Cosmos Governance February Update

Gavin Birch
March 5, 2020
minute read
Cosmos governance February update

Cosmos Governance February Update

  • Proposals are in the works! Sunny's (All in Bits; Sikka) proposal to change slashing
  • GWG Month 2 community call (21 people) joined to discuss gov work sustainability
  • Participation in the Cosmos GWG exceeds Month 2 targets in all areas but one--looking for more wallet operators
  • The Cosmos 'Community Spend Best Practices' doc has been published with templates
  • Follow the 'Cosmos Parameters Wiki' and best practices development here
  • Q2 funding for governance work
  • Community discussions are happening! Some ideas for proposals
  • Interested in governance work? Join us!

The Month 1 (Jan 2020) update can be found here.

Proposals Being Drafted

There are a number of draft governance proposals that are not yet public. There are also a number of ideas and conversations that could be used to inspire governance proposals. The governance working group would like the opportunity to help by providing feedback and educational resources. Consider joining the Cosmos Governance Working Group (GWG) channels (forumTelegram, Discord) to discuss your proposal

Proportional Slashing - Draft proposal by Sunny (All in Bits; Sikka)

In a recent Twitter reply, Sunny expressed an interest in having the GWG provide feedback on a proposal to change the rate that the Cosmos Hub slashes the stake-backing of validators that break protocol rules. Rather than a fixed slashing percentage, larger validators would be slashed at a much higher rate than small validators for both liveness faults (being offline) and equivocation (double-signing). What will voters want to know in order to make an informed decision when voting? There have been some Twitter discussions, beyond the forum discussions, and Bison Trails published an article discussing this proposal.

Check out Sunny's draft proposal here and the architecture decision record (ADR) here.

GWG Month 2 community call

The second Cosmos GWG community call took place on Feb 27, 2020 at 14:00 UTC with 21 people. The call lasted approximately 50 minutes (10 minutes shorter than scheduled). All notes, recordings, and future calls can be found here.

I documented the newcomers who introduced themselves and detailed that discussion here. Discussions about future GWG community calls will take place in this thread.

Mid-month topic call review from Gavin (Figment)

On Feb 13 we had a short call to discuss how the GWG should accept draft governance proposals in order to provide feedback. We decided that anyone with a late-stage proposal can engage on the forum, Telegram, Discord, Twitter, etc and as a group we can review their draft proposal. For proposals that we are prepared to provide support, we'll invite the proposer to the private Discord channel for fluid discussion and we'll provide feedback via Google Docs.

Topic: How can governance work be made sustainable?

Zaki (Iqlusion) is interested in the question 'what is governance work right now?' He's looking at how to resource three components:

1) the right institutions to interact with on-chain governance, 2) promoting governance & engaging with stakeholders and 3) interfacing users with governance.

Zaki wants to work on a join-venture structure in order to address component #1. Other protocols are interested in a join venture legal structure. Meeting with a lawyer on Mar 16. The idea here is to fund a legal entity (via the community pool) to do the work that All in Bits has done to support Cosmos development.

Perhaps there should be a budget for the governance work involved in getting a proposal passed, eg. as part of community-spend proposals; ICF grants; etc.

Gregory (Regen Network) suggested that there could be some sort of DAO with a budget from the community pool with reputable members that disburse funding.

Gavin (Figment) thinks that there may be big players that can subsidize governance work. What is the low-hanging fruit for supporting governance work? Let's keep discussing how to fund governance work. We've also opened a new dimension of governance work: how can we get dev work done sustainably?

Next Steps

We're looking for a dedicated topic to discuss in our mid-month call, and we're looking for community-spend proposals to provide feedback on. What kind of governance work could be proposed for funding in Q2?

Participation in the Cosmos GWG

The Month 2 targets for GWG participants:

Governance working group participants stats

Forty-four participants have signed up to the GWG list. All of the targets have been surpassed except for 'wallet operators'. However, a number of the GWG community call participants have not yet added their names to the participants list. For example, James (Lunie) joined as a participant for the Month 2 call representing the wallet operator Lunie, and James is not yet on this list. Going forward I will encourage call participants to also add their names to the spreadsheet.

The GWG Telegram channel has 126 members (excluding me). There has been more discussion in the Telegram channel than in the governance channel of the Discord server run by Riccardo (Forbole). The governance section of the forum has very little activity, and for the most part I'm the only person using the forum for GWG activity.

The Cosmos 'Community Spend Best Practices' v1.0 has been published

As per the deliverables for Prop23, I’ve published the Community Spend Best Practices, which includes templates in the appendix. You can read about the documentation in this article on the Figment blog or on All in Bits' Cosmos blog.

Cosmos community spend best practices

What's the value of this documentation?

People are hard at work on ideas that will make Cosmos a valuable network, and they cannot pay attention to everything. Having detailed and accurate documentation empowers motivated people to make use of Cosmos Hub functionality and the Cosmos SDK.

A few individuals and entities have already expressed an interest in drafting community-spend proposals using this documentation. Beyond the Cosmos Hub itself, the broader Cosmos ecosystem will potentially benefit as well--Althea and Enigma are two Cosmos-based projects that have begun exploring the Community Spend Best Practices docs for their networks.

Ready to launch a proposal? Your feedback is important!

Whether you’re educating yourself, working in the Cosmos ecosystem (beyond the Cosmos Hub), and especially if you’re preparing to launch a community-spend proposal, please consider joining the Cosmos Governance Working Group (GWG) channels (forumTelegram, Discord) to discuss your proposal and/or this doc. Working together can help improve the documentation and your proposal. You can also provide direct feedback here on Github or here on the forum.

Q2 Funding for Governance Work

The Community Spend Best Practices is an example of governance work that the community voted in favour of funding. What other governance work could be funded? In keeping with Sunny's (All in Bits; Sikka) comment in the Month 1 community call, the GWG should use resources to be productive instead of to justify the existence of the GWG itself. Rather than seeking Q2 2020 funding for the governance working group (GWG), perhaps it makes more sense to seek funding for specific governance work.

We talked about sustaining governance work, and we also opened a new dimension of governance work: how can we get dev work done sustainably using the community pool? Zaki (Iqlusion) is working on a legal entity for Cosmos dev work that interacts with on-chain governance. The idea here is to fund a legal entity (via the community pool) to do the work that All in Bits has done to support Cosmos development. Perhaps supporting Zaki's work could be a topic for the next mid-month call.

Community Discussions

Some of the discussions that have stood out to me:

  1. How should the Cosmos Hub's codebase be owned and controlled?
    In the Telegram channel, Hyung (B-Harvest) expressed that Github repo (ie. codebase) control is a crucial governance topic. Marko (Interchain GmbH) thinks GitHub controls should be moved to the Interchain Foundation, since Marko considers them to be an unbiased party whose mandate is Cosmos and the Interchain. Perhaps the location and ownership of the Cosmos Hub's codebase could be something dictated by the outcome of a governance proposal.
  2. Should we reduce the time frame to be slashed for downtime? Should we increase the severity of the slashing?
    Marko (Interchain GmbH) thinks that ~18 hours downtime without slashing is too long and gives people the chance to run non safe setups. He thinks that even reducing that to 12 hours would have some effect on that while still giving operators time to deal with an outage. We discussed this in the Governance channel on Discord.
  3. Should other Cosmos Hub parameters be changed?
    Christopher (Cryptium Labs) used the forum to suggest that a number of parameters be changed:
    - equivocation (double-sign) slashing from 5% to 20%
    - speed that inflation changes to 4x faster
    - max validators from 125 to 150
    Christopher thinks that these changes are important, and since Christopher he's focused on IBC, he would welcome somebody creating a parameter-change governance proposal. You can read about parameter change proposals here, but the documentation is still being developed.
  4. Should validator's vote count once removed from the active set?
    Gavin (Figment) and Sunny (All in Bits; Sikka) realized that a validator could vote and then be removed from the active set by 1) getting pushed down in rank below 125 2) being jailed for downtime or 3) being tombstoned for double-signing. Delegators to a validator outside of the active set will not have their vote count, even if they override their validator. Most of the discussion took place on the forum and some on Twitter. A governance proposal could signal the need to change how this works.

Join us!

Beyond these discussions, there are a number of topics of interest that members of the Cosmos community have expressed interest in. We also considered a new dimension of governance work: how can we get dev work done sustainably using the community pool? Check these topics out here and be sure to add your interest(s)--then please join the GWG participants list here.

That's all folks! Please contact me if you have any feedback.

Thanks to the Cosmos community and GWG for being so thoughtful and active. Governance work can be difficult--let's break it down into manageable chunks. We can be found working in these places (and probably others!):

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