1 min read

The 80/20 Rule

You've probably heard of the 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle) in terms of effort and results. In other words, you can get 80% of the results for only 20% of the effort. The numbers are rarely exact, but this rule can be applied in many more situations as a reasonable estimate.

  • 80% of issues come from 20% of all code
  • 80% of occupational injuries are caused by 20% of the hazards
  • 80% of all assets are owned by 20% of people

This last one is especially interesting for cryptocurrency. As we've discussed before, it only takes 51% of the power on a blockchain to control the whole network. The Pareto Principle says that that 51% will (over time, with a large enough sample size) always belong to fewer than 20% of people.

This is equivalent to letting the top 10-20% wealthiest people decide every election.

For many situations, this is probably fine (or perhaps even preferable). But is it ok for a general purpose blockchain to be governed by 10-20% of participants? What do you think? Let me know.

More tomorrow,


P.S. This is a tough problem without an easy solution.