Houston We Have A Problem – Vote Buying & Swapping.
The EOS Top 21 Block Producer rankings are being taken over by exchanges and Chinese BP’s willing to collude and engage in vote buying/swapping.
What’s the problem?
There’s a few, but as you can see from the top 21 list above, 9 of the top 21 BP’s are currently from China. From a geographical stand point this is a huge issue. If the BPs are actually hosting these nodes within China and the Chinese government managed to ban those IPs at the same time the EOS Mainnet would go down, as Nathan James from Scatter mentioned below…
Add to that Vote Buying and Vote Swapping
The majority of current top 21 BP’s are vote swapping behind closed doors and or openly campaigning to buy votes from token holders like WhaleEx, they call it “WhaleEx Mining”
If you can’t beat ’em join ’em
EOS Nation has a potential solution to the vote buying issue, recently publishing this article on Medium, “Proxy As A Service”. In other words they are proposing we support open and transparent Vote Buying. The argument is that vote buying is already prevalent within the Top 21 behind closed doors and can not be stopped, which causes an unfair playing field for the “good guys” not engaging in the activity, this will eventually lead to honest BPs being completely cut out of the top 21. This is already happening as we can see arguably the top two BPs who have contributed to most to the EOS Mainnet (Cypherglass and Greymass) sitting at positions 30 and 34.
So if BPs simply gave their block producing rewards to token holders how would they survive?
EOS Nation suggests they will be able to generate enough revenue from outside sources and I agree with this. A well respected BP has a lot of technical expertise which I’m sure is valuable to any company interested in either learning or building on eosio software.
But is this the best solution? and do we have time to find a better solution?
The main issue I see with the solution EOS Nation is proposing is that at the end of the day the majority of token holders will choose the BP or Proxy which is offering the highest rewards for their votes. The core EOS community I’m sure will make the right decision and place their votes in the hands of a Proxy like the “interNATIONal” one but we are out numbered by investors who can’t or refuse to see past their own pockets. It has been shown before on other DPOS chains that whales will essentially destroy their own investment driven by greed, they will dig their own graves.
But this is not a foregone conclusion, maybe IF we can get enough support into a “good guys” proxy it may be able to compete with the current cartel.
This is one of the reasons I’m writing this article, either way the community needs to join together to help fight the good fight.
Another solution which will help but not solve the problem has been put forward by Brendan Blumer….
1 Token 1 Vote
We recently published some comments from Brendan Blumer on his push to implement the 1 Token 1 Vote rule. It’s a great idea and would certainly stop “vote swapping”, but it doesn’t stop BPs from selling their votes to token holders which as I mentioned above may or may not work depending on how much community support compared to greedy investors EOS has. So we may still have the “Mathew Effect” problem with the most powerful BPs gaining an unbreakable grip on the top 21, eventually.
Daniel Larimer is well aware of the problem and I’m sure he and Block.one will have solutions moving forward. We published some of Dan’s ideas on the issues recently and here are some more comments from today…
It seems if I understand Dan correctly here that there is no overnight solution to these problems, blocks need to be produced by demand for transactions not pursuit of rewards… as he has mentioned before DPOS is messy, it may take time for the chain to mature and for us to learn from mistakes.
Below is the conversation I was involved in on Telegram which lead me to write this article.
I hope this article hasn’t left you feeling disheartened by the troubles EOS governance is currently experiencing. Just like life there’s going to be ups and downs, I definitely debated whether or not I should write/publish this article as I’m sure it will probably scare some people away from EOS, and possibly hurt peoples investments. But we are not here to pump peoples bags, we are here to report the facts, even if they aren’t pretty, so lets continue this conversation and find ways to move forward, if there ever was a community which can do it, it’s this one!
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