Dear Polkadot community,
I am interested in long term term viability of this project, not for monetary gain (I don’t own dot) but for the promise it holds for the world.
My observations and questions arise out of my humble understanding of this project. In my day job I manage logistics and set requirements for logistics systems. For the last 15 years, I spent 80% of my spare time reading and thinking holistically, about open source operating systems, economics and politics. As a result, I am absolutely fascinated by all I have seen and read!
How do we encourage productive usage and democracy? Whilst preventing alligators from becoming ever wealthier?
Lets define an Alligator as a user who chooses to:
a) focus on collecting an ever larger stake, instead of productive or democratic use.
b) whilst hiding their riches over multiple addresses (with the added benefit that the alligator can get multiple roles, including but not limited to validators, council memberships and etc).
c) at some point the alligator (collectively or alone) can start to influence policy to entrench themselves or become even wealthier.
d) although the rest of us can fork, the value of network is not easily replicated, meaning that the rest of us will put up with some amount of corruption, as we do today (see how hard it is to reach escape velocity from corporate network monopolies).
Observation 1: Wealth generates wealth, and ever increasing wealth inequality.
1a) Smaller accounts might not be able to get staking reward, because they are too small. Therefore inflation will over time remove the smaller accounts value and democratic say.
1b) Nomination depends on share of wealth, giving wealthier accounts a slight better chance to correctly pick a validator and reap the rewards.
1c) You must pay a transaction fee to retrieve staking rewards, and you can thus gain a higher income (less transaction fees) with bigger stakes.
Observation 2: The current implementation seems to favor income generation over democracy & use.
2a) Although I have not been able to understand how hosting parachains ties up dot or costs dot, either seems to increase the wealth of the alligators, over that of its intended users.
2b) “Token holders votes for Councillors are isolated from any of the nominations they may have on validators”. Hence those democratically involvement lose out on potential income from validators.
2c) Inflation, means that anyone not staking for anything else than income is losing. Hence active government participants lose at the expense of income seekers.
2d) with all users economically incentivized to refrain from political influence & usage*, the potential of a sudden alligator attacking a vote to become richer or more entrenched is all the greater.
2e) When the alligator chooses to attack they can multiply their influence by “Voluntary Locking”, gaining more votes. Doing so at the right moment makes it hard for the network to respond. And whilst some changes can be reverted, others might require forking. Which brings us back to the fact that there is value in the network and we put up with some corruption.
How do we guard against ever rising wealth inequalty and its potential corrupting influence? What guardrails are there or should there be?
I welcome your thoughts and outreach!