Is our goal more individual voters, or more MKR locked?

I’m working on video content designed to encourage people to vote on Maker issues. I realized that I’m a little foggy on how we’re gauging success here.

I was just reviewing the balances of the top MKR holders on Etherscan. The top 50 MKR holders control well over 50% of the total voting power.

If we simply got these 50 wallets to vote and achieved 50%+ MKR on every vote, would that mean “success”?

Or is our immediate goal to get more unique wallets (a.k.a. minnows) voting, which would mean that we need to find a way to get more overall participation from people who are unable to move the needle with their individual vote?

  • It’s more important to have over 50% MKR tokens voting
  • It’s more important to increase the number of unique wallets voting

0 voters

I think raw MKR weight is what secures the system ultimately, and makes governance attacks unfeasible.

In a certain sense, unique number of voters doesn’t really matter (except for the reason of intellectually fleshing out Governance decisions in our public communications and general accountability behind the logic for our governance decisions).

I don’t think it’s a binary situation. More MKR to secure against attack, more voters to clearly understand the positions of the holders. We need to be able to see if small holders disagree with larger ones for example.


There is an additional problem of unique wallets and unique people not being necessarily the same.
We should pursue both goals, since they are not exclusive.


So I appear to have voted against the majority here, so let me lay out my reasoning and hopefully convince some of you to change your signals.

#1. Tokens are not sets of eyes/brains.

In general it’s agreed that the wisdom of the crowd is ‘a thing’. The larger the pool of people we have scrutinising every vote and every decision the more likely it is that one of them will spot something that endangers the system.

Arguments against this can normally be summarised as: ‘The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.’ There is some truth behind this too, but we are building this community around the principle of scientific governance. We emphasise the value of evidence when making decisions, this principle should help to mitigate the danger of a large group of people with false beliefs influencing the system.

#2 Those who hold large amounts of tokens will tend to fall into a narrow subset of demographic groups.

Most people don’t have the amount of money required to purchase a large amount of MKR tokens. I would also claim that the western world got a ‘head-start’ on owning MKR tokens (the project originated in the west.)

If we want the DCS to be a net benefit to the less fortunate, we need to hear those voices in the governance process. If we want the DCS to become a global bank, we need to attract people around the world to the governance process.

People from different backgrounds and cultures will have different ideas about how to govern the system, we need those ideas! We need their participation to avoid the same pitfalls as the legacy financial system. If we send the message that MKR tokens are all that matter, we will drive those people away.

#3 We need to build our community and tokens can’t do anything.

Tokens are not humans, they are not capable of productive work. The more people we have taking an interest in MakerDAO and devoting time (paid or unpaid) to contribute to discussions, to development and to community projects the better.

Now the DCS is not MakerDAO, and MakerDAO is not the DCS, but the DCS benefits from the expansion of MakerDAO (and vice versa). Ultimately without people driving MakerDAO, the DCS will not reach its full potential.

Why am I talking about expanding MakerDAO when we’re talking about voting in the DCS? Because voting and small MKR ownership is one of the key introductions to the project. Every small MKR voter is an expansion to the pool of humans that could potentially become active community members. This pool of active community members can potentially become employees of MakerDAO. The larger our recruitment pool, the better talent we have access to.

TLDR: There is way more at stake than the security of the DCS, our goal should be to get as many people as possible voting.


Actually, afaik this not really the case. Only wisdom of the informed and knowledgeable crowd is useful, i.e. can match and even surpass the small group of professionals. I think this distinction is cruicial for mkr owners and needs to be discussed further.


Yeah, that seems valid to me, but I think the point still holds. If we want to find and create as many informed and knowledgeable people as possible we should be pitching these videos to maximise the number of MKR Holders.

As I mentioned, I think the principles of scientific governance help to mitigate the effect of many less knowledgeable individuals.

I think it’s worth mentioning that there is not necessarily a correlation between large MKR Holders and ‘informed and knowledgeable.’ While you’d certainly hope there is, it’s by no means certain in this market.

@ChrisBlec just one remark about a claim that

The top 50 MKR holders control well over 50% of the total voting power

That is actually false if You look little closer:

  1. wallet number 1 is MKR Foundation which as far as i know do not participate in voting (currently ~25%)
  2. wallet number 2 is DSChief that groups all people with tokens locked ready for voting (11%)
  3. Wallet number 5 is a Redeemer (5%) - smart contract with tokens that where never claimed during swap from old MKR to new MKR (lost?)
    And list goes on

Actually what is worrying is that 11% of tokens is in DSChief

(however to be honest looks like some big wallets has set approval for DSChief so i assume tokens moves temporarily for time of voting)


I thought I was accounting for those 3 wallets but pls double-check my math. Would love to make sure that stat is accurate as I feel it may become important in future voter engagement discussion.

We want both … more voters with a larger distribution of overall MKR. Distribution of MKR is far from where we need it to be really for true decentralisation but there’s not that much small holders can do about that. Except, and I know this is a bold statement, call upon MKR whales to distribute MKR to interested parties, for free.

Whales, like the Foundation, A16Z, … could provide a certain % of their MKR holdings to increase governance adoption by giving it away based upon a set of predefined criteria like motivation, location, education, age, social level, participation … you name it. Interested people could apply by writing why they want to govern and why they would be an asset to the overall governance system and get the voting rights of a certain amount of MKR, for a certain amount of time. After a while, when they have proven to actually be an asset to the system, they could become owners of the MKR they were managing. Essentially, I’m suggesting a delegation-system, with the option of handing over the MKR to the delegated address when a certain set of criteria are met.

Increasing MKR holders, even by giving it away “for free”, is actually in their (whales) best interest IMO because if decentralised governance doesn’t take off on a much larger scale, the system doesn’t stand a chance anyway IMO.


Bold indeed. In general I find myself agreeing. The people that are taking part and voting with small amounts of MKR now are people we want to stick around in the future, they’re the people that are doing it because they care, rather than for monetary incentive. Providing those people with monetary incentive cements their future participation and rewards them for the work they’ve already been doing for free.

All that said. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t want to lose a chunk of my MKR to pay for this if I were a whale. The logical source for this would be the Foundation, but I’m sure there are many demands on the dev fund already. Another potential source would be voluntary inflation of the MKR token which could then be distributed to active governors, or put up for delegation as you suggest. In this way we could ensure the cost was spread across all owners of the system.

+1, I vote for both :slight_smile: