Voting Service Providers
1. Are there any other benefits to a Voting Service Provider (VSP) other than not needing to run a full node and keeping your wallet unlocked? For example, will it have a better chance of voting, or vote quicker?
A VSP cannot increase a tickets chance of voting, or cause it to vote faster. Ticket selection is a random process which cannot be influenced.
VSPs will usually implement multi-wallet redundancy by having many wallets physically distributed around the globe. This means there’s less chance of a vote being missed because one wallet is down. It also reduces latency between the wallet and network which can reduce the chance of a vote being missed.
2. Does a Voting Service Provider (VSP) split the reward between all participants (% based on the amount of tickets you submitted to the VSP)?
While it is technically possible to create a VSP that supports this type of proportional reward splitting, the current VSP reference implementation doesn’t enable this.
3. I have to run my wallet to buy tickets, but will they vote properly without me if I shut it down and the Voting Service Provider (VSP) votes for me instead?
Yes, that is correct. You only need to run your wallet in order to spend your coins to purchase the ticket which delegates your voting rights to the VSP which will then vote on your behalf. The reward address is a consensus-enforced commitment in the ticket purchase for one of your own addresses for which only you have the private key.
4. Are there any issues that could arise from a Voting Service Provider (VSP) having too many people. For example, force voting a block in or out?
It is certainly possible, but one of the things that all VSPs should support is allowing each user to select their individual voting preferences. That way, whenever their ticket comes up and the VSP votes on their behalf, it will vote according to their preferences.
5. What safeguards are in place to stop Voting Service Provider (VSP) owners disappearing with the funds in the tickets they vote for?
The current VSP design is such that the VSP can NOT steal the funds. You are only sharing the ability to vote on tickets, and not the ability to spend any of your funds. The ticket purchase contains a consensus-enforced commitment for the final subsidy address, so there is simply no way for the VSP to steal the funds.
The worst that would happen if a VSP owner disappears is the votes will be missed which results in the ticket being revoked, which in turn causes the original coins to go back to the original coin owner (minus the initial transaction fee). However, it is possible for the ticket owner to run their own wallet in order to vote should the VSP owner disappear.
6. What happens if my Voting Service Provider (VSP) goes down?
In the unlikely scenario your VSP goes down permanently, you can still vote your own tickets, as well as revoke any missed or expired tickets.
7. My VSP went down and I lost the redeem script, is there a way to recover it?
When a ticket votes or is revoked, that redeem script is revealed as a part of the process. Redeem scripts that have been used at least once to vote or revoke a ticket can be recovered using Decred’s block explorer.