CIP - Unique Pool Tickers

Hello All!

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.

Proposed Solutions

  1. Register the ticker on the ledger with your pool data and enforce uniqueness.
  2. When registering a new pool, check for duplicate tickers. Issue a warning if there is a duplicate.
  3. 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.

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Actually I ran exactly in that problem. I registered my pool and defined a Ticker in the JSON which was already used. I did not check it before. Adapools handles this by just listing the one which was there first. I dont know how the different wallets are handling the issue.
I changed my ticker to not confuse anyone but needed to throw away some marketing ideas which were related to my ticker name which of course is simply my fault.

Anyways avoiding registration would avoid such situations and of course also situations where someone does the same intentionally. Technically I beliefe it requires adding the Tickername to the registration itself because currently it just lives in the metadata.json.


Looks like you ran into the reverse problem. Sounds like it would be a nice check to the registration process. I’m sure the ticker would then have to be registered on-chain.

We have this exact same issue. Seems like a bad design choice not to enforce unique tickers when pools are being registered.

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@robotpoolio but then you run into cases of “ticker squatters” - or you need to have a central authority assigning the tickers… it gets messy and has too many centralized elements.
it would be interesting to have an auction-based ticker concept through smart contracts

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What are your thoughts around a duplicate registration fee then? 50/500 ADA? Just enough to discourage duplicates by adding an extra step / fee. But still low enough so that it does not really stop ticker squatting.

The issue is that SO much of the SPO / Delegation eco system is “pretending” like there are unique tickers. Looking for pools, all the agg sites, most if not all of the wallets, how pools are referenced on calls, is all around the ticker. So unfortunately, your correct in preventing ticker squatting, but its then creating other issues, including scams.

There are varied schemes that might emerge - a reverse auction-style where tickers might be auctioned off might be interesting - a dutch auction of sorts.

Existing infrastructure still relies heavily on central authorities (IOHK, CF, …) for various services. It’s simple to setup an internal “reserved” ticker list, but it only works as long as you agree to trust the CA. As we push into decentralization, new schemes will have to build on assumption that there isn’t “one place” to connect to (although that might be a smart contract of sorts that is community-built/led through a CIP pushed the ecosystem naturally begins to use).