NNS voting on Identity anchor post mortem discussion

After voting ended on the proposal to “restore mnemonic to its original state” I feel like it’s time to talk about all the questions that arose throughout this “motion proposal”.

I would like to get a discussion going that focuses purely on the practical/technical issues at hand and has nothing to do with this particular incident besides its implications.

For me a number of questions arose, so I would like to hear what other people think about it.


Perhaps you should list your questions to get the conversation going?

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Sorry, I’m still little speechless tbh. 98.5% abstaining, while in itself a strong message, makes me wonder how much this was a thought through decision.

The first thing that comes to mind is what would have happened if, through some last ditch effort, a few big neurons would have decided to vote yes? Are this kind of decisions, with arguably far reaching consequences not calling for an adjustment of voter threshold in certain cases?

Motion proposals are meant to “guide the future strategy of the Internet Computer ecosystem” so while I understand why Dfinity wanted to stay out of this, doesn’t this mean whenever Dfinity sees a conflict of interest or doesn’t feel like voting for other reasons, the “future strategy” is put in the hands of whoever can rally 9 million votes as long as the rest stays ignorant?
Maybe I’m just missing something here, would be nice if someone could Eli5 it to me.

The next thing that itches my mind, with the vague definition of motion proposal in the first place, how would this, again assuming it passed, be implemented? What would be the next steps?

hope someone can follow may train of thought here…

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My understanding is that motion proposals are non-binding, more like a survey. If this proposal passed, there would be a later proposal that implemented the changes, which the NNS is free to reject.

Considering the NNS app only recently added support for hardware wallets like Ledger for controlling neurons, I imagine voter participation will increase as more ICP holders get themselves set up with a secure voting method.

I don’t know where one can find the minimum quorum thresholds, but if it is 3% that seems too low. I would support gradually increasing it as voter participation increases.

Since neuron rewards are tied to voting, people will be incentivized to participate as more proposals get created. Most neurons follow the Dfinity neuron, which mainly votes on technical stuff like updating the on-chain ICP price and managing subnets. If the foundation commits to not voting in certain topics (ex Governance) outside of security emergencies, then neurons will be giving up APY unless they manually vote or follow another neuron for those topics.


It’s not just 3% must vote on the proposal…it’s 3% must vote to Accept the proposal to meet the minimum voting threshold requirement. That’s an important difference. This means 9M votes need to be cast to pass and that is only if all votes Approve and none Reject. That’s a minimum of 4.5M ICP staked for 8 years or maximum of 9M ICP staked for 6 months. That’s a significant amount of ICP.

Any time there are big moves in votes that are cast or they swing the outcome, the wait for quiet mechanism extends the voting period. Waiting until the end of a vote doesn’t help a nefarious actor because that just extends the voting period significantly.

When governance motion proposals pass, they have no executable code attached. Hence, the next step is to develop executable code and attach it to another proposal that also has to pass. If a controversial proposal slips by on the motion proposal, I’m pretty confident it will not slip by on the second round.

We have had several proposals in the last few weeks that have stimulated thought, intellectual honesty, and spirited debate. The importance of these discussions are not lost on the IC community. I think the governance process is working as intended.

I don’t think low voter turnout should be interpreted solely as voter apathy. This topic on the forum started 2 months ago and generated more than 3k views. It is a topic that was well researched and well considered by the IC community. Passing a proposal is not supposed to be easy though.

IMHO any time a proposal is made with short notice it will have a hard time generating enough votes to pass. People need to know in advance when the proposal will be submitted and they need to know exactly what will be submitted at the time the announcement is made (not when the proposal is submitted). The exact wording and meaning of the proposal is also very important, so if there is any ambiguity then it will usually have a difficult time passing.

Also, proposals need to be advertised more broadly than just on the forum. Announcements need to go out on all forms of social media. The IC community will only promote the proposals (e.g. re-tweet) if they feel like it is a proposal that should be broadly advertised.

I don’t think we should be making any changes the voting thresholds at this time. We get paid in the form of ICP to participate in governance and I think the discussions that have happened over the last several weeks have shown that people will do their research and solidify their convictions on the various topics. We are not all going to agree on all topics and we all have our reasons for our positions, but one thing I think we all have in common is that we will vote with the long term best interest of the IC in mind because if we don’t then our ICP value will be negatively affected. If a vote passes by slim majority then so be it. Both sides will learn, reflect, and then advocate for their convictions harder the next time.


Thanks for your write up.

For me this is the elephant in the room, given in this case the implementation was “not entirely impossible” there would have to be code written and put public for another vote, did I understand that correctly?

Even this proposal wasn’t able to gather support, and one could argue the system worked just fine, I still think it left some people wondering.
IMO right now the NNS has this god-like power, pretty much everything could be decided. Maybe it’s time to think about if there are things, that a big majority could agree on, that should not be possible to be voted on, at all? Why do I think this matters? Well, take away immutability from a blockchain, even the notion of it, doesn’t make for very good PR. If you introduce the time axis, as in undoing past events, trustlessness get’s a totally different meaning.
Should the NNS have power over II? Can my Identity be taken from me if the majority agrees? This should be no-go zones imho, and just because it might be unlikely to pass doesn’t make me sleep any better.
I somehow get the feeling legal issues are being pushed onto the NNS and I think this is not the way it should be.
Dfinity gets a DMCA notice? let the NNS vote! Dfinity get’s a support ticket for II, they investigate the issue without finding any error on their side, but hey why not let the NNS vote? I know everybody can put up a proposal, but I think this goes in the wrong direction.
Legal issues shouldn’t get offloaded to the NNS without it really being anything. I know Dom likes to talk about it being the biggest DAO of all, but right now, let’s be honest, the NNS lacks D as much as A, but what it doesn’t have at all is O.

In my opinion, all of this will become important once the wild-west times of crypto are over and a whole world of laws and liabilities enter the sphere. This could be sooner than many have hoped for, by the looks of it.


I just double checked the dashboard and confirmed there was no executable code associated with this proposal. It was purely a motion proposal. I assume if it had passed then Dfinity foundation would feel obligated to write the code to make it happen if it is possible, but I could be wrong. Whether they write the code or someone else, it still has to go through another vote to get executed. That seems reasonable to me, so I don’t have any issues with it.

There will also come a day when the community makes proposals that do have code associated with them. If they pass then they will execute. I don’t feel the need to change this feature, but I do want to be aware of it and for the community to advocate according to what we feel is in the long term best interest of the IC. If it does pass and it breaks the IC, then I want to have the ability to roll back that change.

BTW, if you haven’t already, check out the latest podcast from The Internet Computer Weekly where Arthur talks with Diego and Manu from DF. They are pretty clear about the capabilities that have been designed into the NNS. Their messaging is consistent with the articles Dfinity has been publishing for many year including at Genesis about the purpose of the NNS, how it works, and how the tokenomics are designed to encourage the governing body to vote in the long term best interest of the IC. Several actions have been taken recently that move us closer to the D, A, and O in DAO and with all the discussions in the forum and NNS voting it seems to me like it’s working.

I think it is important to recognize that a topic that is untouchable to person A may not be untouchable to person B. We all have our biases that affect what we believe is in the long term best interest of the IC and that will change over time. I wouldn’t want to make governance changes that make it prohibitively difficult for the IC to adapt to important issues that evolve over time or that differ by location. We just need to be diligent about governance participation.

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To make it more fun I minted a Bob NFT:

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How do we know what code is executing on the proposal: Internet Computer Network Status ?