SPO Poll - Q3 2023 Setup Preferences: Answer 6 (None of the above)

Greetings Stake Pool Operators,

This thread is part of a series of polls aimed at understanding your preferences for the potential parameter changes coming in Q3 2023. The question we’re addressing is:

Which setup would you prefer to be put in place from Q3 2023 onwards?

In this thread, we’re focusing on Answer 6: None of the above.

Please share your thoughts, considerations, and perspective on this specific option. Your insights are valuable for your delegators and will help others understand why you might favor this choice.

Consider addressing the following points in your response:

  • Why you prefer this option: What about this option aligns with your operational approach, growth plans, or other aspects of your stake pool operation?
  • Potential impact on your stake pool: How would this scenario affect your operations, your capacity, your competitiveness, and your ability to attract and retain delegators?
  • Potential impact on the broader Cardano network: How do you see this scenario affecting the overall health, decentralization, and performance of the Cardano network?
  • Additional comments: Any other thoughts or comments you’d like to share about this option or the current state of stake pool operations on Cardano.

Looking forward to a rich and productive discussion!

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The structure of this poll seems to undermine the will of the community. Instead of asking how the community thinks each parameter should be changed and giving a wide range of options, 1 question with 4 answers is used to determine someone’s opinion about both parameters at the same time, effectively forcing the community down a narrow set of paths that have been decided for them. No justification was given for why these particular options were chosen, just that an undisclosed group of “experts” was consulted to arrive at them.
The parameter group was supposed to provide technical guidance to the community to help them make informed decisions, but none has been given yet and many in the community have formed strong beliefs founded on basic misconceptions about how these parameters work. It is irresponsible to offer this narrow set of possibilities without that technical guidance and without providing justification for why these particular options were chosen in the first place. Given that the community has been asking for change for over 2 years now, these poll options are more like “any port in a storm” than an accurate reflection of the community’s will.
Since before Shelley members of the community have been trying to have a conversation about these parameters with the people that control them. If this poll was used to gauge actual sentiment of the community by allowing them to choose what values they actually want then it might make sense as a way to begin the conversation, but instead our views are forced into a narrow set of options with no context about why those options were chosen. This poll should be re-worked to allow the community to share its actual point of view, not doing so could lead to undesirable consequences by effectively forcing people to choose between bad options that they haven’t been given the opportunity to fully understand.

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Honestly would rather see K=750 option with keeping costs at 340. Than we could observe situation and go from there.

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I agree. Furthermore, there was an excellent discussion on this forum initiated by IOHK Quant @Colin_Edwards just over 1 year ago which resulted in 142 replies. Colin’s opinion, based on his expert quantitative analysis, was:

“The proposal that best adheres the initial specification of the minimum fixed fee, in my opinion, is to move the fee from 340 Ada to 30 Ada. This would reset the relative sensitivity of the variable fees and fixed fees back to their original levels, and it also closely matches the original fiat values of the fee, which was originally set to around $5.25 / day. That will not fully compensate pools, the intent was that the variable fee would be useful in more situations than just when demand for staking far exceeded the available capacity of stake pools.”

I can’t understand why Cardano Foundation chose a figure of 170 Ada for the minPoolCost or what quantitative analysis this decision was based upon.

I would prefer to see minPoolCost reduced to 30 Ada or even 0 but I think it is risky to vote option 6 (none of the above) due to vote fragmentation and the fact that this option provides little evidence of your intention. I think voting “none of the above” indicates only that you don’t like any of the options and therefore includes people that may want things to go the other way - IE. more centralised. Maybe there are some multi-pool operators that would actually like to see minPoolCost increased so that they can continue to run unsaturated pools and farm even more minPoolCost fees for profit. I would hope that is not the case, but who knows? I am just saying that voting “None of the above” could put you in the same bucket with these people.

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I will vote “None of the above” and add metadata to the transaction “Replace minStaticFee with minVariableFee of 5 percent” or add this metadata with another option, but I believe the effect is strongest with the “None” option.

If you want to support this movement, you can e.g. use Martins script 13a_spoPoll.sh in combination with 13b_sendSpoPoll.sh to add a public metadata message with the optional parameter “msg: Replace minStaticFee with minVariableFee of 5 percent”

There are more voting tools in the works like cntools which should hopefully support adding metadata and be even easier to use, so you can pick whichever tool you prefer.

What is my rationale?

Yes, increasing k will force delegators to move, but I strongly believe we shouldn’t force them to move until the incentives are fixed to better support decentralization.
So I vote not to increase k. With current incentives increasing k will just lead to the majority of the currently about 270 pools close to saturation to split. So I highly doubt this will help to spread stake to smaller pools at a large scale as some hope.

Yes, decreasing minStaticFee does help, but I strongly believe it doesn’t help enough and will lead to the opposite, it would only strengthen the race to zero and lead to even more badly managed pools due to cost cutting, hurting the network.

As we know, block reward has been decreasing, currently block reward is at about 500 ADA.
Let us assume a small pool just starting out minting one block per epoch. The SPO is forced to take 340 ADA of that 500 ADA, so with the minStaticFee alone the pool will be very unattractive to delegators as the effective cost will be close to 70%.

Halving the minStaticFee from 340 to 170 ADA will reduce the effective cost with one block to 34% which is still very high and unattractive to delegators. At the same time it will halve the only income small pools have, breaking even more pools IMHO.

Replacing the minStaticFee with a minVariableFee of 5% however will finally result in an even playing field for small and large pools alike. If you mint one block the fee is 5%, if you mint 50 blocks the fee is 5%.

Why a minStaticFee? From experience I have seen the strong race to zero, so to prevent a race to zero, I see high merit in setting a minimum setting.


I like this idea of adding metadata and also suggested this on the Matrix “Time: SPO’s, node, testnets” channel.

I will vote option 4 to increase K and reduce minPoolCost because this is the only option headed in the right direction (in my opinion of course). But, I will also add metadata similar to what you are suggesting.


This poll idea might have caught a tiger by the tail if we all start adding metadata. :grinning:


I believe it’s worth the extra work to enter this “missing” poll option as metadata, after being disappointed by not seeing it as a primary option, and I intend also to do this.

I’ve also posted here in hope that they will re-do the poll, with proof that the option for a minVariableFee has been with the community all along (though new SPOs might not have noticed it was missing from the vote):


If the option expressed by @COSDpool had been available:

minPoolCost 0, minvariableFee 5%

Then I would have voted that option.

Since that option was not available, I just voted for option: “leave K unchanged at 500, halve minPoolCost to 170 Ada”. I voted this way because I believe this option at least reduces minFee and doesn’t provide an excuse for multi-pool operators to split their pools and farm more minFee chunks. See my reasoning in this post

I did however add some extra metadata to my transaction indicating that I would have preferred a minPoolCost option of zero and some brief reasons for this:

  "reason": "anticompetitive regs benefit incumbents, hurt decentralisation",
  "minPoolCost": 0

This is the transaction: Cardano Explorer - AdaStat

There is a large cohort of operators that want to vote for minPoolCost of 0 and some low minVariableFee%. The votes of these operators are split three ways between voting:

  • unchanged K, halve minPoolCost
  • Increase K, halve minPoolCost
  • None

This is because most realise that any change to K will have no effect on decentralisation because multi-pool operators will just split their pools upon any increase in K.

Unfortunately, this is politics 101. It is absolutely critical to structure a poll correctly with wording that represents community views. Otherwise you end up with completely fractionated results that are meaningless.

On a positive note: At least the vote has woken up the community to just how difficult and yet important it is to come to some sort of consensus about the wording of poll options before voting takes place. Otherwise, the only people who benefit from the poll are the incumbents that don’t want to see any changes to the existing regulation. Maybe we all needed to experience this to understand just how difficult politics is.