Last month, governance over Forta was endowed to the Forta Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that holds certain assets in the Network and will facilitate governance of Forta by its community members. Today, the Foundation is introducing a community governance framework to further decentralize governance over Forta and its ecosystem.
The decentralized architecture of the Forta Network supports its growing community of node operators, detection bot developers and the ecosystem built on top. The vision of Forta posits that only a community-based platform will be powerful enough to address the rapidly evolving risk landscape on blockchains, where every new smart contract deployed introduces novel risk vectors that could affect thousands of interconnected protocols and millions of users.
It is integral that governance over the architecture of the Forta Network is also decentralized, to ensure that Forta persists as an open, permissionless platform available to anyone who wants to use or build on it. Further, the Forta community should be able to influence the evolution of the Network alongside the evolution of Web3.
Last month, governance over Forta was endowed to the Forta Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization (the “Foundation”) that holds certain assets (e.g. public and open source IP, Github repos, and FORT tokens) in the Network and will facilitate governance of Forta by its community members. Today, the Foundation is introducing a community governance framework to further decentralize governance over Forta and its ecosystem, with two primary components:
1. Forta Proposal Process – a formal, yet flexible framework designed for the community to self-organize and advance proposals and signal support by FORT token holder voting; and
2. Forta Governance Council – decision making authority will be delegated by the community to an initial council of representatives elected by FORT token holders, always allowing the community to provide input and share sentiment through the Forta Proposal Process.
Forta’s initial community governance is simple by design, shaped by key learnings from the current state of Web3 governance:
– Complex governance systems can lead to voter fatigue and voter apathy
– Radical democracy invites plutocracy and it takes time for tokens to become widely dispersed amongst a network’s users
– Governance should be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of each community, as such needs emerge
– The stakeholders of a network like Forta extend outside of token holders and should be represented
– Proposals to alter the protocol should be public and permissionless and decision makers should be accountable to the community
– Governance should minimize over time as the protocol hardens
The initial community governance framework should allow anyone to easily participate in shaping the evolution of Forta, allowing the Network to evolve naturally over time. It should also maintain the security and robustness of the Network needed for Forta to further its mission to monitor all transactions and protect all assets in Web3.
Forta Governance Council
The Council’s mission will be to steward the continued evolution of the Forta Network by facilitating the collective action of its community. The initial council will be a group of early Forta community members and ecosystem experts, to be elected by FORT token holder vote.
The Council will allow the community of FORT token holders to approve their initial representatives and reduce the need for individual voters to actively participate in every single governance matter. This saves an individual’s attention for when it really matters, mitigating the risk of community members feeling voter fatigue and apathy. Importantly, any community member can always share sentiment, make proposals, and/or signal support by voting with FORT tokens in the Forta Proposal Process on changes and issues that are important to them. This doesn’t preclude any other forms of community participation, including direct outreach to other members of the community or to the Council directly.
The Council Bylaws set out the Council governance authority and responsibilities, which in short allow the Council to:
– Support initiatives that contribute to the growth and sustainability of Forta
– Facilitate the development of features and changes in the Network, or adjacent products and services
– Enable Forta security programs to ensure the long-term security of the Network and security procedures so Forta can react to potential vulnerabilities
– Educate the Web3 ecosystem about the importance of decentralized runtime security and advocate for the vision of Forta and the decentralized web
– Attract and retain node runners, bot developers, core developers and other community members through community-building and marketing initiatives
– Carry out actions that would otherwise further the Council’s mission
The Council generally may exercise its authority under the Bylaws on a majority vote basis, although appointment or removal of other council members requires a two-thirds majority vote. If Council members do not stay aligned with the community and represent their interests well, the community may lobby the Council to remove a council member, through an FPP proposal or directly.
The Council will also hold admin signing privileges on the Forta multi-signature wallets on a majority M-of-N basis, as well as authority over any Foundation custodial accounts. However, once the staking and slashing parameters underlying the Forta Network are set, minimal updates from the Council should be required.
The Council should help reduce the real problems that would be created by a more complex governance system introduced at the outset that requires FORT token holder voting on every single issue. An initial governance council should reduce the attention-taxing process of FORT holders needing to keep up with an ever-changing system, which provides them more time and attention that can be used to provide value in the Forta Network, furthering its mission to monitor all transactions and protect all assets in Web3.
Forta Proposal Process
Today, the Forta Proposal Process (or FPP) was introduced by the Foundation in the Forta Forum, with the goal of creating a more formal public framework to empower the growing Forta community to contribute to the evolution of the Forta Network and its ecosystem. The Forta Forum was created as a public space for all things Forta governance, where the community can have considered, long-form discussions, share best practices, and shape ideas for the future of the Network and the underlying protocol. The FPP will live in the Forum, where you can read about the framework in detail.
The FPP is simple, but defines a clear path for community members to champion a given idea for the Forta ecosystem. It also provides the Council a way to gauge the viability and community support for a proposal by way of FORT token holder voting on Snapshot. Like other governance processes in the decentralized ecosystem, the FPP process is only a starting point and is expected to evolve over time.
The FPP is divided into four distinct phases, but it is not a rigid framework that must be strictly followed in order for a proposal to be implemented. Rather, the FPP is a suggested workflow for community proposals. To contribute to Forta, anyone can rally the community or lobby the Council at any time and in the way they find most effective.
Within the FPP, Phase 3 or the “Community Vote” is the most consequential phase, because if a proposal successfully passes this phase, then the Council must deliberate and decide on whether or not to implement the respective proposal. In the beginning, successful Community Votes will be persuasive but not strictly binding on the Council. This allows the Council to act as a check and balance on whether a community proposal is in the best interests of Forta, until the community matures and strengthens its governance muscles over time.
The form and function of Forta governance is intentionally open-ended and will evolve with community participation, growth, and learning. As the protocol matures, Forta’s governance needs will surely minimize and decentralize further, moving any remaining governance roles on-chain via automated contracts.