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2024 April Polkadot OpenGov Report

The latest episode of our monthly OpenGov report is here. We report on

  • Giotto pressing charges against Guppies
  • The new Wish-for-Change track and how it changes the power dynamics in OpenGov
  • The epic match for a certain sports sponsorship
  • and more…

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The Trial

Anons on trial! Without a doubt, the biggest drama on OpenGov this month was Giotto pressing charges for defamation and slander against a couple of anons on X and Telegram as well as the owner of the Guppies Telegram group.

Although some of the anons that Giotto has sued repeatedly insulted him on different platforms, it is also a concern that the fear of lawsuits has become another aspect that suppresses people from making public criticisms.

Of course, as OpenGov.Watch, we cannot approve of random insults posing as freedom of speech. But it is also important to underline that free speech in OpenGov is deteriorating due to certain factors such as fears of disapproval of governance proposals by certain groups, getting bullied, and ultimately, even lawsuits.

Law & Order

The “Wish for Change” (WfC) track is finally introduced on OpenGov. This new track enables users to make requests for off-chain actions like instructing the Technical Fellowship or other forms of social contracts. Before WfC, these changes were requested using the root track, which has a very high decision deposit and the limit of one root track referendum that could be active at a time. This created a blocker for change requests since all the code changes of the main protocol also require root track referenda.

With the introduction of Wish for Change, OpenGov has already received a couple of WfC referenda. Giotto proposed three WfC referenda which aim to reduce inflation, restrict the delegation feature on root and treasurer tracks, and reduce the duration of treasury spend periods. Others have also posted proposals on the WfC track to establish an EVM collective and implement optimistic project funding, aiming to alter the nomination system to enable people to nominate their tokens directly to projects to help them grow by providing an income stream through their nominations.

While the latter proposes practical features, the inflation and delegation referenda are the most interesting from a judiciary perspective. Once again within a constitutional debate, we are witnessing a legalization process of previously technical features. For example, the result of the delegation referenda will make the delegation feature a decision by the token holders, which can be considered as establishing a precedent for the right to delegations in OpenGov, while it was merely a technical feature before. Similarly, the token holders will be making a legislative decision on the inflation, while it was an executive decision made by the initial builders of the network until now.

An epic Match

The biggest turnout and the most violent swings happened on a sports sponsorship referendum. With an ask of 8.8 million USD, the sponsorship referendum was kicked out twice from the confirmation period until an anonymous whale voted Aye with 19 million DOT voting power which seemingly made the decisive call. The swings on the referendum caused much confusion while it also attracted some sleeping giants with 6 million DOT voting power that had never voted in OpenGov before and only went active with this referendum on the Nay side. A last-minute name and description change of the referendum also attracted questions from the community. Information relating to the proposal has been removed “upon request of the rights holder due to details relating to price, benefits, and term of the agreement being considered sensitive and confidential”. The referendum is currently passing on the last days of its confirmation period.

Alice in Chains

The Chainalysis referendum seems like a good candidate to be the biggest drama of next month with another huge ask of $10 million for the integration of the Polkadot relay chain to their platform. It has been claimed that Chainalysis “is a surveillance platform” and its “close ties” with intelligence agencies around the world have been underlined by different ecosystem agents. A very heated discussion took place on AAG during the presentation by the Chainalysis team as well. With the big whales on the Aye side and most of the DV on the Nay side, we will be observing this referendum closely in its following stages.

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Notable mentions

  • OpenGov Crowdloan: The replacement Indy500 referendum for the referendum that previously failed to execute has been approved and the funds have been returned to the community members who crowdloaned earlier.
  • Can’t Tip This: A proposal to tip seven Decentralized Voices delegates has been posted, but most of the DV voted against the referendum with different justifications. As OpenGov.Watch, we agree that the kind of effort and due diligence currently done by DVs should be compensated, but we also want to underline that each DV contributes differently to the OpenGov, and thus should be compensated accordingly. This opened the discussion for how and by whom due diligence on proposals should be performed in the future. You can see the stats of DV from Dune Analytics and their socials from the OpenGov.Watch the guides section.
  • Upcoming Elections: The ambassadors collective is expected to go live with the Polkadot 1.3 runtime upgrade. With this new ambassador program, all the head ambassadors will have to be elected through OpenGov and will possess certain powers as well as have a monthly payment for their services to the network. People who wish to be ambassadors are expected to send their applications to the Polkadot forum. You can get more detailed information from the related Twitter space.
  • The Party is Over: Giotto proposed to close the Event Bounty based on the intense negative feedback he received. Curators of the events bounty partially confirmed the concerns but claimed that the lack of speed is due to careful evaluation of each proposal. This is the first time a bounty is proposed to be closed while it is still operative.

OpenGov.Watch News

Strategy is a major topic in Polkadot. How should OpenGov approach its growth challenges? After countless online and offline discussions, we have curated a decentralized strategy for Polkadot 2.0. It captures the current state of the ecosystem and its challenges and distills the shared themes into objectives. From there, it proposes solutions on how to address the challenges.

The main objectives we have identified are:

  1. Improve the developer experience
  2. Improve user experience
  3. Improve the public perception of the Polkadot ecosystem
  4. Establish efficient BD infrastructure
  5. Build capital rails, increase liquidity
  6. Increase the number of new chains & apps
  7. Improve Accountability in OpenGov

Our next step will be to help with the implementation of those objectives through dedicated Governance Initiatives.

Read the full strategy here: Polkadot 2.0 Strategy

What else?

Here is a summary of our other activities this month:

  • New OpenGov.Watch Infodesk Guide: How to “Prepare and Submit” a proposal
  • Activism
    • Spreading awareness for the new spend() extrinsic via Ref 708
  • Monitoring
  • Technical Fellowship
  • 15 Bookable Calls
    • 10 calls with teams seeking consultation to submit proposals to OpenGov or other support
    • 4 calls with ecosystem agents to coordinate activities
    • 1 call with Cardano Governance participants for cross-ecosystem collaboration
  • AAG participation
  • OpenGov.Watch Office Hours

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