Why aren't MKR Holders voting?

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.

That may be true in certain fields of study. But this is economics / politics not math or hard science. So I must agree with @kwadrax’s assertion that delegation requires understanding.

These divisions mostly make sense to me. One change I’ve made is to change technical to procedural, as I think that word better captures all obstacles related to the act of voting or discussion that can cause an otherwise motivated person to not cast a vote. This leaves the other two categories to focus on practical and emotional motivation problems.

I’ve edited the OP to divide them in this way. Welcome to the forum!

We’ve talked about this before, in general the consensus seems to be that it’s too easy to abuse if the rates are algorithmic. There was discussion of having an automated system that could ‘suggest’ rates on a weekly basis which could be confirmed or ignored, but I believe development on this has stalled.

Uniswap returns can be seen here: https://zumzoom.github.io/analytics/uniswap/roi.html, make sure to select MKR from the drop down. Why would you keep a small portion for voting versus the majority in uniswap or compound?

I feel like you may have missed my point here, that example was meant as a specific instance of a general truth, namely that: It’s generally easier to figure out whom to trust for an answer than it is to figure out or verify an answer for yourself.

Not completely sure :slight_smile: I was probably thinking that it is too risky to put everything in compound plus I would probably still like to participate in voting with some MKR as that seems like the more rational thing to do (maybe I’m wrong) so that one don’t leave governance completely to others.

Was the discussion public (I.e. on reddit, rocket chat etc.)?

Hm, thanks for clarifying, ginworkflow.

If anyone else has thoughts on the Opportunity Cost thing I’d be interested to hear them. There is currently a fairly large amount of MKR locked in the uniswap contract. This is presumably evidence that at least some holders prefer that to voting.

It’s fairly old now, it was discussed on a few governance calls. People were advocating for a PID-like system to manage the fee. There were a reddit post too, and chat discussion. Here’s the reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/mkrgov/comments/bxdl0h/pid_controller_for_offchain_sf_estimation/

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how are these numbered? @LongForWisdom… by comments in the reddit thread?

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They were all in a single list, then I started categorising them with peoples help. At that point people had referred to them by number, so I didn’t want to re-number them.

There wasn’t any initial ordering, I just wanted a way to refer to issues easily.

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Voters are not voting because of various reasons, but the catch all reason is that they do not feel that voting is worth it to them. The incentives or perception they have around voting is one where voting is more costly to them in some way than it is valuable.

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I have a slightly unusual reason: I’m wary of doing anything where I don’t fully understand the legality of it. E.g. would you be considered an operator/administrator of the system in legal terms if you take part in governance? Suppose something goes horribly wrong - who is liable? I hope that there will be something that convinces me that it’s safe to participate, but I don’t know what that will be. I’m waiting for some sign of legitimacy / recognition. Coinbase adding MKR is a good step in the right direction.

That’s my primary reason anyway, my secondary reasons are all related to not having time to be responsible about doing due diligence on votes and/or auditing the smart contract upgrades.

Assuming that I did vote some time in future:

  • Voting incentives wouldn’t make any difference to me, it’s my external responsibilities that keep me from allocating time to voting.
  • Having curated easy to read list of arguments for/against each vote makes a big difference to me.
  • I would prefer not to delegate my vote, but instead look for consensus among all the known parties that I trust (“delegated consensus voting” perhaps :slight_smile:, or perhaps just removing my vote from a previous vote and adding it to consensus on the next one to help it progress )
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