Our Tezos On-chain Governance Policy

Awa Sun Yin
Feb 19, 2019 · 4 min read

Updated: 07.05.2019

In preparation for Athens the first Tezos protocol upgrade that Nomadic Labs is planning to submit by the end of February 2019, at Cryptium Labs we have discussed and designed a policy, which we want to share with the wider community and is of special interest to our delegators, in order to remain transparent and consistent in the process of decision-making.

Background and Motivations

A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes; a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol — Wikipedia

This policy will be followed whenever a meaningful Tezos protocol upgrade proposal is planned to be submitted. To provide as much context and information as possible to our delegators and community, this policy has three sections: It starts with explaining our vision as a Proof-of-Stake company, what we want to achieve with Tezos’ on-chain governance, and finally how the process will work.

Our Vision

Cryptium Labs is a blockchain agnostic company. We will validate public (plausible for any peer to participate in consensus) networks that rely on reasonable (not susceptible to the nothing-at-stake problem) proof-of-stake consensus algorithms. Although all public networks until Tezos relied on Proof-of-Work, we believe that research and development should continue to find alternative consensus algorithms and Sybil resistance mechanisms that do not require massive environmental externalities in order to achieve security.

Currently, the new family of peer selection algorithms, namely Proof-of-Stake, in combination with novel consensus algorithms (alternatives to Nakamoto Consensus) are the most likely to change the paradigms in the industry. Instead of a future ruled by one platform, we believe in an ecosystem where heterogeneous chains, each optimised for a particular use-case, coexist and interoperate, for instance, the ability of assets in one network to be traded and transferred across other public or private networks

What We Want to Achieve with Tezos On-chain Governance

We believe that our role is to act as trusted governance stewards: it is our job to secure the Tezos network; our job to understand the protocol at the technical level; and our job to provide accessible explanations of the potential implications of every new feature or change to the stakeholders (bakers, full nodes, delegators, developers, users). Bakers are by default responsible for representing the interests of their delegators.

Technical Goals

The properties we are looking for in the future blockchain ecosystem are security, scalability and interoperability. Although Proof-of-Stake and interoperability have been increasingly popular in research and academia, there are and will be major discrepancies between the theoretical and practical outcomes. It is unlikely that any of the existing nor upcoming networks will fulfil all the promises at launch — it might take a couple of years. If we want to see any of these networks survive in the next 5 years, there need to be significantly more teams involved in core protocol development.

Ecosystem Goals

In addition, in accordance with our transition towards core protocol development in Tezos, we want to contribute in bootstrapping not only the core development, but also the Michelson application development ecosystem — although we are a small team (but growing), we want to set an example how bakers can and should contribute at that level, be it through core development or by active participation in governance.

The Process

As soon as we find out about a meaningful protocol upgrade, we will follow these steps:

Phase I: Proposal

  1. The release of an objective analysis of the potential implications of the proposal in question for full nodes, bakers, delegators, developers and users. For example: https://medium.com/cryptium/dissecting-the-first-tezos-amendment-proposals-334555af9614.
  2. The release of our opinion on the proposal in question*. For example, in regards to the upcoming proposal, we will release the article to our blog’s Governance section: https://medium.com/cryptium.
  3. The usage of a dedicated GitHub repository for delegators who might have questions or concerns regarding the proposal in question. The repository is: https://github.com/cryptiumlabs/tezos-governance and for the first proposal: https://github.com/cryptiumlabs/tezos-governance/issues/1. The comments will be used as a signaling mechanism, which could be shared with the developers of the proposal in question.
  4. Communication of our final decision ~7 days before submitting the vote via our Twitter (https://twitter.com/cryptiumlabs) and our Telegram group (https://t.me/tezos_cryptiumlabs).

*In relation to 2., although proposals will be assessed case-by-case, it will be in alignment with our vision and goals, as described above. Some instances of the criteria are:

  • Impact on network potential: e.g. new options for smart contract developers, more efficient primitives, integrations with existing chains or technologies.
  • Impact on existing stakeholders: e.g. node performance improvements/regressions, new kinds of nodes (lite clients), alterations to baking/delegation incentive model.
  • Targeted impact on particular stakeholders: e.g. forking out a malicious validator.

Phase II: Exploration

  1. Communication of our decision [Yay, Nay, Pass] ~7 days before submitting the vote via our Twitter and Telegram group.
  2. Re-Opening our GitHub Issue for comments, concerns from our delegators. The comments will be used as a signaling mechanism.

Phase IV: Promotion

  1. Communication of our decision [Yay, Nay, Pass] ~7 days before submitting the vote via our Twitter and Telegram group.
  2. Re-Opening our GitHub Issue for comments, concerns from our delegators. The comments will be used as a signaling mechanism.

Amendments to the Policy

As we gain more experience with Tezos’ governance process, sections of this policy are subject to change. Policy changes will always be communicated to the delegators and the community via Twitter and our Bakery Telegram group.

Cryptium Labs

Security-oriented PoS Validator in the Swiss Alps

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