Decred has a unique governance system. We all know that. Our governance system allows on-chain hard fork voting (for consensus rule changes) and soon we will have a newly developed proposal system (for all kinds of proposals). This way, it is not only up to the miners and developers to determine the future of Decred. Users and stakeholders are also involved in the governance process.
In recent discussions on social media we encountered many questions about Decred’s governance system. Most people immediately associate our governance system with a democracy. This connection is understandable because Decred introduced hard fork voting. However, our governance system is not democratic at all.
Decred is not a democracy
There are several reasons why Decred is different from a democracy. First of all, users can only obtain voting rights if they prove that they have skin in the game. You do so by buying a voting ticket, which means you lock up a certain amount of DCR for a random period of time (with a maximum of ~4.7 months). Second, users may obtain multiple voting tickets. Our ‘one ticket one vote’ model is inherently different from the ‘one person one vote’ model of a democracy. Furthermore, users are rewarded for their participation. This creates an incentive to participate in the governance process of Decred.
Well then, if Decred is not a democracy, what the heck is it?! We have tried to come up with different concepts to describe it. However, all the mainstream governance concepts seemed inadequate descriptions in one way or the other.
Decred is a cyphocracy
In the search of a fitting description it became clear that we had to create a brand new concept. When trying to define a word it is often best to begin with its etymology, its linguistic origin. The word democracy is derived from two Greek words: demos meaning “people”, and kratos meaning “power”.
IF demos + kratos = democracy THEN cypherpunk + kratos = cyphocracy
We are introducing cyphocracy as a governance system. When we googled cyphocracy for the first time, it literally showed 0 results. The word cyphocracy is derived from two words: cypherpunk meaning “people who advocate the use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political change”, and kratos meaning “power”.
If democracy means ‘power to the people’, our governance system means ‘power to the cypherpunks‘. The cypherpunk community has developed many of the technologies that empower Decred. Most of our community members can be typified as cypherpunks. Our project is based on sound cryptography and decentralised, community-based decision making. To facilitate the decision making process, Decred has developed an innovative hybrid consensus system with on-chain hard fork voting and we will introduce our proposal system soon. Together we decide on the future of our currency.
To sum it all up: Decred is a cyphocracy!
Next time anyone asks you “can you explain the Decred governance system to me?” you know the easiest answer.