makes sense from the perspective that we are working to develop a new decentralized financial operating system but at the same time most projects need to pay for goods and services in fiat money. This brings a new challenge to the table since now teams need to ask for a coherent budget in a volatile currency.

The ongoing operational costs for the project over a period of 4 months amount to $550 per month. This includes various expenses such as a monthly backend server cost of $300, a GitLab CI/CD pipeline subscription for $99 per month, AWS Amplify website hosting for $10 per month, and a monthly cost of $30 for marketing and licensed graphic content from Envato Elements. Additionally, there is a monthly expense of $100 for utilizing the basic Twitter API.

For the role of a part-time project manager, the estimated cost for 4 months is $1500. This is based on an annual salary of $55000, with the expectation that the position will require approximately 15 hours per week.

To hire a full-time Full Stack Developer for the project, the estimated cost for 4 months would be $8750. This is calculated based on an annual salary of $105000 for a mid-level Full Stack Engineer in the US Northwest. It’s important to note that this estimation does not include any additional premium for in-depth knowledge of Cardano or enterprise experience, which may typically be required for working with the blockchain technology.

The total budget sits at 155,000 ADA (estimating 0.28 USD per ADA) which translates to $43,400 USD.

The primary objective of this project is to enhance the connections between Stake Pool Operators (SPOs) and their delegators. This will facilitate a more accurate assessment of participation in governance and enable SPOs to gather opinions from delegators through polling. The core features of the project will be provided free of charge, with HAZELnet covering the running costs even after the project’s completion. This ensures that all SPOs in the Cardano ecosystem can utilize the project without incurring additional expenses.

The project’s open-source nature allows other developers to utilize different components of the project in various ways. This means that the funds allocated to the project will provide access to a source repository containing sample code for validating CIP-22 in Java, Kotlin, and TypeScript. Additionally, it will showcase connectors to different social media applications.

Furthermore, the project will include code examples demonstrating how to receive real-time updates from the blockchain regarding stakepool-related activities using solutions like TxPipe’s Oura or similar tools.

Finally, the introduction of public APIs in the new solutions will enable SPOs and polling systems to integrate with the project through API calls and webhooks. This will create a network of interconnected services without restricting flexibility or imposing additional costs.

Q&A with Nils Codes

Q1: Your proposal seeks to solve the issue of communication between SPOs and delegators, however the delegators that are not active in the community won’t find out about this project even if it gets funded and developed. How do you plan to address this gap?

A1: Indeed there is no good way for already hibernating delegators to be notified. I am however optimistic that there will be ways in the future to engage or encourage wallet users, and make them aware of these capabilities. Potentially, should the standard/protocol from my second proposal come to life, it might be something that wallet providers can integrate natively. Alternatively, I can imagine getting in touch with the Lace team with regards to their in-wallet educational content and the app discovery platform they are building, to create delegators awareness. These can both be primary ways for new users that are entering the ecosystem. Lastly, there will always be channels of personal contact between SPOs and some of their delegators, so they can encourage the use of the platform.

Q2: The project will send messages through Discord and at least one other supported channel such as Twitter, Telegram and Facebook. You also mentioned in the proposal you have built prototypes for Twitter and Telegram in the past. Have you also considered other decentralized channels like Matrix or Mastodon?

A2: Yes, I have thought about newer protocols as well, like Matrix, Mastodon and some other solutions (for example I am interested in Urbit). My main job has not allowed me a lot of in-depth research into these, so I did not list them, but they are on my radar, as are other open-source alternatives to commercial solutions like Slack (Mattermost for example). On the other hand, the primary goal of this particular proposal is to reach the widest audience quickly, and as such, modern social media and messaging apps are the focus to be able (to) have the biggest impact quickly.

Q3: Since this is the first Fund where the budget is in ADA and not USD, how are you planning to adapt to future volatility risks in the case that ADA/USD drops below your estimated price of 0.28? On the other hand, in the case that ADA appreciates when you receive the payment are there additional functionalities that you could add as a bonus?

A3: I have developed about 50% of the capabilities we were looking to build with the money from Catalyst Fund 9, despite not receiving any funds, and as such I feel confident that a price dip below the estimated .28 USD per ADA would not sufficiently impact the likelihood of the project completing. At worst, a delay would be the outcome. If ADA appreciates significantly, I am definitely proposing stretch goals, or alternatively, potentially offering bounties for other developers to participate and implement integrations they think are useful. We have done that in our second proposal, so in fact I think it is worth adding this to this proposal as well prior to the finalization in the coming days – I appreciate the reminder.

Q4: The project’s team is composed primarily by yourself, however there is an empty position you will need to fill for project manager/community manager. Do you have someone in mind to fill this position? Is the project at risk if the position is not filled in time? Is it indispensable for the project’s success?

A4: The project is not at risk if the project manager position does not get filled right away, as I have good relations with a variety of SPOs and developers in the ecosystem with regards to getting the ball rolling. Filling it early would allow me to focus purely on the development aspect. My wife, who is a Cloud Project Manager in her full time job and has all the expertise we need, is a likely candidate. But I also have talked to a few people in Cardano that are generally eager to help the progress of HAZELnet – I’m happy to share these candidates in private, but would not want to put them on the spot publicly, since personal situations change quickly in today’s world. There is also the potential to hire a part-time frontend developer, like we had planned for our Fund 9 proposal, and then I would use the time I do not have to spend on UX/UI development to use for the project management task. We have various risk mitigation plans in place.

Q5: Although you are an experienced developer that already has a platform built that provides services, are there any risks that would prevent you from completing this proposal? If so, how do you plan to mitigate them?

A5: Some of these questions I have answered above, and there is always the risk that something unforeseen happens in one’s personal life. With the project being fully open-source and being regularly updated, as well as the plan to roll out functionality gradually over the time of the project, and not with a big bang at the end, we are limiting a lot of impact from such unexpected events. Documentation, which has not been a primary focus with regards to the development HAZELnet so far, can also be prioritized, if this becomes a funded project. This will make it easier for others to jump in in case of emergency.

Link to Ideascale proposal: https://cardano.ideascale.com/c/idea/103918

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