This week the Community Node group took on the role of canary in the coal mine. After a 6 month endeavor, and in the middle of a voter resurgence, we bowed out of the Tron Super Representative campaign. Reluctantly, I must admit that Dean at FreeSpace was right — offering DPoS rewards in the form of TRX is a race to the bottom. It became apparent to me that the amount of rewards needed to be paid out in order to keep enough votes was untenable. Currently 8 of the top tier SR’s are offering 100% rewards (or more).

None of the community driven SRs can be competitive without giving away all their earnings. When you add on the expense of running a witness node plus a backup node, it’s becoming a losing proposition.

Since the launch of the main net, the Community Node group led a Tron help desk. We thought voters would see the value in our efforts. But without the higher rewards that we promised, we only had about 4 million loyal votes. The CryptoGirls SR group also does a lot to build the Tron development community. They recently lost their spot and then fought to regain it when a new SR came on with a handful of large voters and in under 24 hours become elected to #6 before the node could even finish syncing.

At this point, I must ask myself and everyone else wishing to be a Tron Super Representative, Why? What for? What is your purpose in becoming a Tron SR? What does SR allow you to do that you could not do before?

I do believe, as I have seen it first hand, that several of our current SR’s have a passion to direct the governance of the blockchain, and are able to draw from their firsthand experience as developers to make these judgements. But aside from that, what benefit does becoming an SR serve an organization? Is there so much prestige and free exposure that the effort has significant returns?

I must admit to a mea culpa since I was leading the charge in issuing voter rewards, based on the idea that the rewards would incentivize the TRX holders to exercise their right to vote for SR.

With all of the votes that Justin has at his disposal, his affiliated nodes will stay in the top 27. Coupled with the increased competition for the coveted 27 SR spots, Tron’s future is written. The community driven Super Representative group is an endangered species. And the odds will not get any better in the future when the small fry to whale ratio widens.

But there could be a silver lining: The end of vote-based rewards. Not by legislative fiat, but as an evolution to where whales can walk on and buy an SR spot with less voters who cast more votes. The rewards will still be sent out, but not for the public. At least things will scale back down from 100% rewards.

I was quite wrong in my business strategy. Not only did nearly all the voters fail to see the value of my efforts, but in some cases they were ambivalent toward them. The aforementioned new SR sought out help from the tronix community and even though I had just recently sworn off my role volunteering to be the resident answer-man, I offered my help. For the first time in 6 months someone actually tipped me for my assistance. For that I’ve received some flak. Unless they were among the 4 million votes who stuck with Community Node through thick and thin, anyone who thinks I’m a “sell out” for helping the new SR has no moral high ground from which to cast their aspersions.

What have we become if we fail to do our best to restore the functionality of the blockchain network? It’s in all our best interests to do so. Creating ill will while trying to prevent an eventuality is precisely the type of poison that my critics purport to be battling.

I think it’s time the TRX voters took an honest look in the mirror as to how much of a “community” they think they are helping to create. Perhaps a blockchain governed by a community led consortium was never meant to be, and there is only a seat at the table for 2 or 3 at most. If Tron is eager to take on development assistance and support on a granular level then bravo to them. Otherwise I see a fracture between what they want to achieve and that which is happening.