Limit voting power of whales

As it is now people with a lot of vBNT are able to steer the direction of bancor. The DAO should try to incentive voting by a lot of users instead of a lot of vBNT. As it is now it is more of an aristocracy than democracy.

i propose to limit voting power per address to 50k. any vBNT above will count towards quorum but will not be counted as NO or YES


I like the direction of this suggestion, but if you want to reduce maximum voting to 50k, it’s going to take a lot more voter participation to reach the levels required for whitelisting and rewards, as well as any other proposals. Do we actually have enough voters without the whales?

40% quorum requirement translates to 5.6 million votes. At 50k max (and that is max, which a lot of people don’t have) it would require over 110 voters. So, I’m guessing it might take 200 people voting on something to get to quorum. The statistics on the proposals page never reveals the number of voters, just vote totals and quorum level. I don’t know what the average pariticipation level is on proposals by number of voters.

If we’re going to do this, then vBNT as a whole is pointless. If my voting weight is capped, no matter how high that cap is I’m going to do one of two things:

  • Eventually, when I reach the cap, I’ll just get second address (there are myriad ways to accomplish this) and continue on as normal. I’ll have to vote more than once, and my gas costs will go up each time I do this (assuming we don’t stick with gasless voting), but if I have >50k vBNT I doubt I have to care too much about that.
  • I’ll eventually come to the conclusion that I’m getting diminishing returns and I’ll withdraw from governance in favor of a DAO that doesn’t limit the voice of its governors.

I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think this would have the intended effect, and I think it would likely end up hurting the DAO (and by extension, the protocol) in the long run by disincentivizing participation in governance.

It does, just in an indirect way. On every vote page, it shows the addresses of each participating voter (along with their weight and choice); one could potentially count the addresses in the list. Do this for each vote, then average them all, and then you’ll have the average number of participants.

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Yeah, there may not be an answer to the multiple address problem. An interesting comment about ‘limiting the voice of its governors.’ This is exactly what we are trying to achieve. If we let the richest people dictate the rules in our Bancor society, then it is neither decentralized nor a democracy; it is simply an oligarchy, like so much else in this world. Investors in any financial endeavor say they have more at risk so they should have more of a voice. Except, ‘amount of risk’ is pretty relative. $1000 for a blue-collar guy could mean more to him than $1,000,000 for a rich person.

So we either need to change the rules, or stop pretending that this is a democratic decentralized organization. In the US, we only give people one vote each no matter how rich they are (although they get to donate unlimited money to PACs which I see as a serious problem for democracy.) This is a GOOD thing, if rich people got more votes - according to their wealth level, now where would that get us? So, why can’t we model some of this principle into our Bancor voting?

I think it’s funny that you talk about ‘disincentivizing’ governors. How incentivized do you think all the small (< 10k vBNT) holders feel about their voice in the process? I know that I don’t even bother to vote because it is futile. And, while it is possible to perhaps rouse the masses to fight the royalty, the relative effort required to organize the masses vs. the single click from an oligarch will usually ensure that royalty wins. (At least until the masses get so pissed off that they succeed in bringing about a revolution, which works for a while until relative economic power disproportionates again, and the whole cycle starts over again.)

Thanks for the pointer on counting addresses.

multiple addresses cost a lot of time and gas. there are several ways to spice up the government contract in a way to make it cost a lot more of time, gas or both.

i agree with gdhurst. i have no incentive to vote at all. why would i even try as a small fish?

I don’t think the two systems are really comparable. In Bancor, your vBNT stake is your voting power. In the US, you are your stake, and since there’s only one of you, you get one vote. Bancor is a direct-vote decentralized corporation (another way of saying “DAO”) which resembles a traditional company except that we can’t get our shit together nearly as fast, while the US is a constitutional representative republic (which gets its shit together even slower, it may be noted). Finally, the US is a state; BancorDAO is a business. While the two may superficially be similar sometimes, the mode of thinking is different, and thus the kinds of choices made are going to be different (though they do cross paths from time to time).

While true, I don’t think it’s relevant; finance (decentralized or not) doesn’t care what your money means to you, only how much of it you have. I’m a blue-collar guy. Currently I don’t have a large stake, I’ll admit that; in fact, you can sometimes see my tiny little votes on our snapshot. But I’m also not going to get out because it’s “too risky” for me, that’s the game, and if I lose, it’s because I did something wrong. Anyone who can’t stomach the risk shouldn’t get in the game, period. Don’t put in what you can’t afford to lose, and you’ll never have to worry about it. This is the philosophy I have adopted, and it has yet to steer me wrong.

If you’re going to cap my success because you don’t like how much more money than you I have, then I’m not going to participate. If I have somehow acquired that much vBNT, then it would seem that I deserve it; after all, it’s not free, it can only be made one way (that I’m aware of) and if I’m putting that much into the protocol, then I should have that much say in how it’s run. I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in that line of thinking. We’re all floored at 0; if there’s a ceiling, there is no point. And as a smallholder myself, I do not feel at all disincentivized from voting, yet, because I recognize that another’s success is not necessarily my failure and the existence of whales is not a threat to me (that I perceive).

It does cost a lot of time and gas, yes. But if you have money and vBNT enough to hit the cap, that shouldn’t matter to you that much since voting is currently gasless and the only gas it will cost you is building up another address.

If the protocol is well-governed then (in theory) both it and its holders should be generating revenue (and, ideally, profit). So the thinking goes, better governance = more profitability, even for smallholders. That, for me at least, is a good enough incentive to continue to vote, even if the act of voting doesn’t give me instant satisfaction.

I completely agree with the sentiment here. 50k is not a small amount of votes and can ensure that interests of large holders can be safeguarded. But if a proposal benefits large holders at the cost of the large share of the participants, we may not be able to safeguard against it in the current system. This will eventually affect the interests of larger holders too.
I am not familiar enough with Bancor voting to say whether a governance attack through flashloans, similar to the vote manipulation attack on Maker, is possible on Bancor. If it is, this measure will also safeguard against that.
We should negotiate a reasonable limit but I fully support this proposal. Larger amounts of vBNTs have additional benefits, not just the voting power.

I need to learn how to blockquote cleanly like you do.

At any rate,

  1. I’m not capping your success, I’m capping your control. And I really don’t care if you might have more or less money at risk. It’s not about money, it’s about power. Simply because you might have a bigger bag doesn’t mean you get to tell every other investor to shove it. Certainly, this is the way most financial and political structures work in the non-crypto world, so I can understand why you would think this way, but you shouldn’t. Disproportionation of wealth and power is a constant threat to every civilized organization and society throughout history and has caused more suffering and war than probably any other factor.

You get to succeed, just not at everyone else’s expense. Next time you are at the mercy of some rich person, see how you feel about him controlling you. I don’t think you’ll be saying, gosh, he’s rich, so he must be right, and he earned it, so he must be right, and on and on. (On the other hand, given the zombie-like obeisance shown by part of our US electorate to certain recent leaders, perhaps I am overly optimistic…)

  1. “If the protocol is well-governed” A really horrible assumption. Big bag holders will vote their best interest despite any harm they might cause to the rest of the investor population. Sometimes the interests of everyone will align, but accidental agreement does not validate the system and does not forgive the consequences when they don’t align. The question is do we allow big investors to control everything? That never turns out well. There is literally no reason to HAVE a voting system, if 4 people can determine the outcome every time. I looked at one proposal and 4 of the 94 voters were responsible for more than half of the 5.4 million votes. That is a ludicrous situation. You can’t have 4 people dictating to 90, just because they are rich. And, again, I don’t care how much MONEY they have, I care about how much POWER they have (although almost anyone would equate the two in any organization). If, as you say, this is a business and devoted to only serving the interests of the powerful and not the interests of the MAJORITY of investors, then let’s stop the pretense, get rid of voting, make the largest vBNT holders members of the directorial board, forget about democracy, and everyone can just hold on to the sides of the boat and hope for a good outcome from the benevolent dictatorship.

What do we want here? We can choose an antagonistic capitalist setup, a completely communist model, or some reasonable intermediate system. Whatever we choose, I will adjust my expectations for governance, profit and participation. But, let’s not pretend we have a representative voting system now, when it is really just an oligarchy.

Was listening to the community call for May 23 and one of the guys had the bright idea of incentivizing whales with voter decay: vote on everything or you gradually lose your voting power. Sounds real nice: Let’s ensure that those whales keep monopolizing every vote. Since the small fry have no power in the first place, it doesn’t affect us. They based this on the idea that whales often won’t vote to keep the issue from reaching quorum, this makes the proposal fail if it looks like the result they want is on the losing side; a way of winning without voting. I don’t like this ‘gaming’ of the system, but encouraging whales to do battle is not solving the overall voter participation problem, it is making it worse.

They also talked about delegation of voting power. Sounds like a nice idea for simplifying voting: just let me vote for all you guys and you don’t have to think so hard. Supposedly, you find someone who aligns with your philosophy. I would like to believe this can work, just like I would like to believe our representative democracy in the good ol’ USA works. Perhaps it can work, but this is again moving towards concentrating voting power in the hands of fewer people; kind of the opposite of decentralization.

They also mentioned how Bancor has the most proposals in any given time period of all the DAOs. Putting out dozens of highly technical proposals and expecting people to read, understand and vote on every one has got to be TOO MUCH effort. I like Bancor, but I am not going to devote my every waking moment to its governance. No one will. Just as no one in the US congress actually reads the thousand page bills, people will tire and skip all the details of these multi-page proposals and just vote on a coin because “it’s cool.” I think we are kidding ourselves here. I have tried to critically read just one of the proposals and wound up with a thousand more questions about the implications of the various assertions about the “worthiness” of the coin. We just voted in “woo” coin. I have literally never heard of this coin, like many others on Bancor. I don’t mean to disparage Woo, it may be a fine coin, I just don’t have the time to study, in detail, dozens of coins and their value proposition for Bancor. So, even if a few people do have the time for this, most voters won’t, which means the whole voting system is based on emotion and shallow evaluations. This is a very random way of trying to build a multi-billion dollar system. By the way, I don’t have a solution to all of this. I am merely pointing out possible kinks in the system.

However, I feel this is all going in the wrong direction: there are too many proposals ( and this will increase), each proposal is too complex and most people’s votes will be ill-informed despite the avalanche of information, the average guy’s vote doesn’t count for jack against the centralized power of whales, and delegation also leans toward centralizing power. We need to rethink this drink. I am willing to reconsider any of these viewpoints. I present them here to stir discussion. Enjoy!

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I don’t propose to; such a course of action is unnecessary and ultimately proves one a jackass. Why should I succeed alone? How could I? No rich person gets rich alone, whether they realize it or not. I have my stake in Bancor, but I am fully aware of the fact that I collect my income by virtue of the fact that other people are trading. Those people are more than likely making vastly more money than me, and I’m fine with that, because I can’t yet afford to throw around those amounts of money the way they do, I simply haven’t acquired enough power. But by having a small part in enabling them a simple trade, I earn my share of the fees.

They are they same. Spending money at the grocery store is exerting some (abstracted) power to get food; you get the money for some effort you exerted previously, and now you’re effectively applying that same effort (or some portion of it) later to get something to eat. Money, power, and effort are all different ways of describing the same concept (value); money is how we quantify it, power is its raw form, and effort (of some description) is where it comes from, how it is expressed in a space so it can be quantified by users/observers. I am not speaking of communism, as the act of ascribing a price to something (the act of quantifying some thing’s value in the form of money) falls under “effort”, in that finance on any level takes some degree of intellectual work. Rich people have perfected the art of extracting maximum value from minimum effort, and making their work continue to pay for itself.

As a side note, where communism (on paper) seeks to abolish power, capitalism seeks to abstract it; if something can be abstracted, it can be quantified and controlled, and one thing’s for sure, power cannot itself die, it only moves from one place to another. This may offer some hints as to why communism has never worked on a large scale.

I am at the mercy of rich people! I work for them every day, I buy their products, eat their food, watch their content, and everything I own I was able to buy solely because I am a slave to the rich.

Yes, I still think that way, because (so I gather) that’s how they think and they’re rich. If I am not rich, it is because I have failed to observe some principle that they hold (probably to be self-evident, furthermore), and I have more learning to do. I am lifting myself out of my less fortunate situation through hard work and the application of rules, operating within the (very flexible, I’m sure we can all agree) system I am presented with; If I were to complain that the system isn’t fair and demand that it should be more limited it would only show that I’m not willing to put in the effort to overcome the challenge. I may as well not do anything at that point.

That is to say, refusal (unwillingness, not inability) to learn and make the best of one’s environment displays intellectual laziness; anyone, no matter their level of education or intelligence, is capable of this basic practice, infants do it, I have children, I have watched them do it. It is hard, it can take a lot of effort and time, but it can be done.

To be clear, I’m not saying that we should drink the Kool-Aid, suffer under the abuses of tyrants and just work with it as best we can, rather than pushing for change or making it ourselves; I’m saying do both (minus the Kool-Aid).

Yes, and the largest perpetrators of such suffering, arguably, are governments, not businesses. That’s not at all to say businesses are angels, but I find it hard to believe that any legitimate business (or businessperson) has an actual interest in harming potential customers, directly or otherwise, and by that it follows that in order to do something like that they’d have to be motivated by something other than legitimate business. Governments, on the other hand, mostly own nothing except what they forcibly take from their subjects, and generally spread misery wherever they infiltrate their genuinely foul presence.

I argue that there are two (idealized, for clarity) sub-types of wealthy persons (or businesses); the 4H kind, and the 4X kind.

  • 4H refers to the “Four H’s; Head, Heart, Hands, and Health”; those that fall under this type are generally benevolent, and they are wealthy because they build their community up and enrich their environment. They can thrive anywhere, and generally bring about good. Unguarded, however, they are often taken out by the other, more predatory 4X types.
  • 4X refers to the “Four X’s; eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate”; those that fall under this type are not always malevolent, but nearly always seem to turn out to be. They exploit their environment at the expense of it, gaining power for its own sake and caring nothing for what they leave in their trail or what’s in their way. Any interaction with these entities will turn sour at some point, just as soon as you’re no longer profitable to them. The possible consequences of this are practically endless, but they all burn themselves out eventually; much as no good thing lasts forever, likewise no evil is unending (though its depravity might be deep). Governments routinely fall under this category, and they often attract the worst kinds of people (as well as the best, in fairness).

“Disproportionation.” I like that word, that’s a good one, good choice! :grin:

No, why would I do that? I’m not a frightened rat holding on to some ship for dear life simply because it exists and I happen to be standing on it. The great thing about cybercapitalism (capitalism in the practically-infinite space of the Internet) is that if I don’t like what someone’s doing I can just go make my own project. If it comes down to, we don’t like how the rich people are running things, then we can disengage from their system and go build our own. We may not be rich (at first), but we’ll be free(er). All ships toss out garbage, and as a smarter rat (or so I try to be), I float my way to freedom on the shit of the rich.

Assuming capitalism is inherently antagonistic; it is not. As previously argued, no clear-thinking individual or business has an actual interest in harming potential customers or employees; that would be shooting yourself in the foot, and you will feel that eventually, that’s for sure. Shooting yourself in the foot is generally stupid, and capitalism (generally) does not reward stupidity, thus the saying goes (or so I paraphrase), “there is no such thing as a stupid (or for that matter, lazy) rich person.”

I think it’s a perfectly reasonable argument. “Well-governed” implies benevolence, at least in my mind.

True. But such people only have as much power as other people are willing to give them. Rich people are (insofar as I can tell) not supernatural beings, i.e., they eat, sleep, shit and die just like the rest of us po’bois. The system only lasts as long as someone is alive to keep it around. That is, a system of civilization cannot exist without rational, intelligent people to hold it. A system compromised solely of, e.g., machines that ultimately are not sentient, cannot be a civilization; Ethereum/EOS smart contracts, while functionally immortal, cannot form a nation in and of themselves, there must be a human involved somewhere behind the scenes.

Untrue. Big investors do good things all the time. Do you think hospitals build themselves? I’ll grant that hospitals are bastards, but they do heal people and that is a good thing, and it wouldn’t happen without rich people to fund it all. What makes good leadership is not the size of your bank account, it is your wisdom, and you can’t buy that.

Discourse has a neat feature where you can highlight some text you want to quote in any post and it will give you a little popup giving you the option to quote it; I discovered it by accident some time ago and it’s been skookum as frig!

EDIT: Clarifying side note about communism.

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I think this conversation is losing its focus. I feel like I’m having a discussion with a mixture of a Republican apologist, Ayn Rand, and Adam Smith. I even agree with many things you say, but we were talking about whale voting. Can I leave this system if I don’t like it? Sure, that’s NOT the point. The point is trying to make this system equitable. Sure, you can get rich along with the rich. That’s NOT the point. It’s about being able to have a voice in changing the system if you don’t agree with its design. Much of your dialog centers on you as a free, self-determining, and intelligent individual being able to make choices in the world. That’s a really good thing; I love your self-reliance, but there are times when you need to stick around and try to fix things.

Why are hospitals bastards? Aren’t they “clear-thinking businesses that have no interest in harming potential customers or employees?” If they are, then no problem. If they are not, then someone needs to redirect them towards that goal. You can walk away saying, “I’ll just find another hospital and let the invisible hand of the market weed out this poor performer.” Sadly, poor performers (if they are only half-bad) can continue to exist for decades. The other alternative is to get involved and fix things.

We can most certainly ask that the system change and work toward that goal. Simply trying to conquer the system with the rules that have been handed down is a possibility and may demonstrate some kind of persistent self-fulfillment and indomitable spirit, but I would personally prefer to have the option of changing the rules, if it easier.

With Bancor, I can’t fix things, if I don’t have a voice. And right now I don’t really have a voice. I could leave if it becomes bad, or maybe I’ll get lucky and it will be a benevolent dictator, but I’d really rather have an available third choice where my voice is not completely overshadowed by someone else’s say in the matter. I believe we have a rare chance here to achieve equitability. We will see if this an unreasonable and naive hope.

There is a big fundamental problem with the concept of being equitable especially when we are talking blockchain. Addresses are unlimited and anonymous creating a very easily bypassed or exploited obstacle. Many DAOs have attempted different approaches like sending a VPN to each individual voter and other such shenanigans but they have ultimately either failed or died soon after (the projects, not the voters). I think if you don’t match monetary value to EACH vote and remove the capability for people to buy as many votes (though i really should say shares) as they wish, then over all you are removing a piece of utility from the token and a certain element of fungibility that gives it viability to it’s individual value.

The correct answer is to coerce/incentivize them to vote not silence them.

Also, reading through this thread I see a lot of sourness towards the whales so I’d like to just remind everyone that these whales are invaluable to the protocol. They bring way more than their share to the table. Number go up because groups like defiance capital ardently support us and big name institutions/CEXs choose to list us. If you were here early enough to experience that beautiful 10x, I’m sure that period of time also correlates to a lot of whales acquiring their initial positions.


Has anyone else looked into Conviction Voting? The more I read about it, the more I like it as a potential solution for How to increase voter turnout (or reduce voter apathy) by making “voting as easy as possible” and to strike a balance between whale voting power and minority opinions.


Wait, you guys don’t whack “bad” voters? :stuck_out_tongue:

I have found my tribe. Hello friends.

@Jefe-fintechv1 That is a very interesting read. I found myself wondering why that isn’t more widely implemented.

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Ah, a very pertinent article. It discusses all the problems we have covered here and offers some real good suggestions. I will need to spend some time absorbing this, but I think we are going to find some answers here. Thanks for unearthing that, Jefe!