Fear of Mass Exodus

These last epochs (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16) had been smooth sailing for the DApp360 node. In this epoch, 17, the DApp360 Stake Pool had about 52 million delegated ADA stakes. In the previous epoch (16), DApp360 Stake Pool had 51 million delegated ADA stakes and our node, D360, was proportionately awarded 25 blocks for creation. Our node (D360) operated at 100% performance and created all 25 blocks. In epoch 17, our pool gained another 1 million delegated ADA stakes. So we thought more stakes, and a 100% performance would give our node more blocks. So our team was extremely shocked to learn that the Incentivized Testnet (ITN) scheduled our node for only 9 blocks. It was a rude awakening at the beginning of epoch 17. Our team could not understand why. So we were extremely shocked to see that the ITN scheduled our node (D360) for only 9 blocks. 9 blocks for 52 million delegated stake seems like the ITN was penalizing us for something, but we did not know why.

For most of epoch 17, I tried hard to figure out why the ITN scheduled our node (D360) for such a few blocks despite our 100% performance and 1 million more increased stakes. Maybe we were doing something wrong or it was just the luck of the draw. Our team had no explanation but we needed one. We needed to know if it were our fault so we could find a solution. After consulting other pool operators and searching in the Incentivized Testnet (ITN) Cardano Best Practices Telegram channel, we had no substantive explanation or answer. Our team became rattled that such low blocks would lead to lower rewards, which would scare away our delegates. In epoch 16, we earned 24.7k ADA rewards for our delegates. In epoch 17, we earned 8.9K ADA rewards for even more delegates than we had in epoch 16. According to AdaPools.org, the DApp360 Stake Pool ROI declined from 16.9% in epoch 16 to 6.2% in epoch 17 as seen below

ADApools.org D360 ROI

Epoch 17 ended with our team fearing a mass exodus of delegates in epoch 18 when delegates see their reward from epoch 17.