This week there was an explosion of conversation about Interim Council Member Yipeng Su and DPoS Elections. Yipeng was told that there were fewer than the 108 total nodes needed for the Cyber Republic’s DPoS structure, and he responded, “No worry, we will have more candidate nodes. If there is not enough candidate nodes, I might register 10 nodes or more, but I will be just standby nodes instead of supernodes. You can consider this as a backup plan if we have not enough standby nodes.”
In the game of telephone, one person passes a message on to the next, and after a certain number of message-passing, the message is distorted from its initial meaning so much that it becomes unrecognizable. This comic is well known in the stock market and crypto community.
In no time, the story became that Yipeng wanted to compete for 10 nodes and control almost 10% of the Consensus nodes. The accusation was that this was motivated by manipulation and greed, as he holds a high position of leadership in the CR.
After the message was clarified, thankfully before rumors grew out of control due to the quick actions of community leaders in the CR, we thought that the hypothetical situation warranted continued discussion.
If Yipeng Su was really interested in hosting 10% of all nodes in total, would it be detrimental to the ecosystem?
Being in a leadership role, as someone close to the design of the DPoS process, makes running 10 nodes seem like a potential conflict of interest. Someone who understands the inner workings of a system is more likely to be able to manipulate the system. Thus, running supernodes, especially so many, could increase concerns that his actions could hurt the entire ecosystem’s reputation.
Another argument against, is that decentralization would reduce significantly. Since people from different countries and backgrounds would be available to run their own nodes, taking these opportunities away from them and leaving more power in the hands of the CR leadership would make all connected projects to the CR seem manipulated.
Essentially, the damage to trust and unity within the ecosystem could be harmed.
Yipeng Su is a trusted member in the Cyber Republic ecosystem. He is personally vested in the success of the ecosystem and the assumption is that he would never intentionally harm the ecosystem as few people would be harmed more than himself.
The fact is that anyone can run as many Supernodes as they want, if they can obtain the votes. Just as Alliances have accumulated nodes and agreed to vote for each other, decentralization is the ability to form and create organization in whatever form the community is willing to support. If one individual person obtains the votes needed to run 10 separate individual nodes, in the spirit of decentralization, this could be seen as a win because something unlikely has happened: the majority of the community has agreed to vote for an individual to run 10 nodes.
But what if it isn’t the majority? What if a small number of whales have enough votes to control the entire ecosystem’s consensus? There are three ELA wallets with 1+ million ELA in them. There are 17 six-figure ELA wallets spanning 100,000 to 612,000 ELA in each. What if these wallets collaborated to vote for their own Supernodes so that the entire rest of the community’s votes mean essentially nothing? Is this really how the CR Consensus was designed? These addresses make up approximately 7.6 million ELA total. A mere couple dozen wallets could shift the votes in any direction, especially if they were unified.
Let’s move from the pro versus con model into discussion:
So, when such a small population of individuals hold so much control, how can this type of manipulation be prevented? The point of the Cyber Republic is to be community run and built on community consensus, but if the balance of power is that a couple dozen own 23% of the entire supply of ELA, and 50% of the circulating supply at this current time, isn’t this similar to a 51% attack? Isn’t this frightening?
This is why the CR is so necessary. The CR is the human behind the machine, and it is not based on number of ELA owned. And even if it was, the CR owns 12 nodes and 50% of the total supply of ELA as a community.
It is important that consensus in DPoS is not the same as community consensus in creating the laws that we’ll all abide by. Assuming that all these wallets vote, and assuming they would coordinate to corrupt the trust of the remaining 24 active nodes, they would automatically be punished by the DPoS system.
The next failsafe is that the community holds 50% of ELA through the CR, and with the suggestion-proposal system and the CR Council, worst case is that a new law could patch whatever loophole exists that favor corrupted parties manipulating the system.
In other words, in Elastos and the CR, the human is always more powerful than the machine, and the community is always stronger than the individual.
But, as a community member pointed out, unless the community has awareness and acts, it might be hard to perform the functions above if the rich are manipulating. It can also be hard to trace manipulation, especially since the elections are anonymous. Right now, the system is inclined toward the rich based simply on ELA held, and if there is one person or one group who can dominate the elections, the road ahead will be bumpy.
What are your thoughts? What are the solutions? Is this the spirit of true decentralization? And is the road of true decentralization always bumpy by nature?
Let us know what you think by your comments or open a topic in the forums.
This article is meant to be food for thought. We have the power to vote and make decisions in order to further the ecosystem and so our thoughts and ideas and actions matter immensely. If we have a strong opinion on a certain matter, we have the strength to align our interests and make something happen. Let’s all continue to stick together in having these tough conversations to get ahead of the FUD.