AGP-42: Keep Aragon Focused on Ethereum, not Polkadot

Let’s discuss!


Much of the support that Aragon received from the Ethereum community, both financially and otherwise, was because Aragon was building on Ethereum . Today it is becoming more clear that Aragon intends to build “AragonChain” as a parachain Polkadot, an Ethereum competitor. As many ANT holders are significant stakeholders in the Ethereum ecosystem, this quite possibly goes against their wishes. Many of us wish to see Aragon remain focused on building on Ethereum, unless consent is granted to build on Polkadot. After all, it is the ANT holders whose money is being used to fund Aragon’s ongoing development.

In sum, our proposal is to restrict Aragon from spending money on Polkadot development in any way, shape, or form.

Note: We understand that Aragon is building using Substrate because it will make building “AragonChain” easier, but we steadfastly reject that this chain should become a parachain on Polkadot. It should be its own sovereign chain, not inheriting security from any chain other than Etheruem. Efforts are underway to ensure interoperability of Substrate chains with the Ethereum network directly (by providing wasm support and message-passing contracts), and so with a credible commitment to only building for Ethereum, we are willing to consider continuing to fund the exploration of the Substrate technology for AragonChain.

Impact on Funds Already Spent

If this proposal is accepted, unless a commitment is made NOT to have AragonChain be a parachain on Polkadot, all funding towards Substrate development would stop immediately.


Hey Ameen,

Thanks for the interesting proposal.

Few remarks:
Practically the AGP process is already being voted by the ANT holders so I don’t think there is a misrepresentation of the stakeholders beyond maybe a degree of voter apathy. Although I’m glad to see that this proposal is merged so that there is some sort of an optionality for the community’s political expression.

As to the substance of the strategic proposition; I’m skeptical this is the right way to go for various reasons:

1- Competition is a healthy incentive mechanism for Ethereum to stay competent. An ecosystem where major projects implement similar proposals carries the risk of making the host complacent and extractive.

2- From a more agnostic perspective these type of political moves can be debilitating as far innovation is concerned. I personally see a lot of interesting value that could arise from being able to deploy parachains and to not experiment with that seems like an archaic/ideological move.

Regardless I’m excited about this proposal as it will be a test for the community & token based voting approach.


Hi Ameen, writing here as the PanAragon team and myself have submitted a proposal to work on a L2 scaling solution for Aragon. First of all, thanks for bringing up this perspective into the AGP process and the scaling of Aragon.
To clarify the substance of our NEST submission, the PanAragon team is NOT proposing to be building an Aragon parachain on Polkadot.

Our solution allows Aragon to increase in scalability and reduce gas costs whilst remaining on Ethereum. Substrate will allow implementing our proposed improvements efficiently as it contains all the necessary modules for building a p2p network on top of Ethereum.

Our proposal is indeed to allow Aragon to have its own sovereign chain with superior performance whilst remaining on Ethereum. The decision to build Aragon as a parachain lies squarely with the Aragon community, and I am sure they will vote for what reflects their preferences and what is best for Aragon.


Given Ethereum’s position as the leading smart contract platform and that Aragon raised money on Ethereum and has thus far been closely involved with the Ethereum community, I hope Aragon maintains a continued commitment to Ethereum.

That said, it might be advantageous for the Aragon Network to also develop on Polkadot, and an absolute restriction such as proposed here could be limiting and dangerous for the value and relevance of the Aragon Network. In a multi-chain world, wouldn’t it be best for the value of ANT and for the operation of the network, for multiple chains to be supported?


Well well, the circus has indeed come to town.

It’s like my twitter feed has come to life in front of me, or a themed episode of everyone’s (least?) favourite soap opera, featuring most of the main characters and ongoing major storylines. Sure they’ll be a few more surprise appearances and plot twists along the way.

My 2c - I think Ethereum’s a big chain and can look after itself, and I’m not sure this is the ‘right fight’ but here we are.

Just because something was doing something, is not a sufficient argument that that something has to carry on doing that something indefinitely.

Most people don’t like being told what to do and too much provocation often makes those same people dig their heels in just to prove a point. I’d tread lightly.
Let’s see eh.

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In my opinion, the Aragon community should be open to researching, developing and deploying Aragon using the best technology available. There is no question that Ethereum is the best option at the moment, and that’s why Aragon currently runs on Ethereum and we are building really important parts of the project such as the Aragon Court on Ethereum.

Limiting our scalability options is not a very smart idea, as there is uncertainty on what the best platform to scale Aragon to millions of users will be.

For some more context you can read what I replied to some questions about Aragon using Polkadot some time ago:


I think that strategically it is important for Aragon to continue to explore technical approaches which could help address scalability and usability challenges. The L2 scalability solutions available on Ethereum today do not seem to be at a state where they are a good fit for scaling Aragon.

I think it’s reasonable to expect that in the short-term there will be many chains and users may have some preferences for one chain or the other due to security, scalability, and composability trade-offs, perhaps the need for users to make such tradeoffs will change with Eth2.0. In the meantime, Substrate seems promising as does Cosmos and POAs xDAI. Choosing to research and support multiple chains in addition to Ethereum should not be taken as an ideological position favoring one chain or the other, but rather a pragmatic approach to creating the best possible experience which is available to the most possible users.

Thus far, there have not been any proposals which allocate significant resources towards development of or on Substrate. As an ANT holder I think it would be a mistake to refuse to support other chains if such support could improve the experience and reach of Aragon, but I’m also aware that many ANT holders have substantial ETH holdings and may want to restrict the project to the Ethereum ecosystem for that reason… I’m very interested in seeing how this discussion evolves over the next two weeks.


This is an interesting experiment in on-chain governance in the wild. A few general points for consideration:

1- Research & Development: Aragon experimenting with different approaches to AragonChain is no different than any sophisticated and professional organization investing a certain percentage of revenues in R&D. The decision to build on either Substrate or Polkadot should be merely a technical one and by no means implies that Aragon is migrating away from the Ethereum platform or community at this or a future juncture.
2- Prudent Treasury Management: Prudent custody of the project’s funds implies that coherent diversification matters and is a good strategy for the Aragon Treasury. Cryptocurrencies are very volatile. It is appropriate treasury management to hold a basket of diversified, high quality assets. I think we can agree that DOTs are a high quality token that many individuals in this thread no-doubt hold DOTs in their personal portfolio. Community members certainly expect that Aragon is uses portfolio management in stewarding the funds granted to them, especially as the landscape of our industry changes.

3- Experimentation & Collaboration: I contend that the silent majority of the Ethereum community is open minded to experimentation and does not see the relationship between Polkadot and Ethereum as zero-sum. Should Polkadot be successful in its vision, it will enable Aragon DAOs on many different networks. That’s compelling for Aragon and for Ethereum. Being involved now makes strategic sense.

4- Let’s reject maximalism and focus on experimentation. Many of us joined this space to help create a decentralized Web. Integrating and experimenting with new technologies will help us do that. A proposal that the Aragon One team “can’t” work on something cool that they are interested in or can’t experiment seems counter to the ideals of this would be a bad strategy for any project. How would that even be operationalized? Would you punish your team members if they build smart contracts using Substrate or participate in the Polkadot network at work? We should reject this proposal outright.

Full disclosure: I hold a certain sum of ETH, DOT and ANT and have since the ICO of each project. I am currently accumulating and will continue to accumulate all three assets in the coming months. Anyone who presents counter-arguments here should probably clarify any conflicts of interest of their own.

Kind regards,


“Much of the support that Aragon received from the Ethereum community, both financially and not, was because Aragon was building on Ethereum.”

Correcting this assumption, I would like to add that Ethereum was financed through Bitcoin so the same reasoning must be applied? I do not think so. Platform risk of building on Ethereum seems to be the community will not allow you to experiement.

“Today it is becoming clearer that Aragon intends to build” AragonChain “as a Parachain Polkadot, a competitor of Ethereum.”

This concept that polkadot is an Ethereum competitor is wrong in form and substance, as the two projects are distinguished by a difference of use cases. As I understand it, Polkadot was created to enable interoperability between blockchains with different use cases and consents.

Ethereum is connected to Polkadot from day 1, and in my opinion scales and integrates efficiently the Ethereum project into the world of other blockchains.

I instead like to highlight how big a project like Aragon can become if developed with native technologies that allow the interchange of data between heterogeneous blockchains.

I do not want to mention the strategic and economic benefits that would undoubtedly determine an immediate evolution of Aragon itself, with all enthusiastic contributors rewarded by a probable increase in value. Alternatively, Aragon will have less scaling opportunities and use cases if this measure passes.

Polkadot for the first time introduces the concept of private blockchain with public validation. This factor could bring further advantage in the adoption of the platform by private companies.
I am thinking of how many companies need a DAO ready Management System to organize the functions of the various corporate bodies and to comply with the functions of execution of the mandates to the various project managers. Keep in mind that someone could clone in the Aragon concept and develop on any other platform / framework that can offer the same features as Polkadot (the famous copy paste or hard spoon).

Glad to make my modest contribution to the conversation, Regards


Completely agree on this. Would be curious to hear @ameensol’s counterargument.

Also, you disclosed that you own 3000 DOTs. I do not understand how do you intend disallowing Aragon to work on Polkadot, while still holding DOTs yourself. This has made me deeply distrust this proposal.


@ameensol could you please expand on your thinking about WHY Aragon "should be its own sovereign chain"

and how it would work,
specifically how do you ensure the security of the chain considering that even in simple governance votes the voter turnout is already very low;
what would be the incentives for the validators?

in general, I think that limiting research isn’t wise, unless

  • it’s an objectively obvious waste of time (eg researching pseudoscience),
  • the intended research is not economically viable with current funding

both don’t seem to apply here, so I don’t understand your reasoning,
but I’m curious to hear what I’m missing (that you can share publicly)

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