How the KEEP Token Works
15 Apr

KEEP is used to assign work on the Keep network.

Keep’s native token, KEEP, powers the network and supports all the apps that are and will be built on it. KEEP is required in order for someone to become a member of the Keep network; members are eligible to earn rewards by performing work on the platform. This work is the computation and availability required to select and pull the network’s off-chain “keeps” together and to read the associated data. Members are randomly selected to coordinate a distributed key generation protocol that results in a public ECDSA key for the group, which is used to produce a wallet address that is then published to the host chain.

KEEP is the key incentive that drives constructive behavior, facilitates efficiency and trust, and promotes the adoption and growth of the Keep network. It is a work token — holding it confers the right to perform key functions on the network. Token holders must delegate a minimum amount of KEEP as collateral in order to be eligible. Work opportunities are awarded randomly, but over time, the amount of work a delegator is chosen for will be proportional to the amount of KEEP delegated. For example, a person delegating 1,000 KEEP could expect, over time, to be selected for work ten times as often as someone who delegates 100 KEEP, earning fees in proportion to the work they successfully perform.

This design increases the utility of the token. The benefit KEEP confers to holders is relative to the amount delegated and therefore to the user’s commitment to the network. The idea is that those with more “skin in the game” reap greater rewards. The minimum stake will change over time, starting high and then decreasing over a period of 6 months.

Interested readers should check out Mulitcoin’s deep dive into work tokens for further insights on the concept.

Freedom, not coercion

Keep’s ethos is to give the token holder the maximum possible autonomy. We believe in designing systems of incentives, not in prescribing behavior. As such, the KEEP token offers flexibility for holders and operators to decide where they want to put their risk and how to manage it. We are interested in building ecosystems that allow people to act as they wish, and in which the aggregate behavior of all participants results in a net benefit and the growing adoption of the network and its token.

Keep is designed to support an unlimited array of applications and to give members total freedom in choosing where to invest their resources and time. Keep members must “approve” any app on the network in order to be considered for work within that app. Each project will have its own specific parameters and requirements, and it’s up to KEEP holders to decide whether the specific incentives of each justify the risks and the time commitment.

The only component that all KEEP service providers must participate in is the random beacon, which selects groups of signers for the apps built on Keep. When someone using one of these apps needs the beacon to generate a random number, that user pays a fee which is then split between the delegators participating in the beacon.

tBTC, the safe way to earn with your Bitcoin that launches April 27, can serve as an example here. tBTC is an open-source project supported by Keep, Summa and Cross-Chain Group. Once providers opt into tBTC, they can delegate their ETH for a chance to be selected as signers, who verify and hold BTC deposited by users of the app. In addition to the minimum stake of delegating KEEP, these signers must bond an amount of ETH equal to 150% the value of the BTC being deposited, in order to disincentivize bad behavior. This 150% bond is specific to tBTC, and is one of the factors signers must consider when deciding whether or not to “approve” the app to consider them for signers’ groups. When the selected signers perform their functions on the app properly, they receive fees in KEEP.

Tokenomics and the future of KEEP

KEEP’s tokenomics are relatively simple. On a very basic level, Keep receives fees for all the activity that takes place on the apps it supports. There is a fixed supply of KEEP, so whatever the future value of the network is, we know exactly how many pieces it’s divided into. About 25% of the KEEP supply is set aside for public distribution, you can learn more about Keep’s stake drop and “Play for Keeps” here. All things being equal, we should expect increased usage to create more demand for each unit. KEEP is designed so that the more apps there are on the network, the more opportunities there are to earn with the token. This should lead to more people delegating KEEP to participate in these apps, creating more value for the entire ecosystem.

Keep’s philosophy is rooted in the idea that people should have the freedom to make their own choices, and that markets based on incentives produce better results than tightly regulated structures where behavior is strictly prescribed. KEEP, a work token, owes its design to these values. It offers holders the latitude to make their own decisions about which ideas to participate in and how many tokens to commit. We have no doubt that some will be conservative, others reckless. Some will participate in every app, and others will devote themselves to one or two. The Keep team doesn’t pick winners or losers among apps or force our token holders into certain actions. We’re confident that in the aggregate, the ecosystem we are building will create value for everyone.