Incentivized Voting - A theory on greater network engagement

Stakeholder apathy is an issue that has emerged even in networks with votes that have big on-chain consequences.

Part of the reason seems to be that frequent and proper (research and ballot casting/proposals) voting itself is work. At some point people assume (perhaps correctly) that if they don’t vote, the people who have done the work will make the correct decision or that the effort invested by them is not worth the impact on the outcome.

Funding a pool for each vote and allowing each voter to claim a proportional amount of the funds in the pool may create greater engagement.

Each voter would be able to receive a payout according to:



There is a vote on an issue and 100,000 SNT is put into the pool.
At the of the end of the vote a total of two addresses have voted.

Address A voted with 750,000 SNT
Address B voted with 250,000 SNT

At the end of the vote:

Address A receives: 75,000 SNT
Address B receives: 25,000 SNT

Measuring Effectiveness

Two metrics of stakeholder representation are % of total SNT voted and % of addresses holding SNT voted

If at least one number goes up, it’s probably an experiment that is worth running further.


Awesome Barry! I think this is awesome to experiment with and we should try this for the next community governance vote. For the current vote, we leveraged the SNT Voting DApp which is simply quadratic voting and while there is decent engagement in the comms, there is less engagement in the vote itself (which i find odd).

This can be a very good way to incentivize participation in the network and voting as a use stands to earn each time they participate in network votes.

Perhaps we test this in Q1 2020 for our next community governance vote. Not sure on the LOE for additional function so hard for me to say if this is possible.

:+1: great idea. It is a proposal that participants are likely to pay a lot of attention.

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I think it’s a very good idea.:raised_hands::+1:

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thanks @JYL and @sdh01! I agree. Are there any governance proposals you would like to see? Anything about the app, network, or organization you would feel strongly about voting on?

We have discussed SNT cost of ENS names & Sticker Packs.

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I opened a pull request with the basic changes needed in the smart contract. If we are motivated we could implemented the needed changes on the front-end and have it deployed within the next month.


I think fees for different Status features like Usernames or Stickers are great votes that have on-chain consequences and move the governance of the network directly to the community. I think it makes sense in the near future to build an adapter to voting that can trigger these changes.

I think it would be useful to re-run the current poll that have running now, but incentivized and see how the engagement and results differ.

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There’s a lot of research that’s been put into incentivised voting and most of it points against it. When people are paid for voting it does not produce “good” values as those voting are not actually doing any research, they are simply voting to get paid. Also retention is close to impossible because at one point the value you get for voting becomes lower than the perceived effort for such a vote. Paying for voting is less sustainable than building a culture motivating token holders to vote.


I’m actually finding the research on the topic to be fairly sparse. Probably because there is little real world data to use. The few examples I’ve find are using political votes which could be different from votes where the voter pool opts-in with a stake.

Let’s post any relevant research in this thread.

I think a simple way for us to test this is to make each ballot to have a NO OPINION option. If the majority casted their vote for ‘NO OPINION’ it’s likely they voted just for the compensation.

You can also add an account rating or reputation points to the incentive for state ownership, which entitle you to a discount for different purchases or message fees, etc. Similarly, before ICO we had a token to support the Status network and people received additional tokens for real SNT

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You can include these incentives all at once for the state:
1% of the deposit on offers
2 Reputation Points for the offer that won (can be used for discounts, free stickers, free messages, etc.)
3 Rating points (increases the weight of the vote when voting on a parabola)
And all this with reference to the address or account

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for example, sticker designer may consider to promise to give voters a certain portion of the sticker’s sales to win a vote. in that case, i think status team don`t have to involved this situation. and voters may interested in voting

A study was done using data from Taiwan elections where absentee voting is not allowed. They showed how travel time and costs impacted turnout and reducing or eliminating these costs has a positive expectation.

An interesting find in that paper is the rational voter theory and how it provides a framework for thinking about how design impacts votes.

cross posting from another thread:

The modern rational voter theory developed by Downs (1957), Tullock (1967), and Riker
and Ordeshook (1968) is the most widely applied framework when analyzing why people

Which can be expressed as: U = qB − C + T


q = the probability voter is pivotal

B = Benefits if ballot wins

C = cost of voting

T = extra benefit of voting

After factoring all these in, only when U or the utility value to the voter is positive will they be compelled to vote.

Using this model, quadratic voting & voting credits increase q or the probability the voter is pivotal.

Incentivized voting offsets C (cost of voting)

My hunch is onchain consequences increases B or the benefits

I think this at least now gives us a framework from which to have a principled conversation about how different voting implementations potentially impacts the utility to the voter.