ICF governance x cosmos hub constitution

Text is undergoing drafting here


Agreed. To add - orgs like AADAO’s members should also be approved by governance.

AADAO members were approved by governance.

So that’s kind of the thing everything is approved by governance, except of course for the things that are not approved by governance, which typically go through the ICF.

What I meant was… the members were pre decided. There wasn’t a choice or an open forum where people could apply.

That’s not really a problem.

See the thing is that group of predecided members they passed through governance. If people didn’t like it they had the opportunity to vote no. So I really don’t have a problem with how the members for AADAO were selected .

The rules that you’re describing would stop any self-selected group from putting up a governance proposal to fund their efforts, and I think that there is no need to dictate the individuals that people work with, particularly in a close knit group like a AADAO.


Agree with this, for the dYdX grants program for example, both for the trustees and the grantors, it was required to make public applications on the forum. Then, there were votings by committees to select the trustees and grantors. It was not like someone came with his list of trustees and grantors already decided, without any public forum applications, as in the case of the AADAO. It doesn’t look professional or free from conflicts of interest to just pick by personal decision some grantors, this is not right, an application process similar to dYdX grants should be done, those interested to be grantors should present their application publicly in the forum, and the community could vote for the decentralized committee to evaluate and select the grantors/reviewers



I’m beginning to understand

Hey we are discussing this and other accountability measures in this telegram:

Draft ICF Governance x Cosmos Hub Constitution

We the Community of the Cosmos Hub, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish cohesion, ensure standardized IBC adoption, provide for the commons, promote and lead the general multichain thesis, and secure the free passage of liquidity to ourselves, our industry, and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Cosmos Hub. We the Community of the Cosmos Hub do form the true Foundation of our grassroots movement to properly and effectively steward the direction for the Cosmos Hub, Cosmos ecosystem, and deliver us to the promised land of a free and open Internet of Blockchains.

[This is an open document that welcomes your input/feedback. None of it is concrete until sufficient thoughtful discussion has been had before processes/rules are ossified into the Official Constitution that should/will eventually be put immutably onchain.]

Proposed Process:

Voting/Passing Foundation Council Candidates:

  1. Cosmos Hub stakers nominate some names for candidacy. Candidates will accept or reject (hopefully with rationale) before moving on to the next step of the voting process.
  2. [OPTIONAL] Candidates can optionally jump on a live debate to declare their candidacy and self-advocate
  3. [DUE DILIGENCE] Cosmos Hub gov has the right to compel a thorough due diligence check on each candidate before they qualify and get the all-clear to progress on to the next round (see Policy Rules below).
  4. Once candidates are whittled down to 1 individual per FC slot, Cosmos Hub stakers will vote to approve/deny. If approved, the newly elected FC members will take office.
  5. Repeat this process once every 4 years under normal circumstances. If a Candidate get impeached during off-election season, then Hub gov will undergo an emergency vote to install a new Candidate, following the same 5-step process.

Term Limits:

  • a FC candidate who gets voted in can only stay in office for up to 4 years. They are disqualified from future candidacy if they have ever occupied a role before.


  • Cosmos Hub pays FC members (the decision-making body) in ATOM, paid for through the community pool.
    • Multisig signers responsible for the reliable, recurring distribution payouts (perhaps on a quarterly basis or via some vesting schedule), should be frequently rotated. OR else, a Gnosis Safe or Apollo Safe option should be explored for the best possible onchain payroll UX.

FC Advisors:

  • Potential to explore Advisors who are application developers or individuals who have their fingers on the pulse of the industry who should be involved in supporting FC members in decision-making wrt roadmap, priorities, technical DD of grant applicants to assess merit
  • FC Advisors can be a useful ancillary support role to involve people who may not want to fill a FC seat but can be helpful nonetheless

HARD Policy Rules:

  • NO kickbacks for FC members
  • FC members are barred from accepting advisory roles in projects within the Cosmos ecosystem
  • FC members are barred from investing in or operating Funds that may directly benefit from their place in office
  • FC members have only 1 full-time job: to administer grants in the interest of effective ecosystem development as mandated by the ICF Mandate (see below)
  • FC member candidates MUST undergo an audit and reveal their existing (active) token holdings (not net worth/fiat holdings), advisor or partnership interests, funds/ventures they’re invested in, and any other potential conflicts of interest to the best of their abilities BEFORE they qualify for office
    • At the 2-year and end-of-term marks, FC member undergoes 2 more audits respectively, so that the hub community has transparency and confidence that there was no lobbying, kickbacks, nepotism, or bribes taken
  • lobbying is strictly prohibited
  • NO same organization that has received $1.5M or more of foundation grants in aggregate over a span of 3 years can qualify again as a grant recipient until at least the 3 year cooldown period has elapsed
    • By comparison, Uniswap Labs received a grand total of $100k in 2018 from the EF to then turn that into a $16B token project that has reliably amplified that value back to ETH holders ever since. The idea that ANY organization in Cosmos would need more than $1.5M year after year is egregious and part of what makes the ICF Treasury in its current form a “slush fund.”

**Failure of FC members to comply with The Policy may result in Cosmos Hub gov impeachment and cutoff of compensation in real-time. The onus will be on Hub gov to restart The Voting process until a new replacement candidate is identified and placed into office.

ICF Mandate (2023-2025 or until delivered):

  1. Solve distribution
  2. Solve fragmented liquidity
  3. By addressing 1 and 2 → achieve network effect
  • to export IBC permissionlessly to every ecosystem, unencumbered by ICF and Core Dev politics/red tape
    • [TODO] explore possible financial sustainability routes to garner IBC adoption through, for example, a 15 basis point fee imposed in ATOM, distributed programmatically to relayers who relay every IBC highway they support
  • to import liquidity while weaning off of heavy reliance on trusted centralized liquidity and bridges, e.g. circle, bitgo, wormhole risk exposure
    • Cosmos is a relatively small ecosystem compared to Ethereum. Thus its lifeblood depends on importing liquidity from, by and large, the EVM ecosystem. Which means that its liquidity onramps converge on only a handful of options: USDC (Company: Circle), WBTC (Company: Bitgo).
  • [WORTH EXPLORING] Cosmos Hub to become a DA layer for sovereign rollapps? ATOM to become settlement token and Hub to act as settlement layer for rollups.

Contextual framing that informs ICF Mandate:

Industry Wide Problem Statement:

  • What Cosmos got right as outlined in the original whitepaper is that the broader lay of the land develops in such a way as to have many chains emerge that each offer compute, block space, and throughput enough to process transactions in relatively short timeframes (sub-10 seconds). Blockspace isn’t scarce. We can keep spinning up more blockspace with new L2s or appchains. You can choose your own adventure as a new blockchain dev. What remains to be solved then, isn’t blockspace but how not to fragment liquidity as soon as a new chain gets spun up.
      1. How can we scale blockchain infrastructure to be able to support at least 100M new users, and…
      1. how can we do it all without fracturing liquidity as soon as a user moves value from one chain to a new chain?
  • The bridging status quo is not only regressive where decentralization is concerned but highly trusted and requires high amounts of liquidity to already exist on an established chain in order for bridging to work. If the Cosmos value proposition is such that you can spin up a new appchain with relative ease, the question becomes HOW do you bootstrap your initial liquidity without needing to rely on some heavy-handed coordination tool like token incentivization? Especially if a new consumer chain decides to use an existing coin like ATOM for security and has no such new token incentive, how would a new consumer chain bootstrap liquidity for itself? Unlike other ecosystems, Cosmos distinctly needs to solve this problem if we believe in enabling sovereign appchains and sovereign rollups to have a reasonable shot at success.

Cosmos-specific Problems:

  1. While Cosmos’ distinct value proposition is in allowing anyone to spin up and bootstrap a new chain, its biggest adoption impediments are: 1) distribution, 2) permissionless development, e.g. cosmwasm docs.
  2. Political overhead that are symptomatic of dysfunctional/unaccountable leadership/decision-making processes at the ICF FC level that this Constitution aims to fix.

1 and 2 can be solved with the structures around 2 to go from dysfunctional to functional. Once 2 is functional, then 1 can be solved, assuming the new FC members adhere to solving the ICF Mandate.

Where Cosmos Stands to Lead/Shine:

  • We can only ride on the coattails of Cosmos having been right about the direction the industry was going to take is now running on fumes. More active involvement and, more importantly, intentionality needs to occur in order for Cosmos to move forward full steam ahead to maintain its leadership and obtain dominance where the multichain thesis is concerned.
  • Celestia’s modular outlook makes sense as a viable outlook of the future of blockchain scalability. We have the opportunity to position the Cosmos Hub as a centerpiece of the modular stack by seriously looking at the technical viability of pivoting the Hub into becoming a settlement and/or DA layer.
  • As a net liquidity importer, appchains need an ability to hook into a trustless source of liquidity on top of the existing centralized options like WBTC and USDC. Bitcoin is the top contender to act as this source of liquidity. Once this infrastructure is laid by the WARP team, Cosmos appchains can start directly importing synthetic BTC without the need for an intermediary pegged chain like Thorchain and Nomic and without the need to already have liquidity.
  • Solving for the economic sustainability of running relayers. We should seriously be exploring charging fees for relaying IBC packets. Without solving this critical unsolved problem, it’s difficult to imagine a future where IBC becomes de facto standard.
    • Devil’s advocate will argue that TCP/IP doesn’t technically come with a fee but in the web2 model, ISPs did emerge and are profitable, which is what enables messages to be passed across the internet. However, in crypto, there’s no ISP model, so other avenues of revenue generation need to be explored. LayerZero takes 6 basis points per tx and sustains itself in doing so.

@chjango, thank you so much.
Dreams of a more perfect union. Let’s go.

We urgently need:

  1. transparent ICF governance; and enforce foundation accountability via hub governance
  2. hub constitution

Re: hub constitution, a solid starting framework for the constitution exists in code.
Would be great to have a group begin transcribing the mechanistic reality of cosmos hub (in code) to English language, with elaboration of param logic when necessary.

Re: ICF Governance

The reason why Switzerland is a desirable domicile for foundations goes beyond tax reasons. Swiss foundations kinda have immutable and persistent attributes once created. It has no “owner/s” or “shareholders.”

Once it exists, it’s mainly accountable to one thing – its charter. Even a founder has very limited rights once a foundation is established.

I believe the ICF will use the relative immutability of its charter to resist our ask for changes.
Non-trivial changes to charters are notoriously difficult to make. Amendments are allowed under rare and extreme circumstances – which is why Switzerland remains the preferred destination for marrying serious money with a serious mandate.

While we do not know what’s in the ICF charter – foundation charters typically specify:

  • who’s on the governing board
  • how they get renewed (or terms limits, if they apply)
  • how to add or remove persons from the board

This being the case, term limits may already exist. So what are they?
The charter may also define process and procedure as to how conflicts of interest are to be handled.
We have no idea. Let’s find out.

What’s broken about ICF governance is no one, other than the foundation board knows how it must govern itself. Withholding the charter is an effective way of reducing the accountability surface for the foundation.

Brian Crain at Cosmoverse said their council expansion will be announced imminently. Feel we urgently need to insert transparency and community inclusion as to how additions to the council are considered and effected.

For the immediate term, I suggest making simple and actionable asks – two information requests, and one simple agreement with the ICF.

Information requests:

  • share ICF charter & bylaws
  • share all applicant and application information for the Foundation Council

(We can formalize information requests via hub proposal)

Simple agreement:

  • ICF will only add new members to the Foundation Council upon their nominees being approved/confirmed via hub governance

This way, we are not asking them to change the charter. We meet them with change requests they’re capable of delivering.

While I dislike the size of “asking” in the above, I feel we need to do something quickly.
The requests are reasonable. Only an unreasonable organization would refuse – and wanna deprive them of citing the fixed nature of a Swiss foundation charter as an excuse to keep the logic of their choices in the dark.


This is something I can relay to Brian Crain and see what he responds with.


Good morning, I think that there is one other matter to relay to the foundation council:

Title: New Interchain Foundation Council Members to be “Confirmed” via Cosmos Hub Governance

Type: Signaling Proposal

This proposal, collectively submitted by the Cosmos Hub community, is intended to introduce measures aimed at enhancing transparency, accountability, and community engagement within the primary governance organ of the Interchain Foundation (ICF), the Foundation Council (FC). Furthermore, this proposal seeks to institute a requirement for all prospective FC members to disclose their financial/commercial interests and report any known/potential conflicts of interest.

The purpose and objective of this proposal is to define a structured process by which any prospective member(s) seeking inclusion in the Foundation Council (FC) must undergo nomination facilitated by the FC itself. Subsequently, these nominees shall undergo a phase of public consideration, followed by formal confirmation via the governance mechanisms of the Cosmos Hub.

By establishing a more participatory and transparent process, the community ensures that FC members are selected and evaluated with fairness and integrity. Additionally, the introduction of mandatory disclosure requirements is intended to provide visibility into potential conflicts of interest that can obstruct the work of the foundation. The mutuality and shared responsibility inherent to this new process, aims to yield better decision making outcomes that also aims to rehabilitate damaged trust between the ICF and community.

By implementing the following, we reinforce the principle of community participation in the ongoing innovation of our decentralized technologies and governance.

Article I: Nominating Process

1.1. Identification of Need: The Interchain Foundation (ICF) shall be responsible for identifying the need for new and diverse membership to the Foundation Council (FC).

1.2. Nominating Committee: If the ICF does not have a Nominating Committee in place to handle processes and procedures for the solicitation and procurement of desirable applications, it shall define and publish the desired qualifications for potential nominees.

1.3. Candidate Evaluation: The ICF shall be responsible for evaluating potential candidates, conducting interviews, and performing necessary background checks and diligence for candidates under assessment for possible nomination.

1.4. Nominee Selection: The ICF shall select nominee(s) who meet the published established criteria. The FC shall present the nominee(s) in the Cosmos Hub Forum along with requisite information for consideration.

Article II: Community Consideration

2.1. Public Disclosure: All nominees seeking membership in the FC are required to publicly share the following credentials and statements in the Cosmos Hub Forum:

Personal Statement: A statement explaining the reasons for seeking an FC Member position.
Curriculum Vitae (CV): A comprehensive resume or CV detailing qualifications and relevant experience.
Disclosure Statements: Statements disclosing any established commercial interest be it tokens, securities, or other investments; affiliations, or advisory/leadership roles that may present or suggest plausible conflicts of interest.

2.2. Review Period: All nominations, along with the above-specified materials for nominee(s), shall be made publicly available for review, discussion, and consideration on the Cosmos Hub Forum for a period of no less than ten (10) working days.

Article III: Governance Vote

3.1. Signaling Proposal: Upon the completion of the community consideration period, the ICF shall create and submit a signaling proposal to confirm a new ICF Council Member. The proposal text must include the nominee’s personal statement and disclosure statement. The nominee’s CV may be provided within the proposal text or as a link embedded in the proposal.

3.2. Voting Outcome: The outcome of a simple majority vote within the Cosmos Hub Forum shall determine whether each nominee is confirmed as an authorized addition to the Foundation Council.

Voting options:

* Yes: Approval of the proposal in its current form.
* No: Disapproval of the proposal in its current form.
* Abstain: The voter wishes to contribute to quorum without voting for or against a proposal.
* NoWithVeto: A ‘NoWithVeto’ vote indicates a proposal either (1) is deemed to be spam, i.e., irrelevant to Cosmos Hub, (2) disproportionately infringes on minority interests, or (3) violates or encourages violation of the rules of engagement as currently set out by Cosmos Hub governance.
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Any fb for language above?
Anything need changing? Cause the little feedback received is “slam it on the chain.”

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Staking to run relay nodes to secure transport of transactions makes perfect sense. I suggest you look at the Solace Systems EDA Event Driven Archirecture as a baseline reference though to get things to scale and support multiple interfaces to existing pub/sub brokers like solace which are already in place supporting the biggest financial transaction systems in the world…, that creates an event stream market for COSMOS ATOM Relay Nodes among existing ISPs.

kr R2

It seems that solving relaying is rather simple. A given chain should introduce inflation rewards for (successful) relaying (easily measured on-chain) (reward pool capped per % of volume or something along the lines of it). This will create a competitive market, flowing more relayers to those chains that offer higher rewards and have stronger macros.

Relaying should become part of the logic of all cosmos chains and shouldn’t be left to voluntary validators individual decision, if cosmos is going to scale to thousands of chains or more we cannot have manual relay management.

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If the relay node operators earn rewards and the validator nodes must have multiple relay nodes attached as a mandatory requirement, then it works, especially if the relay nodes also stake a reasonable fixed amount to operate and are subject to future earnings ‘slashings’ drop in rewards percentage for a period of time for poor performance and downtime.

If the poor performance persists the validator node affected publishes an IBC msg request broadcast for new relay nodes, which should also carry a reputation score for performance requirement and the node autoselects and connects on a First come First Connect basis.

I would suggest that you study ibc.