This is going to be a mega thread on Cardano governance.

We're about to enter the Voltaire era, and I've got things to say on the proposed governance mechanisms.

Follow along to learn what is being proposed, what it means for you, and how I think it should be changed


Since Github is a confusing mess for comments I'm creating a tweet thread and Youtube video. Github is not accessible to non-engineers. If we want inclusive feedback I strongly urge the team move to a forum for conversations.

Otherwise your conversation will look like:

You can watch the video where I share my thoughts on Voltaire and CIP 1694 here:

@IOHK_Charles @danny_cryptofay as FYI
You can find CIP-1694 (The Voltaire CIP) here:…

If you haven't participated in Cosmos governance I suggest it as a working model to learn from.

You can browse Cosmos proposals here:…
and forum here:…

There are 4 components to the CIP:
1. A constitution
2. A governance body
3. Governance actions
4. Voting mechanisms

The constitution is a document that is yet to be written. And IMO the entire premise of the governance body, actions and constitutional committee depend heavily on the contents of this document.

It seems premature to talk about constitutional committee powers without this

The governance body is divided into:
Constitutional Committee: Initially insiders from IOG et al
SPOs: As you know and love them today
Delegated Representatives (DReps): Entities you can delegate your voting power who will delegate on your behalf/

The constitutional committee has vast powers, including the ability to veto any governance action except motions of no-confidence or calls for a new committee.

This centralizes power in the hands of a few individuals, notably current insiders.

This is troubling as the constitutional committee is very difficult to replace. They can veto replacing the committee, which effectively means that the only way to replace members of the committee is though a no-confidence vote that requires a majority vote of SPOs and DReps

Let me not put too fine a point on it:

CIP-1694 is setup such that IOG et al will never lose control over Cardano outside of extreme circumstances.

This is just a veneer of decentralized governance.

The other key point to note is who is not part of the governance body: ADA Stakers. This great diagram is from @AaireVoltaire

That's right, regular ADA users cannot participate in governance without becoming a DRep.

The thresholds for becoming a DRep are still being discussed, but outside a threshold accessible to the majority of ADA stakers (not average wallet size, median+) the regular ADA user will have no direct control over governance.

The idea to create delegated representatives for non-technical governance actions is good. Not everyone has the time or inclination to understand the nuance of all proposals, and being able to delegate decisions to reps you align with is good all round.

IMO this delegation MUST be accompanied by the ability for individual stakers to override their delegates vote for a proposal that is currently being voted on. This is the best way to ensure the will of stakers is done, especially on controversial proposals.

The governance actions seem a reasonable initial set. In particular the hard-fork initiation puts good powers into the hands of governance (well effectively the constitutional committee, which is effectively IOG et al)

The governance actions don't yet seem to account for spam. It might be worthwhile introducing a mechanism where users put some funds at risk for a proposal.

Cosmos does this via the 'No with Veto' vote that causes funds to be forfeit for a proposal.

I'm not quite clear on how stale votes are treated. It seems like they expire each epoch? This seems not ideal if it forces DReps to vote again.

The voting mechanism includes Yes, No and Abstain.
There will also be a quorum requirement, for Active Stake Threshold and a fallback to SPO vote.

I do like the SPO fallback, and thinks it provides good resiliency to governance.

If you found this thread helpful please share with others, and comment below your thoughts on Voltaire and CIP-1694 as proposed.
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