Decred Governance System is a Cyphocracy

Aug 9, 2017 · 3 min read

Decred has a unique governance system. We all know that. Our governance system allows for on-chain consensus voting and we are developing a public proposal system that gives everyone access to funds. This way, it is not only up to the miners and developers to determine the future of Decred. Users and stakeholders are also involved in the governance process.

In recent discussions on social media we have encountered several questions regarding the governance system of Decred. Most people immediately associate our governance system with a democracy. This connection is understandable because Decred introduced consensus voting. However, our governance system is not democratic at all.

Decred is not a democracy

There are three reasons why Decred is different from a democracy. First of all, users must obtain voting rights by proving that they have skin in the game. You can do so by buying voting tickets, which means you lock up a certain amount of DCR for a random period of time (with a maximum of ~4.7 months). Second, each user may obtain multiple voting tickets. Our ‘one ticket one vote’ model is inherently different from the ‘one person one vote’ model of a democracy. Third, users are rewarded for their participation. This creates an incentive to participate in the governance process of Decred.

Well then, if Decred is not a democracy, what the heck is it?! We have tried to come up with different concepts to describe it. However, most mainstream governance concepts seemed inadequate descriptions in one way or the other.

Decred is a cyphocracy

In the search of a fitting description it became clear that we had to create a brand new concept. When trying to define a word it is often best to begin with its etymology, its linguistic origin. The word democracy is derived from two Greek words: demos meaning “people”, and kratos meaning “power”.

IF demos + kratos = democracy THEN cypherpunk + kratos = cyphocracy

We are introducing cyphocracy to describe our governance system. When we googled cyphocracy for the first time, it literally showed 0 results. The word cyphocracy is derived from two words: cypherpunk meaning “people who advocate the use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political change”, and kratos meaning “power”.

If democracy means ‘power to the people’, our governance system means ‘power to the cypherpunks’. The cypherpunk community has developed many of the technologies that empower Decred. Most of our community members can be typified as cypherpunks. Our project is based on sound cryptography and open source, community-based decision making. To facilitate the decision making process, Decred has developed a unique hybrid consensus system with on-chain consensus voting. Furthermore, we will introduce a public proposal system through which everyone has access to development funding. Together we decide on the future of our currency.

To sum it all up: Decred is a cyphocracy!

Next time anyone asks you “can you explain the Decred governance system to me?” you know the easiest answer.

Originally published at on August 9, 2017.


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