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Verbaltech2 - BitShares Witness Quarterly Update

lets-share-waylzPosted for Everyone to comment on, 3 years ago6 min read


Welcome to my quarterly witness report.

In this report I'll cover:

  • infrastructure / technical topics
  • assessment of trends / activities / BitShares politics
  • crypto market prices
  • status of all nodes

Infrastructure & Technical

All nodes were updated recently to address a vulnerability that could potentially halt the chain. This patch was announced by @abitmore and was applied to all verbaltech2 nodes the same day. Prior to that in this past quarter the new 3.0.0 release was deployed into production as was mentioned in the last update.

I have observed a significant increase in the amount of network activity as reflected in the number of connections reported by each server. This causes an increase of logs, requiring either changing logging rotation parameters or more space. I have added additional drive space to accommodate this increased traffic.

The testnet has also received 2 updates in this past quarter.

It is anticipated all nodes will soon require another update, this time to version 3.1.x.

Assessment of Trends / Activities / BitShares Politics

This last quarter has also seen the launch of BEOS. With the migration of BTS onto that platform to obtain the BEOS rainfall, a substantial amount of voting power has gone with it. This represents a concentration of voting power in fewer hands. Whether you agree with what those hands are doing is separate from the issue of centralization, however as in most everything in life balance is important.

Anyone that understands the premise of PoS and DPoS concensus knows that the power of influence is ultimately determined by how many BTS an entity has, either directly or via a proxy. Control or influence over the direction the platform evolves is not as decentralized as the number of accounts. If that were the case AND those accounts participated in voting there would be far less centralization. Voter apathy and non-participation pushed the developers to implement proxy voting to mitigate that, so the platform could evolve and move forward, but at the expense of centralization.

Until BEOS, the strongest influence has been with proxies from the eastern cultures. Now it has swung back to those in the west who were instrumental in setting the vision and operating principles of BitShares, based on free markets and Austrian economics. I see this as a balancing action. I don't necessarily see it as more centralized, but simply a shift in the balance of power.

Price Feeds

I commented in the last report that the MCR bug fix has finally been released, thus it is now possible to implement algorithms to dynamically change the MCR. When BSIP42 was put into production the implementors chose to manipulate the feed price rather than wait for the MCR fix. BSIP42 was a disaster as a result, and split the community due to it's effects, and caused a black swan on BitUSD.

Despite the availability of the MCR fix, I have seen no effort to refine the BSIP42 algorithm to eliminate the price manipulation and replace it with dynamically changing MCR as a control mechanism to tighten BitAsset pegs. Why not? If you are aware of any please let me know in the comments.

Instead we see complaints against individual witnesses, that claim their feed is causing a significant (negative) influence on the price of CNY. That is simply not the case. The "official" price recognized published for a BitAsset in BitShares is the median price published from all active witnesses. Using the median price guarantees no fringe or outlier price affects the median price. Verbaltech2 monitors his feed prices with RoelandP's witness log, which is a wonderful contribution that provides quality feedback about witnesses, including price feeds. It is the most objective tool available to evaluate witnesses.

I looked into exactly how the "median" calculation is made, and it is far simpler than I previously thought. Since the number of witnesses is always odd, it's easy to calculate (Note: not all witnesses publish feeds for all BitAssets, so the 2 middle values are averaged to define the median when the number of prices are an even number).

The median or "middle" is based on ordering all the values from low to high. The median value is the one with an equal number of values less that it and greater than it. In other words, in the middle of all values literally. Changing the magnitude of the sample at each end of the scale has zero effect on the median value, none, zilch.

There are many factors that affect a witness' feed price. Among them are which sources does the witness use, how often are they sampled, and the volatility of the market. All sources of prices are not available to all witnesses. Diversity is important in arriving at price that truly represents the market for that asset world-wide.

It appears to me that a lynch mob mentality pervades the assessment of witness price feeds, and ignores the careful design intentions built into the platform. This mentality doesn't serve the diverse needs of a world market but rather coerces conformity based on biases and agendas that don't acknowledge free trade and the difficulty imposed on witnesses to produce a feed with the sources he has access to.

I for one am glad for the BEOS voting influence (now that they have stabilized their voting) that recognizes these considerations and counter-acts this witch hunt mentality that targets witnesses based on only one narrow definition (I haven't even mentioned other very important criteria a witness should be measured by) of performance, that being price feeds.

That's all for now, but wow! This quarter has seen the end of the current bear market. Whew who! Up up and away! Here is the market summary since last update (all prices via CMC): BTC=$8,584.53, BTS=$0.067, STEEM=$0.399, EOS=$7.26, PPY=$0.904. I'll list WLS when CMC does.



Gemany, node 1seed06-6-3-19.png


Germany node 2




And the testnet server for BTS:


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