DFINITY Foundation’s approach to voting on Governance proposals

Summary

Up to now, the DFINITY Foundation has mostly abstained from voting on Motion proposals to the Internet Computer’s NNS. The foundation will start to regularly vote on governance proposals. This article explains the intent behind this decision, but the basic version is that this is the latest iteration in the DFINITY foundation balancing two goals:

Goal #1: The foundation wants to voice its opinion in motion proposals.

Goal #2: The foundation does not want to drown out other voices. In fact, the foundation wants to encourage more people to propose & vote for NNS proposals and emerge as leaders in the IC ecosystem.

Why the Foundation has mostly abstained in the past

Before “wait for quiet”

The foundation used to vote on motion proposals at Genesis. This was because the “wait for quiet” feature was not yet implemented, therefore a proposal would only pass by an absolute majority. As participation in governance was still very low, therefore the foundation had to vote for a proposal to pass with a sufficient majority. Please note: even though the foundation never had absolute majority voting power, a lot of neurons followed the foundation via default following. In order for the community to be able to voice their opinion, the foundation always waited until the end of the voting period and voted as the majority had voted up to that point.

After “wait for quiet”

Since “wait for quiet” was deployed, the foundation has, in general, abstained from voting on motion proposals because there were still a lot of neurons following the foundation for all topics, and the combined voting power of the followers and the foundation might have drowned out the community sentiment.

This came at a cost: many people who are too busy to follow community topics rely on the foundation to vet proposals and think critically about them, but we believed it was more important than to encourage the community to make more of its own decisions, surface more leaders, and promote proposals.

Why the foundation is going to vote now

A few things have changed in the last few months:

  1. There are now more named neurons that users can follow in the NNS Frontend dapp.
  2. The NNS has disabled default following for proposals on the governance topic and governance proposals (motions in particular) gain a much higher weight. Users used to be able to follow neurons on “all topics” (including Governance, of course). These changes have led to increased participation.
  3. The community has been creating more of its own governance proposals.

These changes now allow the foundation to vote with its appropriate voting power on motion proposals.

The Foundation’s current voting strategy

Currently, the foundation has an ICP stake that gives it 22% of the total voting power.

Staked ICP Voting Power % of total
DFINITY 54,391,738 89,666,826 22%
Total 412,036,526 100%

Participation in voting on motion proposals is currently is lower than the total voting power. Indeed, motion proposal participation has a maximum of just below 100MM voting power for proposals without the foundation and DFINITY’s full 89MM voting power is close to unilaterally deciding certain proposals.

To address this, the foundation will vote as follows:

  • with its full voting power (89MM) on all proposals that are not governance
  • with about 59 million voting power (out of 89.6MM) on governance. This is 14% of total voting power (59MM / 412MM), and 37% of the maximum voting power observed in governance proposals (59MM / (100MM + 59MM)). More specifically, the foundation will vote with neurons 2000-2055.

The foundation may be using its full voting power on governance proposals as well, in case the decision is already clear and voting with the additional 30 million will not change the outcome.

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Neurons that will be used for Governance:

# neuron url
1 2000 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2000
2 2001 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2001
3 2002 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2002
4 2003 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2003
5 2004 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2004
6 2005 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2005
7 2006 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2006
8 2007 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2007
9 2008 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2008
10 2009 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2009
11 2010 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2010
12 2011 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2011
13 2012 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2012
14 2013 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2013
15 2014 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2014
16 2015 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2015
17 2016 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2016
18 2017 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2017
19 2018 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2018
20 2019 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2019
21 2020 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2020
22 2021 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2021
23 2022 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2022
24 2023 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2023
25 2024 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2024
26 2025 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2025
27 2026 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2026
28 2027 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2027
29 2028 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2028
30 2029 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2029
31 2030 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2030
32 2031 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2031
33 2032 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2032
34 2033 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2033
35 2034 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2034
36 2035 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2035
37 2036 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2036
38 2037 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2037
39 2038 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2038
40 2039 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2039
41 2040 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2040
42 2041 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2041
43 2042 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2042
44 2043 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2043
45 2044 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2044
46 2045 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2045
47 2046 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2046
48 2047 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2047
49 2048 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2048
50 2049 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2049
51 2050 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2050
52 2051 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2051
53 2052 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2052
54 2053 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2053
55 2054 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2054
56 2055 https://dashboard.internetcomputer.org/neuron/2055
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Examples of recent proposals DFINITY Foundation voted on:

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Works for me. Considering that DFINITY build the Internet Computer and maintains it, I prefer that the foundation has strong voting power as long as it’s not the majority. It’s important to steer the tech in the right direction.

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A win for transparency, and a win for the Internet Computer.

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Is DFINITY planning to run a campaign that educates people in the ecosystem that they need to change their follow target options in order allow liquid democracy make them vote on governance proposals? Feels like there are many people out there that don’t know about this and miss out on significant rewards.

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Why is the voting spread across so many neurons? Seems harder to follow if people wanted to delegate votes.

Good question.

For purposes of people delegating and following, users need to only follow 1 neuron (neuron 27) which is a names neuron as “Dfinity.” The other Dfinity neurons follow 27.

As to why it is not just one monolithic neuron, I am not entirely sure. I would need to confirm, but I suspect (from the outside, I have no extra visibility than you do) it is to have neurons of neurons of various dissolve delays as a “neuron portfolio”.

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From my POV, that’s what I’m constantly doing :grinning:

But I understand your intent: will Dfinity run a larger scale campaign? Nothing is set and decided yet, but the sentiment is in the org “we should raise the volume on the current educational efforts.”

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Indeed, you are! And you’re doing an amazing job. But I’m more concerned about the people outside of this forum and people that don’t frequently use social media or follow your accounts. I know DFINITY has a huge mailing list, couldn’t you guys send out an educational newsletter? That would certainly reach a lot of people.

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I agree with you. I believe others do too. Just need to squeeze into priority list. I’ll ask.

(20 more characters)

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@diegop @bjoernek

I’m hoping you can confirm if this voting strategy has been implemented. Dfinity has the largest voting block that participates in voting on governance proposals. From late Feb until May 3, when Dfinity would cast a vote it would cast approx 25% of total voting power. This was the 22% of total voting power that Dfinity owns plus about 3% of total voting power that is following Dfinity for Governance. Since proposal 58131 on May 3, the largest voting block has been casting 17% total voting power. This would be consistent with 14% of total voting power that Diego indicated Dfinity would be cast on Governance plus the same 3% of followers. The total voting power cast on governance proposals dropped from 47% to 40% when this change occurred.

The reason I am interested in confirming the above change in Dfinity voting on governance is because total voting power cast on governance has increased again to 47% and I would like to make sure I am interpreting the data correctly because it could have new implications.

Proposal 48907 requesting Dfinity help to increase community education on tokenomics changes was submitted on May 9 and was rejected (for all the right reasons) by May 13. However, it was immediately followed up by this blog post on The Internet Computer Review that described tokenomics changes on May 13 and Dfinity helped spread the word through Twitter. On May 14, the total voting power cast on governance jumped to 47% again and has been consistent at that rate afterward.

If Dfinity really has decreased their total voting power cast on Governance to 14%, then I think 2 conclusions can be reached:

  1. The additional community education effort has worked and has resulted in a measurable increase in voter participation (as hinted by @cryptoschindler above)
  2. If Dfinity were to vote on Governance with the full 22% of voting power that they own then the total voter participation rate would be 55%.

Conclusion 2 above leads me to believe there is significantly less risk in implementing proposal 55651 that @Kyle_Langham and I submitted and was approved by the governing body. We have well over 50% voting participation at this time, which means that proposals that need to be adopted and implemented quickly for non-Governance topics will not be delayed by lack of voter participation. Further mitigation of this risk can be accomplished by changing the minimum voting period for all proposals to 24 hours or less with the only exception being Governance, which can stay at 4 days.

I guess I’m trying to encourage Dfinity to move forward with implementation of proposal 55651 so we don’t have to continue seeing the spam proposals from @ysyms. He has already indicated he will increase the number of spam proposals (60976 and 61204) in June. If proposal 55651 were implemented, then there would no longer be financial incentive for his proposals. If he really is a high school student as claimed, then he would likely run out of funding from whales who are just looking for increased rewards. If he is actually a whale himself and self funding these proposals, then perhaps he will continue submitting spam proposals for announcement and advertisement, but at least it would not be a financial driver. Hopefully he will lose interest in spending so much time on these spam proposals.

Anyway, I’m just trying to point out this potential new voter participation data that surfaced in May because it could drive new decisions on the path forward and timeline for addressing spam. I’d like to remove the financial incentive for spam as soon as reasonably possible.

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Healthy question. I will check.

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In context of proposal 55651, what happens to staking not through NNS dapps? Apologies on the lateness of query.

Also it might take substantial time to implement 55651 ;given that flutter to svelte migration. I don’t think that 40% is sustainable (for 8 year staking); even in the short term (of course, i am advocating against my own short term self-interest). This is because even at 1 year lock the APY is 10% (if you intiate the unlock immediately after staking); pretty crazy if we just pause to think.

Don’t question my identity :rofl:

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Proposal 55651 only affects NNS governance participation. It has no direct effect on staking outside the NNS.

In the event that proposal 55651 does not incentivize people who are not currently voting on governance proposals to select followees as intended, then governance rewards will go up for everyone who is voting and there won’t be any incentive for spam to achieve higher voting rewards. Hence, if that becomes a new paradigm, then higher NNS voting rewards would be competing with non-NNS staking rewards, which could make the NNS more attractive.

When voting rewards are biased by spam proposals, it’s impossible to predict the APY. Everyone who is voting knows their voting rewards have gone up, but I doubt many people are really tracking their exact APY (or at least I’m not). The returns reported on the dashboard are inaccurate right now. Also, Dfinity can’t really update the blog article that indicates current voting rewards. Once spam proposals are disincentivized, then the APY will stabilize and the dashboard and the Dfinity blog article can be updated with the real APY. That enables better transparency about what to expect for NNS governance participation rewards compared to other options.

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@wpb this new voting strategy is implemented, but since 59931, we started voting with full power on spam proposals, so I’m afraid the pattern you see is explained by the foundation vote and not a significant increase in participation.

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Ok, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.