CIP-1694 - From Representative Democracy, To Governance by Centralized Jury (The Constitutional Committee), And Evolving Toward Governance By Decentralized Juries

  • Community members delegate the voting power of their ADA to the DReps and the DReps vote however they want on all proposals with the delegated voting power.

  • A preselected jury known as the Constitutional Committee has final say whether proposals pass for the following reasons:

    • The DRep structure has no means to enforce that DReps debate nor is there any means to ensure the DReps make decisions based on information they have verified for themselves rather than simply voting by affiliation.
    • Eventually, representative democracy always converges to echo chambers, information bubbles, ignorance, hysteria, cronyism, corruption and ultimately very bad decisions.
    • To make matters worse, CIP-1694 is effectively a one ADA one vote system, so the whales get to make all the decisions unless something is done to keep them in check.
  • This is why IOG will appoint a jury of well informed highly respected community members (The Constitutional Committee) which shall have final say on governance issues.

  • Ultimately, CIP-1694 is governance by a centralized jury because the Constitutional Committee must agree before governance issues are passed.

  • And if IOG sponsors a proposal then they certainly have enough ADA to get it past the DRep process before passing it through their Constitutional Committee.

  • So despite the appearance of a representative democracy, governance issues in the Cardano community are ultimately decided by a fixed centralized jury.

  • This is not such a bad thing because juries of informed citizens typically make good decisions.

  • But a fixed jury appointed by IOG is not decentralized, and decentralized governance was the whole point of CIP-1694.

  • I don’t think the designers of CIP-1694 intended to create a governance by jury system. Rather I think they were just corralled by the constraints as they worked through the problems and arrived at governance by jury (The Constitutional Committee) without ever intending to do it. Isn’t this how natural selection works?

  • As shown in Beemocracy2.0, this is the same conclusion the bees arrived at through natural selection. The Constitutional Committee, however, is a centralized jury while the bees have a decentralized and randomized method of selecting an informed jury of scouts which evolved over millions of years. I think we are already seeing natural selection at work in Cardano governance and it is already evolving towards the most robust and effective type of collective decision making that nature selects for.

  • We can help the Cardano community transition from centralized governance by a fixed jury to decentralized governance of juries randomly selected from a large pool of well informed ADA holders.

  • One Solution Of Many: If we accept that the Constitutional Committee is just an appointed jury, then we can see a way to transition to decentralized juries selected at random from a pool of informed ADA holders using anonymous reputation linked to community service via digital signature.

  • Beemocracy2.0 is that solution and there must be many other solutions as well.

The important point is that CIP-1694 resolves to governance by Constitutional Committee. So there must be a robust way to rotate the jury in a decentralized and randomized manner that selects for well informed ADA holders.


Thanks @johnshearing for raising such concerns.

There is a dichotomy in that the CC and their decisions are centralized, that aims to address the very problems that the whales may be prone to prioritize their interest establishing SPOs and via DRep voting.

Since capitalism is accepted and encouraged, this means that actions undertaken for profit is expected. Therefore, it is ultimately necessary for members of the community to maintain open discussions to address potential gaps and problems in Cardano governance. This requires transparency in the moderation of Cardano platforms including that of this forum, Intersect platform and social media engagement. One of the solutions is that on such official pages that censored contents should remain shown such that community members can determine the validity of the moderation.

I believe this has to be discussed more, as to what metrics and standard determines of how ADA holders are considered to be well informed.

Looking forward, one the other problems that is expected to arise is that factions of the Cardano community prioritizes their own private gains. This is prone to result in tribalistic behaviour, as members of the Bitcoin community had, and continues to internally and externally express.

For effective governance to be maintained, a Code of Conduct should be written that preserves the merits and virtues that Cardano and its goals was developed to achieve. The sooner this is achieved, the more communal the community and CCs can be achieved pre-or-post ratification of CIP-1694.

This would be my advocated solution as to the proposed actions of such CIP.

Have there been any other discussions as to the implementation of Beemocractic ideals within IOG or CF?


Thanks for your comments @Marklaw.

The interesting thing is that the Cardano protocol would collapse if only DRep voting was used to decide governance issues whereas if only the Constitutional Committee makes governance decisions then it’s just business as usual and the Cardano protocol will run just fine. And as noted in my previous post, the DRep process is effectively bypassed by the CC anyway.

So why don’t we get rid of the part that isn’t being used (the DReps) and focus on decentralizing the part that actually works (the CC)?

This is specified in Beemocracy2.0. The relevant part is linked here and repeated below for convenience.

  • The reputation system will be tiered based on the following on chain criteria with the higher ranked scouts serving on juries which decide cases that hold greater importance for the community:
    • the amount of solicitations the scout has written for or against governance proposals within the last 365 days
    • the amount of solicitations the scout has written for or against governance proposals since the scout has been active
    • the range of subjects the scout writes about
    • the number of times a scout has served on a jury
    • the types of proposals the scout has helped decide
    • how many times the scout’s solicitations are cited by other scouts and by scout jurors when they decide cases
    • the types of cases they write about. Are they specialists in a particular area such as stake pool parameters, smart contracts, finance, ethics…?
    • the types of services they provide for the community
      • stake pool operator
      • library pool operator - helps store solicitations and governance documentation using IPFS protocol in a decentralized manner. Discussed in detail later in this document
      • creates educational material
      • respected youtubers
      • researchers
      • activists
      • Work at IOG, Cardano Foundation, Emurgo, government, partner corporations, DAOs
    • how often they add to or challenge other scout solicitations
    • how well their work is judged by other scouts
    • and so on

There was discussion about it Beemocracy1.0 when they were taking comments on CIP-1694

Beemocracy1.0 was trying to change CIP-1694 such that ADA holders would be required to delegate on each and every governance issue that they cared about and that delegators would be able to see clearly which DReps knew the most about the governance issue and presented an onchain locked vote to receive the ADA delegation.

It quickly became clear to me that large ADA holders will have complete control of governance and that they would be incentivized to destroy the protocol for short term gains. So Beemocracy2.0 was imagined where decentralized and randomized juries would be selected based on the anonymous reputation gained through community service and tracked on chain by digital signatures. So I bumbled onto governance by jury just like the bees did millions of years ago. I certainly didn’t design it - rather I just followed the constraints of the problem with guidance from the bees.

What just dawned on me through conversation with the community is that IOG bumbled onto governance by jury as well. Of course they did - the constraints of the problem led them to the same result. That’s how natural selection works. The only difference is that IOG’s version has no random component and is centralized. The implication for me is that natural selection is already at work in Cardano governance and if the protocol survives long enough then it will adopt a random, decentralized version of governance by jury. The problem is that IOG thinks they are engineering governance and have not yet grasped that the forces of evolution are at work selecting for the very same qualities that appear everywhere in nature where collective decision making is required. These qualities are most easily observed and studied in honey bee colonies but they are at work everywhere including in humans where good collective decisions must be coordinated between various parts of the brain. If IOG becomes aware of the evolutionary forces at work and understands that following them will lead to the most stable, resilient, governance that nature is able to produce then we will arrive more quickly which reduces the risk of collapse under bad governance and increases the claim on decentralized governance.

So why not get rid of the part that isn’t being used (the DReps) and focus on decentralizing the part that actually works (the CC)?