Why aren't MKR Holders voting?

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

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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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.


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.


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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