SIP-124: Formalising the protocolDAO

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Simple Summary

The protocolDAO is one of the most critical governing bodies within the Synthetix protocol, however, the current process for assigning a new member to the protocolDAO is fairly informal and at the discretion of the other pDAO members. This worked well historically, but as the governance of Synthetix has progressively decentralised a more formal and transparent process for assigning members to the pDAO is required.


This SIP proposes to establish a clear inclusion criteria for a Core Contributor to be added as a signer to the protocolDAO. This will be based on a number of considerations and will ensure the Spartan Council is aware of each member of the protocolDAO to ensure clear communication between two of the most critical aspects of Synthetix Governance.


Currently new members are added to the protocolDAO by existing members of the protocolDAO in an informal fashion, this process does not have a clear structure and results in a level of ambiguity outside the pDAO as to who is able to sign pDAO transactions. This is not ideal given the level of control the pDAO has over protocol changes. In the past the membership of the pDAO has not been publicly disclosed for opsec reasons. By establishing a transparent framework for inclusion into the pDAO the members of the pDAO can be revealed to the Spartan Council to ensure that if there is a breakdown in governance the Council will be able to communicate the issue to the wider community.



The SIP proposes that in order to be included in the pDAO a person must meet all of the following criteria, and that once met a person must be included as soon as practicable into the pDAO.

  1. A prospective pDAO member must be a Core Contributor
  2. A prospective pDAO member must be a member of the protocol engineers, front-end engineers or product managers
  3. A prospective pDAO member must have been a Core Contributor for a minimum of six months*
  4. A prospective pDAO member must put up a bond of 10k SNX in order to be included in the pDAO

Note: *under special circumstances, the pDAO can elect a CC who does not satisfy #3 above. This could be the case of a long-standing community or council member who transitions to a CC. In these cases, the pDAO will present their reasoning to the Spartan Council who must agree via majority that this exception is justified.

Once the above criteria are met the pDAO must add the qualifying member to the pDAO as soon as possible.

Once a Core Contributor has qualified for inclusion into the pDAO they must present themselves to the Spartan Council and provide a signing address. Once the Spartan Council has validated their inclusion the Spartan Council will instruct the pDAO to deposit the pDAO bond into the bond contract on behalf of the signer. This bond becomes the property of the signer and will be sent back to them if they no longer meet the eligibility requirements due to resigning as a core contributor provided they have not been slashed by the Spartan Council for malicious behaviour and that they have served on the pDAO for a minimum of six months.

In addition there will be a minimum of five signatures (configurable via SCCP) to pass a proposal within the protocolDAO regardless of the number of signers.

A Gnosis Safe on Ethereum L1 will be used to hold the bonds. It can be found at 0x432B5fD638513bFdB6b4e5c6CC4274cB45d79bd7


The criteria above are deliberately minimal to ensure the pDAO has sufficient membership around the world to reduce the risk of capture or censorship. Based on the above criteria the pDAO would expand to at least nine members with several additional Core Contributors eligible within the next few months. The reasoning behind requiring signers to be core contributors is to ensure anyone signing for the pDAO is paid a monthly grant from the synthetixDAO and working on the project full time and exclusively. The requirement of an engineering background is to ensure that each signer is capable of inspecting all transaction payloads and validating the execution of each transaction. The requirement of minimum six months tenure is to ensure that only long standing core contributors are onboarded into the pDAO to reduce overhead in managing the composition of the pDAO. The final requirement of a 10k SNX bond is there to ensure each pDAO member has skin in the game. This SNX bond will be controlled by the Spartan Council (SC) they will have discretion to slash this bond if in their view a pDAO member has acted maliciously or has bypassed the legitimate governance processes of the protocol.

Technical Specification

A new contract will be established that will accept and store the SNX bond for each pDAO member, this contract will be managed by the Spartan Council. The SNX will only be returned to a pDAO member if they exit the pDAO voluntarily for a legitimate reason at the sole discretion of the Spartan Council.

Test Cases


Configurable Values (Via SCCP)

The SNX bond is configurable via SCCP The minimum signatures required in the m/n multisig is configurable via SCCP

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