Why Hive Series; PoS vs HiveGov

in #pos5 months ago

I am creating a series of Why Hive, or in my head, Why Hive Wins, and one of the biggest questions I get asked is about governance.

Suppose your goal is to simultaneously have censorship resistance, high performance, and scalability. In that case, you must first have enough decentralization to create censorship resistance, and two, you must reduce your validator count keeping enough to achieve satisfactory protection.

It's important to understand that my talks aim to achieve censorship resistance, not sum unspecified level of decentralization. Ones goal should be to achieve an adequate enough amount of censosrship resistance, such that the base layer is protected sufficiently from attacks.

In practice, PoS networks end up with around 4-5 staking pools that act as the majority consensus validators onchain. The majority consensus means the staking pools will decide what goes onchain and control the network. So if you have 3 majority pools + 10 thousand solo validators on PoS, the 3 majority pools will override the 10 thousand solo validators making their votes virtually obsolete; furthermore, the 3 main pools have the power to slash validator balances if the solo validators tried to rebel.

Hive has a parametered validator count of a minimum of 20 validators, all with equal power.

20 / 5 = 4 x as many validators in practice as compared to PoS networks.

You can get away as a few as a handful of delegated pools to achieve censorship resistance. However, if you are looking for overkill, you would want to go with the extra allotted protection of Hive, offering as much as 4 times more while not sacrificing performance and scalability.

Delegation is most efficient and preferred by the free market, and you can get away with delegating your actual coin, like on PoS networks, and you can still achieve censorship resistance; I am not advocating it, but theoretically, it's possible that you could be protected with the whole coin delegation and as little as 3-4 staking pools, as long as no one entity has control of the entire network.

Again, I don't advocate PoS as a base layer because it is not a well-balanced system in that regard; it's more suitable as a layer 2. You need rotating backups if a validator goes down, onchain voting for seamless vote transfer, and paramtered validator count to ensure adequate censorship resistance.

Less is more when it comes to validator count... to a point; there is a sweet spot. You do not want to have so few validators that the system can easily be taken over, but you do not want so many validators that the network is slow and not as efficient as possible. There is a balance.

The main issue with PoS is that it has the worst of both worlds, you end up with just a few majority validators, and the networks are still less performant than Hive. Hive achieves greater performance with more validators in practice.

As long as you find the sweet spot for validator count, stick to that range as a hard-coded parameter inside the base layer code, meaning you need at least x amount of validators before the network is functional, then you can run immutably. Without a hardcoded parameter, you are essentially the whim of the wind and ultimately end in the hands of a few of pools that harness majority voting rights.

PoS vs. HiveGov (Flavor of DPoS) - Base Layer Governance. I do believe a new name for our governance is needed, DPoS is too broad, and most do it wrong, resulting in a bad perception of what DPoS is. Without the correct parameters, such that Hive has, you will lead DPoS into centralization. Those still debating coin voting vs. PoW have completely missed the boat; let's not waste more time on an irrelevant conversation. TLDR, PoW on BTC will serve its use case; coin voting will dominate the foundation of censorship resistance for dapps to be built. You are not building apps on BTC layer 1, and the lightning network is built to be centralized long-term due to its lack of decentralized incentives. Ok, done with that talk, let's move to the juice.

Let me be clear, I think both forms of coin voting, PoS and HiveGov, are relevant and useful for certain areas. I think PoS makes an excellent layer 2+ - I think HiveGov makes an excellent layer 1, with diminishing usefulness as L2s.

To make things easier, and to paint the picture in another way, we will refer to hive witnesse as staking pools (I know factually they are not, humor me) - they get tens of thousands of votes delegated to them, and when they get enough votes, they can become a validator. That is essentially how PoS works; sure, the small miner gets an acorn every once in a while, but I see that more as a piece of fat on an already cooked steak; it's there, but it's not needed and many times gets in the way. It's best to cut out the fat, to make the network as fast as possible.

PoS ends up with a handful, at best, staking pools that dominate the network, as we all know. Mind you, a staking pool on PoS is simply thousands of people delegating their actual coin to a pool in order to receive a return because they could not do it solo either because there are not enough funds, or expertise, on PoS; when you are wrong you're slashed, its a big deal.

With HiveGov, I can vote, for free, with any amount of HIVE., I simply power up and vote for the up to 30 validators I want, and that's it.

Suppose we get rid of the idea of an individual validator, as that is not going to happen in practice, at least not with any of the parameters we have seen thus far. What we see is a delegation of resources to an upper crusty echelon of entities that run the chain. In Hive is based on your reputation; on PoS, it's based on the mining pool's ability to give ROI, the pools on PoS that payout the highest will ultimately end up at the top. Since there is no safeguard parameter for a minimum threshold of pools needed before the chain can function, you end up with a handful of pools, ultimately.

Comparing Hives validators, they are elected based on stake-weighted voting based on a myriad of factors, most importantly being their reputation. Hive has 20 top validators with 100's backups that are rotated in randomly. Being rotated in randomly keeps backups honest and ready for action. If a top validator on Hive went down, they would instantly be replaced with a backup validator. On PoS networks, if a top staking pool goes down, there is no safe fail backup that auto pickups the slack. Meaning staking pools are much more vulnerable targets without the ability to play whack a mole with their attackers. Too much trust is reliant on top staking pools without an adequate plan B if they were overtaken.

As we see, the networks prefer pooling resources, so instead of building a slower, less inefficient network that ultimately results in staking pools, why not just build the system to be efficient, parametrize fewer validators, and add onchain voting for those validators.

There have been efforts to create "decentralized" staking pools, but without onchain voting and the parameterized minimum needed validator count, you're competing vs. centralized entities, which can offer better liquidity more efficiently, which leaves the decentralized pool high and dry.

I am not saying decentralized staking pools cannot dominate; however, as stated before, without a hardcoded count for the validators on the base layer, even if decentralized pools work, there would be a few at best. Liquidity begets liquidity, and the third largest pool cannot offer better deals than the biggest pool, or they would be the biggest pool. Only one can offer the "best deal," and when that gets crowded, you get a few alternatives at best.

HiveGov has a built-in social distribution of the base layer governance coin, HIVE. This allows for a natural environment for reputation-based distribution to thrive, also allowing for stakehodlers to more easily decipher who they want to vote for. In the face of an attack on the new chain, your reputation transfers over. PoS, reputation is not needed to validate blocks; an "evil" staking pool could still garner enough support to dominate the network if they offered good enough incentives.

To avoid vote buying on HiveGov, we need to look at a few key aspects. The first line of defense is the long lock-up to vote in governance. That means the person buying votes needs to care about the underlying coin's value, or they would be harming themselves finically.

Secondly, top validators on Hive earn from inflation and are voted in by the community, if the community and or other validators saw such an action, the honest voters would vote them out. Voters seen voting for someone trying to buy votes would lose their author rewards, stakeholders would avoid upvoting their content, and furthermore, go out of their way to downvote such bad actors.

Vote buying is not possible to do with larger stakeholders, as the witness would not make enough to justify a larger stakeholder to vote in a bad validator because the stakeholder has much more to lose with the locked up stake than to earn crumbs from a crumby shady validator. So that means the vote buying would be targeted at thousands of smaller accounts; most smaller accounts prefer author rewards and their reputation as a possed to earning pennies from a shady validator. The built-in social distribution of the coin fights back against vote buying via incentivizing the smaller holders to act good in order to earn more from the system than can be ill-gotten off-chain.

In the next section I will discuss why PoS networks are more preferred for layer 2s, and the advantages they have over HiveGov in that regard.

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Great one!
I will add the risk of loosing reputation for the DHF workers as well. Only good actors get DHF funding.

Yep, very true. People as why we do not have the same issues many other coin voting systems have and PoB is a really big defense along side all the other parameters we have.

I read this last night, then had the thought this morning (while driving kids to school) that we should do some agent-based simulations on the various available governance / consensus mechanisms. Maybe this has already been done, but even if it has, I doubt anyone has analyzed the HiveGov model (because it is still so much under the radar).

I will reach out to some of my colleagues to see if there might be an opportunity to write and publish a peer-reviewed scholarly journal article on this.

I do game theorize consensus methods for fun on a Friday night. If you want any help brain storming let me know.

Yes. I spoke to a colleague this morning. He has done agent based modeling in the past and is extremely well published in management research journals. He confirmed what I was thinking, namely that there is ample interest in management journals for this type of analysis.

I am very keen on pursuing this.

On PoS networks, if a top staking pool goes down, there is no safe fail backup that auto pickups the slack. Meaning staking pools are much more vulnerable targets without the ability to play whack a mole with their attackers. Too much trust is reliant on top staking pools without an adequate plan B if they were overtaken.

Hive has a huge built-in advantage here. Few may see it now, but when at some point one of the major PoS networks is shown to be vulnerable, that could quickly change.

Thanks 🙏

I just dislike the idea of vote buying. PoS is the best way.
Nice article Dan!
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Mostly of new users doesn't know almost anything about witness and proposals. They are susceptible to vote for anyone that gives them 0.001 HIVE asking a vote, though the votes from low HP accounts don't make any difference, isn't?

Either all votes matter or no votes matter, so yes even micro accounts can add up. PoB/DAO and rep alone are enough to detour such a attack to gain traction. I doubt many would risk their rep and future PoB/DAO rewards to earn a few pennies from a shady validator.

I'm completely agreed!

The Reputation Game is so underrated, it's actually insane. We can't 100% tell multi-account usage, but we can tell apart Bots/AI from humans pretty well. That will be a huge topic soon, well, thinking about it, it already is.

There are a lot of projects and creators out there who'd love to have a fat list of unique Cryptoadressholders for airdrops. But it's impossible to tell by using ETH or something like that. The last example was Coinsider on Youtube (267k Subs).

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in case you want to check it yourself: https://www.youtube.com/post/UgkxoDiOTp70uQsnWFfmcS2SUSpo9NEvS3Uz

Going ETH eventually, but it's really interesting to look through the 161! Comments and suggestions. They are clueless. Well tbh I'm too! I know we can do that on HIVE very well, but there's nothing out of the box to point to. Maybe we can get that done soonish.

¡Hola!

Excelente, creo que cada día podemos aprender un poco mas, Gracias por personas como ustedes.
Excellent, I think we can learn a little more every day, thanks for people like you.

The main issue with PoS is that it has the worst of both worlds, you end up with just a few majority validators

Historically, PoS alone is not sufficient. You need hybrid consensus with PoS in it to succeed and offer a better governance model.

In DPoS type of governance, the primary aim is scaling capacity, and in a social media like Hive you can not afford higher latency, which is always a non-starter, so no matter how some others feel on the decentralization part or only 20 witnesses running the network, the truth is 20 witnesses are sufficient enough to ensure decentralized governance all the time. If in DPoS, we can work on geographical decentralization then it would work wonderfully.

DPoS for other types of networks may have issues, but when you see Hive as a social media product then you have DPoS as the best option. We can add additional layers of security to check any kind of manipulation and I am sure that will evolve in time.

With HiveGov, I can vote, for free, with any amount of HIVE., I simply power up and vote for the up to 30 validators I want, and that's it.

I feel like voting up to 30 validators needs to be changed. It's like a proportional representation, not a definite representation. I am not sure, what exactly the rational behind voting 30 witnesses at one go is. But I feel like this number needs to be reduced so that we can have better permutations & combinations for top 20.

Vote buying is not possible to do with larger stakeholders, as the witness would not make enough to justify a larger stakeholder to vote in a bad validator because the stakeholder has much more to lose with the locked up stake than to earn crumbs from a crumby shady validator.

Could not agree anymore.

I have been all over the place when it comes to how many votes a person should get for witnesses. I have game theorized 1t1v, 1t30v and everything in between. I believe it was smooth who said that they believed unlimited votes would be the way to go, and I tend to agree with that route. As a stakeholder, one of your reasonability to your investment is to vote in as many good actors as possible as witness.

1t1v is good under the threat of a 51% attack, because it chops the attacker at the knees, however, it is not the most censorship resistant when coin distribution is good. So, in theory, the best approach might be to have a "kill switch" that turns to 1t1v if for some reason there as a 51% voting threat. But, we can always fork, and we should hope to be not under any threats of takeover as we have the 1 month delay.

I feel like there are still issues with the current system, I know when I first came to Hive last January, I seen prompts to elect 20 witnesses - great! I did my civic duty and gave my vote to 20 top witnesses, figuring if they are the top 20, they must be doing a great job!

It wasn't until months later when the topic came up in a discord, I was told other layers of information which changed how I allocated my votes.

I also think it's problematic if someone gains a witness vote, and the person casting it walks away from Hive, potentially leaving a large stake attached to a witness. As part of governance, would nearly make sense to reset everyone's vote every 12 months - this might lead to individual witnesses needing to form a platform to justify re-gaining the vote, and removes inactive power sitting forever in one place.

You bring on a great insight, about newer stakeholders just voting for the top 20 because, why not they must be the best. No network is perfect, however, there is a threat to blinding voting as we have seen with the hostile takeover, so you should be very keen on each vote you place.

If you hold stake, it is in your best interest to vote for good witnesses, and fewer is better if you don't have the bandwidth to research 20 (you get 30 votes, backups witnesses are critical for the sytems survival, show they love) then make a goal to get to know 1 witness a month, thats not hard at all they all have public profiles you can click and you can even reach out to them directly if you leave a comment.

I think they call that networking Dan; good morning ;)

I think they already implemented vote decay for witnesses.

votes are being reset every 12 months already

Ah - OK, in that case, my work is done! ;)
I guess I thought it was the same as delegations.

This is excellent series! Glad to Came across and have learnt quite a lot new things today. As of now as long as I don't know everything about validators, witness, proposals I'm not voting unless I know much.

Wonder, wouldn't it be cool if "Whyhive.co" features this series of yours.? I think so it will be a good thing!

my content is free for anyone to use as they wish.

A wealth of information. This is simply Wow! A worthy reference for a long-term review.

Sample of key takeaways:

  • Difference between censorship resistance and decentralization

Hive has a parameter validator count of a minimum of 20 validators, all with equal power.

  • PoS is more suitable as layer 2

  • The wisdom of the balance between the few and the many in terms of the number of validators

  • HiveGov, a proposed new name for DPoS?

  • The debate between coin voting versus PoW is a waste of time.

  • HiveGov is an excellent layer 1

HiveGov has a built-in social distribution of the base layer governance coin, HIVE.

. . . stakeholders would avoid upvoting their content, and furthermore, go out of their way to downvote such bad actors.

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!CTP

I will #thread this post

P.S. Came here from ListNerds

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"...you're competing vs. centralized entities, which can offer better liquidity more efficiently, which leaves the decentralized pool high and dry."

A while back Hashgraph made a stir, claiming that enabling nodes to share information with each other dramatically increased speed of validation. They called it gossip, and went further, enabling gossip about gossip. I was very intrigued and there was plenty of interest in Hashgraph at the time, but I haven't heard much since. Seems that mechanism of validation would indeed vastly outperform sequential polling and linear block production.

I'm curious if that's a mechanism you've had a look at and found wanting, or if there's another reason I haven't heard much about it for a while.

Thanks!

This post is really interesting.
I was wondering, apart from the POS or DPOS systems, are there other types of protocols?
I will try not to miss your series on why Hive.
Thank you.

Hive looks compelling from a decentralisation point of view untitled.gif

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Direct vote buying is kind of outdated, but I still see some doing it actively ( plus multichain sync voting ), unlikely all the new users would know anything about this or even care if somebody would promise them even a minimal reward.

amigo aqui mi visita, saludos y espero visite mi blog saludos

What are your thoughts on quadratic voting?

Delegated Proof of Stake looks like it might be able to surpass both PoW and PoS. We see the fact that coin voting is getting hammered due to Ethereum's centralization. However, on hive, we see the block producers operate in a rotation that makes controlling the system not possible.

This blockchain has so muck going for it. The token distribution is not comparable. Look at how EOS set things up. It is a joke.

There is nothing like Hive in cryptocurrency.