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

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.