As of March 31, Element DAO is fully decentralized and community governed. And as all governance launches go, it begins with chaos.
We have a long path forward before the DAO can reach a healthy political dynamic and operational self-sustainability and expect that Element governance processes will evolve and continue to expand and adapt as necessary. At the outset, we propose the following framework for decision-making. The Element community may vote on changes to these processes to evolve the governance framework over time.
In a truly decentralized organization, everyone should be able to participate and propose improvements. This framework provides the necessary tools and processes to kickstart the operations of the DAO and help push it forward.
We believe that this initial governance framework will bring the minimum amount of order needed to move the Element DAO forward.
The initial Element Governance Framework is outlined below:
Guidelines of Element’s Governance Proposal Framework
The Governance Process
What Governance Controls Today 🔐
Current Governance Roles 👨👨👦
Governance Protocol Documentation & Resources
Let’s dig in.
Guidelines of the Element’s Governance Proposal Framework (EGPF)
There are no hard-and-fast “rules” for the format of proposing changes in governance; indeed, those “rules,” if to be adopted, would be imposed by the vote of governance itself. However, we suggest that proposals should be straightforward, actionable, and clear with the following principles in mind:
Explicitness: A proposal should clearly define and address a specific behavior or single responsibility. If it proposes multiple actions, it should be split into multiple explicit proposals.
Completeness: A proposal must be thorough. Relevant particulars should not be left undefined or unreferenced.
Avoid overlap: Multiple independent proposals should not propose the implementation of the same type of behavior. Review active proposals to avoid overlap.
Clarity: A proposal should be as clear and as easy to understand as possible. It should be succinct, use simple language, and consider having a peer in the community review prior to submission.
Commonwealth Governance Forum: The best way to get yourself up to date with the current state of governance is to join the discussion with the community on the forum. The forum will be the go-to place for submitting proposals, discussing governance proposals, DAO discussions, voting on both off-chain and on-chain proposals, and much more.
Element Governance Dashboard: View your specific Element governance dashboard, review information on proposals, delegate your voting power, and participate in on-chain voting on various proposals submitted by the community.
Element Governance Proposals (EGPs): EGPs are standardized proposals subject to voting that (once enacted) regulate and define the behavior of the Element DAO's Governance system and the Element Protocol.
Protocol (Executable): This category of proposals should be used when implementation involves the execution of one or more smart contract operations by accounts controlled by the Element DAO.
Examples: Technical upgrades to the Element Protocol, additional features, incentive programs, and more.
Details: Executable Proposals will pass by a simple majority if the quorum has been met. Note that quorum isn’t a percentage but rather a flat amount. There are specific types of votes that can have lower or higher quorums. For example, when spending for grants, spending may involve having various amounts and having different quorums for each level of spending. Or, for governance actions such as freezing the protocol, one might choose a high quorum for further security.
DAO (Social): This category of proposals should be used when a community member makes a request of the DAO that cannot be executed or enforced on-chain.
Examples: Adding, improving, or removing governance processes, such as updating the Element Governance Framework itself or migrating forums or communication channels to other venues.
The Proposal Process
There are two proposal processes within the Element Governance Framework:
DAO (Social) Proposals
Protocol (Executable) Proposals
1. DAO (Social) Proposals
Official Status Lifecycle for a DAO (Social) Proposal:
Votes are signed messages easily verifiable online
Off-Chain Polling Parameters:
On-chain Voting Information ⛓️
After a proposal has been created on-chain it is subject to a Timelock Duration, Voting Periods, and Quorums. The initial governance (GSC, voting, delegation, etc) parameters can be found below.
Important Note: All parameters described above may be changed by the governance community through a proposal and vote.
On-Chain Voting Parameters:
What Governance Controls Today 🔐
Current Governance Parameters
Quorum: The required minimum number of voting power in support of a proposal for it to succeed (this value is fixed and not a percentage of total voting power).
Timelock Duration: The timelock is a speed bump for calls. It requires calls to wait for a defined period before they can be executed. After a call is registered, the call can be removed during the waiting period, and an authorized address can extend the waiting period only once.
Voting Period: The total voting period in which votes can be cast. [Minimum voting period][extra voting period] is the layout of the total time for voting.
Minimum Voting Period: The minimum voting time before a vote can be executed.
Extra Voting Period: The remaining time beyond the minimum voting period in which votes can be cast.
Vesting Vault Token Multiplier: The vesting vault contract is used to set up long-term grants for core contributors to the Element ecosystem. It is also a voting vault so that community members can vote with vested but unclaimed tokens and unvested tokens. The multiplier for voting power on the vesting vault allows locked / vesting positions to still have voting power in the governance system and does so by using a defined multiplier for the vested tokens over unvested.
Proposal Threshold: The amount of voting power needed to submit a governance proposal on-chain.
GSC Delegation Threshold: A threshold of delegated voting power, giving delegates a seat on the GSC. This comes with additional governance powers within the system, and as a result, additional responsibilities.
GSC Quorum: The required minimum number of GSC members needed to support a proposal for it to succeed.
GSC Proposal Threshold: The amount of GSC members needed to propose a GSC vote on-chain.
Current Protocol Parameters
Collecting and Setting Fee Rates: Changing Protocol trade fees, collecting affiliate fees from partner protocols such as Yearn, and more.
For example, currently, Protocol trade fees are split between the liquidity providers, the Balancer V2 protocol, and the Element Protocol. Both the Balancer V2 and Element Protocol fees start at 0% and are bound at 30%. Balancer V2 fees are deducted directly from the pool's holdings, but Element protocol fees must be collected to an address (possibly to the GSC or to the Element DAO treasury depending on what governance decides). Governance has the ability to increase or decrease the trading fee structure.
Protocol Upgrades: Should the Element DAO governance community decide to upgrade the Element Protocol, it will go through governance. These types of changes will go through the process defined for Protocol Proposals.
Current Governance Roles 👨👨👦
You can assign all of your Voting Power in the governance system to yourself or someone else, and they can vote on your behalf. This is called Delegation. It's important that you select a delegate who is aligned with your vision for how the Element Protocol should evolve, as your votes would be counted towards their selection. You can delegate in Element DAO governance here.
Governance Steering Council (GSC)
The GSC is a group of delegates, each of whom has reached a pre-established threshold of delegated voting power, giving them additional governance powers within the system, and as a result, additional responsibilities.
The opportunity to be on the GSC is open to anyone and can be earned by garnering enough delegated voting power. On the other hand, GSC members will have to stay aligned and relate to the general sentiments of the public to maintain their positions on the Council and make the best decisions for their delegators. Otherwise, they may lose their delegated votes to another GSC member or new governance community member and fall off from the council (a failure for a specific GSC member to accrue delegated votes would indicate their disconnect to the general community of voters).
In the future, GSC members may have other special functions (propose votes directly on-chain, spend a portion of treasury funds at their discretion, etc.), different responsibilities (DAO2DAO relationships, collaborations, treasury management, community engagement, etc.), and might (depending upon a vote) be compensated for the time and effort that they dedicate to improving the Protocol. All of these functions and responsibilities must be defined and ratified through the governance process.
Note: being a delegate and a GSC member is not mutually exclusive.