Governance Model

Blockchain governance is just as important as the technology if not more important than the node software itself. Without proper governance, a flourishing network can destroy itself. Therefore, we need to facilitate decentralized governance of our blockchain by its' stakeholders. This is an important distinction, as the blockchain must be decentralized, open source and owned by all. The governance model should grow and evolve over time.

The governance model needs to account for the following stakeholders:

  • Validators

  • Core developers

  • Node Operators

  • Distributed App Owners / Developers

  • End Users

  • Token Holders

  • Software Licensees

A Proposed Model

The Governance Board

A governance board responsible for making decisions on the platform. The board consists of 1 vote for each “Constituency Group”. Constituency Groups are for example:

  • The core developers / project principles

  • The open source contributors

  • The validators

  • The open source dApp devs

  • The commercial licensees

Determining Board Membership

  • Each Constituency Group has 1 vote on the board. Each Constituency Group has its own INTERNAL governance, whereby they can decide:

  • Who will represent them on the CL Governance Board (if there is a physical board, not just virtual voting rounds)

  • Their votes

  • Their membership requirements

  • The mechanism by which they weigh their votes internally (e.g. validators can still have internal weighting based on staking, vs. developers based on open source contributions, etc.)

This governance board grants equal power to all constituents. Each constituency has 1 equal vote. No longer are the developers, the open source devs and everyone else at the behest of those network participants with the most hash power or cash staked (or collusion power). Within each constituency, the members get to decide on their own governance. This provides for an opportunity to still incentivize increased participation and contribution in exchange for a heavier weighted vote WITHIN one’s constituency, while protecting the overall blockchain governance from one group getting all the power or the need for any politicking and coalition forming between constituents.

Definition of a constituency

  • A constituency should fit into one of the categories listed above.

  • Should have tightly aligned interests with respect to the CL blockchain.

  • Should be responsible for ensuring uniqueness of its membership (people can't be part of 2 constituency groups)

  • Should be accountable to the other constituencies in that they are checking for membership uniqueness, and board election processes in a transparent way. This will lend legitimacy to the constituency also.

Forming a new constituency

If a new constituency wishes to form, then it must prove that it has the following properties prior to receiving a seat at the governance board:

  • It's membership must be at least 2X the size of the smallest existing constituency at the time of formation.

  • It must demonstrate that it has a transparent process for electing a board representative.

  • A majority of the board must accept the constituency's membership on the board.

Responsibilities of the Governance Board

The governance board, since it is elected and represents 'all stakeholders' - is the body that should be charged with making governance decisions for the blockchain, in collaboration with the community.

These governance items are scoped thusly:

  1. The root chain

  2. The utility token of the CasperLabs blockchain

  3. The governance board is charged with making the following decisions:

    1. Makes decisions on emergency fixes/patches/issues.

    2. Makes decisions on slashes caused by defects.

    3. Approves budgets for development activities.

Recalling Members & Term Limits

In principle, the following items are needed to ensure that the board membership rotates over time.

  • A process to request a re-election of a board member by its constituency by the board itself. This means that the board can request that a single member go through an election to determine if the member still holds the confidence of its constituency.

  • Maximum Term limit set by the board for its' members. A constituency could have a shorter term limit if it desires.

Updating the rules of the Governance board

This governance process is only a first draft. It is reasonable that the board will need to make updates and refinements to these rules. Therefore, a process for making these updates should be initially defined.

  • The Governance board can update these rules with a 2/3rd majority vote.

  • Anyone can suggest an update to the rules of the governance board. The board will provide a response to the Improvement Proposal within 90 days of submission to the board.

The Governance Committee

The governance committee is an unelected group of individuals that want to help shape the ongoing improvements to the governance process. This committee is volunteer only. Individuals can come and go from the committee as desired. The governance committee helps to organize the community, shape governance processes and facilitates the flow of information about the project.

Responsibilities of the Governance Committee

  • Communicates initiatives to the broader community.

  • Communicates the status of consensus on initiatives.

  • Proposes improvements to the governance processes to the community. "Governance improvement proposals".

  • Helps to set the structure of the flow of information for the community.

  • Audits & reviews payments for development activities on a regular basis.

  • Reports abuse to the community and board.

  • Nominates a representative to the Governance board in the event a constituency of the board experiences an internal governance crisis and the seat is vacant.

Rollout

Initial decisions will be made by the CasperLabs Core development team and Principals (ADAPtive, Inc.). Over time, more constituents are admitted to the board as each constituency group develops its' nomination / election processes. Ultimately new constituent groups can form and the existing board will have to vote by simple majority to admit them to the governance board.