Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) platforms are becoming the new norm in the cryptocurrency space, steadily pushing out their Proof-of-Work (PoW) predecessors.
The reasons for that are quite evident. First, DPoS appears to be much more sustainable as a model: instead of relying on the loud, energy-consuming process of mining, it utilizes an algorithm that involves validators — network participants — and their “stake”.
This is how it works: validators put down a deposit in the form of cryptocurrency (stake). In return, they get the ability to add blocks to the blockchain and get rewarded for that by collecting transaction fees. As a result, instead of urging hundreds of machines to compete for the fastest block, each PoS computer works on one problem at a time.
Secondly, DPoS models actively engage with the community through incentivization programs, promoting the idea of inclusion and decentralization. Now, imagine a model that takes it a step further and evaluates one’s contribution to the network based on several factors, instead of simply evaluating their stake. It’s called Delegated Proof-of-Contribution (DPoC), and basically, it ensures that everyone gets a slice of the profit.
Enter ICON, a DPoC blockchain network designed to interconnect independent chains and their communities. Put simply, ICON is a blockchain of blockchains. It bides different ledgers of enterprises and organizations from various industries (think healthcare, education, etc.) along with their unique governance systems.
P-Reps: The Pillars of the ICON Network
At the core of ICON is a programme called ICONSENSUS, which aims to establish the consensus between ICX coin holders to achieve full decentralization of the ICON Network. It is a “journey toward mass adoption of blockchain”, as ICON creators put it.
ICONSENSUS is comprised of four milestones. This article will focus on the first one: the election of the so-called “P-Reps”, or Public Representatives.
P-Reps operate as full nodes and form the basis of a sustainable and secure network. They get to produce blocks and verify transactions on the ICON Network, but actually, their role is even larger than that — acting as the main delegates of the decentralized governance system, P-Reps are responsible for controlling, protecting, and enhancing the ICON Network.
Initially, there will be 100 P-Reps, the top-22 of which will be elected as main P-Reps, although that number might be adjusted in the future. Unlike regular delegates, main P-Reps will not only earn representative rewards (based on the number of votes received during the election) but will also benefit from block production and verification.
Why Would One Want to Become a P-Rep?
Successful P-Reps candidates will get to enjoy the lucrative side of this incentive program, as well as casual ICX holders. According to ICON community, delegates might have to spend less than $2,500 per month on the server, and another $10,000 in HR costs to hire around 3 part-time members who would do the maintenance.
Once annual representative awards are collected by P-Reps, their production costs could be more than compensated: according to one of the ICON papers, that source of income could bring as much as 720,000 ICX per year (around $262,500 as of June), although the exact amount is not certain until representatives are elected and all variables are decided upon.
Further, regardless of the profit, P-Reps are provided with opportunities to become influencers and leaders in the ICON community, which boasts more than 300,000 members. That, in turn, puts P-Reps ahead in the wider blockchain space: they act as supporters of a strong project that is affiliated with the government of South Korea, among other stakeholders, discovering new business opportunities along the way.
Additionally, unlike TRON and EOS, which employ somewhat similar models, the ICON network suggests benefits for both sides: P-Reps choose their own perks which then are reviewed by ICX holders during the election stage, while the voters are also rewarded: first, they are given I-Score tokens as a reward for delegating their stake, receiving 1000 I-Score for each ICX token they delegate. Then, P-Reps will be giving out rewards to ICONists who choose to delegate stakes to them.
Nevertheless, with power comes responsibility: an eminent P-Rep should understand the niceties of the ICON ecosystem, and regularly contribute to the network.
How Does One Become Elected?
The process is notably democratic — there are no minimum requirements to register as a P-Rep. All you’ll need is a server (ICON Foundation has posted some minimum and recommended specs).
The election process has already been kicked off with the pre-registration phase, which began in February and will continue until September 2019.
To preregister, P-Reps are asked to write about themselves, specify their server’s technical specifications, and describe their proposal to strengthen the ICON network.
Though the process is optional, pre-registered candidates are eligible to receive technical and marketing assistance from the ICON Foundation and ICON community prior to the main election leg. As of press time, 33 P-Reps candidates from 17 countries have been preregistered.
In September, the actual registration and the election will be launched on the ICON blockchain. ICX holders will then vote for candidates by delegating their stake. The first 22 candidates to have delegated to them at least 0.2% of the total ICX supply will be elected as P-Reps.
Once the 22nd P-Rep has been selected, the election will be over, and the delegates will hold the Genesis P-Rep Summit, marking the official birth of this decentralization network.
In sum, the election of P-Reps will push ICONSENSUS further along the road to its primary goal — full decentralization, an achievement the crypto space has been longing for. Other milestones will include voting on ‘Community Representatives’ (C-Rep), who will streamline communication between ICON and other blockchain networks, ‘Ecosystem Expansion Projects’ (EEP), proposed for overall network growth, and ‘DApp Booster Programs’ (DBP), which will facilitate the development of decentralized applications on the ICON network.
Given the community’s excitement, supported by the continuously expanding pool of candidates from all over the world, it seems that ICON should be on the right path.
About the Author: Osher Deri is a blockchain geek and crypto advisor. Osher holds an MBA in innovation and technology, speaks finance as a second language and believes smart contracts have the potential to disrupt the world as we know it.