Did you know that every Smoke account receives 30 votes to cast for active witnesses?
What is a witness? For those of you asking this question, a witness is a Smoke account that has a server/node associated with the account. This server/node continuously runs watching the Smoke coin block chain. The server bears witness to all the transactions/operations taking place on the chain, with consensus between the other witness server/nodes and itself, the server appends to a chain data file that is continuously updated with the latest block data. This data file is the image of the block chain and this data is what is used by the Graphene software to verify/broadcast consensus.
In addition to effectively recording the life of the Smoke block chain, a witness is also required to produce blocks for the Smoke block chain. When the Smoke block production algorithm chooses the witness to produce a block, it is up to the respective witness to solve the equation for the next block. You can think of this as the mining process similar to BitCoin or any other minable cryptocurrency. The Smoke block chain uses a 3 second block time, this means the requested witness' node must deliver a result within the 3 seconds. If the witness' node does not solve the block equation, the witness will miss the block and the chain will move on to the next witness in line. [Missing a block is not good but it does happen from time to time.]
With the production of a block, a witness receives a network fee paid in Smoke Vests. The current payout is 0.031135 Vests per produced block. Although, the witness in the backup slot gets paid a bit higher amount per produced block.
[My most recent production payouts]
So what? So why is this important?
Having witnesses is what allows the Smoke block chain to continue to operate decentralized, although the Smoke chain is protected from falling bellow the minimum number of Smoke witnesses required to operate, it is still necessary to have multiple unique witnesses to prevent centralization or worse a chain take over. Witnesses are necessary and play a key role in the stability of the Smoke block chain and in all reality are vital to a steady block production.
How does this involve you? After all, every account is relying on the witnesses.
You can start by making your witness votes. No, you don't have to vote, I would recommend you vote! As a posting/curating Smoke user, it still might not seem necessary to make that vote, after all you might not be interested in witnessing, however to the active Smoke witnesses, this vote means a lot!
The Smoke block chain software has an algorithm which selects the witness order of block production. This algorithm uses 19 of 20 of the top witnesses on the list and 1 backup witness. This also weighs in to account which position the witness is in within the list. So the top witnesses are called on to produce blocks more frequently, this is a really good reason to make sure the most reliable witnesses are voted into the top spots. Block production is not limited to just the top 20 witnesses, the algorithm will also pick outside the top witness list for a backup witness ranked lower than the top 20 for production. This lower ranking selection often happens as well when a top witness goes offline for any reason, server maintenance, network/power loss, didn't pay the VPS bill.
The top witness list is populated by weighted witness votes, cast by you. The higher your Smoke Vests the more weight your vote has. Voting weight for witnesses is not variably adjustable, each account has 30 votes and each vote is worth the same weight. You do not have to use all 30 votes either, you can use 1 or 30 or for that matter you don't have to vote at all.
Another option available to the Smoke user is the Proxy Vote. You can set an account proxy for your witness votes. This means you are letting a different account vote for witnesses on your behalf. To do this, on the witness voting page, scroll to the bottom and enter the Smoke user account name into the Proxy Vote field and click Set Proxy.
You can make your witness votes by going to the witness voting page https://smoke.io/~witnesses
Update on the witness...
Not much to say about my node, still up and running. I haven't had much time to work on Kief Tools or the Relay bot. It is still on the burner, and a work I will soon return to. The VPS has been functioning as expected and the chain is still smooth on my end.
I have been scripting a lower level posting application to work with the Smoke Network frontend. This eliminates the need of the Webapp for a post to be created. This interaction is teaching me a lot in the syntax for broadcasting on the chain and I hope to utilize the added knowledge in future en devours.
I also want to inform the Smoke community that I will be removing all of my witness votes and resetting them as I see interaction with the community from each witness. One major downside of the dPOS [delegated proof of stake] system is that delegations/votes don't auto drop off. So after some time, with users dropping off and failing to remove their votes, the delegated witnesses may not reflect the actual community involved witnesses. To me this is a shame, if a witness is actively posting/curating, running their node efficiently and smoothly, involving them self into the community, their node should be ranked higher. There has also been some clouding as to who is running the witnesses here on the Smoke chain. I want to ensure decentralization, so I want to see that a witness isn't just another active node of a known witness account.
With that being said, I encourage the witnesses to post a witness update for the community. Let us know what you have been up too, how's your node doing, any insights or things on the horizon you may have planned.
I also want to welcome @erodedthoughts to the witness fold! They have been posting quite a bit, including community give back contests! Welcome!
Sorry for the rambling post, but that's all I got for now...
As an active witness for the Smoke Network, I would truly appreciate your vote for witness!
Until next time, toe toe toke it up...