Serious lack of transparency and engagement of Algorand foundation

So for the past year or so I’ve been trying to get an answer to some simple questions:

  1. What will be the long term incentives for relay nodes?
  2. There is only a limited amount of relay nodes at the moment maintained by VC’s and some Universities. The Algorand foundation maintains this list, basically making Algorand a permissioned, centralized blockchain. I have read Silivo Micali’s proposal on decentralizing the governance of the Foundation, but nothing about decentralizing the node structure. This means Algorand will at best be a permissioned consortium blockchain like Hashgraph. What is your plan to actually decentralize the technology?
  3. What will be the incentive for staking when the rewards pool runs out in 2030?
  4. What happens with the money that ends up in the fee sink? Who controls it?
  5. How will you keep transaction fees low and stable in the long term?
  6. Why is there only one full stack developer mentioned on the website?

I have sent emails to the foundation, did not receive a reply. I have asked on Twitter, did not receive a reply. I have asked on the developers forum before, on Reddit, but only received replies from community members who did not really have a clue either.

WHY IS NO ONE FROM THE ALGORAND FOUNDATION ABLE TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?

Algorand claims to have solved the trilemma, but there are still way too many open ends to make that claim. To me it seems they’re just throwing money at dozens of start-ups hoping they will build on the platform, but if you want to create an organic (developer) community and ecosystem around Algorand, you should first start being transparent about your tech and have foundation members that actually engage with the community and answer questions like these.

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Hi @petew , thanks for your questions. I just wanted to reply to confirm that we have seen your post and I am going to work with the Foundation team to pull together the answers to your questions. Your questions cover quite a number of topics, so I would expect that it will be next week when we have a complete response to all your questions (rather than answering in a piecemeal way). We are constantly working to improve the breadth and timeliness of the information in our main FAQ page ( https://algorand.foundation/faq ), which may be able to answer other questions in the future.

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Hi @stephenfoundation, thank you for your reply! Happy to see someone from the foundation answering. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your response.

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I’ll be very interested to see the official response to these questions, as well.

I tried to send an email for Silvio Micali about Algorand consensus algorithm and I got this:

Please be informed that I will not be at MIT through 2021 and that I will not read this message.

All the Best, Silvio Micali

This needs to be answered. Also, is there a list of the exact node structure ? (I.E. relay nodes operators that earn rewards, who are they ?)

Hi @stephenfoundation, was wondering if you already know more?

Hi @petew, should have these back to you today. Have tried to prepare some detailed answers for you so hopefully will be helpful - just getting some facts checked.

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Can’t wait to hear this, thanks.

Hi @petew.

Answers to your questions below.

Question: What will be the long term incentives for relay nodes?

Answer: The group sometimes referred to as the Relay Node Runners group, came into existence at mainnet launch and should correctly be referred to as Early Backers and Node Runners. This group consists of early investors, commercial entities and non-profits (Universities) who made commitments to support the project and to also run relay nodes to provide the decentralized infrastructure of the blockchain in the early life of the protocol. This group is committed to support the required Relay Node infrastructure of the Algorand blockchain up to 2024. At this point, some of the current participants may decide to discontinue running Relay Nodes. For now, the Foundation has not yet agreed a long term incentive plan to encourage new Relay Node runners to participate, if required, in 2024. The Foundation will engage with the Algorand community, nearer to that date, to evaluate what potential incentive programs are required to onboard new Relay Node Runners. See also technical question below.

Question: There is only a limited amount of relay nodes at the moment maintained by VC’s and some Universities. The Algorand foundation maintains this list, basically making Algorand a permissioned, centralized blockchain. I have read Silivo Micali’s proposal on decentralizing the governance of the Foundation, but nothing about decentralizing the node structure. This means Algorand will at best be a permissioned consortium blockchain like Hashgraph. What is your plan to actually decentralize the technology?

Answer: To clarify, consensus on the Algorand blockchain is run by Participation Nodes, not the Relay Nodes. Participation Nodes on the Algorand network are both public and permissionless. Therefore consensus participation on the Algorand blockchain is public, permissionless and decentralized. While relay nodes do not participate in consensus, having highly reliable relays is critical to the performance of the Algorand blockchain. That is why, currently, the Algorand Foundation maintains the list of relays to ensure relay nodes satisfy the necessary performance requirements and do not slow down the blockchain. As part of our current roadmap, we plan to further the ability to run Relay Nodes on the Algorand Network. One approach being evaluated is to start by using two lists of relays: the current one fully vetted by the Algorand Foundation to keep the network high performance and a second one that is permissionless. Nodes would then connect to relays on both lists allowing best of best world: decentralization + performance. As we move to a permissionless mechanism for Relay Node Running, the Foundation will work with the community to agree an incentive program to support running this infrastructure.

Question: What will be the incentive for staking when the rewards pool runs out in 2030?

Answer: The existing participation rewards program is under community review as part of the discussion around decentralization of governance. Given that this program to bring us to 2030 is not finalized, it is too early to say what the program will be after 2030.

Question: What happens with the money that ends up in the fee sink? Who controls it?

Answer: At the moment, the Algo wallet receiving Algorand blockchain transaction fees is held by the Algorand Foundation. For the near term, the amount of Algo accumulating in this wallet is and will continue to be modest, based on the 0.001Algo/transaction fee. Once the daily transaction level reaches a threshold, where the amount of Algo held in the wallet is material, the Foundation will engage with the community on how best these accumulating fees can be leveraged to support the ecosystem. As it currently stands, Algos in a fee sink can only be sent as participation rewards. A consensus upgrade has the possibility to change this should the community elect to do so.

Question: How will you keep transaction fees low and stable in the long term?

Answer: The Algorand Foundation has no plans to review the transaction fee levels of the Algorand blockchain currently. As the steward of the Algorand ecosystem, the role of the Foundation would be to facilitate the wider Algorand community and ecosystem making that decision, if there is a proposal to examine that, from within the community, at any point in the future.

Question: Why is there only one full stack developer mentioned on the website?

Answer: The ongoing development of layer-1 features of the Algorand protocol is performed by Algorand Inc, under contract to the Algorand Foundation and as such, the teams of developers who build the Algorand layer-1 protocol are in the Algorand Inc. organization.

I hope this is helpful. In addition, we are also looking to expand further on these answers in our FAQs page, in an effort to further improve transparency wherever possible.

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@stephenfoundation Thank you for the detailed answers, much appreciated!

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Please how can i contact you. There are some questions i need to ask you