Decentralization & Bullshit

April 20th, 2019

On April 16, 2019. Philipp Kant, PhD posted that Shelley formal specifications are now complete. 1

Efficiency, Saturation & Rewards

With the specifications completed but not yet finalized, in as much as stating what Cardano's protocols values will be, lets again visit the variable k and work with what they have given us:

Even if every user were to run a node that was online all the time, it would be hard to keep all those nodes well enough in sync to avoid forks and still keep a short slot length. Our delegation design is aimed at keeping the number of nodes that produce a significant amount of blocks reasonably small (about 100 or 1000 nodes), so that effective communication between them is feasible. ~ Engineering Design Specification for Delegation and Incentives in Cardano–Shelley 2

100 or 1,000 Nodes

k = N+ (desired number of pool nodes)

k =   100
k = 1,000


k =   100 Nodes
k = 1,000 Nodes

By increasing k-tenfold Cardano has increased its power requirements by increasing the number of nodes operating, at a minimum a tenfold increase in power, assuming every pool operates at the same efficiency.


1/k = size of a saturated pool

1/100   = 0.010
1/1,000 = 0.001

By cutting the saturation limit tenfold, Cardano has proportionally increased the demands on the remaining pool participants to absorb the pools operating costs.


1/k = reward cap

1/100   = 0.010
1/1,000 = 0.001

By cutting reward potental tenfold Cardano has incresed in kind the number of pools that will be shown as potential delegates.

k Efficency Saturation Rewards*
100 Up Up Up
1,000 Down Down Down

Rewards* per pool, not individual rewards.

We're just thinking out loud if Cardano continues to market k as its decentralization metric then we're calling bullshit.

Cardano's decentralization is not limited to this single metric.

This is the crux of the distinction between the bullshitter and the liar. Both he and the liar represent themselves falsely as endeavoring to communicate the truth. . . .But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality. . . . The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him . . . his intention is neither to report the truth nor to conceal it. . . . unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are. 3

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