Adaptive inflation

What most bakers don’t understand is that they can’t sell more than 20% of their rewards without affecting the inflation adjusted value of their principal. In other words, when a bakers sells more than 20% of their rewards, they’re in effect selling their principal.

Adaptive inflation makes this much more clear.

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Staking is actually a tax on none-staking holders, to increase your own share in the total market cap.
But if the APR is toooooo small, the tax is nothing.

But maybe the brain damaged ones such as this post creator don’t have such an insight.

Right now ~75% of the supply is staked but including delegations, only 8-10% of the supply is locked and used as bonds. That’s the number that matters for Adaptive inflation.

Also I think there will be a lower limit of inflation like at 20% of supply the inflation will be 0.5% and then if more gets staked it will remain 0.5%.

Hey, did you listen to the talk about adaptive inflation? Adaptive Inflation with Arthur Breitman

No. The post author has the obligation to describe in a clear and precise way here, not anywhere else.

110% agreeing with this. It is for me clear what’s happening. ( enhanced by some comments of some ) Adaptive inflation needs to happen asap


My opinion as a baker.
(I’m running Tezberry Pue)
And a proposal to not bloat the amount of existing tez.

First, I do not think reducing or eliminating inflation is per se a good thing!
Generally, Having a capped amount of coins is IMHO too rigid and unable to evolve.

Also it is psychologically important to get rewarded for putting effort into the ecosystem, bakers need rewards. Having running a baker necessary to not get your holding devaluated is actually 100% repelling my will to further put effort into the ecosystem.

To level the amount of supply I’d rather see a system that shifts value from those who are inactive to those who add value.

Maybe getting baking rewards could be attached to activity of the baker in governance and other ecosystem efforts.

But more important, inactive holders could get burned. Losing actual tez as long as you don’t actively use them. If you don’t interact with NFT, DeFi, etc. If you don’t stake. There are even accounts that have not activated the ICO! Burn this inactive holdings.

Keep the issued rewards to active users by the protocol and put a burn-rate on inactivity!

That could be an incentive for people to actually use tezos. And it could Level the amount of existing tez into hands that actually participate in the evolution of tezos!

What do you think?

I do not get bakers concerns.

Adaptative inflation is a good thing, just hodl what you are earning now and it will be worth more in a future, even with relative less baking rewards by then your total net value in usd will be higher.

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But if the total $ or € in my case value will rise does not entirely depend on the inflation model. If we have products/services that people want (or need) the impact on price will be bigger. Thats why I don’t understand why we need to change the whole delegation landscape. For now I as well hodl all my rewards and use them to grow my bakers capacity. So I still don’t understand the benefit of adaptive inflation.

not entirely, but it is part of the equation.

Agreed, this is another part of the equation

Not the whole, it is an adaptative model not a deflationary model.

Great, you will be able to keep doing that.

Add store of value feature to xtz to attract further niches.


Why adaptive inflation matters for Tezos

How to pay for security


Decentralized ledgers typically pay for their security through seigniorage, that is, the inflationary minting of a cryptocurrency that accrues to active validators in the protocol. This generally takes the form of a so-called “block reward”.

In proof-of-stake based systems, like Tezos, there are two costs involved in running active validators: the general operation of computers and network administration, associated with running a node and a block producing software, and the risk and opportunity cost of tying up capital in the form of stake.

We do not know, a priori, the percentage of inflation required to adequately compensate stakers for this cost. This number depends on a variety of factors, such as prevailing rates in the lending market, perceived risks, market capitalization of the currency, the cost of a setup, etc.

The “liquid proof of stake” approach

The Tezos protocol draws a separation between the accrual of block creation rights, and the exercise of these rights. Block creation and endorsement rights accrue to the holders of tez, and can be exercised by using the key they specify as a delegate. These holders are merely holders, they are not stakers since their funds are not locked or at stake in any way. Delegating in Tezos is sometimes referred to as staking, and delegators as stakers, but that is a regrettable misnomer. Block exercise and endorsements however, do require staking. In fact, the protocol is parameterized so that about 10% of the delegated tez must be staked at all times. Most proof-of-stake protocols do not draw such a distinction and instead accrue rights directly to stakers.

But how does the Tezos protocol know the right amount of inflation to incentivize enough bakers to stake 10%? It doesn’t! Instead, the Tezos protocol sets a rather high inflation rate of around 5% a year, assuming that it will be enough to incentivize just 10% to be staked. If bakers kept the entirety of the baking reward, the seigniorage would represent 50% a year for those who stake, probably more than enough to compensate for the modest staking period. What if it is too much, though? Bakers typically share part of their rewards with their delegates. In fact, they routinely share between 80% and 90% of their rewards with delegators. Since anyone can delegate at no cost, it follows that those 5% of inflation are offset by rewards. In fact, since the launch of the network, those rewards have outpaced inflation. This is due to the fact that only 70% to 80% of circulating tez are delegated.

From a pure financial economics perspective, there is no difference between a 5% inflation rate that grows everyone’s balance by 5%, a 5% deflation rate that shrinks everyone’s balance by 5% or no inflation at all. Tezos’ uses a somewhat fixed rate of inflation, but that inflation is nominal. The real rate of inflation is adjusted automatically when bakers decide how much of the reward to share with delegates.

Essentially, competition between bakers for delegation is what sets the real rate of inflation, which is what stakers are being paid. It should be clear from this point of view that increasing the nominal rate of inflation does not mean bakers would earn more. The consequence of raising the rate of nominal inflation is that bakers would start sharing more of their reward with delegates to compete for delegation. Likewise, lowering inflation would lead bakers to share less of the reward to cover their costs. There are psychological effects for delegates around certain “fee” numbers that complicate the picture, but the first order, medium term, effect of changing the inflation rate on bakers’ profit is null.


There are several benefits to this approach

  1. It provides an interesting mix of security, where the stake acts as an economic incentive, and the delegation acts as a pure sybil prevention mechanism. The latter assumes that delegators have the network’s interest at heart and are able to detect and select against malicious or sybil bakers.
  2. People genuinely prefer getting 5% even at the cost of a 5% dilution. The term for it in economics is “money illusion”.
  3. In practice the system is net deflationary as it dilutes accounts who are inactive or do not bother setting a delegated.

Unfortunately there are several problems with it.

  1. While a 5% inflation that grows every balance by 5% should be equivalent to no inflation from a financial economics standpoint, tax treatment may complicate the matter. While there are general taxation principles under which the tax treatment shouldn’t make a difference, tax authorities have not accepted them broadly as of yet and may never do so, the specifics can also vary from country to country. For instance, if the reward is treated as income, and the dilution at a lower rate of capital loss, this essentially creates, all else equal, a small de facto wealth tax on holders.

  2. Reward distribution has worked informally so far, but regulatory requirements on bakers will only ramp up and could make reward distribution difficult in the future.

  3. Any gap in delegation causes opportunity cost. Many currency market participants, such as lenders face inordinately high rates when they borrow, because they are not set up to offset them through delegation. The same goes when they use those funds in exchanges not set up for delegation.

  4. The mechanism demands that users either:

    • Forgo the reward
    • Self custody and delegate, or bake
    • Use an exchange of custodian that supports delegation

    Unfortunately, not every exchange supports delegation of Tezos, and many that do are facing pressure to end their so-called “staking” offering. When that happens users of those exchanges will either:

    • self-custody, and that’s great news for the ecosystem!
    • forgo the reward, which may still be earned and sold by the exchange (who may be limited from sharing but not earning rewards)
    • move to a different ecosystem where the opportunity cost of the exchange not participating in staking isn’t so high.

    Several exchanges that do not offer rewards already still bake and sell those rewards. When that happens, their users experience the drawbacks of the dilution without the benefit of the rewards.

  5. This approach does not work well when the tez of multiple people is attached to a single smart contract. This happens in privacy preserving contracts and in defi protocols. While it’s possible to delegate smart contracts, this creates governance headaches and introduces friction. More importantly, Tezos rollups should ideally be built to operate with tez as a native currency. But who is to bake for the funds locked on L1 for use in the rollup? Several wrapped tez options have emerged, most of which simply embed a type of governance or centralization that is undesirable in the first place. Ctez offers a simple alternative which does not rely on a governance model, and is purely decentralized. However, there is still to this day limited liquidity between tez and ctez. Furthermore, tez is present in most centralized exchanges and multi currency wallets, while ctez is not. The use of native tez for sapling, for defi contracts and most importantly for rollup is important, but it will not happen if doing so imposes centralization, complicated DAOs to select bakers, or a 5% a year opportunity cost.

In my opinion, the main reason why adaptive inflation matters is reason #5, followed by reason #4 and #1.

Adaptive inflation

The solution

Adaptive inflation solves these problems. Essentially, instead of relying on bakers adjusting the rewards they share with delegates, the inflation rate is adjusted automatically by the protocol to ensure that a sufficient amount of funds are being staked. It can do so in two different ways:

  1. by using a curve, and increasing or decreasing the instantaneous inflation rate depending on how much is currently staked… so that the rate is high if too little is staked and low if too much is staked.
  2. by looking at the average staking ratio and adjusting that curve up and down.

The first approach is a static approach, it reacts quickly to change in staking demand but can lead to discouragement attacks if the curve is too steep. The second approach is a dynamic approach, it can only react slowly, lest it introduces oscillations, but it’s much less prone to discouragement attacks. A combination of the two brings the best of both worlds.

With such a mechanism, instead of seeing 5% inflation with 90% shared with delegators, you might get something close to 0.7% inflation with 30% passed. At this point, the opportunity cost of not delegating would be 0.2% a year, which is much more palatable than 5%.

With delegation deemphasized, participation in delegation may drop. This affects governance, but also the security of the protocol. Hence, the proposal wouldn’t be complete with another prong to:

  1. Greatly increase the amount of funds required to be staked. I would suggest targeting somewhere around 50% (even though I previously suggested 20%). This bolsters the economic security of the protocol.
  2. Make it easy for tez holder to contribute to a baker’s security deposit without the baker taking custody of their funds and with in-protocol reward sharing

The first part is important for security but also voting, ensuring that a large fraction of tokens are involved in governance.

The second part is of particular importance to small bakers who can draw on the most important asset they have: their relationship with their delegators, to easily increase their bond and compete.

Staking and reward distribution should be as easy as delegation, with two differences:

  1. Funds are locked for a couple of weeks
  2. Staked funds can be subject to slashing if the baker misbehaves

Overall, this is a coherent proposal that addresses a long list of issues with the current staking and delegation model. The staking feature goes hand in hand with adaptive inflation and is of particular importance for smaller bakers.


There are risks that come with adaptive inflation. I’ll list a few of the important ones.


With delegation de-emphasized, we may see more weights coming purely from bakers than from delegates. I’m not especially concerned with that one. In practice, we sometimes see some delegate pushing on bakers but this is not extremely common. Furthermore, the thresholds of the protocol are set to be very conservative. The of the governance is largely to weed out bad proposals, and that can happen effectively under this model. It would be useful to implement vote override for stakers, though I don’t think it’s strictly necessary to have that one day one as the governance model is conservative and robust.

PoS security

It might be easier to accumulate stake than to accumulate delegation, and to try and discourage participation by pushing the inflation rate to very low levels. However, this is more than counterbalanced by the much higher amount of tez at stake, failed safety attacks can be slashed in protocol, and succesful ones can be slashed by forking. Economic incentives are a crisper security parameters than delegators exercising careful judgment in picking bakers. It’s a bit subjective, but I think the PoS security will likely increase overall.

We like the rewards

This is related to the second benefit I mentionned at the beginning. It’s possible that many people hold tez because they so like receiving rewards, despite the associated dilution, though we don’t know how many. While these people could become stakers, the rate of reward would still be much lower if adaptive inflation does its job. This is a valid question.

My own feeling is that delegation became a big deal after Coinbase launched tez delegation at the end of 2019. Most people were used to coins just being these static things, and all of the sudden number-of-coins went up. At that time, every single project that wanted to build on Tezos wanted to leverage baking rewards in some way, even though it rarely made sense. However, the defi wave in 2020 quickly offered yield farming and other avenues to get rewards, and the novelty wore off.

It’s certainly possible that the rewards are part of the appeal of Tezos today, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on that for the future as this will keep waning. It’s better to optimize the economics of the chain from the perspective composability, tax efficiency, and compatibility with financial intermediaries including lenders and exchanges.


There is ongoing work by core development teams to develop the concept. The general thinking is that if it is included in a proposal, the activation of adaptive inflation would be separated from the adoption of the proposal, relying on a separate vote with similar quorum and thresholds, so as not to block the protocol upgrade process with any debate on the matter, but so as to be ready if and when there is enough appetite to go fot it.


Adaptive Inflation Summary:


Hi! Is it possible yo see this proposal in “O” ?

As per my understanding,
Adaptive Inflation change is made of 2 functionalities

  1. Adaptive Inflation - where inflation changes based on the total number of tez staked
  2. Co-baking / pooled delegation = where delegates can also stake their tez (which will be locked for a certain time period) along with the bakers.
    Though co-baking complements Adaptive Inflation, both functionalities can be implemented independently as there is no interdependence.

Now assuming the problems of the “Liquid proof of Stake” are real and grave , we need to know how Adaptive Inflation or/ and co-baking resolves them.

lets see problem 5:

Now how does Adaptive Inflation / co-baking solve this issue? completely ignoring the tez attached to the smart contract.??

Now coming to the problem 4:

Though co-baking may provide an alternative path for staking, still cannot see the benefit of the Adaptive Inflation functionality ( i.e how does changing the inflation based on staked tez help resolve/ minimize this issue)

And coming to tax i.e point 1 ,

How does wither adaptive inflation / co-baking help us with the tax problems? At least in some geographies, people can claim indexation benefits against inflation so it would be easier for tax calculation if the inflation is constant at 5% rather than a variable one.

Also not sure how to interpret the rewards as illusion as stated

when you have also stated just a few sentences back as

Adaptative inflation makes it so that the rate of creating new coins slows down until people don’t care much about whether they stake their coins or not. This means that, at the margin, there’s not much of a difference between joining the staking process or staying out of it. While the whole network still incurs some costs, individuals don’t have to worry about making a costly choice between staking or not staking. The answer to your other questions is essentially the same.

In a nutshell, if you have 0.5% inflation going to baker and nothing shared with delegators, you do not experience the same problems you experience with 5% going to baker and the bakers then passing on 90% of that, or 4.5% to delegators, even though the net dilution experienced by delegators is the same annual rate.

It’s in the works, though there’s no guarantees it’ll be ready. The proposal being worked on won’t activate it though, it will add code to support it in the protocol that can be switched on later on by a baker vote. The reason for this setup is to ensure that the core protocol work remains predictable and agile without constraining the time needed to debate the matter.

Personally, I believe neither inflation is so high in Tezos nor reducing it will bring any tangible benefits.
But if the end goal is to reduce the rate of creating new coins, why can the inflation rate of 5% simply be reduced to say 2% or 0.5% instead of curve-based Adaptive inflation?

If it is a straightforward reduction of rate, it is easy and simple to explain to the broader crypto community, and not many technical changes are required.

But in the case of Adaptive inflation, it is a double-edged sword, complex as it involves finding an appropriate curve, would be difficult to explain what the current inflation rate is to other crypto participants, is prone to unnecessary complications such as griefing and most importantly it is irreversible.

Assume Adaptive inflation goes live and after then Coinbase stops baking activity due to regulations, then what will happen to the inflation rate? Adaptive inflation will also discourage the new bakers from joining and even if they wish, they wouldn’t know beforehand what would be the return on their investment.

Thanks Arthur, a very clear, comprehensive and convincing argument in favour of adaptive issuance. Your (new) 5th argument on rollups is particularly convincing. A few questions/suggestions/clarifications:

  1. I was confused when you said “funds are locked for a couple of weeks”. Do you mean there would be a waiting period for withdrawing delegated Tez, similar to Ethereum now?

  2. Since the proposal would target a locked Tez rate of 50% (agree this seems much more prudent), is there an updated curve formula?

  3. Since the delegated Tez would also be at risk, is there still a block creation multiplier for bakers vs delegators?

  4. Inevitably, a considerable change of this sort would have bakers worried, even if they may in fact benefit from the proposal. For that reason I think it’s great first of all to de-couple this update from the normal governance process and require a baker toggle. A few points here:

a) Would a baker be forced to make a choice either in favour or against adaptive issuance? Or could it ignore the issue altogether?

b) Maybe your post could benefit from a quick overview of who benefits at the expense of who from adaptive issuance, first order effects only (i.e. disregarding the overall ecosystem benefits of better Tez composability and tax efficiency). My understanding for one is that Tez holders who neither bake nor delegate would benefit (since they face less dilution). This could notably include Tez users that are very active on NFT platforms or lock their Tez up in smart contracts. How about bakers? Does it matter if they solo bake or have a lot of delegators? How about delegators?

c) To improve the likeliness of success I think it is essential that delegators could very easily check whether their baker is supporting adaptive issuance or not, and it should additionally be very easy for delegators to communicate with their bakers, e.g. to prod them to change their toggle or risk losing their delegation. Maybe this is already possible, I’m not sure.

I like this concept overall but I fear that not allowing bakers to set a “do not cobake with me” flag will dissuade some participants.


@murbard it seems if baking will have adaptive inflation then liquidity baking should have adaptive inflation as well. Instead of sending 1.25 xtz to the Sirius DEX every block simply divide the total number of XTZ in the contract by a magic number to approximate an adaptive inflation that matches the inflation of baking. That way people are not worried about being diluted by liquidity baking. Also this can allow more liquidity baking trading-pairs to be subsidized since there will be no dilution to worry about.