How Vote Incentivization Monopolizes Delegated Proof of Stake

2개월 전
in dpos



In an article I wrote almost a year ago called How Vote Incentivization Degrades Delegated Proof of Stake, I explored a very crucial aspect of DPoS: how voter kickbacks (explicitly or implicitly) degrades the security of the system. In that post, I focused on the effect of “racing to the bottom,” whereby elected candidates (who receive inflation) compete on offering larger kickback incentives to their voters, ending up in a situation where the inflation is de-facto useless, as it is returned directly into the hands of those whose value was being inflated away in the first place. If you haven't read this article first, please do so -- it is an important first step in this discussion.

Another article related to this discussion: Inflation, Centralization, and DPoS, explores another facet of DPoS centralization issues by exposing how inflationary rewards, if handed to the same entities, can entrench their control of a system over time.

I will explore here the missing link between these two previous articles -- how vote incentivization monopolizes Delegated Proof of Stake. I will examine not only how the race to the bottom degrades security, and not only how inflation leads to centralization all on its own, but how vote incentivization (be it vote buying or trading) will in itself lead to a crystalline structure of monopolized leadership.

While this post is inspired by observations of DPoS, especially the EOS Mainnet, the outcomes are applicable to any system and should serve as a warning to systems with elected and paid consensus leaders.

To lead the discussion, I want to make a very clear distinction: inflation is not as much of a "reward" as it is a redistribution of value -- someone must be devalued to provide value to someone else. When considering inflation "rewards," one must also consider who pays that "reward."



The Game Theory of Voting for Kickbacks

Suppose we take a simple game-theory dilemma. We have two participants, Charlie and David, voting for two separate candidates in a ballot. Candidate Alice says that if they're elected, they'll print some money (inflation) and use it for governance tasks. Candidate Bob, however, says that if they're elected, they'll take half the printed money and return it to their voters. Pretend in the event of a tie, both get elected and co-govern -- but Bob only rewards people who voted for him. The voters' dilemma appears as follows:

Charlie
Vote [Alice]Vote [Bob]
DavidVote [Alice]Charlie: -0.5Charlie: (-0.5 + 0.5) = 0
David: -0.5David: -0.5
[Alice]: +1[Alice/Bob]: (+1 - 0.5) = +0.5
Vote [Bob]Charlie: -0.5Charlie: (-0.5 + 0.25) = -0.25
David: (-0.5 + 0.5) = 0David: (-0.5 + 0.25) = -0.25
[Alice/Bob]: (+1 - 0.5) = +0.5[Bob]: (+1 - 0.5) = +0.5

Let's break down these choices. Recall that inflation is a means of redirection of value: the units in the chart abstractly show where value is being redirected.

If Charlie and David agree to elect Alice, they agree to the specified inflation rate -- perhaps they agree that Alice produces value. They each, proportionately and fairly, pay Alice.

However, if one voter (say, Charlie) chooses to vote for Bob, and the other voter -- David -- does not, they pay the price: Charlie avoids having to pay for governance (i.e. by avoiding having their value eroded by inflation), leaving the burden only on David, as they did not choose Bob. What a terrible deal for David! Even worse, eventually David's vote will not even matter, as his value is inflated away.

David has two choices here: also vote for Bob, or accept the fact that if others do, they are taking his value away from him. However, if David does vote for Bob (perhaps recasting his vote), we see that the relative standing would not change. In effect, all that this does is reduce the effective inflation rate, but without a change in inflation location.

To understand this, look closer at quadrant 1 (top left) and 4 (bottom right): these are actually quite similar -- just all numbers offset by a factor of half. Indeed, this matches our expectations: If Bob creates 100 units of currency and gives 25 to David and 25 to Charlie, (whereby these participants were equal and the only participants in this economy), David and Charlie still remain the same relatively standing: from their original N% of the total, each move to N% + 25 of the new total. Bob could have instead simplified things by printing only 50% of what Alice did, and simply keeping that amount for himself.

The result is almost the same -- except for two key differences. This first is a bit silly: perhaps David and Charlie now owe taxes when Bob gives them part of the inflation, in which case they would be certainly better off having Bob simply print the smaller amount in the first place. But the bigger key difference is that Bob has undermined Alice, forcing voters to either lose value by voting for Alice instead of Bob, or join in voting for him.

This returns us to the argument from our previous article: inflation distributed proportionately is equivalent to no inflation at all. The "Bob pays out to everyone" scenario is a waste of effort: in effect, if all voters receive a proportionate return, then the system is equivalent to one with reduced inflation (by the return percent). In our example, when both voters vote for Bob, the "effective global inflation" is reduced by half.

Here we define effective inflation as the reduced form of inflation, whereby we discount/ignore inflation that is returned proportionately.

So this brings us to the voters' dilemma, that reminds us a bit of the Prisoner's Dilemma: if someone else is voting for a candidate with kickbacks, and you are not, then the source of their value extraction is you.

There is also no free lunch: you're not "getting a reward" by voting for a candidate offering kickbacks. There is no "reward," you are participating in a round-about scheme of reduced inflation while contributing to the entrenchment of system control, which we will see next.

Continuous Voting Leads to Entrenchment

In the event of continuous voting like in DPoS, we have a larger problem. Rather than single decision ballot voting -- whereby participants may agree to an effective inflation rate -- in continuous voting you can immediately observe other voters' behavior. In this sense, you would be party to a system that already has an elected group and effective inflation. Unless your single vote can change the entire structure, you are limited to a simple decision tree:

Decision Tree 1

  • Vote for a new party that offers you better kickbacks, (which means a lower effective inflation rate), protecting your own value better at the expense of everyone else, or
  • Vote for the current elected parties to maintain their effective inflation rate, or
  • Vote for a smaller kickback rate and accept your individual value decreasing faster.

In effect, unless everyone can collectively agree on a stable position, there is always an individually-determined winning move: vote for the highest kickback return, whereby others who do not vote in the same way are the ones penalized. When divided or making an individual decision, the greedy choice is a clear winner.

The winners of this entrenchment phase are essentially "First Past the Post." The first groups (collaboratively or not) that identify their ability to entrench themselves are likely to enter and maintain an entrenched position simply by being first, becoming a "local minima" in the race-to-the-bottom. Then, keeping their position is only a matter of being competitive: increasing their rates to ensure voters won't greedily change votes to seek better returns.

Worse, however, is moving past the stage of entrenching and into the stage of monopolization. Once a collective of candidates (coordinated or not -- a local minima) have entered all available paid positions, an individual voter has an even worse choice. A vote for a candidate outside a paid position, no matter their promised kickback (e.g. even attempting to move towards a more "global minima" in the race-to-the-bottom), provides no return. The end result of this phase is simple: promised kickbacks, even 100%, when of nothing, don’t matter. And as such, an individual has little choice:

Decision Tree 2

  • Vote within the current collective to prevent at least some of your value being inflated away, or
  • Vote outside the collective and have your value inflated away.

In this case, the current collective continues to be reinforced by individual voters' optimal behaviour. Only altruistic behaviour -- at a real, tangible value cost -- can change the direction of the system or undo any entrenchment. Reliance on others' altruism while you maintain a greedy position is a losing game.

Comment on Vote "Trading" vs. "Buying"

Vote trading can be summarized as two parties -- acting as both voter and candidate -- each buying each others' votes and simply removing the redundant step of transferring intermediate value. While one party may be slightly more advantageous during the barter (i.e. the parties are not of equal voting weights) it simply means one party is realizing a "loss" compared to market value.
That is all. There is no mathematical difference between trading and buying.

The End Result


https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1743390

Candidates compete for return/kickback rates, entrenching themselves as the de-facto controllers of consensus. At some point in time, newcomers are no longer able to compete, as voters would have to individually suffer value loss to even attempt to elect them. Instead, individual voters protect their value by voting for those already entrenched, crystalizing the previous structure. Eventually voters no longer have a choice, driven into a corner of protecting their own value or not, and individually snowball the system into creating a monopoly on power.

This reinforced position then has consolidated inflationary power, whereby the effective inflation over time is still only given to the consensus participants -- leading into asymptotic consensus convergence and even further control. With this effect in play, over time the monopoly slowly removes the need for the individual voter to vote for them -- as inflation gives them the power by taking it from the voter. This means the monopoly can now begin to increase effective inflation rates (by decreasing the kickback value) without decreasing their capacity for control. This allows further value extraction at the expense of the individual voter.

The individual voter, divided and conquered, will end in a position worse than where they started. In greedily seeking a reduced extraction of their value at the expense of other voters, they hand their power to the monopoly that's offering them exactly what they are asking for. By handing over their power, they eventually cede their value, as the monopoly becomes free to extract it.

Potential Solutions

The only "true" solutions to this problem are to either remove inflation entirely, or to have secret ballots so that a candidate is unable to provide kickbacks. Since we often desire some reward for consensus leaders, and since a secret ballot is hard if not impossible to implement on a blockchain (as you would need a verifiable election without being able to in any way reveal, prove, or discover who voted for whom), these solutions are out of reach. As such, bar either of these, any system whereby someone is paid for their efforts in any form could devolve with corruption via kickbacks. There is no way to enforce anti-corruption without judgement and governance, which most cryptocurrency systems do not have.

In general, in order to prevent monopolization of candidates, there must be a chance for newcomer candidates to have an equal opportunity to become elected compared to the current set of elected participants. There is no way this is possible once the vote-buying race to the bottom has started, and newcomer candidates have nothing to offer for kickbacks.

The only potential aid is to make vote buying a difficult or unreasonable path by instead offering an easier and simpler path that voters may choose to achieve their true goal -- protecting their value. This can be done by having a global inflation rate vote. Then, a voter can be comfortable in their chosen rate, selecting candidates they believe to use the inflation rate in a productive way.

Rather than punish a voter based on their vote choice, all voters should be equally benefitted; we should target universal inflation rates rather than vote buying. Create a system where the effective inflation rate -- an artifact of racing to the bottom -- can be chosen instead as the real inflation rate. This makes decisions easier for the voter: they do not have to continuously track vote buying schemes, chasing return rates. Instead they simply make a decision on what they expect governance positions to cost, voting to decrease it if they believe that value is too high. They are then free to simply choose candidates that they believe add value or are otherwise trusted entities.

System-built-in voting "rewards" that are given to a voter regardless of whom they vote for is another accessible method of targeting an incentive for voters to participate, and can be added in addition to a vote on a universal inflation rate. The key difference between a kickback and a reward to all voting participants is that it allows new participant candidates to have an equal opportunity to be elected. This type of incentive or inflation is orthogonal to others, as it is a special case -- the source of the inflation is non-voters, the destination is voters, and the effect is balanced (equivalent to no added inflation at all) if all participants vote.

If you as an individual voter or as a candidate are participating in a vote buying scheme, you are not "being rewarded" or "rewarding your voters." You are at best only reducing the effective inflation rate, and otherwise extracting value from anyone not participating in your scheme -- all while explicitly cooperating in the entrenchment of a monopoly. This is not a philosophical argument, it is a mathematical certainty.

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Only altruistic behaviour -- at a real, tangible value cost -- can change the direction of the system or undo any entrenchment.

What about non-monetary costs? Many can't be quantified.. yet they may be crucial to solving the dilemma.

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When you arrive at this point in the degraded system, enacting change to remove entrenchment would mean that a voter must pick the worst outcome in the decision trees. Unless a collective of voters can unanimously perform this change at a single point in time, it means that you will end up in a situation where some voter is trying to change the system with real economic opportunity cost by forgoing the kickback from the entrenched positions. It will stay in this poor position until enough voters would follow -- which may be never. I consider this an altruistic effort, as one forgoes personal greed, and it has a tangible economic cost to them.

The social aspect is something I haven't touched on, and it certainly exists. It is one of the reasons I think steem has not devolved in the same way other DPoS networks have -- this type of corruption is much more visible on the social network aspect that is deeply intertwined with the economics.

Ensuring the culture remains anti-corruption I think is certainly key to prevent or undo entrenchment.

since a secret ballot is hard if not impossible to implement on a blockchain (as you would need a verifiable election without being able to in any way reveal, prove, or discover who voted for whom)

Would this be possible using a zero-knowledge proof system similar to that used in coins like Zcash?

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This is why I I decided against saying "impossible" and instead "hard if not impossible". :)

I'm not 100% certain it is impossible, as there are certainly some clever possibilities that become available with zero knowledge proofs. The big issue I see is that it has to somewhat go beyond ZK proofs, as you can't have a situation whereby the voter can in a separate channel show how their vote was cast.

For example, Charlie votes for Bob in a ZK way, so Alice does not specifically know /how/ Bob was elected, only that the result of the election is true. This is a great start, but the issue is whether or not Charlie can tell Bob (off-chain) "hey, I voted for you, here's my side of the proof." Bob could then incentivize Charlie after the fact, without Alice being aware, and the issue remains.

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Ah, good point. So I guess you need a zero knowledge proof where it's not possible to prove that you submitted the proof! Now my head hurts :-P

On a somewhat unrelated note, I just went to a talk by Lane Rettig who was until recently an Ethereum core developer and left to work on a new project called SpaceMesh which has a pretty cool new consensus algorithm designed to address a number of the issues with traditional PoW. Just thought you might be interested.

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Yes, it's quite the puzzle!
Sounds cool, I'll check it out.

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How practical would that be to arrange on a large scale?

Only altruistic behaviour -- at a real, tangible value cost -- can change the direction of the system or undo any entrenchment.

Facebook's "altruistic behavior" of offering a free service at substantial tangible cost has made them into a half-a-trillion dollar company. In the end, it wasn't really altruistic.

In theory on Steem, inflation is being traded by stakeholders for content which attracts user attention. And the market has already proved that user attention is immensely valuable. In the long term, a vote-trading scheme in a valueless race to the bottom is far less lucrative than honest voting in a system that attracts user attention.

The problem that remains, though, is replacing short-term race to the bottom voters with long-term value voters. At some point, weak hands are replaced by strong ones, and the price gets low enough to force the shift, but it could be painful to get to that point.

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I think you and @lukestokes would agree, there's no such thing as 'altruism', as the end goal is changing the system in a way you desire.
Good insights. The hope is that we can educate to avoid the price going low due to short term interests. :)

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Agreed. The trick lies in persuading a sufficient portion of voters that voting to attract or retain eyeballs can be far more valuable than a nominal increase in daily rewards of declining value.

And yes, I try to avoid absolutes when talking about human nature, and I don't recall seeing that post before, but I have long held the opinion that altruism is either incredibly rare or non-existent.

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Another thought is that the existence of layer 2 tokens like steem-engine tokens & SMTs changes the analysis, too.

If a single post can be flagged or ignored under one curation regime, but highly rewarded under another, the value differences among curation strategies become visible much more easily.

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As my analysis is designed towards candidate (e.g. witness) voting, the same arguments can't be directly ported over to rewards pool voting. Existence of a second layer token wouldn't necessarily detract anything from my analysis, I don't think, since the different economic systems can be identified in a closed-body way from each other.
Analyzing rewards pool voting is a whole other can of worms too..

What you describe is a closed economic system which spirals down to it's own destruction.

I think the problem in itself is not solvable, but that should not necessarily be discouraging.

I believe there is a constructive approach that avoids and works around the inherent problem you describe. And it is the "workaround" applied day-in, day-out naturally in our economies.

It's called "economic growth" and it consists in seeking to maintain a dynamic equilibrium by continuously expanding the system

So instead of reasoning in a closed system which limits the choices of Charlie and David (all they can do is vote), it is beneficial to continuously add choices, to give Charlie and David more choices for their time and resources

There appears to be no stable equilibrium though, so this workaround is like a "bicycle ride": as soon as you stop adding new choices for Charlie and Dave, "you fall".

Happy to read your thoughts on this

Posted using Partiko Android

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participating in a vote buying scheme

Ring any bells?

You are at best only reducing the effective inflation rate, and otherwise extracting value from anyone not participating in your scheme

I'm not bitter... Oh wait. Yes I am.

Wonder how much inflation you along with other nabbed by participating in the vote buying / selling schemes.

Why should our kind work with your kind now? How can we know y'all won't take advantage again?

Happy to read your thoughts on this

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So, the "continuous growth" economic property is certainly an interesting one to explore (the most common example being social security), but I don't believe it applies here. Once a system has degraded in this way, there is little to no room for newcomers, so growth of the candidates is unlikely. In addition, growth of voting participants become subject to the same decision trees as the previous participants, still leaving them with little choice.

It's a general problem of PoS I would say. In PoS you yourself will use your stake to guarantee the best possible outcome in terms of inflation. While in DPoS you would vote for representatives which will make sure of that.
I think that is one of the great weaknesses of PoS and one of the big points for PoW.

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I think that is one of the great weaknesses of PoS and one of the big points for PoW.

Not really, the difference between POS and POW is that in the later the block producers are elected by those that can contribute more hashing power as opposed to having more stake. The fact that only a handful of mining pools are effectively able to produce blocks should be enough evidence that POW also leads to a monopoly (technically an oligopoly).

In POW each individual miner has to decide to which mining pool they should direct their hashing power. The rational thing to do is to choose the one that gives them a better chance of getting a higher portion of the block rewards. It turns out that the best choice is to join a pool that already has a high percentage of the block production.

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Oh, I definitely agree, I didn't mean to say that PoW doesn't have any problems of centralization, but it has no problem of monopolization like PoS has. We got mining pools which can be a short term threat for the chain, but if people leave the mining pools again it loses the power. While in PoS that's more difficult. Some PoS chains solve this by reducing the stake of the consensus node on "bad behaviour".

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Interestingly enough, its not a problem with PoS! PoS certainly has other problems (e.g., many fail to have effective consensus) but the monopolized entrenchment of leadership isn't fundamental. This issue applies to elected positions.

Consider the scenario in of PoS whereby all participants are actively staking. The inflation is thus being distributed proportionately to everyone -- and the effective inflation is zero. No one gains or loses over each other. When a PoS participant doesn't stake, they are forgoing their sort-of "right to protection against inflation", and this value is transferred to those that are staking.

You are certainly correct though that this is a pain point that PoW doesn't have -- because consensus is not determined from within the system, it is determined from outside the system.

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Yeah, but things like requiring a minimum stake to effectively be able to mine a block within a reasonable time makes this much more difficult though, doesn't it? Effectively the biggest stakeholders should be able to grow their stake quicker if they auto stake their producing rewards.

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No, that's not correct. In traditional PoS, your expected value of staking is directly proportional to your staking amount. The effect of compounding sounds like an issue -- but what you find is that with a probabilistic system the smaller stakers still, on average, approach the same rate of compounding as well.
So long as a large staker and small staker are always staking, their rewards are proportional. There's a bit of statistics involved if you want to prove it, but it is true.

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In traditional PoS, your expected value of staking is directly proportional to your staking amount

No, the expected value is your rewards (proportional to stake) minus costs of running a node (generally independent of stake, and in a heavily used system may be quite large). So smaller stakers still lose out. (Or, more likely in practice, smaller stake holders are unlikely to stake at all.)

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Your expected value of staking is directly proportional to your staking amount. I mean here revenue.
You are referring to expected gross rewards, and yes, in a realistic environment the overheads are flat per person regardless of stake amount -- but it's hard to quantify this absolutely though (for example, an individual may have the resources to do the staking already and can overlap it since the resource requirements are pretty low for most PoS systems).

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Sure, individual situations vary but you can average across small stakeholders and conclude that they lose out as a group. Unless of course the group is self-selected to include only those with the necessary resources, but this is still going to be wealth-concentrating in general.

Another factor which others were trying to convey is the risk-adjusted return per stake is lower for smaller stake even if pure expected value per stake is the same.

resource requirements are pretty low for most PoS systems

I think this basically assumes the system is a failure, no (or at least, if successful only in a very niche way)? For something with "high" usage (say as high as current Ethereum or potentially much higher), the resource requirements will not be low.

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Yes, these are fair points.
I think I'm trying to explain that these centralization considerations for PoS, are a bit different than the considerations for elected positions (and the potential gamification of those positions) for DPoS.
In PoS, you could at least expend system-external resources to protect your stake, but in a monopolized DPoS this could become impossible.

Ergo, we have to end the distribution to the purveyors of such schemes.
Probably going to have to rein in sellers, too.
Power up, or gtfo, imo.

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It sometimes irks me that buyers and sellers can now act like nothing ever happened but @anyx makes it clear just how people like us got the shit end of the stick

Don't know if there is anything that can ever make things right other than profiteers burning everything they made through their dirty damn collusive scheming ass ways.

Send all that bullshit to @null or something else and we can be on the same page.

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We can make sure that they are well known as abusive members of the community.
They won't care, they will keep netting fresh fish.

We will have to organize flags to retain as much inflation as we can.
Or, we can abandon the game to their money grab.
In which case our reps will be tarnished for having given it this much effort.

Chase them off, iyam.

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It's a really hard problem to address in a targeted manner -- you would need some form of judicial system to do so.

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Group moral outrage.
They mobbed up on us, time to return the favor, iyam.

Those folks said 'F everybody else, it's our money, and we want it now.
They had no concern for those of us looking for a viable product.
I say we don't owe them any quarter.
They chose to do this to us, irrespective of our trying to engage them in rational, logical discussions.
No need to ask their permission now, they denied us giving our's.

yanggang.jpg

IMG source - CloverChronicle.com

"...a secret ballot is hard if not impossible to implement on a blockchain..."

Create a hash when the vote is cast, and publicly verify the hash while not linking it to the voter. Seems trivially easy to me.

Regardless of the potential of secret ballots, I note this seems to explain Steem's witness structure well.

Thanks!

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UBI (given strong identity) is actually not problematic in this way, assuming it's distributed fairly to everyone (and not just those who vote for it). If given to all unique participants in a flat manner, it actually acts as an anti-inflationary property, whereby it asymptotically flattens the wealth distribution. If done right, it's actually not a terrible solution to centralization of wealth -- but of course with other drawbacks.

For secret ballots, believe me, if it were trivially easy it would be done already. It's actually a pretty fun problem to try and think about how to do it and how to break it.
You can't just use a hash. Suppose Alice wants to vote for her 100 tokens for Bob. How do we prove 100 tokens voted for Bob without proving Alice was the one who did it -- while also ensuring Alice doesn't vote twice, or that she didn't move those tokens to a different account and vote there with the same tokens? How do we ensure Alice can't prove to Bob that she voted for him? How do we do all this in a deterministic way such that the whole public can verify the results and yet no one can prove who voted for who?

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"...while also ensuring Alice doesn't vote twice..."

Oops. Thanks for setting me straight. This is why I should not be glib.

Also, the pic was not so much about UBI, as the imagery about kickbacks and voting. But, again, good point.

Thanks!

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They are both actually interesting topics, so happy to have an excuse to talk about them!

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Well, I always feel the urge to redeem myself after proving I am an imbecile. Because of this I involuntarily considered secret balloting in the back of my mind since you corrected me.

What if there's two hashes formed, one which pertains to the vote, confirming a vote based on the asset involved occurred, and one which inures to the asset itself, which the voting mechanism will not allow to vote again?

This is not quite trivial, but I suspect it is doable.

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Sadly, just hashing certainly won't work. In my other comment I think this is a good summary of the real catch-22:

  1. I must be able to prove or show to myself that my vote was cast, was valid, and was counted correctly. Others should not be able to validate/discover this.
  2. I cannot be able to prove or show to others (1).
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I must be missing something. I do not grasp why the SP cannot be assigned a hash that allows a) public verification that it has been used to vote - but not how it voted, b) prevents it being used to vote again for that election, and c) can either be used to change one's vote later, permitting 'liquid democracy' and folks to change their mind after discovering unsavory facts post-election, or terminate upon conclusion of the plebiscite.

A hash is fairly easy to construct that allows your item 1. Why is 2. even desirable?

I don't understand this very well, but the former bidbots all do, and they're unanimous - this is a post of profound exceptional quality!

How does a global inflation rate vote stop vote selling? It's a better alternative in your opinion, but I don't understand why a stake-owner wouldn't do both.

For practical solutions, have you looked at vote buying in Lisk? They had a cartel issue before EOS existed, and they're trying to change the rules, but I don't know the details.

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You are absolutely right, a savvy greedy participant would seek out both.
The hope is that the average user gets an easy way to achieve their true goal, and by already achieving this, they do not expend extra effort to go further and join in corruption.
It's definitely not a great solution, perhaps arguably not even a solution at all, but it might be enough to at least help things and stave off corruption.

I haven't looked much into Lisk, but I have always been hearing about how it descended into a cartel. My reaction was always "of course." I'll have a look and see what they're doing!

since a secret ballot is hard if not impossible to implement on a blockchain (as you would need a verifiable election without being able to in any way reveal, prove, or discover who voted for whom)

Setup user verification (Ginabot reg sytle I.E)

Call for elections off chain using a system allowing 1 verified user 1 vote
setup a system where the user can vote, his vote is tallyed not linked to the user, consume the user in the general register.

Done...

I can setup that with a discord bot in a matter of minutes and post a json with the election results.

Then you need an account with a shitload of stake to cast witnesses votes according to the election results...

Wait most users dont know what a witness is....

Most users will choose witnesses "Building communities" and raping the reward pools with populist reports about how great they are by giving away the rewards pool by voting cents in users posts while taking 100's in their reports.

UHmm... we can fix technological systems, but we cannot fix stupid, and the sheep will always sell their soul to whoever lies best to them...

Companies are not goverments and the moment money gets in the hands of those acting and thinking like goverments the wealth distribution becomes half for me, the rest half/total-population

but a secret ballot is the easier of problems to be solved, off chain of courso or with a bridge app or whatever you want to call it

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Sadly, an off-chain ballot means a trusted setup. It defeats the purpose of using a system intended to be "trust free". And we want a system to be immune to trust issues because, well, you said it best:

we cannot fix stupid

Since we often desire some reward for consensus leaders, and since a secret ballot is hard if not impossible to implement on a blockchain (as you would need a verifiable election without being able to in any way reveal, prove, or discover who voted for whom), these solutions are out of reach.

How about using ring signatures to obfuscate the identity of the voter?

Check this paper out. Others have suggested solutions for the problem of anonymizing blockchain-based elections, too.

Large-scale Election Based On Blockchain

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Yes, I do think ring signatures are the right direction, but the issue isn't necessarily with having a valid and anonymous vote.
The issue really comes down to the catch 22 of:

  1. I must be able to prove or show to myself that my vote was cast, was valid, and was counted correctly. Others should not be able to validate/discover this.
  2. I cannot be able to prove or show to others (1).

(1) seems possible, but (2) is the tricky part. If I can (in secret) show Bob that I voted for him, he could compensate me, and its right back to corruption being possible.

"When you arrive at this point in the degraded system, enacting change to remove entrenchment would mean that a voter must pick the worst outcome in the decision trees. Unless a collective of voters can unanimously perform this change at a single point in time, it means that you will end up in a situation where some voter is trying to change the system with real economic opportunity cost by forgoing the kickback from the entrenched positions."

Can you define or examplify "The worst outcome in the decision trees" what are worst outcomes that you can think of.

This is first time besides my host that I see 100 % transparency on sort of steemit as a unique site.
I felt honesty and truthfulness in your post.
Would appreciate if you enlighten me on worst possible outcomes in voter decision trees that you had on your mind.
Another item , could you elaborate:

"arrive at this point in the degraded system,"

-how degraded it is ? Could you be more specific.?

This is first time I see this kind of approach and overview. Interesting.

oh man, i am going through my tagged 'read when i have time' posts and i see this post is from this nice witness i met at SF4, what a small world :-)

Posted using Partiko Android

110sbd and I'm the 6th comment lol.

Your idea and concept is interesting.

My most recent thoughts are to allow one to predetermine a value for their own post by enabling beneficiaries to receive earnings after a target is reached.

Ex : if sbd > 10 set beneficiary @anyx 100%.

  • This will get rid of the issue of making everything an auction.
  • Suggested payout = Average payout x words x creative content can be used determine a price. People who don't follow reason will be avoided.
  • Convention will tell us to set beneficiaries to deserving people/causes
  • Curators can better know if something is over rewarded and it doesn't matter if beneficiary is appropriate.

@anyx Not easy to understand, but great analysis.

!BEER
for you

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Command accepted!



Hey @anyx, here is a little bit of BEER for you. Enjoy it!

Congratulations @anyx!
Your post was mentioned in the Steem Hit Parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 2 with $ 111,92

Your post has been curated by the bitcoin myk project. Tokens are available for this account you can trade for steem at: https://steem-engine.com/. Join our curation priority list to earn more tokens by registering at:

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This is BY FAR the best (organically) trending post on Steem I've seen in ages, and proof that "Medium.com"-level content is indeed being produced on Steem as well.

Awesome work @anyx, moarr moarr moarr & keep it up!

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I'm NOT making an accusation. However, it is impossible to ascertain that upvotes on this post aren't purchased. Small, wrinkled bags of unmarked bills may have been passed between shadowy characters clad in trenchcoats on unspecified remote schoolyards, and we wouldn't know.

But, yeah, this is a good post, and I'm happy to see it.

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FWIW I have never, and will never, use vote bots or buy votes.
I'm pleasantly surprised my post got the attention it did.

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I don't blame you for feeling accused, which is why I first pointed out I wasn't making an accusation. Just like you pointed out that secret ballots cannot be undertaken on the blockchain trivially, I simply mean that it is no less difficult to ascertain that no quid pro quo exists for votes.

Posts that transform our understanding of the world cannot get supported strongly enough, and you have posted one here.

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Fair, I just also felt the need to defend myself to the reader :)

Congratulations @anyx! You have completed the following achievement on the Steem blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You received more than 25000 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 30000 upvotes.

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