Quadratic Voting for Polkadot Governance

At a high level, I am in pretty strong alignment with what you stated here @brenzi.

First, I want to call out that calling the current Polkadot governance system a “plutocracy” is not inaccurate, but perhaps too negative of a connotation. The simple truth is, as you mentioned, that we do not have an identity system on Polkadot (yet) that would facilitate systems like quadratic voting. So given everyone can be an anonymous and potentially malicious actor, the only voting system that makes sense is one which incentivizes token holders to make decisions which are beneficial to making their token value grow. Yes, if you have 1M DOT, you will have a significant weight on the outcome of votes, but you are also proportionately invested in the success of the network. This is exactly the kinds of systems which business are run on, where founders and high level leaders have voting shares and large amounts of stock in their companies, which keeps them invested in the success of their business.

Polkadot has even gone one step further here with conviction voting, which I haven’t really seen anywhere else. That is, a person can increase the power of their vote by locking their tokens for a longer period of time than a normal vote. So actually, a group of smaller passionate voters can have much more weight than an impassionate whale.

There really are no deep flaws with the current governance system from what I can see.

However, there are certainly a set of world problems that can be solved with alternative voting systems.

For example, if you are like me, you might believe that national election systems today are flawed. Especially in the USA where gerrymandering and other voting schemes attempt to twist the outcome of elections. I do believe that blockchain technology could act as one part of a solution to these problems. I also definitely agree that we should NOT vote for the next president of the USA weighted on how many tokens someone has. This kind of election is perfect for a 1:1 voting system based on a robust web3 identity system.

However, I don’t think it is right to assume all votes on the blockchain should be of one type.

Instead, we should be thinking hard about incentives and outcomes, and pair the voting systems appropriately. For example, I probably think runtime upgrades should remain in the control of the majority token holders. I think some technical decisions like increasing number of parachains should stay in control of a meritocracy like the fellowship and their internal ranking system. I think funding for local Polkadot events could use a quadratic voting system, so that there is increased chances of funds making their way outside of the main financial tech hubs, but also resistant to a simple sibyl attack. If we were to ever help national elections, we should do 1:1 voting.

I think quadratic voting is the right technical direction, but we should be careful about what tools we use to solve what problems.