What is Fair DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake)

15.12.2020 06:22:03

In the early days of the formation of VIZ, its ideas and concepts, chat participants discussed how to make voting for witnesses more fair. No matter what anyone says, DPoS has the problem of witness corruption (centralisation of control). At the outset, we concluded that if there is a large network member with a 51% share, they can take over the entire chain and appoint the entire top witnesses as many votes as the blockchain system allows. In Steem or Golos, 30 witness votes are available, with each vote transferring the full weight of the voter's account share. We have called this DPoS 30. If one considers top witnesses as the right to permanently sign blocks in a round of 21 blocks, then DPoS 30 allowed one to corrupt the top (to sneak their witnesses in) without any problem.

Naturally, the difficulty lies in the passivity of other participants, but we looked at an example of an interest in working together across an ecosystem where participants are quite active and want a fair share in the governance of the blockchain system. This is how we came from DPoS 30 to DPoS 2 and later to Fair DPoS.

Consider DPoS 30 and DPoS 2

A place in the top is guaranteed with a vote weight of ~4.76% of the network share. In DPoS 2 voting is limited to 2 votes, resulting in 200% potentially competing share weights.

The more weighted votes that can be placed, the more unfair influence on the blockchain system is expressed. Example:

  1. A participant with a share of 80 votes for 2 participants: the total influence is 160.
  2. A participant with a share of 20 (difference 60) votes for 2 participants: total influence is 40 (difference 120). The difference of potential influence increases by as many times as the number of votes that can be cast.

In the case of DPoS 30, the potential influence difference is 30 times! This possibility in the code led to participants abusing its logic.

If you limit the number of witness votes, the participant will simply split their stack to have the most influence on the management seats. This is a logical solution, but very inconvenient. A member of the network should be able to support multiple witnesses by voting for them with their share. This is why VIZ used 2 full witness votes (DPoS 2) in the beginning. As the witness queue at VIZ consists of 11 top witnesses and 10 support witnesses, this reduced the possibility of collusion and corruption among witnesses. But later we switched to Fair DPoS.

Fair DPoS

Fair DPoS, equal shares of the VIZ DAO, is what we have been pushing for. Corruption in Steem and Golos did not allow us to change the rules for counting votes for witnesses. Who would want to lose influence and a 'heated' place at the top? Witnesses or repository owners refused to accept such edits to the code.

VIZ was developed on other principles. An ideology based on fairness is what is needed in a system based on equity of shareholder management of DAOs. Everyone can audit the algorithms in the blockchain system and decide whether it meets their personal ideas about fairness.

It was possible to put a limit of 1 vote for witnesses, but then we would be faced with fragmentation of large accounts into smaller ones to vote for witnesses because of the natural desire to manage the blockchain system. It was therefore decided to split the vote equally between all the elected witnesses voted for by the VIZ DAO member. Combined with an alternating witness queue, we get a great decentralisation mechanic.

Witness queue

After each round of 21 blocks, the virtual witness queue is recalculated. While Steem has 20 top witnesses and only 1 support witnesses, VIZ has its own witness queue mechanism. VIZ has only 11 top witnesses and 10 support witnesses, which alternate in the queue. This allows you to be sure to sign a block with a maximum delay of 6 seconds (if the support witness misses their turn), as the top witnesses are extremely interested in the stable operation of the blockchain system. Moreover, since the circulation of support witnesses is 10 (!) times faster than in Steem or Voice, there is increased organisation and accountability for all witnesses.


With extensive redistribution and increased participation in the VIZ DAO, we can expect a qualitatively new level of witness responsibility and greater decentralisation than in similar projects.

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