Top 20% of delegates consolidate 82% of all delegated voting power. Is that concerning?

The Constitution is an integral part of the Optimism Collective. Article 2 talks about the importance to counteract “excessive consolidation of power”. Specifically this addresses the balance of short-term (Token House) and long-term (Citizen House) perspectives. However, while the Citizen House balances power by giving one person one vote, the Token House does not seem to consider the consolidation of power. While it remains clear that a single person/entity can purchase as many tokens as they can afford, there is a decent amount of delegates, that facilitate the governance process for individuals. Yet the top 20% of delegates have power over 82% of the total OP delegations.

One could argue that this doesn’t matter because the total delegations (32M OP) are only a small fraction of the total supply (4,295B) which is true. However, If over time the delegation rate rises, it would strengthen the current trend. Let me give you an example: The top 10% of our worlds population hold 85% of all wealth, while the remaining 90% own only 15% of all wealth. The rich get richter and the poor get poorer. The trend always starts somewhere and can manifests from there onwards. I am not saying that we are on a critical edge here but I do think it is important to create systems that don’t manifest a trend towards consolidation of power.

If I am an OP holder and I want to delegate but don’t know much about it, I will choose one of the first 10-20 shown to me (analogy: the rich get richer). Why not design a system that supports delegatees (that a word?) to choose a delegate based on their believes, values and motivation to be a delegate? Instead of promoting to choose based on “Most voting power” or “Most delegates”. It would be simply a matter of rearranging the delegates.

Curious what you guys think about that.



in lone term i thinks its good for the progect

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Well it look similar like elections in Africa or ex USSR countries, not the real Democracy. But it can be more effective for governance at the same time - depends on our goals.

Maybe we need more delegates, so then ppl could more easy find the person to delegate him votes. More from regular users, who will start to dive deeper in governance and well be also useful for future cause they will grow up… Some kind of delegators incubator.

I would love to be one of them.


On some level I agree with this statement but I also understand how the governance works and how delicate balance can be in the beginning stage of the formation for the citizens house…
As well as delegating a huge responsibility for funds to be distributed to projects that establish the ecosystem in the first place.

It is very hard for discovery of other members on the governance to be heard or be seen.

I must say the new voting platform Agora is being dialed in and I talked to their team to help with some UI/UX bugs this morning. They were very responsive and involved with the community one on one.
Which is great and exactly what is needed to adapt to the needs of the voters in the system and here is some of the feedback you can also find in the Gov General channel of the optimism discord server.

“ I accidentally deleted my topic a few times while trying to write it. “

Discoverability was also made very difficult from the transition but they are fixing everything that I have addressed for the new delegates…

“ I find this frustrating because it was not too long ago that I finally appeared on the delegates of the governance on snapshot after missing the deadline last year when submitting my commitment in the last 24 hours of the cutoff. “

@zcf a fair suggestion here for the filter that would sort delegate members in a more inclusive manner by adding a filtered search :mag: option for most proposals voted :ballot_box: on, recent activity, or proposals created.

This is completely up to the team and decision of the leading members of the network or governance and capabilities of the Agora platform to sort and index this into the user interface on their website.

All in all what you are talking about has been a concern of other members in governance I have seen related to SNX Ambassadors but they have made it clear that they will start to distribute the funds into the ecosystem from the self delegations made before rules were set into place.

An attack on the DAO by obtaining power in a unethical or undermining way is always a concern. The team of the governance and head foundation along with all the rest of the members involved with governance are doing a good job so far of mitigation for this type of scenario.

The impact over profit model makes sure that each protocol is vision & mission aligned with the values and ethos of the blockchain along with the extra emphasis on public goods funding for creative development teams.

As long as this incentive is made by those who have taken on such incredible amount of token delegated to themselves I see nothing wrong with it in the early days of the network. That could be beneficial for the way the newcomers are delegated to in the coming years as more of these creators are attracted to the network for the high value incentives builders are offered on the network. It feels healthy to me!


I agree, I think the end goal is probably to have more delegations and try to decentralize the power than any specific delegate has. While it’s not perfect, a good starting point could be to take a look at some democratic systems today and model delegation after that. I’m based in the US, so I understand that system the best.

You have congress + senate, senate is set to 2 per state and congress is based on population but has a max number. Of course the US has 300M people and 50 states, so there’s quite a few representatives. But this could be something to think about as the governance structure matures.

My guess is that governance eventually evolves into a more decentralized system over time with many delegates that represent all sorts of view points. However, given that we’re so early and there probably aren’t THAT many differing opinions that people can have on the trajectory of this protocol, a fewer number of delegates might suffice.


Great Points and thoughts!

I believe that the delegation is done basis common interest or know how as well. But a first step with Agora and then subsequent implementation of learning and making it relevant and interesting is must.


It is very delicate what you mention, I would mainly take into account that the governance process takes into account two votes, ours of the delegates and the council of the recently chosen protocols.

I don’t like it very much from the point of view that they are looking out for their own interests.


It will be interesting to see how the current governance will progress and innovate. I like the first step and support.


Interesting insights and thoughts. I hope the first step to creating open and transparent governance is taken and what follows from here will be interesting to make it decentralized.


I believe there are already at least a few delegates but most of them have very little shares (including me).

You can become a delegate too! I applied only a fews weeks ago and now I’ve been officially added to the new voting page (but close to the bottom)


I totally agree! The only point I’m trying to make is that the trend can (and will) manifest. The top 10 delegates today will grow exponentially. While the majority will remain unimportant.

I believe it is important in the early days to find ways of encouraging more ppl to participate in governance and thereby create more delegates that have a voice for those who do not want to deal with proposals and all that.

Glad that you engage in governance and be the voice for others!


Good arguments! You’re probably right, that currently there are not so many different opinions that ppl can have in this case. However, once there are different opinions we accept that few ppl have loud voices. Decentralization is about leveling out power imbalances, which I see at risk here in the long term (5-10 years).

Don’t get me wrong I am very convinced of the delegate system. Otherwise gov participation will be insanely low. I am just in favor of more ppl having sth to say, than a few that have all to say :slight_smile: This is the reason why I started engaging in governance.

Curious to see how things will evolve

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Sure, Here we were discussing about that:

Some suggestion was sort delegators by interest areas. My suggestion would be to delegate to some people around 0.05% so more of them could get that barrier to propose non-financial projects.

Anyway, Stay optimistic: there’s not other project like OP, sure next iterations are going to keep fixing some biases and bringing innovations in governance and decentralization. They know there’s no other way to survive.


Based on the initial message of the vote, there is no problem, because the concentration of voting power occurred because of the will of the voters themselves, who gave their power in favor of others. That is, the meaning is correct. But how to prevent the potential abuse of the power of the vote by those in whose hands it is concentrated is the big question? If there is no real instrument of such control (which is most likely), then probably for the sake of decentralization, transparency and fairness it is necessary to limit the maximum number of votes in one hand (and even in that case there can be coalitions behind the scenes to promote their interests - I think we all understand that)


Yeah, technically it is like that. But the point was that a new holder landing on the delegation page is not going to put so much effort in researching all delegates and as lazy human beings they’d choose among the top ones, creating some bias.


I absolutely agree, laziness is a hindrance in this case. But it is a human trait, unfortunately, inherent in many people. And with this there is nothing to do, so maybe you should limit the maximum number as a percentage of the total strength of the vote for the selected delegate.

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I completely agree that laziness can be an obstacle in this situation. However, it’s a common human trait that exists in many individuals, and it’s not something we can completely eradicate. Perhaps, to address this issue, we could consider capping the maximum percentage of total votes a delegate can receive, which may encourage greater participation among voters.

This is not necessarily true. Someone could create their own governance interface for optimism (or fork Agora’s, if it’s open source), which is something I would actually highly encourage. I think the Optimism collective should fund and promote multiple front-end governance interfaces in order to increase the resilience of Optimism’s governance.

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I like this conversation and think it is very important. How we set the foundation now will very much influence how our governance structures progress in the future. I would argue that, even with the bicameral structure of Optimism’s governance, the “token house” should look for some innovation other than delegated one-token one-vote (conviction voting, QV, others?), because this mechanism tends to concentrate power over time. Or, perhaps we should limit the scope of the “token house”, and expand the scope of the citizens house. I’d love to see some long-term future thinking about governance at Optimism. If anyone wants to talk about it, hit me up! I’m chaselb#8959 on discord.

ALSO, we’re talking about delegates here, but the elephant in the room is that the REAL power is in the large token holders who are delegating, because at any given moment they can take their delegations away to act in their self-interests. Many large token-holders play nice now, delegating to involved community members (or are involved community members themselves), but how long will that last?

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Hello everyone, we would like to share our perspective on the matter. For context, we fully buy into the idea of the collective as a common; which, in turn, requires proper governing for the benefit of all users. We believe that the best way to achieve quality governance is through comparison with existing governance structures and thought.

In The Politics, Aristotle discusses the typologies of various governments and concludes that the most just form of governance is the “Polity”. We believe that, intentionally or unintentionally, the bicameral legislature of the Optimism Collective is descended from Aristotelian thinking. Aristotle argues that there are essentially two ways in which a government can allocate power to its constituents: by worth and by number. Aristotle’s definition of worth is antiquated–it refers to nobility as well as wealth–but it is still useful in describing the underlying philosophy of the bicameral legislature.

Those who hold a significant voting share, delegated or owned outright, must be duly considered according to that voting share. If not, there is a significant risk that animosity will develop toward constituents’ allocated votes based on number (the Citizen House). However, as is clear both in history and especially in blockchain, this animosity will lead to more oligarchic governance. We do not believe that Optimism Governance has reached the point of oligarchism. If the top 20% of delegates control 82% of delegated tokens (32MM OP), this only amounts to approximately 11.2% of the circulating supply (~234MM OP).

Ideally, the Citizen House would be able to check this control, but they only have control over retroactive public goods funding. In The Discourses, Machiavelli, observes that one of the primary reasons for the liberty experienced by the Roman people in the Republican Period was the role of the Tribune of the Plebeians. In short, this was a person who had the ability to veto the actions of the oligarchical upper class, in defence of the people.

We believe that in order to create the most successful L2 protocol, it would be in the interest of all parties to expand the rights of the Citizen House to include the veto of a proposal, by the majority vote of a quorum of citizens.

This is not to say that we believe that the citizens should have outright control over the protocol–only that there should be greater checks against the ability to purchase outsized control over the ecosystem. We also believe that it would be beneficial to expand the number of delegates. This would further diversify control among the existing delegates and lead to a more pluralistic Token House.

Quentin Bazar, Georgetown Blockchain