The Art of P-Rep Selection

As we approach ICONSENSUS in September, ICX holders will have the option to vote for Public Representatives (P-Reps) to govern the ICON network and manage nodes to run the blockchain in a decentralized manner. ICX holders (or ICONists) will vote for different P-Reps by staking with them. 1 ICX = 1 vote, and in turn the ICX holder will be rewarded handsomely for staking. More details on this in our previous article on staking (note that staking begins in August, with voting in September). ICONists can split their votes to different P-Rep teams.

TLDR: P-Reps will run and Govern the ICON network. They will be rewarded with ICX to cover their efforts and expenses. P-Reps should be expected to contribute to the ICON ecosystem beyond the minimum required roles of running an ICON node and participating in ICON Governance. P-Reps are diverse and present varying strengths, weaknesses, and proposed plans. It is important for ICONists to vote for P-Rep teams who embody their values. ICONists should also follow the team in order to keep them accountable on their promises, withdrawing votes in favor of other teams if the P-Rep does not produce. We polled the ICON community to see what they were most looking for in a P-Rep team and found community involvement as the #1 choice, followed by using rewards to improve the ICON ecosystem at #2, and involvement in ICON projects as #3.

The question begs, which P-Rep(s) should ICX holders vote for, and what are most ICONists looking for in a P-Rep? The top 22 P-Rep teams by vote count will validate transactions and produce new blocks. The following 78 will still help to validate transactions. All 100 P-Reps will participate in ICON Governance, which means they will be responsible for managing ICON policies, rules, regulations, and functions. Thus running an ICON node and having knowledge and discipline to properly Govern ICON are two non-negotiable, hard requirements for P-Reps. P-Reps will be rewarded with ICX to cover expenses, pay for their team, and provide profits to the teams. P-Reps should be expected to exceed the minimum node and Governance requirements and significantly contribute to the ICON ecosystem in other ways in order to truly earn their rewards. Each P-Rep team has a different makeup and background, resulting in varying strengths and weaknesses. The diversity of P-Rep teams will produce a well-rounded group of P-Reps, which are stronger as a whole through the diversity of teams. We provide a brief overview of P-Rep candidates in this article.

With so many options, we wanted to poll the ICON community to see what was most important to them. We made a poll and presented it to the community to vote on. The poll has received 151 votes to date and can be seen in Fig. 1. For those who have not voted, they can do so in the Ubik Capital Telegram Channel.

Figure 1. Community P-Rep Selection Poll

The poll was limited to one response, which ensures it takes into account only the top choice. Each category listed is important, but by limiting to the top choice, we can see what is truly most important. The poll clearly shows community involvement as the top choice in selecting a P-Rep team (33%).

Community involvement shows the P-Rep team cares about and understands the community. This is very important so that P-Reps are able to make proper Governance decisions that embody what the community wants and needs, and what is best for ICON. If P-Reps are in a vacuum and not engaging with the community, then how can they be expected to represent the community? Additionally, P-Reps will be expected to represent ICON and maintain significant knowledge of the project. Thus, P-Reps will be best equiped to engage with and educate the community in all areas related to ICON.

The next categories are using rewards to improve ICON at #2 (23%) and involvement in ICON projects at #3 (22%). These are both areas where P-Rep teams will really separate themselves. Some P-Reps will use rewards for their own profit, while others will put these rewards back into the community. Ubik will be putting 100% of our profits back into the ICON community across many different areas. One such area is through offering loyalty rewards to those who stake for a longer period of time. Ubik will track those who stake for 6 months and share profits with them, based on staking contribution. This incentivizes longer-term staking, which improves the security of the network. It also develops a loyal voter base, which is important for stability. Lastly, since Ubik is a community-focused team, we feel we should give back to the community with some of our rewards. Some other examples of using rewards to help ICON are to use rewards to develop tools and applications on the ICON network, purchase marketing efforts for ICON, and help ICON become listed on new exchanges. Ubik will also use rewards for these types of efforts as well, providing a distributed contribution of our profits to different areas to improve ICON. Multiple P-Rep teams are also discussing teaming together with their rewards to be able to have a greater impact together for the improvement of the ICON network.

Involvement in ICON projects is equally as important. This involves participation as moderators (such as the ICONation team), running an ICON accelerator (such as ICX-Station), ICON ambassadors (such as Ubik), running an exchange (such as VELIC), DApps (such as SOMESING), as some examples. We expect P-Reps will continue to become more involved in ICON projects once elected. I would expect consideration to be given to P-Reps who are already involved, however, as that shows dedication to ICON even before being elected.

While node security and configuration, and TestNet participation are important, running a node is expected from every P-Rep and essentially P-Reps will disqualify themselves if their nodes are not running. Higher node resilience, however, is important in order to strengthen the ICON network and will likely be a discriminator for some voters.

In conclusion, it is important for ICONists to determine what they want from P-Reps, find P-Reps who align with those goals, and vote for them. It is also equally important for the ICONists to ensure they keep up to date with P-Rep activity so they can remove votes from P-Reps who do not follow through on the contributions in their proposals, and vote for better performing P-Reps to replace them. We hope ICONists do their due diligence in voting for the best P-Rep candidates, and continue to engage and keep them accountable to the ICON community. These are exciting times and we are very much looking forward to elections in September!