Comparison of Candidate Strategies in The Komodo Elections
Hello Komodo fans and curious bystanders.
Hello Komodo fans and curious bystanders.
Komodo elections are playing out in full force and its a pretty interesting experience. Komodo holders that want to make good voting decisions this year have a variety of offers they’ll have to consider.
I just went through every candidate’s proposals for this year’s elections, all the ones merged into this official github repo anyways. Here’s a general overview of the offers I saw, and my thinking in regards to their value add to both individuals as investors, as well as to the vision of Komodo as a whole (Which I’ll also define as far as my perspective goes).
You can find our election proposal at thegaltmines.io.
The Vision of Komodo (Skip ahead if you are not new to KMD)
One of the most memorable phrases ever said by James Lee (JL777) the founder and lead developer of Komodo, was probably this:
“In crypto, the competition is not each other, it is fiat. If any crypto does well, we all benefit.”
Komodo and by extension Barterdex, as well as the ‘assetchain’ system are all projects that serve the crypto ecosystem as a whole.
BarterDEX does it by being the reference client for the largest most coin diverse fully non custodial, Decentralized EXchange I know of. With over 70,000 atomic swaps. We are basically at the cutting edge of decentralized exchanges. Hence why I’m putting most of my energies into the Komodo ecosystem now, after 4.5+ years in this space.
Assetchains and the Notary system are a way to bring Bitcoin’s remarkable security to smaller, custom blockchains, by effectively backing up their chain states on top of Bitcoin.
As a result, these chains can restore from that Bitcoin Backup, and leverage it’s vast security in case of failure or serious hashing power attacks.
Finally, Komodo the first fork of Zcash (With an actual usable Interface) brings to altcoin traders that so wish, the ability to expand the fungibility of their coins, by trading them for KMD, moving them through a Znark and returning to whatever token they wish to position in.
So that’s the vision, and that’s how it’s been in active development and implementation for ver 4 years.
Top 6 Campaign Strategies In 2018's Komodo Elections
Sufficient Networking & Technical Competence
The first and probably one of the most important metrics candidates are positioning for, is competence to run a Notary Node.
Having ran one with my business partners for over a year and having been one of the top 10 Notarizers, I can tell you that it can take serious attention and know how. Many of the notary nodes from last year have had weak results, which is why there’s a testnet of notaries running as we speak where hopefuls will get to test their skills.
This metric is not being highlighted enough from my experience reading all the proposals, and it is hard to, since you can always say you are an expert. Most candidates are promoting themselves as having sufficient experience doing this. The testnet games (As I like to call them) will be a great way for new candidates to prove themselves beyond their face value claims about their competence.
The main place to find information about the Testnet right now is on the #NotaryNode slack channel.
Superior Technical Competence and Proof of it.
Another metric being used as self promotion which makes great sense is that of superior technical competence.
Many of the core devs for Komodo are competing to run one or more Notary nodes.
Given the shortage of development talent in the crypto space in general, sincerely welcoming high talent devs to our ecosystem and giving them the resources they need to expand their work seem to me a great idea.
Here’s some examples of such developers which is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but simply ones that stood out to me from the proposals that I’ve read.
Ca333 ‘greenhat’ ethical hacker: He has been around for years, I remember seeing his username back in the day and my sense is that he’s brought a great deal of value to this ecosystem and is willing and capable to continue doing so.
Lukechilds is an Open Source security researcher: I’d never heard of him until today, however after looking into some of the sources he cites to prove his competence, I have to admit I’m impressed.
He seems to have disclosed various serious vulnerabilities in cryptocurrency software over the years including a few related to Komodo, which you can read on github, (he links to them).
This is the kind of serious white hats we want around Komodo, looking at the infrastructure we are building.
Grewalsatinder of Meshbits: Grewal, as far as I’m concerned is somewhat of a legend, certainly in the Supernet/Komodo space. His main claim to fame as far as I can tell has been to lead the development of the BarterDex reference client, one of the most visible and undeniable achievements of Komodo. He is however, not a GUI developer, and so he wants to move back into his more pression passion and a better application of his skills, which as he describes it relates to working on BarterDex’s and Komodo’s scalability.
I remember having a call with Grewal years ago, where he described his vision of a mesh like internet network using Komodo, which we discussed at length. I hope he continues to Komodo as a means to achieve that general vision.
Decker seems to be a wallet and infrastructure engineer. While his name sounds familiar, I can’t say that I know the guy, however seems to have had a big role in both the code use for this elections as well as code being used on Chips, a decentralized poker game that has been in R&D within Komodo for ages, (closely related to Pangea). Pangea was one of my favorite Supernet projects, perhaps because of its deep complexity. After all, creating an online poker game that is decentralized, provable, fast and secure against poker bots is not easy feat.
It could also have wide adoption if it can be developed, though I have no idea what the state of the project is today or what pivots they’ve had to take up to today. I only remember the Pangea vision from 2014. :)
Ryan and Travis, 20+ years in internet infrastructure: Here I have to pump the two guys I’m working with because, well I wouldn’t be working with them if they weren’t serious wizards. Both of them have had Chief Technical Officer roles in the development of wireless ISPs that handle thousands of customers. One in Canada and another one in the United states. Ryan is currently developing the Notary Node performance measuring software that will be used in the testnet games.
Long term, if all goes well, we also plan on deploying our own data centers in every geographic zone, (we already run one in NA) in order to have direct control over the security and performance of the infrastructure we are responsible over.
Ok, that’s enough examples. My point is that, finding talent that shares our general vision and is reliable, is hard to find and thus seriously valuable, obviously.
Ok, in case you are slightly autistic, I’m a bit salty about this one…
At Least 40% of the proposals have some kind of revenue share.
And I’m not counting those (like myself) who aim to re invest 15% of our new revenue into bounties and other services in the ecosystem.
No, I’m talking about straight up, “I’ll pay you up to 30% of our revenue if you vote for us”
Now. Why would I be salty about this? After all, as a Notary candidate myself
(TheGaltMines:io :D), I could just as easily offer the same incentive. If it works it works, no?
Well, there’s two main reasons I have for not liking this one and thinking it’s a bad reason to vote for someone. Which is not to say that the person is not valuable to Komodo, but rather that this specific reason is not a good one.
Reason one is that it distracts voters from what they should actually be paying attention to and it potentially mis-allocates resources.
One possible strategy, assuming the ROI as good, could be to back up the truck on KMD RIGHT NOW, and try to get the highest return per vote candidate, in. Then selling. And collecting 30%+ for the rest of the year for free.
Sigh, not great incentives for Komodo as a whole.
All of that however assumes a good ROI, which is where it gets even sillier.
If you do some math (Which would probably be a good idea if you are considering this incentive), you may find that the ROI is not actually that great.
Here’s some illustration of that.
Last year there was at least 40 million KMD used in the election. That’s close to 40% of all KMD.
If you are serious whale and have say 1 million KMD (nearly 1% of the total supply). Then you can certainly have an impact on the election. However, how much of an impact can you have?
I personally had 9 Million votes last year on for our North American Notary node (this landed us at the top of the NA zone). The 1 million whale would have had 11% of the total votes if they’d voted for us.
And had we offered to give them back say 30% of our revenue, he would have gotten 11% of 30% of such revenue.
That 30% revenue, over a year would be about 24k KMD. 10% of that would be 2,448 KMD.
In other words. Over a year, someone with 1 million Komodo would get a return on investment of 0.2448%.
LOL. In the crypto world, that’s peanuts.
The less KMD you vote with, the less ROI you get, and the more people that vote for the same candidate, the less ROI you get. It’s an awkward game.
Granted, they are not really locking up their capital, they can sell their KMD right after. But still it’s not very much. You could lose that on a day worth of volatility if you are just buying KMD tokens to vote and selling again.
It complicates things unnecessarily, it’s not particularly profitable compared to say, electing people because of what value they can bring to the ecosystem, which will in turn be reflected in the valuation of your KMD.
And I just want to be clear that I am not singling anyone out by publishing this analysis. I’m only criticizing the offer in itself.
Targeted Funding of Community Services
This is another one that seems popular, probably close to 30% of the candidates are promising to use a portion of their revenue to fund specific projects they deem worthy, specific aspects of Komodo, or set up bounties.
I think this is a great idea, for many reason, and as such, (as I’ve mentioned before) we at The Galt Mines will be doing exactly this, with 15% of every Notary Node we are elected for this round. That’s up to 10k KMD over the whole year.
Some of the reasons include:
Individual grass roots lead funding of projects that will impact Komodo
Personal funding and potentially investment relationships with Komodo projects, in ways that may carry less legal risk and more accountability.
Higher control over the flow of capital, compared to approaches like those by DASH and Pivx, which require a great deal of effort from masternodes, for smart contracts that are locked in crypto for up to three months, and once activated can not be stopped (unless escrow). In this model, which is somewhat decentralized since there are multiple parties looking to do something like this, token holders will be exposed to less risk of project x running with the money.
I look forward to engaging with other Notary Nodes who are interested in doing something like this, after this election to discuss what kind of projects might bring the most value to Komodo and how to properly fund them.
I won’t give too many examples here though you can find multiple candidates offering this on the official election listings. One example that definitely stood out however was ca33 who is pledging 33% of notary revenue to bounties and rewards and competitions which he sounds competent enough to oversee.
Legal Support and Research
One of the offerings that I only saw one instance of, was an effort to create a legal support and research sub community. The idea here is to begin networking with various legal professionals that can help us understand and be prepared to engage financial authorities in various countries, whether it be as infrastructure operators, promoters, or businesses participating the Komodo marketplace.
This effort will be lead by me at TheGaltMines.io and is already ongoing. The thinking here is that it is better to understand the lay of the land and have the resources and potential strategies at the ready to build legal defenses, or know where the lines are so we can potentially position ourselves properly, rather then be surprised later on.
I think this could bring serious value to Komodo long term in terms of confidence from for everyone involved. I will begin by creating a Slack channel and Keybase group to invite key influencers and fintech law contacts, share resources and discuss related topics. I’ve yet to decide how public or private I want to make these groups, or how to arrangement, if you have any thoughts on this or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
One of the intentions would be to have a general set of legal resources for Komodo industry players to tap into, in order to facilitate their structuring, share, network connect them with good legal contacts and help them get to production faster.
The amount of effort and resource I put on this will be dependant on how many Notary Nodes we get as that will determine how ‘invested’ I personally am in this ecosystem.
Media Attention, Marketing Support & Communications.
Last but not least we have communications and marketing support.Ç
The first thing I’ll say is that while some of the potential for marketing and community building is very exciting and I personally look forward to being a part of those efforts. It is essential to remember that the primary role and responsibility of Notary Nodes is to notarize asset chains and other integrated alt coins. If marketers fail at this responsibility that is a sacrifice that harms the general ecosystem, so it’ll be important to make sure those voted in can get their primary job done. Measurement of this will be aided with the testnet games, for which a website to look at candidate performance will be announced soon.
With that out the way we can get into some of the naunces of marketing, as, some of the potential is indeed great and worthy, but there’s other potentials that I have mixed feelings on.
On the one hand, yes, of course we want to bring more eyeballs and attention to Komodo, after all how else is the community going to grow, the liquidity to add up, and the platform to gain wide use? People have to know about us.
We probably could use more documentation, more how to guides on specific things that Komodo enables and more discussion of Komodo’s value offer to the crypto space and the world.
On the other hand, how ready are we for mainstream attention?
As much as BarterDEX blows my mind every time I look at it. The UTXO side of things is still counter intuitive and difficult to use, and as such a good deal of the Komodo ecosystem is bottle necked around not having enough access to a liquid market.
In other words Komodo is growing fast and well, but it’s still arguably a teenager. Not quite an adult yet, and there may be quite a bit of dev work to be done still.
It’s not great for the brand if every day users find us with high hopes of the exchange and get stuck trying to figure out their UTXOs or find little volume on the platform.
It’s a real chicken and the egg problem and the solution I imagine is making it as incredibly easy to use as humanly possible.
Someone mentioned they were working on a Shapeshift like implementation of BarterDEX. That’s a project we would seriously look at funding.
All that said, if people we are attracting are great developers and competent entrepreneurs, then fantastic, in my experience, such people immediately taste the wild opportunity we have. However, not everyone will be able to get value from Komodo right now, if you ask me.
So this has two ramifications. One is that attempts at getting attention may be better aimed at attracting the kind of talent we are missing. That could pay off very well.
The second is that while education and marketing are essential, they are at least as important if not somewhat less important than making sure we retain high talent and invest in the parts of our infrastructure that are mission critical.
So sure, general brand recognition marketing may be ok. But targeted marketing and outreach efforts may be more effective in the mid term. Komodo Pioneers, as well as myself with the Ambassador program intend to do Crypto + Komodo meetups in various cities.
I’ll take any serious public speaking engagement offered to me in regards to crypto, decentralized exchanges and or Komodo.
Other targeted content like how to guides, technical documentation, and in general being engaged in the public discussion about crypto finance and pushing the importance of decentralizing the exchanges, will probably have a very positive impact.
But maybe we are not ready to send a lizard to space on a Komodo branded Space X rocket quite yet. Not that anyone’s proposing that….
Here’s some of the top candidates in regards to communications, that made an impression on me.
Adrian Pente. Graphics and web designer. He seems to be responsible for the Komodoplatform.com website which is very nice and can probably help us make tons of very easy to consume graphics with which we can in turn attract the right people, perhaps. Or atleast, fast track their understanding of the Komodo ecosystem. Now are they worth 4 notary nodes? Idk. Maybe it would be cheaper to pay them per gig. Check to see how well they do on the testnet games. :)
Komodo Pioneers — Community cultivation and outreach: Pioneers is run in part by Audo one of the community managers and part the Komodo team, not sure exactly about the other members, but I like their vision. Hosting meetups and events, and getting good at that will be good for Komodo. How much does it cost to do all of that? I don’t know. I’ve hosted meetups before, you can invite people to a restaurant and have great conversations. Conferences or ‘events’? That’s a whole other game. Regardless of what happens in this election, I’ll explore collaborating with them on the meetup side of things and will aim to make their events depending on the occasion. Or Zoom in if I need to.
TheGaltMines.io the team I am a founder of is also looking to continue doing marketing efforts for Komodo, including as I mentioned above, meetups in multiple cities as I travel around the world for various conferences, particularly in Canada, USA and Latin America. All my content will continue to feature Komodo as sole sponsor and I’ll make myself available for public speaking engagements that are related in any relevant way and I’m invited to. You can find my work at JuanSGalt.com.
Voskcoin, mining crypto channel: This is definitely the biggest crypto channel I’ve seen engage Komodo. I hadn’t heard of them until the election but it’s cool to see how well they are doing. Nearly 50k subscribers, high production quality and good understanding of mining is strong.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!