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[Issue #3] ICON Newsletter: Governance 101

Dear ICONists, What a week! First off, Happy Lunar New Year! Our community is feeling a strong positi
[Issue #3] ICON Newsletter: Governance 101
By ICON Newsletter • Issue #3 • View online
Dear ICONists,
What a week! First off, Happy Lunar New Year! Our community is feeling a strong positive momentum and the market seems to be reflecting this enthusiasm (ICX price is up 44% in the past 2 weeks and our social engagement levels are at record highs). We announced a collaboration with Chainlink and a future meetup with MakerDAO and Chainlink in our very own Seoul HQ. JH Kim, ICON co-founder, appeared on national TV to discuss ‘my-ID’, 'DPass’, #Broof, Seoul Metro project, the future blockchain technology, and so much more. While these exciting developments are very important, we truly believe our secret sauce is in our great community and for that, we say, THANK YOU!
In the first two weeks of our newsletter, we covered our growing ecosystem and our innovative ICON Incentives Scoring System (IISS). Both were well received and we hope to keep it going with this issue and the many more to come. In this week’s edition, we dive into the subject of governance and what it means in blockchain networks and ICON specifically.
Currently, the ICON network has:
We’re continuing to see more involvement from P-Reps and the broader community in ICON’s governance as they overcome the initial learning curve. And since the launch of our ICON Community website and forum, we are experiencing on average +8% weekly growth in posts/comments. We’re dedicated to further improving the user experience for more participation. We believe governance is an important topic that will likely be a key differentiator for projects, particularly if they can successfully evolve, adapt and upgrade over time.

Min Kim, ICON Foundation Council Member

Network Proposal
The ICON Network's first On-chain based network upgrade proposal was successfully approved!

10:13 PM - 28 Nov 2019
You may have seen some tweets like the one above about our very first on-chain based network upgrade proposal (Revision 7), which happened on November 27, 2019. On the ICON tracker, you can view more details on the proposal and the voting results.
Revision 7 Proposal on ICON Tracker
Revision 7 Proposal on ICON Tracker
This is an extremely significant event for the ICON project because now we have a truly decentralized way to upgrade our network. It is transparent and autonomous governance that is operated by Representatives.
We’ve had 2 network upgrades thus far and we’ll share many more in the future. But today, we’d like to take a step back and dive into blockchain governance 101.
Blockchain governance overview
Blockchains are dynamic and evolving ecosystems consisting of many anonymous market participants. Therefore, clear and defined governance mechanisms are needed to promote collaboration amongst stakeholders. These mechanisms are often closely tied to the incentives. Last week, we touched on ICON’s incentive mechanism (IISS). Now, let’s dive into governance.
Blockchain governance is split into two categories: on-chain and off-chain. We’ll focus on on-chain governance which typically refers to protocol upgrades and changes to parameters that occur autonomously, pending the outcome of a vote.  On-chain governance provides a sense of accountability, transparency, and consistency not reflected in other governance mechanisms. Importantly, stakeholders can track and audit decisions and ultimately determine if a community is a good fit for them.
Blockchain governance mechanisms
Here’s a good summary table that outlines some of the governance mechanisms employed across other blockchain platforms in the market today. Using this table as a guide, we’ll discuss the basics of ICON’s governance structure below.
Blockchains and DApps with clearly defined governance (credit: Leland Lee)
Blockchains and DApps with clearly defined governance (credit: Leland Lee)
ICON Network governance introduction
ICON utilizes an on-chain governance system operated by elected nodes known as Public Representatives, or P-Reps.
Who can vote: P-Reps are the only parties that vote on governance issues
Conditions for voting: Top 22 P-Rep
Votes required: 15/22 and 67% of the total delegations to the Top 22 P-Reps
Purpose of voting: Protocol / Parameters
  • Text proposals, for example, are used for agreeing on protocol/parameter changes before spending time on development. Since these are all saved on-chain, there is an immutable history of decision making.
  • Network Proposals are more advanced text proposals that do not require additional development.
Binding/Non-binding: Both
  • Network proposals, for example, are binding but text proposals are non-binding and rely on good-faith execution.
  • If a non-binding text proposal is approved, developers will work on the proposed changes.
  • Once the changes are completed, a revision proposal will be submitted for a re-vote.
  • At this point, it would be considered a network proposal and binding pending the outcome of the vote.
  • Note, the Foundation is exploring the feasibility of making text proposals referendum style and available to all ICONists (both voting and proposing) - not just the Top 22 P-Reps.
Proposal submission: Currently only the Top 22 P-Reps can propose and vote
Submission costs: N/A
  • However, we will likely propose a 500 ICX fee for referendum text proposals (if added)
The future of ICON's governance
ICON’s governance is still very young and isn’t perfect. It’s evolving. Governance is hard. And, it is expected to get even harder as the ICON ecosystem grows with more participants. So we need it to scale.
The first step was to bring in qualified P-Reps. Right now, we have 85 of them and the number continues to grow. Bringing on more P-Reps helps security and decentralization but also creativity.
The second step was to introduce a working network proposal system. Thus far, we’ve approved 4 proposals, which is a good start. We’ll continue to build from here.
The next step is to create a feedback loop with our P-Reps. To do so, we plan to host meetings with P-Reps and the community to find better methods of coordination going forward.
Stay informed or better yet, GET INVOLVED!
Please visit to check out the latest discussions on governance, grants and many other topics.
Also, if you want to get involved as a P-Rep it’s not that difficult (even for the non-technical). We want to encourage all who are interested!
In fact, community members have already prepared tutorials to get you up to speed. Here is one from Insight Data Science:
Insight Data Science (Running a Basic Node)
OAKnode is another option for non-technical ICONists. Their product lowers the barrier to entry for anyone who wants to participate by providing one-click node deployment and maintenance!
For anyone interested running a node on #Icon #Icx that doesn’t have the technical knowledge to set up and run their own node. I am currently running mine with @OAKnode and it’s working fantastically so far. They set it up in minutes and hey maintain and updated for you.
8:33 AM - 23 Jan 2020
We’ve seen strong growth in P-Rep registrations year-to-date (+13%) and over the past 2 months (+25%). That said, it’s never too late to join!
Don't call it a COMEBACK! :)
Been recently hearing a lot of @helloiconworld really picked up. Truth is that we were moving full steam ahead from the very beginning. It takes time to lay down the foundation and for all the hard work to eventually materialize. We take it day by day, build brick by brick.
2:05 AM - 23 Jan 2020
And thanks for the video, Mineable!
South Korean Blockchain ICON ICX Hits National News! Chainlink Partnership | iconTV
South Korean Blockchain ICON ICX Hits National News! Chainlink Partnership | iconTV
In case you missed it:
Visualizing Public Blockchain: Finance, Oracles, and Interchain
ICON Plans Integration with Leading Oracle Solution Chainlink
Happy Lunar New Year!
Happy Lunar New Year!
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