EthDAO: Making Ethereum great again

ethereum
#1

At Aragon One, we care a great deal about our users. We care about the ones we have, but most importantly, about the ones that we don’t have yet. Those people are the ones who could benefit from Aragon the most.

We are doing all that is in our hands to create a great user experience powered by secure smart contracts. However, it is not that easy. Those contracts have to run somewhere. We chose Ethereum as the platform to build on. Even if we love Ethereum and it was the community that we originated from, we are also looking into Polkadot. Our long term goal is making decentralized organizations widespread. It’s such an important mission, and we just cannot afford to lose this opportunity against the status quo .

That’s why a plan B is always a must. However, we love Ethereum and we would like it to work. To successfully transition towards Eth 2.0, to gather even more developer mindshare…

For that, we have some suggestions about enhancements to the protocol. But, before that, a couple disclaimers.

These are personal views from me, CEO at Aragon One, one of the development teams working on Aragon. This doesn’t represent views from Aragon or the Aragon community, as the only way for the project to signal something is via an Aragon Governance Proposal.

I am writing this because I deeply care about Ethereum. Also because Aragon holds ~0.25% of all ETH. I also hold ETH personally. So I’d love for Ethereum to work out #tribalism.

Focus on developers

It’s clear that developers are the end user of Ethereum . With the latest UX advancements like meta-transactions, and the future protocol advancements like economic abstraction, the users wouldn’t even notice they are using Ethereum.

It’s time to recognize that, tweak the messaging, and aggressively target developers outside our bubble.

Let’s get away from the world computer messaging . There are way more inspiring ways of selling Ethereum to developers. Like a clean canvas for societal experimentation , a secure platform to build a new financial system , etc.

And let’s please get a new website up on ethereum.org. We can crowdsource this with EthDAO.

Note: Since first writing this, people from the EF have reached out about their ongoing efforts to launch a new website. I’m happy to hear there’s progress in that front. Anyway, I think that having multiple takes at this and choosing the best one is the best way to go.

Open source sustainability: introducing EthDAO

Blockchains solve the tragedy of the commons… but Ethereum development is quickly becoming a tragedy of the commons itself.

How can Eth 2.0 take 3 years to be ready? Why are great teams working on Eth 2.0 underfunded?

I have heard from the Ethereum Foundation that allocating funds is hard, and I know it is from our experience with the Flock and Nest grant programs. However, funds need to be spent for technology to be built.

Aragon Nest was the first grants program giving funds to a team working on Eth 2.0 development. It felt like the pragmatic thing to do in order to push development forward.

However, Aragon raised funds to build Aragon, not to build Ethereum. I find it hard to justify to our community that we are spending funds on that while the EF has way more funds than we have.

The original plan (as heard from Ethereum cofounders) was to migrate the Ethereum Foundation funds into a DAO once the technology was ready. Now it is ready, so I propose that it’s time to do so.

Proper governance

Bitcoin can take a different angle to governance because it’s digital gold. For digital gold, moving slow is a great property.

For a protocol still in the works like Ethereum, building a generalized state machine for developers to create dapps, stagnation means death. We don’t know how users will adopt dapps, we don’t know which properties developers will want, and we certainly don’t know what’s the best governance mechanism for something like Ethereum.

But the current governance process (or lack of) for implementing changes to the protocol, rough consensus , equals to abdication.

Rough consensus refers to a governance process (if we can call it so) which gives a set of individuals power to make decisions based on what they believe is the sentiment of the community.

This has issues like:

  1. Easy to capture via psy-ops and individual targeting
  2. Measuring the sentiment of the community becomes a blackbox and highly subjective process
  3. Embraces personal characters, increasing centralization

I think it’s time for Ethereum to have some proper governance.

We could implement a committee system that just represents how it works today in a transparent manner.

It can be just signaling, not even binding votes.

The broad ETH holders can vote new members into the committee, or kick out existing ones.

The committee could also do the same for itself, and invite or kick out members.

The committee would vote on EIPs to be implemented.

Technical specification

We have spent 2 years building tools to make DAOs real.

Thanks to that, building the DAO described here would be straightforward.

Read more about how it would work and its parametrization:

EthDAO Governance

Summary

With those three improvements, I feel Ethereum would have a bright future.

The worst downside that can happen is that the EthDAO is hacked (either its code or its governance mechanism). Then we stop using the signaling for the technical committee, and we lose some millions of dollars.

The best upside is that the EthDAO helps us coordinate around protocol enhancements, and allocate capital an order of magnitude more efficiently.

I think it’s a bet worth making.

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#2

Wow, huge props, and about time. Awesome proposal, can’t wait to see how this pans out - let the (no doubt fascinating) discussion commence!

3 Likes

#3

Wow. This is the most constructive proposal addressing these problems that I’ve seen so far. Thank you for putting this together :slight_smile:

As you probably know, Tennegraph is working on creating signalling mechanisms for Ethereum. AFAIK it only aggregates signals that are already out there by following EIPs and seeing what “influencers” say about it on social media. It’s a start. It would be cool to see that combined with a DAO that creates more transparency by allowing people to signal their preferences with a token that can be counted and measured. That could maybe help to reduce the noise, and move towards exploring more robust and actionable systems. Something like that could then be used to help the broader community signal preferences towards EthDAO or other governance experiments.

If it’s helpful I started aggregating similar resources that could help move things in that direction here. Overall though I think it requires funding, community buy-in, a way to get users/data from Twitter/Reddit/Etc to a decentralized database, and contracts to record signals/votes. Doable, but hard lol

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#4

Thanks for the link! The most thorough resource I’ve seen putting together all different efforts and opinions on the matter of gathering community sentiment.

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#5

Regarding the focus on developers, it would be great if tools devs use to interact with Ethereum (I’m looking at you web3.js…) had better documentation, examples, and organized and up to date links to external resources that explain core concepts around Ethereum data (logs, hex, events, etc…). While Ethereum core devs all get this stuff, and so do contract devs, a data scientist who wants to pull some info from the blockchain for analysis or a web developer who just wants to display some stats on a UI is going to be incredibly frustrated incredibly quickly. 80% of the battle is creating something people actually want and can use, and documentation goes a long way to help with that by increasing usability, and thus adoption.

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#6

Totally agree – got kind of depressed when I saw there’s no https://hack.aragon.org equivalent for Ethereum. It’s just crazy

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