How to avoid general democracy issues in Cardano?

I’m thinking about democracy and human nature in general for a while now, related to liquid democracy in the Cardano eco system. There are some questions I didn’t find an answer for yet:

  1. The problem I see is the laziness and indifference of people when it comes to voting. As the records show, if there is no additional incentive other than keeping the values, democracy stands for, people tend to think, their vote doesn’t matter, and the others will do it right for them (see Brexit). So my question is, whether you already have game theoretically considered, to add an incentive for people to vote (treasury and governance)? What’s the path, to avoid, people just delegating all the thinking work to delegates, not because of the lack of knowledge but because of laziness, because voting for a feature, for example, needs investment in time and thinking? Will they earn more staking rewards if they are actively voting rather than passive?

  2. My biggest concern is about democracy in general. When I recently discovered the following article (which is generally a great read btw.), I found a paragraph which expressed my concern greatly:

"…Remember American psychologist Gustave Gilbert’s talk with Nazi Herman Goring during the Nuremberg trials? Goring told him that most people will go along with whatever their leaders tell them to do without question, whether it’s a democracy or fascist dictatorship.

  • Naively, Gilber replied, “There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”
    But Goring only laughed and said, “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
  • “The main challenge is that very few people can agree on what is good or bad in a system and ideology tends to warp those concepts into unrecognizable messes. It will be incredibly easy to create a ruleset that enslaves us all if we’re not careful.”
  • “If the Internet has taught us anything it’s that open systems tend towards centralization and given enough time central powers can and will subvert and corrupt any system to their own ends.”

How can this fundamental problem be avoided/solved in Cardano?
The majority of voters may have good intent, and also the delegates are good, but if only delegates vote for features, for example, you can’t blame them for doing wrong, because there is no objective way to say, what feature would have been better for the majority.

  1. In this regard, another problem at feature voting is the fact, that often everything which seams to be easy to implement, is difficult in software development and vice versa. So, if for instance, several 3rd parties submit a proposal for their project to getting funded by the treasury, then those who offer a seemingly difficult feature will have to invest less efforts and resources than those, doing it the other way around, but they will end up getting less funding, than the others. It will take a lot of project marketing to explain and convince people.
    How to solve this?

One thing IMO is important is to have a “hierarchy of the treasury”, having the budget split around various topics, geographics & functions.

It’s very hard to have 100 items in a list and make a priority sequence what should be financed and what not. How would you prioritize the Support for a Kenya Blockchain Project vs a certain Yoroi feature implementation in Cardano?

It would be nice to have some general financial policies on the highest level like 30% goes on Cardano Product Development, 20% goes on Supoport Adoption, 10% goes on Marketing, 20% on the Ambassador Program, 30% on Cardano Hubs, etc.

Then you could have one level below the distribution of funds whenever it applies on geographics, for instance in case of Adoption, 30% goes to Africa, 30% Asia, 10% to Europe, …

Or in case of Product Development, we have 10% on Deadelus, 20% on Plutus, 10% on Marlowe, 20% on Yoroi, 30% on CCL, 10% CSL, …

So with the above examples you have 6% of the total budget on Africa adoption and you prioritize and vote on items in this context, while you have 6% on Yoroi Feature development and these items mentioned won’t have to be prioritized among each other as they fall into completely different categories.

What would be nice to have everyone vote on such a structure and how to distribute the Treasury budget within and keep it fully dynamic. This would also decrease the burden of reading through in detail every single proposal.

Then for instance you could even limit voting on Africa Adoption items to the Africa Community delegates? (Have a bit more refined, hierarchical governance by incorporating some sort of structure, policies along the core functions.)

Or limit voting on Yoroi Feature items to the Yoroi Development delegates?

What could happen is that the delegates of each category / subcategory would come together regularly (yearly?) and prepare their campaign on why you should vote to increase their current budget allocation ratio.

Maybe even independent 3rd parties, media outlets would also provide their expert view on the desired strategic distribution of funds.

In the end as a member of the Cardano Community you would review all these campaigns, Community debates and give your votes on redistribution of the budget in the hierarchical structure of the treasury and if you like of course you would go deeper and vote on the items themselves in these categories (unless limited for any reason) or delegate your vote in some of them to subject matter experts.

In a short summary to solve the democracy problem I suggest to decrease the burden / effort / knowledge / qualities & qualifications it takes to efficiently & effectively exercise your voting rights by allowing you to rather vote on the treasury funds distribution structure & policies. And only if you really want to go deep in any category then let you vote on the various proposals / items, otherwise let your vote be delegated to subject matter experts or possibly in some cases even be restricted from directly voting based on the specific context (like its extremely technical or very hyperlocal related).


Amazingly valid questions, I may have captured what you really saying

You’re right, there is no way to know!
Democracy is a very tricky business, what we perceive as democracy nowadays doesn’t give any confidence in the system which make voting senseless, very sad yet deep inside is what happening in most society
The lost of faith in the system
My vote means nothing as there is no change!

The solucion is always education IMO,

  • we would never expect a very high degree of responsibility when it comes to voting ( any matter )
  • people loose interest amazingly fast about everything, is like we all want to be sedated
  • lack of character
  • people right now are too easily enfluenced by dumbs ignoring visionaries
    We have more important things to deal with first to be able to expect a rational voting

The truth, until we reach a higher degree of sense of responsibility while voting there is no way to predict the outcome
Just think of some enfluencer ( in his/her level of comprehension taking a lead about certain subject to be voted on ) is considered a delegate
It would be a nightmare, in a pragmatic way this is democracy, now is the right thing, absolutely not!

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Interesting topic this. I’m really curious how this whole “decentralisation thing” will work out. I haven’t even thought of what my personal preferences would be. Could be an excellent topic for the Cardano Effect Podcast.

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That would be nice yet all the people with the illusion of wisdom that people have about themselves they will ban any proposal or restrictions and the system will be open equally for everybody, which won’t work

11 idiots vs 10 geniuses what would be the outcome ?
Democracy can’t never work without a truly conscious society! Yet everybody would vouch for equality even if just an illusion


I agree that education is the key to democracy and even would go that far that passing a “minimal understanding test” for each category should make you eligible to vote in that particular category (filter out the population who didn’t do their homework of learning a bit about the subject / category they would like to vote about). Democracy is a responsibility & accountability for an individual (especially about educating himself) and not only a right. These should not be separated IMO, as unfortunately it is today allowing populism to be very effective.

The other factor IMO is to decrease the burden for people to efficiently participate and make the entire experience fun & easy (this should be the core incentive to participate) unless you want to go deeper into difficult & hard experience for more extensive influence & control over the granular outcome.

There should be various voter journeys how you may exercise your democratic rights based on your actual preferences, possibilities, limitations and the particular context.

Having one honeypot and 100+ complex & diverse items for Cardano to prioritize by everyone will be highly inefficient.


Good one! yeah that would be nice thing to have


So in general you worry that the people who might vote, will possibly vote for the “wrong” side?

Are you aware that “democracy” is not about: Making the “right” choices, it’s about: The majority decides.

So let’s walk you through how a human individual makes decisions.

First there has to be a motivation to decide.
Secondly it’s relevant if the human is emotionally commited in the topic or not.
Third is the distance to the topic - is the individual able to make a decision based on a rational argument or based on emotions.

Rational argument structure:
What is the problem?
What are possible solutions?
Which is the best solution?
Can it be Implemented?
Did it work?
Yes / Start from the beginning

Emotional decisionmaking:

Does it feel right to do so?

The general process is like this:

  1. Possibility
    Motivation - Yes
    emotionally committed - Yes
    Decision based on emotions - Yes
    = Decision based on emotions

  2. Possibility
    Motivation - Yes
    emotionally committed - No
    Decision based on emotions - Yes
    = Decision based on emotions

  3. Possibility
    Motivation - No
    emotionally comitted - No
    decision based on emotions - No
    = No Decision

  4. Possibility
    Motivation - Yes
    emotionally committed - No
    decision based on emotions - No
    = Rational decision

There are the rough possibilities.
Most people make their decisions based on emotions. The way they feel what is right or wrong.
But ultimately there is no right or wrong. Right or Wrong have to grow organically in a society.
Otherwise they aren’t stress resistant.

You have a lack of knowledge about the society. The same tools which the in your view “bad” people have - do the good people also have.

Ordinary people do not have the time to commit themselves with serious questions all the time. And they don’t want. Most people want to be lazy or spend their time with something else.
And you know why? Because they can. That’s what humans invented leadership for.
Now what is Leadership? Well this could fill a whole book. But in all shortness:
It’s the skill to make good decisions for a group of people.

So instead of worrying about “the democracy” you should worry about the lack of Leaders in this society which follow good cause, have faith and can decide between right or wrong which moral compass has been abstracted from the organically grown society.

They are the one’s who might trick the people with machiavellian skills.

A common misconception is that in a democracy everybody knows everything. This is stupid, unrealistic and also selfish because other people maybe don’t have the same energy and emotional commitment to worry about everything.

In the future it will become a problem HOW people choose their leaders. And this is where the decision-making process comes into place. If you know that people make their decisions mostly based on emotions - to play the game - you have to be better than the competition.

The key to democracy ISN’T education. Education can be everything - based on what your cultural preferences are in this time and place. And education isn’t always the reality. People can be educated wrongly.


The MAJORITY of the people will go the way with the least resistance - this is for sure until it becomes very uncomfortable. Also there is no EQUALITY. Stop right here with your socialist agenda.

The key to democracy is to let it flow. Even if it hurts.
If you would like to know something about democracy I urge you to buy a commentary book about constitutions and why they wrote it how they did.


There are some really good thoughts about the need for good leadership in good democracy in your write up :wink:

For the future, when you use capital letters, even bold ones that’s not helping at all to emphasize your message, it has opposite effect, no matter the content.


Make the voting few and far between. Also the staking rewards for participation is a good one.

Make the voting a simple process. Maybe the issue being voted on could come to the voter rather than the voter having to do anything other than read and click a box.

I think it is important to remember that PoS systems cannot be a democracy. They are by definition a plutocracy, whatever hybrid forms they may take. Bringing liquid voting in the mix won’t change the fact that this system will count votes based on stake.

I anticipate that one trade-of is that people will more likely base their decisions on rational thinking rather than emotions or revenge precisely because of their stake, that acts here as a proxy for a minimal education on the issue to be voted on.

Until the day we’ll be given a private key at birth, making us crypto citizens by right, I don’t really see how to discuss all these problems under the label of democracy.

Even if one were to build a perfectly sound democratic system, that system would only be as healthy as the people using the system.

Here is the way to make the Cardano democratic system remain fair and healthy:

We market to the demographic of people that hold high moral standards (equality, objectivity, transparency, etc.). To use Ishleh’s analogy of the 11 idiots vs 10 geniuses: we stack the system with more geniuses. I’m going to widen the criteria to include more than just intelligence. I’m going to include ethics and morals into the equation.

So the “idiots” (I’m changing this to “unhealthy”) are people with lower IQ, and/or low moral standards (cares more about ego/$ than people). A higher percentage of these type of people in the system causes the system to be less stable.

The “geniuses” (from now on “healthy”) are people with higher IQ, and/or high moral standards (equality, cares about ego stuff like fame, control, $). A higher percentage of these types of people in the system causes the system to be more stable.

The ecosystem is already growing organically in this manner, but I feel that it wouldn’t hurt to focus a marketing campaign to bring in type of the people that we feel would create a healthy system.

The quality of the people using the system will greatly effect the health and stability of that system. So we stack it off the start. If we want a system “X”, then we present Cardano in a way to attract “X” type people.

So Cardano is in a position where they are building a perfect (as they can) democratic system, and they have the ability to attract the type of people that would be ideal for the health and stability of the system, into the system. That’s a complicated sentence.

Cardano is building the perfect engine. We are at the pump. Do we choose “Regular” or “Super” unleaded? If we market properly we can fill the system with people that will be good for the system.


Well said @Zenman

I live in the UK, and I believe in democracy. However my definition of this will be strained in the future due to Brexit.

This thread has commented on the complacency of people which can effect voting and there outcomes, other people have views that can be interpreted as elitism ie voting based on education, and finally wealth (I have more votes) etc.

So the governance model which could be deployed would assume an unknown percentage of people will vote with a unknown percentage of their coins (Assuming 1 coin = 1 Vote) and we do not know if a minority total quantity of votes could actually win a proposed policy.

This governance would dictate which policies are voted on and the outcomes. People who engage with the voting system will reap rewards in any geographical location which they actively apply themselves.

So my conclusion would be to remove the PEOPLE from the selection process on what policies should be voted on.

Cardano is based on math and peer review, by buying ADA we all have already chosen this design philosophy. We have accepted that IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation will work in Cardano best interest for the future. Why not let the philosophy continue and get academia to design an AI to select what policies should be voted on based on network usage, geographical location etc , Its goal could be to select policies that would provide greater decentralization and further adoption. This AI could also adjust the qualifying criteria (no of decentralized votes required) for the policy to be passed/failed based on cost/location risk and reward etc.

Ada holders would still have the ability to vote for the AI selected policies.
(I would also expect IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation to propose policies outside of the AI control)

Also policies should be considered from the entire worlds population rather than just ADA holders since this would promote further adoption and interaction. (Hence the need for AI nodes ?)

Remember we already interact with AI marketing on a daily basis.

(I use the term policies in a very broad sense)
(That should keep IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation busy till 2030+)


There are a lot of interesting thoughts here but unfortunately also a lack of trust in the ability of others to vote “correctly”. This is what we see also in politics and it leads to centralisation because “we, the elite” now exactly what should be done and voted for while “they, the plebs” have to be educated or simply manipulated to vote the right way.

In my opinion, by far the most people like to be involved in honest democratic acts but often feel not taken seriously which leads to anger, and apathy at votes, or even to voting extreme positions which they don’t share, just to vote against the big fish.

For Cardano democracy whe have to make sure that the information about the different positions is made clear to everyone who likes to vote. It’s not necessary that everyone reads for 10 hours through all blogs, forum posts, twitter news etc about it, that’s just not possible for everyone. But each side at votes should be able to condense their position to one or two pages. Then there should be a place (maybe someday Cardano Foundation will be able to provide that…) to create a bulletin of the different position papers. Much more problematic is probably how to handle untrue, defamatory, populistic approaches to gain backers at votes. I don’t have an answer how to handle that.

One incredible thing we have in Germany is the Wahl-O-Mat where before elections all participating parties get a list of questions towards different actual political questions and can provide their view about it. Every voter can then get through the list too and pick his favourite answers to the questions to see how much accordance there is to the different parties. It’s a great tool, unfortunately not used by most people.

And a last thought: I have some problems with the concept of delegated voting. Is there really a good reason for that? If not I would say that voting should only be possible directly by the ADA-holder. The number of different people voting would not be larger with delegated voting, just the amount of ADA involved. This could lead to voting apathy because “my few ADA don’t count”.

And another last proposal: Maybe the voting power could be capped for very large wallets, say e.g. at 1 Million ADA. Surely someone with 1 Billion ADA could separate everything into 1000 different wallets with 1 Million ADA to keep full voting power but I don’t think that this would be done, it’s just too much effort.

Trust the people, mistrust the leaders!

This part I wouldn’t do. It would be nice to let Charles and all the IOHK, Emurgo, CF people with higher holdings vote with a bit more power. Also I believe the relatively more ADA someone has, the more he will invest into making sure he is educated, knowledgeable enough about a topic to properly vote or delegate it to the “leader” who should represent him in a vote.

And as you said it’s not a big deal anyway to distribute your ADA holdings to more wallets, so it would be too easy to bypass any such rules.

Just imagine your would have random
10 guys with 100k ADA in the Community have the same voting power as Charles. I don’t see this necessarily good, maybe in a decade ahead with hopefully mass adoption the distribution of ADA is more even among the population.

A) If you have someone with little ADA who cares & is knowledgeable he will delegate his voting stake to the Voice that matches his expectations & believes.
B) If you have someone with little ADA who doesn’t care or is not knowledgeable maybe it’s better that his vote is proportional to his vote.
C) If you have someone with little ADA who cares & is knowledgeable then nothing prevents him from growing into a leader in the Ecosystem and have others delegate their voting stake to him so he may have more influence.
I don’t see that such an apathy would occur in liquid democracy.

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It’s the same mechanic like the pool leader election problem. Voting power has to be tied on ADA holdings, there is no other way. Everything else can and will be exploited.

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I see this as a common problem that democracy should mean equality in any situation or context.

This illusion of fairness & freedom is a “weakness” populist politics is exploiting and it gives room for fake / illiberal democracies, where the mass is brainwashed & manipulated to vote against their best interest. We know all these infamous figures in today’s politics and completely irrational votes for cases with significance that happened…

You should have a minimum objective knowledge & understanding (hard to filter out from the mixed reliability & quality information overload and keep your emotions out of the game) about a topic you would like to vote on. And you should take some sort of responsibility & accountability for casting your vote.

Of course, of course, as our history tells. We humans never ever fall even when we gain powers.:slight_smile: So, you recommend to step in the same water again and again. Yep, it makes sense.

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Listen – strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony