You have heard about voting for delegates in Lisk or even you might have seen the voting page of Lisk Hub application and as a newcomer, wondering what is voting and who you must vote for? Is is vital? What happens if you don’t?
In this article I try to provide a short and easy to grasp answer to all these questions.
Who are delegates?
Every time you send some Lisk to a random address, technically you request a new transaction on the Lisk network.
Lisk is a decentralized network. It means that many people all around the world run the platform on their own computers and when you try to access the network, each time, randomly one of them responds you. Amongst all prople running the platform, 101 are delegated to be the first ones to initiate and confirm the authenticity of the newly generated transaction. I bet now you are asking how they confirm the authenticity of a transaction? who chose them to be delegates? Why they volunteer to perform this service?
I’ll try to answer these question in order.
How they confirm the authenticity of a transaction?
Imagine you request a new transaction on the platform, in other words, you want to send some Lisk to your friends’s Lisk address.
All the transaction are gathered in a list that we call Transaction Pool. Every one in the network has a copy of the Transaction Pool. Every 101 second the Platform shuffles the list of 101 delegates, and again, every one in the network now the sequence of 101 delegates for the current 101 seconds. We call each 101 seconds a round.
Each delegate in every round, in their own turn, take 25 transaction out of the Transaction Pool (which we call it a Block) and sign them by their signature. Then they send the transactions of the block through the network. Because every one in the network knows whose turn it was to first sign this block, so every one in the network can confirm if the transactions in this block are signed by an authenticated delegate or not.
Why do they volunteer to be perform this service?
You might have noticed that sending Lisk tokens to another address is not free. Presently you have to pay 0.1 Lisk to make a transaction. What happens to this fee? The platform automatically distributes it between all 101 delegates equally. this rewards is called Round Fees Reward.
In addition to the Round Fees Reward, every time a new block is generated in the network, the delegates which signed that block for the first time, in other words, forged that block, get a fixed amount of Lisk. This is called Block Reward.
You can read more in detail about rewards here.
How chose them to be delegates?
If you read the above paragraph, you might wonder, can I also be a delegate? Fortunately the answer to this question is affirmative. Yes, you can easily use Lisk Hub and register yourself as delegate. The registration costs you 25 Lisk. You choose a delegate name and boom! you are a delegate.
But this story doesn’t end up here.
Lisk is build on DPoS consensus strategy. DPoS stands for Delegated Proof of Stake and it means that although every one can register to be a delegate, but just like running for presidency, you have to get enough votes! and again, just like a presidency election, you can vote for any delegate you want, including yourself. your vote, is valued by the number of Lisks you have in your account. so the more Lisk you have, the more affective your vote gets. This is what we mean by Proof of Stake.
Now if you manage to convince all the prople holding Lisk in their accounts to vote for you, then you are the number one in the ranking (call it election if you want).
The Lisk platform automatically ranks every delegate, then the first 101 delegates in the ranking are called active delegates. They are the ones who confirm the transactions initially. They get the rewards and you can find them here in Lisk Explorer.
I’m also one of the delegates, you can find me here and vote if you like.
Why should I vote for delegates?
You vote for delegates for many reasons. The primary reason is to choose trustable people and have the ability to extort the power back from the people who abuse the authority in the network. This is the idea that the whole blockchain is build on top of. At any time, you can campaign to appoint or dismiss any delegate.
It’s worth mentioning that most delegates reward their voters by a percentage of the network rewards they receive. It’s no surprise that they distribute the rewards among their voters based of their vote weight, aka, the number of Lisk in their accounts.
Let’s recap all above in short. You have some Lisk in your account. If you vote for a delegate, you contribute in electing who should be of the 101the primary nodes in network. Every time you send some Lisk to a Lisk account, one of these 101 delegates forges the block which includes your transaction and send it through network. We all trust the network, because we all can monitor the network and make sure all the transactions are initialed by trusted people and approved by an acceptibily great number of people in network.