EOSwriter: 1T1V. A Thorny Subject with Yves La Rose

This week Yves La Rose, CEO of EOS Nation, sat down with Chaney Moore, Head Writer at Cryptowriter, for an in-depth interview about the thorny topic of 1-Token-1-Vote (1T1V) on the EOS mainnet. Chaney Moore did a great job writing this article and we hope that the community will appreciate the additional context behind our recently announced public support of 1T1V.

The original article was published by Chaney Moore on Voice and has been republished in full below.

I posted a few personal thoughts in the Everything EOS telegram channel about the seemingly abrupt announcement from EOS Nation regarding their support for 1T1V and casually mentioned I may write a speculation piece.  Within the hour Yves La Rose, CEO of EOS Nation had contacted me and we scheduled a 30-minute interview.  I knew when I finished preparing my list of over two dozen questions that 30 minutes wouldn’t be enough.  Turns out I was right, and after two hours of discussion, my only concern was how to present the wealth of information to you, the reader.  I’ve broken it down into two parts. The first is the simple Q&A, with perhaps a bit of color commentary to provide a little more detail.  Following the Q&A, a brief editorial on my thoughts regarding the current “controversy” regarding EOS governance and voting. (Interview occurred on  September 14th)

Chaney Moore: Let’s step back a bit, give me your background prior to EOS Nation?

Yves La Rose: I fell in love with computers at a very young age, six in fact, and began programming shortly thereafter.  In 2010 as a hobby, I started mining Bitcoin from home, back when the small guys could do it, and enjoyed that until Antminers became popular and it became controlled by large mining pools, pushing out the individual.  I’m not a bitcoin whale. From 2011 to 2017 I worked for the Canadian Federal Government as an Economist, modeling behavioral and economic patterns.  I pretty much stayed away from blockchain until I learned about EOS, DPOS and how BPs, as humans, could play a role in the governance of the chain.

CM:  How was EOS Nation Formed?

YLR: Stephane brought EOS Nation together. All seven founders have an equal stake in what happens with the company.  I’m simply the face of the company, and like with Dan and Brendan, what I want to say is not always what I can say and vice versa.

CM:  Does any owner have a relationship with an exchange or have EOS whale status?

YLR: We have no exchange relationship or agreement.  What constitutes a whale in your opinion?

CM:  Let’s say 1,000,000 EOS or more?

YLR: No one has close to that amount.  No crypto whales here, let alone EOS whales.

CM:  Do you have any affiliation, partnership or written agreement with any whales or BPs?

YLR:  There are specific public projects where we partner with other BPs on various occasions, such as EOSX, which is a partnership with EOS Asia.  Any project that we have worked on in partnership with other BPs has been public knowledge.

CM: Have you been working closely with B1 or the PBE with regards to voting strategies?

YLR: We’ve worked closely with B1 alongside other BPs and interested parties for the past 2.5 years.  Not just on the alignment of incentives within the ecosystem, but the proposed resource model for example.

CM: Dan made reference to East and West cartels in our interview last week.  Do you agree that there are cartels?

YLR: There are interest groups, but they aren’t geographically divided.  It’s split more along the lines of those that own tokens and those that don’t.

CM: Are you in contact with those BPs that own tokens? 

YLR: Yes, but we are in contact with most BPs.

CM: How did you get in the number 1 BP position?

YLR:  For the last two and half years we simply gave people our time and attention. We acknowledge every email, telegram message, phone call.  We try to be everywhere.  After a time, people know that they can rely on us, reach out to us for knowledge and help. In that way, we gained the trust and respect of some large token holders.  Do you realize that we’ve only been in the top 21 for about nine months now? We still have a long way to go to produce as many blocks as EOSNY, EOS42 or EOS Authority, but we slowly built trust. Now we’ve been thrust into the spotlight as the face of EOS because other BPs know that we can provide value to EOS overall in that position.  They want us to be the point of contact for the community because they trust us to do what’s best.  We didn’t ask for it, or coordinate it, token holders made it happen.

CM: So you don’t coordinate with other BPs to ensure your position?

YLR:  Absolutely not. The other BPs appreciate the value we add, as a visible point of contact for EOS, in that position.  It’s not about money for us. We give back over 80% of our BP rewards to token holders.  The rest goes back to operations, and we are operating at a loss.  The EOS Nation BP as a standalone entity will easily lose over a million dollars this year. (CM: At the time of writing this top BP gets 892.7 EOS per day in rewards and EOS is $2.70, that’s about $2,200 per day or $817,000 per year).  We have 60 people working now with EOS Nation and the seven founders are the ones that aren’t getting paid.  As a result of being that first point of contact in EOS, we have been put into positions to make revenue through other operations that bring us to break even as a whole, consulting, BPs for other chains, EOS projects, etc.

CM:  So, if it’s clearly not making you money, why do you do it?  For that matter, why do exchanges do it?

YLR:  I told you why I enjoyed mining BTC and why I got into EOS.  We want to be part of the overall blockchain ecosystem.  At the end of the day branding is really all we have.  Due to the reputation we get for being a knowledgeable and helpful BP we get exposed to other opportunities.  As far as the exchange BPs go, I believe they don’t care that much about the BP pay. My impression is that they are in it to acquire new exchange users and get exposure to token holders.

CM:  Does 1T1V change anything?

YLR: No.  1T1V, in a vacuum, is a really bad idea.  We have highlighted this repeatedly over the past year, this has not changed. BPs with tokens won’t complain, because they can lock in their positions with their own tokens, you’ll never hear them argue against it.  B1 could only vote for 1 BP with 80% of their tokens (CM: B1’s 100 Million tokens are unlocked at a rate of 10% per year. Without agreement from BP’s they could not change code to allow them to reallocate their EOS to vote for multiple BPs).  Even Colin’s proxy would be in a rough situation, most of his voting power comes from just two large accounts, leaving him capable of supporting only two or three BPs in a limited manner. 

CM:  You mention Colin, what is your opinion on him?

YLR:  I believe Colin is genuinely concerned with the issues he sees on EOS. I don’t believe where he comes from is malicious.  He truly believes that the chain will be in a better place if XYZ occurs and that he has the capacity to shed light on those issues and enact change.  My concern is that he doesn’t seek out discussion, he looks to force his vision on others.  We, and other BPs, have tried engaging with him for years, but he chooses to swing his proxy around like a hammer or use his YouTube channel to threaten versus have open communication.  That behavior is very much bullying. As a computer nerd I was very much bullied in high school and this is no different. In my position over the years the feelings I got when interacting with him are fear, hopelessness and humiliation. Having a discussion with him is essentially walking on eggshells. As the public figure representative of EOS Nation I am subjected to a constant stream of harassment. I do not wish that on anyone. He’s been making some BPs his targets for years, they won’t speak out against him publicly, they have nothing to gain by doing so and as such they remain silent on key governance issues. He’s a proponent of governance, but he is stifling much needed discussion and debate.  It’s Colin’s way or the highway. I really wish we could have meaningful discussion and mend the broken relationship. I respect very much what he has done in this ecosystem and all of the positive energy he brought to this project, but I will no longer be bullied.

CM: Did you engage with economists to review the different voting mechanics?  What was the outcome?

YLR: Yes, we have strong relationships with several universities (CM: EOS Nation has 30 interns from various universities ranging from undergrads to PHD candidates, some unpaid, some paid thanks to some unique Canadian government programs).  We reviewed with academics and the theory is bad by itself.  You can also see the real-world impact on Cosmos, Tezos and Lisk.  You can also see modeling on EOS Authority portal, which shows no major changes in the top 21 BPs.

CM: So how do we fix 1T1V to make it better.

YLR: You must couple 1T1V in tandem with a staking pool methodology and a resource model that somehow aligns incentives, but it’s not fully thought out or coded.  It is still a grey area and won’t be happening any time soon. 

CM: Then is there a point to champion 1T1V and staking pools at this time?

YLR:  There really isn’t, until a final proposal is out and can be reviewed to be implemented.  We are a proponent of staking pools, in theory it aligns those with long term vision having more rewards and voting power.

CM:  If there is no point to it, why did you suddenly come out in support of 1T1V?  Was it pressure from Dan’s interview with regards to him saying he supports it in conjunction with staking pools?

YLR:  Even though it’s no where near to being ready, we felt acknowledging that we want 1T1V would go a long way removing some of the acid and negativity from the community.  We participated in the governance proposals that had 1T1V as part of the frameworks, but since then the focus has been on this component as a stand-alone. I thought about writing my own article explaining the issue, in fact I had written it and didn’t post it, because I figured the important part was the title and the rest would not sway the reader.  At the end of the day, you don’t see many BPs actively calling for 1T1V today, there’s a reason for that.  Without additional work to the proposal, it cements BPs that own tokens in paid positions and kills off many other value-add BPs, those that have been deemed to add value by western standards, which is counter-productive to the current stated goal. B1 has only recently begun the public discussion on these other components and so we felt it time to re-open the discussion on our end.

CM:  You didn’t fall in ranking after EOS Nation announcement supporting 1T1V, did you contact any other BPs to let them know your plans to do so?

YLR:  No one knew EOS Nation would make the call and we didn’t contact anyone after the fact to explain it. You are the first person to hear our side of the story.

CM: If this doesn’t work out, would you recommend a fork, maybe to remove exchange tokens?

YLR: No, right now I wouldn’t support a fork, but I know some have discussed it.

At this point our conversation drifts to other topics.

I had to go back and reeducate myself on exactly what Dan’s proposal for staking pools was and how it fixes the current issue, in tandem with 1T1V.  If you want to refresh yourself on it as well here

Dan acknowledges that large token holders will install BPs.  What he doesn’t mention, but refers to in our latest interview, is that B1 would like to have the community release them from their token lock so that they can participate.  This means that B1 will likely have a considerable say in who BPs are if they are comfortable locking up their tokens for longer periods than most large token holders.  B1 has also indicated that they would consider using their pool rewards to fund the EOS Foundation, but that may still be years away.  Dan’s proposal was posted almost one year ago, and I’m uncertain if we’ve made any headway in that time. We have yet to see a proposal or code to unlock B1’s tokens either.

I also went back, like I always do, and scoured Twitter and Telegram for tidbits that may give insight to what B1 is thinking.  Based on several tweets and subtle hints, I think that B1 is working closely with BPs, including EOS Nation, to make this happen.  I believe that this exchange between Brendan and Colin highlights the complexity of the situation that B1 and BPs find themselves in today and perhaps that many in the community don’t fully grasp the situation at heart.  Keep in mind the earlier words, that what Brendan and Dan want, may not always be what B1 does.

 

Colin points out that Brendan has changed his stance.

 

Brendan acknowledges that you need more than a vote, you need dialogue, and reaffirms his previous stance, but that his stance and the PBEs may differ.

 

 

Colin implies that B1 and the rest of the EOS ecosystem won’t stand up to large exchanges. Brendan tries to make it clear that this isn’t an attack, its not us vs. them, exchanges are very important.

 

Colin points out that Brendan “watered down” his previous statement, implying he lied or changed his stance. Brendan says their views on what is best are simply different.

 

Don’t punish people that disagree with your view. B1 is working with leading BPs (EOS Nation is a leading BP). Make it a process, not a battle.

 

There are a lot of sensitivities in working with stakeholders and understanding realities before projecting definitive guidelines. Exchange voting, like 1T1V is just one issue, but needs to be considered as a component of a comprehensive and complete package.  You CAN NOT project certainties around individual issues.

Please read this multiple times to try and gauge the delicate position B1 is in as another community member, working with other community members.  This one tweet chain is just to point out that you can’t rush voting issues, it is very sensitive.  B1 is working with the BPs, talking to them, having collaborative discussions. They are bargaining, negotiating and building relationships.  Do you think those plans include how to change voting? Of course they do.  We’ve never seen B1 actively saying that we were ready to move forward.  Other than Dan’s article and our recent interview, we haven’t seen any public announcement from B1 that it is close. Any plan needs to be fully formed and comprehensive if it is to get the BPs to enact the code.  It’s happening, behind the scenes and slowly, but it’s happening. We will just have to wait.  B1 is working with the top BPs, this is likely why you don’t see many top BPs taking open and active stances regarding voting.

What do I think about EOS Nation’s change on their stance?  I feel that they were between a bit of a rock and a hard place and they decided it was time to get out of that position.  They are the public face of EOS, for better or for worse.  Many the community don’t see 1T1V as only part of the greater solution, it’s often put out there as THE solution. I don’t think the community realizes that the groundwork hasn’t been laid yet and pushing for it hard now does nothing for the long term health of EOS.  In fairness, I do feel that EOS Nation, as do many good independent BPs without personal EOS wealth like Greymass, Aloha EOS or EOS sw/eden, have something to lose.  If 1T1V were a switch that could be flipped today, we would likely lose some very good backup BPs.  I welcome those BPs to reach out to me and give me their opinions, I’d like to hear from you.

I just got finished reading Colin’s article on Yves, notice it was Yves not EOS Nation.

He was blunt, so I will adopt the same approach.  I’m not a fan of Colin tactics. I used to be a member of his telegram channel, I’m a member of over 60 EOS related channels.  He shut it down due to some criticisms he felt were unwarranted and left Telegram.  A lot of good conversation and debate still occurs in many telegram channels, that he is no longer a part of.  There are times where he doesn’t appear to see the bigger picture and can lash out if he feels slighted.  That said, I think his heart is with EOS, but may need to take that heart off his sleeve.  I would be happy to discuss this further with him, or even try and facilitate some discussion between the parties (EOS Nation, not necessarily even Yves) if both would agree.

I would hope that the community can move forward from here, whether the individuals agree to ignore each other or hash it out, but community doesn’t need the negativity.  Change ain’t easy.  We’ve got a long road ahead of us and we would be stronger if we go down it together.

(I’m including below, my original speculation from the Everything EOS telegram channel on September 13, 2020)