Here we explain the architecture of stake pools and the Cardano ecosystem.
Context of a stake pool
A stake pool does not exist in isolation, instead it interacts with the entire Cardano ecosystem.
First, the stake pool operator sets up a stake pool node, which is a Jörmungandr server that has been configured to validate blocks from the Cardano blockchain. Once the setup is complete, the stake pool operator registers on the stake pool registry.
The stake pool registry is a list of metadata about stake pool owners that is maintained by the Cardano Foundation. This list will appear in the Daedalus interface. However, it is important to note that anyone with enough ada to pay the transaction fee can set up a stake pool, even if they are not listed in Daedalus.
An ada holder can go to Daedalus, and in the Delegation tab, select the stake pool to which they want to delegate their stake. That delegation action is recorded on the Cardano blockchain and will influence the slot leader selection process in the next epoch.
This diagram outlines a process flow for stake pools
In order to set up a minimal stake pool, you just need a small server that fulfils the hardware requirements and a Jörmungandr node started with the --secret parameter. Although this will work, a stake pool should have close to 100% availability. That means that the node must be online with good internet connection 24/7.
This diagram outlines this architecture