Jun 8, 2023 | Voltaire era: Parameter committee intermediate state

I am very hopeful that at the very least the committee (and sub-committee/panels) will also consider the idea to process the feedback from the poll (including the abstained and non-abstained metadata wording and references to reasons for voting x posted elsewhere mentioned in the metadata) and possibly come up with another poll with more complete option set and/or more questions specific to a single parameter, etc.

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I read a few comments in the block explorer but has anyone extracted all the comments anywhere yet? Bonus question: has it been considered to extend the CIP 0094 with the comment invention?

yes, already linked above. The consideration:

… and the actual addition of this scheme to CIP-0094:

I believe that adding a means of extracting / interpreting vote comments would be beyond the scope of the CIP but of course that would be up to the authors. :nerd_face:


As mentioned above, the extraction and listing will happen in the official report.

Interpretation is another matter entirely. I would like to see others (attempt to) do this. The comments are public property and fully viewable by anyone. Why not different independent approaches to grouping and classifying them? The pool rewards, in my opinion, should not only cover the cost of server hosting, but should also factor in a few hours of work put into a true and effectively decentralized (governance) ecosystem.

Regarding the comments in the first poll some personal thoughts:
I’ve seen both simple justifications for why a pool chose to do something, as well as strategic and opinionated assertions. Comments that expanded from the survey question (parameters) to completely different parameters like a0 or even other topics like centralized exchanges and taxes. Or it was simply advertising for the pool.

Personally, I appreciate the ability to give brief reasons why a pool chose that answer or another. But anything else should either not be in a poll (advertising) or should be done before the actual poll.

If you look at Tezos for example they have a 5 staged voting phases, each taking ~2 weeks.
After the first

  • proposal round (working code implementations)

the second one is about

  • ranking. (a first survey of support)

Only the top1 ranked proposal will become part of the next 3 phases:

  • cool down, discuss, refine
  • promotion (the actual vote)
  • execution (in case all quoras met, and jay had a required majority)

After ~2.5 months the next cycle with new ideas proposed begins.

Tezos has no way to post metadata on chain.
… The (Tezos) developer has to upload the TZIP metadata JSON file on any public server, such as their own website, IPFS, or GitHub, and then put a link thereto in the smart contract’s storage…

But does the possibility we have with metadata mean we should (mis)use the Cardano mainnet L1 chain as a weird kind of chat?

Or would it perhaps be better to put a little more focus on a distributed but still common understanding and clarification of points of view before we go to a poll?

What you can also read from the comments are different expectations of what a poll and governance can lead to, and especially in which long/short-term and gradual or disruptive way.

There are some (legitimate but purely selfish) interests to change a certain value immediately and extremely, because it can be very advantageous.
But there are also consciously conservative approaches and advocates of the opinion that things should be adjusted slowly, thoughtfully and gradually, even if this does not immediately correspond to the direct wishes of individual interest groups (then commenting what all is wrong with this poll).
This conservative approach, by the way, is how Cardano has practically always proceeded since the Shelley launch. the migration from Byron to Shelley-produced blocks (d), the maximum block sizes, etc.

And things have also been addressed one at a time, because in an evolving ecosystem, this gives you a chance to see and learn direct and precise effects. Those also then have to be interpreted, which is also challenging. But other than the various formulations of the poll comments.


sure, so set your pool’s fees so that they meet that criteria - you don’t know what my costs are :slight_smile: maybe Joe Blogs has no time for a few hours of extra work to put into governance system.

Yes, conservative approach is also how we went from talking about a0 change/k increase in March 2021 to nothing being done about either of those now almost in July 2023. Insert it’s been 84 years meme gif. Let’s not keep up that velocity in this particular parameters department, please, I’m getting old.

I don’t see any issues with a0 being mentioned as a part of pool’s reasoning for their vote - just like minMargin concept - definitely worth tallying up the number of references, and it’s a timely reminder to ask the almighty research department on what’s the latest on pledge effectiveness front…

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Do you believe such extra-efforts are recognised and respected, in the sense that a pool with higher (real cost covering) fees can survive?

Or in other words: do you prefer k1000 (and more) small low income pools, who just calc the VPS costs, and almost zero efforts, because

  • someone (IOG) will provide a new release
  • someone (guild, ecc) will provide a proper management tool and gui
  • someone (else) will look into details and report bugs
  • someone (else) will find users and use cases,
  • someone (else) will write reports,
  • someone (else) will evolve and develop further (Tools, functions, CIPs, …)
  • someone (else) will think about parameters (all the other ones not affecting my pool existance)
    …but I will definitively not spend that much time here, because I’m here to eat the fruits as long as they hang low. I have no interest to build up any business and activities here, surrounding my pool. It’s just a free time hobby for me and when rewards are down to [not relevant] I will move on anyway.
    Is this what we want? (“we” = the ecosystem, because ofc Joe Blogs type SPO absolutely wants it this way. Why care more than abs needed, to achieve a top notch and winning solution?)
  1. who said/decided we must?
  2. is the chain not working?
  3. If you have a large and complex system that it was clear from the beginning would take years, not weeks or months, to establish, is it a good idea to significantly change the basic parameters around 20-30-50% of that process?

…has made a lot of theoretical assumptions. Various people had more or less similar or different viewpoints and assumptions. Simulations, discussions and peer review led to an agreement that had to be reached in order to launch the network. We are talking about people who put years of work, research and engineering into this project, using knowledge accumulated over decades to estimate, plan, design and deliver a largely new thing.
Think of it like a chef in his Michelin restaurant who has designed a new menu. Tried, tested, refined, found suppliers, tested again and refined. And all this only after he has learned his trade over many years.
Then the first guests come in, and some (a few) complain loudly: ketchup here! This should not be meat, let’s replace it with fish! and take away this wine, I prefer a bottle of beer.

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If they are not, then delegators have made a choice not to support those things. Isn’t that delegated proof of stake? I do think delegators would support some number of above and beyond pools and accept lower rewards to do so. Charity pools are a whole genre.

Do you think every restaurant should charge higher than necessary because a small subset of restauranteurs need funding to develop more efficient kitchen practice - or whatever? Maybe I want to go to a bare-bones restaurant and pay for my food and that’s it.

What % of SPOs do you think go the extra mile providing these services? It’s certainly not 50%. Probably closer to 5%. So why is Joe Blog’s pool charging so much if he’s not providing that service.

Are those services worth destroying the ‘provably secure’ ‘academic peer-review’ claims the network prides itself so much on? Are they worth making the network financially incentivize stake to consolidate with operators who do not have ADA stake in the system of their own?

It would be like people sit down and order off the menu and a different dish altogether is brought out.
“Hey I ordered fish, this is steak.”
“It’s fish”
“No, it’s clearly steak”

“The network is provably secure”
“I read the proofs, you deployed a different RSS altogether”
“I say it’s secure”
“… trust me bro”

No, I do not think it is healthy. 50% of stake is controlled by less than 4MM pledge. If stake in the network doesn’t matter then the network won’t matter. Stake in the system is what provides security guarantees. The more stake somebody owns the more likely they are to be a good actor in the system.

There seems to be more to gain by people stalling any changes on the network. Preserving the status quo is paramount to some people. Eliminating minPoolCost will eliminate tons of pools. Pretty much every SPO is going to get paid less. The only people that will be experiencing some huge payout are delegators. Remember, delegators make up 99% of the market. EVERY decision should be about them, not SPOs, and certainly not some small subset of SPOs.

minPoolCost to 0 IS the conservative approach, because every bit of science and reasoning backs that argument.

I would have been all for a slow reduction in minPoolCost and a slow increase to K over these last 3 years. Pretty much everybody would agree. That was the plan. The plan got abandoned for no apparent reason. It’s a transaction to make those changes. It’s not heavy code rewrites that take a bunch of time. The science and research had already been done too.

Now we are in a place where minPoolCost is so egregiously damaging, reducing it won’t alleviate the problems it’s causing to the incentive model.


We are still, to this day 3 years later, without a single piece of literature defending minPoolCost at this point in time. What good is it doing for the network now?

Is its only purpose to subsidize additional services ON-TOP of pool infrastructure?

That is not nearly enough reason for me to want to keep it around. That is NOT worth all the damage it is causing.


Every time I hear these arguments that minPoolCost should remain because otherwise:

  • Tool builders won’t build
  • Educators won’t educate
  • Bug testers won’t test
  • Report writers won’t write
  • Philosophy thinkers won’t think

It just convinces me more that there are clearly a number of OGs, that got in early or otherwise managed to build sizeable stake, who are benefiting from minPoolCost being a barrier to competition. This is not what blockchain is supposed to be about. Blockchain is supposed to be about fairness, openness, equal access. Barriers to competition should be removed. A new entrant should be able to fairly compete with any incumbent.

There is nowhere in the Ouroboros design documents that indicate operator staking rewards should be used as a form of cross-subsidy. There is also nowhere stating that stake pool operators should be tool builders, or educators, or whatever. Stake pool operators are simply expected to run a stake pool well.

I believe the Cardano community is like all other communities. Every member of the community, whether they are a SPO or delegator, should try to help anyway they can to improve the community. If you are capable of building tools, then do that. If you are good at educating others, then do that. It will benefit all of us if the community does well and so whatever we can each do will also help ourselves. Just like in every other community, some will do more than others, and valuing the efforts of others can be very subjective.

Regarding the cost of building tools or producing education material or doing something else needed by the community: The correct funding model for these activities would seem to be Project Catalyst. I think arguments conflating these costs with the cost of running a stake pool reminds me of the Trad Fi world where big companies lobby government for anti-competitive regulation to entrench their dominance. This is the sort of thing we are trying to design out.


It’s amazing there are any tools and analytics for bitcoin without a small subset of toolmakers receiving a subsidy from block rewards…

You end up getting BETTER tools made from hobbyists trying to increase the value of their stake, not from people extracting as much value as they can from the system. Hobbyists ALWAYS make better stuff because it’s made with passion not for a paycheck. As we’re seeing now, some paycheck devs are threatening to walk away from the ecosystem as soon as the subsidy stops.

Markus, I appreciate all the hard work you and everyone at the Cardano Foundation are doing. To respond to your points and add to some of my earlier points:

I am a little confused by the following statements (see below):

Why is it feasible to combine two poll answers? During the calls with CF and Pools, several of us suggested only having one parameter in options or doing rank choices. CF decided not to do this with this poll. So how can one assume that someone who selected K=500 and min fee of 340 would have a second choice of K=500 and min fee of 170? Or vice versa? While that might be true, it also very likely might not. There can be no way of knowing unless they included meta data with vote. So combining these results are based on assumptions that may be incorrect.

We cannot claim that votes are based on PROOF of stake but seem to want to count votes on things that can NOT be proven by the votes on-chain. For example, how can pools vote with their delegators stake? Delegators have delegated to their current pool in the past based on block delegation, the majority of which delegated before this poll was even announced. So how can we assume inaction to redelegate stake during redelegation equals support for the SPOs vote? The simple answer is we can’t, because we can’t point to anything on-chain that supports how a delegator wants their stake to be counted in the poll. So, if we want votes to be counted by Stake, then the only stake-based votes that are provable on-chain are the stake of a pool or votes by pledge metric.

Does this mean I don’t think delegators should have a say? No, but this poll wasn’t set up for delegator to have an active and measurable on-chain action that showed their support of the parameters they wanted or if they wanted to abstain. So unfortunately, their stake can’t be counted for this poll. In essence, if you can’t tell me how many delegators wanted to abstain from this vote then how can we count their stake? Inaction does not equal support, which is the flaw of the redelegation phase.

The analogy that I would use here is let’s say someone voted in the last election for the block producing party. At the time of their vote, the big issue was how many blocks should be produced. Then the next election comes around and the big issue this election was parameters. This time that individual didn’t vote. Maybe they were too busy, or maybe they didn’t care, or they thought that their party was going to win anyway. BUT… then when the votes were counted that individuals vote was counted for the block production party. Why? Well, this person didn’t take any action so their vote must still support the Block Producing Party, right? If votes were counted this way no one would consider that a valid outcome.

On a related note, I think this is also a good time to also talk about appearances of Conflicts of Interest. There can be an appearance of conflicts of interest with having pools on the committee or pools working for CF or IOG and this is why transparency is so important, especially in governance.

For example, how many members of the parameters committee voted in the poll? How did they vote? What is the make up on the committee based on that vote? What is the make up of the committee as far as MPOs vs Single Pools? Why does this matter? Because what if the committee has a majority that voted for a certain parameter? Or that is a single pool or MPO? Is there a bias there? It would depend on their role in committee to determine outcome of parameter change and if this change affects their bottom line. While people will have bias and can do their jobs without that bias, there can appear to be conflicts of interest.

As an example, you are posting here in this forum with the Cardano Foundation next to your profile name, as a member of the parameters committee and as a pool operator. And you have stated support for K=500 on twitter and your pool voted in the poll for K=500 and 170 min fee. In this forum, you are now also expressing your opinion that votes should be counted by stake and combining two answers which just so happens to get the same results that your pool voted for. So, to an outsider this can give a certain appearance.

A breakdown of how many members voted, how they voted, and a list of their pools should be included in meeting notes. The notes should list next to people’s names the pool they run if they run pools. While a lot of us know the names and pools, not everyone in the community does and disclosure is important.

Transparency is important here. I’m not saying that there is a conflict here yet. What I’m saying is there could be an appearance of one. So disclosures are important. I appreciate all the hard work everyone is doing and I’m not saying people have acted inappropriately. What I’m saying is I hope you can see where things could look to an outsider that there could be an appearance of a conflict of interest with voting on parameter changes.

Parameters is a very important issue to the community so I think we should go above and beyond here and provide as much transparency and disclosures as we can so the appearance of any conflict of interest is eliminated. Since it is possible that a decision by this committee could affect the bottom-line of some of its members, we want to avoid any appearance of any conflict of interest.

Thanks for your hard work and consideration.


Well said Rich and I share your sentiments entirely.
Thanks for articulating these points so eloquently.

Cardano, as a decentralized blockchain network, thrives on consensus, and the process of parameter tuning should undoubtedly be consistent with this ethos. The manner in which poll results are interpreted and used to inform decision-making should avoid any kind of reductionism or amalgamation that could misconstrue the intent of voters. To make assumptions about voters’ secondary choices, as you’ve outlined, risks oversimplification and distortion of the data.

The concept of votes being based on proof of stake is a central tenet of Cardano’s approach to governance. It’s a model that is inherently democratic, as it offers every stakeholder a voice. However, it’s crucial to recognize that this voice should be exercised explicitly and consciously, not assumed by inaction. An important corollary to your point here is the need for an effective and user-friendly interface for voting (in future iterations). This would ensure that all stakeholders, irrespective of their technical knowledge or resources, can actively participate in the decision-making process.

Your analogy on vote counting paints a vivid picture of the current scenario and the potential pitfalls it holds. Inaction should never be interpreted as tacit agreement or endorsement. A key takeaway from this situation is the need to develop a voting mechanism that can accurately capture and represent the diverse perspectives and preferences within the Cardano community.

Conflicts of interest, whether apparent or real, are indeed a concern that must be addressed transparently and head-on. The objective should always be to prevent even the appearance of such conflicts. As you’ve pointed out, it’s of utmost importance that any committee tasked with decision-making is unbiased and impartial. This extends not only to the selection of committee members but also to their voting behavior and the impact of their decisions on their personal or business interests.

Transparency is the cornerstone of trust, and trust is integral to the success of any decentralized project. As such, I wholeheartedly support your call for greater disclosures about committee members’ affiliations and voting choices. This move would foster a higher degree of accountability and foster community confidence in the decision-making process.

Your observations have underscored the need for continued introspection and improvement in our approach to governance. As we move forward, we must work collectively to ensure that our methods are as inclusive, transparent, and representative as possible.

I appreciate your insightful analysis and the respectful manner in which you’ve addressed these concerns. I’m hopeful that they are considered with the seriousness it deserves.


Instead of changing the protocol, I would start improving the non-protocol part. The cardano-node has grown in requirements massively over the last years. The advertised dream of hosting it in low power hardware is now gone. All those African communities with intermittent power, inexpensive hardware and mobile internet can’t really participate. And it is not only them, with the current world environment, as supply chains break and energy costs go up, it becomes quite unfeasible to keep up with the hardware race to keep the node. And it is not only SPO but people that must run their nodes.

No one talks about bringing the block size back down. That was an urgent decision on the bull market for UX, but no reason now. Especially now that Hydra works and we should work on scalability. Not pushing more to the L1, which puts everyone on a higher burden. L1 should be very light, because hosting it is a toll everybody must pay.
No one talks about having a market for fees. Then best way humans have figured out to assign scare resources is over the price mechanism. Yet in cardano we pay the protocol main fee and that ends it, the system can’t dynamically adapt to demand.

I believe these changes on the minpoolcost and k are at the moment irrelevant. The stake currently needed to do anything significant in Cardano dwarfs this costs, and the options to change aren’t that meaningful. If you have a community of stakers trusting you enough as an SPO, you can at very well cover those costs. Invest first in the community, make yourself known. You’ll still have to cover then minpoolcost and have an adequate pledge putting your money where your mouth is, to make it work.


To add to @Titan-C 's comments:

It is fundamental to Cardano’s security guarantees that control over the protocol is proportional to stake ownership. This means that it must be equally open for anyone, in any country, to run a stake pool. Every stake pool must get fair control over the protocol in direct proportion to stake.

In other words, it is essential that a pool in Africa with 10M Ada stake must get equal control over block production compared to an equal sized pool in USA/Europe with 10M Ada stake. The Ouroboros security guarantees expect this.

We are not going to achieve proper decentralisation if people in other countries are expected to stake with pools run from the USA or Europe. People in Africa may prefer to stake with pools run from Africa and if they choose to do so they must not be disadvantaged by the protocol. Furthermore, people in Africa will want just as much “inclusive accountability” as anyone else.

To achieve these goals requires the infrastructure requirements of running a node be kept relatively low. Protocol participation, through block production, must only depend on the pool’s stake weighting. Protocol participation must not be biased by how powerful your computer is or how close your node is to a data centre in USA/Europe.

Obviously there will be minimum requirements, but these need to be kept low so that they are not a significant barrier. Looking forward, we need to ensure that the implementation of “Input Endorsers” doesn’t require Solana level infrastructure as this will lead to centralisation.


Apologies for my ignorance, but Is there actual proof, grounded on a survey amongst delegators that minPoolCost is an entry barrier, or is this just a top-down-assumption-based discussion between SPOs, devs, and advisors?

Maybe I have missed it, but so far, I have never heard a delegator explicitly expressing themself of not supporting a small pool because of minPoolCosts being too high.

Just as a side note:
If you believe “Let the free market decide and do not socially support small pools” works best.
Then you are actually stating that current economic models are working great for SMEs and big players are loosing in competition to them.

I know it is only Twitter, but maybe this is a poll worth sharing: https://twitter.com/marcusubani/status/1676482503215923200

These kinds of polls should actually be linked to a DID.

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The performance of a beginning small pool drops when you charge it with the minimum of 340 ada poolfee. Stakers look at what kind of yield they can get and chose “wisely” for high yields. that way the small pools will not gain new delegators easily and that is bad for decentralisation.

It has been a topic for ages and IOG is sleeping it over for too long. It is time to lower it so there is a level playing field for all Pools, also small beginning ones.

I would dare to say that barely anyone understands how rewards are distributed. Most users will delegate according to the reward ranking given by their wallet. Minpoolcost
will not change that. Users want yield, and it is not a question of delegating to the big or small pool. It is about which pool on the wallet ranking is not saturated.

We are replicating reality in the digital space. People don’t just put their money on a random small place, it is all network effects we compensate our ignorance by following the crowd. As such small pools are small because they have not invested on creating a community.

The minpoolcost is irrelevant, because a pool in mainnet needs at least 1M Ada to even be on the game of block producing. The barrier of entry for SPO is the 1M Ada stakers. Decentralization won’t be improved over that parameter. The protocol already treats every pool equally, but as @Terminada and I have said, we need to keep the infrastructure costs low. That is what allows everybody to participate. If infrastructure costs are high you encroach SPOs, it those are low, it is easier for some to form new groups and shift the resources. The entire goal of proof of strake was to make the resource very liquid to keep everybody on top of their game, because everybody can start small.

Innovation comes from having low hanging fruits for the newcomers. If to learn to be an SPO I already need 2 big machines 1 relay, 1 block producers I might be out of the game. If I can start with 2 raspberry, or 2 VM it is a huge opportunity.