On the most recent episode of the "Rhizome Report," team member William McKenzie spoke with Russell Shirey of UBIK Capital about ICON's governance model the P-Rep election, and the future of ICON.
UBIK team members have been involved with the ICON project since early 2017. "We were very attracted to the ICON project with the high-level goals of interconnectivity as well as their model for proof-of-contribution and really allowing everyone who holds ICX to actually be able to vote through staking and have a voice," said Shirey.
"We have become more involved with the ICON project over the last several months, becoming ICON ambassadors to spread the word about ICONSENSUS, which is the election of the P-Rep candidates," continued Shirey. Ultimately, they made the decision to apply as a P-Rep candidate as well. "We really just wanted to become more involved and we saw an opportunity to apply as public representatives and really be a voice for the ICON community."
William and Russell then discussed how their two P-Rep teams - Rhizome and UBIK, respectively - were started in order to fill a perceived gap in the amount of original ICON content that was available. Beyond UBIK's content strategy, however, is the fact that their team also has a background in development.
"We built a DApp called breadcrumb, which focuses on giving users back control of their location data so they can either keep it private, or if they do choose, they can sell that data in the future and be able to actually benefit from it," said Shirey.
Russell also highlighted the strength of UBIK's node operation: "We've run multiple nodes for multiple different servers, so we have one on Amazon Web Services based out of the United States, and then we also have a node through a local provider out of Europe. We think it's important to have multiple options and be able to have resilience in the nodes."
Meanwhile, leading up to the P-Rep voting, UBIK has been focused on interacting with ICONists on all communication channels regarding the importance of not only voting, but voting for quality representatives who will act with the best interest of the network in mind.
Next, the discussion shifted to the idea of P-Reps giving back a portion of their rewards – an idea UBIK supports and is embracing as a candidate.
"It's actually a key proponent of our proposal. I want to be clear: we are strongly against P-Reps giving rewards simply to gain votes with no benefits to ICON. We don't think that's a benefit for the ICON ecosystem long-term and really just incentivizes people to vote for that P-Rep just based on earning more rewards.
"However, we do support giving back rewards to the community through different manners if it benefits ICON. And this can be through grants to the ICON community, or what we've implemented is a system where we provide further rewards for ICONists to stake for long periods of time," concluded Shirey.
Shirey also made sure to point out that the amount of distributed rewards will be 50% of UBIK's overall profit from service as a P-Rep, meaning after various costs, including resources they use for development and other projects.
By requiring ICONists to stake for 6-months, UBIK believes removing these tokens from circulation will have a benefit on price, as supply decreases. UBIK also believes it's important to have long-term security for staked ICX as well, which they believe this reward model incentivizes.
After spending some time discussing the specifics of UBIK's rewards proposal, Russell pointed out the importance of diversity among the P-Rep teams:
"I just think it's important to have a diverse community of P-Rep teams; there's 22 P-Reps, and it's good to have different ideas and we definitely welcome those different ideas. There's a lot of great teams developing a lot of neat tools, software, Dapps, software, videos. I think teams should cater to their strengths, so we can form an overall diverse and strong ICON network," he said.
The two then shifted to discussing possible pitfalls in the project. After pointing out all the ways ICONists have a voice in the governance of ICON – by voting for P-Reps, and eventually DApps and ecosystem expansion projects - he also reminded us that they have responsibility as well.
"If ICONists don't vote for teams that are contributing the most, then the system won't work as it's designed," said Shirey. "ICON thought through this and they implemented some penalties which resulted in the ICX tokens actually getting burned – so 6% of tokens delegated to P-Reps who perform maliciously or underperform in their node operations results in ICX getting burned – so this actually encourages ICONists to distribute their votes across multiple P-Reps to lower the risk, and also to educate themselves on good P-Rep teams so they end up not voting for malicious teams or teams that underperform."
When it comes to paving the way for mass adoption, William and Russell took time to discuss the various development projects and initiatives their respective teams were already working on or planned to work on in order to grow the value of the ICON network.
"I think for cryptocurrency to be widespread and be useful across the world and gain that mainstream adoption we need to have DApps that are widely used in all areas of life," concluded Shirey.