Web3 Foundation Launches Decentralized Voices Program to Further the Decentralization of Governance on Polkadot and Kusama Networks


Today, Web3 Foundation, whose flagship project is the Polkadot blockchain protocol, announces the launch of the Decentralized Voices Program, set to be a groundbreaking initiative to enhance OpenGov participation and the increased decentralization of Polkadot. Web3 Foundation has created the Decentralized Voices program for Polkadot and Kusama, to allow more users to be significantly involved in OpenGov by delegating 180,000 KSM and 42,000,000 DOT worth of voting power to active voters in the ecosystem. Interested applicants can fill out a form and be eligible to receive voting delegations from Web3 Foundation DOT or KSM.

This initiative closely follows the Foundation’s Decentralized Futures Funding Program, backed by $20 million and 5,000,000 DOT to kickstart teams and individuals building ambitious projects, along with the Thousand Validators Programme, which has brought in more independent validators to the Polkadot ecosystem.

Speaking on the launch, Bill Laboon, Director of Education and Governance Initiatives at Web3 Foundation, said “Web3 Foundation was founded to help bring about the decentralized internet, and decentralization of Polkadot is an important goal. An important part of decentralization on Polkadot is the decentralization of governance, as that is how the future of the network is decided. However, there are passionate and intelligent participants in governance who do not have significant amounts of DOT with which to vote, and whose voices may be drowned out. Web3 Foundation would like to help these individuals raise their voices.”

No change to the Polkadot protocol can occur without agreement from the DOT holders. Every runtime, upgrade, or modification of a parameter must be voted upon by the network. There is no hidden multisig controlling Polkadot, or developers who can arbitrarily change the rules of the network.

Currently, the DOT and KSM being used for the Thousand Validators Programme are not being used for governance. Therefore, Web3 Foundation has decided to delegate a significant amount of this DOT and KSM, currently used only for nominating validators for staking, to active and thoughtful voters in these respective ecosystems. As staking and governance locks can overlap, this will have no impact on the Thousand Validators Programme.

On Kusama, there will initially be six delegates, each delegated 5,000 KSM at 6x conviction, for a total voting power of 30,000 KSM per delegate. On Polkadot, there will initially be seven delegates, each delegated 1,000,000 DOT at 6x conviction, for a total voting power of 6,000,000 DOT per delegate. The goal of this program is not just to empower these individuals directly, but to allow them to build their own following of delegations by showing what they are capable of and what their agenda is. This is similar to the Thousand Validators Programme, where validators can prove their effectiveness and the end goal is for them to receive enough nominations independently that they no longer need nominations from Web3 Foundation. Both the Kusama and Polkadot versions of Decentralized Voices are launched today.

How Does It Work?

Every three months, Web3 Foundation will delegate its own DOT and KSM to individual voters who have been shown to be avid and thoughtful contributors to governance, through both on-chain voting and off-chain interactions. These delegations will occur on all Spender (32, 33, 34) and Tipper (30, 31) tracks only. Candidates must write a public declaration of their political “philosophy” and/or agenda, and should be able to show significant participation in Polkadot or Kusama governance.

Participants are expected to vote regularly and explain the rationale behind their voting on Polkassembly, Subsquare, and/or other communications media (e.g. Polkaverse, X/Twitter, Polkadot Forum). Participants are barred from voting Aye or Nay for Treasury Proposals for themselves or for which they have a conflict of interest (e.g. voting against a competitor). In such cases, they may vote Abstain or not vote at all.

Selection of candidates is at the discretion of Web3 Foundation and delegation can be revoked at any time in the case of violation of the rules. The specific number of delegations or amount of DOT/KSM delegated may change in the future. Web3 Foundation employees are not eligible to be delegated.

How Do Users Apply?

Interested applications must complete and share the following information:

  • The Polkadot or Kusama address to which you would like to have DOT or KSM delegated. This account must have a verified identity including at least one of the following fields: Twitter, Matrix, or email.
  • A link to a publicly accessible declaration of your Polkadot “political philosophy” and/or agenda on the Polkadot Forum. This can include an actual philosophical statement, analogies to other political philosophies, opinions on previous Referenda or governance decisions, or any other way you would like to explain to people how you would vote in the future. This should be at least one paragraph.
  • A description of why you would be a good choice for this program. This can include such information as previous votes (including votes with other accounts if you can prove you own them), as well as commentary, blog posts, etc. on Polkadot OpenGov or specific referenda. It can also include other information that you would consider relevant to decision making, e.g. being part of other political groups or legislative bodies.

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