Fee-fo-fi-fum said the Giant

Should we help a bunch of mathematicians with little imagination?
Members of the community can you find a great name for a0?

I suggest nVdious (invidious).

Preventing Sybil attacks is a good read.


Too close to Nvidia IMO. Though I have nothing else to offer… :disappointed:

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When registering a pool, the pool operator can decide to ‘pledge’ some of his personal stake to the pool. Pledging more will slightly increase the potential rewards of his pool.

This means that pools whose operators have pledged a lot of stake will be a little bit more attractive. So, if an attacker wants to create dozens of pools, he will have to split his personal stake into many parts, making all of his many pools less attractive, thereby causing people to delegate to pools run by honest stakeholders instead.

Slightly confused about how exactly pledging could deter a Sybil attack.

My understanding:

So without pledging a bad guy can create a number of pools and get a majority control without much at stake…

With pledging he can do the same thing but his rewards will be trimmed unless he also pledges his stake.

Fair enough. This means his costs go up a bit higher should he decide to not play nice.

The articles says he would have to divide his stake into many more pools and that would help honest pool operators.

This is where I lose him.

Great write up overall.

My read was that rewards increase for everyone in the pool if the stake operator stakes a large sum thus making it more likely they attract a large pool of users. I guess the next question is what constitutes a “large stake”?


As I understand it, if someone tried to create a number of pools without much stake, those pools would be less profitable for others than legitimate pools where the operator has pledged a large amount of their own stake.
So the attacker would be unsuccessful in gaining a majority stake because no one would want to join their less profitable pools.


The reward increase is a function of the amount the operator stakes.
So rather than it being a predefined amount, it’s simply higher operator stake = higher rewards for everyone.

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So If you are a good guy you are incentivized to minimize the number of pools and maximize pledge levels.

If you are a bad guy and you want to control the protocol, you’d have to create many pools to leverage your large stake to have a chance at control.

But since your stake is so thinly distributed now, even if you pledge all of it, you won’t have an upper hand against honest pools that will most likely prevail in numbers and are likely to have larger sizes.


Thanks for clarifying.

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Influential variables:

1- stake committed by leader
2- transparency of pool costs

a0 determines the influence that a pool leader’s stake has on pool rewards.
In order for the divergent pools to be successful, each of these needs to have higher potential than the honest stakeholder.

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I wonder how that all is going to be verified…If I set up a corporation to run the stake pool will the corporation have to own the Ada used for pledging? Can family and friend pool Ada for the pools initial stake?

Stake pools need to be registered on the blockchain, so I’d assume the ADA staked by the operator would need to be held in the same address that’s used to register the pool.
IOHK are doing an AMA next week on staking, that’s probably a good question to ask.

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The pool formation certificate could allow use of multiple addresses to contribute stake towards the pool leader’s stake. As long as the certificate is signed using PKs of those addresses It should work.

However, as Steve pointed out this hasn’t been clarified yet, AFAIK.

Generally, an arrangement like that would require a longer commitment from contributors and some scheme to split the pool’s earnings.

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Apart from playing a role in rewards what other role does “pledging” play?

Does pledging put your stake at risk if you choose to not to follow the protocol? What if your machine is infected to behave that way? Will you lose your pledged stake?

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Without a direct impact, the knowledge that some staking pools aren’t following the protocol could lessen the value of ADA and thus lessen the value of the stake. Direct consequences could also be introduced if necessary I’m sure but that does open up other questions.

Call it “edge”

Any pool that doesn’t follow the protocol would have it’s blocks rejected by the rest of the network. So the participants wouldn’t get paid and would then choose to leave the pool and join one that is following the protocol.

I like the fluidity of this solution. It functions like free market on steroids.

For infected machines we still have a window of 5 days to do the damage and if enough of them is infected we may have network speed problems—say if the virus just doesn’t produce blocks and delays network messages.

Hopefully, they will have some protocol level protection against this for those who run pools.

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Since they’re aiming to have ~1000 stake pools it’s probably unlikely that enough could be affected by a virus to cause a significant disruption to the network.
Worst case is that a certain percentage of blocks will be delayed for 20 seconds (or however long the block time is) depending on how many pools are hit.

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Agree. This will persists until the new epoch starts. Stakeholders can change pools at any time but their actions will take effect only in the next epoch.

I understand the job of securing and maintaining a pool is that of a pool operator, but it would be good to have a real-time performance feedback from the protocol itself.

In the worst case the pool operator could be oblivious to his problem till he sees his payout, which could be 5 days.

Obviously he could monitor his performance on his own machine by observing traffic and his signed block numbers… but i wonder if such solutions could be integrated into the pool management software that IOHK builds.

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Stakeholders can change pools at any time but their actions will take effect only in the next epoch.

Oh I wasn’t aware of that. Yeah not noticing for 5 days would be annoying.
Horizen have a node tracking system that sends the operator email alerts any time there’s any issue with one of their nodes. Something like this for Cardano would be awesome.

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This ^ right here makes me hopeful. The two protocols are very close in spirit so I would not be surprised if IOHK’s pool management software came with something similar.

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