Why aren't MKR Holders voting?

I’m full of ideas (but none that are costless).

Having a place where MKR holders can get access to high quality and succinct information is desireable. I attempted to do that with governance at a glance, but it just seems to get bigger and bigger each time I come back to it. Maybe I’ll revamp the format a little and organise it better so that there is a three point summary of what’s gone on in the past week and then go into more detail below.

I’d suggest reorganising how the governance and risk meetings are uploaded to youtube. Currently they are uploaded as one long video, it might be easier to consume in a shorter format. Either:

  • One long video, and a 5min highlight edit (but who makes this?)
  • Split the video into sections.

That’s more work for @rich.brown though.

Getting a governance twitter account up and running could be a good way of prompting engagement and spreading information about votes and such. I think @kwadrax was looking into this?

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I haven’t voted before because I am not a whale, also I think it is not the best practice to be required to vote once or twice weekly.

The solution for this problem is to decrease the required frequency of voting. (for example by adding automation to the process of changing the SF, so the votes will only required when we want to change the algo).

by the way sometimes low voting means that most holders are kind of OK with the process.


I have just a handful of Maker. I haven’t voted yet, although I plan to do so in the future. I’d really love the option of proxying my vote to a group with a similar outlook. For example, suppose there was one group that was willing to tolerate some deviation from the peg in order to maximize total collateral locked, and another group that was focused on very aggressively trying to maintain the peg. It would be very cool to be able to delegate my Maker voting power to one or the other.


Ya, agreed.

I think it is worth thinking analogously about this. What communities, brands (!?), media outlets do this well?

For example a16z 16 minutes … https://a16z.com/tag/16-minutes/

Agree with you that whales deserve more influence. However, this is definitely a contributor to voter apathy. The typical response we get is that “if everyone voted, the whales wouldn’t have undue influence.” It’s sort of a circular issue.

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As a minor MKR holder who currently do not vote and voted in a past I can say what my reasoning for not voting is.

  1. I generally agree with decision current governance is making
  2. I do not have enaught time to analize situation to the extent when I will be able to confidently say that my vote is not just a random noise

I was voting when DAI was far out of a peg and back then I was spending like 3-4 hours weekly (watching governance all reading MakerDAO threads etc. ) to have even moderately informed opinion and that is quite an expense i must say. It is hard for me to believe that anybody having less than let say 100 MKR could rationally justify sutch time expense at current situation.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Adam, I’ll add ‘Agree with current decisionmaking’ to the list of reasons, as I don’t think that’s covered.

I agree 3-4 hours is way too much to expect from smaller holders. If I can ask, what would you consider to be the minimum level of ‘informed’ you would need to be to be comfortable voting? If we had summary videos/threads etc, would you be more willing to vote off of say 1 hour spent reading/watching a summary of the week’s activities?

Thanks for helping us with the peg back then. :slight_smile:

If there is anyone else in Adam’s situation (voted previously but not currently), I think we’d all love to hear from you. No judgement, we need to understand the problems as well as possible to make the right fixes.

I’m afraid it is hard to asses or even describe where this level is, but it agree that summary article with links to more extensive resources would be very valuable and increased level of participation.

Also the fact that previous voting system has a bug also do not help.
If I’m a programmer and I’m worried about that I bet others worries also.
Where can I find some article how current voting system works (for example in current version there is some strange approval for IOU token, what is that?)?

Have you collected information about any of following ?

  1. How much MKR where Locked for voting in previous system
  2. How much MKR is Locked now
  3. What percentage of locked MKR’s participate in certain votings.

Also I agree that introducing delegation as an additional option is a good Idea.

I believe this can be done just as extension of a system not a change, but for sure requires solid code review process since lot of funds (and power) will be at stake and (even more importantly) emergence of some new proffessionalized entities that (kind of rating agencies) present their views on the health of a system and related to this voting decisions

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I don’t think the problem of ‘voter apathy’ - we never described the term in numbers - is solvable until holders believe maker can scale to more than 1 billion dai (in a near future) without major change in governance. Otherwise owners would sell their mkr for dai and lock it to the compound in search for highest yield.

My point being, i would guess #11 is currently the most important factor, and no matter how you will optimize on other reasons, there will be no significant gain in voting of small mkr owners.

I don’t think actual increase in voting addresses should be high on “priority list” and main focus should be to get as many people commenting on this forum to get as many perspectives as possible.

I personally hold the (very debatable) opinion that at this stage it is far more important to have discussion than to vote, at least for small fishes, and to see the discussion having some kind of measurable effect.

The MKR token is mostly held by whales. They are going to make the decisions. If not all the times, when it really matters.

~1000 Holders at ~10MKR

This would still be a small 1% of total supply, and at the moment I can’t even see 50 people, let alone 1000, which are active in the discussions around forum/reddit, etc.

So, again to my point. People want to (and should be incentivised to !) participate to Maker with ideas, enthusiasm, proposals, etc. But they don’t necessarily need to vote with their 7.3MKR to be useful. In fact they are vastly more useful, overall, just by discussing interesting ideas (as LongForWisdom does often) for the public.

What the foundation should do, rather than expecting people to take risks, pay fees, and use their 7.3 MKR to vote, is

  1. to promote transparency: people need to know what is actually open to discussion, what need ideas/discussion, and what does not. This requires honesty.

For example: now we have this fast governance schedule to do because MCD is close. The foundation wants mostly quickly approval of these key things to make progress. What they don’t need now is excessive discussion and/or excessive ambition in what the governance should/can do. Let’s be clear about that. Fake democracy leads to frustration.

  1. answer often to questions/requests,

Now we will have a Rich Brown in the important role of “facilitator” di bridge the distance between the foundation and the community. Because there is quite some distance now! Let’s hope for some improvements.

The community (not whales) can do a significant “social” work off-chain in my opinion.
Sure, they can also vote, but a single drunk whale (there used to be a whale on the maker chat, claiming to be drunk all the time, and they proved to have a couple of millions in MKR at least) can outweight their small share of votes.

What a whale cannot outweight easily is:

  • discussion and visibility in the (off-chain) Maker community: take for example the activity done by LongForWisdom. It’s completely irrelevant if LFW has voted with 1, 10, or 1000 MKR. His activity has been more significant off-chain imho.

  • lead and educate others, ultimately influencing the vote more than what could be done with 7.3 MKR. To do this, active (and educated) members of the community need to be supported by the Foundation (assuming the foundation servers the purpose of "bootstrapping the system). Again, pushing the example given by LongForWisdom, all his significant time investment has been observed/read/appreciated only by the very few active members following this forum or the governance calls (<50 in total I’d say).

just my 0.02 DAI.


As a parallel in the stock market, most folks that own stock do not vote. They rely on the directors / mutual fund (proxy whales) / and the occiasional shareholder activist to vote to take action…

So almost all new participants that learned about Maker in 2019 would need to have >$5mm of MKR to have a voice as influential as the party that has the 14k MKR (who votes often), it is pretty simply as to why most do not vote. Their voice is drowned out. In this system that can make sense.

While not today, another angle to allow all voices to be heard would be to consider a weighted rate voting model. So the implemented rated would be computed, not just the winning % rate. At least with that model, even if you if you own 1 MKR your voice while small has an influence.

That in parallel w/ a proxy voting system (e.g. the equivalent of a mutual fund for voting only) is quite important the future.


While not today, another angle to allow all voices to be heard would be to consider a weighted rate voting model.

That is not possible to implement without good KYC otherwise it is not Sibil attack resistant.

I must say I like idea of delegation a lot. Several centers of opinion expressing their stand and minor voters delegating their votes to this entities.

But I agree that it is more important to have discussions and if voting effects are not controversial I believe it is perfecly reasonable there is low attendance rate.

Also I think Maker team should make some deep analysis of MKR holders addresses to find out more about reasons why there is not so much minority voting

  1. What is a distribution of MKR (for example, how big % is owned by holders having less than 10 MKR)
  2. What is a velocity of this low amount holders
  3. What is a percentage of MKR locked for voting
  4. What percentage if this percentage is actually voting

Good discussion thread. Of the items listed, I think the most significant barriers to voting is education and incentives to MKR holders. Specifically:

“There is no good introduction on how to vote.” and “MKR holders do not know how to vote”. If a series of step by step video tutorials could be put together of the different ways to vote and the associated pros/cons/inherit risks, we would see an immediate increase in participation.

“There is no incentive to voting”. I have generally agreed with the votes to date, so I have not felt the need to vote. If there was other incentives to increase participation, we will probably see MKR holders participate in the voting process more. Could we have a small voting reward for participation?


I totally agree with Rabino and his the observation that:

As a parallel in the stock market, most folks that own stock do not vote.

In fact, I hope not every MKR holder will end up voting.
The (educated, “scientific”) voting process requires a lot of thoughts, education, time to follow the news/ideas/developments, etc. Not many MKR holders have these things.

I think that, while it’s legitimate that the Foundation hopes to get more MKR-holders onboard with voting, it should not be expected nor desired to see more than 4-5% of the MKR holders to vote.

This is not supposed to work as a democracy whose voting system is conceived to “accept to get a decent sub-optimal outcome, focus on avoiding the worse”.

We need (and want, as MKR holders hoping for financial profits) some kind of voting habits designed to “get good results, try to achieve the best”.

In favor of vote delegation so that “smaller” voters can group together their votes and let someone else do the voting.

Just for the record:

In favor of vote delegation so that “smaller” voters can group together their votes and let someone else do the voting.

Rich Brown (a few months ago), speaking for the Foundation, said that they’d rather see other 3rd parties implement this “delegate vote” technology rather than MakerDAO itself.

I agree with Rich’s point of view on this. It’s better to keep the MakerDAO core as simple and minimal as possible.

There is hope! If I remember correctly, there is a project now under development to integrate Maker with Aragon. So I think we might see delegated votes possible in 12-24 months.

EDIT: more infos here: https://github.com/aragon/nest/pull/171

Also, there is the channel #aragon-maker-integration but it appears nobody has yet used it. Perhaps we could move this discussion over there, to share ideas and news.

I used to vote every week regarding the stability fee. Just sort of seemed pointless after a while. I would definitely vote for asset parameters, as long as it doesn’t become to granular and burdensome.

As long as it is secure and the delegate is not in control of MKR etc. 12-24 months is a long time. Hard to to see much participation from “smaller” MKR owners without delegation imo.

New to posting in the forum but hoping to get more involved. For reference, I’m a small MKR holder.

I personally don’t believe their should be any voting incentive. I think people would game the system and not much additional value would be gained in the vote other than boosting the numbers.

I think vote delegation would be fantastic. Small MKR holders collectively form a large block. I believe that most are rational actors and would be fairly proactive about delegating their MKR if the tools were appropriate and simple. Here are some of my ideas, but I’m not entirely sure how feasible they are. I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable participating unless I maintained full custody over my MKR. I think this is crucial to any delegaton. In an ideal world, vote delegation could occur from a phone app. Something where I can see where my vote is delegated, see what my delegate is voting for, links I can click on to see the reasoning behind each vote. Going one step further, I could imagine being able to split vote delegations between multiple delegates.


I am very surprised people are waiting for and in favor of vote delegation

Delegation in this case means centralisation and goes against everything decentralised governance should be in my opinion.

All a bad actor has to do is act fine for a while, have some MKR delegated to them and then attack the system. How would we handle that? Are we going to fork out the bad actors MKR and the MKR of the holders who delegated their vote to them? I think we should.

Being a MKR holder carries responsibility and if you just transfer that responsibility to another party, even just temporary, you become also responsible for what they do with it.

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