Polkadot unveils new on-chain governance model

Key learning points

  • Polkadot is getting a new on-chain governance model.
  • The new “Gov2 model” aims to improve inclusiveness and decentralization while increasing the number of decisions Polkadot’s board of directors can make.
  • Gov2 will be launched on Kusama soon, after a final professional audit of the code.

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Polkadot founder Gavin Wood announced the new governance structure as part of the Polkadot Decoded 2022 conference.

Polkadot updates governance model

Crypto’s Eighth Largest Blockchain Prepares for Transformation government structure

Polkadot founder Gavin Wood announced on Wednesday that the “Layer 0” blockchain would move away from the board- and technical committee-led governance structure to a more decentralized and inclusive model. In a streamed main stage presentation at Polkadot Decoded 2022, Wood introduced the new “Gov2” model and explained how it aims to improve Polkadot’s decision-making process.

The main goal of the new governance model is to increase the number of collective decisions the Polkadot governance system can make. While the current system uses a public proposal queue, the new governance model will allow anyone to hold a referendum anytime and as often as they want. This means that under the new Gov2 structure, there can be multiple referendums on a wide variety of topics taking place simultaneously, and there is no limit to the number of referendums that can be voted on at any one time.

In addition, the new model will remove the involvement of the Board of Directors and the Technical Committee in the vote, and replace their role with a new Polkadot Fellowship. The Fellowship will ensure that the views of technical experts continue to be heard and considered on the Polkadot board without giving this cohort of stakeholders an inordinate amount of scrutiny. However, Polkadot holders who wish to delegate their voting rights to community leaders can still do so through a new and improved multi-role delegation system.

The new system gives more freedom and flexibility, but new measures have also been taken to protect the protocol against attacks. An Origins and Tracks system helps organize Polkadot’s governance and protect the system from malicious actors. When making proposals, proposers should specify an “Origin” best suited to cover what they want to achieve. Proposals with Origins that can change more important aspects of the Polkadot ecosystem will have stricter safeguards, higher thresholds, and longer consideration periods. Conversely, Origins that transfer relatively little power (e.g. the Tip Origin, which can spend up to 10 DOT from the Treasury) have shorter reflection time and lower approval thresholds.

Polkadot is considered a Layer 0 blockchain, which refers to a fundamental level of infrastructure on which further blockchains can be built. Polkadot does this through the use of its Relay Chain, which eventually settles transactions on its base layer before passing the information on to the other chains built on it.

Polkadot’s new governance model isn’t the first major update to the Layer 0 blockchain in recent months. In May, Polkadot launched XCM, a “Cross-Consensus Messaging” format that allows communication between the different parachains of the network. The update moved the network closer to realizing its goal of becoming a fully interoperable multi-chain ecosystem.

Polkadot’s newly announced governance model will soon be launched on Kusama, following a final professional audit of the code. Once tested on Kusama, the Polkadot team plans to submit a proposal to launch the new structure on the Polkadot network.

Disclosure: At the time of writing this piece, the author owned DOT and several other cryptocurrencies.

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