Governance plan

1 grin = 1 vote establishes a plutocracy. I’m not sure it is a desired end state to have the rich rule over the poor. Decisions often end up being seen as illegitimate in this structure, i.e. “The fat cats are just trying to deepen their own pockets”-style reasoning.


Although the obvious alternative (1 user = 1 vote) seems unenforceable within the world of Grin. Even the blockchain security model (1 unit of mining power = 1 vote) establishes that same plutocracy.

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Bisq has developed a funding and governance model over the past 2 years. Here is a document descibing it on a high level:

Here are a few thoughts from what I have learned during that process:

  • Get consultancy from expert lawyers (MME in Switzerland is not bad). My learning was very valueable from that and led to the result that I want to stay out completely from the legal system (no foundation). But for being safe on the legal side (so that individuals don’t get liable) the project needs to be fully decentralized (like Bitcoin, Bisq is still not sufficiently decentralized on the human resources/developer side). Risks during bootstrapping can only be minimized with organic and slow growth (like Bitcoin).
  • Is funding a requirement? If not, life is easier for you…
  • If funding is not a requirement, question if governance is really required. Bitcoin does well without a strict formal process. Anarchy is governance as well. Not the easiest though… Informal meritocracy and repuation works. Being open source and forkable is a good protection against power abuse.
  • If governance is based on meritocracy you might need to link it with contributions and then you have a tool for fairly distribute funds to developers and for decision making (voting based on past contribution/earned stake). Bisq’s model is based on that.
  • The effort and complexity of such a model should not be underestimated (I did). In Bisq’s case the DAO is much more complex than the exchange itself and took considerable time to develop. It also adds quite a bit of risk. Programming money is hard (you know). Programming a “company” is harder.
  • If there is a second layer P2P network life gets easier. Doing all on-chain does not scale (Ethereum). Though if you can build it into your system and avoid to make it general purpose (like Ethereum) i tmight be good enough (like Decred - don’t know much about it though).
  • Flexibilty is more important than perfection. Over time there will be more resources to find better solutions. Being flexible to react on real problems is key. If your project works well for now without a formal governance you might not need it in the forseeable future as well. Maybe never as Bitcoin has shown.

Very valuable feedback @Manfred_Karrer, thanks for posting! One question

Did you try anything else before you decided a DAO was the way to go for development funding? If yes, how did that go and why did you end up programming a DAO?

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Yes we tried first with normal donations. As you can guess that is rather disappointing. Pays some small expenses but no dev salaries…
Then we did a crowdfunding campaign with Lighthouse (was a Bitcoin based anyone-can-pay crowdfunding project). We wanted to fund only the next milestone to fund 2 full time devs for 3 months. We asked for 20k USD and only reached 10k but as it was a all-or-nothing concept with Lighthouse we ended up with nothing as the goal was not met.

The DAO which we use now was actually planned from the very beginning, but it went through a lot of iterations. A main issue is that you cannot design anything which smells like securities as that would trigger high legal risks. Was looking into existing colored coin project (Counterparty) but ended up that I need features which have not been available there. Ethereum would have maybe worked but I did not want to introduce a new blockchain and I am very skeptical with Ethereum (to say the least).
Building our own system had a lot of benefits as we can design features as we need it and extend it to the trade protocol (there are 2 new trade protocol concepts out). Downside is as said that it got pretty complex and took more time/effort as expected. Also it is a high risk adventure.

individuals nominating theirselves

I and 20 alternative accounts nominate myself

Some talks I found interesting in the recent DGOV council