Goodbye Admin Key, Hello Decentralized Governance

Tellor Core
Oct 7, 2020 · 3 min read

Today is a special moment for the Tellor core team and our community. With both excitement and a healthy dose of apprehension, the founding team of Tellor is announcing we have sent our admin key to the “0 Address” and effectively destroyed the last centralized mechanism in Tellor’s protocol. All future changes and upgrades to the Tellor protocol can only be handled by the community governance of our token holders.

When we set out to build our oracle project we had a number of hard decisions to make in regards to the design. But one thing was clear, that all choices were made through the lense of: What would be the most decentralized, censorship resistant, and best thing for the long term health of the project? We chose to not pre-mine or do an ICO/IEO, as we didn’t want to have any sort of unfair launch. We chose to build the community organically with a focus on tech and values, not hype, so that the core foundation of our token holders would be the ones who joined because they were actually interested and believed in what we were doing. Additionally, we set a plan to release control of the protocol as early as we could by destroying the admin key.

For those of you unfamiliar with admin keys, they allow the owners of the admin key to upgrade the smart contracts and make changes to the system. Most protocols in DeFi currently operate with admin keys. This is something everyone should be aware of as they are a lynchpin of security and trust in a protocol.

In the early stages of a project, it makes sense for the founders of the team to maintain control with admin keys. It’s valuable for the project to be able to experiment, adapt, and make rapid changes as they search for product and tech/market fit. As well, the founders are typically the ones bringing most of the value to the network and holding the most risk so it usually isn’t viewed as unwanted or unreasonable for admin keys to exist. However, a problem occurs when existence of admin keys is unknown to the community and/or they are held onto for too long centralizing power. This is why we’ve been transparent about this and hope you are as excited as we are.

Moving forward all upgrades to the system will be proposed by any individual via a Tellor Improvement Proposal on our github. Discussions will follow and the process will eventually move to a vote by the community. Coming later this month our first T.I.P. will be for the Tellor v2.5 updates and can’t wait to see the community in action. Tellor’s true potential can only be reached with everyone together. Not only us, WE are Tellor.