July 1st, 2020
Meet Blockstack's Governance Working Group
The Blockstack Governance Working Group is a community-run organization developing policies for future blockchain upgrades, Stacks Foundation operations, and ecosystem governance.
The Governance Working Group was formed to provide community input on Blockstack PBC's initiative to establish the Stacks Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit whose mission is to build a user owned internet. As the first project to run an SEC-qualified token offering, and as pioneers of the Proof of Transfer (PoX) consensus mechanism, we believe that the Blockstack ecosystem is uniquely positioned to develop a governance model that protects and empowers internet users everywhere.

Who We Are and What We Do

The Governance Working Group consists of app founders, developers, and active community members who are all passionate about the potential of blockchain governance. There is a diversity of perspectives represented in the group, with some members offering legal or technical expertise, and others sharing insights on social impact. Together, we have undertaken extensive research to design and form a governance framework centered on user ownership and digital rights.

Over the past few months, we have explored numerous governance models, learning from the successes and failures of crypto and non-crypto systems alike. While much of our research up until now has focused on governance fundamentals, the scope of our work is expanding and will examine everything from the way that community members are able to engage with one another on Discord to how they can spin up their own blockchains. So far, we have tackled the following issues:

  1. Profiling and understanding the various stakeholders within the Blockstack ecosystem
  2. Designing the MVP governing structure of the Stacks Foundation
  3. Re-evaluating and developing the Stacks Improvement Proposals (SIPs) process
As you can see on the StacksGov project management repository on GitHub, this is only the beginning and there are many active initiatives already in progress. All of this work is done collaboratively. As a community-driven initiative, we want to amplify the needs and voices of stakeholders across the Blockstack ecosystem. Every working call is open and open issues are transparent.

One example of the benefits of this open structure is the discussion around the MVP governance of the foundation. Through various discussions, the Working Group was able to lobby for—and secure—a 'Community Board Seat' to advocate for the interests of community members. Building an empowered community is core to what we do and we encourage everyone to not only follow along, but to get involved and contribute as well.

Shared Values & Inspiration

We believe in decentralization and the power of blockchain to facilitate decentralized governance, but we also believe in community leadership. Our research has shown us that governance issues are fundamentally social and therefore require a social or human layer. That is why, in addition to learning from other crypto projects like Zcash, Ethereum, and Algorand, we have looked to more unconventional sources of inspiration such as: the indigenous protocols outlined in historic documents like the Two Row Wampum Peace Treaty and the cultural and economic analyses of scholars like Primavera de Filippi and Jaron Lanier. The diversity of expertise from our members has also been a huge benefit that has enabled us to examine a range of governance methods and principles in a short time.

What We're Looking Forward To

With the Stacks Foundation now up and running, we are excited about diving in to the real world applications of our work. After weeks of theoretical and philosophical research and debate, we are ready to translate principle into practice. Ahead of the Stacks 2.0 blockchain launch, the Governance Working Group will take a deeper look into processes around decision-making and organizing committees. These are critical components of community-driven governance that will require the input of all stakeholders.

Now is the perfect time to chime in to governance discussions and we invite you to contribute your thoughts, ideas, questions, and suggestions on GitHub, Discord, or the Blockstack community forum. You can also sign up for our newsletter or follow the Stacks Foundation's official Twitter for regular updates. Join the Governance Working Group and help us bring a user owned internet to life!
This blog post was written collaboratively by Governance Working Group members. To get involved, join the #Governance channel on Discord.

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