ICONSENSUS and the election of P-Reps (Public Representatives)
I would like to start off by providing background information necessary to further understand this article.
What is a P-Rep: P-Reps “propose and vote on policies that maximize overall ICONists interest of the ICON network.” (as stated in the ICONstitution and Governance paper). Equally important, P-Reps also run nodes to produce and verify transactions on the ICON network.
Importance of P-Reps: Decentralization is one of the core principles of ICON’s governance. The current ICON network is run entirely by ICON. This changes in September, when 22 unique P-Reps are chosen to run nodes that produce and verify transactions on ICON mainnet, essentially taking the reigns of running mainnet from ICON in order to decentralize the network. The full hand-off of the network will be a slow and gradual process to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
How P-Reps are chosen: ICX (ICON) token holders, or ICONists, vote for P-Reps by staking their ICX tokens to P-Reps. In return, ICX holders are rewarded generously for their contribution to the ICON ecosystem (an overview of staking can be found in our previous article: Overview of Staking on ICON Network. Additionally, ICX holders participate in representative democracy by voting for P-Reps who they feel are most qualified for the position. There is no minimum amount of ICX required (1 ICX = 1 vote). ICONists can spread their ICX votes and vote for multiple P-Reps, and these vote can be changes over time (if voter preference changes, or the P-Rep is not fulfilling what they promised). Node functionality and resiliency is very important to a successful ICON ecosystem, as we covered in our previous articles: ICONSENSUS Resiliency (Part 1: Introduction) and ICONSENSUS Resiliency (Part 2: Sys Ops Security). Also, if a node goes down, no one who staked with that P-Rep is rewarded for that period of time. It is important to vote for P-Reps that have resilient nodes but also will help the ICON network in addition to running a node (through development, marketing, content creation, etc).
ICONSENSUS: the decentralization of the ICON network
The election of P-Reps represents one of the critical steps in decentralization of the ICON Network. In August ICON will introduce a staking ‘test period,’ in which ICONists can learn the process and stake (with a fixed reward of roughly 15%). This test period will ensure staking functionality works properly, ahead of September elections, where ICONists will vote for P-Reps by staking with them.
Status to Date:
There are 40 P-Rep Candidates that seek to represent ICONists (as of June 29, with more being added daily). These P-Reps are comprised of teams from all over the world, with unique skill sets and goals. Many of these P-Rep teams are running ICON nodes in a TestNet in order to ensure proper node functionality in preparation for running their nodes on ICON Mainnet (details here: P-Rep TestNet 2nd Phase Underway!). Additionally, many of these P-Reps have ramped up their community engagement and content creation to new levels, which has resulted in an increase in quality ICON content and excitement!
In our next article, we will take a closer look at P-Rep Candidates.