Cardano Governance Updates: Community Input, Voltaire Phase, and CIP-1694 Updates

In this roundup, I’m trying to create an overview of the topics and themes discussed during the previous weeks concerning the Voltaire phase, CIP-1694, potential new CIPs or CPSs, and other relevant governance conversations within the Cardano community.

On March 13th, 2023, Jared Corduan, co-author of CIP-1694, unveiled a host of updates to the document, incorporating feedback gathered via GitHub comments on the pull request and outcomes from the Voltaire workshop in Colorado (February 28th - March 01st). The updates and changes include:

  • Constitutional Committee (CC) term limits:
    • Introducing a governance protocol parameter specifying the maximum number of epochs the CC can ratify governance actions.
    • Term limit resets if a new CC is elected or the quorum size changes.
  • Changes to the protocol parameter governance action:
    • Four distinct groups: Network, Economic, Technical, and Governance.
    • Governance group encompasses voting thresholds, constitutional committee term limits, governance action expiration, govDeposit, and drepDeposit.
  • Two pre-defined DReps that delegators can select:
    • Abstain
      • Abstain marks the stake as not participating in governance. Abstain votes are not included in the active voting stake.
    • No Confidence
      • Counts as a no vote on every governance action, except a motion of no confidence.
  • Registered DReps can be a native or Plutus script.
  • Incentives for Ada holders to delegate voting stake.
    • After the bootstrap phase, reward accounts are blocked from withdrawing rewards unless their stake credential is delegated to a DRep.
  • DRep incentives:
    • Research into the incentive model is still ongoing.
    • The interim proposal suggests escrowing Lovelace from the Cardano treasury until the community reaches a consensus on this crucial decision through the emerging on-chain governance mechanism. Alternatively, DReps could compensate themselves via the “Treasury withdrawal” governance action, which would be auditable on-chain and should represent an off-chain agreement between DReps and delegators.
  • New Governance Action: Info
    • Records actions on-chain without effect.
  • Active Voting Stake Threshold (AVST) was dropped.
  • Avoid clashing of governance actions by including the previous governance action ID of its given type.
    • Controlling the number of active governance actions relies on off-chain socialization.
  • The ratification of CIP-1694 is a circular problem.
    • A governance framework is needed to agree on the final governance framework, and CIPs are not authoritative governance mechanisms but describe technical solutions deemed sound by experts.
  • On-Chain Governance Bootstrap phase special provisions:
    • CC quorum vote to change protocol parameters and sufficient SPO vote to initiate a hard fork.
    • The bootstrap phase ends when a sufficient stake % is delegated to DReps, or a given number of epochs has passed.
    • Many believe that voting turnout won’t strain the system’s throughput. As a temporary safety measure upon ending the bootstrap phase, only DReps in the top X-ranked by stake or with at least Y Lovelace will be considered in the stake distribution. X will increase, and Y will decrease each epoch until they reach a negligible impact. If congestion becomes an issue, a hard fork could impose stricter limitations on DReps.

Updates and changes to CIP-1694 have sparked controversy among the Cardano community, particularly the idea of incentivizing high participation and legitimacy by blocking the withdrawal of accrued ada staking rewards, which are only unlockable if the wallet is delegated to any governance DRep, including the proposed pre-defined DReps. It is crucial to note that staking rewards are not lost but merely inaccessible until the wallet is delegated to a DRep.

Following the updates on CIP-1694, other community members proposed alternative governance mechanisms, such as @HeptaSean and his Minimal Viable Governance proposal shared on the Cardano Forum. He proposed a governance framework without a constitution or CC, no DReps, no SPO votes, and a voting system where every ada holder can directly vote. He suggests that essential governance actions include implementing hard forks, updating parameters, managing treasury withdrawals, and conducting polls.

Also noteworthy is a draft CPS shared by Pi Lanningham. This CPS aims to address the broad topic of Cardano governance by outlining motivations, goals, constraints, and open questions. It fosters more general philosophical discussions that could lead to alternative governance CIPs. The community will benefit from diverse perspectives by refining CIP-1694 or improving governance beyond the initial minimum viable governance.

I will continue to monitor the progression of the Voltaire era and post regular updates in this thread.

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Voltaire Update: Engaging the Cardano Community in Governance Discussions

In this text, we aim to provide a comprehensive summary of the latest discussions, recent blog posts, and other pertinent news related to the age of Voltaire.

Last week, the Cardano Foundation announced the SPO On-Chain Poll, a mechanism for stake pool operators to vote on specific questions based on the total stake amount controlled by their pool. This mechanism is similar to governance action 7 “info” from CIP-1694 as it has no binding effect but serves to gauge sentiment and better understand stake pool operators’ opinions on particular topics. Further information about the SPO On-Chain Poll can be found in this blog post.

On April 18th, IOG introduced the CIP-1694 community-led workshop grant program, co-funded by EMURGO and with support from the Cardano Foundation. This program encourages the community to host CIP-1694 workshops to discuss the intricacies of the proposal and produce outputs that contribute to its improvement. The initiative also aims to bring governance discussions to various countries, engaging participants from diverse backgrounds. The community could apply for governance workshops until May 1st, and successful applicants will be contacted in the coming week.

In addition to community-led workshops, IOG, EMURGO, and the Cardano Foundation will co-host three separate governance workshops. The first workshop will occur in Zug, Switzerland (CF), in early June, followed by the second in Tokyo, Japan (EMURGO). The third workshop, scheduled for July in Edinburgh, will mark the conclusion of the annual workshops and the end of the CIP-1694 design feedback loop. These events’ dates and additional information will be disclosed in early May.

Discussions on CIP-1694 continue through various channels, such as the CIP repository on GitHub and the Cardano Forum Governance category. A notable event from the past weeks was the community governance workshop sessions led by Rick McCracken on Cardano Governance Security. In these sessions, Rick examined the risks and threats that on-chain governance must address, as identified in the CPS - Governance Security he authored.

I will continue to monitor the progression of the Voltaire era and post regular updates in this thread.

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Voltaire Update: Recent Updates to CIP-1694

On May 3rd, Jared Corduan, one of the co-authors of CIP-1694, introduced a series of modifications to the proposal, focusing primarily on the Constitutional Committee (CC). For those needing a refresher, the CC, along with Delegated Representatives (DReps) and Stake Pool Operators (SPOs), are the three groups responsible for ratifying the governance actions. However, the CC operates differently, unlike the DReps and SPOs, who employ a token-weighted system and vote on proposals based on personal or delegated interests. Each member of the CC has only one vote, and their role is to assess the constitutionality of a governance action, ensuring it aligns with the yet-to-be-defined Cardano constitution.

The recent updates to CIP-1694 include the following:

  • New Protocol Parameter - Minimum Constitutional Committee Size: A new protocol parameter that defines the minimum size of the committee; has to be a non-negative number.

  • New Protocol Parameter - Maximum Constitutional Committee Term Limit: The maximum term limit will now be a governance protocol parameter, denoted in epochs. During a state of no-confidence, no action can be ratified. Thus, committees in a normal state should plan their succession to avoid disruption.

  • Individual Constitutional Committee Member Term Limits and Rotational Schedule: Previously, the entire Constitutional Committee shared a term limit. Now, individual term limits will be introduced. Members whose terms have expired will lose their voting rights, and members can choose to resign early.

  • No-Confidence State Triggered by Expired Members: The system will enter a state of no-confidence when the number of active committee members falls below the defined minimum. For example, a five-member committee with a quorum of three can still pass governance actions with two expired members if all active members vote ‘Yes.’ However, if another member expires, the system enters a state of no-confidence, as the remaining members cannot meet the quorum.

  • Constitutional Committee Cannot Vote on a New Committee: It was previously possible for the CC to vote alongside DReps to establish a new CC in a normal state. This is no longer the case; only DReps and SPOs can vote on this matter.

  • Interim Constitutional Committee with Short-Term Limits for Bootstrap Phase: The bootstrap phase ends when a set number of epochs have elapsed, as specified in the next ledger era configuration file. This phase will likely last several months post-hard-fork. An interim Constitutional Committee will also be established, with term limits expiring at the end of the bootstrap phase. The rotational schedule of the first non-bootstrap committee could be included in the constitution itself. However, since the Constitutional Committee never votes on new committees, it cannot enforce this rotation.

These updates represent an enhancement to the Constitutional Committee’s framework. They introduce term limitations, establish a minimum committee size, and redefine the committee’s role within the on-chain governance model proposed in CIP-1694. These strategic modifications mark an essential step forward in the evolution of Cardano’s governance structure.

I will continue to monitor the progression of the Voltaire era and post regular updates in this thread.

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Voltaire Update: Summary of Essay Concerning CIP-1694

Source: Cardano Improvement Proposal — 1694: Can Decentralized Communities Make Superior Decisions? | by PHOTREK, LLC | Medium by @Kenric_Nelson et al.

The insightful essay titled “Cardano Improvement Proposal — 1694: Can Decentralized Communities Make Superior Decisions?” released on June 9 by authors Kenric Nelson, Juana Attieh, Megan Hess, Vanessa Cardui, and Stephen Whitenstall, thoroughly dissects Cardano’s proposed transition to a community-centric governance model. CIP-1694, as the proposal is known, seeks to expand participation in Cardano’s governance through an innovative tricameral system, introducing new structures such as the Constitutional Committee (CC), Delegated Representatives (DReps) and extending upon existing structures such as Stakepool Operators (SPOs)​.

The authors delve into the fundamental query: “Can decentralized communities make superior decisions?” Their analysis identifies potential threats to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that Cardano will become, categorizing them into four quadrants based on a public-private and internal-external axis.

  • Internal & Public: Overboarding bureaucracy that restricts individual’s autonomy
  • Internal & Private: Individuals or small groups that hold sufficient power to dominate the system
  • External & Public: Government regulations that attack the system and its operating ability
  • External & Private: Centralized competitor whose decision-making diminished the value of the system

The essay argues that the key to overcoming these threats lies in the protocol’s ability to recognize and broadly disseminate the benefits of superior ideas. This approach discourages the accumulation of power while bolstering the organization’s competency​. The authors introduce the concept of consent-based decision-making, a process that seeks to obtain individual consent and address objections, contrasting it with the more traditional consensus-based decision-making reliant on voting and approval thresholds​​. To scale consent-based decision-making for larger organizations, they suggest the formation of autonomous subgroups or “holons.”

In their discussion of governance, they draw parallels between the traditional branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and analogous mechanisms within DAOs. In Cardano’s proposed model, Stakepool Operators (SPOs) are likened to the executive branch, the Delegated Representatives (DReps) to the legislative branch, and the Constitutional Council (CC) to the judicial branch​​.

Finally, the authors offer detailed recommendations for the three branches of Cardano’s proposed governance model in CIP-1694. For the CC, they suggest implementing strict KYC rules and consent-based decision-making and prohibiting CC members from serving as DReps. DReps, on the other hand, should adopt plural or quadratic voting and register a digital identity. Meanwhile, SPOs should continue to use one-coin-one-vote, expediting CIPs that address multipool operations’ profits​​.

One critical issue highlighted in the essay is the potential pitfalls of a one-coin-one-vote (1c1v) voting method, especially its implications for Cardano’s proposed governance model. The authors examine ada distribution among addresses, finding that the top 1% of addresses holding ada control over 80% of the circulating supply. Considering this and the nonlinear distribution of wealth and voting influence, the risk of having the voting system be captured by the wealthy few exist.

I will continue to monitor the progression of the Voltaire era and post regular updates in this thread.

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Lovecoach,

Thanks for a terrific summary of the Photrek, QA-DAO analysis. I’m impressed with clarity of your summary.

We are hosting an ATH discussion on Wed June 14th. I hope you and others will be able to join us to discuss the analysis.

Kenric

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Thank you for the summary Nicolas.

A fully timestamped video of the After Town Hall " CIP — 1694: Can Decentralized Communities Make Superior Decisions?" is now available on the QADAO YouTube channel here CIP — 1694: Can Decentralized Communities Make Superior Decisions? - YouTube

(Cross posted on Swarm YouTube and Ekphrasis GitBook here CIP — 1694: Can Decentralized Communities Make Superior Decisions?" - Ekphrasis as well)

S

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Voltaire Update: Recent Updates to CIP-1694

Last week on June 13 and June 16, 2023, minor changes were submitted to CIP-1694 by Jared Corduan and Matthias Benkort. The list of changes includes several minor edits and clarifications, such as:

Explain the DRep inactivity better

  • Introducing a new protocol parameter, “drepActivity.” This parameter indicates a fixed number of epochs. If a DRep does not cast a single vote for the epoch duration of the parameter, the DRep is considered inactive, and all the stake delegated to that DRep is no longer counted towards the active voting stake. It is vital to introduce an activity check in case a DRep leaves the system but does not issue a valid retirement certificate because, in that case, the DRep and the stake that is delegated to them will be counted towards the active voting stake indefinitely, which ultimately could lead to a system where a substantial amount of stake, necessary to meet any voting thresholds, is delegated to stale DReps.

Make all governance actions contain an optional anchor

  • All governance actions can include an optional anchor for any metadata that is needed to justify the action

Explain how DRep deposits are returned

  • It was clarified that as soon as the chain accepts a retirement certificate from a DRep, their deposit amount is returned to them as part of the transaction that submitted the certificate. This follows the same approach as the stake credential registration deposits and how they are returned.

New Constitutional Committee structure (i.e., explicit add and delete groups)

  • It is now explicitly mentioned that governance action “2. New constitutional committee and/or threshold” can also change the term limits of the constitutional committee. It is also stated that this governance action has to include the following specific elements “The set of verification key hash digests (members to be removed), a map of verification key hash digests to epoch numbers (new members and their term limit), and a fraction (quorum threshold)”

SPOs vote on info action

  • SPOs can now also vote on governance action “Info.” The SPO and DRep thresholds for the Info action are currently set to 100% since setting it any lower would result in being unable to poll above the threshold.

Optional anchor for voting transactions

  • All Vote transactions can now contain an optional anchor for information that is relevant to the vote

While the changes made have been minor it is still important to highlight them and specifically showcase the necessity to clarify certain aspects of the proposal.

I will continue to monitor the progression of the Voltaire era and post regular updates in this thread.

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Great work!

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Voltaire Update: CIP-1694 Pull Request Merged: Next Steps and Community Reactions

After almost eight months of collecting feedback and undergoing various fundamental changes, as reported above, on Friday, June 30, 2023, the CIP-1694 Pull Request was merged into the main branch of the CIP repository on GitHub. By doing so, the proposal obtained the status of “Proposed.” CIP editor, Matthias Benkort, provided some context on why the merge was happening now and not as originally planned after the final CIP-1694 workshop in Edinburgh (July 11-12).

With the recent departure of Jared Corduan from IOG, who was also a CIP editor and championing the CIP-1694 pull request, the other CIP editors concluded that it was the right time to move the proposal forward.

Some community members were surprised by this action and voiced their concern on GitHub (1, 2). One of the commentators mentioned that no alternative governance model was even considered, and another stated that he didn’t understand why things were rushed. The two commentators were reminded by other contributors that it has been almost eight months since CIP-1694 was first introduced, the pull request got over 700 comments, more than any other CIP before, and as of today, no alternative governance solution has been put forth for discussion.

It is important to note that a merged CIP is not a binding document nor has any authority to command changes to a project. As Matthias Benkort mentioned in one of the comments:

A CIP is first and foremost, a technical solution to a problem that is thoroughly discussed and backed by arguments. … A CIP isn’t an order or a statement of work, it is a rather detailed solution that may or may not be implemented.

Once a CIP is merged, it only means that the soundness, technical details, and rationale of the proposal align with the requirements described in CIP-0001, nothing else. Teams and companies for CIP-1694, IOG, still need to come in and commit to implementing the changes described in the CIP. In short, a merged CIP does not have more authority than a CIP that is still a Pull Request.

Now that CIP-1694 has been merged and is available on the main branch in the CIP repository, it is also easier to discuss specific intricacies of the proposal in separate pull requests. The next crucial step for CIP-1694 is the ratification process. While the proposal is ready, the community still needs to ratify the proposal publicly. There are different ideas and ways on how to do that. For stake pool operators (SPOs), it makes sense to use the on-chain SPO polls as described in CIP-0094 to measure sentiment. Ultimately, SPOs directly vote by upgrading their nodes that contain the Voltaire code.

I will continue to monitor the progression of the Voltaire era and post regular updates in this thread.

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A related work now in progress is to include a French version of CIP-1694, once we can agree upon some kind of versioning:

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Voltaire Update: Exploring an Alternative Voting Scheme for CIP-1694 and Goodbye Governance Action Deposit?

Following the merge of the CIP-1694 pull request, discussions surrounding the design choices of the proposal have continued. Two aspects, in particular, have piqued my interest.

First, there’s the alternative voting scheme proposed by Kenric Nelson. It’s aimed at improving the current “one coin, one vote” setup. Pi Lanningham, CTO at SundaeSwap Labs, describes it as follows: “… a DReps deposit imposes a ceiling on their voting power, which scales with the square of the deposit, while voting power instead comes from the ada delegated to you, which scales with the square root.” The objective of this plural voting scheme is to dilute the plutocratic tendency of CIP-1694’s current design. An initial analysis by Pi found in a separate GitHub issue clarified the proposed idea and showed that while it seeks to limit the voting power of ada whales, they can circumvent these restrictions by determining the ideal equilibrium between their deposit and the optimal number of ada wallets and stake, then simply dividing their wallets accordingly. Ada whales can balance their influence by splitting their wallets and finding the correct ratio between deposit, wallet quantity, and stake. As it stands, the proposed scheme could unfairly advantage dishonest actors with the technical abilities to distribute their votes over honest actors who merely wish to delegate their single wallet to a DRep.

Second, I was intrigued by a new pull request to CIP-1694, presented by Matthias Benkort. He suggests the implementation of a governance action fee instead of a deposit. In the current design of CIP-1694, each on-chain governance action requires an ada deposit, refundable once the action is finalized (whether it is ratified, dropped, or expired). Matthias proposes replacing this ada deposit (set by the protocol parameter govDeposit) with a fee defined by the new parameter minGovernanceFee.

The intriguing aspect of this proposal is that any amount exceeding the minimum fee would be used to proportionally compensate all participating DReps based on their stake that vote on the relevant governance action. This introduces a sort of fee market for governance actions while also addressing DRep incentivization. Proposers of governance actions who want to expedite their proposal could include a substantial fee to attract the attention of DReps. However, questions remain, such as what happens to the fee if a governance action is dropped due to a motion of no-confidence or if the governance action receives no votes.

If fees or any direct, quantitative incentive are introduced, it might prompt DReps to vote on as many governance actions as possible to maximize rewards. Consequently, the merit-based review of governance actions by DReps could become obsolete. The silver lining is that such behaviors would be visible on-chain, allowing delegators to assess their DReps’ actions and determine whether they make informed decisions or merely farm rewards.

We will continue to monitor and update you about the developments of CIP-1694, its ratification process, and every other news item about the Age of Voltaire.

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Voltaire Update: Recap of CIP-1694 Workshop in Edinburgh

Just last week, the fascinating conclusion of the CIP-1694 workshop took place in Edinburgh. On July 11 and 12, representatives from IOG, EMURGO, and the Cardano Foundation engaged with a global network of workshop hosts, collectively pondering over Cardano’s Minimum Viable Governance (MVG) model as described in the CIP-1694. Participants were encouraged to work with a specific Miro board set up for the workshop.

The first day, July 11, was about networking and sharing unique insights from the various in-person and online workshops. There were, in total, 50 workshops, 30 in-person and 20 online, with over 1000 participants from at least 23 countries. Representatives from the in-person workshop were invited to Edinburgh to discuss and share their insights with their peers.

Key observations from day 1 included a minimal viable constitution, presented by the LATAM representatives, that sparked considerable interest. The group also acknowledged the need for DReps to be diverse to adequately represent the Cardano community. It became clear that off-chain discussions are integral as they articulate the motives behind on-chain actions. There was an understanding that a significant portion of governance would be managed off-chain while CIP-1694 would dictate what happens on-chain. Furthermore, the group agreed that proper tooling needs to be available before the mainnet launch. The exchange of diverse opinions and feedback was recognized as a critical aspect of a successful governance system. The groups also discussed that the Minimal Viable Governance (MVG) launch could proceed even without a formal constitution or constitutional committee (CC). Lastly, many participants stressed the importance of a publicly available roadmap.

The discussions from the first day indicated that while people wish to participate, they prefer to avoid unnecessary confusion and red tape. This necessitates the clarification of the extent of off-chain involvement within the MVG. High community participation in devnets/testnets was deemed essential for better understanding. The day’s discussions also raised important questions. For instance, if the initial rollout of CIP-1694 had a small maximum treasury withdrawal, could there be a defined growth process for withdrawal sizes? It was also queried whether one coin, one vote (1c1v) could be reversed in the future.

The next steps, as defined by the participants, require a focus on various elements of the governance structure. First, the DRep incentives must be addressed, then discussing if a delegation to a DRep should have a fixed expiration date. Questions on the need for DRep saturation, similar to the k parameter for Stake Pool Operators (SPOs), must be answered. In addition, mechanisms to handle emergencies that demand a quick response must be implemented. It’s also important to finalize the on-chain parameters for the initial setup conditions of the MVG. Focused discussions solely on on-chain mechanisms and parameters will be essential. Compromises should be sought to reach the MVG successfully. Proposals for a DRep school and detailed discussions on what parameters can be changed with an on-chain vote must be considered. Lastly, the bootstrap phase (time between mainnet launch and having a working DRep system) needs further elaboration, including its goals, timeline, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The venue was filled with passionate debates and insightful presentations on the second day. All focused on the future of Cardano’s governance system. Kevin Hammond started with a presentation on the impressive level of community engagement with CIP-1694.

In his presentations, Kevin laid out the six key issues discussed in all CIP-1694 workshops: on-chain deposits, treasury withdrawals, community tooling, action expiration, action thresholds, and DRep incentives. From these, four had achieved a consensus among the community:

  1. Treasury withdrawals: The community agreed on the need for limits on treasury withdrawals, with the consensus being small (100k ADA), mid (1m ADA), and large (10m ADA) withdrawal caps. There was also an underlying belief that “Cardano needs to be in a working condition.”
  2. Community tooling: The necessity for various tools was highlighted, including dashboards, DRep directories, mobile DApp support, and educational materials.
  3. Action Expiration: The consensus centered on a six epochs timeframe for action expiration.
  4. DRep Incentives: There was broad agreement that DReps should be compensated, with the preferred method being a percentage of ADA staked delegated to the DReps.

Three topics failed to achieve a clear consensus: on-chain deposits for DReps and governance actions and the thresholds for governance actions’ enactment. For the latter, the discussion included proposals for a simple majority rule for all governance actions or having different thresholds depending on the type of action.

A presentation by Philips Lazos and Vangelis Markakis, both IOG researchers, delved deeper into DRep incentives. They proposed an on-chain compensation mechanism for rewarding DReps in ADA, which should be based on the stake delegated to them. They explored several possible schemes, with a study on reward-sharing schemes via a game-theoretic analysis of “effort games.” Options such as a top-k flat scheme, top-k threshold-based scheme, and top-k tiered scheme were considered.

Following the presentation about DRep incentives, the workshop transitioned into a voting phase where all participants were asked to vote and potentially ratify six focal issues: Treasury Withdrawals, Community Tooling, Action Expiration, DRep Incentives, On-Chain Deposits, and Action Thresholds. Only three of the six topics selected for the voting phase were voted on.

The group agreed with 47 yes, 0 no, and 4 Abstain votes that the features listed for community tooling were correctly set.

Another topic that was voted on and received overwhelming support was the Action Expiration time frame of 6 epochs, roughly one month (44 Yes, 6 No, 5 Abstain). Similarly, the Action Threshold question of “Do we need differing levels of participation and approval for each type of governance action OR keep them the same?” Forty-four votes for differing levels, three votes for Keep the Same, and ten votes for Abstain.

Specific key topics, such as treasury withdrawals, did not go to a vote. This subject sparked the most debate throughout the day due to confusion over the categories of small (<= 100k ADA), medium (100k to 1m ADA), and large (1m to 10m ADA; maximum = 10m ADA) withdrawals. The consensus from the discussion was the need for a specialized working group to examine this topic and develop strategies for setting the initial thresholds for the devnet.

Another discussion also centered around DRep incentives, but no decisive conclusion was reached. Key questions yet to be answered include: when are DReps paid, where do the funds come from, and what formula is used to calculate rewards?

On-Chain Deposits, another key issue, did not go to a vote due to the need for more time to reach a consensus. It is vital to remember that deposits are required to protect the network from potential disruptions. This can occur if creating excessive on-chain governance actions becomes too cheap, leading to a possible denial of service attack.

After the intense discussions around the focal topics, all 14 groups of the workshop were tasked to create a concept for community tooling that addresses one of the following topics:

  • DRep Directories
  • Mobile DApp Support
  • Educational Materials
  • Language Support
  • User-Friendly Dashboards
  • Easy Voting Tools
  • Accessibility

You can check out all the different ideas on the Miro board. Following the ideation process, participants could vote for their favorite project by standing up from their table and walking to the team’s table they wished to support. The top three concepts were:

  1. DiDi App (DRep Directories) - That aims to provide a standard for DRep public profiles, boosting their visibility.
  2. Educational Material - Covering everything from being a DRep, voter, and proposer.
  3. The DReptory (DRep Directories) - A one-stop-shop for voters to research, find current information and access the DRep’s previous performance.

Day 2 of the CIP-1694 workshop in Edinburgh witnessed vibrant discussions and valuable insights critical for the Cardano network’s future development. Although there was no consensus on every topic, the event highlighted the power of collective discussion and decision-making. This spirit of community involvement and open discussion exemplifies Cardano’s commitment to decentralized governance and sets a promising direction for the platform’s future developments.

I will continue to monitor and update you about the developments of CIP-1694, its ratification process, and every other news item about the Age of Voltaire.

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Great recap. This is really valuable for peaple like me (stuck at home😅) doing work.
Hopefully you can share more information about the incoming CIP-0095 and Sancho devnet. I will be there 1 rst stage to read it. Thank you so much for considering peaple like me who could not attend this workshop. I really apreciate it. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Voltaire Update: Metadata Standards at the Forefront of Cardano’s Governance

Something that caught my attention in the last few days was a new CIP submitted by Pi Lanningham, CTO of Sundae Labs, addressing the question of what metadata standards we should establish for the future on-chain governance model on Cardano, as described in CIP-1694.

For those unfamiliar, metadata is a feature that can be added to a transaction on Cardano to embed additional information specific to that transaction. A clear example of this can be seen with NFTs on the Cardano blockchain. The on-chain information of an NFT is not the visual representation (like the image of a beloved penguin) but rather specific data that links to a file containing that image.

There are established standards guiding developers on how to structure this metadata for NFT projects. Why are these standards crucial? Without such standards, every NFT marketplace or visualization tool like pool.pm would need to adapt to different NFT projects’ unique approaches to display their assets correctly. Standards help ensure consistency, allowing tools, infrastructure, and companies working with NFTs to display and interact with your NFTs correctly. Without following these standards, there’s a risk that an NFT may not be displayed or interacted with correctly.

Turning back to governance, and more specifically CIP-1694, all the particular transactions associated with Minimal Viable Governance (MVG), such as submitting a governance action (GA), registering as a delegated representative (DRep), or voting as a constitutional committee (CC) member, among other things, will need to incorporate specific and structured metadata that adheres to a certain standard. If not, there’s a risk that particular governance tools may not correctly interpret or display the information contained in the metadata.

Pi’s proposal outlines several core objectives, including:

  1. Standardizing a format for rich metadata related to Cardano governance.
  2. Standardizing a minimal and uncontroversial set of fields to support “Minimal Viable Governance.”
  3. Leaving the format open to extension and experimentation.
  4. Enabling tooling and ecosystem developers to build the best user experiences possible.
  5. Providing a set of best practices that tooling and ecosystem developers can rely on for the health and integrity of this data.

The document also mentions several standards, such as JSON-LD (JSON Linked Data) for document structuring, the usage of RFC 2119 keyword interpretations, and content-addressable storage mediums such as IPFS or Arweave for content hosting.

While the CIP is still a draft and needs to be refined, it is a fantastic initiative that requires more attention. Governance metadata is the cornerstone of a working on-chain governance model.

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Voltaire Update: Cardano Node 8.2.0-pre - Advancements in the Conway Ledger Era and Improved Operational Flexibility

The release of Cardano-node 8.2.0-pre presents a variety of innovative features and enhancements. Progress has been made on the Conway ledger era to support new governance features via CIP-1694. In this first phase of the SanchoNet rollout, discussed in the CIP-1694 workshop in Edinburgh on July 12, 2023, the Conway ledger era now allows for Stake Pool Operators (SPOs) to vote on changes to the on-chain constitution. It is essential to underscore that this version is only intended for deployment on the sanchonet (Voltaire testnet) and preview public test environment. Do not use it for mainnet or preprod.

Conway era related changes:

  • Introduction of a DRep with pre-defined DReps that vote No and Abstain.
  • Change DCert type to a TxCert type family and introduce new certificates.
  • Implement voting on NewConstitution by StakePools as the most basic example of voting.
  • Implement query for getting Constitution hash from the ledger state.
  • Change structure of Governance Procedures in the TxBody.
  • Fix TICKF rule, avoiding VRF verification and syncing issues.
  • Clear out TxOuts with zero value from the UTxO upon translation into Conway.
  • Add --conway-era flag in cardano-cli.
  • Update cardano-cli with the ability to create votes and governance actions.
  • Update transaction build with the ability to specify votes and governance actions.

Other relevant enhancements and changes:

  • In terms of recommendations, refrain from building with ghc v9 as the performance with ghc v8 continues to exhibit superiority.
  • A newly introduced flag --start-as-non-producing-node allows to start a node by pointing to fictitious (or nonexistent) KES/VRF/opcert paths. With this non-producing standby mode, you can transition the KES/VRF/opcert files of the block producer to this location and simply “SIGHUP” the node to ingest the files and transition into a block producer, all without necessitating a restart. This adjustment streamlines the process of upgrading block-producing nodes.
  • The node now has a cap on resolving up to 8 DNS names for public peers and a maximum of 2 for local root peers, and this is in parallel, not an absolute restriction.
  • The version alignment between cardano-node and cardano-cli was removed, allowing for the release of a new cli version with updated functionality, independent of waiting for a fresh node release.
  • The cardano-cli ping has adopted the ISO8601 timestamp format and includes a --query-versions flag.

Comprehensive release notes, detailing all the nuances, are accessible at the following link: Release Cardano Node 8.2.0-pre · input-output-hk/cardano-node · GitHub

I will continue to monitor and update you about the developments of CIP-1694, its ratification process, and every other news item about the Age of Voltaire.

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Voltaire Update: Changes to CIP-1694

On 4 August 2023, a pull request was submitted to CIP-1694 with some semantic changes, clean-ups from previous changes, and implementation of ideas that came up during the Edinburgh workshop on 11-12 July 2023. Here is an overview of the changes:

  • The governance action to update the Constitution now also includes a proposal policy. A proposal policy is a script that can control what treasury withdrawals and protocol parameter changes are allowed. This script is an additional failsafe to the constitutional committee that restricts some proposal types. This can be immensely useful for the community, especially if they wish to implement “hard” rules for treasury withdrawals.
  • Remove the dropping of governance actions. The only effect this has is that actions stay around if a no-confidence action passes. However, only new committee proposals that build on top of that no-confidence action can be enacted. If a new committee gets elected while some of those actions haven’t expired, they can be ratified, but the new committee has to approve them.
  • All governance actions are enacted one epoch after they are ratified.
  • Move post-bootstrapping restrictions into the “Other Ideas” section. These restrictions include the implementation of a temporary safety measure even after the bootstrap phase has ended due to the foreseeable low voter turnout. The idea is only to consider the top X-DReps ranked by stake amount or those DReps with a least Y lovelaces. As the epochs progress, X will increase, and Y will decrease. Ultimately X will be effectively infinite, and Y will be zero.
  • Add a section on different deposit amounts to “Other Ideas.” The outcome of many workshops was that attendees thought having different deposit amounts for the governance action types would be beneficial.
  • Add a section for a minimum Active Voting Stake (AVS) to “Other Ideas.” This is the idea of introducing a fixed amount of stake that has to cast a “Yes” vote on an action for it to be enacted.
  • Rename some protocol parameters, such as minimal constitutional committee size (ccMinSize) or governance action maximum lifetime in epochs (govActionLifetime)
  • Turn the Constitution into an anchor. An anchor is a pair of a URL to a JSON payload of metadata and a hash of the contents of the metadata URL.
  • Rework which anchors are required and which are optional.

I will continue to monitor and update you about the developments of CIP-1694, its ratification process, and every other news item about the Age of Voltaire.

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Voltaire Update: Assessing Community Perspectives - The CIP-1694 Ballot Event and the Future of Cardano Governance

Introduction

On November 15, Intersect, a member-based organization on Cardano, announced a community-wide poll. This poll aims to gauge the community’s sentiment toward the current path of developing and deploying the on-chain governance model as described in CIP-1694. The announcement can be found here. The voting event will leverage the Cardano Ballot web application developed by the Cardano Foundation. This application has previously been used to vote on the Cardano Summit Awards. For this ballot event, the IOG and the Cardano Foundation engineering teams joined forces to make it work. In this article, we will focus on the exact details of the poll highlight community feedback, and its implications.

Details of the Poll

It is essential to emphasize that the ballot event is not about ratifying CIP-1694; it is a temperature check about the current state of development and deployment of CIP-1694 and part of a feedback cycle to strengthen community participation. It is also important to mention that, unlike previous ballot events, the voting power is stake-based this time, meaning that it will use the one coin, one vote system. So, what’s the question? Here it is:

Based on the current progress, should we as a Cardano community continue to develop and deploy minimum viable on-chain governance as described in CIP-1694, subject to the final approval of the SPOs?

Voters will be able to either vote YES, NO, or ABSTAIN and also include a comment with their vote. This comment box allows voters to provide additional context to their choice. For example, if somebody votes no, it would be beneficial to know why they voted this way in the first place.

The timeline of the CIP-1694 ballot event is as follows:

  • Registration Phase: November 15 - November 20
  • Snapshot: November 21 - Before 21:44 UTC
  • Voting begins: December 1
  • Voting ends: December 11
  • Results announced: December 16

As the voting mechanism is stake-weighted, a snapshot of all the Cardano wallets is necessary to record the voting power of each wallet. Once the ballot is open, the community will have two entire epochs to vote. The voting results will be announced on December 16.

The Cardano Ballot uses the open-source Wallet Connector developed by the Cardano Foundation, leveraging CIP-30 and CIP-8 standards. It works with many Cardano wallets; the exact list can be found here. For this ballot event, hardware wallets and the Daedalus wallet are not supported. It is crucial to emphasize that the missing support for hardware wallets is not due to a lack of functionality from the Cardano Foundation’s implementation side, but features missing in the firmware of the hardware wallets. In this case, message signing of CIP-30 data is not yet supported by hardware wallets.

A proposal to implement the message signing features for Trezor and Ledger, submitted by Vacuumlabs, was funded in Project Catalyst Fund 10; you can follow along with the milestones here. Their goal is to deliver those features by April 2024.

Initial Community Feedback

The initial feedback from the community was primarily negative and highlighted the fact that hardware wallets, such as Ledger or Trezor, would not be able to participate in the vote. Some even claimed that a temperature check to gauge the overall sentiment isn’t representative if a significant percentage of the Cardano Community could not participate in the poll. This feedback showcases the growing demand for inclusive and accessible governance tools in the Cardano ecosystem.

Voices from the community:

Others were also confused about the perceived sudden announcement of the poll, even though this has been known since NFTxLV, the Cardano Summit, and also teased by Charles in one of his livestreams.

Additional feedback was provided on the actual questions. Community members suggested that when polling the community, two questions shouldn’t be combined into one; in our case, the “develop” and “deploy” parts.

Official Responses to Feedback

After the initial wave of criticism, it was clear that more context and information were needed to clarify the intent of the vote. Intersect released another thread on X, making it abundantly clear that the ballot event is a non-binding poll and should be seen as an opportunity to provide valuable feedback about Cardano’s on-chain governance transition. Charles Hoskinson also emphasized this in a livestream he recorded on X on November 16, where he also mentioned other temperature checks in the future that will support hardware wallets.

Final Thoughts

The ballot event starting on December 1 will be an excellent opportunity for the Cardano community to share their feedback and make their voices heard. While the poll is non-binding and future polls with Hardware wallet support will follow, the data gathered now and in the future will surely contribute to a more robust, inclusive, and effective governance model for Cardano.

Governance is complicated, and one of the pillars of a pluralistic community, such as Cardano, is that it will never be possible to please everyone. Considering the feedback, the first Cardano Ballot event should have included hardware wallet support in the first place.

While constructive criticism is always welcome, we can quickly lose focus on what this poll is trying to achieve: to measure the community sentiment towards the current path we are on with CIP-1694, the governance devnet (SanchoNet), and the overall governance journey. If we want on-chain governance to be successful, it is necessary to co-create this system with the broader community and encourage engagement and feedback from all sides.

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Thank you Nicolas, there’s a lot of information there and it is always challenging to receive much criticism or praise and still be able to identify the most significant responses. In this case, I hope it’s noted that the notification and announcement of the ballot provided five days to register. The time or date of the polling aren’t as relevant as the notification window from the announcement to the snapshot, nor is the lack of hardware wallet support IMO. I would recommend a 10 or 15 day window for the snapshot to occur after the announcement. I understand it was mentioned at NFTxLV, the Summit, and in some videos but I am inclined to think that there are more people that didn’t attend those events or watch the videos than there are people with hardware wallets.

I believe CIP1694 includes some guidelines around announcements and notifications but if not, it’s something easily addressed.

Voltaire Update: The CIP-1694 Temperature Checks - Insights and Analysis

The Cardano Ballot temperature check on CIP-1694 successfully concluded on 16 December 2023 when the voting results were announced. You can find the results on the leaderboard page of the Cardano Ballot page. The community conducted a second temperature check alongside the Cardano Ballot temperature check. The Summon Association, a leading DAO tooling provider on Cardano, and DripDropz, a pioneering token distribution system, joined forces to bring the Cardano Community another opportunity to indicate their preferences regarding the current progress of the CIP-1694 development. You can find their voting results here.

As mentioned in my previous post, the Cardano Ballot, in its current stage, could not support hardware wallets. This gap is where Summon and DripDropz’s solution came in. Their voting DApp also supported Hardware Wallets and, later in the voting process, even allowed voting via the cardano-cli. It is a testament to a maturing community to see builders from separate teams coming together and implementing a second poll with additional features. This was a clear signal of how mature the Cardano community and its builders are.

Voting Results Cardano Ballot

Answer Choice Total Votes Voting Power (ADA) Average Voting Power (ADA) Proportion of Votes (%) Standard Error of Proportion Margin of Error for 95% CI 95% CI - Lower Bound (%) 95% CI - Upper Bound (%)
Yes 720 110,744,335.92 153,811.58 93.39% 0.00895096315 0.01754356541 91.63% 95.14%
No 30 148,003.93 4,933.46 3.89% 0.00696447148 0.01365011328 2.53% 5.26%
Abstain 21 835,765.20 39,798.34 2.72% 0.005862174095 0.01148965011 1.57% 3.87%
Totals 771 111,728,105.05 144,913.24

Participation and Stake Analysis:

Interestingly, the turnout for the ballot was relatively low, with only 771 wallets voting out of over 1.3 million. This represents a mere 0.06% of the total wallets, a factor that could impact the representativeness of these results. Regarding stake, the 111.73 million ada that participated are only 0.49% of the total staked ada, which currently is around 22.75 billion ada. It is important to note three significant outliers in the “Yes” votes from the Cardano Foundation, IOG, and EMURGO. They have not been removed in this analysis.

Factors Influencing Low Turnout:

  • The nature of the poll as a non-binding temperature check likely contributed to the low turnout. Ada holders might not have been motivated to participate in a decision-making process that would not directly lead to immediate or binding outcomes.
  • The relatively short notice of two weeks for the Cardano Ballot event might not have been sufficient for a broader community engagement. This lack of adequate time for public awareness and marketing could be a critical factor in the low participation.
  • Many ada holders are not interested in participating in the governance process.

Understanding Confidence Intervals

To understand the implications of these numbers, let’s explore the concept of confidence intervals. At its core, a 95% confidence interval suggests a fascinating idea: if we conducted the same poll over and over, about 95 times out of 100, the results would fall within this interval. It’s a statistical tool that gives us insights into how the broader population, in our case, all the delegated wallets, might behave or respond based on the patterns we observe in a smaller sample. Essentially, it’s like taking a snapshot of a small group and, with 95% confidence, projecting that picture onto the larger canvas of the entire population.

95% Confidence Interval Analysis for Cardano Ballot Votes

  • 95% Confidence Interval for “Yes” Votes: 91.63% to 95.14%

    • This interval suggests that if the entire wallet population had voted, between 91.63% and 95.14% would likely have voted “Yes.” The high lower bound of 91.63% indicates a strong preference for the “Yes” option, although this is based on a small sample of voters.
  • 95% Confidence Interval for “No” Votes: 2.53% to 5.26%

    • This range implies that, under similar voting conditions, between 2.53% and 5.26% of all wallets might have voted “No.” While a minority, this indicates a notable divergence of opinion within the voting population.
  • 95% Confidence Interval for “Abstain” Votes: 1.57% to 3.87%

    • The proportion of “Abstain” votes among the entire wallet population could range between 1.57% and 3.87%, pointing to a segment of voters who were undecided or sought more information.

Results from the Summon Platform

Notably, the outlier “Yes” vote from the Cardano Foundation of 11.43m ada was removed for this analysis. In addition to removing the outlier, it is crucial to note that the Summon Platform allowed voters to delegate their voting power to someone else. Twenty-four delegated their voting power of 64.21 thousand ada.

Answer Choice Total Votes Voting Power (ADA) Average Voting Power (ADA) Proportion of Votes (%) Standard Error of Proportion Margin of Error for 95% CI 95% CI - Lower Bound (%) 95% CI - Upper Bound (%)
Yes 185 14,087,538.41 76,148.86 93.43% 0.01760190833 0.03449910642 89.98% 96.88%
No 7 123,872.08 17,696.01 3.54% 0.01312405127 0.02572266784 0.96% 6.11%
Abstain 6 4,225.29 704.22 3.03% 0.01218227655 0.0238768233 0.64% 5.42%
Total 198 14,215,635.78 71,796.14

Participation and Stake Analysis

The participation in the Summon event was notably low, with only 222 wallets voting out of 1.3 million delegated wallets. This represents about 0.02% of the total wallets. Regarding stake, 14.22 million ada participated, which is only 0.06% of the total staked ada.

95% Confidence Interval Analysis for Summon Platform Votes

  • 95% Confidence Interval for “Yes” Votes: 89.98% to 96.88%
    • This suggests that if the entire population of wallets had voted, we could expect between 89.98% and 96.88% of them to vote “Yes,” with 95% confidence.
  • 95% Confidence Interval for “No” Votes: 0.96% to 6.11%
    • This range implies that, if voting patterns were consistent, between 0.96% and 6.11% of all wallets would have voted “No.”
  • 95% Confidence Interval for “Abstain” Votes: 0.64% to 5.42%
    • The interval suggests that the proportion of “Abstain” votes in the entire wallet population might be between 0.64% and 5.42%.

Overall Implications and Future Directions

While for both the Cardano Ballot and Summon Platform temperature check, the “Yes” votes dominate among those who participated, the confidence intervals highlight that there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding the true sentiment of the entire wallet population. Interestingly, the proportion of “Yes” votes is remarkably similar across both platforms, suggesting a consistent preference among those who chose to participate.

The low turnout in both samples and the confidence intervals suggests that the results should be interpreted cautiously. They provide a snapshot of the opinions of a minor, potentially non-representative segment of the broad community sentiment.

Understanding why most ada holders chose not to participate is as crucial as analyzing the preferences of those who did. This insight could guide future engagement strategies and decision-making processes within the Cardano community.

My Reflections

Despite the low participation in both temperature checks, these exercises provide valuable lessons for future governance polls. We need more inclusive and user-friendly polls with higher participation rates to gauge the community’s sentiment. Future temperature checks should cater to all wallet types and be accessible in multiple languages, reflecting the diversity of the Cardano community.

The recent move by the Cardano Foundation to open source Cardano Ballot paves the way for anyone capable of initiating a voting event, marking a step towards inclusive and decentralized governance. As we progress on this governance journey, understanding and adapting to the community’s needs will be vital to fostering a robust and participative ecosystem.

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Confidence Intervals

You can only reliably give confidence intervals if you have a random sample. That’s kind of questionable here. There probably is a huge participation bias.

Biased Question

The question to be answered was: “ Based on the current progress, should we as a Cardano community continue to develop and deploy minimum viable on-chain governance as described in CIP-1694, subject to the final approval of the SPOs?”

I don’t find it surprising or remarkable at all that both polls got an overwhelming Yes (only reiterated by the confidence intervals all being completely above 89%).

This question lumps together everything from “Yeah! Great work!” to “Well, okay for a start, but there is a lot to be done!” into “Yes” and only leaves “I’d rather have nothing than this! Even if Hoskinson burns his Genesis keys in a meltdown!” for “No".

That’s just an acclamation.

Have to put my reasons for voting “No” in a separate post, will be kind of lost at the bottom of this thread.

Edit: Did write it down in more detail:

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