SIP-172: V2.X Governance Processes & Changes

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Simple Summary

This proposal seeks to simplify the meta-governance processes of the Synthetix Governance System and addresses current meta-governance edge-cases and frictions.


If this SIP is approved and adopted, the following will be implemented

  • Formalise the ownership and responsibilities of the governance structures in relation to their dApps, contracts and auxiliary material
  • Formalising the differences between a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO), Council & Committee
  • Address meta-governance edge-cases with specific processes


Since the introduction of SIP-93 which established the Spartan Council and paved the way for the establishment of the grantsDAO and ambassadorDAO. The governance system has encountered meta-governance edge-cases and frictions that have been historically solved by experimentation and discretion.

To reduce disparity in the governing bodies and to allow them to operate effectively it is important that the meta-governance processes are reviewed and evolve over time.


Table of Topics:

  1. Defining the different types of bodies
  2. Meta-Governance Processes

Defining the different types of governing bodies


The current Synthetix Governing Bodies are:

  • Spartan Council
  • grantsDAO
  • ambassadorDAO
  • Treasury Council

The upcoming bodies (as of writing this) are:

  • Risk Committee
  • Core Contributor Committee

Most of the bodies have been labeled (DAO vs Committee vs Council) on an ad-hoc basis which have caused some confusion over the difference between these bodies. This section aims to formalize the definitions and renames some of the previous bodies accordingly.


With the introduction of more new bodies that handle different aspects of the protocol, it has become apparent that the labeling of governing bodies becomes systematic to help the community understand the differences between the bodies.

Technical Specification

This section of the SIP proposes to:

  • Label the collective governing collectively bodies as the Synthetix DAO
  • Label all the bodies in which token holders delegate to (via a direct vote) as a Council
  • Label all the bodies in which the internal stakeholders nominate as a Committee

Synthetix DAO

The label that comprises all the existing and future bodies under the Synthetix Governance system. It is an umbrella term to describe all the bodies and its ecosystem.


The label given to bodies that represent members who are elected by the token holders, these responsibilities will be accompanied by on-chain execution privileges.


The label given to bodies that represent members nominated by internal stake-holders, they are usually created to help bring over-sight and accountability to another internal structure.

Based on the above naming conventions the DAOs under their new name will be:

  • Spartan Council
  • Treasury Council
  • Ambassador Council
  • Grants Council

Test Cases/Examples


There are 420,69 SIPs that have been sitting in the SIPs repo for more than a month with different statuses. The Core Contributors are too busy working on existing SIPs to look at the upcoming SIPs.

A new governing body is proposed to help manage the editing, approval and scheduling of SIPs/SCCPs, the individuals who are selected are to be picked out of the Core Contributor engineers. Since this is an internal process composed of internal stakeholders it is labeled the SIP Committee


After the tapering of inflation, the community has an outcry to introduce a burning mechanism in the system. The community is finding it difficult to make a decision on the amount of $SNX to burn.

They propose to introduce a new body in which the community will vote in every 3 months, they are responsible for rolling a dice every week, where the number represents the percentage in which to burn that weeks inflation rewards by (0-6).

This body would be labeled the Burning Man Council.

Meta-Governance Processes


This section attempts to address the most prevalent problems and edge-cases in the meta-governing of the DAOs.


The DAOs govern specific responsibilities in their domain, but who governs the DAOs?

The answer to this is complex, on one hand it might be the Synthetix Token Voters who signal how a DAO should operate based on their who they elect and on the other hand it might be the Treasury Council who provide the stipends and incentives for the DAOs to operate.

In both cases, DAOs require some sort of guidance in their meta-governance processes to maintain consistency + accountability in their actions and this section attempts to voice the community and DAO concerns by addressing some of the uncertainty in some critical actions.

This section is by no-means final and processes should be revisited redefined with the reiteration of Synthetix Governance via meta-governance SIPs (a new sub-category of SIPs that require unanimous votes by the SC).


Election & Nomination Timeline

T -4 weeks:

  • T -4 weeks Day 1
    • Automated system-wide notification / information message* (A general message stating that the Epoch is nearing its end).

T -3 weeks:

  • T -3 weeks Day 1
    • Automated system-wide notification / information message* (To signify the opening of nominations).
    • Open up the nominations process
  • T -3 weeks Day 7
    • Close nominations
    • Schedule an election for each DAO on snapshot with the nominees.

T -2 weeks:

  • T -2 weeks Day 1
    • Automated system-wide notification / information message* (To announce that the nominations are closed and voting has started).
    • Voting starts on the election proposals.
  • T -2 weeks Day 14
    • Voting ends on the election proposals.

T = 0:

  • T Day 0
    • Automated system-wide notification / information message* (To announce the start of a new governance epoch).
    • Publish the voting results in discord and socials.
    • Assign new Discord roles, where applicable.
    • DAOs then initiate their Handover Processes**, if new members join.

DAO Responsibilities

Technical & Resourcing

Each DAO and Council will be responsible for the maintenance and management of their dApps, social media, auxiliary tools and smart contracts. It is important that the DAOs utilise the #all-daos channel to knowledge share.

Funding and resourcing for website & smart contract design, development and maintenance can be requested from the grantsDAO.

Funding and payment for 3rd party software need to be submitted to the Treasury Council for approval.

In regards to meta-governance smart-contracts, dApps and resourcing this will be the responsibility of the Core Contributors and the Core Contributor Committee.

Handover Process

The intent of this SIP is not to inform the Councils and DAOs on how to manage their internal Handover Process, only to ensure that they are accountable for fulfilling & managing this process.

Critical elements of the Handover Process includes:

  • Internal operating procedures
  • Transfer and management of multi-sig owners
  • Transferring access to DAO socials (i.e Discord & Twitter) and tools.

Test Cases/Examples

The intent is to clarify the process to follow during abnormal situations outside of the normal operating procedures. We will present this in the form of an Q&A:

Q: Can someone from the community nominate another person on their behalf?

A: No. The community can signal their support for someone to nominate for a DAO but an individual can only nominate themselves via the meta-governance dApp.

Q: What happens when a nominated user wants to withdraw during the voting period?

A: The nominee must inform the community in ample time to allow the voters to reallocate their votes.

Q: What happens when a nominated user rejects their seat after the voting period?

A: The next runner-up in the finalized election will be automatically appointed in the place of this individual, if there is no runner-up then the Stand-In Procedure applies.

Q: What is the Stand-In Procedure?

A: The DAO in question approaches other DAOs to see if one of their elected members can help supplement the missing role. If other DAOs are not willing/unable to support, the Core Contributors can be called upon to help. The supplementary role may be paid a stipend at a different rate at the discretion of the Treasury Council.

Q: What happens when a appointed member resigns their position some time during the current EPOCH?

A: The next runner-up is appointed, if there is no runner-up the Stand-In Procedure applies.

Q: What happens when there are not enough candidates to fill all the required positions in a DAO or Council for a specific EPOCH?

A: The Stand-In Procedure applies

Q: What happens when a DAO member refuses to transfer their NFT?

A: The protocolDAO (soon to be deprecated) is the only one that can control the movement of the NFTs, once the protocolDAO is deprecated another suitable entity will be assigned as the controller.

Q: What happens when there are not enough candidates to fill all the required positions in a DAO or Council for a specific EPOCH?

A: The Stand-In Procedure applies

Q: What happens when there are less nominees then there are positions?

A: The Stand-In Procedure applies

Q: What is the fallback plan for DAOs with less than 5 owners?

A: All DAOs with less than 5 signers should appoint a backup signer from one of the other DAOs in order to mitigate the chance that there are not enough available signers at given time.


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