Whale watching on ANV-2 🐳

Just saw this post on /r/ethereum where Evan Van Ness spotted a whale that significantly swayed the results of ANV-2 :whale2: Haven’t run the numbers myself, but assuming they’re correct this seems like something to be aware of and potentially design against. There was a suggestion in the thread to create a feature to extend a vote if it flips last min. Curious to hear what the community thinks :slight_smile:


Extend the vote feature is a great improvement to widen the window of opportunity for other members of the community to coordinate when these situations arise. However it may not generate the “desired outcomes” that stem from the core philosophical principles directly addressed in the feedback mentioned in the original post.

By design, Aragon’s current on-chain governance implementation encourages this kind of voting activity because of the distribution of ANT. Although, we could implement systems like quadratic voting to lessen the severity of whale’s influence on network decisions, there is something to be said about the current experiments’ thesis about how to govern a project when members are financially staked.

Instead of trying to make improvements on the basis of democratizing the vote, there should be a greater focus on increasing voter participation, which on the merits of this system, would more accurately reflect the desires of the shareholders involved.


Yeah that feels like a stronger strategy. Any thoughts on how to go about that?


What about a token penalty for those who do not vote? Like 1% of all ANT that have not voted or not delegated their vote gets redistributed proportionally to those who did? We’d vote on that percentage number.

I know delegation isn’t there yet, but that’s to say I don’t think we should implement that until it is. Like if we force people to vote while they wouldn’t have otherwise because they have no idea what to vote, we’ll just end up with a mess.


I think that would make more sense for a smaller and more engaged community, but for ANT holders it would cause a riot lol. I do like the idea of creating DAOs that intentionally remove members or reduce their influence if they aren’t engaged. It would be really great if there was an app for that with sane defaults so that every DAO didn’t have to have a huge conversation around membership and who should or should not be on or off the bus.

I don’t necessarily think large ANT token holders would be against, potentially the opposite actually.

It took me a while to get comfortable with the REP use it or lose it for instance, it’s quite harsh, but it’s also quite effective. As a REP token holder who plans to do my duties, I’m glad this exists as there are multiple positive effects. For one it’ll quickly move the value from any token lost back to those who aren’t.

I think these types of practices are a bit of a taboo today and Augur broke ground with this, but I expect other projects will follow just because it has great effects.

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I’m intrigued… Are there any links/resources you’d recommend to learn about how REP goes about implementing this feature specifically and how the community reacted?

Unfortunately I don’t have much readings to share about this, sorry. It’s something quite new so at this stage we (the blockchain space) need to experiment and then probably at that point more written feedback will be available.

A better way of taxing would probably be inflation rewards to voters. This seems like a simple and effective solution to get more people voting, and I’m sure it would work in that regard. After all holders are either speculators or users, and the best way to motivate a speculator is through a financial incentive

However @light pointed out that more votes doesn’t necessarily mean more voter participation. The simple act of voting doesn’t mean you did research, formulated an opinion, and voted.
We could get more votes, but they might be random votes


Yeah that’s a good point. Any mechanism that purely incentivizes voting for the sake of voting does not necessarily incentivize participation in the voting process leading up to the vote. I suggested the Aragon Voting Gauntlet as a way to make the process more involved from the perspective of people submitting proposals so that they would have to engage with the community and couldn’t just submit things last min. It’s not perfect, but if more voters are engaged leading up to the vote it could result in better outcomes without needing to monetarily incentivize anyone?


The mechanism I would suggest is exactly like the one @Fran23 pointed out. One way to
mitigate the random voting problem would be to also distribute rewards to voters who predicted correctly on the outcome (quite nominal like 0.5% of total votes submitted), but not incorporate any sort of slashing mechanism for being wrong.

That way participation always nets you more influence over time. However, without proper tools to identify voters and their behaviors, there is an easy attack vector in which small cliques of large ANT holders form to consistently influence decisions, making it even more gameable.


Let’s test it. Without even changing token logic or creating an inflation mechanism. Just using AA funds for the test drive.

Next voting cycle, we create a new AGP going along these lines:

Q) Should people voting this AGP get a reward from the Aragon Foundation, equal to x% of the tokens used to vote?
Yes -> people get tokens
No -> noone gets nothing but we attracted lots of attention to the process

Would be interesting to see how easily people are motivated to participate, without getting random votes on the other AGPs

I would probably vote no fwiw :grinning:

I would vote against rewarding voters for voting, from inflation or from Aragon funds. Only thing I would personally accept is to lightly slash (punish) non-voters. And again, only when delegation is possible so people who don’t know what to vote for, can rely on more knowledgeable people they trust.

edit: only place I’m willing (eager) to reward voters for voting is once a proper way to do it is implemented: Futarchy.

Actually you could impliment that as a prediction market separate from Aragon right? Since all the votes are on-chain, you could go to the predication market with the same account you used to vote and then collect a reward.
That being said… who provides the reward? AA could provide a reward that only goes to the winnder, but then that motivates people to vote for what they think will win, not necessarily what they actually want to win. This gives whales more influence.
There’s 100% nothing stopping a whale (or anyone) from setting up a rewards app where if your account voted for X on vote# Y, you get a reward. Today it’s socially taboo to do so, but it’s probably only a matter of time until we start seeing these types of games everywhere.


Would be interesting to see how easily people are motivated to participate, without getting random votes on the other AGPs
That would be interesting. There’s nothing to lose by just submitting the AGP and watching the debates ensue. I’d actually be really curious to see that happen, not because of the outcome, but because I’m sure a lot of smart people would weigh in and I’d learn a lot lol

Good point. Delegation is going to be an essential component to making this whole process productive rather than chaotic


Definitely agree that voter rewards doesn’t necessarily lead to a more informed vote.

As @GustavMarwin just suggested, Futarchy is what we seem to be converging on. Although there is the question of who gets to decide the metrics of success prior to running the elections for future AGPs. If we were to use the current voting apparatus, it may produce an even more “plutocratic” outcome. Excited to see this app launch so we can run experiments :test_tube: :lab_coat:

I’d love that, but there are several issues:

  • Slashing tokens may hurt users that have them in exchanges, and basically make life impossible for exchanges. Imagine explaining to a user that their balance has been reduced in the meantime between depositing and putting an order
  • Same with tokens locked on a contract

Inflation has the same properties of slashing, since it increments value for those who receive more tokens, and decreases it for those who don’t.

The problem is, of course, random voting.

However, I have this WIP idea around token locking.
You could apply voting multipliers to voters who lock their tokens for a period of time. For example, you lock your tokens for 4 years and get 2x voting power
As time goes on and the lock is reduced, you decrease the multiplier. For example, 2 years in you now have a 1.5x multiplier. You can re-lock to get it up again

This will end up making it so the votes are mostly dominated by people who are long Aragon, and have skin in the game in the long term of the project.

With that, you can reward them with some small inflation, since a rational voter that is locked for X years wouldn’t vote proposals that hurt the project, and therefore risk the value of their ANT.

I’d love to arrive to a day in which there are entire teams of people analyzing each proposal and voting for the best interest of the Network, and even making a living out of it. That would crystallize with futarchy in the long term.


Interesting idea. Once my tokens are locked for 4 years, would I be able to use them to pay for the network fees once they will be implemented? My current understanding is that those would only be voting tokens during that period, which has its disadvantages. Would it be possible to simply look at how long an address has kept its balance or would that not work?

As for the inflation vs slashing, it’s an interesting point. I think anyone that started early on the blockchain space has a bias for no-inflation due to the Bitcoin culture. Overall what we might need to focus on individually is how our share of the network is evolving; if there’s inflation but our share remains the same, it’s really what matters. I guess that’s the thinking the Aragon project has been pushing from the start.

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I think that should be the case, or even put them as collateral for Aragon Network agreements.

The issue with that is that they are still liquid, so you can vote on a decision and then dump all of them. With locking, we want to prevent that exact scenario

Exactly! And with this system, if you participate on it, your share may even grow!


Some thoughts on time-lock voting and other topics that came up in this thread… this post turned into a bit of a jumble of different things. :upside_down_face:

wrt time-lock voting mechanism add an additional layer of “skin in the game” to stake-weighted voting.

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Only allow tokens which are locked for a certain amount of time to participate in the voting process.
  2. Allow all tokens to vote, but provide more weight to tokens which are locked. (this could be done based on a step or continously, but should always converge to some max multiplier regardless of length of time submitted, otherwise burning a single token gives you infinite voting weight).
  3. Make voting weight = locking duration. This means that in order to support a proposal you must lock tokens t for some fixed duration, d, and your vote weight is t * d for any proposal. If you apply a non-linearity to this, could have similar advantages to Quadratic Voting (though any non-linearity here would introduce advantages to splitting tokens between accounts and likely require some sort of sybil resistance if there decisions have significant consequences.

It’s worth noting that all of these make the cost of participation higher. This isn’t a bad thing, we are not trying to optimize for participation rates but rather good decisions but since this thread is in response to the idea that a single whale was able to cast a decisive vote, a system like this may exacerbate the issue of relatively small amount of stake being able to be decisive.

I think it is also worth noting that due to the current state of ANT liquidity there is already a pretty significant “lockup” effect inherent in holding ANT that is not directly related to voting. This effect makes it unlikely to see large amount made available on defi lending platform, and makes large holders especially, have a strong motivation to pursue policies that create long term value.

The main reason I’m skeptical of introducing a time-based locking mechanism is that it further reduces the ability for participants to exit–and without things like the court which help enforce rights of minority participants, the ability to easily exit is a really important check on the governance process. I would be much more comfortable with a time-based lock in requirement if once we have the court to serve help with dispute resolution.

Unrelated to the idea of time lock voting, I think that introducing a “quiet ending” policy or simply switching to commit/reveal process for votes would help mitigate the (potential) issue with waiting till the end of a voting period to swing votes (or voters in general choosing to vote or not based on the current state of the vote before it ends).

Also with regard to incentivizing voting participation, I think that we 1) definitely need to be careful about how this is designed because as was noted above it can result in random voting… combining it with a time-lock up mechanism can help address this concern but its still not clear to me if participation rate is something we really want to try and optimize for… 2) If implemented via inflation there may be some concerns with “tax liability”. I’ve been a big fan of inflationary participation rate targeting mechanism from a theoretical perspective, but from a practical perspective it may be better to implement as Demurrage even if it is significantly more technically complicated. Some discussion on this issue for more context.


I agree and this is essential to keep in mind.

Where can one find more info on the Court, specifically how it will help enforce the rights of minority participants?

That’s a really good point and one that isn’t discussed enough. The mechanism described on the Cosmos forum wouldn’t really work for Aragon though because there’s no staking. Is there a different type of mechanism you were thinking of for Aragon?

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