Polkadot to scrap its 'Council' body in new governance system

Quick Take

  • The Polkadot team said that the so-called Council, a centralized body of executives, had exclusive decision-making power.
  • In future, Polkadot will remove its Council and replace it with “referendum,” its public voting system.

Polkadot has announced a new version of its governance system called Governance version 2 (or Gov2). 

With Gov2, the team hopes to significantly decentralize the decision-making process for Polkadot — an interoperability network that connects many application-specific blockchains. 

At the ongoing Decoded conference, the Polkadot core team said that its current governance system needed an overhaul as it found it to be too centralized. They stated that the so-called Polkadot Council, a centralized body of executives, had exclusive decision-making power on matters like treasury spending. This, the team argued, ran counter to the ethos of decentralization.

As a result, it has chosen to scrap the body. For Governance v2, the team has prepared a software framework that will remove the Council and replace it with "referendum," a voting system where anyone can make proposals and get them passed. 


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“Polkadot’s Governance v2 offers new building blocks for parachains to craft their desired governance process while sharing a common infrastructure. This unlocks new possibilities to implement governance processes with the right balance between decentralization and efficiency,” Bryan Chen, co-founder and CTO of Acala, a decentralized finance hub on Polkadot, told The Block.

This new governance system is set to launch on Kusama, Polkadot's canary network, imminently. Later on, it will be deployed on the Polkadot mainnet but without the need of a hardfork — where the code of a blockchain is significantly changed — Robert Habermeier, Polkadot's co-founder, told The Block.

"Governance v2 demonstrates Polkadot's forkless upgrade capability is even capable of upgrading its own governance mechanism without a hard fork," Habermeier added.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Vishal Chawla is The Block’s crypto ecosystems editor and has spent over six years covering tech protocols, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Vishal likes to delve deep into blockchain intricacies to ensure readers are well-informed about the continuously evolving crypto landscape. He is also a staunch advocate for rigorous security practices in the space. Before joining The Block, Vishal held positions at IDG ComputerWorld, CIO, and Crypto Briefing. He can be reached on Twitter at @vishal4c and via email at [email protected]