Why aren't MKR Holders voting?

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.

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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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Agree bad actors and people who delegated to bad actors should be forked out in such a scenario. But the possibility of vote delegation is still a good idea imo it just means that MTH who doesn’t vote should be concerned about not centralising delegated votes to few entities. This imo would be less time consuming and less complicated than expecting “small” MTH to know all the details of the system that makes it possible to make an informed vote.

This imo would be less time consuming and less complicated than expecting “small” MTH to know all the details of the system that makes it possible to make an informed vote.

My opinion is that if you can’t make an informed decision on the state of the system, you also can’t know who you should delegate your vote to. So it just becomes and additional level in the system that adds risk from unengaged people.

That’s a fair point. I guess it becomes the responsibility of the entities who are campaigning for votes to explain simply why they vote how they do.

A the moment it seems like there are so few entities voting that it’s not very decentralized so for now I still thing delegation is a good idea. However if the risk you describe becomes to big at some point one could maybe consider reducing the weight of delegated votes so e.g. 1 MKR delegated vote only counts as 0.1 MKR or something similar.

Instead of making 20 individual replies I’m going to bundle them all up together. Discourse got mad at me the last time…

Governance engagement was dead in Reddit long before we moved to discourse.

I can confirm this is that case from talking to institutional investors, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to name names so people will have to decide for themselves if this is anecdotal or not :wink:

I will never stop asking this: If anyone knows of any research that proposes a voting incentive mechanism that is not gameable for profit, PLEASE let me know.

We’ve been discussing metatransactions ala Gas Station Network internally. If the fees, and not the risk of moving large sums of MKR around, that is the friction, we can solve that.

We’ve discussed this as well. It involves a significant amount of time and effort though, and we haven’t found anyone willing to do it. It already takes just over a full person day just to get the transcripts/summaries/github/forum/reddit/twitter/youtube/soundcloud stuff done.

There are a lot of very smart people in our community and it’s all on the chain. It’s my hope that the community can step up and do this kind of analysis as well.

I posted a bunch about this in chat earlier today, but the short answer is that we are working with a team that has expressed interest in setting up vote delegation system that will use aragon as a wrapper. There is a shared doc where the community is welcome to add suggestions and help brainstorm.

My take on the apathy problem:

Having watched every second of the governance process since inception there is no doubt in my mind that the primary reason is simply that it’s not fun anymore.

We’ve exhausted the level of engagement we can expect from people. No one wants to tweak the same number every single week. Nor can we reasonably expect a large segment of users to stay up to date on the volume of data we produce. There could be a host of other contributing factors but ultimately: it’s too much like work.

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FWIW To cast the seven votes for the Collateral Asset Priority Poll I spent less then 0.00017ETH which is about 0.027DAI at todays rate.

Find it hard to believe that tx fees are a reason for voter apathy.

The gov portal does default to quite aggressive gas pricing though, perhaps adding a cheap/slow gas price option would help those who are worried about high fees.

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I think It is obvious free rider problem, to do such analysis well You need somewhere 50 - 200 man hours, there is lot of things to check. And it cannot be divided in uncoordinated way.

I do not think such thing can occure without incentive. As You have stated “it’s too much like work”

Of course the question is if such analysis is actually needed.

Have You ever consider something similar to “Ethereum Grants” program but in MakerDAO space ? It works quite well for Ethereum ecosystem.

from a personal point only, this is still absolutely “fun” for me… However, in a system that does not yet have proxy voting, my voice is insignificant compared to larger (whale) holders (as it should be)… hard to want to vote and expend time and money (gas) when the impact is just that there is another data point but the weight is immaterial…

for me only, a proxy vote delegation system is essential. and at a minimum, a vote via signature without gas would help.

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This is all visible on-chain, we don’t currently have a dashboard or any analytics too to surface this sort of information though. There is a ‘help-wanted’ thread here.


I’ll add your thoughts to the OP.


I find it interesting that other people feel this way too. Having more eyes and brains thinking about the system is probably more important in the long run than having a high percentage of MKR voting.

(And thanks for the kind words Meoh.)


I actually disagree that this parallel is 100% valid. We have the potential (though it’s not yet been fully met) to make voting and informing oneself on votes far, far cheaper in terms of informational and temporal cost than participating in a shareholder vote. I believe and fervently hope we can do better participation-wise than shareholder votes.

All we need to vote is an internet connection and a little gas, I’d guess that for most shareholder votes there are many more hoops to jump through.


Low attendance is okay so long as it doesn’t leave the system open to manipulation by a single MKR holder. Ideally I think we would have a minimum level of participation that exceeds the holdings of the largest non-voting MKR holder (Though right now this is probably not feasible.)


I’ll add these to the OP. Welcome to the forum @Jeffshaw :slight_smile:


Agree, I’d love to be able to do better than current democracies around the world. With a combination of scientific governance and consensus decision making I think we can get there. As you say, it may not involve a huge amount of MKR actively voting on a regular basis.


Thanks for your input, Tarp, and welcome to the forum. I’ll add granularity as a point in the OP.


Welcome to the forum, Ratj. We definitely need a delegation solution that doesn’t give anyone else the ability to withdraw your MKR, unfortunately any implementation will require that it be locked in a smart-contract (at least for executive votes with the current implementation of DS-Chief.)


Heh, I’m not. While I am all for decentralised governance we need to recognise the limitations, most people just can’t make the commitment to keeping up with the arguments week after week. I think the best we can hope for is liquid democracy (or plutocracy I guess): allowing MKR holders to revoke their delegation at any time and change their vote so long as the voting period hasn’t ended.

I agree to an extent. I don’t think we should fork out the entirety of the delegating party’s MKR (Though the voter should lose all of theirs). Slashing say 10% would probably get the point across. If there is too big a penalty then people just won’t delegate at all, if I was going to delegate at the risk of losing the entire stack, I would only delegate to someone I knew and trusted in an offline setting. Is there anyone you know online to whom you would trust your MKR?

I disagree, I don’t see these two things as linked. I know to trust the conclusion of a mature journal article written by a leader in a scientific field that has been cited by a few hundred other papers without needing to fully understand the science in the middle.

When you delegate you are trusting the entity to whom you are delegating, and it is usually easier to determine whom you should trust over making your own mind up. I’m not saying that making your mind up isn’t better, but it’s also much more expensive in terms of time.

My hope is that any delegation system will enforce a 1:1 equivalence between the MKR held by the voting party, and the total MKR being delegated to that party. In this manner, the incentives are appropriately aligned. But this does limit who can be delegated to based on their total MKR, which is the trade-off.


Interesting thought, I hadn’t considered that before. Thanks.


I think ‘dead’ might be a little strong, but I agree there wasn’t a lot of engagement, I’ll add this to OP.

To clarify @rich.brown, do you mean they are not interested in voting (looking for a passive investment) or looking for custodial solutions? Based on previous conversations I’ll assume the later unless corrected, and add this to the OP.

I’m convinced there’s room for improvement over the current system, I need to dedicate a solid block of time to think about it though, I’ll make a post at some point.

I’ll add this to the OP.

Definitely a contributing factor, the novelty of it does wear off after a little while. That said, I still find this sort of thing fun. Where else can you help shape the future of enterprise and human interaction?

I do!


Agree, it’s just not that expensive, I suspect it’s used more as a proxy of ‘it’s not worth the time and effort to vote in an informed way’ rather than a genuine issue of iteself.


The Maker Foundation runs a grants program. Details here.


Oof, that was a lot of responses. Thanks everyone for the feedback, lets keep the discussion going!

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There are still a few reasons that I feel we haven’t addressed, I’ve split these out in the initial post.

I’m particularly interested in peoples thoughts about the opportunity cost of holding and voting with MKR compared to holding other assets or holding MKR and locking it somewhere to create income (are there places other than uniswap?)

Just reviewed this thread and it really seems to me that almost every reason can be summed up in this short list:

1. I don’t understand how to vote (technical)

This is easily solvable with some good demo videos, which we are working on. All MKR holders are smart enough to figure this out.

2. My vote does not matter (practical)

It makes sense that a minnow can get frustrated when whales are clearly deciding most of these votes. Providing a DAO solution i.e. Aragon that allows people to “unionize” could help with this. However we should be careful that the Aragon solution is specifically designed to only attack this problem, and not problem 3 (emotional).

3. I don’t have enough info to feel good about my vote (emotional)

This is the hardest obstacle to overcome. We first need to acknowledge that people will only vote if it makes them feel good. It is currently very hard for a “casual” MKR holder to gather enough info to make an educated vote that they can feel good about. People simply won’t vote if they don’t feel passionate & confident about their choice.

A “set it and forget it” Aragon solution to try to solve this problem would be self-defeating.

We need to find a way to provide every holder with digestible, informative & maybe even entertaining information on a regular basis that can help them make their decisions. These videos I just made for Compound’s Community Vote are a good example of how we may be able to do this. https://youtu.be/wX6tUpDJpaA

It will also be equally important that we present voting options that make sense to casual holders. Presenting a poll with 10 different voting options can be extremely counterproductive to an audience that is already feeling overwhelmed and uninformed.

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all of these points are valid and I would expect, common… Voting delegation would def help…

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I would encourage the community to think of this less as “set it and forget it” delegation to an individual voter (which is really trying to solve #3), and more as “active participant” unionization (which forces MKR holders to stay involved & informed but still give them a way to make their collective voice heard).

or both… some might want to let another do all the engagement…

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I really don’t! And think there should be a basic automatic algo SF adjustment asap. The automatic adjustment could then be supplemented with “manual” adjustments whenever needed.

Personally I would probably put the majority of my MKR into uniswap (assuming it is secure enough and the return is high enough) and only vote with a small portion of my MKR. On compound when you lend Dai you get cDai in return (not sure how uniswap works) but I guess you could make cMkr able to vote (or the uniswap equivalent) however I have no idea if that is feasible or secure to do something like that…

It may be counter-productive to the community to try to commit resources to a delegation model before we make best efforts to inform & educate each individual. Having ppl cast individual votes will always be preferable to set-it-and-forget-it.

That said, still in favor of giving people a way to turn many minnows into one whale.

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Maybe set it and forget should not be allowed. Maybe votes should be forced to be redelegated after a year or some other period. To ensure some level of participation.

You only achieved “proof of being alive”, and even that could be programmed.

Yes it is true that this could easily be programmed but then at least it’s something you have to do. It will not be the default option that you can set and forget. I think at least some smaller MTH would be willing to reevaluate their vote delegation at some interval.