Kintsugi: Proposal 82's History and Future

this essay also lives on github, PRs welcome


  • We can learn valuable lessons for the future of Hub governance by understanding the history of Proposal 82

  • Proposal 82 had the highest number of token votes ever in Cosmos Hub governance

  • Unclear voting outcomes, chaotic communications platforms, and too large a proposal negatively impacted the proposal process and played a role in creating an unhealthy governance culture

  • Signaling proposals can be unproductive if execution outcomes are unclear

  • The creation of a decentralized knowledge base can improve the quality of governance discussions, reduce governance noise, and make it easier for more people to participate constructively in Cosmos governance

  • Epistemic-status proposals (proposals that gauge confidence in the completeness of an idea) can help us improve our collective decision-making skills and create a healthier governance culture that produces more effective proposals


This essay seeks to provide an overview of the narrative about Proposal 82, dissect the role that trust played in the voting outcomes, and outline a methodology by which we can use available information and governance tooling to develop an actionable framework for allocating community resources to best position the Hub, in accordance with collective understanding, to onboard new chains and contributors.

In the development of this methodology, I hope to maximize the tendency toward communication & collaboration in decision making.

Additionally, this essay simply seeks to document Proposal 82’s history so that we may transform the vast amounts of energy put toward proposal 82 into healthy community culture.

As a helpful analogy for thinking about governance post proposal 82, I’ve chosen to adopt the philosophy of Kintsugi:

“the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum; […] As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.” – Kintsugi - Wikipedia

A brief analysis of Proposal 82 engagement

Cosmos Hub Governance recently vetoed proposal 82, which sought to “ratify” a new collective vision for the Cosmos Hub. This vision was meant to enable the Hub to capitalize on its position in the Interchain and maximize the Hub’s utility amidst a rapidly expanding, competitive environment. Proposal 82 led to the highest token-vote turnout ever (1), and the second-highest wallet vote count.

The only proposal that has received both a higher percentage and total number of No with Veto (NwV) votes in the history of Cosmos governance was Proposal 73, “Gift to Cosmos Stakeholders” – widely considered a spam proposal that promised an airdrop for yes voters.

@zakimanian, [16 Nov 2022 at 21:09:14 CET]: The work was provided to earn goodwill from the ATOM community. Good will that has been rejected
– (Community $ATOM Governance Discussions)

Jokes about the Cosmos community’s propensity to veto the goodwill of others aside, it’s worth questioning why this proposal, written by core contributors in the Cosmos ecosystem, was met with this response.

Complexity: A well-spring of questions

The proposers of the ATOM 2.0 paper wrote a comprehensive document which contained various components meant to drive value to the Cosmos Hub. However, despite (or because of) the amount of detail in the document, the community had various questions after reading the vision paper.

On September 26th, the same day the whitepaper was posted to the forum, the questions began, when @johnniecosmos posted the following:

A first thought while reading the proposed White Paper is the role of the Cosmos Hub Treasury.

According to the White Paper Cosmos Hub Treasury, (is) a new capital pool managed by domain-specific councils to fund public goods and grow a resilient interchain.

  • Can someone expand on this? How will resources be allocated from the Treasury?

  • Will community vote on the allocation of resources?

  • What is the vision for the role of the community pool in the future?

By September 27th, the post had been edited and expanded to contain the following:

  • 1. Can someone expand on this, which can be sub-divided as follows:

  • 1a. Who will control this Treasury?

  • 1b. How will resources be allocated from the Treasury, what will the process be, any checks and balances and which are they?

  • 1c. Will community vote on the allocation of resources?

  • 2. Also

  • 2a. what will the approximate amount of $ATOM allocated to the Cosmos Hub Treasury be, by the end of the 36 month period? Essentially how much voting power will that treasury gather?

  • 2b. After the 36 months lapse what percentage of the 300k $ATOM per month will be issued to staked holders and what to the Treasury?

  • 3. What will the total $ATOM supply be by the end of the 36 month period?

  • 4. Will funding from the treasury be approved by virtue of proposals as happens with the community pool and who votes?

  • 5. What is the vision for the role of the community pool (and the community in general) in the future?

  • 6. As a final question, will the Treasury vote on Proposals?

In the ensuing month and a half (from September 26th - November 14th), these questions remained at the center of the discussion, although, over time, other concerns including risk-mitigation and unclear voting outcomes arose as well.

Transient media and the tendency to comment on comments of comments

While users like johnniecosmos raised questions on the forum, governance engagement continued to pick up speed. However, due to the nature of our communications platforms (particularly twitter, telegram, and live interviews) many of the most useful reasons for voting one way or another were lost in a flurry of activity.

By 11/15 00:00, at the end of the proposal period, there were over 36,000 messages sent in the governance chat since its creation on October 5th (2).

It’s worth noting that gathering useful information via telegram messages is difficult and requires a watchful eye over the channel, but following information circulating on twitter is more difficult still. Information sent via the blue bird is not only impacted by character count and volume of tweets on a user’s timeline, but is also inherently limited by whom a user follows and their toggled-view of tweet-display (latest tweets vs. top tweets).

These difficulties became more pronounced as time passed and discussion about the proposal moved from the whitepaper to attacks on contributors across the ecosystem.

To the Person

On October 6th, the following message was sent. The tone of the message is particularly noteworthy because it is indicative of the health of the conversation:

@apindy, [6 Oct 2022 at 00:10:05]: In general the exchange between Zaki and Jae on the Forum is great

– (Community $ATOM Governance Discussions)

That is in reference to a particularly informative exchange on the forum between @zaki_iqlusion and @jaekwon, which covered the risks of liquid staking, the importance of a minimal ATOM, and treasury management. 22 thoughtful messages were exchanged between the participants on the forum in 3 days, and johnniecosmos marked the end of that saga with these words, on October 6th:

Thank you for your thorough responses on both inflation and issuance Jae. Appreciated and thought provoking.

Moving forward a week, on October 14th, @jaekwon joined the Community $ATOM Governance Discussions telegram channel. At that point, the group had been active for ~9 days and ~8056 messages had been sent. His first message was the following, and it is notable because it represents a marked shift away from the discussion about the vision paper:

  • Jae K, [14 Oct 2022 at 09:07:48]: Ugh I hate TG. Literally WEF is trying to kill you. This is a spy tool.

  • and to see why WEF is bad, see\_apSz3pA4\_1y07Yzdig —> after this interview the senators plane got shot down. Even JFK just years before got murdered after whistleblowing of a vast monolithic conspiracy.

  • WEF is the recruiting event for globalist psychopath henchmen like Gavin Newsom, Trudeau, Fauci Bill Gates, Putin, even Zelenski. All trying to implement literally the mark of the beast. Read book of revelation for once, KJV, and understand why EcoHealfh alliance whistleblowers have been saying that they engineered Covid19, and why Fauci is under fire for lying to Congress about gain of function research after he funded EcoHealth. TG founded by the same. They just want to control you.

  • Anyways I prob won’t come back here for a long while so adjos. Please make a PR of you please.

– (Community $ATOM Governance Discussions)

Let’s jump forward in time to October 21st. At this point, a github repository circulated by Jacob Gadikian on twitter began to creep into the conversation, and would soon consume it.

The next days would become increasingly tense as core contributors disparaged one another, cited personal details, and attacked one another openly.

A brief history of Cosmos from Zach Ramsay helps connect the chaos at this time with the contemporary Cosmos ecosystem, and also provides an encouraging message about how we might move forward.

The chaos in the Cosmos right now is nothing new and honestly we’re coming full circle to its earliest beginnings. Let’s dive into Genesis. No politics, no religion. Just facts & feelings. Buckle up kids, it’s story time. 1/n

1:24 AM · Oct 21, 2022

On October 21st, as the conversation was spiraling increasingly out of control, the chat forked and “The Cosmos Decentralists” channel was born – a separate telegram governance channel.

13,000 messages and 16 days since the inception of the Community $ATOM Governance Discussion tg channel, this particular chapter of our story ends and a new one begins.

  • Jazz, [21 Oct 2022 at 10:08:42]: So I guess this chat forked. Hopefully the same fate will not happen to atom lol

  • Jae K, [21 Oct 2022 at 10:09:31]: I’m budding a new chat room. :slight_smile:

– (Community $ATOM Governance Discussions)

No with Veto, the scales of trust, and unclear communications

The disorderly communications persisted, changes to the vision paper were proposed, and the proposal was put on-chain on October 31st.

I’ve already attempted to lay out how the narrative shifted during the 36 day discussion period as the proposal itself was pushed aside and the governance participants from both sides of the proposal were brought to the forefront. It turns out that this tendency is common, and often occurs in conversations about complex topics. That’s because it’s an effective rhetorical tactic.

“[Study r]esults indicate that ad hominem attacks may have the same degree of impact as attacks on the empirical basis of the science claims, and that allegations of conflict of interest may be just as influential as allegations of outright fraud.” (The effect of ad hominem attacks on the evaluation of claims promoted by scientists; emphasis added)

The ATOM 2.0 proposal was large and complex, and it was difficult to follow along with a rapidly changing conversation because of the transient nature of our communications platforms. This combination of factors made it nearly impossible to engage constructively in discussion about the proposal, with the result that for some voters, the tendency toward trust or mistrust of the core actors played a decisive role in their view of future outcomes if the proposal passed, and thus played a large part in how they engaged in the conversation.

The following exchange is illustrative of two antithetical viewpoints:

@rob_stack, [31 Oct 2022 at 02:10:59 (31 Oct 2022 at 06:30:09):

I’m neutral, I support what I think is the best for Cosmos, I fighted Zaki both on Prop 69 and 72. But I do agree that Atom 2.0 is a better model for the Hub. I’m moved by my logic, no one is influencing me.

@Cosmodon, [31 Oct 2022 at 02:16:19]:

Yet I asked what you think about his contributions and do you trust him to have all the right motives to do what’s best for Cosmonauts in general?:ok_hand:

– (Community $ATOM Governance Discussions)

However, trust aside, many no with veto voters had well thought-out reasons for voting as they did. On Halloween, October 31st, the proposal was put on-chain after discussion had been ongoing for 36 days (September 26th - October 31st). Additional proposals were also raised, such as ATOM Zero and ATOM One.

The ATOM 2.0 proposal reached quorum within 4 days of the beginning of the voting period, and on the fourth day, the super majority was leaning toward yes. Cosmos News has done an excellent job documenting the proposal narrative and outcomes on a daily-basis from that day forward.

In the end, however, the proposal was vetoed with 37.39% of voters voting for no with veto. Interestingly, ATOM Zero and ATOM One were rejected, had lower total token turnout by at least 15%, and neither was vetoed with more than 10% of voting power.

The Potsherds of ATOM 2.0

Given the challenges that we faced with the human elements of the proposal process (relationships, trust, and communication), it may be helpful to examine the proposal process in order to reduce the likelihood that similar situations will arise in the future.

Missing Links: A Survey of Voter Rationale

Toward a Collective Understanding

If our goal is to re-examine the proposal outcomes and make improvements, as @ebuchman mentioned here:

Ethan Buchman (:honeybee:,:bat:)

[…] we have the same clear next steps, many of which have already begun. We need a concrete proposal to increase the community pool tax and we need more analysis of the risks/alternatives for what’s in the paper

18:50 · Nov 14, 2022

It is crucial for us to improve the UX of finding relevant information for participants and move away from the expectation that they will spend countless hours each week chasing context across platforms and time zones.

Methodology: Decentralized Knowledge Base

Future governance proposals, and proposal retros, should contain a link to an open-source database of voting reasons for all possible outcomes. In compiling these reasons, we might wish to abide by the following standards:

1. Summarize and compile reasons into lists, but link to original content after each summary
2. Archive original sources
2a. Transcribe original sources into long-lasting content format (such as markdown)
3. Limit referencing ad-hominem attacks that are irrelevant to the discussion at hand
4. Host the platform on decentralized, dispersed servers
5. Enable anyone to add reasons by following a pre-defined, agreed-upon process

By implementing such a methodology, we can avoid some of the pitfalls of miscommunication and mistrust as we discuss complex decisions using transient messages.

Agreement across camps

In his thread on lessons learned from the proposal process @Youssef expressed regret that “[t]he scope of prop 82 was too large for most people to be able to intelligently interact with.”

While this is probably true for many voters, that in and of itself was a specific reason for voting NwV, as we see in a statement issued by TendermintHQ on the matter (emphasis added):

Both of the above contributors, the former an author of the paper; the latter a key stakeholder in the Cosmos ecosystem, make one thing clear: the size and scope of the proposal is too large to reconcile in a single vote. This sentiment is often echoed elsewhere, including by Tarun Chitra:

I also agree wholeheartedly with @crainbf’s assertion that it makes absolutely no sense to vote on Atom 2.0 atomically (all or nothing) — some of the ideas could be executed on quickly whereas the others are at a level of R&D that they basically are citing my papers :rofl:
1:10 AM · Oct 17, 2022

Signaling proposals: useful but dangerous

Alongside the amplified signal from the Decentralized Knowledge Base – we face the issue of actually gauging community sentiment, which can be difficult to do solely via discussions. Moreover, many people do not engage in discussions until a proposal is on-chain. Fortunately, the Cosmos Governance Module includes a “text-proposal” type. But, given a hammer – everything looks like a nail. While signaling proposals have been used to great success across the ecosystem to determine a course of actions, such as on Osmosis to determine pool incentives, they can also lead to confusion when voting outcomes and next steps are not explicitly listed.

In place of other ways to express an opinion on-chain (such as ranked choice voting), the below section provides a methodology that might be useful to gauge sentiment and come to a collective understanding about points of contention. In doing so, we can outline a clear path forward for further research about the components of the ATOM 2.0 proposal that capture the collective imagination of the community.

Epistemic-status proposals

In digital gardens, epistemic-statuses “are a useful tool for showing the process of thinking, the steps you took to get to a conclusion, rather than just the conclusion itself.”

Epistemic-status proposals are similar to how sentiment is measured using text-proposals, the difference being that it is explicitly used to gauge the community’s confidence in an idea in its current state. Another key difference between epistemic-status proposals and text-proposals is that epistemic-status proposals are part of the ideation process rather than the execution process. As such, epistemic-status proposals and a decentralized knowledge base might allow us to radically improve the way that we come up with and analyze ideas. By their very nature of admitting that ideas have roots in the hive-mind and varying stages of completion, epistemic-status proposals enable a more creative and fruitful proposal process.

Here is a proposed method for creating epistemic-status proposals:

  • state the proposal’s core tenet
  • include a link to the decentralized knowledge base with reasons for & against the proposal alongside risk-analysis and other relevant areas
  • outline standards for how the results will be interpreted (this point can be contentious if soft-consensus is not reached about what the vote means).

An (incomplete) example of a single epistemic-status result interpretation may be:

  • Passing quorum with a supermajority (>66%) of yes votes cast, including abstain votes in the total count, indicates a signal from the community that the community feels confident in the current status of an idea, and the next-steps, whatever those are, should be undergone. Optimally, Informal System’s workflow, or a similar accountability language, can be used to navigate the execution layer of the proposal process.

There are risks associated with the above method, but discussing them is outside of the scope of this already too-long essay. Additionally, due to the variety of reasons for voting yes or no, it is difficult to determine how to interpret the epistemic status. However, I have confidence that a collective effort in thinking about this can lead to interesting, if not fruitful, outcomes.


I have done my best to compile a brief-history of Proposal 82 as I witnessed it. This account is inherently biased (note: I did vote yes on Proposal 82), and also incomplete. It is too great a task for one individual to sift through the high-velocity of digital content for those key moments worth archiving. I hope that this essay will encourage others with an interest in ethnography, anthropology, history, or the formation of culture in cyberspace, to embark on similar quests.

Additionally, I believe the methodology proposed is still incomplete. I hope that others will, in the philosophy of kintsugi, pick up the pieces that I have dropped and meld them into a cohesive whole.


Epistemic-status of this essay: mid-confidence about my own experience; low to mid-confidence that the essay represents the viewpoint of others.

Thank you to JD-Lorax and others who have given feedback on this piece. It has been encouraging and helpful.


  1. Analysis has only been done from April 2022 to the date of this post.
  2. Data gathered via message links. Telegram message links contain the message number in the chat (with the first message being tgchat/1)

Thanks for this post!

I love the dedication you have put into putting this together and finding ways to improve the pitfalls we saw.

For me 2 things “spoiled” the discussion around ATOM2.0;

  • first of all the various sources where information was shared. We saw the forum, Twitter, Telegram and podcasts all jumping around whereas such a sensitive subject benefits from slow, thoughtful communication. I have said time and time again that Twitter is a good medium for quick, short messages to notify people, but it is a very terrible medium for discussions (which has proven to be true the past few months). I am not sure how to fix though, since it is cool that many people can interact, but it also heavily dilutes useful input. Some way of easy sifting through posts would be a major useful addition to the set of tools we have

  • the discussion was ok before all the personal attacks started. By that point the discussion turned into a battle from 2 camps in trenches, which was really bad for any constructive input. For this there is no magic solution besides having the requirement that everyone behaves as adult and steps over its own shadow to be hard in the discussion, but polite. We all want the ecosystem to succeed, so the only thing we differ on is how to get there. Having that as starting point and understanding that from eachother makes the discussion a lot more fun, because we are all in the same boat.


Thanks for the response!

Yes, I agree that is a huge problem. It’s very difficult to keep up with the information, especially if governance participants have other obligations. A community effort to archive this content and place it in an open, repository can help create a single source of truth without reducing the liveliness of discussions by trying to funnel it. The tool can be further improved by providing a strong UX for archiving and adding content for archivists, and making it easy to reference that content in discussion. I think this point is largely a tooling problem.

I also wholeheartedly agree here. I do think that some of these attacks arise from people being unable to keep track of the original discussion though. People lose the track of what to focus on over a prolonged conversation across many platforms, with the result that it becomes easier, cognitively, to just paint the sides with stereotypes (one good, one bad) and be done with it. A more creative governance environment with more process for collaboration and working together can help solve this issue.

Yeah, having the opportunity to channel the discussion to 1 channel would help, with a 2nd layer involved where regular summarized updates are provided.

Will this take a lot of time to do?
Yes, for sure! But it will also add a lot of value.

In the ATOM2.0 discussion I saw many individuals coming up with the same posts. That can be avoided if people can find more easy if their comment has already been placed.

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