Crypto staking is great. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
These days, you just click ‘next next next’ on a couple of prompts, and you’re staking your coins and getting some of those sweet staking rewards that we’re all after.
That all sounds great. But what about the risks? There has to be some sort of trade-off, right?
There are risks in staking on a crypto exchange, there’s risk in using a semi-custodial service, there’s even risk in using a completely trustless staking pool.
Whether it’s you not holding your keys, holding only part of your keys, or the protocol getting hacked, you’re taking a level of risk in any way you decide to stake.
And then there’s fees. The most centralized the staking solution you use, the less staking rewards you keep.
What’s the solution then? Is there a way to stake crypto with minimal risk and maximum staking profits?
Short answer – AVADO
AVADO allows anyone to easily run a staking node from home by offering the perfect match between hardware and software.
Once you buy an AVADO device, all you do is plug it in and start staking. It’s simple, easy, fast, and requires minimal technical knowledge.
And there’s a variety of assets you can stake too.
On top of that, there’s a great knowledge-base and community to help you with any issue that you may encounter.
I sat down with the founders of AVADO, Bernd Lapp and Stefaan Ponnet to give you more insight on how they built their company, which combines both hardware and software in a highly technical space, and to discuss crypto staking in general.
I hope you enjoy the interview and that it gives you some insight on AVADO and where it’s headed.
Please introduce yourselves to our readers. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Bernd: I live in Zug, Switzerland, and I often walk to the lake and back which is a beautiful walk.
Actually my dog gets me out of bed every morning. I get up at 7am each day, have a coffee, check my messages and then walk my dog for about 30 minutes.
Stefaan: I live in Belgium (although my rhythm is more aligned to US hours), I hang out in the AVADO telegram community a lot and keep an eye on the latest developments in the crypto space.
We each have a story. Can you tell us how, why, and when you became involved with crypto?
Bernd: I worked for a fintech startup in 2014 and was responsible for creating their business model. I designed a peer-to-peer lending model and when I presented it to the developer team, one of them took me aside and explained that a similar model, but without any 3rd party involvement, already existed.
He explained Bitcoin and blockchain to me. I was so fascinated that I joined the Ethereum Foundation as an advisory board member and went into crypto full-time in 2015.
Stefaan: I got into crypto just after Ethereum was launched, and was at the time involved in an R&D lab that researched autonomy for citizens. I started doing full time development on Ethereum ever since.
How was Avado born? Where did the idea originate from, and what drove you to begin this new business venture?
Bernd: Stefaan and I both worked on a project together before AVADO and we used a centralized cloud service to run an Ethereum node for the smart contracts and transactions.
But we quickly realized that this is a centralized bottleneck for a decentralized product. So we searched for alternatives that were as convenient and easy to use as the cloud service. We could not find one.
In 2018 we joined dAppNode and helped them create a business model by selling hardware with their software.
Unfortunately, they decided not to continue to work with us and wanted to sell the hardware through dropshipping. We continued to sell the hardware and created what we think is an even more convenient and easier-to-use solution.
Stefaan: Bernd and I have known each other for many years now. We structured the vision for AVADO around a need that we had ourselves. We saw an enormous opportunity and nobody was doing it. That’s what got us started.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you encountered throughout the years of operating Avado? How did you overcome these obstacles?
Bernd: In general, any product needs happy customers and the number one topic for happy customers is good support.
We always focused on providing good support for the hardware and software that we produced but we are just a small team. So we had to find a scalable solution for giving support.
By using an incentive for our community to help each other we think we found a great solution. Every user in our community can ask for support and every user in our community can give support.
A user can thank the support giver by publicly praising him in our telegram groups. This praise is rewarded from our support budget and paid out each month in xDAI to the support givers.
We think this system works really well and both sides are very happy.
Stefaan: Bernd summarized it nicely.
What is one of Avado’s achievements that you’re most proud of?
Bernd: We care most about convenience and ease of use.
I am most proud of the setup wizards we add to many packages that make for an easy user experience and are really helpful. For many of our users this takes away a lot of fear they have for using blockchain technology and staking.
Stefaan: For me the vibrant community and the desire for people to help each other is personally the biggest achievement. People that are new to our community are helped by more experienced AVADO users that are already benefiting from the advantages and want to give back.
How would you measure success for AVADO?
Bernd: Our main goal is to keep the blockchain protocols and products decentralized. If every blockchain protocol and product has a package in our dAppStore and every household with internet has an AVADO, we are successful.
Stefaan: Once again, I agree with Bernd here.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
Bernd: I was broke in 2018. Even though I was involved in crypto early (end of 2014) and had invested and earned crypto along the way, I also spent the crypto. Mostly on my own projects. And when the market went south in 2018 I was not prepared and had to ask friends for money.
Luckily, I was able to regain some crypto and through the learnings from 2018 I am much more prepared for the volatility of the crypto market.
Stefaan: Going our own way after collaborating with the dAppNode project felt like a failure in the beginning, but did set us up for an amazing journey!
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, crypto, etc.)
Bernd: Getting involved in the blockchain space overall was the best investment I could make. It taught me to look deeper into how the world actually works and not to take everything for granted.
Most of all – “What is money?”. Why does the paper we exchange have any value and who controls this?
Being more self sovereign using cryptocurrencies made me aware of the problems we have with the existing monetary system.
Stefaan: Spending time learning the concepts and practicing the mindset of crypto has always felt as an enrichment in my life. The cliché “the real treasure was the friends we made along the way” very much applies to the crypto scene for me.
What is the best piece of advice would you give to a young student about to enter the world of crypto?
Bernd: Dive into the community of a project you like and follow them. Then start to help them with whatever skill you have (look at their GitHub, or if they have any bounties on Gitcoin). Once you like the responses of the community and the general vibe, reach out to the team and see if they have an open position.
Stefaan: Learn every day – don’t waste time listening to youtube crypto stars.
Where would you like to see crypto staking and AVADO in particular in 5 years from now? Where do you think it is heading?
Bernd: In 5 years our product will be the most used product by Web3 projects. Our dAppStore will flow over from the dApps that are offered and if you really want to use dApps in their most natural form, you need an AVADO.
Stefaan: AVADO is on a mission to build out a vast network of devices – and while our user base is growing we will enable voluntary participation in coordinated networks, enabling the emergence of decentralized service providers.
You get to display a huge billboard and everyone in the world sees it, what do you write?
Bernd: Your Keys – Your Money / Not Your Keys – Not Your Money
Stefaan: Don’t Complain – Suggest What’s Better.
And finally, I asked the Founders some quick-fire questions where they had to answer fast, with the first thing that comes to mind.
1. Ethereum or Bitcoin?
Bernd: iPhone / Nokia phone
Ethereum is versatile and offers the basis for many applications. Bitcoin has a single feature and is very robust when just using it for this. We all know what happened to Nokia.
Stefaan: Ethereum of course.
2. CoinMarketCap or CoinGecko?
Bernd: CMC – OG / CG – playful new kid.
Stefaan: Coingecko is my avenue these days.
3. Trade or HODL?
Bernd: One needs experience to do each at the right time.
Holding is good in a bear market and through most of the bull market. At the end of the bull you need to trade enough to live from and be able to benefit from the bear market and buy more crypto.
Stefaan: HODL helps – and yields better results in the long run anyways.
4. Are NFTs a fad?
Bernd: NFTs are much more versatile than people think. We have many great use cases for NFTs and this will increase even over time.
Stefaan: I always recommend non-believers to engage and actually buy a digital artwork on-chain. It’s really an a-ha moment when you buy your first NFT. NFT’s are here to stay and will form the basis of true “sign-in” in the future. Proof of ownership of a digital good as access to a community fits the internet narrative perfectly.
5. Is Elon Musk good for the growth and adoption of crypto?
Bernd: His followers are helpful, following his advice is not helpful.
6. Best person to follow on Crypto Twitter?
Bernd: @tayvano_ She calls out all the scammers and speaks truth.
Stefaan: @PeterLBrandt is my ZEN moment in the crypto markets.
Thank you for tuning in!
I hope you learned something new and interesting from this interview with the founders of crypto staking company AVADO.
If you want to stay in touch or learn more, feel free to click the links below to connect.
Follow Bernd at @CoachB
Follow Stefaan at @sponnet
Follow CryptoStaker at @CryptoStakerCom
Get your own AVADO staking device