Takeaways from Decred’s (temporary) off-chain governance through Councils

Decred: (temporary) off-chain governance through Councils

Decred, a currency with focus on privacy (see Privacy coins vs. coins with a privacy feature: analysing privacy coins and Market map privacy coins, protocols, and platforms: cryptos bringing privacy to blockchain for more on privacy coins) relies (currently) on off-chain governance. In the future, the decision making will be moved on-chain.

Crucial to Decred’s governance process it the Decred Assembly which votes on changes. The Decred Assembly consists of so-called Assembly members. Those Assembly members are selected by the Admission Council. This Admission Council is one of initially three Councils (more can be added over time, see Creation Council below). These Councils are split based on their function:

Admission Council

The Admission Council votes for admissions into the Decred Assembly. Assembly members are selected regardless of age or nationality but must pass the following restrictions:

  • applicants must receive 60% or more votes from the Admission Council members
  • applicants must have been involved in Decred for a certain time
  • the work of the applicant and its impact on Decred must be deemed worthy by the Admission Council.

Creation Council for creating new Councils

The Creation Council’s has a meta-governance responsibility, namely the creation of new Councils

Attrition Council for terminating Councils and Assembly members

The Attrition Council is responsible for terminating Councils and Assembly members. The framework for terminating members is as follows:

  • 60% or more members of the Attrition Council must vote in favor of termination
  • members are terminated if they do not fulfill one’s duties for the respective Council(s) or the Assembly itself
  • members that conduct in ways that harms Decred without trying to undo are terminated

Furthermore, Decred has set up a maximal resolution time of 365 days. This means that all issues must be resolved by vote within a maximum of 365 days.


  • Governance models can start as off-chain and move on-chain over time
  • Off-chain governance model can be complex (but not necessarily complicated)
  • Transparency in regards to governance rules (e.g. application requirements) and outcomes is crucial for off-chain governance
  • Meta-governance, i.e. how to govern or change the rules that make up the actual governance matters

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