This thread was inspired by an exchange with @TFFarmer on the farmer’s Telegram chat group. A slightly abridged log from the chat is included below (click to expand).
Erwin, [04.08.20 00:12]
Have the farming tokens for July been distributed yet?
Kristof De Spiegeleer, [04.08.20 00:17]
no, the consensus has not been achieved yet. 5 from 7 consensus nodes need to verify the minting, this did not happen yet, team will look into it today and should be ok today.
Erwin, [04.08.20 00:56]
Does the mechanism involve human consensus? Because that introduces a completely decentralized model in the farming protocol.
Imagine Satoshi Nakamoto, Roger Ver and Andreas Antonopoulos having to OK every Bitcoin block that is mined before it is paid out
Kristof De Spiegeleer, [04.08.20 01:01]
The model used is the model as recommended by some Governments in relation to crypto projects. Go to our wiki and read about decentralization steps there, Thank you.
Scott Yeager, [05.08.20 02:35]
[In reply to Erwin]
Minting is substantially more complicated than issuing mining rewards, and also happens much less often. Smart contracts are easier said than done, and by design are difficult to change. Having human consensus, especially in the beginning, makes a lot of sense. BTC had to be bootstrapped without an existing community to implement staking or create a non profit, so it’s model makes sense for the environment it was launched into. These days, much mining is done via pools anyway, where rewards are split up via a centralized mechanism (attempts to do this by smart contract haven’t been implemented yet, as far as I can see), and I hope there is some human oversight there
Erwin, [05.08.20 02:55]
Scott, I am not talking about centralized/decentralized, but manual vs automatic through code, without human intervention.
How can you sell this to a potential farmer? After each month, it is the council of the wise that decides if the farming is ok… Really?
Kristof De Spiegeleer, [05.08.20 03:01]
Erwin this is not how it works.
Kristof De Spiegeleer, [05.08.20 03:07]
Dear Erwin, please put your question on the forum so it can get answered to the benefit of everyone, if its not clear for you its probably also not clear for others.
Kristof De Spiegeleer, [05.08.20 03:12]
But please everyone, questions need to be objective questions, not a way to try and manipulate a community, this is not in line with the code of conduct of our community which we will enforce. The foundation and its community of developers and contributors did everything possible to create the most decentralized possible system without making it unreliable. A human element will always have to be involved and by the way even a requirement from certain countries before you can have a regulated digital currency.
Erwin, [05.08.20 03:30]
OK, than let me rephrase in simple, unbiased and clear terms: Why is the payment of the July farming tokens not yet done?
Kristof De Spiegeleer, [05.08.20 05:57]
like mentioned above, we introduced the next phase of our decentralization, see our wiki, it should be done today. Its in everyone’s interest that this happens with a lot of care and in line with future requirements. All of this has been mentioned in our updates & wiki, see https://wiki.threefold.io/#/decentralization_status
In summary, the questions raised are and my attempts to answer are below. Please add further questions or details to complete these answers. This wiki page is relevant to review.
Why doesn’t minting happen immediately at the end of each month?
The consensus process has a human element and takes time.
What is the consensus process for minting and why does it benefit from human consensus rather than being fully automated?
“Consensus nodes” calculate farming rewards and compare their results. Five of seven nodes must agree to complete minting, along with a check by a human council.
This allows human oversight before any transactions are committed to Stellar, where they’d become irreversible. It also means that ThreeFold Tokens can be licensed as utility tokens in some jurisdictions, which could be important for commercial grid adoption.