As a validator, stakefish has decided to vote no on proposal 34. This is not because there is disagreement on the proposal’s motivations, but it is mainly due to the rushed process, potential conflicts of interest represented, lumped action item controversy, and potential unwanted precedent setting its approval may support.
To emphasize, we are aligned with the intent of the campaign for getting more exposure for Cosmos. We have been staunch supporters of the ecosystem very early on and continue to be so. We have supported the ecosystem through our own Cosmos specific grants program, grant.fish, and have been ensuring representation as one of the largest unique validator delegator sets.
To reiterate, we want to ensure that due process in community specific governance proposals is respected to the highest degree and that responsible precedent is set to lay the foundation for future governance proposals for what we see as a fascinating and exciting future that is being ushered in with the coming of Stargate.
These are the points that we’ve made in prior discussions and have had some time to discuss with the community:
- Time for proposal specific discussion
- Fund allocation and decision making conflicts of interest
- Checks and balances
- Action item separation
These are some potential suggestions/solutions that we’d like to see and potentially support and contribute to:
- Followup proposals to augment or amend concerns many have had on specific action items of proposal 34
- Integration of quadratic funding mechanisms: credibly neutral implementations of community-backed funding
- Dedicated working group for marketing/education that represents the gamut of entities across the decentralization of Cosmos
- Ensured, sufficient discussion periods for all proposals
We’d like to lay out a bit more description to some of these points as we feel it is fair to describe our stance given the strong opinions people hold.
Time for proposal specific discussion
There was not sufficient time for feedback and discussion on the official forums when the proposal was published. There were very valid points and perspectives that held some concerns that were not addressed before the proposal went into a vote. The duration of discussions that come from Telegram group chats that led to the creation of the official proposal draft should be counted separately from that of official discussions into drafting, receiving opinions, and revisions made. There needed to be fair treatment and ample time for people to discuss this proposal given discussions on key action items. It should be noted that the recognition of the current bull market prompted quick movement to not miss the wave of enthusiasm for many new entrants into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, but it’s also important that there is a process that should be levelheaded as well that should be reflected in time for discussion. This situation brought up unpopular analogies to omnibus bills in traditional legislation in which representatives were only given very short amounts of time to read, discuss, and decide on massive bills with many action items stuffed in before a vote went live.
Fund allocation and decision making conflicts of interest
With the significant amount of community resources being acquired here to spend on behalf of the community, we felt that it was important to ensure that there were no explicit conflicts of interest specifically to ensure that decision making was being done properly and with responsibility. Although it is difficult to have a complete infallibility with particular decision makers bearing the burden of the community’s interests (which can vary by extreme margins), it is important to show those external to the Cosmos ecosystem that we as the Cosmos ecosystem were operating in such a way that no one could call us out for skirting fairness or responsibility. The Governance Working Group was a fantastic place for discussion for enthusiastic individuals involved in governance, but it does not necessarily have the full representation of the entire community–which this proposal should represent in full public forums. Great ways of formally choosing the committee members could have exposed how each was chosen, by whom, and if there were any specific conflicts of interest–particularly with how this entire process was conducted. For example, it wouldn’t be out of the norm to ensure that proposers should recuse themselves from influencing the voting set or being a part of the voting set. Perhaps easier in theory than practice.
Ensuring to the rest of the cryptocurrency ecosystem that Cosmos does things correctly, responsibly, and without conflicts of interest is important in setting a good example of how on-chain governance can be conducted for a prominent and established ecosystem. Not allowing any independent observer to question the validity and fairness of Cosmos’ actions is extremely important for reputation and trust that new entrants to the cryptocurrency space–significant portions of this proposal’s target audience–see of Cosmos. If there is an ironclad way of proving to the world that we can show no conflict of interest, then any criticism that we, as the Cosmos Community, might face will fall flat because we took responsible steps here.
Checks and balances
As this proposal on-chain records things as a statement that is permanent and supported by the community if it passes, if there are differences of opinion as to how it is executed or one of the action items is very opposed, how would it be remedied? Just as handshake agreements won’t hold up against literal agreements, this was a danger of not having formal ways of holding accountability. Although the committee was entrusted with this responsibility on behalf of the community, having proper safeguards in place to protect the interests of the community was important and this was not discussed in the proposal.
Action item separation
At face value there are action items currently that may be seen by some members of the community and external observers that are questionable in nature. Most of the action items were agreeable but some were not. As it stands the proposal looks to pass all of them. It would have been better to separate each of the action items into distinct proposals so that the community and those who feel strongly about each, could vote for the action items agreed with. It is very reminiscent of unpopular omnibus bill tactics that push forward monolithic agreements with undesirable items.
We definitely recognize that it is easy to armchair vote on this without any followup, so we’ve put together potential suggestions and solutions to this matter.
Followup proposals for each action item
This would have followup proposals for relevant action items that the community takes issues with. One would be the paying of cryptocurrency influencers to speak explicitly about ATOM prices. A sample proposal could either remove that particular action item from the budget for proposal 34 or augment that action item to ensure that there checks and balances on-chain (and not on an abstract trust basis) by which influencers are chosen via a community vote.
Quadratic funding implementation
An integration for now and the rolling future of credibly neutral community-backed funding mechanisms. This would look something like this:
- Action items broken down into separate grant proposals to determine the amount of funding for each.
- Cosmos community members could use a wallet (like Keplr) to donate to each of these proposals and the number of unique donations from members will apply the appropriate quadratic funding multiplier that that grant would get funded from the 129,00 ATOM warchest.
A quick integration with Cosmos to Gitcoin would allow for this functionality to be ready out of the box.
Dedicated education/marketing working group
Create a dedicated working group for marketing and education that spans the existing but independent entities that represent the Cosmos ecosystem. This for example can represent members from All in Bits, ICF, and the large independent community contingent that has been, as we all have seen, tirelessly (and sometimes thanklessly) working to further the Cosmos ecosystem. This can provide a long-term and dedicated working group that still embraces the decentralization that Cosmos has been widely regarded for with an important unified vision.
Ensured, sufficient discussion periods for all proposals
As had been discussed earlier, there should be dedicated and sufficient time for discussion on proposals before they go to a vote.
Again, stakefish has and is dedicated to the Cosmos ecosystem. This is all to ensure that things are done infallibly and that we don’t expose the Cosmos ecosystem to any backlash and criticism for trying to cut corners for something well intentioned.