DFINITY is the single greatest individual profiteer of NNS spam

Edit 7/13: @bjoernek and DFINITY have proposed to revert the governance proposal weights to 1 in order to remove the financial incentives for spamming the NNS.

I commend their integrity in proposing this solution even though it is against their financial interests.

You can read the proposal forum post & discussion here Way forward on spam - Proposal for tactical fix.

You can view the NNS proposal at Proposal: 70015 - ICP Dashboard

Original message below

For all the “spam” talk a few months ago, we’ve all become unsettlingly accustomed to NNS spam.

There’s always going to be a “big feature” or “event” going on - from Supernova, to BTC integration, to SNS, HTTP requests, ICQC, Node Decentralization etc…

Until then it seems no one’s in a hurry to combat spam as long as we all get a bit fatter from the rewards.

And why should they be in a hurry - DFINITY is the single greatest individual profiteer of NNS spam rewards.

It’s embarrassing that a single individual is handsomely profiting from an IC spam business - maybe the VCs from Supernova should get involved. @ysyms is making far more from spam than any of the Supernova projects, and I’d bet that DFINITY is making more in ICP spam rewards than any project on the IC right now.

It makes sense that there has been no traction/movement in combating spam. Instead, the only NNS/governance related proposal that has seen traction recently was:

There was even a sub proposal within this thread that would result in giving 8-year stakers an even bigger cut of the rewards (even more incentive for whales to fund spam).

I personally believe that ignoring these types of rewards issues will make it much harder to decentralize the NNS, and will perpetually incentivize long-term ICP holders to look out just for their financial interests. All of these voters are voting specifically on proposals that will incentivize ICP holders to lock up even more tokens (artificially inflating the token price), and proposals that give even more voting/rewards rate to 8-year stakers.

I understand bear markets are challenging, but I thought the long-term staking system was supposed to incentivize long-term thinking - instead, I’ve only seen “how can we inflate the price of ICP and get more ICP rewards”.

Believe it or not, but lower, stable rewards are actually better for decentralization - shorter lockup and staking times give more liquidity, stability, and trust in ICP. The majority of investors, developers, and exchanges do NOT want excessive volatility.

In a lower NNS rewards yield/reward environment, there’s less speculation and people aren’t just staking to chase yields (like with stable coins), they are staking primarily to vote in the future of the project because of its tangible (not speculative) value. The tangible value of ICP is for voting/governance of the IC, and paying for compute (cycles) - NOT rewards farming (price speculation of ICP).

@diegop @bjoernek what’s the current status of DFINITY’s thoughts regarding proposals for tackling spam, and what’s a realistic timeline for an NNS proposal and completed implementation solving the spam issue?


I also don’t understand why this problem of resolving Spam, abuse of this bonus is not noticed? Is it because of the conflict of interest of the holders of the large number of ICPs? they also benefit from voting on the spam proposal so try to prolong the time to benefit together?? It’s sad when a whole collective can’t do anything about a single borer.

I think the spam issue was blown out of proportion, its an issue that must be solved at some point but there were much more important topics that could have benefited from the same level of community engagement.

Personally I see the current spam situation as a feature and not a bug as it gives active stakers a nice APY boost without increasing the yearly inflation and helps increasing Dfinity’s treasury. The only negative aspect is ysms asking absurd amount of money to run the campaigns.


The title you picked for this post doesn’t accurately reflect the content. It looks like you are trying to post a sensational news paper article in order to sell more papers. Why attack the very organization that is needed to help implement a solution?

There has already been a proposal 55651 that passed that will completely solve this spam proposal issue. I know you don’t favor that proposal, but you could try challenging why that proposal hasn’t been implemented yet. It has features that go beyond spam prevention that are highly beneficial and important to long term governance, so it’s a feature that is needed even if the driver isn’t spam prevention. All other spam prevention proposals that have surfaced in prior discussions are harder and more time consuming to implement. Plus nobody ever took those discussions to the actual proposal stage, which means there is nothing to further consider. (edit: @skilesare did submit a temporary proposal that was rejected)

Another way you can contribute to the solution you are seeking is to use the original tool that is already built into the governance system…make a proposal to increase the proposal reject fee. Even if you don’t agree with that idea, it is an effective tool. I know the community got all up in arms about the last increase because of the generalized perception that it censors that small guy who has the brilliant idea. However, that guy will find a way because of their brilliance and a likely result is crowdfunding the proposal reject fee. The higher the proposal reject fee, the more the incentive for a brilliant guy to sponsor a governance proposal because they get to keep the fee if it passes and it’s not their ICP if it doesn’t pass. It also produces tangible community support for the proposal before it is made instead of just being influenced by the vocal minority on social media and forum posts.

Why not embrace the tools that are already available? Why not embrace the proposal that has already passed that will solve this problem?

This forum post feels like you want to make noise more than you want to solve the problem because you don’t recognize these solutions and you didn’t follow up on your prior attempts on a solution. There will never be a solution that everyone in the community will like. A proposer needs to do their best at leading deliberation on a proposal and eventually make decisions that they believe accurately reflect the community input while still remaining true to their original proposal goal, but eventually it’s all meaningless unless they go all in by putting the proposal to a vote. If you want action, then take action. Try to deliver something to the community and DFINITY that has verified governance support.


@wpb your response came off as partly an attack against me mixed with a rebuttal to my initial argument, so I’ve broken this response into two parts.

  1. A bit of background on the spam topic, and my personal contributions thus far on this specific topic, and to the developer forums regarding other areas of the IC
  2. Addressing your concerns with my post

First off, a bit of background

I, and many others such as yourself, @skilesare, @lastmjs, etc. have spent countless hours coming up with proposals to combat spam in the forums, as well as addressing long threads of concerns/feedback. In fact, I started the very first discussion in this forum related to spam prevention the first week spam started in early April. I later created two complementary proposals to combat the spam issue

  1. Proposal to fix governance proposal rewards at 75% on a daily basis
  2. [Proposal] Introduce an incubation period and minimum support threshold for governance proposals)

My work on these proposals was incorporated and referenced in several other notable proposals brought forth by the developer community, which were picked up and evaluated by @bjoernek from DFINITY

  1. Proposal to restrict rewards qualification to a threshold by @skilesare
  2. Proposal to covert from system based reward to voter based reward; to implement an accept quorum mechanism; and to return the reject cost to 1 ICP by @skilesare
  3. Multi-stage Governance Proposals, Starting w/ Stage 0 and Stage 1 by @lastmjs

These proposals have stalled since early-mid May (the Supernova effect?)

As you mentioned, proposal 55651 was passed back in April. It was put on the “roadmap”, but is not at all difficult feature to design and implement from an engineering perspective. In fact, I would conservatively estimate that this would take something like 2 weeks of backend and 1 week of frontend engineering work tops to implement. It’s actually possible the reason this proposal hasn’t been implemented yet is because DFINITY is not in favor of it, or is waiting for another solution that they would prefer.

You know this is not accurate. @skilesare crowdfunded and put forth an easy-to-implement quick-fix Proposal to temporarily reduce governance proposal weight to 1, which was rejected. Had this proposal passed, it would have been much harder (20X harder) for whales to benefit financially from spam proposals through @ysyms.

Increase Proposal Rejection Cost did not achieve it’s goal of reducing spam, as agreed by notable members of the community such as @LightningLad91


The 10 ICP proposal reject cost has not stopped spam, it’s acted as a blunt censor on new proposals that aren’t financially funded (by crowdfunding or whales) being brought forth by the community to the NNS.

To address your concerns

I feel the title is actually very accurate. DFINITY is profiting from the NNS spam rewards more than any other staked entity. Although DFINITY has said they won’t work on the spam issue until after the SNS, the SNS release will most likely go through several stages of release and tuning (not just one and done) and I’d estimate it won’t be fully complete until 2023 at the earliest.

I therefore see no reason why proposals to eliminate spam won’t be kicked down the road(map) as long as possible, especially if the financial incentives to delay implementation are aligned with those that have the most voting power.

I’m glad some of us can see the current situation for what it is, and just have different opinions on whether this is positive or negative for the community.

Why am I “sensationalizing” this?

I’m escalating my tone with respect to this specific issue of spam on the forums, because it now seems that the entire community has accepted spam as the new normal, and that no action or even discussion has taken place in the last month with respect to NNS spam (by the community or DFINITY), while the amount of spam has escalated in the meantime.

I don’t vote actively anymore - not because I don’t care about the IC and NNS, but because my NNS app is slow and my inbox is 95%+ spam. I’d estimate that I’m not the only one who’s voting habits have changed over the past few months.

In the following statement denoted by (->), I’m extrapolating a bit based on my personal experience here (I don’t have data to back this up)…

-> To think all of these changes going back to last year were to incentivize active participation, and now we could potentially be back at a more passive governance state with voters checked out and delegating to their follow neuron all because of a spam issue that either no one wants to or has the time to tackle. A passive NNS, with 4 voting named neurons and everyone default following them.

Prioritization comes from visibility and sometimes shining a light on a glaring issue is the best way to drive action and improve it. Management drives priorities, which can be easily changed - for example, DFINITY is currently prioritizing and investing a significant amount of financial resources into two lawsuits

  1. https://cointelegraph.com/news/dfinity-foundation-files-lawsuit-against-meta-over-infinity-logo (this is PR)
  2. Defamation lawsuit against NYT and Arkham Intel - (100% agree with this lawsuit)

The resources for the logo lawsuit could have easily instead been spent on an engineer or two (at least) to design and implement proposal 55651, or a different a solution for NNS spam.

Outside of NNS spam, I’ve dug into other issues and brought visibility to them such as

in order to get more information and drive action where necessary. We all benefit when the IC receives criticism, and as both a developer and investor, I care deeply about these issues as they will have long-term effects on the IC (even if I am benefiting handsomely from the current rewards structure).

Outside of good faith, how the work for the NNS proposals that have passed will eventually be implemented and shipped to the IC is a great question for another forum topic thread (Is it DFINITY’s responsibility? Should the community given a pair of keys to the castle?).

Remember this proposal that passed the NNS? → Motion Request for Neuron Indexing


FWIW - I’m glad you are escalating this; I agree with many of your points. I wish you luck trying to break through to someone.


I used a stronger tone because I highly respect you as a contributor to these governance topics and I want to motivate you (and others) to turn your ideas into something that is actionable for the governing body to decide. All ideas are debatable as you have referenced extensively, but none of them will ever bear fruit unless they are presented to the NNS for voting. Please give DFINITY something concrete to put on the roadmap so everyone (DFINITY and the community) can stay focused on ideas the governing body approves and we can move on or iterate ideas when the governing body rejects.

I edited my post to give @skilesare credit for the temporary proposal that he did submit. Thanks for calling me out on that detail.

Of course a proposal reject fee of 10 ICP will not be effective. That’s an insufficient fee by far.

I agree DFINITY is profiting from the spam proposals…just like everyone else who is voting. That was one point out of many that you made in your post and it wasn’t even the main point, yet you chose to lead with that in the title. I would argue that a more accurate title would be something like “Why has deliberation stalled on ideas to resolve the spam proposal issue?” since that is a more accurate reflection of the content of your post.

I very much agree with your point that governance voting has become too routine and I would like to see the spam issue resolved sooner than later by implementing the proposals that have passed.

We are all 100% against spam. This is not the question. But, to me, those spams also are a solution to something I consider a problem, or something not fair let’s say. And it is about Active and Non-Active voters. These spams are taking rewards from non active accounts and reward the active accounts. Talking about those who are here on the forum, read and/or participate. At least active enough to configure their neurons to follow a voting neuron.
Some non active neurons are from people who don’t care obviously, not even care enough to understand and configure their neurons correctly. And even worst, rewards given forever to a dead owner account or a lost accounts. Of course I am in high favor of the proposal 55651 to confirm your neurons following. This is the minimum we can do and should be highly prioritize TMO.
Then, I would not see reasons for anyone to create spams.
Maybe not a popular opinion, but for me, now, those spams are more a temporary solution then a problem until proposal 55651 is implemented.
Edit: This is in line with the logic of many owners that ICP locked in NNS are governance token, and NNS is not a passive staking system.



Front-end neurons looking real good right now…

Funny that this problem still exists after 6 months after its inception

Not sure if this will be useful, but until the already approved fix (proposal 55651) is implemented, I’d suggest to

For example, anyone who would want to submit a governance proposal could prepare an MD file with it and upload it to some agreed location, @ysyms could then submit it instead of the M.DD-test ones (if is fine with that).

Plus, as people might get pretty creative, it might also speed up implementation of the


Wait! Do you get paid for making proposals?

There is an extremely simple way to decentralize ICP:

Let every member of DFINITY and ICA be elected periodically by the NNS.

I really wonder why that does not happen. Could anyone explain this to me?

It seems to be the final form of decentralization of any public blockchain with POS.

That’s like HBAR type of governance. I don’t think this is a great idea. The current set is fine. We just need more named neurons, a lot more of them.


Here we go again, all those who didn’t oppose the spam just to collect the rewards are here for selfish needs.

The only proposal that came out to combat spam was a 6 month timer to re-follow those who are not active and then collect their rewards for themselves.

These are the same old’s who are very protective of the spam for the rewards spam by @ysyms.

While those in our Governance community claim as they are active they deserve the rewards of the followers don’t do anything but the above and contribute nothing to create and this is evident by having only team proposals on the NNS and you may just as well just follow.

While I a follower did put up proposal ideas on Governance none of these opposers were active and gave a stuff.

So far as a newbie I have witnessed the selfish come out in force and got nothing good to contribute so don’t be surprised at the annoyance.

Welcome to the active bystanders.

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Hi all, a suggestion for a tactical fix on spam and reasoning why this is proposed now, it described here.


What do you think is preventing people from getting together to form more named neurons?

If I am reading this post correctly, I think one of your points is that you often don’t get responses to your posts. I can’t speak for others, but I will share with you the reasons why you often don’t get a response from me.

  1. I find it very difficult to understand what you are saying in many of your posts.
  2. A large fraction of your posts seem to have a condescending tone and you are almost always upset about something.
  3. A lot of your claims when you appear to be criticizing others seem to be based on assumptions that you present as facts.

I would love to have intellectually honest conversations with you about a variety of these topics, but generally speaking I believe it would be unproductive since you have such an aggressive and critical tone and I don’t always understand your points. My sense is that if I try to engage with you it will not be a civilized conversation.

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Do you think an NNS proposal would be capable of a whiteboard coding test? Do you think anyone would voluntarily work somewhere where they get fired in a year if they fail a popularity contest?

dfinity just needs to vote on spam proposals every other day to bring average returns back to normal

If dfinity (or anyone else) wants this, please do

Alternative: Use only about 50% of voting power to vote on spam proposals