Modeling Cardano Governance On A Version Of Democracy Which Evolved Over Millions Of Years

GitHub Repository For Beemocracy

Problems addressed:
Privacy, Identity, Bootstrapping, Low voter turnout, Selling delegation and votes, DRep Corruption, Lack of domain expertise.

Modeling Cardano Governance On Bee Democracy

  • Abstract
  • Bee Democracy
    • Bee Democracy has DReps. Let’s call them BReps.
    • These are the scouts which return to the hive with information about a particular proposal (A new location for the hive)
    • From the video we see that BReps dance for the delegators to communicate why their proposal is the best.
    • Unlike our DReps…
      • The Bee Democracy structure enforces that BReps must earn delegation through honest debate using information they verify for themselves. The result is good decisions.
        • The Human Democracy structure has no means to enforce that DReps debate nor is there any means to ensure they make decisions based on information they have verified for themselves. The result is echo chambers, information bubbles, ignorance, hysteria, cronyism, and ultimately very bad decisions.
      • BReps only receive delegation for the proposal they are currently soliciting for - Then delegation ends
        • This is key to a functioning democracy - DReps in the bee’s world have to earn their delegation for each proposal
        • In human democracy the DReps only their earn delegation once and then learn to exploit their power for personal gain during the rest of their careers
      • BReps (the scouts) compete for delegation with no reward except for the survival and prosperity of their hive which includes their own survival and prosperity
        • If paying scouts for their work produced more truth than simply working for their own survival and prosperity then evolution would have selected for that
      • Bee democracy is structured like so because those structured differently were all selected out of existence
      • Cardano Democracy cannot be modeled on Human Democracy without becoming a selfish monster that self-destructs over time just like all the others. But if IOG abstracts the structure and feedback mechanisms found in Bee Democracy and applies these to Cardano Democracy then we will have governance that does not learn to create the very problems it was built to solve in order to feed and grow. Evolution already did the research. All we need to do is look at what the bees are doing. We should model Cardano governance on Bee Democracy - the one which nature has perfected over the course of millions of years
    • Abstracting bee democracy functions and applying these to Cardano governance
      • Each BRep must solicit for delegation on each and every proposal using an online document (a solicitation) which explains their position and which also locks their vote.
      • The mechanism is an on-chain transaction with a signed vote and the hash of an immutable webpage
      • The BRep’s vote is cast and embedded in the solicitation with their digital signature.
      • The BRep’s vote can not be changed once the solicitation has been published so delegators know what they are getting
      • Delegators delegate ADA to the BRep’s solicitation rather than to the BRep directly
      • Delegators choose: Delegation of their ADA either adds to the weight of a solicitation vote, reduces the weight of a solicitation vote, or adds to the weight of the solicitation abstain option. Then the weights of all solicitations for a proposal are summed to decide the election. This way if no one writes a solicitation to deny a proposal then there is still a way to delegate against the proposal. Or if there is only a solicitation against a proposal then someone can still delegate for the proposal by delegating against the solicitation. Probably it is best that delegators can also delegate directly to the proposal itself either for, against, or abstain. This way if no solicitation is written then delegators can still delegate for or against the proposal. What that really means is that each proposal is actually a solicitation too - the proposal itself is also the first solicitation for delegation in support of the proposal.
      • Delegators may change their delegation at any time before the final tally
      • Delegators may not vote directly, rather Delegators may register as a BRep and then delegate ADA to their own solicitation if they wish and then vote on that.
      • We will need filtering tools in our blockchain explorers to help delegators make sense of the volume of solicitations. Voting Tools - RS by IOG might be that tool.
      • We will need an immutable website (perhaps on IPFS) that uses a forum format much like we have here to contain the text and the hash for all governance proposals and all BRep solicitations for delegation, for or against the proposal. The webpage for each governance proposal will aggregate the votes and delegations on the solicitations so as to provide an audit trail for every governance proposal election.
      • CC, BRep, and SPO votes to remain transparent by virtue of the solicitation process which forces all to explain their votes and leave a body of information so that future generations will understand why those decisions were made
      • Code to enforce that delegation of ADA to a solicitation must come from a wallet and never from a smart contract
        • This is to prevent trustless renting of ADA via smart contract for use as delegation in an election
        • In other words to rent out ADA for use as delegation, the renter will be forced to give up custody
      • The Bee Democracy Structure Ensures That:
        • Delegators have lots of good information to make their decisions
        • Delegators are deliberately casting their delegation of ADA for a given proposal via solicitations
        • Uninformed delegators don’t delegate
        • Uninformed BReps don’t vote
        • Delegators know in advance, before delegation, how BReps voted and why
        • BReps must explain their reasoning on every proposal
        • A body of literature remains (the solicitations) so future generations will understand how we came to our decisions and what they should consider before making changes
        • Votes and delegations are bound to solicitations for or against a proposal as an audit trail of the election and proof that there has not been any election fraud.
        • BReps can remain anonymous, building reputations only on their body of solicitations which all have the same signature.

Prevent Buying and Selling of Delegation

  • With regard to CIP-1694, Treasury withdrawals come to mind but there could be a market for delegation on most any governance action. It seems that in a close election where there is a lot of ADA waiting on the outcome, a market for delegation is created where delegation becomes much more valuable as we approach the end of an epoch when votes are tallied. Payment for delegators could be in ADA or another currency. So there may be a perverse incentive for delegators to wait till the last minutes of an epoch before delegating in order to get the best price for their delegation. Aside from corrupting the election, it could also overload the system as votes come in at the last moments before an epoch closes.
  • Delegation is linked to wallets in an obvious way so payment for delegation could be most easily made in ADA.
  • In this market for delegation:
    • Where it is known exactly how much delegation you still need in order to get the ADA for your project out of the treasury,
    • which makes possible to calculate with certainty the price for delegation which leaves you with your target profit margin intact,
    • and where you can broadcast an offer to purchase delegation,
    • and where you can see exactly which wallets are delegating to you in response to your offer…
    • Then you know exactly where to send the delegator’s share of ADA after snatching it from the treasury.
    • Likely this fraud could be automated via smart contract in a trustless manner such that the price for delegation is displayed and so that the dishonest delegators would not need to trust the dishonest DRep for payment.
    • This attack could also be carried out on a vote for parameter change or on any other governance action.
  • In bee democracy there is a race to consensus which prevents a market for delegation from emerging - Bees can’t sell their delegation
    • A race to consensus is not possible in Cardano democracy because too many votes or delegations in a short amount of time will jam the system
    • So other methods must be employed to make delegation of ADA more costly to buy then simply buying ADA at market rate.
      • Block the ability to read the total amount of ADA delegated to a BRep’s solicitation while voting is in progress.
        • This makes it impossible to calculate the ADA tally until the election is over
        • This will help prevent a delegation market from emerging during an election by making it difficult to determine how much ADA delegation is required to pass a proposal
        • This may necessitate voting on a sidechain which has the required properties
      • Block the ability of anyone except the delegator from seeing to which solicitation an individual has delegated
        • This will help prevent a delegation market from emerging during an election by making it difficult to determine the how much ADA is needed to pass a proposal
        • Prevents a delegation market from forming because it would not be easy (cost effective) for BReps to know where to send ADA in exchange for delegation after the election
        • Prevents automating a delegation market with smart contracts
        • Allows proof that an election is not rigged
        • Protects delegator from reprisal by current a regime
        • This may necessitate voting on a sidechain which has the required properties
      • The voting mechanism is generally as follows:
        • The functionality described can be built into any Cardano wallet to make the delegating experience quick and easy:
        • Using the browser embedded into the wallet, the delegator visits the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) website where Cardano proposals are hosted.
        • The delegator navigates to the desired proposal and reads it.
        • The proposal is the first solicitation so if the delegator thinks they have enough information then they can delegate (for | against | abstain) by the method to be described shortly.
        • If the delegator would like to know more before delegating then they can read the solicitations (for, against, abstain) written by BReps which are webpages found by links below the proposal.
        • If any of these opinions resonate with the delegator then they can delegate to the solicitation (for | against | abstain) by the following method:
          • The IPFS URL of the solicitation webpage is the hash of the webpage and the hash of the webpage is one of the fields in the Cardano transaction which registers the solicitation. So the wallet finds the solicitation transaction_ID on the Cardano blockchain using the webpage URL as the key.
          • Now, using the wallet, the user chooses to delegate (for | against | abstain)
          • Next the user pushes the sign the transaction button and a zero knowledge proof is generated. This proves that a user delegated their wallet to their selected solicitation with their selected (for | against | abstain) option but will not reveal any of this information at this time
          • Then the wallet encrypts the signed transaction with a public key generated by the Constitutional Committee. This way, no one will be able to see the zero knowledge proof until it’s time to count the votes. Hiding the delegation count until the election is over will help to suppress a market for selling delegation. Does Mithril have a use here?
          • Now the wallet broadcasts the transaction and receives a receipt which can be applied to a zero knowledge proof verifier so that the wallet owner can verify that their delegation was cast correctly.
          • After the voting deadline is over. Constitutional Committee takes a snapshot of the blockchain to see how much ADA each wallet contains and then decrypts the zero knowledge proofs of how the wallets were delegated so as to see how much ADA was delegated (for | against | abstain) with respect to the proposal all without ever exposing which wallets were delegated to the solicitations.
        • That this is possible with zero knowledge proofs seems like magic to me so I am working now to verify that this is indeed possible. If it is then everything else is just a matter of coding. It will not be an easy task but IOG has provided the tech stack and the learning tools so I am just going to do it a step at a time. Maybe others will want to help or perhaps will want to compete with their own implementation. The Cardano blockchain is permissionless so there is no limit to the amount of voting systems that can live and work on the Cardano blockchain. So we might as well try a lot of different ideas - it’s all good for the community. I intend to build a voting system modeled on Bee Democracy.
        • The Tool Stack

Dealing With Low Delegator Participation Which Blocks Governance Action

  • It is essential for the security of the Cardano blockchain that delegators (the regular folks) participate in elections. Otherwise whales and exchanges will be winning all the governance actions and will manipulate Cardano government for their advantage with little or no consideration for the unbanked individuals that Cardano was built to serve. It is assumed that the big investors will always delegate their ADA to any solicitation which best advances their goals. Since it can be estimated how much ADA is held by big investors, a delegation threshold parameter is coded into the system to ensure that a significant amount of ADA (well above what the big investors hold) is delegated to the solicitations. This is the only way to know for sure that the little people are delegating too. If delegation to the solicitations does not meet the threshold when votes are tallied then the proposal is dismissed and no action is taken. So a mechanism which is meant to protect small investors will have the unintended consequence of blocking all governance if small investors are not interested enough to delegate their ADA in order to settle the matter. There is a way to proceed with governance if a proposal suffers from low delegator participation
    • Putting A Proposal On Trial
      • If an election does not meet the threshold for delegator participation then the proposal goes to trial.
      • Jurors are randomly selected from the pool of BReps in an amount equal to the number of Constitutional committee members. Their identities are not required - they can remain anonymous. All that is required is that they have submitted perhaps 10 solicitations in the past. If they can provide the same signature that is on their past solicitations, that is all which is needed to establish them as community members and to judge their character and reputation.
      • In an online meeting (audio only - no video), each juror is questioned by BReps from both sides of the proposal to determine that they are willing to examine both sides of the issue and have the time to do so.
      • Jurors are then asked to read the solicitations.
      • The next day there is a group online discussion with BReps from both sides of the proposal presenting to the jurors
      • Finally, the jurors vote on the proposal using the same signature they have been using to sign their past solicitations
    • Advantages of the Trial Structure For Handling Low Delegator Turnout
      • Cardano Citizens remain anonymous and yet establish their BRep identity, reputation and right to vote in trials through their work creating solicitations.
        • This is a big deal. This is the closest we can get to establishing a one person one vote system without the need to know the identities of our citizens.
        • This works because BRep identities are established by the digital signatures on their solicitations which are the same signatures they use to vote in trials.
      • Boot Strapping Problem is solved.
        • All citizens have the right to delegate their ADA to a BRep’s solicitation and any citizen can become a BRep and write a solicitation that receives delegation. But only BReps that have created a body of 10 or more solicitations are eligible to vote in a trial. So all governance actions are first presented as solicitations that the entire community votes on by virtue of their delegation to the solicitations. In the beginning, if delegator turn out is low then the proposal goes to trial and the Constitutional Committee will vote on the matter. But while these first 10 governance actions are being decided, BReps are establishing their anonymous identities, reputation, and right to vote in trials by writing their own solicitations. In only a short time, the community will have a very large pool of BReps that have earned the right to vote on proposals that go to trial. At this point the Constitutional Committee is no longer involved in proposal trials and decide only whether or not proposals are constitutional. By putting all proposals before the entire community first, we insure that many more citizens are continually writing BRep solicitations and earning their right to vote in trials.
      • The community gets first shot at handling all governance actions
      • The community can take control from the BReps at any time simply by delegating
        • Because all proposals go before the delegators (the regular folks) first before going to trial, delegators can take all power away from the BReps simply by turning out for delegation to the solicitations. If delegators reach the threshold for delegations then the BReps never get to vote on the proposal in a trial. Power to the people! That’s incentive to delegate.

Constitutional Issues

  • Decentralization Alone Can’t Stop Cardano Governance From Becoming Like The Central Banks.
    • Constitutional Amendments Required:
      • The Free Market Will Determine The Price Of ADA
        • The price of ADA will not be set in relation to any other commodity nor any other currency by any authority.
      • No Oracles Will Be Used To Decide Any Governance Issues
        • Community members are responsible for determining what is true and expressing it with solicitations, debate, votes, and delegation
        • The free market will determine prices - not oracles
      • ADA To Be The Only Form Of Currency Accepted Into The Treasury
        • No receipt money shall be accepted into the treasury:
          • Receipt money means you get a receipt for a commodity being held somewhere presumed to be safe
          • History shows that all banks will eventually succumb to the temptation of lending out the commodity backing the receipt, either in secret or publicly as fractional reserve banking.
          • This started in the middle ages when goldsmiths would hold gold in their safe for customers and provide a receipt which could be redeemed for the gold. Eventually the receipt became accepted as payment for commodities. But the goldsmiths would always lend out the gold to gain interest without telling the owners and would eventually default when the community discovered, leaving the customers with nothing. The most recent example of commodity-backed money was the US dollar which up until 1933 could be redeemed for gold at at $20.67 per troy ounce. Then it transitioned to fractional money when the price was changed to $35 per ounce in 1934, effectively reducing the value of the dollar by almost 41%. Then it transitioned to fiat money in 1971 - not redeemable for anything, but which citizens are required by law to accept. This is not the exception, this is the absolute rule. All commodity-backed money is a commodity in transition to fiat money. My understanding is that history has no exceptions to this rule. This information comes from The Creature From Jekyll Island.pdf. The transition may take several years but history shows that commodity-backed money always transitions to fiat money eventually. This has been going on since the middle ages and we now stand in a place where we can stop it.
        • No Stable Coins shall be accepted into the treasury
          • Stablecoins are just commodity or fiat backed overcollateralized receipt money in a new slick package. We have all seen what happens to stablecoins. Worse, all stablecoins that I know of are centralized money and require an oracle to function. So if spending requires using a stablecoin then the exchange must occur at the point of sale. Forbidding centralized currency forbids stablecoins and receipt money and commodity-backed and overcollateralized money. But we should forbid these explicitly. One thing we can not do is accept commodity-backed and overcollateralized money and stablecoins and then forbid centralized money because this is a contradiction - these are all centralized money.
        • No Algorithmic Stable Coins shall be accepted into the treasury
          • With Djed for example, we hear from Shahaf Bar-Geffen who is the COTI CEO that Djed may be colateralized with a basket of different coins not just ADA. Another coin called Shen is already used in the process. I can’t find much out about Shen - I don’t know if it is a blockchain or a DAG like COTI. Further more, Djed is pegged to the dollar. So if you put $20 ADA in to the contract then you get $20 of Djed minus a fee for the exchange. When you want to cash out then you give your Djed back and get your $20 dollars worth of ADA back minus fees again. But what about inflation? Your $20 minus the fees is worth less because of inflation. So you suffer a loss because the dollar will be worth less when you go to get your ADA back. And if the dollar tanks then you are really in bad shape. Another concern is that Coti was associated with Ardana, and we all know how that went. Seems like the only reason to hold Djed in the Cardano treasury is if you think the price of ADA is going to fall. Does Cardano want to bet against itself? Reminds me of The Big Short. With all these questions about Djed and with all the bad history we have with stable coins it seems we should explicitly forbid holding them in the treasury.
        • Nothing that has physical existence such as buildings, land, equipment, timber, or gold shall be accepted into the treasury
          • Physical things can be confiscated or associated with a country or a government.
          • Right now in the news we are seeing that Binance is surviving Choke Point 2 because Binance has no physical offices.
        • No Central Bank Digital Currencies shall be accepted into the treasury as these can be disappeared by the issuing authority.
        • No digital commodities other than ADA will be accepted into the treasury
          • Receipt money, commodity-backed money, overcollateralized money, fiat money, fractional money, stable coins, algorithmic stable coins and CBDCs. That leaves only digital commodities like Bitcoin and ADA. But holding Bitcoin is betting that it will surpass ADA in value. It’s betting against our own project.
        • No digital commodities from within the Cardano ecosystem other than ADA will be accepted into the treasury - No other tokens and no NFTs
          • So the only money left standing is ADA, NFTs and perhaps Midnight when that arrives.
            ADA is preferable to Midnight because ADA is completely transparent which is very good for governance.
          • History has shown that when a treasury holds more than one commodity (gold and silver) in the treasury it was difficult to establish a fixed price ratio between the two metals. This problem is known as the bimetallic standard problem. The problem arose because the relative values of gold and silver fluctuated over time, depending on supply and demand factors. The problem with the bimetallic standard was eventually resolved with the adoption of the gold standard, which established gold as the sole standard for currency. This made it easier to maintain a stable value for the currency and reduced the risk of currency fluctuations. We should remember this lesson from history and only accept ADA into the treasury - not NFTs nor anything else except ADA.
        • There are times when Cardano governance will need to handle currencies other than ADA. For instance, we are required by law to accept fiat money like US dollars. But all currencies must be converted to ADA immediately upon receipt before going into the treasury. If spending requires using anything other than ADA then the exchange must occur at the point of sale. The whole point of ADA is to end slavery to the central banks. We must not give the banks a backdoor into our economy. We must not allow any form of money into the Cardano treasury except ADA.
        • Why so explicit on only allowing ADA into the treasury:
          If we are not explicit that only ADA is to be accepted into the treasury and if we don’t explain why then future generations who have forgotten the horrors caused by other forms of money will allow them into the Cardano treasury.
      • Treasury Will Never Engage In Borrowing Or Lending Of Any Kind
        • No lending using promissory notes. This should be impossible if payments and donations are only made in ADA but should be explicitly stated so there is never a temptation to lend with promissory notes. Same as saying no double spending but banks make their money by double spending (Fractional Reserve Banking).
        • The treasury shall only receive ADA from protocol services such as staking fees and transactions fees. It will never borrow.
        • The treasury will only disperse ADA to make donations or to purchase services for the community in transactions which are ratified in governance elections.
        • Why Prohibit Cardano Governance From Borrowing and Lending:
          Big Bank engages in predatory lending at the nation state level.
          This is how they enslave poor countries and poor people.
          Lets protect the Cardano nation from both becoming the prey or becoming the predator:
        • Why so explicit about never engaging in borrowing and lending?
          • The power to print fiat money was never explicitly granted to the federal government in the Constitution. In fact the authors voted against granting that power. Sadly they never specifically prohibited fiat money. So the power to print fiat money was reserved for the states or the people by the Tenth amendment. But of course the federal government does it anyway. The back door was Article I, Section 8, Clause 2 which reads as follows: “The Congress shall have Power To… borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” Because you have to issue a note to acknowledge the debt, this opened the door for fiat money. The courts have upheld this interpretation.
          • So it is not enough to not grant a power - some powers must be explicitly revoked.
      • Explicitly recognize in the constitution that governments are complex adaptive systems that will learn to create the very problems they were instantiated to solve if money or benefits dispersed are allowed to feedback into the government agencies from which these originate.
        • This is discussed in detail on our own Cardano governance forum at this link here.
          The software to run Cardano governance is a complex system. But the Cardano governance as it helps the community manage itself is a Complex Adaptive System. Complex Adaptive Systems are living, learning, feeding, growing, evolving things. The United States Bank/Government is a Complex Adaptive system which learned to create the very problems it was built to solve in order to feed and grow. This is why we have never ending financial crises and never ending war. Voltaire now makes the Cardano Complex Adaptive System a Bank/Government too. It is a new living thing. It doesn’t have to grow up learning to create the very problems it was built to solve like the US Bank/Government did.
          Bee colonies store honey and make decisions in democratic elections. They are simple Bank/Governments and they are Complex Adaptive Systems too. But Bee Democracy has evolved structure and feedback mechanisms which prevent bee government from learning to create the problems it evolved to solve. The Bee Democracy structure enforces that bee politicians must earn delegation through honest debate on every proposal using information they verify for themselves.
          The Human Democracy structure enforces that politicians earn delegation once by saying what they are told to say and then exploit this power for the rest of their careers.
    • Supporting Documentation on constitutional issues
      • There must be a link from Cardano Constitution to the following document so that future generations will remember the horrors of fiat money and the central banks and never permit their return
      • The Creature From Jekyll Island


Most all these ideas are abstracted from peer reviewed science on how bees implement democracy. Since bees have been doing it successfully for millions of years, it makes sense to consider what evolution has engineered and to use what we can. As it turns out, peer reviewed science also shows that the same methods that bees use to make decisions also evolved within the human brain. So if Cardano governance lasts long enough, the very same decision structures will likely evolve anyway. We can shorten the time it takes Cardano governance to evolve to provide the most truth and the best possible decisions for our community by studying how bee colonies and other complex adaptive systems make collective decisions.

The process of evolution has solved many engineering problems. Bees don’t use their DReps to make decisions for the group. Bees use DReps as scouts. Bees use DReps to collect information and broadcast it to the group. Then all of them decide together.

The Cardano protocol was built on peer reviewed science. Our community should look at peer reviewed science on how decision making has evolved in nature and apply what we can to Cardano governance.


I feel that by having DReps commit their vote and then having people delegate to a particular DRep’s vote is really just the same as everyone voting for the outcome they want. I think what you propose effectively removes the purpose of DReps. (Which I am in two minds about.)

My understanding of DReps was that these people would be seen as leaders that would invest time in understanding the problems and steer the right course through their voting. Other people could then be free to follow these leaders by delegating their voting power, for unknown future issues, if they feel these leaders have similar life views and goals.

Importantly, the assumptions delegators would be making are:

  • That the DRep has similar life views and goals and therefore would want similar outcomes.
  • That the DRep would put in sufficient time and effort to understand the issues being voted upon.
  • That the DRep wouldn’t sell their voting power or modify their vote in response to external influence.
  • That the DRep wouldn’t change their views or goals during the period of delegation.

I am in two minds about the DReps part of the CIP 1694 design. I think some form of delegation is in essence inevitable because people will always discuss with others they trust about how they should vote. For example, in my family, I could see everyone just asking me how they should vote, and if they can delegate they would be likely to just delegate to me. I think understanding the problems that need to be voted upon will be seen as too hard for many, or not worth their time cost, sadly.

As for your comments regarding voting privacy: I think it is ultimately essential that nobody should be able to see how you voted and nobody should be able to tell if you changed your vote at any time. Such voting privacy is essential to mitigate the risks of external force or monetary payment influenced voting.

I presume that we would need some sort of zero-knowledge proof system in order to implement voting privacy? I don’t believe such privacy is currently part of the CIP 1694 design. I don’t know if such is available yet on Cardano?


:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: :rofl: :joy:
ape democracy

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Thanks for your comment @Terminada
In Bee Democracy your assumptions about DReps become guarantees


I really like these ideals but humans lie and cheat, which means that some of these ideals won’t be fully realised.


Yes @greener! Exactly!
We are now at the ape democracy stage in our governance evolution.
That’s because we have only been at it for a few thousand years.
Bees have had democracy for millions of years and so have had a chance to perfect the process.
Humans have only learned that bees have democracy for about 70 years and we have never had a situation where we could apply it - until now.
If we can abstract the function of bee democracy and apply it to Cardano governance maybe we can shorten, by many thousands of years, the time it takes for our democracy to evolve into something that regularly produces good collective decisions.


Yes @Terminada! Exactly!
These ideals are enforced by the structure of the system not by humans.


johnshearing i really meant no disrespect, just term came to mind and led to tears!
as advanced the benevolent civilization may be
the apes are coming for us baby! and they have guns!
And when numbers meet guns, guns win.
There have been examples in history already…

love to y`a all :man_surfing:


Bees seem to be hard-wired to behave altruistically. They willingly undertake kamikaze missions to defend the hive and they work their entire lives to serve the queen.

Humans, on the other hand, lie and cheat and some even have narcissistic personality disorder. I can see how a properly designed protocol can incentivise some behaviours but designing incentives for others seems problematic.

What concerns me about the entire CIP 1694 Voltaire stage is that we need a minimum viable solution which can be iteratively improved over time. I am very concerned that we could get bogged down and let perfect be the enemy of good. All the governance discussion is really opening my eyes to see just how difficult it is. But maybe that is how the process works through people better understanding the difficulty and then being more willing to accept compromise?


Actually bees are not acting altruistically. If the hive is destroyed by a predator then no bee will survive. So if we look at the incentive, they know they are dead anyway so might as well die in battle. We know this is true because honey bees will not attack unprovoked when away from the hive.

If a fire breaks out on a submarine then every sailor will run towards the fire and work to put it out. So humans will act like bees when the incentive is the same.

This is a bit of simplification though because the hive is a complex adaptive system made up of bees. The hive has a mind of it’s own with a will of it’s own. The bees also must have some kind of mind individually but they act as neurons from which emerges the intelligence of the colony. That’s where we got the name Hive Mind which is now used to refer to the intelligence which emerges from groups of people which is independent of the people in the group. Because emergent intelligence arises in both groups of bees and groups of people it makes sense to abstract the qualities and functions of bee governance which has been refined over millions of years and apply it to the newly forming Cardano governance.

I agree completely but good is the enemy of survival if good isn’t good enough.
Here in this document are some of the known threats we are facing with CIP 1694
Abstracting and applying the qualities and functions of bee democracy knock out many of these threats. That makes sense - bees have had millions of years to get this right. We should take a look at what they are doing and apply what works.

Again I agree, but we are looking at DReps in pretty much the same way they where looking at delegates during the American Revolution. We know more now because we have been suffering with that structure for more than 200 years. If we lock in the Cardano governance structure as exactly in CIP-1694 then we are locking out our opportunity harvest the knowledge that bees have been collecting for millions of years. Bees don’t use their DReps to make decisions for the group. Bees use DReps as scouts. Bees use DReps to collect information and broadcast it to the group. Then all them decide together. We still have time to get this right. We are not going to let Gary Gensler and his friends in the banking cartel frighten us into moving too early and making mistakes that take down the blockchain. IOG took its time and built Cardano on peer reviewed science. That is why I am asking IOG and the community look at peer reviewed science on bee democracy and apply the what has been working for millions of years to Cardano’s new democracy


This probably goes without saying, but I am trying to bounce ideas here and not seeking to attack your proposal. Hopefully the discussion spurs others to think about solutions.

I am really intrigued and would like to see something like a Bee DRep model but I can’t see how some of these things can be achieved:

  • Delegators have lots of good information to make their decisions.

How could the protocol ensure the DReps actually read and understood enough of the available information? And how much is enough? I can’t even make my kids read their text books and they lie to me saying that they have.

  • Delegators are deliberately casting their delegation for a given proposal

But what are their true motives for their choice? How do we ensure no under-the-table deals or external forces are influencing their decision?

  • Uninformed Delegators don’t Delegate

How do you define uninformed? Uninformed is a relative term and is subjective. In my opinion, my parents are still relatively uninformed about blockchain but they are way more informed than most Boomers.

  • Uninformed DReps don’t vote

Same questions as above.

  • Delegators know in advance, before delegation, how DReps voted and why

Possible through a certificate registered on chain. Tick.

  • DReps must explain their reasoning on every proposal they vote for

How much explanation is enough? How do you prove who authored the statements of reasoning or that it even represents their true thoughts? Maybe they just get ChatGPT to write something they think the community wants to hear and don’t even read this themselves. Maybe the DRep has a personality disorder and just gets a buzz out of being perceived as popular and doesn’t really care about the decision, but only that people follow them.

  • A body of literature remains so future generations will understand how we came to our decisions and what they should consider before making changes

Possible through on-chain certificates and document hashes. Tick.

  • DReps can remain anonymous, building reputations only on their body of solicitations which all have the same signature.

This is achievable using blockchain tech. Tick.

But, it amuses me somewhat how people view anonymity. I would argue that many people would potentially know me better without knowing what I look like or where I live, because they can read my thoughts on this forum about many different and directly relevant topics. However, I still believe most humans will only trust someone if they are completely DOX’ed including seeing their face. Yet DOX’ing someone and revealing their appearance does not tell you anything about their thoughts or motivation, which are more important factors. And, DOX’ing someone potentially exposes that person to risks.

Not that I try that hard to be anonymous. I mainly just seek to make things harder for the Google’s of the world to link everything to my mobile phone number. (And the AI systems of the future.) Also, as a stake pool operator, to avoid an unsophisticated “wrench attack”.


Thank you @Terminada! I cannot begin to tell you how much I value conversation with you. You always help me learn my subject better and understand more by responding to your well thought out challenges.

The delegators are all the members of the Cardano community that are not DReps. That’s most of us. Delegators don’t vote, rather they delegate to a DRep’s solicitation. The solicitation is a signed transaction on the Cardano blockchain which consists of the hash of some immutable webpage and a signed vote which can not be revoked. The webpage shows how the DRep voted and gives the DRep’s detailed explanation of why exactly they voted the way they did. The webpage may even contain a conversation like the one we are having now. The solicitation carries no weight unless delegators delegate the voting power of their ADA to the solicitation. The more delegators that delegate their ADA to a solicitation, the more voting power the solicitation has. The solicitation webpage is the DRep’s appeal to all the delegators for delegation of their ADA. So in the solicitation the DReps explain their position very well in order to gain delegation of ADA from the delegators (the regular people). So the delegators will read the solicitations by the DReps both for and against the proposal and become very educated in the process. Finally, the delegators will delegate their ADA to the solicitation which makes the most sense to them and which carries the locked vote they wish to support with the power of their ADA. Because the solicitations carry a DRep’s detailed explanation of why they voted the way they did it is reasonable to say that after looking at a few solicitations (both for and against the proposal) the delegators will be well informed.

The DReps are the ones that write the solicitations. Anyone can be a DRep. These are people, organizations, or artificial intelligences that have a position and they are soliciting for delegation to their vote. Their vote means nothing without delegation so their proposal had better make sense to the delegator or they won’t get any delegation. So the DReps will need to read and understand enough of the available information in order to make a good case for delegation.

Delegators are the regular people, organizations, governments, and artificial intelligences. We hope their motives are self-serving and we don’t care what their motives are as long as they are not selling their delegation. The original post above contains several structures that make it more costly to sell your delegation than the delegation is worth in ADA on the open market. Peer reviewed analysis on game theory, emergent markets, voting security and more will still be required but this proposal on bee democracy goes a long way towards preventing the purchase and sale of delegation.

DReps must prepare a solicitation in order to vote because the vote is attached to the solicitation. And the solicitation has no voting power unless it gets delegation of ADA. And no one is going to delegate to an uniformed and incoherent solicitation. This is why I can say that uninformed DReps don’t vote.

Yes, exactly! The DRep’s vote is attached to the solicitation. The solicitation is just a transaction that contains a signed vote and a hash to a webpage which explains why the vote was cast for or against the proposal. The delegators (regular people) delegate to the solicitation. In other words, delegators are delegating their ADA directly to the vote that they want which also contains an explanation that they are satisfied with.

Everyone gets to decide for themselves based on the content in the solicitations. There will be many solicitations on both sides so people will see many opinions.

None of this matters. The solicitation will either make sense to the delegators in which case they will delegate ADA to the solicitation vote or the solicitation will not make sense in which case they will not delegate to the solicitation vote.

Yes, exactly! The solicitation contains a signed vote and a hash to an immutable decentralized webpage. The webpage is the documentation that future generations will read. The collection of solicitations are like a standard law library where all the case law and decisions are available for future generations.

Yes, this makes it possible for people in repressive countries like the United States and Russia to get the information they need so as to cast votes that mean something.


I definitely follow your line of reasoning. I just think there are some underlying assumptions which are a bit too utopian:

  1. That DReps will put in the required effort to fully understand the problem domain. Some of these things we will be asked to vote on are going to involve complexities that only domain experts will fully appreciate.
  2. That delegators will read and fully understand all the competing DRep solicitations.
  3. When there is only finite time, delegators will give each problem the required time to fully understand how to vote, when the required time will vary with complexity.

I would like to believe those things will happen, but I just can’t. Some people may lack the capacity to understand and moreover many people probably just don’t care enough. For example many of my friends and family say they don’t care if a Chinese / Russian / North Korean hacker gains access to their computer files because they say they have nothing to hide and nothing of value stored. When I point out that they have family photos and accounting records, they say “oh well, who cares, let them steal copies”.

Here we are debating about voting on protocol changes to improve resilience or avert future catastrophes. The people I am thinking of won’t care until the system is already broken.

Even worse, it might be that we are all like these people depending on how engaged we are about a particular topic.

Another example, more directly relevant, is about a CIP I have been working on: One of the problems with the current consensus mechanism is that block producers which are more physically remote, and therefore have greater network delays, are disadvantaged by the protocol because they will suffer more “fork battles” (which they lose half of). Which is not just a problem for rewards but also influence over the ledger. When I pointed this out on this forum, one quite knowledgeable user said that it doesn’t matter because pool operators can simply put their block producer in a European or US data centre since it really only matters who “controls” the stake pool. I am sure you will see my concern about who really controls a stake pool which is running on someone else’s hardware. But, clearly this knowledgeable user didn’t think that giving up control over the hardware or control over local network routing and delays were important factors in decentralisation. Consequently, I have gone quiet on my CIP idea because I don’t think it will get much traction while everyone is focused on the governance debate.

Come to think of it. Your mutated DRep (from that envisaged in CIP 1694) is really the same as a CIP author where the CIP is the solicitation for community votes. How many CIPs would the average Cardano user be prepared to invest the effort to fully understand?

Interestingly, Australia gets 90%+ voter turnout for govt elections with its compulsory voting system, whereas USA gets 60%+. But these numbers are for simply picking the candidate felt to best align with their views or that they think they personally like. Furthermore, these elections are only every 3 and 4 years respectively. On Cardano there will likely be much more voting occasions and the issues to decide will be complex and not based on simply picking a preferred personality.

Maybe we need to accept something like the DRep concept proposed in CIP 1694 or alternatively delete DReps altogether and accept that we will get very low voter engagement?


Much thanks @Terminada!

I am eager to answer each point individually but first I want to say that Bee Democracy will work for Cardano governance because the underlying principles not only work in bee colonies but also in human brains where various subnetworks in our own brains bring information from memory, sensory input, and emotion into a sort of forum to report and compete for the outcome of decisions in much the same way as in bee colonies.
Here are some supporting articles
Scientific American - You Have A Hive Mind
National Institute for Health - Cross Inhibition in Collective Decision Making
Science - Inhibition in Collective Decision-Making
Newsweek - Bee Colonies Behave Like the Human Brain
Nature - Psychophysical Laws and the Superorganism

Nature has figured out the optimal way to make decisions, not only in bee colonies, but in the human brain, and the underlying principles are the same. So while I have been calling it Bee Democracy it’s really how nature collects information and makes decisions in many complex adaptive systems including our own minds. We must leave our own assumptions about governance and utopia behind and take a new and unbiased look at what nature has to tell us about decision making and apply it to Cardano governance.

Actually we only need one or two BReps who are domain experts on each side of a proposal. Charles might be the BRep for passing a proposal and Gary Gensler could be the BRep for killing a proposal. Each will write their solicitation explaining their position and they will sign the solicitation with their vote. Then the public can delegate their ADA to either solicitation. May the best solicitation win the most delegation of ADA and so the election. If more than two domain experts wish to become BReps and provide their own solicitations - well that’s even better.

Actually, delegators only need to read one solicitation if the BRep already has their support. In this case delegators are defaulting to the DRep model as in CIP-1694. The difference is that if the BRep has gone to the required trouble of writing a solicitation then delegators can determine for themselves if the BRep is informed on the matter or not.

Actually there is a lot of information delegators can gather without reading a single solicitation.
They can see how many solicitations there are in total to get a sense of how important the BRep community considers the matter.
They can see how many solicitations are yes, no, or abstain.
They can see who is voting and how they are voting.
All of this may be enough information for delegators to make their decision of where to delegate their ADA.

Some delegators will not spend much time on the problem but rather simply delegate to a solicitation from a BRep that they respect. Some delegators may not even delegate to any solicitation and that’s alright too. Governance can adjust threshold for ratification of various types of proposals in order to manage the effects of delegator turnout. And if something really matters then Charles will get on YouTube and tell the community that this particular issue really matters and that we need to participate. Finally, as described in the first post of this thread under the heading Dealing With Low Delegator Participation Which Blocks Governance Action, if delegator turnout does not meet the required threshold then the proposal goes to trial and is decided by a jury of BReps randomly chosen who have written enough solicitations in the past (maybe 10) to establish their online reputations with their digital signature and which earns them the right to vote in trials.

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I am starting to see that your idea of a DRep really encompasses the entire spectrum from being nothing more than a CIP to the other extreme of representing a leader who outlines why he is voting a certain way.

The on-chain proof of solicitations will keep the DRep’s accountable for their decisions. Still there is difficulty in this because we have all seen how good some politicians are at talking their way out of anything.

I just hope that everyone in Cardano is engaged enough in the important debates and doesn’t get too confused by smart talking leaders. Sometimes the best technology doesn’t win due to these human factors.

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