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December 14, 2022 · Reading Time: 4 minutes Page last updated April 28, 2024

Starknet’s Governance: First Phase

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We are excited to announce the next step in StarkNet’s decentralization process — voting for protocol changes.

Over the last few weeks, StarkNet took significant steps to further decentralization by establishing the StarkNet Foundation, launching the STRK Token on Ethereum, and by open-sourcing Cairo 1.0.

This post will expand on the next step, namely the first phase of StarkNet’s Governance, which will span over the coming months.

TL;DR

  • The first vote to approve or reject proposed changes to the StarkNet protocol will take place soon
  • The participants in the votes during the first phase will be:
    — Token holders
    — Delegates selected by token holders who prefer to delegate their voting rights
    — Delegates selected by the StarkNet Foundation to exercise some of its voting rights
    — A professional Builders’ Council, set by the StarkNet Foundation
  • All are invited to nominate themselves as a delegate in StarkNet’s Governance
  • Discussions will be conducted in the StarkNet Community Forum

Background

Two processes are being advanced simultaneously in order to fulfill StarkNet’s vision to become a censorship-resistant public network: (i) decentralization of StarkNet’s system components, e.g., sequencers and provers, and (ii) implementation of governance mechanisms regarding protocol changes.

Building quality governance mechanisms that will allow an open community to manage protocol upgrades is a serious challenge. It is a gradual and exploratory process that requires broad community collaboration.

In order to plan and orchestrate the first phases of StarkNet’s Governance, the StarkNet Foundation established a governance committee. The Foundation will publish more details on the committee’s scope and mission in a separate post. The committee members are Deven Matthews (Nethermind), Manor Bareli (StarkWare), and Sylve Chevet (briq). Below is the plan for the first phase of StarkNet Governance, formulated by the committee members together with various contributors from the StarkNet ecosystem and approved by the Foundation board.

Starknet’s governance first phase plan

The first phase of StarkNet Governance has been launched. From now on, community members will be able to participate in shaping StarkNet through a further channel, namely voting on protocol changes. This is only the first stage of StarkNet’s Governance; as StarkNet advances to the next phases, the range of governance mechanisms and participants will expand. Here are the details of the first phase:

Voting subject

Proposed upgrades to the StarkNet protocol. All upgrades, at this stage, will be proposed by the Foundation. The proposals will reflect discussions, ideas, and feedback raised in the StarkNet Community Forum.

Voting type

Off-chain signal vote (Via Snapshot)

Voting process

  1. The Foundation will deploy an updated version of StarkNet to Goerli.
  2. Voters will have a 6-day period to examine the upgraded version as it runs on Goerli. During this time, they can vote on whether to approve it for Mainnet deployment.
  3. If a proposal is approved by voters, there will then be a delay of 24+ hours before applying the upgrade to Mainnet.

Announcements for these updates will be made on the Twitter account of the StarkNet Foundation, as well as on the StarkNet Community Forum.

Threshold and required quorum

  • Threshold is a simple majority (i.e., the threshold is 50% of votes cast)
  • No required quorum, meaning that there is no minimum level of participation for the vote to be valid

First phase voting participants

Here is the list of those who will be able to participate in the first phase of the governance process:

Token holders

  • In the first phase of StarkNet’s Governance, most token holders are early core contributors and investors who built and supported the network in its early stages (read this post for more details).
  • Over time, the token will be distributed to developers and other parties who are performing work to maintain and upgrade the network. As such, those parties will be able to secure the network, use it, operate it and participate in its governance.

Delegates

Rationale:
Voting power delegation enables token holders to delegate their governance mandate to involved, informed, and professional community members. Thanks to that:

  • Token holders can opt to be part of the decision-making through representational rather than direct democracy.
  • Dedicated, talented community members can take a significant role in governance by merit of their reputation. There’s no need to own tokens in order to put yourself forward as a delegate.

Responsibilities:
Carry out a serious learning process for each decision, which will lead to well-founded, independent decisions that benefit StarkNet and its long-term vision.

Operation:

  • First and foremost, in order for the delegation mechanism to be successful, a pool of quality delegates is needed.
  • The path to become a delegate is permissionless — there are no prerequisites — but for those who wish, a section has been created in the forum where prospective delegates can post profiles (in this link).
  • Token holders can freely choose any Ethereum L1 address they wish to delegate their voting power.
  • For more details, read the dedicated post on StarkNet Community Forum.

The StarkNet builders’ council

A professional committee, appointed by the Foundation.

Rationale:
Implementation of governance mechanisms that are based upon community involvement and professional reputation, and not only on the basis of token-holding.

Responsibilities:

  • Carrying out a serious learning and discussion process for each decision, which will lead to well-founded decisions that benefit StarkNet and its long-term vision
  • Taking an active part in discussions and votes during the first phase
  • Ensuring that their discussions and decision-making processes are transparent
  • Being accessible to the community via open discussions on the StarkNet community forum

Operation:

First phase voting power

During StarkNet’s Governance first phase, StarkWare will not participate in votes. The StarkNet Foundation will delegate voting power to the Builders’ Council and to several delegates from the pool, and will not vote directly.

The voting power distribution in the first phase will be:

  • Investors: 33.3%
  • StarkNet’s early core contributors (excluding StarkWare): 33.3%
  • The Foundation’s representatives: 33.3%
    — StarkNet Builders’ Council: 23.3%
    — Delegates voting on behalf of the Foundation: 10%

    First vote — StarkNet’s 0.11 version

The first vote will take place in the coming weeks. The vote will concern whether to upgrade StarkNet Alpha to version 0.11.

Voting will start shortly after the Goerli release and will be announced via the official channels: StarkNet Foundation’s Twitter account and StarkNet Community Forum. Stay tuned!