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PrimeDAO transitions to its next phase of Governance

Combining Reputation with Boardroom

PrimeDAO is moving from governance 1.0 to 1.5! It’s a transitory but significant step towards our long-term vision for DAO governance.

Here’s the TL;DR

  • Swap governance platforms from DAOstack’s Alchemy to Snapshot plus Gnosis Safe (accessed through Boardroom)
  • Use a PrimeDAO-developed, non-transferable Reputation as the voting token in Snapshot

Governance 1.5 isn’t the end goal. But it will put us in a good position to work towards a stable long-term solution that fits our needs: trustless, representative, powerful, fractal, and usable.

PrimeDAO Governance Journey

Since its initiation in November last year, PrimeDAO has used the Alchemy platform by DAOstack. Alchemy is an on-chain governance application created to allow decentralized governance at scale. Different from the majority of DAO frameworks, Alchemy utilizes non-transferable tokens to allocate governance power — where most solutions leverage standard ERC20 tokens and therefore risk vote-buying, vote-borrowing, and plutocratic governance generally, all risks that can potentially lead a DAO to make suboptimal decisions over the long term.

Screenshot of the current Reputation holders of PrimeDAO on xDAI.

PrimeDAO operated on the xDAI network version of Alchemy, as on-chain voting on Mainnet has been unfeasible due to rising Ethereum mainnet costs. PrimeDAO’s 99 reputation holders have voted on over 30+ proposals since inception. Most proposals fall into two categories — Budget proposals submitted by contributing groups at the start of each Prime Development Cycle to fund developments and Prime Development Proposals that focus on the strategic direction of PrimeDAO.

While Alchemy was a good starting ground for PrimeDAO’s governance, the lack of development of the platform and unsatisfactory user experience has made governance via Alchemy too complicated and resource-intensive.

In that light, PrimeDAO recently passed a proposal to move to the next phase of its Governance evolution.

Alchemy → Boardroom + Reputation

PrimeDAO’s next governance set-up combines existing building pieces with a custom-made non-transferable token function developed by PrimeDAO.

The full set-up uses the following tools and can be accessed through:

Snapshot is an off-chain voting tool that depends on a server to upload cryptographically signed votes to IPFS — while it isn’t the most decentralized governance tool, it’s easily customizable and voting with your Ethereum account is free. For these reasons, it’s become a major DAO governance tool over the past year.

Boardroom aggregates relevant Governance information and resources — from Proposals to Forums — into one single location. It does this solely on the front-end, meaning PrimeDAO can still own its own infrastructures such as Snapshot and a Discourse Forum. The additional UI makes it much easier to understand, follow and participate in the PrimeDAO governance system.

The on-chain portion of governance 1.5 will be handled by a multi-sig — a smart-contract wallet that can hold assets and take on-chain actions if a minimum number of signers agree. Our multi-sig leverages the Gnosis Safe applications and requires signatures from 3 of its 5 signers (3 Prime Development Foundation members and 2 Prime stewards, all prominent community members) that are mandated to follow the guidance of PrimeDAO governance decisions.

Multisafe is a Gnosis-Safe extension that allows for better treasury management (accounting, payments) for DAOs. It can be used as a stand-alone application (built on top of Gnosis Safe) or added as a module in Boardroom as in our case.

Finally — PrimeDAO has developed a custom contract that distributes non-transferable voting power to the Prime Governors. The app allows the Prime multi-sig to batch mint and burn Reputation to Prime stakeholders. PrimeDAO aims to update Reputation at the end of each Prime Development Cycle.

An Overview of PrimeDAO in the Boardroom dApp.

We are excited to move to this improved governance system and anticipate greater and more effective Governance participation. Besides, PrimeDAO is excited to continue to build DAO tooling around the Gnosis Safe application as it is the safest and most versatile way to govern its treasury.

What’s next

Governance 1.5 is a stopping point on the way to the fabled “2.0,” where all our wildest governance dreams come true … or at least, we aim to have a governance system for PrimeDAO that meets these criteria:

  • Trustless — The future of DAO governance shouldn’t include vulnerable, centralized failure points.
  • Inclusive stakeholder representation — PrimeDAO stakeholders are diverse (contributors, users, community members, etc.). They should all be represented in governance, pushing us toward voting systems that measure stake in many different ways.
  • Not monolithic — To foster anti-fragility and effective action, our governance system shouldn’t be a single, bureaucratic system. Instead, the single PrimeDAO might end up more closely resembling an alliance of many smaller DAOs.
  • Usable — We’re always striving for better UX, and that effort will continue in the arena of governance.

Reaching governance 2.0 will be a full cycle of R&D, but it’s one we’ve now set the stage for with governance 1.5. Join us on the journey.

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