Kujira Governance Grows Up


Kujira is an evolving blockchain. To ensure proper growth and development, validators and general users must stay informed and be engaged in all governance activity. We have voted on 70 proposals since the Kujira chain mainnet launched just over 3 months ago. This reflects an active governance process.

As the home of Grown-Up DeFi, Kujira has rigorous standards for its first and third party protocols, necessitating careful research. This burdens multi-chain validators who may have more technical expertise but also more time commitments elsewhere.

We put a great deal of value on decentralization. To avoid influencing governance, we tend to leave decisions to the community. However, at times there are wide disparities between the general community and the governance participants with greater expertise, when it comes to understanding Kujira’s broader initiatives. As a result, this can slow down the governance process and lead to undesired outcomes.

Our ideal governance accurately represents the community’s values while remaining nimble. Leveraging the community’s enthusiasm and expertise, we could rapidly scale and improve the network. A common solution adopted by multiple popular blockchain projects is the creation of a grant committee or foundation to speed up development and coordinate strategy.

It is in this spirit that we are implementing the Kujira Senate.

Kujira Senate UI

Table of Contents

What the Senate is

The Senate is the start of an exciting new chapter in Kujira’s governance structure. It will facilitate validating on Kujira while also bringing together community and team values. Representative of the community and composed of experts, the Senate aims to support the stability and growth of our ecosystem. It is accountable, transparent, democratic, and composed solely of representatives elected by the staking community.

How the Senate Works

The Senate’s existence allows those with knowledge, experience and the trust of the community to have an impact. This applies even if they do not possess a relatively large stake of KUJI. This has significant implications for the chain’s decentralization; it amplifies elected voices.

Senators do not serve for a set term and can be added to or removed from the Senate at any time. All that is required is a governance vote. This keeps representatives accountable while ensuring they stay active and informed to rise to the community’s expectations.

The Senate is composed of no more than 9 and no fewer than 3 individuals. Each has an equally weighted vote. They cast votes on proposals related to requests for grants from the community fund. A proposal requires a quorum of 75% and approval requires more than 50% support.

Senators are expected to engage in public discussion and debate with each other, the public, validators, and the grant applicants during their deliberations regarding the proposal. Ideas and opinions should be shared publicly in a spirit of transparency and community involvement.

The Senate is structured around two new smart contracts; a CW-4 “Group” contract and a CW-3 “Multisig” contract.

The CW-4 Group contract is owned by the native on-chain governance module, and as such, members of this Group can *only* be added and removed through a mass-participation governance poll.

The CW-3 Multisig contract is where treasury funds will now be held, and funding proposals will now be submitted, where they can run for anything up to 2 weeks until the required threshold of signatories have voted. This contract reads the state of the Group contract in order to determine who is allowed to vote and whether a proposal has passed or not.

The Senate’s Scope

We are initially limiting the Senate’s scope to community spend proposals. The community pool will be used by the Senate to implement strategic initiatives. After gathering data and feedback on its effectiveness and plausibility, we will consider more use cases of the Senate smart contracts. Prudence is paramount.

In theory, any transaction broadcastable on the Kujira network can be something voted on. For example, a proposal could be submitted to suggest that 1 million KUJI from the community pool is deposited into CALC Finance to Dollar Cost Average into USK. Another proposal may suggest it could be deposited into ORCA to support the stability of USK.

The Senate’s jurisdiction will be limited initially to community grant proposals relating to requesting for funding for projects built on or related to the Kujira chain. This will involve continuing assessment of funded projects to analyze their progress towards stated milestones in paying back community funds.

We’re extremely excited by the innovation this governance structure potentially opens up. It’s feasible the economic and community focused decisions will gradually move to the senate, as the community becomes more comfortable with the structure and confident in its ability to represent their needs and steer the chain in the best direction possible.

What Governance Looks Like

Above, we provided some examples of what the Senate could eventually make a reality. However, let’s address how Kujira’s governance processes are tangibly changing in the short and long term.

As mentioned, the Kujira Senate will rely on the Group and Multisig smart contracts, respectively, to add/remove members and make decisions on whether to fund projects and other infrastructure.

Proposals will set their own deliberation period, with a maximum of two weeks. Proposals can be executed once the vote threshold is reached. They need not wait until the allotted time expires.

Elected Senators will use the time to open dialogue with the community, the submitters, each other, review, and vote.

Governance proposals outside the scope of the Senate will work exactly as they do currently with no changes. Assuming the Senate is successful, we envision longer-term non-Senate governance focusing on technical aspects of the chain. This naturally has implications on the roles of validators.

Evolution of the Validator Role

Validators were directly involved in governance as they were compelled to cast votes and keep up to date on governance for their delegators. The role of validators will revolve more closely around mastery of technical expertise needed to smoothly run and validate on the chain properly.

Validators will remain directly involved in using their technical expertise to evaluate the merit of proposed technical chain upgrades. This will involve proposals to change parameters and/or deploy new contracts.

It is expected that validators will branch out into other services to differentiate themselves beyond validating on the chain while maximizing uptime and minimizing slashing.

Validators have an important role regarding the Senate and general governance. As mentioned earlier, proposals to add or remove a Senator may be created at any time.

Senators serve at the public’s pleasure and KUJI stakers are expected to hold representatives accountable. Validators are expected to support representatives aligned with the values of their staking delegators.

Enhancing Decentralization

Churchill remarked “democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

Representative governance is not a new idea. But it is a dynamic one. We’re using what we think are the best parts of democracy: empowering an enfranchised community to elect and remove representation at any point is a big part of that.

A small body of experts can move quickly and be trusted to decide what’s best for the chain and its users. The constituency holds them accountable for their decisions. Validators are able to focus on their areas of expertise, ensuring a better operating ecosystem, while remaining a core component of the governance and expansion of the environment they are custodians of.

What’s Next

The Senate will be an important part of Grown-Up Governance moving forward and we will do everything we can to integrate it into our infrastructure.

The Kujira Senate contracts have completed their audits and received a clean bill of health.

Anyone interested in applying to be nominated for a position as a Senator can do so by filling out this Google Form. These responses are public and can be viewed on this Google Sheet.

What kind of Senators would be effective representatives? How does the Senate creation impact the Nakamoto coefficient and why? We’ll be providing further updates expanding on the Senate and more soon.

The development of the Senate is an exciting and novel phase in the maturation of the Kujira ecosystem, and we look forward to pushing new boundaries in decentralization and Grown-Up DeFi. We are targeting the 31st as the first day Kujirans can submit on-chain governance, and we thank you, our community, for being with us every step of the way!