Dash Core Group’s CEO Ryan Taylor believes Dash’s governance system is relatively rigid and can be improved with a few adjustments to allow a broader range of decisions.
During a recent podcast with Michael Nye, Taylor was asked what he would improve with the current system in place, to which he responded that Dash’s governance system is currently too basic, simply functioning to distribute funds to contractors:
“I think Dash’s system is too simple. We have a budget, and the budget is basically a portion of the block reward. Unlike Bitcoin we allocate out our block reward to more than just miners. 45% goes towards miners, 45% goes towards node operators (there’s called masternodes in Dash’s network), and the last 10% is reserved for our proposal system, and that’s everything else. It can be legal work, it can be developers, it can be marketing, it can be business development, it can be anything that the network needs in order to grow and expand and function.”
According to Taylor, the system could benefit from the ability to reallocate percentages of the block reward depending on the shorter-term needs of the network:
“There’s a lot of things I would change about it. I think that it’s very rigid. It doesn’t allow the network to flex between those three buckets and allocate more or less based on how large the budget is, what the security needs are, how many masternodes we need to incentivize to exist in order to ensure that the network is decentralized and so on. Making that adjustable I think is really important to the extent that you can avoid fixed ratios or fixed decisions within the network, it’s better.”
The inflexibility of Dash’s current governance system
Taylor believes that a good addition to the Dash governance system would be the ability to more specifically put targeted decisions before the network:
“I think it would be better to have an explicit decision-oriented proposal type. It could even allow a choice between different things instead of just the ability to vote yes or no. You could vote on which PR firm the network should hire, or a choice between three different options for a change to the network. I think we need new types of decisions being supported in the governance system.”
The current proposal has been used for governance questions, for example Dash’s founder Evan Duffield famously asked the network whether Dash should pursue on-chain or off-chain scaling approaches, the former of which won an overwhelming majority of the vote. This is, however, not a function ideally suited for the purpose of presenting complex governance questions according to Taylor:
“I think the second thing I would change is, we’ve found that people have a desire to use the proposal system in order to help make decisions. We call them decision proposals. The way that people are using it is that they’re effectively putting up a proposal to receive their proposal fee back (there’s a fee on the network to put a proposal up and have the masternodes consider it). So they’ll put up a proposal that says “Hey, should we do X?” And they’ll simply ask for their proposal fee back as a part of the proposal, and the people vote.”
Finally, Taylor believes that more granular control over the proposals itself can be of significant benefit:
“I think another category of change that I’d like to see is the ability of the network to have more control over the proposals that a proposal owner has. We’ve run into many issues where a proposal owner actually wants to withdraw their proposal and they don’t have that capability in our system today. An example might be I put a proposal up to fund a booth at a conference on behalf of the Dash network, and two days before that proposal is set to pay the conference organizers cancel the conference. I’d probably rather see that budget go to another project that’s worthy on the network, so I as the proposal owner should have the ability to cancel. There are a ton of different control-oriented capabilities that need to be there for people who are participating in any governance system.”
Dash’s pioneering role in the governance space
Since early on, Dash has maintained a leading role in developing decentralized governance systems in cryptocurrency. With the implementation of its treasury system, Dash became the first and longest-running decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, featuring an open-participation, fully self-funding and fully decentralized ecosystem that nonetheless has the ability to come to consensus on key decisions. Dash has since been joined by other projects with governance features from imitators such as PIVX to projects taking alternative and more involved governance approaches such as Decred.
Notably, however, Dash has recently innovated once again in the governance space with the establishment of key legal structures, the Dash DAO Irrevocable Trust and the Dash Investment Foundation, two entities that allow the Dash network as a whole, and not identified individuals or certain groups, to legally own property as well as invest in companies and hold equity. These ensure that Dash’s decentralized system remains mirrored in the legacy world in practicality as well as in theory.