An Introduction to Governance on KILT
On November 10, 2021, KILT became a decentralized blockchain network. This means that decisions on running the network are now made by you, the community of KILT Coin holders, using a sophisticated system of governance similar to that of Kusama and Polkadot. Here we give an introduction to how it works.
In brief, governance on KILT involves everyone who owns KILT Coins, a Council, and a Technical Committee. The Council is elected from members of the community (KILT Coin holders). Council tasks include proposing referenda, vetoing dangerous and malicious referenda, voting on Treasury proposals, and electing the Technical Committee. The Technical Committee exists to fast-track any critical upgrades needed, and consists of developers with experience developing and maintaining KILT Protocol.
Any KILT Coin holder can submit a proposal, which then goes through a formal, transparent online procedure that usually ends in a referendum that goes to community vote. You can also vote on existing proposals and referenda. Of note, coins that are locked for staking can also be used to vote.
As in Kusama and Polkadot, when a referendum on KILT is successful, the upgrade will be automatically enacted by the blockchain, following the enactment period of one day on KILT.
Thanks to the design of the Polkadot ecosystem, upgrades do not require a “fork” in the blockchain, as often found in older blockchain networks like Bitcoin. KILT upgrades can simply be carried out by changing the code on-chain, also known as a runtime upgrade.
KILT has a Treasury, a store of on-chain funds that can be used for supporting and maintaining the network. As outlined in the updated KILT Coin Metrics document, this Treasury will receive around two million newly-minted KILT Coins per year for the first five years. After this time, it will always receive an amount equivalent to around 10% of the maximum collator rewards as newly-minted coins. Bonded funds from rejected proposals and referenda also go to the Treasury.
In addition to providing potential funding for a parachain if governance decides to move to Polkadot in the future, Treasury funds are available for infrastructure or initiatives that benefit the network. Anyone can make a proposal for Treasury funding.
Proposals can be simple proposals, such as the transfer of funds in the case of a Treasury grant, or more complex proposals such as a complete upgrade of the network.
Treasury proposals for grants on KILT are approved or disapproved by the Council with a super majority (60% of votes).
Proposals from the community of KILT Coin holders will generally be made after discussion with others. This can be done via community channels such as the KILT Direction channel on Element, or on Telegram and Discord. In this way, the proposer can get feedback and see if their idea is something that would be supported. Although any KILT Coin holder can make a proposal, there are several systems in place to deter anyone from making a malicious proposal and then leaving the network.
When submitting the proposal, the proposer must bond a minimum of 1 KILT for a general proposal, and 5% of the amount requested for a Treasury proposal.
Once the proposal is made it needs to be seconded by others in the community. This involves bonding KILT Coins: the amount is set by the proposer (minimum 1 KILT). One account holder can second the same proposal multiple times, with coins bonded each time. The most seconded proposal automatically becomes the next referendum unless the slot is needed for a motion by the Council. Of note, coins are reserved for the lifetime of the proposal, so if there are multiple proposals, this would lead to an extension of the bonding time.
In exceptional circumstances if a proposal or referendum is considered uncontroversially malicious or dangerous for the network, it can be cancelled by the Technical Committee or Council. In this case, the proposer and all who seconded the proposal lose their bond, which goes to the KILT Treasury.
Once a proposal moves to referendum the community has seven days to vote on it. If successful, the result is automatically enacted after one day, and those who seconded the proposal receive their bond back. If the referendum is not accepted, the proposer loses their deposit.
Voting in Referenda
Like Polkadot and Kusama, KILT has conviction voting. This means if you feel very strongly about a proposal, you can lock up coins for longer periods to increase your voting power up to a maximum factor of 6. The longer you lock your coins, the stronger your vote will be weighted.
The times range from no lockup to a period of around 224 days, with the lockup time beginning after the voting period ends. Coins used for voting will always be locked until the end of the voting period, no matter what conviction you vote with. Of note: the lock time is based on the standard block time of 12 seconds per block and hence may vary due to differences in the real block time.
If you choose not to lock any coins, your vote only counts as 10% of the coins that you commit to the voting (vote value), while the maximum lock up of around 224 days means you can make your vote count for 600% of the vote value. You can choose to lock all or some of your coins for any range between 0.1x and 6x, with a lockup time as outlined above.
As an example, you have a wallet with 1,001 KILT Coins. This could include staked or vested coins.
Example 1 — minimum
- You want to vote but don’t want to lock any coins.
- You enter 1,000 into the “vote value”
- You choose “0.1 x voting balance, no lockup period”
- This gives you a voting power of 100 KILT Coins
- Note that all your 1,000 coins are locked for the time of the voting period (7 days)
- Note that in this example you have 1 KILT left to pay the fees. Currently the transaction fee on KILT is around 0.017 KILT.
Example 2 — maximum
- You strongly believe in the referendum and want to vote with your full balance and maximum conviction
- You also enter 1,000 into the “vote value” and leave one KILT to cover the fees
- Choose “6 x voting balance, locked for 32x vote locking period (224.00 days)”
- This will give you a voting power of 6,000 KILT Coins, if you use your full amount, or 6 times the voting power of the amount you chose. The chosen amount will be locked for a period of around 224 days after the voting period ends (7 days).
While coins locked for staking can be simultaneously used for voting, the transaction fee needs to be from a usable, unlocked balance.
Conviction voting allows users with a small amount of coins to increase their voting power, and deters a token holder from creating and voting on a malicious proposal and then leaving the network.
If the referendum is successful, your voting coins will remain locked for the time specified (which means that you will be unable to transfer them, but they will still be usable for staking during that time). If unsuccessful, your coins will be unlocked after the referendum has finished.
KILT also uses an algorithm to adapt the amount of “aye” (yes/agree) votes needed to pass depending on voter turnout: the greater the number of voters, the lower the threshold required to pass. Therefore, when voter turnout is low a supermajority is generally required; with a high turnout a simple majority is sufficient.
Of note, BOTLabs GmbH, the initial developers of KILT Protocol, currently own around one third of the existing KILT coins as outlined in KILT’s updated tokenomics. To ensure democracy and decentralization, BOTLabs will abstain from voting on all proposals and referenda. The only exception to this would be a critical situation where a malicious proposal threatens the technical security of the network. Due to features built into the governance mechanism, such as the need to lock coins to create a proposal, this is unlikely to happen. The percentage of coins owned by BOTLabs is designed to decrease over time, due to inflation in the network.
Before voting on any proposal or referendum, you are advised to read more about it and join the discussion in Polkassembly (under the “On-chain” section). Polkassembly is an open source platform for providing information, context, and a discussion forum for proposals and referenda in the Polkadot ecosystem.
Tech savvy KILT community members may check the changes to the runtime that are being voted on. This can be done by going to the KILT GitHub page where the open-source code of KILT Spiritnet is hosted, and comparing the changes in the raw code. Afterwards, you could potentially build the WASM runtime yourself from the source code using the SR-Tool that prints out the hash of the WASM blob. If this is the same as the codeHash on Polkassembly and the corresponding extrinsic on the KILT blockchain, you could verify that the authorized changes are in line with the description of the referendum. The following screenshots show the codeHash on Polkadot.js and the log of the WASM build.
Democracy in Action
KILT Protocol has been designed to enhance privacy on the internet for decades to come.
Governance is key to KILT, allowing it to run as a decentralized blockchain with the facility to evolve and be self-sustainable. All KILT Coin holders are encouraged to actively participate in this process. See here for a step-by-step guide to voting on KILT. Still have questions? Head to KILT Support.
About KILT Protocol
KILT is an open-source blockchain protocol for issuing self-sovereign, anonymous and verifiable credentials for Web3, the next generation of the internet. KILT’s mission is to return control over personal data to its owner, restoring privacy to the individual. Developers can use KILT’s SDK to quickly spin up applications for issuing, holding and verifying credentials in order to create businesses around identity and privacy. KILT Protocol was initially developed by BOTLabs GmbH in Berlin and is the technology on which SocialKYC, a decentralized identity verification service, is built.