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WTF is a witness and why you should give a damm!

moonunit5 months ago5 min read


What is a witness?

No not that...

A witness on Whaleshares is a computer in its simplistic form, the witness nodes to give them their proper title witness or reviews a transaction on the Whaleshares blockchain. So what has a transaction got to do with you. The word transaction might be the issue here, typically when we think transaction we think money for services as a transaction or sending money to another bank account as a transaction or purchasing something in a shop as a transaction etc. Here in the Blockchain ecosystem a transaction is everything you do on Whaleshares. Every post you view is called from the blockchain to the site you are viewing it on this is a transaction in this ecosystem. Every post you share or comment on, these are all transactions. Without witnesses there would be no way to retrieve the data and display it.

What has that got to do with me?

Well, everything really. Without witnesses there is no transportation system for us to use, no way to report information to the blockchain or retrieve it, no way to get post rewards etc. So now you know what a witness does and why it is important that they exist. But did you know that it costs a lot of money to maintain a witness node? At the risk of getting too technical to run a witness node, a proper witness node you need to factor in backups, load balancing, failover, redundancy, minimum spec, bandwidth etc. None of these come cheap, you also have to host the server somewhere that will not fail either, you might have to host 2 servers (redundancy) to ensure that we, the users have a steady and reliable network to post, read, upvote, share and comment on. This is an ongoing cost.

Mo Money, Mo Problems...

Surely the witnesses get paid for all this work, no? Firstly don't call me Surely (badum tish) If you get the gag hit me up with a gif in the comments. Yes, witnesses do get paid for the transactions they verify. But this payment amount and the amount of transactions they witness varies by their position on the Witness board If you are a lower rank, you get paid less and get less blocks to witness. So there in lies an issue. If we are a decentralized network we need to incentivise this decentralization not impede it. Witnesses in the top 20 get a higher rate of blocks and backup witnesses get a x5 times rate of pay to help to balance things out. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that the witnesses that do the majority of the work should get paid and paid well.

So what can be done?

The easiest thing that can be done by users is to vote for a witness or multiple witnesses. As Whaleshares is so young as a blockchain there are not that many witnesses. At last count we had just 49! You have 30 votes as a user of the platform. You can vote for your witnesses on the witness board. You can select the witnesses from the list. If you want to select a specific witness Cough, Cough, you can type their name in the box at the bottom of the witness list. Witnesses count on your votes so if you could spare a vote for me I would really appreciate it. You can vote for my witness here https://whaleshares.io/~witnesses I am in the list but you can also go to the bottom of the page and type in moonunit and click "share"

So what will I do as a witness?

As a witness I will give free candy to all the children of the world. I will take that arkward call from "THAT" customer whos order you forgot to send out last week. I will call to each and everyone of your homes and clean your gutters. Oh, I will also kiss random babies in the effort to secure votes.

Ok so all the above is not true, however what I will do is to maintain my witness node to the best of my ability. As I move up the witness board and I am processing more and more transactions I will move my witness node to a geo replicated server with load balancing and backups. Now in non tech speak that means that I will ensure that, to the best of my ability, keep this witness node up and running 24 /7/ 365. So you the good people of whaleshares will be able to post and claim the rewards for your hard work. How does that sound to you?

One last thing, during the setup of my witness node I had a little help (well little isnt the right word) from @ijmmaiwitness or in his user form @ijmmai. Jamie was a monster and I really could not have done it without his help. So to you Jamie, I doff my cap sir. Thank you for all of your assistance. If any of the people reading this post please consider giving Jamie a vote too.

All images unless otherwise sourced and noted as such are my own. Sourced images are clickable to show their source. My own images are typically taken with my HTC ONE.

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