Announcement: Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIP1) transitioning to ‘proposed’ status

A process to grow Cardano’s ecosystem and support continual progression.

The first draft of the Cardano Improvement Proposal describing the CIP process itself (CIP1) is transitioning to ‘proposed’ status. A formal communication process was needed on how to achieve compatibility, to add features that depend on integration, and to agree on standards. CIPs are meant to be building blocks for future platform development, a move towards standardization, and better quality control for proposals. CIP1 contains the proposed guidelines for CIPs and is managed by CIP Editors.

The CIP process is a first tentative step towards the decentralization and autonomy of the community to future-proof the long-term sustainability of Cardano. This will continue to empower the community to unite and take a proactive stance on the direction of the protocol. We want to foster new and innovative improvement proposals and boost their respective independence. - Nathan Kaiser, Chairperson, Cardano Foundation.


The main objectives of this initial draft of CIPs are to enable the Cardano community to propose changes to the protocol or to a process, and to provide general guidelines and information to the Cardano community.

What are CIPs?

Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs) are formalized documents for the Cardano community, providing information or describing new features or processes. CIPs contain the technical specifications for the proposed changes and act as a reference tool for discussions in the community.

Anyone within the Cardano community has the ability to create a CIP. Guidelines for writing CIPs are included in CIP1. The CIP should provide a concise technical specification for the feature and its rationale. The CIP author is responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting dissenting opinions (before and during discussion). Given the nature of CIPs, most authors are likely to be developers, but that is not a requirement.

  • CIPs are an agreed communication framework to discuss chain-relevant content, facilitate changes, processes or chain modifications;
  • CIPs are standards for formatting, discussing, and submitting proposals;
  • CIPs are hosted on Cardano Foundation’s Github repository.

Why do CIPs matter?

CIPs play a central role in how changes happen and are documented for Cardano. Submitting Improvement proposals is a way for people to propose, debate, and adopt changes. There are different types of CIPs, defined in CIP1: Standard CIPs, Process, and Informational CIPs.

Three Types of CIP

Along with providing a technical specification for changes, The Cardano Foundation intends CIPs to enable the proposing of new features, collecting community input on an issue, and for documenting design decisions that have gone into Cardano. The CIP revision history serves as the chronological record of the changes in the Github repository.

  • CIPs are NOT a governance process. Decisions are off-chain;
  • CIPs are NOT binding;
  • CIPs are NOT a funding mechanism. However, the CIP framework is built so that it could easily support a separate Funding process.

Learn more…

As we look forward to the continuing development of the platform and ultimately the evolution towards on-chain governance through Voltaire, now is the time to formalize and standardize how we define, curate, and review proposals for improvement. It is an early but important step, and we invite you to join us in reviewing and discussing this new process. Full documentation and information are available on the Cardano Foundation repo here:


thank you for working on this and putting it out for the community to get an insight and input into the future of the processes, communication and technology at the heart of our technology.

on my initial readings a few things stood out. i’ll touch on a few here, hopefully you can proving clarity on your thinking and approach.

what efforts would mitigate censorship/centralisation of power/influence? as it is it’s incompatible with


how is this compatible with a decentralised accountable system? if the community is not core to this - cause as it stands - here on the forum where discourse for these CIPs is proposed to take place moderators/ambassadors have already censored with zero accountability.

how is the above (an environment full of terminology and processes really alien and discouraging to most that are not developers) compatible with

i understand the need for git/versioning - but to me this implementation comes across as the quick and easy, not the difficult but right. I’ve heard charles mention some idea to have a decentralised implementation, why aren’t we starting to work towards that today.

my sense about how this cipprocess has been approached (from the initial post that preceeded this one) has been to copy paste bitcoins bip. it’s one thing a to take inspiration as a foundation, but to slavishly keep to it when PoS gives all these opportunities that PoW just isn’t capable of implementing.

we have really enviable foundations. foundations that were arrived at through a FIRST PRINCIPLES approach. why we would now abandon them seems, is such a shame.

let’s get back to FIRST PRINCIPLES. :bowing_man:t5:‍♂


Hi @misteraxyz. Thank you for engaging with us on this, I appreciate the investment you’ve made to read, think and discuss these important ideas! Not everyone reading contributes a comment, however, every comment is discussed with the team.

CIP Editors have influence and that’s a risk. This is a position that has influence, because there is a need to proofread and facilitate the process. If there is censorship that becomes an issue, we trust the community to speak up. In the short-term we get to deliver a working process for communicating improvement proposals: that outweighs waiting for a perfect model, without crossing it off the board. That being said, this is an iterative process and one which we will improve. We do plan to involve the community further by opening up the role of CIP Editor to members of the community in the near future.

A CIP is a communication tool. It’s compatible with a decentralized system in that it’s a form of communication for the people building it. It’s not intended to be binding or on-chain. Like in life, sometimes structure is needed to have a productive discussion about an idea, and people need to follow a given format to keep it on track. Improvement Processes like the ones already in place are often like that, where the purpose is to have the discussion and ensure that the salient parts of the discussion are accessible and visible to the community.

I’m not aware of the history of comments or posts that may have led to this concern. A good heuristic to follow is to ensure posts follow the rules of any community you want to post in, however, if there is an issue that you think is serious and unjust then the way to escalate it would be to talk to myself or @caseymonroecf.

CIPs can be submitted by anyone, however, there is likely to be a relatively high technical requirement to be capable of writing a CIP. This is due to the technical nature and understanding of the environment we’re working in. This isn’t the only way proposals and ideas from the community might be discussed. The CIP process is a formalized way of submitting a proposal and building community consensus… but not the only way, or even a prerequisite for a change to make it to the protocol.

Following industry standards is a way to implement tried and tested systems. Cardano is not just a technology, but a paradigm shift. My thinking is we don’t need to reinvent the wheel needlessly: we looked at other similar improvement proposals and built this model with them in mind, improving where feasible. This is an open process, we gladly welcome suggestions about where you (or others) might have ideas for improvement.


Guys about the proposals:

Did you considered to design some economic games into the “propose and vote” flow?

Example: DAOstack

On DAOstack there is a kind of “gambling system” where you can bet on one proposal to upgrade the “level of attention” this proposal is getting.

If this proposal is merged, then you would win some coins (Maybe a fee from the network).



By the way, I liked the model! Congrats! :clap:t4:


hey @marcusoregano, interesting contribution. i was actually just hanging a conversation where i was saying that the DAO structure could really be beneficial in the cip implementation.

so yea, great minds ey :nerd_face:

as for the gambling aspect :slot_machine: i’m not sold on the idea as that’s more to do with chance, and given that the cip would have to do with key decisions with the protocol, community and so on - probably best not to leave it to chance.

especially cause that would introduce a separate incentive (to win rewards) which would most likely go counter to the intention of the proposal (to improve an aspect of community or protocol not for a subset to win some rewards for making something popular, cause popular =/= (is not always equivalent to) good or better.

but if what you’re getting at is gamification, then yea i agree.

either way perhaps you can expand on what you’ve suggested by giving an example?


I was thinking of a simple gamification. Something like a bug bounty would be nice too. The gambling game would help on the “limited attention” problem: to filter the proposals. Maybe suboptimal choice.

Some gaming engagement seems to be a wise choice. :innocent:

PR’s authorship already seems to create an interesting game with “professional gains”. The monetary benefit would only aim to increase engagement. Make the game more promising. I don’t know what the best way would be. Bug bounty, Gambling, etc.


hey @marcusoregano, i’m glad we agree on the gambling being a suboptimal choice as well as believing that gamification has great potential.

i’m reminded of this theory by Randy Farmer

you can watch a presentation he gives here, where he breaks down the different kind of community members along with what kind of rewards tend to best incentivise them:

there’s also this article at ui patterns which also looks at a similar idea, but in implementation. basically how various incentives work in the context of designing a user interface / user experience in on boarding them:

both of these reference are reeeally worth checking out. i’ve been planning on doing a video expressing how i think some of these ideas could be implemented - which would be greatly influence with feedback from anyone who checks them out! :smile:


Sub-optimal models are well accepted in modern models. I list below some criticisms of the general balance (Walrasian) that made partial balance(sub-optimal) so widely used today. A apprehensive perception regarding the use of partial equilibria is no longer modern in my humble opinion.

Partial equilibrium approaches (sub-optimal):
(1) Theory of Incentives and the design of mechanisms based on Hurwicz
(2) Theory of non-cooperative games from Nash and von Neumann
(3) Cooperative game theory from Shapley and Oskar Morgenstern

My opinion is that some games/scenarios could be tabulated to understand how it would be possible to gamify the flow. I am not 100% sure that the [image’s or video’s] games will work as intended unless they are tabulated, modeled and tested in production.

DAOstack has already tested the game with community. Bug bounty is also a very common game on the market. Maybe it could request a more datailed analysis.

Thanks for the inputs.


AlphaStar comes to mind. is that the sort of thing your alluding to here

if so have you suggestions of alternative approaches, or perhaps a system can be designed with this presumption in mind, creating a positive feedback loop from this self serving behaviour - that’d actually benefit the community.


Sorry for the big delay. :sweat_smile: I’ve read the link about AlphaStar. It seems to focus on Nash distribuition games. In other words, competitive games.

Maybe cooperative game theory from Shapley would better fit to this. Because agents would share the improvemments from the code. If it is about gains, then each should have a gain equivalent to their marginal contribution to the total gains (and costs/opportunity costs shared based on shadow-prices). Onde problem is that the “sum of the slices is not always equal to the size of the cake” in social choice.

Thanks for sharing the Starcraft AI link. Interesting :thought_balloon:

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At the virtual summit today, Dor Garbash went over ‘the voting process’ and showed a demo voting ‘app’ for lack of a better word.
In that 'app there is a ‘Project Proposal’.
You can read here :

Does this technological in system proposal and voting not make githubs CIP’s obselete? Or will the CIP’s work alongside the in system proposal/voting?

I get the feeling one group of people are creating one solution and another group of people are creating another solution, and they didn’t talk with each other?


Hello @Lucky.
No, these things are different. CIPs are not about voting and not about funding. It is really only a way of proposing ideas in a good way. When a vote is taken on something - it can have a CIP (I would even go so far as to say that that would be helpful), but it does not necessarily has to have a one.

Conversely, this also means that the fact that there is a CIP for something does not automatically mean that it will be voted on.


But there was an incentivised proposal method in the technology of the voting system Bingsheng Zhang showed. I suggest you watch the video in the summit if you haven’t or talk to him. (At time of writing; replays don’t seem possible in the summit software because more videos are coming today)

The technology wasn’t just voting and funding. I don’t think he even mentioned funding, or if so very briefly.

Which comes back to my point: “I get the feeling one group of people are creating one solution, and another group of people are creating another solution, and they didn’t talk with each other”

I get it IF CIP is an interim solution before Voltaire, but I would much prefer a technological solution built in to the system like Dor Garbash showed, because a github manual solution will have hierarchy, individual bias and other bureaucratic problems.


It was Day 1 Dor Garbash ‘Announcing: Catalyst Project and Voting app’ 0:23:50

Also Day2 ‘Decentralised software updates’ Nikos Karagiannidis talked about SIP’s on Voltaire. (I assume not in github)

So back to my original question:
Does this technological in system proposal and voting not make githubs offchain CIP’s obselete? Or will the CIP’s work alongside the in system proposal/voting?


Hey @Lucky - Thanks for the opportunity to elaborate a bit.
The greater Voltaire effort is notably made up of multiple parts, some of the visible ones:

  • The CIP framework as a communication platform.
  • Catalyst project as a treasury platform for fund allocation.
  • Priviledge project re: decentralized software updating.

Not only are those projects talking to each-others but they often work together and in the same direction. The important governance mechanisms are still not fully outlined as current experiments are still taking place, but rest assured, each has its place as we move forward.
For further details there’s a Summit Day 2 talk I did about the CIP framework: I encourage you to watch it for an extended look into things. There is no direct link yet, but if you log onto the summit website you will find it at the end of the governance track…(should be made available later on youtube though)
Also: The Cardano Effect ep.94 with Sebastien from Emurgo and Matthias from IOHK!

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@Fredericas as an insider (why is this information proprietary) perhaps you could simply answer if CiP has the above centralised issues (hierarchy, individual bias and other bureaucratic problems)

The whole process is public: the reviews are visible on github and you can weigh in yourself if you have concerns in there - everything is very public and auditable. The editors are functionally there to help the community, if you see something that appears not in line with the community, do speak up. For reference, you’re talking about a product that has been tried and tested by all major chains, so tweaking will take some very careful tuning - but that’s where we’re going towards down the line - this ISN’T governance. Governance comes later with Voltaire: Be Patient!

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Charles’ video was good:
skip to around 40mins. I’m pleased to see some complexity of thought on the topic, because the offchain github CIP idea presented is/was worriyngly rudimentary, and potentially centralised, which was a big concern for me. It’s exponentially better if all this is automated/software based and onchain.

I still don’t understand how offchain CIP fits in to the onchain voltaire, and I hope it doesn’t have much influence long term.

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It’s simply a catalog of ideas that are written down formally. Do you want to jump on a call and we’ll go through it?