Is DPOS the Next Step in Distributed Consensus?

A Short, Simple, Logical Perspective on EOS

Kyle Forkey
Jun 4, 2018 · 7 min read

Breaking It Down

Let me first give a brief overview of DPOS. This is a consensus method by which coin holders have the ability to vote for delegates to run nodes which secure that coin’s particular chain. These delegates are then expected to — honestly and fairly — validate blocks, lest they find themselves voted out of a job by their fellow validating constituents. The key advertised benefit to potential developers being that these nodes will run enterprise level hardware, while only having a handful of nodes to maintain the ledger with accordingly. This enables transaction speeds not currently possible on traditional blockchains, but sacrifices *some* of the core tenants of decentralization. But, is this progress, or a creative means to bootstrap an alternative smart contracting platform; one capable of challenging the growing behemoth that is the Ethereum developer community? Let’s dig a bit more.

The Importance of Sustainable Decentralization

There is an inherent centralized nature with regards to delegated proof of stake, when compared to how traditional blockchains have been secured, historically. We are sacrificing validator node diversity and a slow crawl towards further real decentralization, for a system in favor of transactional speeds and making an incremental step towards evolving the concept of mining; which to myself, seems like taking a sizable step backwards.

This system now bears a stark resemblance to PoW minus the W. You now just have a corporation running a centralized “blockchain” that you can build “dapps” on. Why not try AWS? It’s pretty great if you haven’t heard of it.

Decentralization Going Forward

You may disagree with my conclusions, but the reason this system falls apart is because you have created an system in which incentives can be paid for. The cost in becoming a delegate is high, delegates will do what they need to mitigate the risk of loss through buying votes. Some users will undoubtedly be willing to sell their votes. There are individuals whose primary source of income may even lie in voting, which would be a valid economic contribution except for the fact that they aren’t the ones voting. What voters will be doing by accepting payments for votes is giving up their power to stop bad actors from doing bad things.

For other varied perspectives (always do your own research to formulate your own mental models and opinions), check out these posts.

Vitalik Buterin’s Thoughts:

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Updates and essays from the Amentum Capital Fund GP team.

Kyle Forkey

Written by

Founding partner @Amentum | Founder of @Ethmint | Focused on integrating private/existing industries/assets with the blockchain

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Amentum

Updates and essays from the Amentum Capital Fund GP team.