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

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.