What is the Problem the Aragon Cooperative is trying to solve?

I will follow the incentives in front of me. :slight_smile: Right now I don’t think it makes a difference that I express my thoughts as a coop member or not? Also I don’t love the idea that one has to disclose their ether address as they then also are disclosing their ANT holding. I understand it is done “privately”, still, it makes targeting easier should such list happen to be leaked. Actually even within the coop, if I know who has the larger bags, then I can focus on trying to convince them to vote for things I want.

I might not fully understand why this coop is being created (hence I’m currently trying to understand) but if it happens to become part of Aragon, my incentive will be to make sure it is safe from harm and manipulations. Currently I am expressing my worry about the vision expressed, and later on, if this gets created, I would probably want to make sure white-hat audits happen not only on our smart contracts security but also our governance and any structure, mechanisms that is part of this governance.

To be clear: it might seem like I am against this idea, I am not. I am solely sharing my concerns.

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The recommended approach here is to use a fresh address (not the your primary cold storage account)!

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Yeah and also the ether addresses are all public in the coops registry. Everyone will know how you as a coop member voted, for now.

But for sure disclosing ANT holdings is not required or recommended as far as the coop goes…

I absolutely agree.

I think I should step back from this thread for a bit so the initial question can be answered, rather than my skepticism. I guess my initial participation started with a concern that the first reason for the coop to exist was to “provide a check against plutocracy”, while we haven’t yet been able to make the token holders feel important enough as we’ve had max ~ 6% of participation. So I guess I’m just not grasping the direction.

I’ll now switch to read-only for a bit, and try to grasp harder. :wink:


I think the phrase of “provide a check against plutocracy” is a bit blunt, and not sure if that is quite representative of the current ethos/mission of the cooperative. Each individual may have their own interpretation of what the cooperative is trying to solve – so I don’t think there is any collective value like that yet established.

The initial thread that launched the coop never once mentions “checks” or “plutocracy”.

Please don’t censor yourself – speak freely :slight_smile:


I see the fundamental reason for the Aragon Coop as being the ability for the people working closely on Aragon to express ourselves collectively. There are a few different small problems that this solves, and while I do think that it has the potential to provide a check against plutocracy, I think that the answer is more complicated than that.

The first problem that creating a way for the people working on Aragon to express their opinions addresses is inactivity in voting. Many token holders chose not to vote on some or all issues because they weren’t familiar with what was going on with Aragon, and therefore didn’t feel comfortable voting. The people directly working on Aragon will be the most familiar with it, and will therefore will be safe to delegate votes to.

The protection against plutocracy I think comes more directly from protecting Aragon from forking. Unlike ANT voting Coop voting is not plutocratic, but unlike ANT voting, Coop votes do not have direct hard power in the decisions made by the network. However large ANT whales will be able to use the coop votes as a way to gauge if a decision is plutocratic, and therefore runs the risk of a fork.

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This feels a bit misaligned with the membership requirements atleast in so far as they have (or haven’t) been defined. Since its not clear to me whether the members of the coop are representative of “people working closely on Aragon”, I expect that it is more likely to be seen as a signal from people who are both actively engaged in the community and have an interest in experimenting with cooperative governance.

That being said I agree with your other points that such a signal is incredibly useful from the perspective of ANT holders being able to get a strong sense of the views of a specific community sub-group and consider that as an input in their decision making process.


I expect that the overlap between people actively working on Aragon and people engaged enough to maintain the active membership that has been discussed for the Coop being nearly complete. I look forward to being proven wrong about that though.

I like a lot what you are sating Louis, after reading this I have now a strong position about what is the purpose of the Coop: REPUTATION GOVERNANCE.

Rather than the traditional 1 person 1 vote model, we have the opportunity here to build up a reliable reputation system to enable Meritocracy within the Aragon network. In my vision, the Coop would start of course with 1 (non transferable reputation) token for each individual that has manifested a willing to be part of it, and has proven to deserve it (some how, IDK, for example having participated in the forums in the last 3 months or something)

I think it would be a pretty awesome scope for the Aragon Coop to set the rules about setting up reputation tokens and governing its minting mechanism and cap per individual.

We would have to discuss also of course what individuals can do with such reputation besides governing the Coop itself. Some thoughts that are coming to my mind about this are:

  • A mixed governance system for Aragon Network where both ANT and reputation tokens. Distribution of weights should be researched of course.
  • Replacing the current roll of the Association on the AGPs process with a votation executed by reputation token holders (I haven’t followed what would be the principles of the court about this, but would it worth to challenge that with this idea @lkngtn ?).
  • Allowing AGPs submissions only to reputation token holders.

About this:

maybe you are right, maybe you don’t… let’s see if we are able to set up the Coop purpose, and governing system and let’s challenge then that with an AGP to propose the inclusion of such reputation token on the Aragon Network governance :smiley::smiley:

I don’t see this as a replacement for the court (as the intention for the court is to protect minority and passive participants), The idea being that if a proposal does not meet the agreed upon terms it can be prevented by a single individuals regardless of whether it has majority support or not.

I do think delegating some responsibility to the Cooperative could make sense in the future, in the short-term I would potentially support giving the cooperative organization its own budget (through an AGP proposal), if the cooperative organization manages to define a process for directing funds towards work that benefits the community, and makes a case for that. The main thing is I would like us to start small, build a strong foundation, learn and iterate. We don’t need to propose changes at this point that fundamentally alter the authority structure of the project, especially to a model that is nascent and yet to really prove its value. :slight_smile:

Sure, that is what the AGP process is for! I can only speak for myself and say that this is not something I would personally support at this point in time. Though I’m eager to see the cooperative self-organize within the community, and perhaps as it proves to be a significant contributor to the ecosystem an AGP proposal that grant it more formal authority will make sense.

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  • An experiment to test and improve Aragon OS tools and apps

  • A tool to keep plutocracy in check

  • A way to foster involvement in the AGP process and discussion within the community

  • A signalling tool to improve communication and efficiency in governance processes

The Coop could become any or all of these but I agree that we should try to define a simple initial setting and see how it goes. For the tools we can use I think @lkngtn has a good idea of what is feasible or not. Should we start with a simple DAO, submit proposals on things to implement and vote them out? From this point, it will be highly experimental anyway.

Maybe the goal of the Coop is to see where we end up given the members involved, the shared and diverging interests, and the tools Aragon OS provides us to move on.


I agree with @GriffGreen that it’s important to evaluate coin-voting as Aragon’s prevalent governance mechanism today. The beauty of coin-voting is that it’s straightforward. As much as I’d love to see reputation-based voting working, so many parameters are to be defined which - if designed poorly - will be less functional than coin-voting and potentially even more plutocratic.

To refine such parameters, experimentation seems the right way to me too.

What do you all think of Edgeware and their value-bearing test-net for governance mechanisms?

Their environment could allow experimenting with various governance mechanisms without risk (just a bit of funding from an AIP).

I’m not sure how that would be different (in terms of skin-in-the-game + risk) than experimenting on mainnet by deploying an organization and funding it?

Agree that the skin-in-the-game aspect would in principle be the same.

Just if they had already built a variety of templates for governance mechanisms, it would make sense to reuse them rather than building them from scratch. Though I don’t think that the project has progressed that far yet.


I’ve been thinking about what we are trying to achieve, been reading Luis’ tweets (this one particularly: https://twitter.com/licuende/status/1093944205553139713) and been writing few ideas that I’ve eventually deleted. Now I have something I like, that may both be aligned with what we are trying to achieve with Aragon, and what I think was initially envisioned by @stellarmagnet when she thought about the risks of relying entirely on token holders.

I strongly think that it would go a long way if we first take the time to determine a constitution, what this Coop is created to attempt. That, instead of rushing the creation of a Coop and see how it goes, just for funny. Like I said, I want to be excited about what we try, I want it to be challenging and meaningful.

I could see it as the “Democratic Entity of Aragon”, the first provably democratic entity on the blockchain. It would be a place where each member is a proven human and every possible effort would be made to ensure this holds true. There are a few crypto projects working on this, we could maybe ask each member to have at least two or three. I’d personally like each member to use both Civic and BrightID, the former is using proven KYC, the latter is using an experimental method; both are great in my view. We could add uPort to the mix. I think those projects are eager to have people to use them so they could probably sponsor, or at least assist with some of this.

This DEA (not trying to scare anyone here, ahaha) would elect the Aragon Congress, which would propose laws (AGPs…), the token holders would finally vote on those laws. We’d then have an Executive branch (token holders), Legislative branch (elected members within the DEA) and Judiciary branch (the Aragon Court).

Why? Aragon will be great for many things. I’m particularly excited to participate to the Melon governance as well as any token based governances, those are the “easy targets” as it seems pretty clear they will benefit from the Aragon project. But I am even more excited to see real world impact. Like Luis, I’d love to “live in an
Aragon-powered commune|” within 10 years. Let’s make it happen.

How do we get there, you ask. Well, we need to prove to the real world that the project can handle actual democracy. But do we do democracy the boring way or do we spice it up? I mean I’m looking out my safe place and I’m thinking democracy is broke. I’m not quite ready to let go of the idea however, since we don’t have something better that I know of. Who has read “Radical Markets” by Eric A. Posner & E. Glen Weyl? Who’s excited to try Quadratic Voting? I know I am, I know those two are, I’m sure you folks are too. Most democracies today are old and difficult to change in meaningful ways, could we be not only the first democracy on blockchain, but also the first QV based democracy?

Ok, I’m setting aside my cheap governance knowledge hat recently acquired and replace it with my security hat that I’ve had for a little while longer.

If we want to be proud of our democratic entity, we need to be able to prove it is one at all times. If we let in any pseudo-anonymous identity such as myself, we cannot, I repeat, we cannot call ourselves a democracy. Actually we should really stop using the word “Democracy” within Aragon, as I think we are discrediting ourselves here. The way the Coop is being described so far, it would be a meritocracy, and honestly as far as I have seen it described, I find it centralised, convoluted and unproven. That could still be an interesting experiment, but I think there are better things to try first.


Hey Gustav,

In an earlier recent post (coop stuff is a bit scattered and repetitive (the joys of distributive approaches) I proposed we start with the Aragon Manifesto as a given and take it from there. Agree some kind of foundational cooperative document is traditional.

Building on a (somewhat purposefully flippant) comment by @pj_crypto on the chat forum I do wonder whether the coop should be a voting-bloc, once we take a dialectic position and internal vote.

Also think lots us would be curious re QV.



Hi guys! just catching up with the last keybase (yes, there is a keybase chat for those who has verified their identity in this thread) and forum chats about the coop. I think it is time for start building up a minimun viable coop constitution (MVCC) oriented to agree at least on a minimun viable purpose, and a minimun viable admission protocol. How do we start doing it? Is there a coop Github repository or something where we could start writing down some proposals? I think that after any individual make a proposition, others will sum up and start collaborating on that, and in case someone has a different vision, he/she could also propose a different MVCC, and then we can vote on this (shall we set up a 1 token 1 person DAO on Rinkeby?)

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@sepu85 Totally agree it definitely feels like the next tangible step is to create some sort of coop constitution or bylaws.

I’ve been using https://github.com/aragoncoop/ops/issues for proposals related to coop operations. So maybe we can use that for now. Though I think the constitution/bylaws should probably formally define where proposals should be presented and discussed.

Edit: there is also a mainnet dao we have been using, there is a process that needs to be documented a bit better for coop members to confirm their ETH address and then are assigned a membership token. We used this for signaling on the AGP votes, but it hasn’t been used for too much beyond that just yet. So once we have a document we can “ratify” it so to speak with that org.

I think it seems like if we do not have a constitution to begin with, the cooperative at the minimum needs a clear mission statement and goal for why the organization exists, and the benefit, and how it serves a purpose that complements other organizations/stakeholders in the ecosystem.

I really like the ideas you present for DEA, but it does seem a bit different with how the cooperative was originally proposed (as far as the purpose).

Like should we treat the development of Aragon tech like building a city. So it’s not necessarily that only the financiers, construction workers, architects, and civil engineers that participate in the governance of how the city is built, right? We mentioned though that is one purpose of the cooperative to also include community members who will be using the tech (aka living in the city).

If someone moves out of a city, should they still be eligible to vote on propositions for their city? What does it mean to be an Aragon citizen? I think this takes us back down the rabbit hole of “active member”.

I can see your argument against the meritocracy / active member model if that is how the shared vision of what Aragon technology is now (thinking of building Aragon as more like building a city, vs. building some product alone), but realize also how similar “active member” is to citizenship in a jurisdiction.

So maybe we should all take a step back and look forward 10 years from now… how should this all be governed?

Creating a real digital democracy does sound very exciting and compelling to me. Should we just start now and use the energy forming around the cooperative to do that, or do we wait until later? If we do wait until later, when is that?

I guess the main thing that would change as far as how we have all been talking about the cooperative is the “active member” clause, assuming we stick with one person, one vote.

I think the merit tokens that are part of the current Aragon Coop DAO can be more akin to people helping build things getting their work tracked, so if there are some rewards/profit distributions, as traditional cooperatives have there is some flow of capital for that (it doesn’t give people more voting power).

But yeah in general, it seems a lot is up in the air now, we are all brainstorming different paths and different models for this…

I saw this tweet yesterday and it reminded me of what is happening in Aragon Coop now in this thread :smiley:

Basically so we don’t go down a “turtles all the way down” governance rabbit hole, I think the MVP has basically been:

  1. Any one can join the cooperative now that knows how to use Keybase and signup for this forum and Github
  2. Governance will be one person one vote, until it seems some other model makes sense.
  3. We can all agree we have some common love, drive, or passion for Aragon

We don’t have to over engineer the governance to begin with, or have some fear that the coop is going to overtake the ANT governance, or that this is a waste of time / brain power.

Right now I see it as a way to bring everyone in the community closer together, dogfood the technology, start signaling, and other pretty low intrusion activities.

We can start with a very basic and simple governance model, with kind of shoddy identity verification, cause basically any other method may take too much time and mental energy at this stage – if someone wants to spearhead that (like adopting Civic), then it can just go through the basic coop governance to ratify. Right now I think minimizing administrative burden is what can help us get this thing going and seeing the viability as far as what additional immediate benefit it can provide to the ecosystem (curating Community Funding DAO proposals for ANT ballot?).

If the current Keybase verification method is too loose and risky, we can always add more structured verification once we are sensing a sybil attack. I think we should all be smart enough to figure that out.

If the active member model we have been talking about doesn’t make sense, we can always not include it – it’s not encoded anywhere now.

At least what we can all agree to do is start simple and have some shared belief and understanding that we are all here for some common purpose now – to put into practice the Aragon manifesto.

At the end of the day, it will always be easy to dissolve the organization and start anew if it just doesn’t prove that effective – but I am sure that whenever that happens, we would have learned a lot about communities, governance, DAOs, and how to be better at accomplishing our collective mission.

As they say, failure is sometimes the best way to learn.