On-chain sleuthing, investigative journalism and questions of governance transparency

So there has been some recent chaos in Kusama, with a range of voting behaviour that has left community members across the board scratching their heads - see latest AAG:

And has encouraged the emergence of “online-sleuths” who seek to dig into the voting patterns and the addresses in question to ultimately dox the owners of the accounts with the aim of catching out people whose decisions you didn’t like “bad actors”.

This work done was coordinated with ChaosDAO and then proposed as a ‘Tip’ - the first was rejected, the second version has passed.

As a primary party in two of the most high profile referendums I have had a ringside seat to this process, with a range of parties scapegoating me for weird stuff whilst others have reached out for my support and others have begun sharing other priviledged information.

Overall it’s been a very weird but enlightening few weeks in the world of on-chain governance.

Double standards

Recently I have been made aware of other voting patterns by large accounts that are heavily influencing current voting such as the Apillon bounty with information provided to me by other anon accounts and other parties privately about how that “deal” has come about and who is potentially involved.

When I asked about this behaviour in Kusama direction, I have been called a troll.

The questions I’m now asking

  • Do we want to encourage or subdue investigative reporting?

  • Do we really want public service journalism as parties are stating right now?

  • Is this really an ecosystem where we can speak truth to power?

  • What are Web3 principles worth if they are just marketing slogans?

As the only community member (afaik) who has worked for / with the BBC and other PSBs alongside team members at Decent Partners who have run The Guardian newspaper during the WikiLeaks era, I’m fairly well qualified to ask these questions.

Conflicts of interest

As a reminder, I hold no KSM or DOT, I am an investor in the original ICO (happy to share that info if needed) and any funds I had I sold down to fund my companies operations and indeed to sustain the independent work I now do because I believe in the project and the tech.

Despite all the grifting memes going round, I appear to be the only grifter currently unfunded, which at the least makes me an incredibly poor quality grifter.

The reason my own referendum failed was because I rejected terms offered to me - believe me it would have been far easier to take £100k for work already done, but it did not align with my values.


“It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”

― George Orwell, [1984]

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Maybe continuous conviction voting could help to mitigate some of the recurrent problems derived from the discrete voting mechanics?

Explanation of conviction voting: https://blog.giveth.io/conviction-voting-a-novel-continuous-decision-making-alternative-to-governance-aa746cfb9475

Yeah interesting - also using ZKproofs per DoraFactory in this Coindesk piece (they also talk about public good staking, related to Sustainable Funding, Staking Rewards and Stablecoin Innovation)

people can vote for their favorite projects without knowing what other people voted for. Everyone’s votes are encrypted, and we can publish final results without revealing each individual’s votes. In the end, we provide zero-knowledge proofs to validate the results.