Polkadot Unveils New On-Chain Governance Model

Key Takeaways

  • Polkadot is getting a new on-chain governance model.
  • The new “Gov2” model aims to improve inclusivity and decentralization while increasing the number of decisions Polkadot governance is able to make.
  • Gov2 is set to launch on Kusama imminently, following a final professional audit of its code.

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Polkadot founder Gavin Wood announced the new governance structure as part of the Polkadot Decoded 2022 conference.

Polkadot Updates Governance Model

Crypto’s eighth-biggest blockchain is preparing to transform its governance structure.

Polkadot founder Gavin Wood announced Wednesday that the “Layer 0” blockchain would be moving away from its council and tech committee-led governance structure to a more decentralized and inclusive model. In a streamed main stage presentation at Polkadot Decoded 2022, Wood introduced the new “Gov2” model and explained how it aims to improve Polkadot’s decision-making process.

The main goal of the new governance model is to increase the number of collective decisions the Polkadot governance system is able to make. Whereas the current system uses a public proposal queue, the new governance model will allow anyone to start a referendum at any time, as often as they wish. This means that under the new Gov2 structure, there can be multiple referendums covering a wide range of issues happening simultaneously, and no limit to the number of referendums that are open to voting at any time.

Additionally, the new model will retire the governance council and technical committee’s involvement in voting, replacing their role with a new Polkadot Fellowship. The Fellowship will ensure that the opinions of technical experts are still heard and considered in Polkadot governance without giving this cohort of stakeholders an outsized amount of control. However, Polkadot holders who wish to delegate their voting power to community leaders will still be able to do so through a new and improved Multirole Delegation system.

While the new system grants more freedom and flexibility, new measures have also been introduced to safeguard the protocol from attacks. An Origins and Tracks system will help organize Polkadot governance and guard the system from malicious actors. When creating proposals, proposers must specify an “Origin” that is most appropriate to cover what they aim to achieve. Proposals with Origins that can alter more significant aspects of the Polkadot ecosystem will have more stringent safeguards, higher thresholds, and longer consideration periods. Conversely, Origins that convey relatively little power (eg, the Tip Origin, able to spend at most 10 DOT from the treasury) have shorter consideration periods and lower thresholds for approval.

Polkadot is considered a Layer 0 blockchain, which refers to a foundational infrastructure level upon which further blockchains can be built. Polkadot does this through the use of its Relay Chain, which ultimately settles transactions on its base layer before relaying the information to the other chains built upon it.

Polkadot’s new governance model is not the first major update for the Layer 0 blockchain in recent months. In May, Polkadot launched XCM, a “Cross-Consensus Messaging” format allowing communication between the network’s various parachains. The update brought the network closer to realizing its goal of becoming a fully interoperable multi-chain ecosystem.

The newly-announced Polkadot governance model is set to launch on Kusama imminently, following a final professional audit of its code. Once tested on Kusama, the Polkadot team plans to submit a proposal to launch the new structure on the Polkadot network.

Disclosure: At the time of writing this piece, the author held DOT and several other cryptocurrencies.

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