Right now pool tickers are not considered unique. However, in practice, they are considered unique everywhere a pool is mentioned or referenced. The ticker is what is used or displayed when visiting your favorite pool aggregator, wallet, and even official IOHK correspondence asks for your pool ticker when working with pool operators as seen in the most recent questionnaire for IOHK community funding.
With the recent explosion of pool count, larger players entering the landscape, and with larger K parameter (more pools), we can only expect ticker collisions to rise.
How does this Affect SPOs?
SPOs work to build a brand for themselves and niche to operate in. When there are duplicate tickers, It only hurts everyone involved in the staking process. Aggregate sites will show two pools, wallets will show two pools, and confusion is to be had from the person who is just trying to find a pool they heard about and might want to join. This dilutes your brand. It is hard enough to attract delegators, and this will just add to that difficulty. This can also be the form of a direct attack against your pool. Where someone with larger pledge assumes the same ticker and is now showing higher on the rankings or aggregate sites.
How Does this affect Cardano as a whole?
This confusion creates a negative end user experience and makes it difficult to reference your pool, even in official communications. It is bad for the overall brand image not just for the pools involved, but for Cardano itself. It gives the appearance of something that is uncurated, confusing, and crowded. All these things are not a pleasant experience for the end user.
- Register the ticker on the ledger with your pool data and enforce uniqueness.
- When registering a new pool, check for duplicate tickers. Issue a warning if there is a duplicate.
- Method to register as the primary / first for that ticker. This allows aggregates to determine who the “original” ticker is registered with.
I am not sure enough of the technical limitations of the above, but I think with almost 2,500 pools, it’s time we start to have a conversation about pool tickers.