Safeguarding ICP, Bitcoin and other funds on the IC

Recently some Dao of another chain decided to re-allocate funds from a whale to the community to manage.

This is very disturbing and concerning to upholding the bitcoin maxim of “your keys your coins”. Investors would avoid such chains like a plague.

Currently it is the case that something like this could be done on the IC based on my understanding. That’s not good from the investor Perspective, and can hurt our price recovery.

I suggest a discussion about setting much higher threshold for any governance request where funds may be taken away, frozen or locked from an account.

I suggest that instead of the usual 51% majority vote that it should require a super majority of 90% to pass such proposals. This would ensure that funds on the IC are safe.

In particular this is important if we want to have folks connect their bitcoin, Ethereum and holdings via the IC


I haven’t observed anyone propose or comment on trying to take some else’s ICP through the NNS. Now that we actually have more decentralized governance participation and a lot of people are paying attention to proposals that are being made, I don’t think the voting body will allow this to occur.

IMO, the idea of supermajority (90%) is unnecessary because it’s an unattainable standard even if everyone seems to agree it’s the right answer for a given proposal. Perhaps certain proposal types should be decided by Absolute Majority only (so as to not make the decision by Simple Majority). Absolute Majority is also impossible today, but I think it is attainable some day for the Governance topic and I think it satisfies the intent when people say they want to see a supermajority requirement.

All Topics Except Governance currently gets over 98% total voting power participation, but that’s only because all neurons were configured by default to follow Dfinity when they are created. About a month after proposal 55651 is implemented, this level of participation will change dramatically. It will likely start at 45% to 55% and then go up from there over the following month, but I’m not sure that it will get above 90%.

The biggest risk with proposal 55651 is that we don’t quickly arrive at approx 55% total voting power participation (or whatever it takes for Absolute Majority when Dfinity votes on Proposals that are in the All Topics Except Governance “catch all”). The reason that’s a risk is that we need the ability to quickly execute Absolute Majority on many of the proposals in the All Topics Except Governance when Dfinity votes. This is a primary reason it’s important for Dfinity and for the IC community to actively communicate and educate all NNS participants about the changes that have already occurred and changes that will occur in the future.

Good progress has already been made toward decentralization of the Governance topic. Dfinity still has the biggest influence, but they certainly don’t have an Absolute Majority (not even half). Proposal topics that we want to decentralize in the future will have to be removed from the All Topics “catch all”. This will immediately make them impossible to pass by Absolute Majority and it may take us longer to get to high participation rates on those topics in the future than it did for us to get to higher participation rates on Governance topics today. Even if public known neurons quickly configure Followees for these new proposal topics that are removed from the All Topics “catch all”, nobody will be following these public known neurons on these new independent proposal topics. At that point Simple Majority will be high standard and Absolute Majority will probably be an impossible standard.

I mention this because I think we only need to talk about what proposal topics need to be decentralized. I don’t think we need to change the voting decision mechanics because those proposals are already hard when we actually decentralize specific topics.


i understand you but this is more of a perception issue and a risk that investors have to factor in perhaps you need to look at it from that angle.

Try to imagine yourself to be a whale with $1B to invest in crypto or perhaps $1B in BTC you want to take advantage of the new Chain Key cryptography ICP offers, but realize that your funds are not safe from DAO governance vote. While presently such a vote may not be viable here the fact is that other DAOs have just done it, and I believe it should be put to rest if we want to be taken seriously by serious money.

Furthermore, it doesn’t cost us anything to amend the rules to say that some super high super majority bar is required to guarantee the immutability of the ledger from participants in the DAO who for whatever reason decide to gang up against some entity or whale, while the benefits for investors and successful apps developers are clear.


Good point about the perception issue. It is important from that perspective.

Perhaps another solution is to point out that situations like this are technically possible, but the probability of it happening is similar to getting struck by a meteor (or some other relatable low probability event that never happens, but could happen). The Bitcoin ledger is technically mutable, but nobody believes it will ever happen.

This isn’t just a straight up decision that is made by individuals. It’s a decision that would have to be made within the confines of the governance system we have that already makes it hard to pass this type of proposal in practice. I think it’s important to think through the mechanics of that system. :man_shrugging:t2:

So generally I would agree except for the fact that it just happened on another chain, which is why I bring up the issue, because given the right circumstances and some social engineering it could happen here too.

note that it passed with a simple majority

perhaps this is a one-off type event but if more things like this start to happen with DAOs I would grow concerned.

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I agree, some types of proposal should require absolute majority if not even more to pass, if thats not attainable with current participation so be it, revoking access to tokens isn’t something that should happen anyway as in my opinion goes against everything web3/blockchain stand for.


The ICP ledger canister actually maintains its own in-memory blockchain (i.e. “a blockchain within a blockchain”.) This is an added security measure to protect against scenarios like you mentioned. I believe it would be very difficult (if not outright impossible) to take away someone’s ICP through a governance proposal. Perhaps someone from DFINITY can confirm.


Thank you for making your concern know and they should be at least considered in case and not after the advent.

I was also concerned about this issue and my fears were abated by reading the ICP documentation Understanding the Internet Computer’s Network Nervous System, Neurons, and ICP Utility Tokens | by DFINITY | The Internet Computer Review | Medium and the section about 51% Attacks on Governance.

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They could take down a canister holding ICP/BTC tho, couldn’t they?

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