Dock is committed to creating an efficient, cost-effective method for managing and issuing verifiable credentials. As a major step in realizing this vision, we have been building a decentralized network on which organizations can create their own identities, and use these identities to issue credentials that can be cryptographically verified. This approach removes unnecessary intermediaries and manual verification steps from the process of issuing and handling credentials, and opens the door to a transparent, democratic way of governing the ecosystem.

As articulated in our earlier blog post illustrating Dock’s vision, we believe that Dock’s full potential can be reached through a non-profit, decentralized, open network of governance and collaboration, which fosters maximum participation and widespread adoption. Our commitment to this vision was demonstrated in our earlier community votes on Dock’s direction and framework, and in the recent creation of the Dock Association (more on this to follow in the coming days), a non-profit organization dedicated to overseeing the network.

Having taken these initial actions, we have been working diligently to define additional steps for achieving our vision, and are pleased to be able to share our plan for evolving the Dock network’s governance.

Evolution of Dock’s Governance

Proof of Authority Phase 1 (Vulcan-1)

With the launch of the upcoming Danforth testnet, Dock will take another step forward to decentralization of the network’s governance. A small number of validators - the individuals and organisations who will contribute resources to process, produce, finalize, and validate blocks - will be introduced to the Danforth testnet, and the new procedure will be thoroughly tested before we launch the first phase of the mainnet using Proof of Authority (PoA) consensus, which we call Vulcan-1. The best-performing validators from the testnet will be invited to participate in the mainnet.

In both Danforth testnet and the Vulcan mainnet, Dock Association will make all decisions regarding the network through a multi-signature account called the Master.

The Master will have superuser access to the network, and will be able to perform changes such as adding or removing validators, upgrading the source code, and enabling or disabling block rewards. Any actions taken by the Master will take effect immediately, and the Vulcan-1 phase will not involve any proposals or votes from token holders. This allows sufficient time for the network to be tested and mature before the further complexity of democracy is introduced.

Proof of Authority Phase 2 (Vulcan-2)

After 2-4 months of Vulcan-1, the network will transition to a new governance phase, which we call Vulcan-2. This phase will introduce democracy to the network, in the form of proposals and the Governing Council (simply referred to as the Council). The Council is a group of individuals responsible for governing the network, setting network rules for optimal performance, and driving adoption. The Dock Association is committed to keeping this group as diverse as possible.

The members of the Council and any holders of the Dock token will be able to propose changes - including the addition and removal of validators - to the network. Once every 20 days, a proposal will be picked up from the queue and the members of the Council will vote on the proposal. If the Council votes to pass the proposal, then the proposed changes will take effect in 2 days. In rare cases though, the Technical Committee, a team dedicated to providing technical guidance to the network, may choose to fast-track the implementation.

The Master will continue to exist during this phase. It will be able to cancel any proposal that has been passed by the Council and retain the ability from Vulcan-1 to unilaterally make changes to the network. However, the Dock Association will limit the Master’s power as much as possible during Vulcan-2, in favor of the democratic process.

Proof of Stake (PoS)

We are aiming to transition our network to the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus in Q2 of 2021. This new phase will implement further democracy within the governance structure, including the way in which validators are selected, method for punishing misbehaving validators, and the scope and process of voting.

The validators will no longer be selected by the Dock Association or the Council, and instead will be selected through the Web3 Foundation’s Nominated Proof of Stake (NPoS) scheme. In this set-up, those hoping to become validators can stake their own tokens or have other token holders (called “nominators”) stake tokens for them. The candidates with the largest stakes will become validators.

Any misbehaving validators and their nominators will be punished algorithmically through slashing and/or chilling. In slashing, a certain amount of tokens will be taken away from the misbehaving validator and/or the nominators backing up the validator, and redistributed among validators, any reporter of the misbehavior, and the Dock Treasury. While it will be possible for the Council to reverse a recent slashing event, such actions will require at least a majority vote within the Council. In chilling, the validator is removed from the validator set, and is prevented from applying to be a validator in the next selection round.

The Master account will cease to exist during this phase, and token holders will be invited to vote on all changes to the network. For example, Council members will be elected by token holders through staking of tokens rather than being selected by the Dock Association. In addition, token holders, as well as the Council, will now be able to submit proposals. Once a proposal is selected for voting, token holders will vote on the proposed changes.

Learn More and Get Involved

Our team is dedicated to creating a long, healthy future for the Dock network, and believe that a thriving community of issuers, operators, validators, and developers is crucial for this future. For this reason we have built a new documentation section, where you can learn more about our network, governance plans, and token economics. You can also find out how to get involved as a validator by reading our validator docs.