she256: Our vision & philosophy for web3 governance
0x16DF
July 22nd, 2022

By Anika Raghuvanshi, Gabrielle Micheletti, Kendra Leong, Lata Persson

On-chain governance is the core mechanism by which crypto ecosystems manage changes to their code, allocate their treasuries, run their communities, and more. It facilitates decentralized decision-making by allowing token holders to independently vote on proposed changes for communities in which they are stakeholders.

At she256, we fundamentally believe that crypto will shape our future financial and governance structures, and as such it’s crucial that those building these systems are representative of the global, diverse population which they intend to serve.

Protocol governance should similarly represent all participants in an ecosystem. Having wide representation in governance encourages a broader group of voices, identities, and opinions to come to the forefront of decision-making. More people sourcing ideas and participating in decision-making leads to fewer blind spots and fewer mistakes.

At she256, we actively participate in governance on behalf of our community and our allies who delegate votes to us. We aim to be neutral governance participants who represent the interests of underrepresented folks in crypto.

Voting Philosophy and Values

At she256, we recognize the power and responsibility of voting within the web3 community. Since late 2021, we have iterated on our guiding principles while actively participating in on-chain governance. Here we formalize these principles and share them with the community to increase transparency around our decision-making:

  • Empowerment
  • Equity
  • Accountability
  • Democratizing Access

Empowerment

Empowerment goes beyond a sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy that individuals feel. It is centered in the community: involving mutual respect, authentic behavior, and group participation. We define community as a set of users who interact with a protocol and engage with the development team to assist in building a project’s vision. Building community is essential for progressive decentralization of projects and to create a natural environment of exploration around what the project can become (e.g. new features, improvements to user experience, achieving product-market fit), and how it can achieve its vision. The community should also hold the core development team accountable to acting in the best interest of the protocol.

Empowerment also encompasses agency: giving people the tools to engage with a protocol and community independently. We support initiatives which streamline onboarding experiences for users, create accessible UX design, and promote careful deployment of contracts to maximize security when using a protocol. Additionally, it could involve engaging with community via AMAs, partnering with easy to use wallets/on-ramps, and careful considerations around onboarding costs to avoid financial barriers to entry.

Everyone should be able to use a protocol/application and engage with its community, without fears of abuse from any community member or development team member. However, issues we face today are too systemic to be dealt with through empowerment alone. This brings us to our next pillar of equity.

Equity

We strongly believe that representation within governance is a necessity. This is true for us in designing the protocols and applications which are both disruptive and which build a cyberspace everyone can use to their own benefit.

All users, developers, leaders, grant recipients, and community members should have an equal opportunity to use the product, engage with the community, and build the protocol or application. But even beyond that, it means listening to newcomers — especially marginalized, over-exploited communities — and understanding their specific difficulties involved when it comes to contributing, as well as supporting their involvement as voices in driving forward a project’s vision.

Accountability

Accountability is demonstrating the ownership necessary to accomplish key objectives. Within this context, she256 promotes governance processes which take action on addressing issues, keeping in mind the higher-level goals of the protocol and what provides most value for the community.

In accepting ownership, this requires a willingness to be transparent: allowing others to observe, evaluate, and learn from actions taken. This transparency shows a commitment to trust, ethical conduct, and fair treatment of stakeholders and contributors.

Accountability means ensuring that the disruption that web3 is ushering in is done in a responsible way. We are not necessarily focused on short term, quick wins — but emphasize sustainable, long-term value creation, including fervent support for ideals like open-source contribution.

One of the primary ways to action accountability is ensuring decisions will best serve the community, especially when it comes to championing causes that relate directly to our values. Accountability is essential in building projects which sustainably add value beyond their initial launch and engage users above and beyond airdrop farming. It also builds trust and trustworthiness by building common values and working towards a common goal.

We view accountability as a process, not necessarily a specific outcome. It is an ever-moving and dynamic ingredient to spur long-lasting, disruptive innovation, and an essential principle for socially-responsible decision making.

Democratizing Access

All individuals participating in protocols should have equal access to the opportunities those protocols present.

By democratizing access — to information, services, data, content creation, and governance — we enable the increased participation of a more diverse and representative group of stakeholders in the ecosystem. At she256, improving diversity in blockchain is at the core of what we do. And democratizing access will help ensure that the products and tools created are being leveraged to benefit the ecosystem and all the varied stakeholders. With this democratization, we envision a future that relies less on big tech, and more on individuals who work together to achieve a shared vision.

While we clearly support the principles of blockchain being open-source and transparent, we go further in championing its accessibility in a way that is digestible and easy to understand. In doing so, we focus both on the outcome of having more people access the information and lessons which are constantly made available throughout the ecosystem — as well as on ensuring that the information can be useful to create more impact via a more diverse group of individuals who are better representative of a global community.

Where are we now?

The she256 governance initiative involves a group of community member volunteers participating in governance for five protocols: Uniswap, Compound, ENS, Optimism, and Hop. Our voting power for these protocols has come from several community delegations as well as delegations from a16z, and can be seen on our Tally pages here and here.

As part of our values of Democratizing Access and Empowerment, we have co-hosted educational sessions around protocols for the wider community with RabbitHole. These were hosted on Twitter spaces and open to anyone, on both of which we’ve seen strong engagement and positive reception.

To promote Accountability and transparency, we host weekly live governance discussions on Discord which are open to anyone. In these calls we discuss proposals, votes, and any initiatives we are active in at the moment. We also post about our voting discussions and solicit input in our Discord channel. A key discussion topic during our governance chats is reflecting on the macro picture of governance and the direction we hope to see it go in. As of now, governance is in an experimental phase: we are at a new frontier of redefining and refining “trad” practices, and learning the benefits and pitfalls of scaling DAOs. As we observe, we begin making opinions around the ideal longer-term picture, and better understand where our group fits in.

Why is governance important?

Governance ideally allows for more accountability loops to form and function well within a project’s ecosystem. It also can give levers of participation to a wider landscape of communities that any project is part of, as the crypto space grows with more composability.

At its best, web3 governance should be designed to promote the over-arching ethos of decentralization-as-a-practice, together with participation from a range of both core and peripheral users on both application and protocol levels. This provides a way to allow for more bottom-up feedback and direction where there once instead may have been closed, unilateral, siloed, or siphoned-off spaces.

More participatory mechanisms to generate shared worth, combined with ways to redistribute it back to those same participants, is a generational shift— one that can mean improved tools for coordinating around our shared values.

Ultimately, she256 stands for a community which collectively values a more inclusive web3, through principles like empowerment, equity, accountability, and democratizing access. With this in mind, we’re excited to continue to serve in our responsibility as delegates in governance.

Arweave TX
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Ethereum Address
0x16DFe71Fe5269a794d255017326F9A5dB8591B22
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