“I’ve seen others complaining about pooltogether fees on twitter etc, makes you wonder how much of the pool money is just there because it costs more than your investment to withdraw it, good con, few dollars to invest, but can never get it back, ultimately this is no better than a rugpull”
These are quotes from the discord this week. As I see it there are a few ways we can respond. We can ignore them as outliers or trolls, attribute it to ignorance, blame the jpeg mania and Ethereum gas, or we can look at ways to improve our user experience. I am interested in the ladder, and these comments led to my diving down the rabbithole of deposit transactions for the USDC and DAI pools for the first 4 weeks of August.
494 deposits, 442 unique addresses, 27 million deposited
Half of the deposits this month to the mainnet USDC and DAI pools are less than $500. The total value of those deposits is about $40k
The average cost of a roundtrip ticket through the Pool Together mainnet USDC funzone is $150 in gas
While gas is up a bit this month (60 gwei average) compared to the previous two months, it has actually been lower than the annual average (100 gwei)
All of the data is sourced from Etherscan and presented below with a link to the spreadsheets including all of the transaction hashes if you really want to get into it. Am I missing something? I did remove pod interactions. In some ways I hope I got the data way wrong or totally overlooked something, so please correct me if so.
If you dig-in there are many deposits where the deposit gas exceeds the deposit amount, and tracing it further you will find users claiming .005 POOL for $18 in gas. I see these transaction types as a big net negative for Pool Together. These depositors represent a very small amount of the total deposits adding to prize generation but represents a significant number of users. More importantly I have to think a lot of these users are not going to enjoy the pool, despite our best efforts to accommodate all shapes and sizes. While PT Inc has lots of exciting things coming to address these issues with V4, I do not think the problem rests completely on their shoulders to fix. From my perspective awareness and education are crucial, and I hope this data help us all better understand what is going on with the users who are interacting with the protocol. For me I know it has.
The easiest immediate solution I can think of is to implement a confirmation in the app for first time depositors under $500. A popup that requires the user to type something like “YOLO” before submitting a transaction. To make it a little more technical the app could get the current gas price and calculate a deposit threshold based on current gas prices that is used to conditionally display a disclaimer. But as we all know 10 gwei at deposit can very well be 200 gwei on withdraw. If it were up to me, I’d even take it further and not allow mainnet deposits on the flagship app in amounts under $50, possibly even higher. I can’t imagine a good reason for a depositor to be sending those transactions unless they are scheming to farm airdrops. If someone really wants to deposit less than $50 they could do so manually through etherscan. With a clear YOLO warning implemented, and possibly even a full-on barrier, there could be a simple and clean redirection to get the users to Polygon. The problem is this all relies on PT Inc to implement, so what can we do?
One thing that I think goes a long way is simply telling anyone who is thinking about depositing they should not do so on mainnet if they have less than a certain amount. If it’s a friend, or a discord chat or wherever you shill Pool Together. Then provide them with resources on how to get to Polygon and/or even holding their hand through the process. I have done this countless times, and my threshold is actually $5k. In my mind under $5k on mainnet does not make sense. The opportunity to learn on a network like Polygon where fees are practically free is night and day. It’s not only Pool Together that gets a bad rap from a user trying out Pool Together with $100 on mainnet. It’s the whole ecosystem.
What else can we do?
I hope that if we revisit the pools at the end of September we will not find as many transactions where the gas cost exceeds the deposit amount. I hope we can all see why Polygon is a step in the right direction (vote on the current PTIP bundle) and find many ways to let users know it’s a good option. For the many addresses that are “trapped” in V3 currently with a sub $100 value deposit, I think it could be responsible to consider some airdrop of Polygon tickets or other retribution. While it’s easy to see this as a macro Ethereum issue, or to wait for PT Inc to solve all of our problems with a new build, I think we all need to step up and do everything we can to improve user experience. I hope this data helps us to understand where we can start.
Google Sheets document has three pages, check the bottom of the screen to navigate
A somewhat related plug
I have put together a tutorial on how to use polygonscan to manually interract with the prize pools. This tutorial is the exact same procedure if you ever wanted to familiarize yourself more with etherscan. Thanks to @mkkoll and @regisisland for the inspiration. If anyone wants to try it out please contact me on discord. If you do not have Polygon setup I am happy to send you a few tokens to try it with.