SNS (Service Nervous System) timeline & pilot projects

With the Chromium milestone coming closer (currently scheduled for May 2022), we scoped in more details the SNS features that we would like to finish by the next two milestones, Chromium and Carbon. In this post, we would like to share our ideas and get your feedback.

Before diving into the details of the roadmap, let us quickly recall some basics about the SNS.

  • Similar to how the Network Nervous System (NNS) governs the Internet Computer blockchain, Service Nervous Systems (SNSs) are algorithmic DAOs that will allow developers to create decentralized, token-based governance systems for their decentralized applications (dapps).
  • There will be one SNS per dapp.
  • An SNS initially consists of the following canisters: ledger, governance, root, and frontend.
  • As the SNS ledger canister we will use the same ledger canister as in the NNS. The ledger canister code has already been updated to facilitate that each SNS can specify its own token name etc.

According to some early feedback, we decided to release the SNS in stages, so that each intermediate version can already be used by developers. Two relevant bigger stages that have been discussed on the forum are the following.

  • As described in this forum post, our first goal was to implement an open governance canister that will then be used in the Service Nervous Systems (SNSs).
  • As described in this forum post, we then want to improve tooling and support for the deployment and upgrade of SNSs. Especially, SNSs should be provided as a system functionality, which is automatically maintained by the IC and where the SNS canisters are hosted on a new SNS subnet.

The suggested roadmap still follows these stages but adds more details regarding which features will be done. Also, we propose a tentative and rough timeline for these features.

  • April
    • A first version of the governance canister (as described in this forum post) and a first version of the root canister are ready. These canisters should be considered as an alpha version. That is, we will further increase their robustness and security after this first version.
  • Chromium Milestone
    • A command line tool for initializing an SNS
    • Quill support for SNS
    • A demo showing that the SNS is fully functional and one can interact with it over a command line tool. The demo will show
      • how an SNS can be deployed on a regular subnet,
      • how it can be initialized with initial ledger accounts and neurons, and how the SNS can become the controller of a dapp, and
      • how the dapp can be upgraded by the SNS, with a proposal to and voting on the SNS.
  • On our way to the Carbon milestone:
    • The new SNS subnet will be created.
    • We will conduct a pilot of the SNS with a few select developer groups. During the pilot, the teams will be asked to deploy their actual SNS, which is at this moment maintained by the developers on the SNS subnet, and report to us any potential bugs or missing features. This feedback will allow us to further improve the SNSs. It is important to start with a small number of such SNSs as we will likely have to troubleshoot and as we will have to upgrade these developer maintained SNSs to the SNS version that is automatically maintained by the IC, which will be some manual effort. If you are interested in participating in the pilot please contact us by filling out this form. Please do note that we will initially be selecting only 2-3 teams and may continue to add additional teams during the pilot stage. We will continue to update everyone on the results of this initial pilot and any additional opportunities for testing.
  • Carbon milestone - We aim to have SNSs that
    • are hosted on the new SNS subnet and automatically maintained by the IC (as described in this forum post)
    • include a first minimal version of rewards
    • have a first minimal frontend

We are currently working on what the minimal rewards/frontend should look like and will share concrete design proposals on the forum as soon as they are ready!

We hope that this gives you a good overview of what we have planned for the upcoming weeks and months and look forward to hearing your feedback!


Does this mean that eventually we would have a separate subnet dedicated to host only SNS canisters? Or would developers deploy their SNS canisters to the subnet where their dapp lives.

If it’s separate, is it because this subnet would have a higher replication factor to ensure more security?

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Hi @chepreghy, thanks for the question!
You are exactly right. The idea is that the SNSs live on a new subnet that 1) has a larger replication factor (we plan to start with 34 nodes) and 2) only hosts SNSs that run canister wasms that have been blessed by the NNS community.
This provides more security for the SNSs that run the security critical governance and ledger canisters.


Awesome, thanks for the update!

Just to be clear, the decentralized auction of the initial tokens is NOT on this roadmap, right?

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This is correct. The auction will not be part of the Carbon milestone.

I believe some groups have the idea to already set up an SNS, store most of the tokens in a special account controlled by a canister and then use the auction to distribute tokens later, once this feature exists.


Hi all, under this link you will find a design proposal for a SNS reward scheme.

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