This post is the result of numerous conversations held within Discord. Yesterday, these ideas started to gain some traction within the MSPWaves Broadcast channel, and I thank @r0nd0n for voicing these ideas while I was typing them.
Why do we need a NEW DPOS?
Many Steemians continue to believe that the current DPOS is a "decentralised governance" model. If this was true, then why has governance been "centralised"?
It is not enough that a DPOS model start off being decentralised, it must also be robust enough to withstand attempted attacks on that decentralised consensus. It has always been a theoretical weakness of Steem's DPOS system that it is vulnerable to being centralised by one or more very large stakes. Now that Steemians have seen this in action, it must surely be time to review this model so that this cannot happen again.
So, the aim is to create a NEW DPOS for Steem that is a robust decentralised governance model that is self-protected from becoming centralised by any party.
I propose that this be done in two phases; a NEW DPOS Short-Term solution followed by a Long-Term solution.
Why do we need two steps?
We have an immediate problem. There are two large factions that we can broadly class as the Steem Community and the Tron Holdings; there are also other significant minority factions that make this even more precarious and unstable.
What we have been seeing over the past few days is an escalation in witness votes from both camps. This escalation is not dissimilar to an arms build up to maintain detente. However, this accumulation of resources is leading to a stressful and unstable form of balance of power. Any sudden major shift can upset this tense stability.
Hence, the NEW DPOS Short-Term solution is designed to be very easy to implement and to both maintain the current balance of power while at the same time decreasing the stress levels that come with it.
It will be mathematically impossible for anybody to seize complete control within the short-term as the number of witness votes will be decreased. This is thus designed to maintain the current detente and decrease the level of tension so that discussions can proceed without the background escalation.
NEW DPOS Short-Term
This short-term solution is the simplest and most effective that I can think of.
We reduce the number of witness votes per Steem username to 8.
We can keep the current witness count at 20 plus a backup, not because it is optimal but just to avoid more coding.
The number 8 has been chosen so that even if a large stakeholder were to split their SP into two equal amounts, they would still, in theory, only be able to gain 16 witnesses - one short of a super-majority.
This is the important part of this change. To maintain the current equilibrium plus making it impossible to achieve a super-majority without broad consensus among the two major blocs.
I hope this will be taken seriously and that this could be the first fork that all sides can support.
Let us not forget that all parties profess to be in favour of decentralisation - this is an opportunity to put this into practice.
NEW DPOS Long-Term
Once the balance of power has been achieved and the stress levels toned down, we can all look at how the Steem and Tron systems can work together. That future is not part of this proposal and I am not going to go down all the possible routes.
However, the issue of making DPOS robust to attacks remains. One possibility is that the above Short-Term solution is enough.
What I propose here is that a very small group of people be entrusted with researching and seeking a long-term solution to the issue of Steem's DPOS decentralised governance and writing a report to be submitted to the community.
Such a report will highlight the best solutions, their pros and cons and how to implement them.
That DPOS Research Group can be funded by SPS for a fixed period of time, say 30 days. This Research Group must have one person who knows how to code the blockchain, plus people who have studied and understand DPOS protocols. I myself would be happy to be one such member.
One of the most obvious questions is how to decrease user witness votes from the current 30 down to 8. I think the simplest is just to take the 8 most recent votes. There is now a growing awareness of the duties of Steemians to vote for witnesses, so if any of those 8 witnesses need amending then there is all likelihood that people will do so quickly. Any other method could be complex and still be unsatisfactory.
One objection to this NEW DPOS Short-Term is that it reduces the witness votes for everyone and so the total MVests that each witness receives will drop across the board. But this is the whole point of this quick fix: that it does not distort the current witness distribution and hence is fair to all parties while removing the stressful escalation that somewhat undermines on-going negotiations.
If you have any further insights about unintended consequences, then please leave a comment.
All feedback appreciated and please resteem to broaden the discussion.
So there are two things to decide upon:
Do you support the NEW DPOS Short-Term solution?
Do you support that a Research Group investigate and then propose options for a NEW DPOS Long-Term?