Voting Mechanisms at CityCoinsDAO

Illustration sourced at pixelplex.io

Background

In less than a year, CityCoins have unlocked a new funding mechanism for municipal governments, leading to a capitalization of $20M in the combined cities of Miami and New York City. However, the community currently has little influence over how their city’s treasury is allocated. To improve the quality of life for a city’s residents and their system of governance, CityCoins could become governance tokens that direct capital allocation for CityCoin treasuries through city-specific DAOs, giving the token holders an organized way to exercise their voting rights. Similar to participatory budgeting which gain great importance in the last decade, adopted by 1500 cities across the five continents. The main benefit of using web3 technology for participatory budgeting is for voters to receive instant, on-chain verification that the funds allocated to a project have met their intended purpose.

Motivation:

All DAO members should have the ability to create and vote on proposals, in a way that is more transparent, more efficient, and more accessible than the status quo and the representative democracy. Such a collaborative citizen-led initiative needs clear rules for voting mechanisms which could open the door to creating a more direct democratic system with an independent funding authority among city governments. In the voting mechanisms, many options could be envisioned: approval voting (voters select in a list as many propositions they approve), ranked voting (voters rate from 1 to 3 all the items in a list of propositions OR they rank the options available by order of preference), cumulative voting (voters can cumulate as much credit as they have to spend in their preferred choices).

Scope:

The dedicated working group will research the most adapted options of voting mechanisms for the purpose of governing a CityCoinsDAO specific to each city. It will need to research and consider successful implementations of similar community decision-making and privilege the options able to be adopted massively worldwide. The voting mechanisms working group will give a clear, documented, and definitive answer to questions like:
- Is the voting process delegated or direct?
- Can voters vote on their topic of engagement, their city, or at the whole organization scale?
- What is the city’s voting power?
- Should the city have veto power?
- Who should be able to vote in the DAO?
- Should the DAO's votes be geo-specific?
- Can the voters vote 24/7?
- Can the voters change their vote or opinion?
- Can the voters choose between different voting mechanisms?
- Should the DAO be 1 token = 1 vote OR 1 human = 1 vote?
- Does stacking tokens adds voting credit? ex. 1 token = 1 vote OR 1 token stacked 12 months = 3 votes.
- Does the voting credit of a token varies with the total number of tokens held by a single person? ex. 100 tokens = 100 votes, 200 tokens = 150 votes (avoids whales) OR 200 tokens = 300 votes (encourages commitment).

Requirements:

- Token holders have the ability to vote directly on funding proposals.
- Token holders which don’t want to vote, or don’t vote in time, should not be a cause of stagnation.
- Token holders have the right to propose any project to vote. A threshold number of engagements in the community should be required before the project is submitted to voting.
- The voting mechanism should be straightforward and as easy as adding likes on a social media publication.
- Accountancy of votes will be done in the background of the voting interface in a transparent way, such as each voter could control at any time the deliberation mechanism over one’s credits spending in the propositions one supported.

Non-Requirements:

- Although it’s clear that voters should be able to prove their identity for security reasons (terrorism) and fund origins (money laundry), general on-chain identity is not in the scope of this project.
- Considering wide expansion and cross-countries deployment, simplicity and consensual mechanisms should be privileged. For that reason, complex voting mechanisms will be questioned by the working group, but not a criterion for the adoption of the final voting model design.
- As tech-native, our voting process will necessarily feature an algorithm. Although augmented algorithmic solutions including AI support for proposition classification, thematic embeddings, and voter recommendation based on previous votes, or profiling attributes, are not in the scope of this project.

Specification:

- User engagement is a preliminary condition to experience the voting model efficiency.

Open questions:

- Voting mechanisms should be refined in a few phases of deployment, benefiting voters' feedback loops. We could imagine a version 0.1, 0.2, or 0.3, before adopting a final version 1.

References:

- ENS DAO
- Gitcoin DAO
- Optimism DAO
- Aragon DAO

Literature:

2022
- Representation and Intensity of Preferences: A Public Economics Analysis of Liquid Democracy
2021
- Maintaining Trust in the Technologized Public Sector
- When Ostrom Meets Blockchain: Exploring the Potentials of Blockchain for Commons Governance
2020
- Ten Years of Liquid Democracy Research: An Overview
- Blockchains for the Governance of Common Goods
- Implement Liquid Democracy on Ethereum: A Fast Algorithm for Realtime Self-Tally Voting System
- A Systematic Review of Challenges and Opportunities of Blockchain for E-Voting
2019
- Iterative Delegations in Liquid Democracy with Restricted Preferences

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Julien Carbonnell

Julien Carbonnell

Civic Technology and Smart-City. Data analysis, Machine Learning, Social Network Analysis, Computer Simulations. Project lead @ Democracy Studio