The multimillion-dollar blockchain Tezos has officially concluded its first round of voting for two competing system-wide upgrade proposals.
Not without its fair share of internal governance conflicts, today marks the official close of the first round of voting on the Tezos blockchain. The two proposals dubbed 'Athens A' and 'Athens B' are the first of its kind to undergo Tezos’ protocol amendment procedures, designed to roll out system-wide upgrades otherwise known as hard forks in an entirely automated and self-governing fashion.
Having gathered a total of 25,855 community votes, Athens A won the majority of bids from bakers, the equivalent to miners on a traditional proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain, with a total of 18,181 votes.
But not all bakers on the Tezos blockchain voted. Over half of the baking community actually chose to abstain from the vote.
The Tezos Foundation – a non-profit entity in charge of funding development on the blockchain and controlling roughly one-third of total baking power – explained in a blog post:
Athens A is set to introduce two different backwards-incompatible changes to the network.
First, computation limits per block – also called gas limits – will be increased on the Tezos blockchain to allow for larger transaction throughput. As founder of Cryptium Labs – the second most popular baker on Tezos – Awa Sun Yin explains in a blog post:
Second, roll sizes – which are aggregated Tezos tokens that bakers hold in order to be randomly selected in the block creation process – will be decreased from 10,000 XTZ to 8,000 XTZ.
As Jacob Arluck from the Tocqueville Group – a for-profit business development entity funded by the Tezos Foundation – explains in a blog post, the amendment would “incrementally” lower the barrier to entry for baking and subsequently, block creation.
Neither of these changes according to Yin are all that radical, but are rather geared toward “testing the actual on-chain governance process and setting a precedent for future protocol upgrades and proposals,” as stated in another blog post.
Agreeing with Yin that "the main focus of this first vote is to demonstrate the amendment procedure itself and what it can achieve," CTO of Nomadic Labs – the developer group who put forth both Athens proposals – Benjamin Canou told CoinDesk:
Now that the proposal voting period has ended, bakers on Tezos will enter into a roughly three-week period of “exploration.”
The Exploration Vote Period is the second of four different stages the Athens proposal will move through before eventual activation on the live Tezos blockchain. In the exploration phase, bakers vote on whether to advance Athens A to a testing period.
After gaining a supermajority of votes to do so – that is 80 percent out of 80 percent quorum – the Athens proposal will advance to another three week period where the Tezos blockchain actually spawns a new but temporary blockchain network.
Lasting for 48 hours, this secondary blockchain will act as a test network activating the proposed code in advance and ensuring its proper function.
Given a smooth test activation, the last phase – also called the “promotion period” – reviews the proposal in its entirety for a final time and allows for one more community vote. Altogether, the whole process takes roughly three months to come to a conclusion.
As the first in a series of proposed upgrades to the Tezos’ blockchain still to come, Athens A will likely see activation sometime in late May.
“We are mainly interested in seeing the actual protocol upgrade and the entire Tezos’ community using the Athens protocol from the winning proposal,” said Andrew Paulicek – founder of Tezos baking service HappyTezos – to CoinDesk.
And pointing towards still more radical changes on the blockchain yet to come after Athens, Paulicek noted that he was particularly keen on seeing the integration of zero-knowledge cryptography such as zk-SNARKs also voted on in coming months.
Affirming these plans, Canou told CoinDesk:
Greek statues via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.