Polkadot blockchain governance is a big secret, the board members are only 6-24

Note: Some of the content described in this article may expire before the Polkadot main online line, and the Polkadot main network is expected to be available by the end of 2019, depending on the security audit of the project. In addition, after the Polkadot main online line, its network is likely to upgrade the governance mechanisms described here. Regarding the new development, Polkadot's official wiki page will update the details of its governance mechanism.

The following is the translation of the Polkadot governance mechanism:

Polkadot has established a new governance model that aims to implement a healthy network to meet user needs.

Upgrading distributed protocols requires a lot of coordination, and implementing new features introduces expensive overhead, making changes difficult to adopt.

However, evolvability is critical to the long-term viability of any useful product, and blockchain is no exception. Since the blockchain is decentralized, governance is critical to ensuring that the network is organized and split-free. Decentralized crypto-economic systems will become the new kingdom of the Internet world, and governance is the key to ensuring that the resources of these crypto-economic systems meet the interests of their (and their stakeholders).

About the concept of governance

According to the United Nations, governance is defined as the rules of the political system to resolve conflicts between actors and decision-making.

Regarding governance, we can boil down to:

  1. Rule system
  2. Make a decision;
  3. Let the participants take responsibility;

These factors constitute the rules governing a system, or the rules on a system, not the rules within the system. For example, a rule that defines a valid transaction in polkadot is not a "governance", but a rule that determines how to change a transaction format rule is a governance concept.

Gokadot governance

A clear governance system that gives participants a clear understanding of the methods, requirements, and procedures for implementing changes. A formalized system that is coded on the chain ensures compliance with these rules and the responsibilities of the participants. In this regard, Polkadot will launch a complex set of formal rules after the main online line.

At the heart of Polkadot's governance is the concept of stake-weighted voting , in which DOT holders vote in a referendum proposed by the community. All changes to Polkadot require an equity-weighted majority. This is done using a complex mechanism (described in more detail later in this article), which is quite different from other chain-managing voting mechanisms that emerged in the early stages.

Of course, as the Polkadot community grows, its governance mechanisms may change.

Participants in Polkadot Governance

So who is the participant in Polkadot governance?

1, DOT holder

First, we need to be clear that the core of polkadot governance is the DOT token, which can perform low friction and direct interaction with the recommendations made by the community. DOT token holders use their tokens to vote on the proposal and increase the voting weight by locking the DOT and locking the time.

DOT token holders can use their DOT in polkadot governance by:

(1) Proposing a public vote; (2) Prioritizing public voting; (3) voting for all active votes; (4) voting for board members; (5) becoming a board member;

DOT also allows participants to place their DOT on the network for verification or to participate in the certifier's vote, which is called "nomination."

2. Polkadot Council

Decentralized public networks that attempt to formalize specific voting methods often encounter problems with low voter turnout. This is also a problem in the traditional governance system. In the traditional governance system, unless the issue of highly politicized is thrown to the public, the possibility of public participation in voting is very small.

To this end, Polkadot has introduced a board of directors consisting of 6-24 members who will receive priority voting rights from the Polkadot network.

Board members have the power to veto the forthcoming proposal. However, after the cooling period, these proposals can be resubmitted, and the board members who veto the proposal cannot veto the proposal again.

Council election

Members of the Board of Directors are elected by means of consecutive elections, and a board member is elected from the list of candidates every two weeks to participate in the election. The term of each board member is determined by the size of the board , which will change over time as the adaptive nature of Polkadot's governance. This means that the term of a board member is equal to two weeks multiplied by the number of board members. For example, if there are six board members, one board member will serve for 12 weeks (6×2).


The DOT holder is responsible for voting for the board members to represent them. In this regard, Polkadot introduced a loss-weighting feature that would benefit the second place in each election, so that board members with a long history can apply to become candidates who will benefit from continued community support.



The prospective board members choose themselves to be part of the list of candidates for the board. Every two weeks, the member who receives the most DOT votes will be elected. In the next round, as long as the DOT holder does not change his position, the board candidate will retain his vote in the last round of elections. In addition, the DOT that votes for the unsuccessful board members will accumulate a portion of this "wasted" value to the next round of voting. The chart above shows an example of the first round of elections. The chart below shows the weight of each future board member in the next round of elections two weeks later.


As you can see, Board candidate C won the first round and was removed from the list of candidates. In the second round of voting, DOT holders who did not vote against the board members will hold some voting weights in the next round of voting.

DOT tokens used to vote for Board members are not locked in any way, and DOT holders may revoke or change these votes at any time during the election period.

Voter voting in Polkadot Governance

Every change to the Polkadot network is in the form of a referendum. The referendum contains a key function in the code, set_code , which can change any aspect of the system. set_code function is the most powerful function in set_code because it can change any of the features, including the governance system itself.

Who can propose a vote for voters?

Voter voting can be proposed in three ways, each with a different approach:

  1. Committee of the whole
  2. Majority committee
  3. Public voter vote;

If the proposal is not approved by the majority of the votes in the Council, no referendum will be conducted. With the unanimous consent of the Board, the public must pass the motion with a simple majority .

A public voter vote can be made by any DOT holder and seconded by a supported DOT holder, which ensures that the best proposal can be voted first.

Adaptive voting mechanism

In order to alleviate the reality that the turnout rate will never reach 100%, Polkadot introduces adaptive group deviation rules. Traditionally, a quorum has been defined as the minimum number of people who voted, but there have been problems in the past few centuries. A small number of people can use the quorum to delay or prevent voting. Studies have also shown that strict thresholds can reduce voter participation. Another question is how to determine the minimum number of votes required for a quorum?

Polkadot's adaptive voting mechanism solves this problem by the percentage of voter turnout.

Delayed passage

Another important feature in Polkadot governance is the delay. Every approved voter's referendum will take some time to pass. This allows participants who disagree with the voting result to leave the network, and DOT holders who vote for the proposal lock their DOT before the upgrade takes effect.

Voters should carefully select the proposals they support and understand how the vote will affect the health of the entire Polkadot network.

Locked voting weight increased

Polkadot introduced a time-lock voting rule that allowed DOT holders to increase their voting weight by locking the DOT.

The weight of all voters is based on two criteria:

  1. Number of DOTs : The number of tokens held by voters;
  2. Lock time : The time these tokens will remain locked after the referendum ends. There are currently 5 cycles available (4 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks, 32 weeks, and 64 weeks). According to the rule, if the lock time is doubled, the voting weight will double, and in order to increase the voting weight, the voter must At least lock the DOT for 4 weeks, which is the delay after the end of the referendum.

In addition to the above, voters can choose not to lock the token, but their voting weight will be significantly reduced (90%). For example, a holder who has 5 DOT tokens and is willing to lock for 4 weeks has the right to vote, which is equivalent to a holder who has 50 DOT tokens but does not lock the position.


In the next few months, Polkadot developers and researchers will fine-tune the details described in this article. When the Polkadot main network is started, its governance rules may use different time spans, and may adjust the weight of the time lock voting after completing more research and testing.

The team is currently studying the proxy voting function, also known as the “mobile democracy” feature.

What is your opinion about Polkadot's governance plan? Welcome to exchange.