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Overview of blockchain system governance: how to design a governance mechanism to ensure the long-term development of the blockchain?

Time : 27/09/2021 Author : smc6dq Click : + -
        The blockchain code base is updated every time. In order to update the blockchain code, various interest groups, such as users, core developers and all node providers (also known as miners in the bitcoin system), need to reach a consensus on what needs to be retained and what needs to be changed. But this is not easy, because there are often conflicts of interest between these stakeholders. In order to solve these problems, each blockchain project has a governance system to coordinate conflicts between participants and keep their motivation consistent with the benign development of the blockchain system. One is offline governance systems such as bitcoin and Ethereum; The other is the chain governance system such as cosmos and dfinity.
        The difference between these two types lies in whether voting is conducted and recorded on the blockchain ledger. In the offline governance system, core developers can submit protocol updates to the official repository (such as GitHub) through formal improvement proposals (such as bitcoin improvement proposal and Ethereum improvement proposal). Users and all node providers can express their opinions on community forums and social media (such as slackchannel, telegram and twitter). If most interest groups agree to the protocol update, the blockchain protocol will make code changes. If they cannot reach a consensus, the core developer can withdraw the proposal or still implement the agreement change.
        However, the latter will usually lead to hard fork (such as Ethereum and Ethereum classic born due to hard fork in 2016, and bitcoin and bitcoin cash in 2017), because some all node providers may not adopt corresponding protocol changes. Because core developers and all node providers have much more power in decision-making than ordinary users, offline governance systems are often criticized for violating the spirit of decentralization. In recent years, with the development of POS blockchain projects, a more decentralized form of governance & mdash& mdash; Chain governance has gradually begun to emerge. POS projects usually require pledged tokens to obtain voting rights.
        Therefore, the user can pledge the generated tokens in the system and obtain the voting right for the protocol update. Compared with the uncertainty of the off chain governance system, the decision-making turnaround time of the on chain governance system is shorter. In addition, the chain governance system is more transparent, the voting rules are set in advance, and the public is informed in advance. Decision making is not controlled or interfered with by Central entities. In addition, since the voting rules have been embedded in the system code, the protocol update will be automatically implemented after the proposal is passed, which can prevent the occurrence of hard bifurcation to a large extent. To submit a proposal, at least the minimum number of tokens required by the mortgage governance system is required. In order to encourage high-quality proposals, if the proposal is adopted, the pledged tokens will be returned and additional rewards can be obtained (the rewards may come from newly minted tokens or foundation donations).
        If the proposal is not adopted, the pledged token will be returned without additional reward. If the proposal is considered to be a junk proposal, the mortgage token will be deducted. Users can support various proposals by pledging tokens. The proposal with the most mortgage tokens can be voted first. After the proposal is approved, the token reward will be distributed to the sponsor of the proposal (e.g. 50%) and the supporters (e.g. 50%, proportional to the number of pledged tokens). Please note that proposals with low thematic relevance attract fewer supporters and will be voted later. Since the pledged tokens can only be returned to the holders after the voting, the sponsors and supporters of the proposal will face the opportunity cost of depositing tokens.
        However, such a design can prevent the proliferation of junk proposals. Alternatively, the system can set the minimum number of mortgage tokens required for the proposal to reach the voting stage (similar to the White House petition website of "we the people"). In order to obtain voting rights in the governance system, users need to pledge their tokens in the system for a period of time. This will affect the vital interests of users, thus encouraging them to vote rationally. Homomorphic encryption is one of the main methods to protect voting privacy. Since voting is encrypted, only voters with private keys can view their votes. All votes will be collected and counted after the voting.
        Only the final result will be declassified and disclosed to everyone. Voting rights increase with the increase of the number of mortgage tokens and the mortgage cycle. Voters can only get token rewards by participating in voting. If the token holder does not vote, only pledging the token will not generate any income. Voting incentives provide incentives for voters to actively participate in governance. Because voting is time-consuming and requires professional knowledge in certain fields, voters can entrust their votes to other people (such as cryptographers, economists, major opinion leaders, developers, foundations, etc.), and the delegation can be revoked at any time (so-called mobile democracy). Random voting subject: randomly select a certain proportion of voters (e.g. 10%) for each proposal.
        This design facilitates simultaneous voting (scalable solution). Since the voting subject is smaller than the ordinary voting subject, each vote has a greater impact on the final result. As a result, the elected voters are more motivated to vote and vote cautiously. However, this defect is that a small number of voters are easy to collude with each other. Therefore, the randomness of voter selection is the key to its success. On the one hand, the number of voters should be as small as possible to reduce the voting cost of the elected voters (such as the time and resources spent on studying the proposal). On the other hand, there should be as many voters as possible to ensure that the voting results are more representative and in the interests of most token holders.
        One way to reduce the probability of unexpected results is to use evaluation voting. If the voting results are close (e.g. within the range of 45% - 55%), the system will randomly select another batch of voters, such as allowing voters with a multiple of 5 to participate in the second round of voting. The final result will depend on these two rounds of voting. In real voting, the rich can manipulate the election by financing their preferred candidates / puppets and their election campaigns. The mechanism of "one person, one vote" is extremely susceptible to this monetary effect. But in the face of emerging technologies, the current political system designed over the past few centuries has gradually shown its disadvantages. The Cambridge analysis scandal is a good example of how social media users can be used to influence voting results.
        Compared with the one person one vote system in real life, in the blockchain governance system, large holders of coins can purchase a large number of tokens through the way of one token for one vote, thus more easily turning the voting results into their favorite direction. The first way to make voting rights more decentralized is to set flexible lock-in periods. Users can lock their tokens for a longer time to obtain more voting rights. For example, a user who locks 10 tokens for 10 months can have the same voting rights as a user (large holder) who locks 100 tokens for 1 month. A longer lock-in period means that the vital interests of voters are greater, so they are more concerned about the long-term development of the system than those with a shorter lock-in period.
        The second method is to replace the one token one vote system with the one account one vote system. Voters can register their voting accounts by filling in the ID card information issued by the government. Registered users have 10 times more voting rights than unregistered users. In other words, users can still choose to vote anonymously without registering an account. However, compared with registered accounts, voting rights are greatly discounted. The system uses zero knowledge proof technology to prevent users' personal data from being abused. Voting rights increase nonlinearly with the number of tokens locked in the account. For example, to obtain the voting rights of a unit, voters need to lock a token in their account. To obtain 10 units of voting rights, voters need to lock more than 10 tokens (for example, 100 tokens correspond to 10 units of voting rights, i.e. secondary voting).
        This design reduces the voting rights of large holders. For example, a large holder can lock 100 tokens in his registered account and obtain 10 units of voting rights (assuming square root due to concave voting rights). Or he can create 100 unregistered accounts, lock one token for each account, but only get 10 units of voting rights (the voting rights of unregistered accounts are reduced by 10 times). Compared with the 100 units of voting rights he obtained in the one token one vote mechanism, the voting rights of large holders of coins are greatly restricted under this mechanism. Ring signature linkable ring signature is one of the most widely studied encryption primitives for anonymous electronic voting.
        Rivest, Shamir and TauMan proposed ring signature in 2001, and then added one-time linkability as an improvement scheme. Digital signature usually assumes that the participants can be identified by public key / key pair. The ring signature scheme allows any signer hidden in a random population (or a public key ring) to generate a ring signature without revealing which public key in the ring generates the signature. Therefore, it provides anonymous protection for real signers. However, since the signature information is public, the scheme does not have voting confidentiality. Because the ring signature hides the identity of the voters, the voters may vote for a candidate many times to improve the winning probability of the candidate they support.
        The one-time linkability aims to ensure that as long as a key in a ring is used twice, duplicate signatures will be linked and thus be judged as illegal voting. The one-time linkable ring signature can be constructed by a special zero knowledge proof, that is, member proof. Zero knowledge proof is a kind of protocol, which enables the verifier to verify the correctness of a statement without disclosing other information than the statement itself. For example, the zero knowledge range proof scheme enables the verifier to prove that a secret integer belongs to a certain range (such as 0 ~ 1), but does not disclose which integer it is. That is, the verifier can be sure that the secret integer is binary after reading the proof without knowing whether the secret integer is 0 or 1.
        Another closely related primitive is blind signature, which requires a registration phase controlled by the group administrator. Voting requires interaction between voters and administrators, so that voters can obtain untraceable blank votes issued by administrators and vote in encrypted / blind form. Blind signature ensures the privacy, voting confidentiality and one-time traceability of voters. However, voters need to use the threshold blind signature scheme to reduce the centralized power of group administrators in blockchain settings. (Note: the "threshold" here refers to the use of threshold encryption technology to replace a single group administrator with multiple administrators. As long as most administrators act honestly, the anonymity of voters and the confidentiality of voting can be guaranteed.
        )。 The encryption scheme converts the plain text message into a random string to protect its confidentiality. After the message is encrypted, the ciphertext must be decrypted before any operation (such as summation) is performed on the underlying message. However, in some application scenarios, the operator may not want to know the underlying message. For example, the counter only needs to know the total number of votes, and does not need to know who each vote is for. Homomorphic encryption is a special encryption mechanism, which allows anyone who has access to the ciphertext to perform the required operations in a homomorphic manner, which means that the operation on the underlying message can be performed without decryption. If homomorphic encryption is used to encrypt each voter's vote on a specific candidate or declaration, the counter will be able to encrypt the final number of votes in a homomorphic manner without decrypting the ciphertext of each ballot.
        However, it should be noted that malicious voters can replace binary voting by encrypting a large positive number (or negative number), thereby increasing (or reducing) the chances of winning (or losing) the candidates (or their competitors) they support. Therefore, electronic voting based on homomorphic encryption usually uses zero knowledge range proof, which can prove that secret numbers are binary, but does not disclose the exact voting content. However, there is another problem that any entity with the private key of the homomorphic encryption scheme can decrypt all votes. Therefore, a threshold homomorphic decryption mechanism is needed to distribute the decryption right to each entity. The mix network uses multiple independent servers to shuffle the input encrypted votes and output clear text votes.
        However, it must be assumed that at least one of these hybrid servers honestly performs secret permutation to ensure the anonymity of voters. More specifically, the mix network usually adopts hierarchical encryption, encrypting the original vote under a series of public keys, and each public key corresponds to an intermediate hybrid node. Each intermediate hybrid node will receive multiple ciphertexts, remove one layer of encryption with its secret key, and send the messages to the next node after random arrangement. Therefore, as long as at least one hybrid node acts honestly, the anonymity of voters can be guaranteed to a certain extent. However, since all votes are sent to the counter in clear text, the mix network cannot guarantee the confidentiality of the vote.
        Blockchain projects are complex systems that evolve over time. They are governed by rules and rules that define how rules change. When designing governance rules, the following basic questions need to be kept in mind: how to define effective voters and their voting rights? Who can initiate a proposal? What proposals are eligible for voting? What is the quorum? How to define the voting result? How to change the voting rules? In the final analysis, the problem can be summed up as: how to design a governance system that can ensure the long-term prosperity and development of blockchain projects? The secret of success is to ensure that the interests of most participants are consistent with the interests of the project.
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