Tezos: A Simple Guide To The First Amendment

Manta 222
Manta 222
Jan 24, 2019 · 4 min read
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Signing of the Constitution

The time has come for the first big test of the Tezos governance system through a much anticipated on-chain voting procedure. Announced by Nomadic Labs research and development team, this first amendment will test Tezos’ technology, but also how capable the Tezos community really is when there are decisions to be made.

In theory and by design, Tezos blockchain can amend its protocol without any need to fork, meaning that any change on the protocol can be proposed, selected, tested and seamlessly implemented through an on-chain voting mechanism.

Now Nomadic Labs is proposing two competing amendment protocols to make the on-chain voting mechanisms work as expected. You can and should participate in this rehearsal, so here’s more details on how to be part of this historic moment.

So What Are The Proposals?

When planning the proposals Nomadic Labs publicly shared the goal of their two proposals. First to test the governance on-chain process. And to observe how the community will manage themselves during the decision period. These were supposed to be simple and non-controversial changes on Tezos’ blockchain, but in reality one of these proposals is already creating a lot of controversy about how Tezos should be.

There are the two competing amendments.

1. Amendment Proposal #1: Increase the current gas limit

By proposing an increase to the gas limit for running Michelson smart contracts. Their belief here is that the current gas limit is based on an excessively conservative approach than needs to be updated to work efficiently based on current network benchmarks.

2. Amendment Proposal #2: Increase the current gas limit AND Reduce the roll size required to become a Baker.

Rolls are the unit of stake used to assign rights to bakers and are currently set at 10k $XTZ. Reducing roll size would open the door for more bakers with smaller stakes. Although more democratic and more attractive for new possible Tezos investors, part of the community is arguing that reducing roll size would significantly influence node performance, both in terms of storage and computation time.

On top of this, reducing roll size would also have a big economic impact on Tezos services, specially bakeries. It would allow more people to do baking themselves. But new bakers bring the risk of reducing the consistency of the block time due to a lack of experience. This is what happened during late 2018 when many new bakeries were getting set up.

How can I participate in the discussion?

As a stakeholder and core contributor, you will be able to participate in the voting process, but the sooner you get involved, the better.

The best option right now is to join the Kialo discussion board, proposed by Tezos community member Bitc0m. Check it out here to see how everyone feels about the proposals.

What are the next steps?

As the community understands what is at stake and shares their discussions about how to respond to the various proposals Nomadic Labs is preparing to move to the official on-chain voting mechanism. It works in 4 stages:

1. Proposal Period (Cycles 1–8)

Any baker can submit a proposal. This proposal can be upvoted by any baker and the most upvoted advances to the next phase. Only 1 proposal can be added each cycle. This was a deliberately conservative approach by the Tezos founders and the network can be amended or eliminated through this on-chain system.

2. Exploration Vote Period (9–16)

Bakers vote to test the top-ranked proposal, if 80% of roll votes say “yes” by the end of the period, the proposal advances to the next phase.

3. Testing Period (17–24)

A new test chain is forked out of the main chain for 48 hours and an off-chain testnet matching the proposal can be used to evaluate the proposal.

4. Promotion Vote Period (Cycles 25–32)

After the testing period, bakers can vote to promote the testnet chain to mainnet. An 80% approval rate is needed, meaning 80% of rolls need to say “yes” to the proposal. If this happens, the testnet chain upgrades are implemented on the mainnet as well.

To discover even more about this process follow up with this amazing article by Jacob Arluck.

Since Tezos’ inception all research, development efforts, and funds have had a reason to be. This is the historic moment where we will witness if Tezos will reach its core goal of facilitating on-chain governance, the first step to becoming a true digital commonwealth.

So, be part of this revolution by joining the discussion on Kialo and by following me on my brand new Twitter.


Tezos Spotlight is a community sourced publication. We are not affiliated with Tezos development team nor the foundation. We are holders of $XTZ.

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