Protocol Governance & the RAILGUN DAO

Who governs RAILGUN?

RAILGUN has been constructed from the ground up to value the participation and input of its users. Rather than relying on centralized governance, those wallets which hold and stake RAIL tokens are empowered to vote on additional Smart Contracts or policy changes of the RAILGUN Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). While the development team have a substantial level of shared expertise, their part in the RAILGUN Project is to realize the needs and goals of the community and to overcome the technical challenges ahead. RAILGUN is built upon the principles of decentralization, and as such, the power of governance and decision-making lies in the many hands of the DAO.

How does voting work?

All wallets which stake RAIL become members of the DAO. By staking their RAIL tokens, DAO members earn the ability to vote on RAILGUN Governance proposals, allowing anyone to shape the direction of the RAILGUN Project. Wallets can submit, sponsor and vote on proposals that determine the project direction. Conversely, should you disagree with a proposal, wallets with staked RAIL can vote against it.

What kind of things would the DAO vote on?

For example:
  • Which ERC-20 tokens are available for use within the RAILGUN system
  • Deploying RAILGUN on additional blockchains that allow for smart contracts
  • A system for earning an annual yield for staking RAIL, with funds drawn from a treasury accumulated from fees for using RAILGUN
  • Launching the RAILYSWAP system for advanced trading tools within RAILGUN.

What is the full process of bringing a proposal to execution?

It is a 6-step process:
In RAILGUN, a proposal consists of a link to a document that includes a title, description and one or more actions to be taken after passing the community vote. Any RAIL staker may submit a proposal, and a community forum is open to give assistance with writing actions. When a proposal is created, a 30-day countdown begins. A proposal incurs a nominal gas fee, small enough that it will not discourage healthy participation, but sufficient to prevent malicious actors flooding the DAO with spam proposals.
The proposal must receive 1 million “Sponsorship votes” to be called to vote. Anyone who had RAIL staked at the daily snapshot on the day the proposal was created may give a sponsorship vote to the proposal, with one vote for each staked token. 1 RAIL = 1 vote. Votes are counted only at each daily snapshot to prevent abuse. Sponsoring a proposal does not reduce the amount of RAIL you have to vote with.
If a proposal does not reach the required 1 million sponsorship votes within the 30-day window, it has failed.
The purpose of this sponsorship process is to weed out the vast majority of unpopular or outlandish proposals without RAIL holders needing to vote “No” each time.
Call to Vote
When a proposal reaches 1 million sponsorship votes, a community member must call it to vote. Doing so creates another snapshot of staked RAIL to determine who will be eligible to vote in the upcoming voting period.
Review Period
Sponsored proposals called to vote are held for 2 days to give the community time to review and discuss before voting commences.
At this stage, voting is open for a total of 4 days. “Yea” and “Nay” votes may both be cast in the first 3 days, but only “Nay” votes may be cast on the final day. This is to ensure the community as a whole truly wants to enact the proposed changes.
Again, only those with staked or delegated RAIL at the time that the proposal was called to vote are eligible to vote. Here, too, 1 RAIL = 1 vote. Votes can be delegated if, for example, the holder does not wish to take staked RAIL out of cold storage for voting rights.
A minimum of 4 million votes must be cast to achieve quorum. If quorum is reached and there are more Yea votes than Nay, the proposal is considered successful.
1 day after the voting period ends, a week-long Execution Window opens. Someone — anyone — must execute the proposal during this time for it to take effect. Executing the proposal does just that — the smart contract functions encoded in the proposal are executed. If the functions are improperly coded and cause an error, effectively nothing will happen and the proposal will have to be rewritten correctly and submitted anew. But if all goes well, the community will have collectively brought about a meaningful change to Railgun.