What would you put into a Cardano Constitution?

The Cardano Constitution is a set of principles and guidelines that outline the goals and values of the Cardano community. Writing (and agreeing) on a Cardano Constitution will be a process that takes a quite some time. There will be many iterations and (likely) some emotional discussions until we have a result that the majority is happy with.

Since one has to start somewhere, I’m keen to hear ideas on what you would include in a Cardano Constitution and why you want to put this in, just to start a discussion.


45 billion ada

The maximum number of ada should be limited to 45 billion because this was always the promise. No one should be able to change this.

Protocol parameters

The constitution should have possible ranges/thoughts/guidelines for protocol parameters. There is no reason to set the maximum transaction bytes to 0KB. (devastating example).

The Constitution will probably contain considerations about the following parameters:

networking parameters

  • maximum block body size (maxBBSize)
  • maximum transaction size (maxTxSize)
  • maximum block header size (maxBHSize)
  • maximum size of a serialized asset value (maxValSize)
  • maximum script execution units in a single transaction (maxTxExUnits)
  • maximum script execution units in a single block (maxBlockExUnits)

economical parameters:

  • minimum fee coefficient (minFeeA)
  • minimum fee constant (minFeeB)
  • delegation key Lovelace deposit (keyDeposit)
  • pool registration Lovelace deposit (poolDeposit)
  • monetary expansion (rho)
  • treasury expansion (tau)
  • minimum fixed rewards cut for pools (minPoolCost)
  • minimum Lovelace deposit per byte of serialized UTxO (coinsPerUTxOByte)
  • prices of Plutus execution units (prices)

technical parameters:

  • pool pledge influence (a0)
  • pool retirement maximum epoch (eMax)
  • desired number of pools (nOpt)
  • Plutus execution cost models (costModels)
  • maximum number of collateral inputs (maxCollateralInputs)
  • proportion of collateral needed for scripts (collateralPercentage)

Other thoughts/ideas:

Sustainability thoughts: it is probably smart to limit the maximum Treasury withdrawal.

Don’t allow committees smaller than X. Only allow odd numbers. We don’t want to end up with a constitutional committee of 1 (or zero :man_facepalming:)

The notion of “machine readable”

What I only got during ScotFest is the fact that the Constitution will also be machine-readable at some point. This means there will be no room for interpretation, which is interesting but also challenging. With this in mind also note this interesting workstream by one of our peers: Algorand. “The Algorand Request for Comments” (ARCs), a repo for proposals and discussions of ARCs also with the aim of being machine readable at some point. GitHub - algorandfoundation/ARCs: Algorand Requests for Comments


Not 100% sure if you are just asking for a list of stuff, so I’ll try one anyways :wink:

This is what I would except to see in Cardano constitution:

  • Cardano is a tool. (Just to clarify the purpose. People keep thinking that layer ones can save the world on their own.)

  • Cardano will always remain layer one, open source, permission-less public network. (Just to clarify and solidify type. No trying to sneak in IPs, copy rights and trade marks in here.)

  • ADA is essential ingredient for all Cardano network activity. (It’s obvious now, but future side chains may grow bigger then Cardano and may try to uproot ADA with their token.)

  • 45B ADA Min and Max (Kind of obvious. Why would we want another inflationary system, there are so many already.)

  • Any voting memberships must include proof of holding ADA (Applies to only Cardano network, not other projects with in Cardano. Doesn’t have to be 1 ADA : 1 VOTE but any voter has to prove they control some ADA)

  • There always must be a full node - self custody wallet option possible. No upgrades that would remove it. (Kind of a must! You can’t try for decentralization with only centralized wallets. Not even sure you can call yourself a crypto with out that)

  • Always declare current supported wallet standard. Development will always work to secure these standards and provide a way to upgrade/transfer for dropped standards to new. (All wallets out of that standard may become unprotected and ‘minable’ with future technology. Long lost ADA becomes retrievable.)

  • All improvement upgrades/ forks/ additions must cite research paper they are based on. All bug/exploit fixes must cite the bug/exploit being fixed. (Please!)

  • No bridging on protocol level. (As in any cross chain/ side chain/ overlay network or layer 2 must not be added to protocol code.)

  • Settlement layer (Ledger, ADA and Consensus Protocol) will always be worked on and receive priority from any organization entrusted with managing development of Cardano. (Basically forcing research to code and advancement of upgrades.)

  • Must only use purely functional programming code to build/upgrade settlement layer. (It’s the only programming language type that can closely map mathematical proofs from Cardano research 1:1. Also, this way network will not fall to whims of programming language popularity of the moment. That can change quickly and leave dev pool empty.)

Click here for YouTube Video of Programing Language changes trough years, if curious

most popular programming languages 1965 - 2022 || top 10 programming languages 2022 || Data for you - YouTube

  • Must stay permission-less. Protocol will always be developed as impartial, dispassionate and non-partisan tool. (It’s obvious that being agnostic to any societal ideology, belief or norm is a must for inclusion.)

  • Must stay open. (No hardware locking* and no region blocking is to ever enter into the protocol code.)

    *Excluding security/consensus issues

  • Must be Open Source (Obviously!)

  • Settlement Layer must be self sufficient on Open Source software. ( It has to be capable to fully run using only open source software from SPO to node to end users. As in Ubuntu, ONL, Debian, Android, etc… No upgrades where open source for any network component of settlement layer is unavailable!)

  • Upgrades must be successfully deployed first on test net(s) before any attempts are made on mainnet. (Also, obvious.)

  • All Cardano users have a responsibility to provide security for their own on-chain interactions. (Crypto users are getting very lazy with security. Maybe if we openly declare that it is individual responsibility to learn and secure it may help a few… maybe )

So, basically declaring the first principles (kind of), plus restricting changes that would make Cardano drift from those first principles. As well as providing clarity and guidelines for existence of such tool.

Once we have organizations for Voltaire I would expect their function and purpose would be clearly stated in constitution as well.

Also, maybe failure recover protocol of some kind.


I think I like almost all of your points, but …

…, I’d probably replace this one by:

All protocols on the settlement layer have to be completely specified to enable competing implementations. (… in arbitrary programming languages.)

The lock-in on IOG’s implementations is already a problem in my opinion.


Maybe it would be a good idea to have specification standards created specifically for network updates and added as a step in upgrades them self. This can also combine with ‘citing research’ point.

It would be great if it becomes a part of a routine and expected step.

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Before we get into the details, values and guiding principles must be enshrined first. The WHY. Doing this makes it relatively easy to forge a definitive strategy.


  • provide economic identity to the billions who lack it @Charles
  • build global solutions to global problems
  • Making The World Work Better For All (* bring about positive global change) - Cardano Home page
  • help people work better together,
  • Trust one another
  • serves the many as well as the few,
  • empowers individuals, societies, and businesses to imagine and create new ways of
    a) transacting,
    b) interacting,
    c) creating, and
    d) governing.
    trust one another, and build global solutions to global problems

These would need to be defined further. For example, ‘new ways of governing’ would want to connect to ‘serving the many’ and ‘bring about positive global change’ so as to eschew nation anti-patterns.

The constitution must live on-chain, be machine-readable and be used to validate projects by machine and people.

WIthout values and principles at the TOP, the rest is just a list.
For reference, this is the top of the US Const
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


This is completely necessary.



Oh, yes, they would! And I’m not sure they can!

I’d rather go with @Neo_Spank’s points



For example, if I take “provide economic identity to the billions who lack it” seriously, I would expect some mechanism for wealth redistribution to be built into it. It’s laughable if the early adopters keep their thousands and millions of ADA and the economic freedom of the billions is then measured in the few Lovelace that are left for them. That’s not a better world, that is worse than the inequalities our bad system has produced right now.

Since Charles as a believer (whyever) in capitalism (and the ominous free market, I suppose) would see that completely differently, “being agnostic to any societal ideology, belief or norm” is probably the wiser choice.

Smaller points:

I always understood the goal of the crypto part of cryptocurrencies to be about removing as much of the need for trust as possible. Yes, “as much as possible” is far less than one might have hoped, but the goal of decentralised block production, “smart” contracts etc. stays to replace trust by verification.

Especially with your rather broad guiding principles, it will almost surely be impossible to formulate them machine-readable and open to automatic validation. They are deep in the realm of things, where there are multiple legitimate viewpoints, where nothing can be objectively proven.

Even if we stay in mathematics and programming, it will not be easy and we might well hit some undecidability problems, but it could be at least worth a try at some point, while “At this stage, it is meant to be an informational document that unambiguously captures the Cardano core values.” is a good choice for a start.


Economic Identity does not imply any sort of redistribution of wealth. It is providing the means for individual control over economic behaviour. For example, the ability to transact globally without bureaucratic and monopolistic barriers for the unbanked.

However, it does redistribute power and that does invite, you know, wrath, from incumbents.


Precisely. Trust one another really means not having to trust a third party when Alice and Bob have a financial transaction to complete. e.g. Wells Fargo Bank. So better to say Trust one another through direct verification without the need for a third party.


This is the problem to solve. In the meantime structuring values and guiding principles into the document can act to steer and help monitor strategies and projects.

I would add a capability map into the constitution (see Gartner) which is a handy device for ’ we do this, not that’ binary inclusion/exclusion.

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Hello @Colm_Byrne

I like the pro-active attitude in your approach :slightly_smiling_face:.

I do have three points I would like to bring up:


While these are all worthy goals to pursue, none of these are principles (or even values).

Principles reveal the fundamental truth that is the basis for actions, existence and direction/progress of thing in question. These are more of a list of potential uses of Cardano in only one (very nice) direction.

Fundamental truth here is that Cardano is a protocol designed to provide public timestamped databases with guarantee of immutability as well as security of access and use - for anyone (yes, oversimplifying here for context).

The impetus and inspiration founders had to build such a tool may have been to improve the life of people in need, but it is just a first stepping stone to that. Neither Cardano nor any other layer one crypto can do this with out many, MANY more applications on top of it coupled with other tools and groups of people actively involved in doing so. And as a first step it can’t assume to be delivering results of further steps on it’s own, or by itself. Cardano is unable to make value judgements of how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the end results of its functions can manifest. So in other to be able to provide those seeking positive results it has to enable and create full openness for all types of use cases.

Lets take example of World Mobile (WM). World Mobile | Bring connection. Share the rewards.

They understand that to be able to use and have digital economy you have to have a way for users to connect to digital networks. Most of population in Africa is not connected. WM are on the ground in Africa, Zanzibar and here is a snapshot of their progress:


This was built by a group of people as layer 2 solution on Cardano and deployed using Cardano as a tool. There is no protocol or code in Cardano settlement layer that runs balloon phone nodes or connects Zanzibar business to balloon transmitters which it’s customers use, nor does Cardano make any balloons ( :balloon: :point_left: :disappointed_relieved: ). This is just people learning how to use Cardano as a tool in order to use innovative ways to deploy other readily available tools to connect to each other AND teach newly connected how to make Cardano tool work for them.

100% of creativity that is making this project successful comes from people involved.


Cardano used as a tool allowed them to be creative it that specific direction and opened those possibilities. This is the ultimate value of Cardano. An open, accessible, public, secure tool that is unencumbered by any gate keepers, ideological history or arbitrary divisions. While at the same time opening possibilities that otherwise no one even thought about.

Trying to express that in click bait slogans of “bank the unbanked” type just degrades and derails from true expression of what Cardano is and what Cardano is becoming.

Cardano must be there for people in developing world and corporations that make money using blockchain and governments that need economic stability and regions that need better governance and organizations that need DIDs and degens that buy monkey JPGs and Alice and Bob trying to buy/sell hand knitted Cardano sweaters to each other…


Second point is that constitution has to be written as precise as possible, with great care of what language implies. It can’t leave openings to foster divisiveness or exclusion. The language and ideas being used in some of the points here immediately create different class of ‘citizens’ in constitution of Cardano.


That means there are:

i) ones with economic identity,

ii) ones lacking economic identity that want one,

iii) ones lacking economic identity that do not want one.

This immediate division, even thou it comes from good intentions, is what creates many of the worlds problems.

This is what causes first world citizens to think they are helping when they donate to “Feed the Hungry in X country” infomercials, while they still support and shop at corporations that are stealing resources from country X or exploiting oppressed and impoverished work force (the Hungry) from country X. If they arranged the world view to think that those corporations are doing it to us, then there may not be a famine in country X since their work force now earns a wage that allows them to save for hard years.

We don’t want to create a lesson that arranges a world view in such a way that colonialism gets transplanted to digital realm. We must show the truth of what is and allow individuals to become accountable for their own destiny. Think more along lines of “With Cardano no one will be helpless.” instead of “With Cardano we can help them.”

I believe you tried to capture similar sentiment in your later point on empowering individuals :slightly_smiling_face:.

As you correctly brought up (as a very good example :+1: ) “We the people…” is all inclusive. Imagine if it said “We the English speaking Europeans…” instead. You can see how that would of made for very different USA then we see today.


This… I’m not sure where this is coming from. The whole point of crypto is to remove trust. It’s closer to “Trust No One” I think.

“Trust one another” is what got us into this mess. If just a few are dishonest it will be at expense of all other trustworthy ones. This is how ponzi schemes, fake gurus, corrupt politicians, giveaway scams, self proclaimed geniuses and “This is not a financial advice” influencers exploit people.

I’m going to assume you meant something like: “Remove the risk of trust from interactions with each other.” … (except in your own words :smiley:)


@Neo_Spank whilst you have definitely put a lot of effort into your point, you are arguing pedantry.
One needs to understand that in the context of governance, Cardano refers to the ecosystem and community, not the actual Layer 1 technology. No offence meant.

Truly not sure how you made this leap in logic, I do sort of understand the point you are attempting to express. That, blockchain alone will not fix the World’s ills, if people are not willing to change their consumer mindset. This may not be something to consider for the Constitution, but it definitely needs to be part of community education.

Again, this is an example of conflating Cardano, the Layer 1 technology, and the goal of the Constitution of Cardano, the ecosystem and community.

Just a correction of information;

As was stated in Charles’ whiteboard speech on Midnight at the Edinburgh conference (day 1), World Mobile will operate as a Side Chain of Cardano. He accidentally let something slip, that being that the World Mobile chain will be running on Cosmos (5:24 : 00).

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Hello @gjlite

No offence taken. :slightly_smiling_face:

We are not here actually writing the constitution. This is just an open discussion for community to share their perspective. All views are welcome and I’m more then happy to read, consider and learn from any different viewpoints then my own. :+1:


No problem then, @Neo_Spank .


The mathematical language of Game Theory is both machine readable and can be used to express and enforce values and function in our constitution.

When writing a constitution it would be well to stay away from any nebulas concepts like justice which depend on a person’s point of view and can not be expressed mathematically.

Better to encode a constitution which hunts for and enforces maximum cooperation.
Cooperation is self-evident.
When parties agree, there is cooperation.
And when parties agree, no one is worrying about justice.
Most importantly, cooperation can be expressed as a Nash Equilibrium or some similar mathematical construct depending on the situation and these are machine readable.

Liberty is another concept which self-evident and can be expressed mathematically in Game Theory as the maximum of choices or some other similar mathematical construct depending on the situation. So better to encode a constitution which hunts for and enforces maximum choices for all parties according to their preferences.

What follows from liberty is resistance to censorship because this is a limitation of a choice which again can be expressed mathematically and so can be used to validate code.

What about the opposing rights of privacy and transparency?
Again this may be solved using Game Theory by building upon the previous maths of cooperation, liberty, and resistance to censorship and the result could be encoded into the constitution and used to validate code.

There are challenges - for instance, some outcomes in Game Theory can only be expressed as a probability.

I am sure IOG has game theorists working on this now.
As for the work on encoding game theory math results into the constitution, that work is probably being done as we speak at the Hoskinson Center for Formal Mathematics.

I can’t wait to see the results.

It would be wonderful if we could encode Love thy neighbor as thy self into the constitution.
Unfortunately that can’t be done because love is lost the moment you try to enforce it.
But I think you might get pretty close to encoding The One Great Commandment if you can encode for a system that hunts for the maximum of well being. This is a dynamic mix of cooperation, liberty, censorship resistance, privacy, and transparency using Game Theory math. I think well being for a community or for an individual can be expressed as the maximum of choices according to your preferences (liberty) that lead the maximum growth of choices according to your preferences. In other words, well being could be defined mathematically as the maximum acceleration of liberty which is found by locating the derivative of liberty with the maximum slope. It’s all math and machine understandable and it can be used to validate smart contracts. The trick is to start with axioms which are self evident and so need no definition. The people who wrote The Declaration of Independence understood this - look at their axioms:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

We can’t code for happiness - it’s too subjective. But we can substitute well being for happiness.
This resolves to
Proxy for Life: You have at least the possibility of choices. Dead people don’t get that.
Proxy for Liberty: You have a lot of choices according to your preferences.
Proxy for Pursuit of Well Being: Pursue an accelerating range of choices according to your preferences.
All Men Are Equal:
It’s all game theory math.

I asked that new AI chatbot (it calls itself Assistant) to define the above using minimum English and maximum symbols from game theory. The following is what it answered.

  • “Life” can be defined as the presence of a utility function for an individual, U(a), where “a” represents the set of actions available to the individual that align with their preferences.
  • “Liberty” can be defined as the presence of a large and diverse set of actions, A, that an individual can choose from, where the actions align with the individual’s preferences.
  • “Maximum Well-being” can be defined as the condition in which the rate at which the amount of choices aligned with an individual’s preferences grows at the maximum possible acceleration. This can be represented as the derivative of the utility function with respect to time, dU/dt, evaluated at its maximum value.

The machine’s answer above is a pretty good indication that we can write a constitution which is machine-readable and open to automatic validation.

Finally, if you read the rest of this, it becomes clear that we need a Declaration of Independence from the legacy financial system that runs our government even before we have a constitution.

.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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I want to add here an important principle that Google got rid of quietly in the late aughts…Don’t be evil.

Pithy, succinct, and a helpful guide.

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Hi Everyone, So I decided to reach out to AI for a suggestion. Here are the results.


Sure! Here is a suggested outline for a constitution for an online blockchain community:

Preamble: This section should explain the purpose and goals of the community, as well as the values that will guide its actions.

Membership: This section should outline the requirements for membership in the community, as well as any rights and responsibilities of members.

Governance: This section should describe how the community will be governed, including the structure of any decision-making bodies and the process for electing or appointing leaders.

Decision-Making: This section should describe how decisions will be made within the community, including any voting procedures or other mechanisms for reaching consensus.

Code of Conduct: This section should outline the expected behavior of community members, including any rules or guidelines for respectful and constructive communication.

Dispute Resolution: This section should describe how conflicts or disputes within the community will be resolved, including any mediation or arbitration processes.

Amendments: This section should describe the process for amending the constitution, including any requirements for notice or approval by the community.

Dissolution: This section should describe the process for dissolving the community, including any requirements for notice or approval by the community.

I hope this outline is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like more information on any of these topics.


Greetings @Kevin_Rodricks,
The concept of evil is somewhat nebulas. So it would be very difficult to define it in such a way that can be agreed upon and even harder to code in such a way that a machine can understand it.

Even if we could define evil and code it for machines, “Don’t be evil” permits an almost infinite range of behaviors (all the behaviors which are not evil). So in that sense it really doesn’t say how we want the protocol to behave. We will have more control if we pull toward what is desired rather than pushing away from the undesired.

Being able to fire and replace incompetent people like @adatainment.
It’s important to keep these people accountable.
As you can see in this exchange below, he abuses his position and lies about things that we know out in the open, also very disrespectful.

@Dettox it’s difficult to understand the context here, as you block who can see your own tweets.