Gaian Exceptionalism

Hi, I have done a great deal of work recently to support the growth and development of the cosmos hub. This work spans the realms of both software development and political advocacy. I have a few points that I would like to address before I largely leave Gaia to the icf.

Yesterday I was told by Rick Dudley, someone I respect, that I was isolating myself from a community. The trouble is, that there are some types of communities, which repeat the negative patterns seen in the majority of human commerce globally, that I don’t desire to be affiliated with. Over the past 7 months, I have been questioning both publicly and privately, at the request of the ICF, the delegations that are made by the ICF. I believe that these delegations by the icf break the competitive marketplace for validation on the cosmos hub, with the best example being the validator that I like to call the random string, here is a link for your perusal:

Interchain Explorer by Cosmostation

From even a cursory examination of that validators voting record, we can clearly see that they do not participate in governance, they charge four times the market rate commission, and they have a very large delegation from the ICF.

They do not:

  • Participate in gov or on this forum
  • Participate in the community in any way that’s known to me
  • Have a good uptime record
  • Write software
  • Suffer personal attacks from the ICF like these:

That is to say that there can be little doubt that the absolute most valuable thing that a validator can do on the cosmos hub per the ICF is remain silent. All of the things that notional does on every other network in Cosmos with great results Don’t factor in on the cosmos hub. Please keep in mind that this is not about delegations but instead about the reality that bringing these issues up has resulted in asymmetric attacks against myself and my character.

The interchain foundation is vastly vastly better funded than notional. When the ICF or informal systems speaks, it carries additional gravitas and weight, and concurrent to the threats I have suffered concerning my participation in proposal 69 The conversation on these matters is constantly shifted toward being about my personal character and I deeply resent that. As a validator who believes in keeping things valid, I feel that it is my job to handle matters like the ICF delegations to the random string, and to apply political pressure. However, it gets worse. These matters have recently begun to a fact software development on the hub. For example here’s the same pull request three times, closed twice for reasons that are completely false:

fumpt by faddat · Pull Request #1581 · cosmos/gaia · GitHub

As an engineer and a validator, I have come up with a number of techniques that use third party tools to standardize the formatting of software repositories. This allows me to achieve better velocity. The two tools that I favor most are go FUMPT and golangci-lint and I like to use the linters in a very strict manner. I believe that code readability leads to overall security and maintainability and that maintainability and readability are security. The cosmos hub currently has a lot of talk around security but the team maintaining it has shown very little interest in code patches funded by notional labs delegators that can improve the security of the hub.

Here is another similar pull request:

Fix error handling and fix linting by faddat · Pull Request #1507 · cosmos/gaia · GitHub

All of this work has been funded by our delegators and if you like this work, please do delegate to us.

Various ICF members have publicly spoken concern that I might somehow harm the hub. I am the 63rd ranked validator on the hub, lower than even the random string validator. If I am able to meaningfully harm the cosmos hub, then that is a problem for the hub and those running it, not me. Even the number one ranked validator should not be able to meaningfully harm the hub.

Due to the incontrovertible nature of the issues surrounding software maintenance, Mr Dudley of Dudley POS fame, suggested to me that I begin to maintain a fork.

The trouble with that notion is that it places me in an even more contentious place. Forks are politically radioactive and I believe that there would eventually be a primacy battle because for a great many reasons, making the software compatible is very challenging.

The only way that I could begin to maintain a fork is through a governance proposal to do so because I don’t believe that the software stack is ready for concurrent compatible implementations that are byte for byte the same and can achieve deterministic outcomes.

for consumer chains

I’d like to repeat that I think that because of the political environment surrounding the hub, the hub may be the worst place in Cosmos to deploy a consumer chain. Consumer chain teams could expect much more robust support on other networks. They would be far more able to express their point of view and if that point of view differed from that of the founders they could expect at the very least a great conversation.

for validators

Validators are in a very hard position on the cosmos hub. They are forced to compete with legacy delegations to validators who for all intents and purposes do not do their jobs. The ICF is willing to defend these legacy delegations up to an including slandering you for criticizing them.

There is some information about them but please know that it may be incomplete, and that I’m happy to have other validators contribute to that document.

You should also know that producing documents like this one:

Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

Is appreciated on other chains but not on the cosmos hub. It’s most likely that the optimal strategy for a validator on the Cosmos hub, is either to garner delegations from extremely large whales, and then because you have those delegations, you can pursue your own political agenda free of interference, but you should note that The exceptional Gaia team uses tactics that I find wholly inappropriate and also not in line with volume maximization for the network.

If you are unable to do that then it’s probably the optimal strategy to be much much much more passive than I have been.

for stakeholders

I believe that given the difficulty is that I have had contributing to Gaia, that it is most likely not possible for ignite /AIB to contribute to Gaia either. I don’t know the details. I am certain that ignite/ AIB has not always been perfect, just like the ICF. I certainly do not have the same level of detail.

So it’s fair to say that the hub is in a pretty tough spot right now. It’s my belief that most stakeholders are looking for value maximizing strategies. During the conversation on proposal 72, I must admit that it transformed into a discussion on liquid staking. Interestingly, I began to adopt a position quite in line with the ICF and ended up abstaining from the governance vote around it mainly because I would like to see governance spend delivered to the ultimate recipient instead of a multi-sig.

I contacted neutron about this in another cosmos hub forum thread. And I let them know that in terms of signal, I’m strongly in support of their work. I’m not really too worried about competitive concerns and certainly the imperative of decentralized liquid staking to me is greater than The risk that the hub will compete with other chains like Juno. There is a real risk there and the wolf isn’t precisely wrong to mention that.

I believe that holders of the atom should press for clear expectations from the ICF and from AIB/ignite. Currently I think it’s a little difficult to know what it is they plan to do for and with the ecosystem.

I also believe that the hub should have an ethereum bridge. Recent conversations concerning The state of bridging have led me to believe that first of all the gravity bridge does not have sufficient liquidity or capital to become a major bridge and that secondly there remain some risks around axillar. In fact, I believe that bridging is most likely a better strategy for the growth of the hub over time than shared security.

A bridge would most likely be a very serious number go up play. Of course, bridging would require high quality validation just like a consumer chain and at present, I can say that the majority of the validators on the cosmos hub are great but that there are numerous legacy validators who compete with great new validators and essentially compete with incumbency alone.


I’ll do my best here. Just like I have been doing. Basically I wanted to share the somewhat unique set of what are in my opinion extremely perverse incentives that surround the cosmos hub.