Witness Voting Guide

in #witness-category7 years ago (edited)

A lot of users aren't sure who they should vote on for witness. This guide is intended to give some helpful tips on how to determine which witnesses to vote for.

To start with, if you are not sure what witnesses are/do, here are some good posts with info about the witness position:

Each user can vote for up to 30 witnesses. You can change your witness votes anytime.

The steemd.com witness page is a great place to research witnesses. It has a lot of great info that will help you look into your choices. It also shows the current top 100 witnesses.

Witness Voting Guide

Witness Proposal

Each witness will create a 'witness proposal' describing their intentions to becoming a witness. You can read their post by clicking on the link under the "URL" column on the steemd.com witness page. This will give you a great idea about what the person's witness campaign is all about.


Many witnesses will create periodic updates/reports to share what they are up to with the community. These can be found by browsing the posts that are created in the witness-category, witness-report, and witness-update categories. This is an important aspect of being a witness, because it helps the community understand what the leaders are doing to move the platform forward.

Community Interaction

Many witnesses spend a lot of time interacting with the community. They are found responding to questions in the Steem.chat channels, posting, curating, and commenting on posts. It is good for the witnesses to stay involved with the community in ways beyond their witness duties.

Price Feed

Maintaining an accurate reliable price feed is one of the key duties of witnesses. This is used to determine the amount of STEEM that users will receive when converting SBD->STEEM. It is also used to calculate the SBD 'debt ratio', and the prices that are shown on post payouts. The prices that witnesses report are shown under the "Feed" column on the steemd.com witness page.

Price Discount

In addition to reporting an accurate price feed, many witnesses use a "price discount" to influence amount of STEEM that gets generated when users convert SBD->STEEM. The price discount is a complicated and somewhat controversial topic, and many witnesses are doing different things with this parameter. It is shown under the "Bias" column on the steemd.com witness page.

If witnesses are posting a Bias > 1.000, then they are 'discounting' the price of STEEM. The higher the number is, the higher the discount is. If the Bias = 1.000, then there is no discount. If it is < 1.000, then they are actually doing the opposite - and charging a premium.

The intention of the discount is to ensure users get closer to "one USD worth of STEEM" when they convert SBD->STEEM - if the market conditions are not resulting in a conversion near one USD. This will result in lower post payouts (in terms of the SBD price shown), and increase the amount of STEEM that users get when they convert SBD->STEEM. This does put downward pressure on the price of STEEM, but it also helps to incentivize more users to convert SBD->STEEM - which can help to reduce the overall SBD debt.

Understanding what each witness is doing with their price feed and why, is an important way to distinguish between the various witnesses.

Still Running?

Interestingly enough, there are a lot of witnesses in the top 100 that are no longer running as active witnesses. If the witness on steemd.com is grayed out with a line through it, then they are no longer running their witness node. These witnesses are excluded from the 'Delegated Proof of Stake' calculations - so having them in the list is not really doing any harm, but voting on them would essentially be wasting your vote.

Seed Node

It is not a 'requirement' for lower level witnesses, but most higher ranked witnesses will run a seed node for the network. This is a public instance of the 'Steem blockchain' that the community can use for blockchain operations. The seed nodes that the witnesses are running form a large part of the 'core infrastructure' that powers the blockchain.

You can see a list of the available seed nodes, and whether they are up/down here:

Registration Fee

The witnesses determine the amount of STEEM that sites like Steemit.com must pay for a new user to create an account on the blockchain. It is important for this to be high enough for new users to be able to interact with the blockchain (vote, post, etc.). The registration fee is shown on the steemd.com witness page under "RegFee".

SBD Interest Rate

Witnesses set the interest rate that users will get for holding SBD. A higher interest rate will encourage more users to buy/hold SBD, but this will also increase the amount of SBD in existence. This is another parameter that witnesses have differing views on, and understanding what witnesses are setting it to + why, is a good way to evaluate different witnesses. The value is shown as "APR" on the steemd.com witness page.

Hardfork Decisions

Every time there is a hardfork, witnesses will have to chose whether or not to accept the new version. A majority of the witnesses need to adopt the changes in order for them to take effect. If there are controversial changes, whether or not a witness is planning to switch to the new version can be a key deciding factor in whether or not to vote for them.

Under the "Version" column of the steemd.com witness page, it shows which version the witness is running.

If a hardfork has already occurred, then witnesses who are still running an older version have chosen not to upgrade. Usually it is not a good idea to vote for witnesses that are not running the latest version.

If a hardfork is going to occur soon, then witnesses have until the scheduled hardfork time to upgrade their version (if they are planning to pick up the changes). Often witnesses will not update their nodes until close to the hardfork time, to allow more time for the changes to be tested/reviewed by the community.

Witness Funds

The witnesses are paid in Steem Power by the blockchain for their work. The amount that they get paid will be changing as part of hardfork 16, assuming a majority of the witnesses pick up the changes.

Because the witnesses are getting paid a lot for their services, many of them chose to use a portion of their witness funds to do things that benefit the community.

Whether or not a witness is powering down, and if they are - what they are using their funds for, is often an important deciding factor for whether or not to vote for a witness.

Improving the Community

This is probably the most important part of being a witness. What they are doing to benefit the community is really what sets the witnesses apart. From funding and organizing projects, to creating new applications and tools - the witnesses are leaders of the community that are driving the project forward. What their vision of the project is, and what they are doing to achieve it, should be a key factor in determining who to vote for.

Vote for witnesses here:



I always use steemd.com for checking my vp. But recently, I noticed that it also shows witness stats, too. Since I’m voting for witnesses today (for the first time), I wanted to fully understand the metrics I saw in steemd and tried to search what they meant since steemd witness page failed to explain it on there. Luckily, I stumbled on this blog and it became so clear now. Thanks a lot for this incredibly useful post! Will share this to all the Steemians I know.

Excelente explicación. Es bueno conocer y entender desde sus inicios como se desarrolla todo esto. Gracias a esas personas que nos ayudan a entender mas claro el mundo de steemit.

Estaba pensando e buscar información sobre que es un testigo gracias @timcliff encontré información aunque de una solo lectura o basta, tiene de mi 2 voto 1 por el articulo y otro por testigo

Thanks for this post, I was reading about witnesses and voting for them and was somewhat confused! I've just seen on a linked post that anyone can vote for witnesses, so that has answered a question I had. I was wondering if you needed to earn some money or power first, but appears not.

This whole system involves so much, it is a lot to take in! Great to have this and other posts explaining the process.

Cool, glad it helped :)

Wow a comprehensive explanation as to the witness system, greatly appreciated @timcliff have an awesome new week.

That was a good read dear.

@timcliff thank you very much for making this! What first introduced you to steem? It is posts like this and such a great community that makes me to enter into this world!

Thanks :)
My brother is into crypto currency investing, and he told me about the project about a year and a half ago.

Did your brother end up going on Steemit? :)

Yes. He joined before I did. @dogguy

You know, I never even knew there was such thing as a witness until I read this post. That sounds like a lot of work! Is it a full time job? I for one appreciate what you're doing @timcliff I think you're the only witness I've come in contact with on the network so far though. So one of my 30 votes goes to you. I guess I'll wait until I meet some of the others to use my other votes.
Thanks again for making it all work for us!

It is pretty much a full time job, yes. You have probably seen some of the other witnesses around too, you just may not have known they were witnesses :)

Great information... I am new here and is actually wondering what a witness is all about. I still have my 30 points intact. Now I know how and where to use it. Thank you for your valuable information. Keep on sharing. Followed you.

Awesome, glad it helped! :)

thanks to this post. it will really help me to vote the right person that i will vote for my witness. what a great job for this author.. salute to you sir. thanks for the reference. i will use my vote wisely for the sake of steemit community.

that was a good read

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