CIP - Cardano Professional Society

CIP - Cardano Professional Society

As an academic, when I think about a Members Based Organization I imagine a structure similar to a global technical professional society with independent decentralized sub-divisions, committees, summits/meetings, community events/outreach, standards bodies, and professional networking. My hope for a Members Based Organization (MBO) or Professional Society is that it would always be a decentralized community organization.

I’m imagining the CPS/MBO would have 6 major aspects/divisions which could parallel the 6 infinity stones of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each division would be fairly autonomous, cross-collaborative when necessary, and could create sub-committees or standards bodies as they determine necessary.

The Soul of Cardano (Orange)
The soul of Cardano is Governance. This would be the first division and would establish the convention, bylaws, andor constitution. Soul would eventually be responsible for bi/tri cameral governance (CIP-1694), Users’ bill of rights and constitution, Catalyst and Treasury responsibility, on-chain petitioning / voting, updating by-laws and structure, Voltaire responsibilities, transition from genesis keys during Voltaire, lobbying and legal matters.

The Space of Cardano (Blue)
The space of Cardano will include: Influencers, Summits & Conferences, Community Events, Outreach, Social Media, Public Relations / Marketing / Advertising, responsibility for Cardano Summit.

The Timeline of Cardano (Green)
The timeline of Cardano is the immutable blockchain. This group is the Stake Pool Operators with responsibility for the base layer ledger, cardano-node implementations & code responsibilities, and testing / testnets.

The Fabric/Multiverse of Cardano (Red)
All aspects of global scaling. Layer-2, Side-chains, parallel-chains, cross-chain integration, ‘Basho’ and scaling responsibilities.

The Power of Cardano (Purple)
All aspects of functionality including wallets (and wallet standard committee), Dapps, application developers, DeFi developers, UI/UX integrations and considerations.

The Mind of Cardano (Yellow)
Responsibility for CIP/CPS process, Research, Innovation, Education.

Each division should be able to self-operate under the bylaws, select members and leaders independently, maintain independent communication methods & infrastructure, AND maintain independent financial & spending authority with multi signature wallet(s) (maybe term-limited). It may be wise for each division to handle financial matters like donations, dues, sponsorship, grants, or Treasury funding independent of the greater CPS/MBO in ADA-only on-chain for transparency. I would also recommend secondary secure decentralized censorship-resistant communication channel(s) that members and leaders could be connected via Signal or Matrix groups (with self-created sub-groups).

Addressing the elephant in the room:

It is clear that CF, IOG, and/or Emurgo should not be a centralized perpetual MBO leader. IOG/CF/Emurgo and/or the employees thereof should join, significantly contribute to, and financially support the different divisions of the MBO. It is my hope that the Cardano MBO / Professional Society has a high social-MAV and avoids building bureaucratic hierarchies.

On Image and Branding
I’m a fan of the Marvel MCU and together the MBO represented by a cardano logo of infinity stones can propagate the blockchain into the future.

Historical background and problem statement

Cardano was founded with both a centralized governance and centralized federated network with the hope that both would be decentralized to the community according to the 5 age/era roadmap. Centralized governance consisted of 3 genesis organizations (IOG, CF, Emurgo) with 7 genesis keys controlling treasury spending and the blockchain network parameters (IOG 3-keys, CF 2-keys, Emurgo 2-keys with a 5/7 majority).

The original centralized governance has already failed because CF had structural problems and historically did not use its keys (until Vasil HF), Emurgo disappeared and delegated its 2 genesis keys to IOG, and IOG was delayed covering a much larger responsibility scope. There were no checks and balances. Nobody could find CF or Emurgo in default and enforce a penalty or corrective action. We have been trusting 1 organization: IOG. IMHO Charles is trustworthy and has my trust, however with the current problems in the crypto currency industry trusting 1 company, 1 leader, 1 person is not a philosophically acceptable model. The Age of Voltaire is the era of transforming centralized governance into decentralized governance, retiring the centralized genesis key hierarchy and transferring treasury spending powers and network parameter control to the community.

The Shelley era transformed the centralized federated network into a decentralized network. The goal was to centralize to k=500 pools with an MAV of about 250. This failed because the incentives were decided by a ‘trusted’ small centralized groupthink of academics that made mistakes. Charles never whiteboarded the reward equation chart for community debate. The network decentralization is currently k~40 MAV=21. CIP-50 is the effort to correct this centralized groupthink RSS paper failure the Cardano way: with a community effort to research then publish an RSS-revision-2 paper for community consideration.

The concept of a MBO embodies the hopes for future decentralized Cardano governance on-chain and off-chain architecture. If the governance architecture does not involve community ideas, community input, and community audit it is my fear that governance will fail and become more centralized than the network MAV, an oligarchy/plutocracy with at best a MAV 21/40 majority. It is my fear that a MBO with a centralized hierarchical model (with a founder/king/monarch, director(s), super delegate(s), board member(s) ) could fail just like CF and Emurgo already historically failed. The CIP process is the de-facto way of Cardano Improvement Proposals involving the community.

It will be necessary for the entire Cardano community to assemble a hivemind for the best possible ideas to make the best constitution/bylaws we can … starting below.


Using a metaphor like the Marvel stones can be okay, if it’s balanced with other metaphors and more universal language.

I’m not a strong fan of Marvel, and know nothing of the stones.

Simple color associations would apply to more people, and this needs to reach a broad audience. We need to avoid anything that is too cultural specific or narrow, imo.

Personally, I appreciate the effort you have put into this and your enthusiasm for Marvel. Your thought process can be part of a more diversity based approach, as academics are part of the whole spectrum of members. I’m not an academic and would lose interest quickly if this became overly weighted in that direction. Still I value the contribution an academic approach can make to the larger picture.


First of all, I think that certain basic principles must be defined on which to build governance:

  1. Decentralized structure without bureaucracy. Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO): The Brief History, Challenges, and Lessons Learned
  2. Voluntary participation. There is no obligation to participate.
  3. Public participation. All can participate if they have a certain minimum amount of funds in ADAS
  4. Participation with privacy. The Importance of Privacy and Decentralized Identity. You are your data.
  5. Participation with equity. Each voter has 1 vote + an additional amount per amount of ADAs in the wallet, with a certain maximum limit, to avoid whales and centralization, but respecting the skin in the game.
  6. Direct vote. Decentralization Vulnerable in Cardano Catalyst: dReps

Some Governance Models: Defining Decentralized Governance and the Multitude of Different Models

Then, on the basis of these principles as a guide, governance can be built.


A lot of existing DAO structures are based around the idea of collectivism without responsibility and your influence is based around the wealth. It’s the tragedy of the commons all over again, including the super-wealthy landowners getting wealthier.

The decisions tend to favour an already powerful minority - and one important group, merchants/customers who use the platform but don’t hold a lot of coins, don’t really have a voice.

Any structure should seek to address some of those points:

  • some constitution that sets out roles and responsibilities
  • a segregation in powers
  • clear guidance on how actors can be replaced
  • some explicit accommodation for enterprise partners

What the MBO actually needs to do:

  • determine the direction for the platform (desires, pain points)
  • develop a strategy to addresses those concerns
  • find and engage the right people to execute that strategy
  • hold those people accountable if they don’t deliver

All that takes money.

Everyone loves big government and the gravy train of benefits and enhancements on-chain until it comes time to pay the bill. Free riding is a real issue - but we don’t want to over-monetize things either.

So before we talk about what we want to pay for, it’s probably worth thinking who is going to pay - and how that is going to work for the next couple decades - not just the next couple years.

  • Grants
  • Donations
  • Membership Dues
  • Sponsorship
  • Fund Raising Campaigns
  • Crowd Funding

(You can probably do events and training / certifications at-cost.)

This is the Marvel discussion we actually need to be having


I like this proposal. Especially the different divisions of the MBO. I think they are organized quite well. However, I agree with @Emanatepresence that the Marvel metaphor probably shouldn’t be used for the final version of the MBO. Overall, I think this is a great start to the MBO conversation!


Accountability mechanisms are important! Any solutions for that? This could apply within a division and between different divisions. With 6 independent divisions there could be consideration of a no-confidence mechanism.

On financials, if each division maintains independent financials they would retain maximum flexibility. The house/Senate/body/assembly would vote on funding division budgets.

Umm… except we will not have a centralized bank or banker figure behind the desk of the MBO. Right… Right…


Yes, this addresses a good topic that immediately occurred to me as well: how do you make something sustainable for many generations? Just like the Cardano Treasury, where Catalyst has these fund limits, an MBO must be made sustainable aswell, it cannot work if you burn 30% of the resources in one year. This can probably only work with a tiered membership concept where the membership fees for tier 1 are high enough to cover these costs. (I touched on this here)

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I like the overall groupings of different important areas!

Although i’m more interested in the logic behind paying for membership and whether those that participate get paid for their time. If people are working in any functional group that support, maintain and improve parts of the ecosystem they should get fair pay for fair work.

If anyone is working for free and this is considered as the only sustainable approach for a network trying to become a financial operating system then that to me is at least a sign this isn’t going in the right direction. Getting the incentive structures in place so peoples time is respected is important - those with less ADA in the system should not be working to improve an ecosystem where the proportionally larger beneficiary is the whales.

More content about the incentive structures and thoughts around that will definitely be appreciated!


At the end of Voltaire the MBO and the governance of the people will fully control the Treasury balance, the Treasury fill rate (tau), the Treasury payout rate (tau-prime), and the budgets of each division of the Cardano MBO. At the end of Voltaire IOG/CF/Emurgo will lose Treasury powers, will not hold Voltaire governance or hostage, and will not transfer the Treasury balance to themselves before the end of Voltaire.

Each division could choose to pay contributors, be paid dues/fees by members, accept sponsorships, accept grants, pay grants/awards, establish limited duration contracts, maintain a term to term independent carryover/reserve/endowment, choose to transfer to another division, andor choose to return funds to the treasury. Each parameter (tau, tau’) could have hard coded safe limits which would require a hardfork and the time stone SPO group to approve/endorse.

I am aware that robust check and balance mechanisms would be absolutely necessary.

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Awesome Post, thanks a loot for that @Michael.Liesenfelt :pray:
one thing which comes to my mind, we had this DCF thing which was quite promoted last year and was aimed to go in a similar direction and to solve similar issues as what MBO aims to solve

For context

Tho, not sure what happened but the DCF thing quite vanished away. Maybe it’s worth revisiting what happened and why it failed. Learned lessons from there could help to avoid similar failures and improve any upcoming initiatives regarding the establishment of a MBO


In my opinion this is the point of the treasury. We are charging a 20% tax and it has a lot of money already. It should be used to setup MBO. I don’t think we want a system where the only ones who can participate are the ones who can pay to play


I like the idea of democratic sortition adapted to an MBO. This will decentralized decision making through randomization much like block leaders randomized selection. Democracy Better
I do not like outsized skin in the game voting rights as banksters VCs and their infinite money printing machines can just buy into total control.
SelfSovereign DiDs are very important for privacy and voting to avoid censorship.
This covid19 censorship paper was just published on Springer, you can read a summary here
Censorship and Defamation- Weapons of Control

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Decentralized governance will never look like centralized governance.

Nor can it be made in its image. Neither can a centrally specified MBO led to decentralized governance. This is just another way to outsource governance in the image of IOG. A reproduction of corporate concerns and priorities.

Decentralized governance cannot be designed.

All that can be done is create favorable conditions for decentralized nodes to emerge. A top down design is not a favorable condition.

Favorable conditions include -

Minimalism - no complicated systems, processes or organizations seeking to design everything. Instead the governance node is very specfic, fragmented and localized.
Pluralism - decentralization has led to a fragmentation of governance which can accommodate dissenting views and communities.
Fragmentation - many treasuries emerge as the central treasury dissolves.
Localism - no universal vales, no constitutional models and no bicameral system. These political bias just reproduce republican or American concerns and seek to impose these values on others. Decentralism implies localism and many different often contrary values.
Accountability is relational - accountability is primarily about viable relations between nodes. Can different communities or functions work or play together ? If stable relations of trust form and persist - then there is accountability.

Whatever the MBO is, it is not decentralization.

Whatever the MBO is, it is not decentralization. It is s something else using that language as window dressing.


this is too cynical even for me. the summary here is “nothing will work”?

Please look at this body of work on Sortition [PDF] Democracy Through Multi-Body Sortition: Athenian Lessons for the Modern Day | Semantic Scholar

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Interesting viewpoint Stephen! IYHO Which path should Cardano take?

  1. No Treasury:
    Setting Tau to 0.0, a one-time return of the Treasury to the reserve, and then an avoidance of L1 voting and governance.

  2. Use (one or more) Treasuries:
    If the Treasury exists with Tau (= 0.2) and a reasonable Tau’ payout rate how exactly do you recommend determining Treasury payout recipients, amounts, approvers, reviewers, and penalties/corrective actions?


I think that question depends upon the status of Cardano as such.

So the preliminary questions would be -

  1. How can IOG distribute its genesis keys in a meaningful way (so preliminary governance is shared by the stakeholders) ?

2, How can the overwhelming influence of a single actor (who leds IOG) on the roadmap be mitigated ?

If the organizational structure is pursuing centralized operations there is no point in discussing theoretical treasury parameters.

In other words there is an intermediate stage that needs to be worked out first which is how IOG intends to fragment itself.


The proposed MBO model specifics a “you pay or you work” criterion will ultimately control the Treasury balance.

So at the end of Voltaire, governance will be decided by plutocrats in a hierarchical model based upon the old shareholder paradigm ?

Should academics and investors looking for progressive economic blockchain governance go elsewhere now ?

You have to decide if you are here to argue and debate, or here to dream & build solutions.

I like the idea of the annual Treasury budget to each division being controlled by the people (stake weighted, soul stone) and an SPO senate (MAV*2 representatives, time stone).

IMHO Each division would internally self govern. For example the mind stone group may choose a collection of CIP-Editors / Researchers based on technical expertise and merit. The space stone division may induct every influencer with more than 10,000 followers on social media as a leader. Each division could be different, and arguably should be different.

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That is a false distinction or projection Michael.

Your characterization may well be that my critical comments are “to argue and debate” whilst I see these precisely as me contributing to “to dream & build solutions”

I just prefer informed, pragmatic and pluralist solutions not some Kool Aid.

The questions about the "you pay or you work” criterion behind the MBO and its organizational structure remain unanswered. Where is the innovation here ? What dreams be can built on a plutocratic solution ?

Charles used those words, not me. I listened to and choose to pass on that statement from Charles for my opening post here.

You need to write more about “informed, pragmatic and pluralist solutions” for: “how exactly do you recommend determining Treasury payout recipients, amounts, approvers, reviewers, and penalties/corrective actions?”

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