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The Governance Model For BotChain and BotCoin

This is part of the series explaining BotChain. Start here if you are new.

We have spent a great deal of time thinking through governance models for BotChain, and read much of what has been written on the web about what works and what doesn’t for blockchains so far. This post explains our thinking and why we chose the governance model we did. If you just want to know the details of the model, jump down the page and skip the initial analysis.

Why Blockchain Governance Is Required

The problem with blockchain is that it goes a bit against the ethos of tech. While most new technologies evolve and iterate, blockchain is supposed to be mostly figured out from Day 1 and captured in a white paper, implemented, and then just runs its course. People who work on blockchains and speculate on tokens geek out on the white paper, and nothing is as sexy as some really cool new token structure. Except that, so far, there isn’t an example of a case where it has worked out.

What I mean when I say that is, there are three common models I’ve seen, and none of them really solve the problems of managing a blockchain over time. As the tech grows and changes, if the system is truly decentralized (which is the first model) like Bitcoin, it falls behind because no one agrees on how to fix it. The problems with the Bitcoin blockchain have given rise to hundreds of competing blockchains to solve various problems than Bitcoin can’t. So, a truly decentralized model requires coordination that is very political-like, and therefore slow. I think these systems lose over time.

The second model is benevolent dictatorship. This is where Ethereum is today. Technically Ethereum is supposed to be decentralized but, Vitalik has undue influence over where things actually go. This is better than Bitcoin but is against the spirit of decentralization.

The third model is to build governance into the blockchain itself somehow, perhaps by forcing every node to be on the same version of code, based on majority vote. But so far, none of the blockchains working on this have made much progress.

The BotChain Governance Model

We decided to approach BotChain governance differently. We asked the question “Assume our first stab at governance is wrong, doesn’t work, and causes problems, then what?” How can we be prepared for that?

We expect two things to happen over the next few years. The first is, no matter how much we plan and prepare, something will happen with BotChain or BotCoin that we did not anticipate, and some difficult decision will have to be made that will anger some part of the community. And second, real world experiments with various blockchain governance models will start to show the pros and cons of various approaches more clearly, giving us better visibility into what works.

For BotChain then, we decided to do this:

  1. Establish an initial Governance Board.

The BotChain Governance Board

The initial Board will be composed of 9 members. They will meet quarterly to discuss BotChain, and on an emergency basis as needed if something bad happens. Decisions will get implemented based on majority vote. The 9 board members will be as follows:

  • Talla will have one seat, as the originating company behind the network.

Talla will select candidates for the first four seats to start. Those seats will have 1 year tenure. Those seats will then vote on who fills the remaining seats. Those newer seats will have 2 year tenure. Talla’s seat will remain all three years.

The Governance Board will discuss things like forks and roll backs and upgrades, should they need to happen, and will intervene if any major negative behavior is impacting the utility of Botcoin.

The Board will have 3 years to figure out a better ecosystem solution, with the goal of disbanding itself and turning full control over to the community. If this can’t be done in 3 years, the Board can extend for 2 more years provided that it expand to 15 members to add more diversity of opinion to the Board. After 5 years the Board will disband no matter what.

The idea behind this structure is that the initial Board is small enough to get things done fast, without having to appeal to, or engage, the whole network in a months long discussion or debate that turns political in nature. But the initial Board also represents diverse opinions and interests, to get balanced outcomes, and minimizes the influence of Talla as the founding company of the network so that we don’t turn into benevolent dictators.

As we watch how governance models evolve over time, we should be able to identify and implement something new within 3 years that is much more decentralized, but, that will occur after the network has had some form of protection from the Board to get its legs and initial traction.

We feel like this is the best model going forward, but would of course appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading.



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Rob May

CTO/Founder at Dianthus, Author of a Machine Intelligence newsletter at, former CEO at Talla and Backupify.