How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

In order to keep its network running well and continuously, Polkadot has created a governance mechanism that meets the needs of itself and users, and uses the characteristics of blockchain technology to achieve professional and effective community governance.

In the past distributed protocols, upgrades and adjustments required high management costs and surging workloads. Therefore, a reasonable, efficient and transparent governance mechanism is extremely important.

Gavin once said in an interview: Web3 decentralized technology is the only hope to maintain freedom and democracy.

Therefore, in the decentralized ecology, what Polkadot pursues is not only the decentralization of the structure, but also the decentralization of the governance level.

Any user who holds DOT can become a participant in the Polkadot network and also have the right to vote on the governance of Polkadot. Then you need to know the following to participate in governance.

participatory democracy

The Referendum House is one of three institutions for on-chain governance, with examples in Polkadot and Kusama. The other two bodies are the Council and the Technical Committee.

PLEASE NOTE: Following recent revisions to Polkadot governance, the content in this guide is subject to change.

Referenda (Public Referenda) can be proposed and voted by any token holder in the system, as long as they are bound (token). After a proposal is proposed, others can approve the proposal by “seconding” and taking out the same amount of tokens as originally bound.

During each proposal initiation phase, the proposal with the most secondaries will be referred to a referendum for voting. Voters can also do so if they are willing to lock up their tokens for a longer period of time, thereby increasing their voting weight.

This guide will guide token holders on how to use the Democracy Module to propose and vote.

Important parameters

Important parameters to be aware of when voting with the Democracy Module are as follows:

Launch Period: How often new referendums are launched.

Voting Period: The number of referendums.

Emergency Voting Period: The shortest voting period for the Express Entry Emergency Referendum.

Minimum Deposit: The minimum amount of the referendum proposal deposit.

Enactment Period: The minimum period for which funds are locked, and the period between the proposal being approved and the enactment.

Cooldown period: The block period during which a proposal can no longer be submitted after it has been rejected.

put forward a motion

Proposing a proposal first requires you to bind some tokens. To make sure you have enough tokens for the minimum deposit, you can check the parameters under the chain state.

Bonded tokens will only be issued when proposals are submitted (i.e. voted); users cannot “revoke” their proposals and get their deposits back until a referendum.

Since it is basically impossible to predict exactly when a proposal might become a referendum (if at all), this means that any bound tokens will be locked for an indeterminate period of time.

Proposals cannot be revoked by the proposer, even if the proposal never turns into a referendum. It is important to realize that the DOTs you use to propose or support a proposal are not guaranteed to be returned to the account at any given time.

On Polkadot Apps, you can use the “Democracy” tab to make new proposals. In order to submit a proposal, you need to submit a so-called preimage hash.

The preimage hash is just the hash of the proposal to be enacted. The easiest way to get the preimage hash is to click the “Submit preimage” button and configure the action your proposal proposes.

For example, if you wanted to propose an account “Dave” with a balance of 10 tokens, your proposal might look like the image below.

The preimage hash is


You can copy this preimage hash and save it for use in the next step.

You don’t need to click Submit Preimage at this point, although you can. We will discuss this issue in the next section.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Now, you will click the “Submit proposal” button, enter the preimage hash in the input called “preimage hash”, and enter the minimum deposit amount in the “locked balance” field.
Click the blue “Submit proposal” button and confirm the transaction. You should now see your proposal appear in the “Proposal” column of the page.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Now, anyone with access to the chain can see your proposal, and others can second it or submit a Preimage. However, it’s hard to say what exactly this proposal does, since it shows the hash of the operation.
Other holders will not be able to tell if they support the proposal until someone submits an actual preimage of the proposal. In the next step, you will submit the Preimage.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?


Because the storage cost of submitting a large Preimage can be prohibitively expensive, the process of submitting a proposal is separate from submitting the proposed Preimage.

Allowing Preimage submissions to be processed as separate transactions means another account can submit Preimages for you if you don’t have enough funds. It also means that you don’t have to pay out of bounds funds immediately because you can prove the preimage hash.

However, before the proposal can pass, you need to submit a preimage, otherwise the proposal will not be implemented. The guide will now show you how to do this.

Click the blue “Submit preimage” button and configure it to do the same thing as getting the preimage hash before. This time, instead of copying the hash to another tab, you go ahead and click “Submit preimage” and confirm the transaction.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

After the transaction is complete, you should see the UI update with information that you have submitted proposals.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

seconded proposal

Seconding a proposal means that you agree to the proposal and back it with the same amount of deposit that was originally locked. Once a proposal is submitted (i.e. voted), the bond tokens will be released, just like the original proposer’s bond.

By seconding a proposal, you can elevate it to a higher level of proposal. The proposal with the most support — value rather than number of backers — will go to referendum each launch period.

It’s important to note that once a proposal is complete, it cannot be stopped or canceled as a seconded proposal.

Therefore, the seconded DOTs will be held until the proposal is submitted to a referendum. This is an indeterminate time as there is no guarantee that a proposal will become a referendum within a certain period, as other proposals may be proposed and submitted to it.

Note that a single account can support a proposal multiple times. This is by design; the values ​​are calculated from the weights, not the seconds themselves.

If there is a 1 second limit per account, it would be trivial for a user with 1000DOT to create 10 100DOT accounts instead of one 1000DOT account. Therefore, there is no limit to the number of times a single account can support a proposal.

To support a proposal, navigate to the proposal you want to support and click the “Second” button.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

You will be prompted to provide details of the proposal (if the preimage has been submitted!), and the transaction can then be broadcast by clicking the blue “Second” button.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

On success, you’ll see “Second” appear in the drop-down list of proposal details.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

While governance mechanisms ensure fairness and transparency for all participants to express their will, an organization like a council is still needed to handle some routine matters.

In order to further decentralize, Gavin previously released the latest changes in Polkadot’s on-chain governance, including adjustments to referendums. At present, the entire industry does not have a perfect governance model, and the decentralized governance system still needs to continue to explore and try.

This issue explains in detail the specific operations of submitting proposals and seconding proposals. So how should users vote on these proposals to further participate in the governance of Polkadot?

After the splits of off-chain governance in the early blockchain, avoiding community splits and efficient governance of the ecosystem have become urgent issues to be solved, so on-chain governance is gradually being adopted by emerging public chains.

On-chain governance allows users to participate in governance by voting on proposals, and the resulting results are automatically applied to the protocol. This on-chain governance method effectively improves governance efficiency and solves the problem of community division.

In the last issue of popular science, we explained in detail the specific operations for making and seconding proposals.

So in order to further participate in the governance of Polkadot, this issue will give a detailed introduction on how to vote on a proposal, delegate a vote, and even interpret the data on the chain.

vote on a motion

At the end of each launch period, the proposal with the most support goes to a referendum. During this time, you can vote for or against the proposal. You can also lock your tokens for longer to increase the weight of your votes.

While the tokens are locked, you cannot transfer them, but they can still be used for further voting. Tokens are locked in layers, so if you vote again after a week, the 8-week lock will not become a 15-week lock, but an additional 8-week lock period.

To vote on the referendum, navigate to the “Democracy” option of Polkadot-JS Apps. Any positive referendum will be shown in the “referenda” column. Click the blue button “Vote” to vote for the referendum.

If you would like to vote for this proposal, please select the “Aye, I approve” option. If you would like to object to this proposal, please select the “Nay, I do not approve” option.

The second option is to choose your level of willingness for this vote. The longer you are willing to lock your tokens, the greater your voting weight.

The schedule for level of willingness selection begins after the voting period ends; the tokens used for voting will remain locked until the end of the voting period, regardless of your willingness to vote.

Unwillingness to lock your tokens means that your votes only work on 10% of your tokens, and a maximum lock of 896 days means you can make your votes only work on 600% of your tokens effect. Voting can be done using tokens that have been locked.

When you are satisfied with the decision you have made, click the blue “Vote” button to submit your transaction and wait for it to be included in a block.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Unlock locked tokens

Like vesting, tokens locked in an account are also delayed unlocked. This means that you (the user) must explicitly call external unlock in order to use your funds again after the lock expires.

Unbonding is another term you often hear in Polkadot and it means withdrawing the DOTs you used in staking.

You can do this from the “Accounts” page in Polkadot-JS Apps, unless you use Ledger (see below).

First check if your account has a “democracy” lock by opening the details in your balance. In the example below, the account has 150 KSM locked.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Now you can click the menu button (three dots) and find the “Clear expired democracy locks” option. After selecting this option, you can confirm the transaction and your lock will be cleared on success.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Use a Ledger hardware wallet or unlock very old locks

If you don’t see an option to clear expired democratic ballots, the lock may be very old. Alternatively, if you are using a Ledger hardware wallet, you will not be able to issue bulk unlock operations from the UI.

Instead, you must clear the lock by directly issuing the correct extrinsics.

Navigate to the Extrinsics page and submit the following external information using the account you voted with: democracy.removeVote(index). For the ReferendumIndex, enter the referendum number you voted for (“12” in the image below).

The referendum number you voted for is visible in browsers like Polkascan.

You need to press the “Submit Transaction” button to submit external information.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Now submit the following external information: democracy.unlock(target), where target is your account address.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

If you go back to the Accounts page, you should see that the account lock has been released.

Note that this only applies to DOTs locked in referendums. To unlock DOTs that are locked by Polkadot council members voting, you need to go to the council page, click on “Vote”, and then click on “Unvote All”.

proxy voting

If you’re too busy to continue voting, you can choose to delegate your voting power to another account you trust.

When you delegate to another account, that account gets the additional voting power of your token and the voting willingness you set. Delegated voting willingness works the same as regular voting willingness, except that your tokens may be locked for longer than normal because the lock resets when delegating a vote.

Once the delegation is in place, the delegated account will not perform any special operations. They can continue to vote on referendums as they see fit.

The difference is that when a democratic system counts votes, the delegated tokens are attached to whatever votes the delegates cast.

You can delegate your vote to another account, or even attach a “Conviction” to this delegation. Navigate to the “Extrinsics” tab on the Polkadot APP and select the “democracy” and “delegate” options.
This means that you are accessing the democracy module and selecting the type of delegated transaction to send. Your authorization will count towards the vote of any account you delegate to until you explicitly cancel the vote.

Select the account you want to delegate to in the first input and your desired amount in the second input. Remember, a higher willingness means your vote will be locked for longer. So make an informed choice!

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

After sending the delegate transaction, you can verify that it passed by navigating to the “Chain State” tab and selecting the “democracy” and “delegate” options. You will see output similar to the following, showing the addresses to which you have delegated voting rights.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Cancel delegated vote

At some point in the future, you may decide to remove your delegation to the target account. In this case, your tokens will be locked for the maximum time according to your wishes set at the start of the delegation.
For example, if you choose a “2x” delegate lock for 4 weeks, your tokens will be locked for 4 weeks after sending the undelegated transaction. Once your vote is deauthorized, you can use it to vote again. You can start voting directly or choose another account as your representative.

An undelegate transaction must be sent from the account whose delegation you wish to clear. For example, if Alice has delegated her token to Bob, Alice needs to call the undelegate transaction to clear her delegate.

The easiest way is to use the “Extrinsics” option of Polkadot Apps. Select the “democracy” module and the “undelegate” transaction type. Make sure you are sending the transaction from the account you want to clear the delegate from. Click “Submit transaction” and confirm.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

Voting using governance proxies

Voting on behalf of stash requires a “proxy” transaction from the proxy module. When you select this transaction from the “Extrinsics” tab, it will allow you to select “vote” from the “democracy” module, and you will specify the referendum index being voted on, judgment (i.e. “Aye” for yes or “Nay” ” signifies rejection) and willingness, just like a normal vote.

Interpreting on-chain voting data

Consider the following example showing how to display votes on a blockchain explorer.

How to participate in the democratic governance of Polkadot?

At first glance, it may be difficult to explain what you voted for. We need to take a step back and consider “voting data” at the binary level.

Votes are stored as bytes using a bitfield data structure and displayed on the blockchain explorer as decimal integers. Bitfields store willing and aye/nay booleans, where booleans are represented using the MSB of the byte. This means that the remaining 7-bit grouping is used to store the will.

In fact, Polkadot’s governance draws on the institutional model of Western democratic politics. By combining the democratic system with on-chain governance, any participant who holds DOT has the right to vote. To a certain extent, Polkadot’s on-chain The governance model is more skewed towards modern democracy.
Previously, Gavin mentioned at the Web3 conference that Polkadot’s governance model is a certain degree of delegated democracy, and not everything requires voting. Polkadot must ensure that more stakeholder groups participate in decision-making, and the Polkadot system will be more stable.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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