I’ve begun grappling with the clumsiness of stake decreases because I want to allocate my NMR differently across my models like I know many users also want. But it’s horribly clumsy and slow. I have to queue up a stake decrease and wait 4 weeks until the NMR posts in my wallet. And if all I wanted was to put that right NMR back into the tourney, it takes a month to do so.
The explanation for why this is so slow is that the tourney rounds last a month, so the NMR I have tied up needs a month to work through the system.
However, not all NMR is tied up in the tourney. If and when I get a payout, those earnings should be free for me to work with. They could be rolled into the stake of one or more of my other models, or sent straight to my wallet. But instead of either of these things, Numerai forces each model’s earnings back into that model’s stake for future rounds, tying that NMR up for another month.
Maybe they’re doing this to keep NMR in the tournament, because staked models in the tournament are important to their meta model. Or maybe they’re doing it because moving NMR in and out of wallets incurs a gas fee. Or both.
I don’t think reason one is important. Maybe it was at some point, but the tournament feels quite mature to me. If people are earning, that’s incentive enough to keep their money in. Numerai doesn’t have to hold earnings prisoner.
And gas fees? I’ll come back to gas fees in a moment.
Earnings shouldn’t be encumbered. Period. Users should be able to allocate their earnings wherever they want. If that allocation keeps the NMR in the tourney, then it never leaves Numerai’s control and therefore won’t incur gas fees. In fact, having more control over earnings will personally incentivize me to put more NMR into the tournament, whereas now I’m hesitant because the payouts are so illogically illiquid.
I suggest adding a “payout allocation” interface to the website. The default behavior would be that 100% of a model’s earnings goes back into that model’s stake (as it is now). But users could allocate with different percentages to their models, and their wallet.
If the gas fee for wallet allocations remains a deal breaker, then Numerai could create a “pool” for each user, kind of like an escrow account, where any earnings that are not allocated to stake could gather but remain in Numerai’s control, thereby not triggering a gas fee. Then Numerai could allow one free withdrawal per user every two weeks from the pool to their wallet but allow any number of immediate withdrawals if the user pays the gas fee. This is like how PayPal will transfer your money immediately to your bank for a fee, or do it in a few days for free. This would incentivize users to keep their earnings in the tournament, but stop short of holding those earnings hostage for a whole month.
I’m sure that liberating payouts is not a new idea but my frustrations with stake management certainly are, so I thought I’d share this to re-kindle the conversation. Curious for folks’ thoughts.