Voting for BlockProducers, the paradox of choice
Most if not all EOS owners have seen the requests fly buy at some point after a transaction of some sort: Vote for us… Maybe some click on the request, most will not bother and just close the popup. Still, voting for Blockproducers (BP) is an important feature of the EOS sphere. It is a vote of confidence for legitimate BP’s which keeps them in an earning position on the BP ranking, a reward for stuff they are doing for the community (not just confirming block production, but also useful tools like Scatter or EOStoolbox), and when they loose a lot of votes or never get enough to begin with, they will not be part of the Active BP’s or rank high enough in the Backup BP’s to ever become eligable as an Active BP.
Every EOS owner is allowed to vote and obviously, the more EOS you have, your vote gains more weight. Your vote decays over time, with a half-life of one year which is why you should vote at least once a week to keep your vote counting. Fortunately, voting is free. All BP’s need to abide by the EOS governance rules, which to date is still a moving target and subject of (legal) discussions. In turn, these governance rules are also approved through voting which underpins the importance of a transparent voting mechanism.
Who to vote for?
To date there are almost 500 BP's listed, 21 active and the rest are backups (in theory, most of them are too low in ranking to get paid). Without scanning details from all these options, it is clear that there are a few common priorities when they state their case to attract votes:
- have sufficient high quality infrastructure for 24/7 validations
- enable and support community organization
- enhance the underlying technology
- provide tools and training materials
- support dApps development.
Besides this, the teams background must be transparent and in good standing and there should be sufficient geographical spread across the globe. This last item is still of some concern if you see the spread on EOS radar.
To choose your 30 favourites from this big pile of BP’s is a major undertaking. I doubt if anyone has done a detailed analysis on all of them. That is the paradox of choice: there are so many options that you actually refrain from voting.
One solution to make your life easier here is to select a proxy voter where you just hand over the responsibility to a single, trusted party by adding your EOS voting rights to their pile. They make the top30 selection for you and usually vote daily. The top 30 composition may change based on the intel they get from all kind of sources or personal contacts. This moves your voting paradox one step up and you have to find out who would be your best proxy voter, but you can limit yourself to those that already have build a serious portfolio of proxied accounts. Check out if at least your personal top BP(‘s) are voted on by that proxy, then go to the proxy website for a more detailed explainer of their motives.
As a purely personal example, when I sort the list of registered proxies here by the number of accounts they are voting for (I am assuming some wisdom of the crowds here…), the first one that comes up with eosAmsterdam - yes I’m a chauvinistic pig- is in spot#6: foxproxyvote. But when you check out their philosophy, you get a very generic one-liner that says nothing. The next one up with eosAmsterdam is Luke Stokes, an internet veteran that has earned his badges over the decades and I was happy to let him do the BP selection for me.
EOS Authority (a founding BP based in UK) is doing a great job analyzing statistics and making visual data presentations of BP voting. A few tendencies can be concluded from their webpages. By far the biggest chunk of votes comes in via Bitfinex through the pooled EOS accounts on this exchange. Next up are guzdkmrtgage (a whale on the genesis block) and eoshuobipool (also pooled accounts from an exchange). There is a beautiful network graph showing in almost realtime the largest token holders voting for the 30 biggest BP’s, you can see voting pattern analysis (both positive and negative correlations), there is a page with periodic analysis, voting decay analysis, proxy research portal, etc. etc.
Due to the limitation of 40,000 voting EOS per account, TELOS has a different approach as there is no option for whales to dominate (although I don't know how many just split up their big holdings to X times 40 k accounts ). And if you want your vote to count, you should actually choose 30 BP’s, not just your top 3 or top 10 as this will decrease the weight of your vote, so this factor too decreases the chance of tipping the balance in anyones favour. Also there will be penalty votes when BP’s are unable to maintain 24/7 service. Too many penalty votes will eventually exclude a BP permanently.