Cardano is not... Cardano

Dear all,

Three things in the preamble of this post to contextualize this intervention and avoid starting a debate that would not be productive.

  • I am (always) a great supporter of Cardano and I am not there to denigrate without reason but with the conviction that my message will be read and may be able to ask questions or give ideas, move lines.
  • When I make few remarks on Twitter or elsewhere about what we are going to talk, I find that a lot of people nod but in the end nothing gets transcribed, hence my post.
  • I apologize for the English expressions that would be wrong, I speak English but not well enough to be sure to express myself well on certain words.

That said, folks, I have a problem.

As much as I turn it around, I find that the system as it is currently conceived is not philosophically consistent with the ultimate ambition of the Cardano project (if I understood it correctly…).

If you are reading here, I will assume that you are as much a connoisseur of this ambition as I am and therefore that you will be able to understand my intellectual development.

Right now, I see three big brakes on Cardano’s universalist and enlightened ambition for people around the world. These three points sometimes come together. I will call them elitism - communitarianism (unconscious) and capitalist drift.

We’re going to develop each point and see why it’s a real problem and why it intersects with the others.
Let’s start with elitism.

In fact, elitism is inherently opposed to universalism. It prevents “simple” people from gaining access to information, understanding it and therefore, from appropriating a system, by and for themselves.

When I first became interested in Cardano, I wrote this little guide for my French compatriots and friends who wanted to take an interest in the project.

But for me, who am good with words and synthesis, it was already a demanding intellectual process. And I did not go into the technical aspects because in fact, I do not understand well and yet this one… I am doing a job which should allow me to do so.

Of course, if I don’t understand, if I find that installing, maintaining, and updating a pool is a mountain to climb, what about my friends who don’t even have technical knowledge ?

Well, not everyone is destined to become a pool operator or even understand Cardano in order to use and / or invest. However, is this really a reason for not communicating better or simplify these subjects ?

I imagine you will tell me that there are hundreds of tutorials, hours of videos made by each specialist in each field. But, as with any domain in life, spending hours collecting knowledge, digging deeper into a subject that’s very complex … it’s complicated work ! It’s the beginning of elitism…

Well done to those who do, basically … they are the elite to have … or not?

For elitism leads de facto to communitarianism, even if it is unconscious.

You have to see it as simple as that : if you ask everyone a question, everyone has a vote but only 5% understand the question, either the result of the vote will be random, or it will be guided by the only 5%.

Ambitions for universalism will always collide with this fact because people who share the same abilities / interests always end up talking to each other and forgetting to talk to others.

Gradually, this system is self-sustaining as a standard and, moreover, any external observation going against the grain is taken as far-fetched.

The problem with communitarianism is of course that it restricts human potential (quantitatively) but also that the community can live poorly (qualitatively).

Speaking of which, after reading Twitter, do you find that the community is living well ?

We have to admit that Cardano has an exceptional community, of intelligent, determined, polite people, but after that, there is a very complicated point to deal with : money.

You are going to say, in the financial world and also in cryptocurrency, this is the central element, why make it such a bad word ?

We just see recently, between operators who close their pool for lack of profitability or disputes over the classification of pools in Daedalus that the pool system as it is designed does not work and encourages humans that we are to recreate a little standard capitalist system, which really has no lessons to teach the system we claim to improve.

It is one thing that operators are paid, according to established rules, for their participation in the system. The installation of a competition, which puts the pool as just a financial investment product is something, in my opinion, quite loathsome.

I do not go into the details of the ranking system sufficiently commented on but… damn it… we have to do with operators who all do the same thing, almost in the same way.

And if one fact is technically better than another … he better say it so that everyone lines up and it improves the system.

In short, they all do the same thing, in this context, it is totally silly to make them fight to attract the “customer” like Greeks who break plates in front of restaurants.

I weigh my words. This is ridiculous and it is counterproductive.

Here is the observation, let’s see if you share it (or not), in part or in whole.

Perhaps I myself missed crucial information on the legitimacy of a pooling system of this type (especially with Voltaire?).

Depending on the discussion, maybe we can also talk about solutions to these issues.

Well said and your English was good. If I’m correct , staking is suppose to develop a system totally decentralized. Once 100 % total staking takes place and no more tokens are being produced, cardano becomes a valuating system by proof of stake? What other applications , uses , and who is going to use it?

I think there are some misconceptions, what I am trying to explain as ELI5.

  1. Cardano Network/Protocol must be secured.
  2. Its security is based on block forging (i.e. valid blocks are created when they’re scheduled with an assumption that at least 80% of stakeholders are participating with 24/7/365)
  3. Block forging is based on some randomness proportional to the stakeholders stake.
  4. Stakeholders would get reward for securing the network (incentives).

So, these are some of the main assumptions, in which the 2nd point is unachievable, therefore pools are evolved.
Meaning, stakeholders can delegate their block-forging right to pools (for some fee) for securing the network on behalf them and earn reward for securing the network. So, staking is not just free money from the thin-air, but real reward for securing the network.

And your question is: who should secure the network? Anybody? We are talking currently 3bn dollars, which even could reach 1tn or even much more, if CH vision will be materialized in the future.

Would you hire professional guards or some 10-yr kids with fake guns to secure a 3bn villa in South Africa as an example (I hope this analogy makes sense).

Do not get me wrong, the staking would evolve as Cardano is getting stronger and stronger, meaning real businesses (professional guards) would jump in /w huge big bags later on and will push out a lot of currently OMG-ed pools. Now, we have some first-mover’s advantages, but not for long I would say for 3 to 5yrs max.

Also, if you want staking even you can earn 5% yearly ROI based on your investment (i.e. pledge) even if your pool do not have any delegates (assuming you are scheduled at least once in a year and you forge that block when you scheduled). But, if you want it as business then you need investments (money, knowledge etc.)

This is my 2c, but your post emits some biases, which is understandable as we are all fallible humans.

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I understood very well (and long time ago) the construction of blocks and the security of the network before this reminder but your explanation allows me a little better to understand the expectations of the system in terms of self-control.

People want rewards for securing the network, and Cardano needs a secure network.

The pools that work the most and therefore earn the most are the most populous and, logically, the most populous are those that offer the best security guarantees at the fairest management costs.

So “naturally” the pools you compare to 10 year olds with water guns are going to disappear because they won’t work.

One step I am missing is the interest that a simple delegator may have in choosing the most secure pool. (As part of the delegation, his bag cannot be stolen.)

The overall health of the system?

Once again, estimating the security of a pool is elitist. The common man has no knowledge of this and does not want (or just can’t) to have it. The question of fees will seem to matter a little more.

So…

  • you let the children with the toys remain children with the toys (or potentially leave the house)
  • you give a concentration of technical and financial power in the hands of very few qualified people and with an adapted starting capital (like a good old capitalism)
  • the thing seems to you so logical, satisfactory and coherent for the system that you do not wonder any more what could impede the future adhesion to this one.

I go back again in all directions my initial thought.

You describe again, elitism, communitarianism and uninhibited capitalism.

I am not denying that humans may not know how to do just that or that the Cardano system as it is thought to be technically coherent but… for me it’s more than biases, it’s a kind of reality.

The debate being launched, here are some ideas of correction for this system (in order to avoid bringing criticism without solutions).

  • make the construction and management of a pool more standardized but technically simpler : since security is so important and ultimately depends on settings and hardware, why not build configurations and operating systems that each investor or person motivated by Cardano could exploit.

  • in return for this standardization, since the pools are equal for security, dispatch the delegators automatically so that each participant (necessarily security-consistent because standardized) in the system can have work and therefore a documented return on investment.

  • the time lost in dubious communication / marketing by current operators could be used by these same enthusiasts to attract other people to do the same job.

  • the influx of people, not necessarily very rich but more numerous to run this type of pool would promote real physical and monetary decentralization (versus the system that you describe for the future where, in the end, it would almost already be written that almost only companies will have control over the system).

Of course these are only “easy to write” solutions on paper.

The basic question is to know whether the process of really simplifying in order to decompartmentalise is too “difficult” technically or if not to do so results from a desire to maintain a comfortable community between themselves.

This is a tough one in my opinion. What you call elitism can also be viewed as a meritocracy. As you pointed, there is a lot out there to get involved, read in your own language even (I am a fr/FR translator …). But as you noted, all this takes time - and everyone is free to spend it the way they want.
It is quite unfair to call it elitism, as all the material produced by the community is a best effort approach.

I understand your point of view well, but that is to deny that reading and listening do not make very technical facts more comprehensible.

How many errors, testimonies of failure, mockery do we find on the networks about people who follow the tutorials as best they can (probably in good will) and fail to get a decent result ?

Just seeing that, personally, I never started.

And what is next offered to these people facing bugs, maintenance or simply empty of their pool ?

There is no need to move around this forum to read that they are offered to do… nothing more… or keep going just like that, for fun…

We can therefore discuss what is meritocracy (time, work to achieve the goal) but also what is elitism (the prerequisites of knowledge / network / or money to have a any chance to participate in the project).

At this stage, we’re not even talking about making money, just participating.

I would be happy to speak to you (in french) about all of this if you want it.

No worries, I would be glad to discuss in DM in french if you want.
I understand that the task at hand might look hard (and it is still to me at least). I think it is important to identify people with roughly the same technical level or those with a clear willingness to teach you one trick or two from time to time.

This is quite a burden for those who spend time on channels explaining things over and over again. It is only normal that some stop after a while, until they are replaced by like-minded individuals. I see it as a dynamic thing.

I am sorry if you were turned out by some nasty comments out there. They cannot be avoided I guess. But overall, I’d say I have found a great community of people these last 2 years, patient enough with me so that I could stick around and get the gist of it. And as I said, I still do today actually.