ICON, a decentralized network designed to facilitate interoperability between blockchains, has over 40 candidates from more than 17 countries vying for the role of Public Representative (P-Reps) in their consensus governance system. The enthusiasm and support for ICON’s communal and indirect democratic approach are positive signs for its network, especially since the election of the P-Reps is ICON’s first milestone on ICONSENSUS.
ICONSENSUS, the journey towards the adoption of blockchain technology and the decentralization of the ICON network involves four steps. It begins with the election of the P-Reps and then C-Reps (Community Representatives) who are responsible for connecting and supporting interchain communication. It also requires ongoing DBPs (DApp Booster Programs) to promote and fund quality decentralized applications and continuous EEPs (Ecosystem Expansion Projects) that will incentivize activities on the ICON Network.
This election campaign mirrors that of the EOS block producers and TRON’s super representative election in June 2018.
The P-Rep’s Responsibilities
P-Reps have many responsibilities to fulfill. According to ICON, P-Reps are full-nodes that verify transactions, participate in consensus, govern the network (which include proposing policies and making governance changes), and vote on policies beneficial to the overall ICON Network. They are also responsible for protecting the network by maintaining high cybersecurity standards of their node and nurturing the ICON Network and community.
With P-Reps, the ICON Network operates like a modern-day decentralized government responsible to the network and their users. To keep the P-Reps accountable, ICX holders can remove a representative from office upon a consensus within the community.
The P-Rep’s Upcoming Election
In September 2019, P-Reps can enroll in the election by registering on the ICON network. ICONists will then be able to vote for their desired candidate. The ICONists will need to hold ICX tokens, with 1 ICX token being worth one vote. The P-Reps will, however, be broken down into two groups. These include the top 22 main P-Reps and 78 sub-P-Reps.
The ICON Community will run the overall election process. ICONists can currently register to enter the election as a candidate, view the candidate list, and connect with others.
Will TRON and EOS Faults Repeat Themselves?
While token holder voting is a popular concept, there have unfortunately been many issues concerning these blockchain democratization models. If we look to EOS and TRON, despite their efforts to ensure decentralized governance, they are both highly centralized and are susceptible to rigging.
For example, EOS, a decentralized operating system designed to support DApps, only has 21 block producers who are responsible for both governance and technical features of the blockchain. Not only is it highly centralized, in September 2018, but there were also leaked Excel screenshots that show Huobi, the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange accepting money in exchange for support.
On the other hand, Lucien Chen, TRON’s co-founder and chief technical officer (CTO), left TRON due to its extreme centralization. He revealed on a (now removed) Medium blog post, while the top 27 block nodes have over 170 million TRX votes, TRON controls most of these votes.
Although it’s disappointing that EOS and TRON’s token holder voting mechanism has many faults, the ICON Network is looking to circumvent these issues with a more transparent reward system. P-Reps can receive a block validation reward which is given to the top 22 main P-Reps for block production and verification. They will also receive a representation reward, given to all 100 P-Reps based on the delegated amount of ICX tokens received.
The reward system factors into account the proportion of votes that a P-Rep receives through a stake weighted average. The more votes a P-Rep gets, the more they earn.
“ICON’s path to decentralized governance is now arriving to its most important step, the election of Public Representatives.” says Min Kim, ICON Co-founder. “It is an amazing feeling to have such great community backing the project and participating in the elections. Over 40 candidates already applied, and we still have two months to go. I’m excited!”
The P-Rep elections will take place in September 2019, with the list of international candidates growing rapidly. P-Rep candidates have begun preparing for their campaigns, releasing introductory videos, outlining the team’s potential, trust, and vision for the ICON community. As the pre-voting date nears, ICON will continue to add more information and videos on candidates for the P-Rep Election.
Now, we can only hope that ICON’s consensus protocol is not susceptible to the same shortcomings seen with EOS and TRON.