Hopefully this helps. If the Network is broadly distributed in terms of farmers at launch, then this sort of collusion is less of a concern. However, it is more likely that farming will be relatively concentrated at launch. For example, what percentage of the populace would know about and be ready to farm from day one. Think about the type of person who would be primed for this and have the resources (e.g. informational, financial, etc.) to readily participate. In this, first mover advantages would actually apply and carry weight.
Say farming is relatively concentrated at launch. If groups arose that provide a significant chunk of farming, they could enforce their own rules regarding bidding. They may, for example, seek to artificially keep the reward/price low so as to deter others from entering the market. This assumes that farming increases in efficiency at scale. Many individuals would either stay out of farming because of the price suppression or join these pools because it increases their likelihood of seeing some reward. This is what I mean by colluding to keep the size of the pie small in order to have a bigger slice.
Put another way, a group of HBS students were asked whether they’d rather live in a world where they earned $100K and everyone else earned $50K, or one in which they earned $250K and everyone else earned $200K. They choose to live in the first world because we perceive wealth in (erroneously) relative terms.
Since Safecoin can also be exchange traded, how do market forces impact this thinking? Could the market (I.e. mechanism of exchange) determine Safecoin’s price while the Network need only determine the conversion rate for purchasing resources and receiving rewards? In which case, the conversion rate would be dependent on supply/demand for Network resources, which in turn can be agnostic of market price.
Otherwise put, why can’t the Network simply control the exchange rate such that the reward/price for Network resources fluctuate based on supply/demand of said resources? In such a model, human intervention (I.e. bidding) is not necessary. This of course would require setting an initial exchange rate SAFE:PUT and laying down rules for understanding Network supply and demand. You’ve done some interesting thought experiments around that like Polls: How much will you spend? How much storage do you need? etc and Exploration of a live network economy.
The allocation of rewards for providing Network resources could either be fixed (x supply guarantees y reward) or probabilistic (x supply provides z probability of receiving y reward). Although this approach could still see concentration in farming supply due to sheer economies of scale, it at least would remove the ability of individual entities to directly manipulate reward value and allocation.