Management Science, Forthcoming.
53 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2018 Last revised: 5 Dec 2019
Date Written: Dec 3, 2019
Blockchain-based platforms often rely on token-weighted voting (“ τ -weighting”) to efficiently crowdsource information from their users for a wide range of applications, including content curation, and on-chain governance. We examine the effectiveness of such decentralized platforms at harnessing the “wisdom” and “effort” of the crowd. We find that τ -weighting generally discourages truthful voting, and erodes the platform’s predictive power unless users are “strategic enough” to unravel the underlying aggregation mechanism. Platform accuracy decreases with the number of truthful users and the dispersion in their token holdings, and in many cases, platforms would be better off with an unweighted “1/n” mechanism. When, prior to voting, strategic users can exert effort to endogenously improve their signals, users with more tokens generally exert more effort — a feature often touted in marketing materials as a core advantage of τ-weighting — however, this feature is not attributable to the mechanism itself, and more importantly, the ensuing equilibrium fails to achieve the first-best accuracy of a centralized platform. The optimality gap decreases as the distribution of tokens across users approaches a theoretical optimum, that we derive, but, tends to increase with the dispersion in users’ token holdings. Keywords: blockchain, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, information aggregation, on-chain governance, strategic voting, tokenomics, token-curated registries (TCR).
Keywords: blockchain, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, tokenomics, token voting, information aggregation
JEL Classification: L15, D26, D72, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation