Proposal to include cycle_dao & ICDevs as default follow-target neurons to the NNS


cycle_dao proposes that cycle_dao’s neuron 5967494994762486275 and ICDevs’ neuron 14231996777861930328 be added to the list of optional follow targets in the NNS app.

[Edit: changed word “default” to “optional” based on request from @wpb ]

@skilesare @wang @Hazel @harrison @MattS @cryptoschindler @awrelll @evanmcfarland


This proposal is raised in response to the Changes to governance proposals and voting reward weights (Proposal) which will result in the disabling of default following for the “Governance” NNS proposal topic. This is a positive step toward decentralising IC governance away from DFINITY. However, it is unreasonable to expect NNS voters to find and enter the neuron IDs of credible independent followees.
This proposal will simplify this process.


The proposal is identical to @diegop’s NNS Motion proposal 28713 with the addition of ICDevs’ neuron.

Information on cycle_dao and it’s governance philosophy can be found here:
cycle_dao Governance & Ecosystem Perspective

What We Are Asking the Community & DFINITY Foundation

  1. Please read, share and comment
  2. Consider adding the contents of this proposal to the “Changes to governance proposals and voting reward weights” proposal
  3. Coordinate submission of the “Changes to governance proposals and voting reward weights” proposal to simplify voting on these complementary proposals to a single instance of work.

Thank you for providing this write-up Arthur. I’m a big supporter of Cycle_DAO and I hope to see this proposal approved.

I’m also a big fan of ICDevs and their mission. @skilesare will you be updating this post with a write-up on your organization’s governance philosophy?

Thanks all


@skilesare @Arthur would it be possible to list who your current members are and if they all have equal voting rights at this time?

Sorry for multiple posts just trying to think of meaningful questions.


Great initiative Arthur!

Perhaps it would be better to make two separate proposals instead? I think it would make sense if the proposal to add a certain neuron to the follow-targets in the NNS dapp would actually come from that neuron. I think any additional information on how you’re planning to vote and whether or not you’ll vote on every proposal (such that followers don’t miss out on rewards) would be very helpful information.


This makes sense to me. We could easily divide this into two proposals.


Appreciate the questions.

Current voters in cycle_dao are @wang @Hazel @harrison @MattS @cryptoschindler @awrelll @evanmcfarland @Arthur (me)

All votes are equal.

cycle_dao requires one vote to put a proposal forward and a second vote to adopt it.



ICDevs is a 501c3 charity that is governed by a set of by laws. We have board that oversees the organization and I have been elected by the board to be the executive director. I oversee all the day to day operations.

The board has also authorized me to establish a Developer Advisory Committee. That board has two levels. There is a Developer Advisory Board level who’s job it is to set the policy for 1) The use of our community fund and 2) to make proposals on how we should vote on NNS proposals. Once a recommendation has been made, the idea is to submit the propsal to a broader group of developers that have signed up to be a Developer Advisor. You can read more about this group and see the list of publicly available members at .

The original goal was to use Axon for these votes, and we did that a couple of times, but apparently that ends up actually creating an NNS proposal and we ended up being penalized a couple of ICP for the privilege of learning how the tech works. As a result we have an open bounty where we are seeking to fork axon and add some general purpose dao functionality. See the Bounty. Once we have this up and running we hope that all of our manual votes in the NNS will be driven by our committee and that our fund prioritization will be a collaborative effort. To be honest, for now it has been a lot of me saying "I’m going to do X unless someone objects in the 24 hours. We’ve got to get that tighter, but until we have the governance platform that we can promote it is kind of hard to collect the community in one place.

Finally, because ICDevs is a 501c3 Charity and subject to bylaws we can’t have a pure DAO and I have to maintain some kind of veto authority in case the Developer Committee wants to do something outside the bylaws. In that case, I’m supposed to refer it to our governing board for approval, so there is still a pathway to get it done.


As far as what decisions we make and what we take into consideration, we are generally a pro-developer group. So for an NNS proposal that pitted the Node operators against the Developers, you’d probably see us taking the developer’s side. Fortunately most issues aren’t that divisive and you’ll see us coming to a broad set of agreements with the community on advancing the feature set of the IC in a responsible and secure way.

In the longer term, and with proper funding, we hope to take on some of the oversight of important software infrastructure in the community in much the same way that the Linux foundation does today.

If you’d like a deeper dive on what we want to do I’d sugges listening to the podcast that we did with @Arthur Stream episode ICDevs & the Drive Toward Community Developed Infrastructure by Arthur Falls podcast | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

I’m happy to answer any questions, so fire away.


I’m no longer involved directly with cycle_dao, if you could remove me from the list of cycle_dao voters, I’ve also been removed from the website:

I am however on the Developer Advisory Board for ICDevs.

Oh yea I forgot you left. Oh well. All the more reason to add ICDevs to the default neurons

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I’ve listened to your interview with @Arthur and it was very informative. My general take-away is that ICDevs wants to make IC developer life easier. This will be achieved by focusing on the development of critical system components, software libraries, and educational resources. Is that correct?

Would you say that ICDevs has a 5 year vision for the IC?

For example: Dfinity often requests developer feedback on prioritization of development efforts. Some might argue that Dfinity should focus on improving the IC’s web hosting capabilities (to include DNS, CA, identity solutions, etc.) . Others might suggest that the integration of other blockchain protocols should take priority. Does ICDevs have a general idea for how the IC should look in 5 years?


Nice post, Arthur.

Added cycle_dao to my followees (why aren’t they just called follows?). Great work on that blog post. The two things that most convinced me to follow were your “no” votes on:

  1. NNS Proposal: People Parties
  2. NNS Proposal: Change Dissolve Delay Bonus and Age Bonus Parameters

(By the way, might be nice if your posts included the position you took in the headline)

Defaults are powerful things.

For now, I believe the DFINITY Foundation has wielded their influence well. For example, their frequent strategy of following the community essentially means that uninformed voters just support the people that are informing themselves. For that reason I still follow them, and think they’re a good default follow.

I want to support adding additional defaults, but two things concern me:

  1. UX
  2. Power superlinearity

1. UX

The UX concern is simple: getting up and running with NNS is already a very involved, ambiguous, and worry-inducing process for new users. Ambiguity kills user confidence.

The UX we want to offer is this:

  1. User learns about ICP, buys some.
  2. User learns they should be staking their ICP for voting control and for rewards, invests time into learning how the internet identity and the nns works
  3. In the NNS, user learns how to navigate and stakes their ICP to starts earning rewards
  4. User learns that they’re following Internet Computer Association (ICA) or DFINITY Foundation (DF) by default and so they go hunting to see who they would prefer to follow and thereby invest in the community and governance conversations.

This creates the incremental trust-building user flow that we’ve all experienced, it’s what got us here. The learning curve for the internet computer is steep, this Learn → Invest → Learn loop makes it a bit easier. Each step in the above is a completion of the Learn → Invest loop.

I don’t see much benefit at the moment to moving the selection of followees from the fourth learn → invest loop back to the third.

I can see a UX cost, which is that as more neurons are available by default to choose from, users could feel like it’s too much work to finish up the staking step.

2. Power superlinearity

Even solving for UX, changing the default away from Internet Computer Association still leaves us with a problem: power superlinearity. Let’s tell a story, but now I’m adding a malicious neuron into this proposal named “DFINITY Team”, which is run by me and just trying to accrue power:

  1. User goes to NNS to stake ICP, they see they need to select a neuron to follow
  2. User is presented with cycle_dao, icdevs, DFINITY Team (my malicious neuron), ICA, and DF. They might select semi randomly, but they’ll likely favoring DF, DFINITY Team, or ICA due to name recognition. Otherwise, they’ll delay selecting a neuron due to their concern about choosing poorly.
  3. My malicious neuron, DFINITY Team, steadily gets more voting power from non-vigilant users which I can do whatever I want with, because the users aren’t paying attention. For example, given sufficient time perhaps I could introduce a motion to kick DF, ICA, cycle_dao, or icdevs out of the defaults.

This is a concerningly plausible story that just comes from the power of defaults and name recognition. Obviously, this isn’t what you’re doing. But it’s possible for someone to do if we stick with the current flow of needing to propose neurons as default follow-target neurons.

I think the existing user flow is pretty good as it is. It makes sense that neurons that haven’t intentionally selected a followee should just follow the community’s vote. However, there’s still an opportunity here:

What we could do is make it easier for a user to discover the neurons they would prefer to follow. This would make completing that 4th learn → invest loop easier.

I just found out about cycle_dao through this post, excited to have found it! What other methods might there be to set up a credibly neutral mechanism for exposing new ICP stakers to neurons they might like to follow?

We have a big opportunity here to design the context within which neuron followership is evaluated and earned, including the process by which neurons are selected as defaults.

Inside that context, it might be much easier for people like me to find cycle_dao in the future


@Arthur @skilesare
There is an important distinction between default followees and being named as a followee option in the NNS app. I would not have a problem with either of your neurons named in the list of followee options (analogous to proposal 28713), but I do not think either organization should be default followees. I think @diegop and @johan were intentional in their proposal to disable default followees for governance proposals and they did not recommend that ICA be replaced with any other neuron (now or in the future). Their proposal specifically requires neuron holders to manually configure their neuron if they want to follow other neurons on governance proposals.

I would like to see you remove the word “default” from this proposal and clarify that you are only suggesting that you be named in the list of optional followees in the NNS app. You would have the power to wield Absolute Majority with every vote you cast if you are the default followee. I don’t think that is what you are suggesting with this proposal, which is why it is important to clarify.

Also, will you please add information about when you plan to submit this proposal to the NNS so we will know when it is time to go vote.


I think “default follow-target neurons” does a pretty good job. But “default follow-option neurons” might be clearer.

In the future, we will include the decision in the title. The reason it is in the conclusion now is that when people read the title alone they can miss the nuance of the discussion. You aren’t the first to ask, however.

I have been slightly unclear in the description. This was intended to add new options to the followee list because default following will be turned off for the “governance” topic if the currently discussed governance/voting reward proposal is accepted.

Your discussion of the Learn → Invest → Learn loop is well considered. However, that is not relevant to this proposal per-se as this aims to present options to the user. The proposal that will disable follow by default is this one Changes to governance proposals and voting reward weights (Proposal)

The malicious follow target neuron story is plausible but to me appears unrealistic. It would have to pass a community selection process to be included. The name “DFINITY Team” would not be accepted as part of a proposal to add a new neuron because it is misleading. So lets rename it “Governance Analytics” then, in our imaginary future context, users will have to select it from a range that might include ICA, DFINITY Foundation, cycle_dao, ICDevs, Governance Analytics.

We can say it will get say, 1/5th of random choice but it would be very hard to hijack voting based on credibility. The sheer amount of sustained work that has gone into establishing cycle_dao has been huge, and that is in the presence of a lot of social capital from reputable individuals.

Not to mention, sheep clothing is always ill-fitting on a wolf. cycle_dao & others would see a long con a mile off. Finally, someone needs to be motivated to do this ie. the threat has to actually exist. Personally, I don’t believe it does, but given the multiple layers of protection we have it wont be an issue if I’m wrong.

I think the process of discovering “credibly neutral” neurons is exactly what we are going through here :slight_smile:


I’m in favor of being an option, but don’t need to be a default. I think the NNS UI does some randomization… the interesting thing about the IC is that anyone can make a UI for the NNS. I’ve thought about building one for ICDevs that lets people stake dedicated neurons and default follows us. I don’t have enough funding for that, but it is on the agenda.

There may be some merit it selecting 1 of X in the long run, but I think Arthur hits most of the points that are needed to talk about.


Totally agree that it is.

I guess the point I’m making is that if we’re going to add additional options to the nns dropdown, they should also come with context, like a link to a web page where the user can read about the neuron’s voting goals and governance structures



Would you say that ICDevs has a 5 year vision for the IC?

We think that in 5 years the IC can be enterprise-ready and can onboard 10,000 developers into building web3 apps and smart contracts. That can increase another 10x in the 5 years after that. Doing that takes amazing tools and a broad set of IC tuned libraries. We hope to support the building of those libraries and tools.

On the blockchain side, we expect that in 5 years the IC will be integrated with ETH and BTC and that somewhere around 50% of the non-staked eth will be held inside of IC canisters/on-chain wallets that are running scaling infrastructure for Ethereum that moves far beyond what ETH2 will achieve. This may extend to some of the newer chains if they manage to stick around, but the IC is going to give BTC and ETH a new lease on life and they have the network effects.


How will the IC have 50% of the non-staked ETH? That’s as much or more than Ethereum itself?
Kinda curious as to how you arrived at that estimation?

Pure speculation based on the scaling principles of the IC, the needs of ETH, and an understanding of chain key crypto.

Keep in mind that eth held by canisters will still be on the eth mainnet. These canisters will just be able to hold it and pass through the scalability of IC smart contracts. 1,000,000x cheaper gas and storage.

Someone else could get there first, but I bet they do it with similar chain key crypto principles.


Ah but when you make a function call to a contract with web3, all the native integrations are based on a request and response model on the ETH network.

I’m not sure the ETH foundation would sanction changing web3 and all that infrastructure to accommodate two networks, with a response coming from Dfinity.

Certainly a use-case perhaps for heavy-computations, with results being transmitted back on to Ethereum through events …