CIP 1 - CIP process

Hi Cardano Community,

We have recently transitioned CIP 1 from “Draft” to “Proposed” status. CIP 1 is meant to describe the process by which future CIPs would be progressed and reviewed as follow:

In that regard, we would like to invite the community to review and provide feedback on the current CIP1 proposal: thank you for pointing out areas that are unclear, confusing, or where we might otherwise be able to improve on.

From here, CIP editors will review the proposal in 30 days and - pending there are no outstanding issues - change the status to “Active”.


As I review CIP1 I find myself confused to the structure of the writing moving a CIP from Proposed to Active, bear with me as I am just seeking some clarification on my observation.

According to the documentation provided in the proposal there are 3 types of CIP’s

  1. A Standards Track CIP

  2. A Process CIP

  3. An Informational CIP

To move to Active status in the flow they must meet certain criteria:

“A proposed CIP may progress to active only when specific criteria reflecting real-world adoption have been met. These will be different for each CIP, depending on the nature of its proposed changes, which will be expanded on below. Evaluation of this status change should be objectively verifiable, and/or be discussed in the Cardano CIPs forum.”

Where I am looking for clarification is concerning #2, the description given for A Process CIP includes an explanation that they “they often require community consensus”:

“A Process CIP describes a process surrounding Cardano, or proposes a change to (or an event in) a process. Process CIPs are like Standards Track CIPs but apply to areas other than the Cardano protocol itself. They may propose an implementation, but not to Cardano’s codebase; they often require community consensus; unlike Informational CIPs, they are more than recommendations, and users are typically not free to ignore them. Examples include procedures, guidelines, changes to the decision-making process, and changes to the tools or environment used in Cardano development. Any meta-CIP is also considered a Process CIP.”

That said, if I expand on how a Process CIP is to be moved to Active I find “A Process CIP may change status from draft to active when it achieves rough consensus in the community”:

“The procedure for a Process CIP to progress from draft to active is slightly different: a Process CIP may change status from draft to active when it achieves rough consensus in the community. Such a proposal is said to have rough consensus if it has been open to discussion on the Cardano CIPs forum for at least one month, and no person maintains any unaddressed, substantiated objections to it. Addressed or obstructive objections may be ignored or overruled by general agreement that they have been sufficiently addressed, but clear reasoning must be given in such circumstances.”

Imho this is very heavily relying on the bitcoin BIP’s although Cardano is meant to improve the decentralized consensus experiment in the blockchain space, and yet the rough consensus of the BIP’s excludes any work done on Voltaire and the strength of liquid democracy that is meant to be designed to protect the ecosystem from unforeseen attacks, further it seems a well-built attack could come from not protecting all CIP’s by requiring Consensus from ADA Holders as a means of moving any CIP to an active state.

Is there a good reason that rough consensus is included as a means of community consensus and that an “objection may be ignored or overruled by general agreement” is included in the very foundation of the CIP process, I am just very confused on why we would not utilize the full benefit of the protocol for all of its development.

Hopefully, this area of this CIP1 can be improved on and unless clarified to the reasons that it appears to have a double standard that can be argued or debated from either point of consensus I do object to it.

Christopher Ray


Hi Christopher,

The current CIP process is still functionally an off-chain process, meant to facilitate conversations and share knowledge about Cardano. This is a first step towards self-sufficiency, but there are many more steps on that path going forward. As new tools and avenues open up I expect the process to evolve and change so as to facilitate greater visibility and accountability - as of right now this still requires the involvement of editors reviewing proposals. We are working on enabling greater involvement from the community at the review process in the coming months. Yes, the process takes after existing Improvement Proposals, but we are intently working towards the next steps towards Voltaire - there are many questions on that path the Voltaire team has been working on. The CIP effort does play a part in there, but for right now this is compartmentalized to enable iteration and open the door to other CIPs…
There is no current community voting mechanism for the CIP process at this point - there might be one around the corner, maybe one of the upcoming CIPs in the next few months, or one that can be written?

As-is, the CIP process will be honed and improved - and all are welcome to lend a hand: thank you for enabling conversations in forums or other, raising concerns, bringing up suggestions or constructive criticism.


Although I would truly like to see CIP1 edited to remove “rough consensus” I have put much thought into the benefit of the process it will afford others between now and Voltaire, and without better options to find consensus to make changes that benefit our ecosystem between now and then I will withdraw my objection so CIP1 moves forward without any conflicts.

I trust the developer community will work together in the best interest of Cardano and I do not expect bad decisions to be made if the CIP1 process is used between now and Voltaire.

I will however look for support to remove “rough consensus” and maybe edit a few other steps the process requires before CIP1 is utilized in Voltaire, for example:

“For a CIP to progress to active status, it requires adoption from the majority of the Cardano economy, including ada holders, stake pools, and exchanges, among others. Adoption must be demonstrated by de facto usage of the CIP in practice.”

It is my opinion that treasury could be used to further the ecosystem in ways we can not foresee at this point and a CIP should be required to access the distribution of ADA from the treasury where once such a CIP moves to “Active” the treasury releases funds, the above requirement of “de facto usage” would be very restrictive to only allow for something that can be used although it is likely that we could vote for research which hypothetically could come up with no usable results,

There are also other holes in CIP1 that could be looked at as it has been designed after other processes mainly BIP process that does not account for treasury to be utilized in the development to further that ecosystem.

Anyway… I will let this rest and return back to it when Voltaire can be utilized.

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The CIP process is intently compartmentalized from the treasury and the protocol itself for now. The Voltaire roadmap will likely shed better light on dependancies, relationships and symbiosis between parts. For right now, we’re striving to help the community understand the CIP structure as a collaboration tool to propose changes and communicate - implementation decisions (ex: protocol changes) are separate. Expect Governance, Treasury, Protocol upgrading to come up soon as Voltaire opens up post-Shelley…

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