Building an Inclusive and Collaborative Future for Cardano: Reflections on CIP1694 and the Colorado Workshop

Juana Attieh
4 min readMar 15, 2023

After reviewing CIP1694 and attending the Colorado workshop, I had some initial questions and observations that I hope spark some interest and stimulate meaningful conversation.

The Voltaire Era

While there are many trade-offs to consider, it’s crucial to be pragmatic and focus on what is achievable now. We must start somewhere and ensure that the foundations are strong enough to reach our goals. We must also acknowledge the engineering limitations that currently prevent us from achieving everything we want right away. The question is whether we wait for these restrictions to be lifted, potentially for years, or should we take action now?

It’s important to distinguish what can be done at the protocol layer versus what can be handled through side chains and community tooling. Ultimately, the community should have the final say, so we need to focus on building infrastructure that enables effective governance and communication between communities. To achieve this, we must work together to find creative solutions and leverage how Cardano is built today.

To foster a vibrant and inclusive governance process, we need to carefully consider the incentives and parameters that we set for the community and dReps. It is crucial to incentivize diverse proposals and empower participation from a wide range of stakeholders without congesting the blockchain. This means that we need to carefully dictate parameters such as governance action deposit amounts and dRep deposit amounts, keeping in mind the need to balance inclusivity with scalability.

Additionally, discussions about the involvement of Stake Pool Operators and their incentives to participate fully in governance, rather than the possibility of just following the majority, could be valuable. Especially given that governance may not be within the primary interest of most SPOs.

Designing the right incentive mechanisms is arguably the most challenging aspect of all of this. We must strike a balance between crafting incentives that motivate the right stakeholders while ensuring the sustainability of the monetary policy and treasury. The question then becomes: how can we create incentives that encourage desired behaviors without compromising the system’s long-term viability? Should we consider using deterrent measures, or are there better alternatives?

An example of a proposed solution for ensuring participation is only allowing reward withdrawals if the stake is registered for governance. While this approach allows centralized exchanges to abstain from involvement, some may argue that forcing individuals to vote is not the optimal direction. It will be interesting to explore other options.

As mentioned in the reviewed CIP, a portion of the Cardano treasury can be set aside for dReps to pay themselves from through a treasury withdrawal governance action. While this is a good first step, we need to collectively agree on what needs to be done to minimize maintenance and spread responsibilities, thus distributing power and decision-making.

In addition, I found the discussions regarding the implementation of pre-vetting processes before voting to be promising. Such processes could help guarantee that only proposals of high quality are passed. However, it’s important to carefully consider who will be responsible for these processes and how they will be streamlined to ensure that fairness and integrity are maintained.

We also need to consider what infrastructure and tooling needs to be built that incentivizes community and dRep collaboration while promoting reputation, accountability, and trust. I found it interesting how DAOs could be useful for creating structures that facilitate collaboration among larger groups. Specifically, DAOs could be used to enable consensus-building and decision-making processes related to proposal voting or dRep delegation.

We must keep in mind the divide that already exists within the current Cardano demographics. The impact of Cardano will be most prevalent in countries that are yet to be sufficiently involved. Therefore, we need to build a foundation with variables that can be updated to fit inclusiveness and develop tools to onboard and educate. This is especially important since this proposal involves a governance structure that may be new to people from different backgrounds and cultures. We must represent what exists today while keeping in mind the bigger picture of what we want to achieve. Bootstrapping, testing and iterating will prove more valuable than hard-coding assumptions. It also became clearer to me how much more will be dependent on social factors hence making community infrastructure that much more important.

In conclusion, there are several focus points that stood out to me, and I am excited to work closely with our community members to answer some of these questions and come up with possible solutions that can benefit everyone & hopefully aid in achieving what was referred to as an MVG or minimum viable governance model. By building infrastructure that enables effective governance and communication between communities, we can create a more inclusive and equitable ecosystem for all Cardano users.

If you found this interesting or have any questions, feedback, or if you just want to chat about this, please reach out to me on my Twitter @AttiehJuana.