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Gavin Wood, the founder of the blockchain ecosystem Polkadot, said during the annual community meeting Polkadot Decoded that Polkadot has changed its decision-making process to be more inclusive and decentralized while drastically boosting the number of ideas that may be voted on.
An accompanying blog post adds that Polkadot's Governance version 2 (Gov2) would eliminate any favored "first-class citizens" in governance, such as the Polkadot Council and Technical Committee, leaving a single class of referendum participants. Additionally, the new edition incorporates several modifications to expedite governance procedures so that many choices may be taken concurrently.
According to the blog article, Gov2 will soon launch on Kusama, Polkadot's more agile and experimental sister network, pending a final professional examination of its code. Wood stated that once Gov2 has been tested on Kusama, a proposal would be created for the Polkadot network to vote on. He did not specify how long this process would take.
Decentralized administration of extensive and sophisticated systems is complex, as seen by Ethereum’s early, harrowing encounter with a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and the present state of acrimonious discourse enveloping the MakerDAO community.
Polkadot, which consists of a rule-enforcing relay chain and a series of separate but connected proof-of-stake blockchain environments running in parallel called parachains, now relies on an elected Council executive, whose limited bandwidth meant the system favored the in-depth consideration of a small number of proposals over the broad consideration of many.
The blog article adds, “In Gov2, anyone is able to start a referendum at any time, and they can do this as many times as they wish. Anyone can also vote on these referenda. There are no explicit limits on the number of referenda which are open to vote on at any time.”
While Gov2 seeks to eliminate a centralized voting hierarchy to make the possible breadth of items to vote on more manageable, the new system includes a ranking of decision-making importance:
Independent suggestions are defined by “Origins,” which indicates the importance of a proposal, and then they are allocated a “track” along which they advance.
For example, “the Root Origin has the highest thresholds and safeguards and only allows a single über-dangerous proposal to be decided at a time.” In contrast, less powerful Origins have shorter evaluation periods and lower approval thresholds.
The person responsible for the proposal may designate which Origin should be used to implement the proposal.
This allocation will determine which path the plan will take and how the referendum will be held.
“Having independent tracks allows us to tailor the dynamics of referenda based upon their implied privilege level. Referenda which execute their proposals from more powerful Origins will have more stringent safeguards, higher thresholds, and longer consideration periods,” the blog post states.
Before proposals can be elevated to a “deciding state,” they must meet three additional criteria levels: a lead-in period with a set time frame, a decision allocation (there must be space in an appropriate track for the proposal to be included), and the payment of a “decision deposit,” which covers the cost of on-chain storage of the referendum and prevents spam.
The Technical Committee, which existed in the initial iteration of Polkadot’s governance structure, will be replaced with a more decentralized group known as the “Polkadot Fellowship” to prevent the formation of a position of expert leadership or ruling cabal.
It will also prohibit members from having so much decision-making authority that they are susceptible to undue pressure (by authorities, “malevolent or benign,” for instance) to act in particular ways.
Unlike the present Technical Committee, the Fellowship is intended to encompass tens of thousands of members with far lower admission requirements in terms of administrative procedure flow and expected skill level.
The blog post adds, “The Fellowship is a mostly self-governing expert body with a primary goal of representing the humans who embody and contain the technical knowledge base of the Polkadot network and protocol.”
“Becoming a candidate member in the Fellowship is as easy as placing a small deposit.”
These members are then assigned a rank “to designate the degree to which the system expects their opinion to be well-informed, of a sound technical basis and in line with the interests of Polkadot.”
To make the process of rating Fellowship members open and responsible, a constitution will outline the standards and expectations associated with each rank.