TidusDAO is an alternative system of DAO governance that leans heavily on decision models from antiquity; specifically during the Roman Republic and early Empire periods.
Roman-style governance has inspired many great civilizations over the centuries, and TidusDAO feels that the general impetus of any great product DAO will come from the ability of a centralized body to adapt, and evolve (decentralize) as the product gains more users and requires greater speed, and flexibility in its decision making.
These roles and rules of governance attempt to limit sybil attacks, majority token influence, and developer overload. This is achieved via the combined influence of social pressure, clear chains of command, clean governance proposals, and quick emergency powers.
The overall goal of the TidusDAO is to transition properly from a standardized product DAO to a fully decentralized product DAP (Decentralized Autonomous Product) controlled completely by the community and Roman governance. TidusDAO is the first implementation of the Roman-style DAO governance system designed to completely run a decentralized wallet product (Tidus Wallet).
Decisions will be binding and to start we will have the first freely elected Consular elections approximately two years from the launch of the DAO and token generation event. This ensures that the DAO and product are well established before being handed over to the community entirely. For the first two years TidusDAO will be headed by its first Caesar - Dan Mulligan (founder). This is to provide the stability advantage of having clear goals from the initial founders in a centralized fashion. You can think of this role as the CEO of the DAO/DAP. The powers of the roles will be explained in more detail later in this paper.
The decision to start with a Caesar will provide stability in the first two years as the product gains its footing in the volatile crypto market. It is difficult to look two years into the future, but after observing many failed transitions in the crypto space, TidusDAO believes a slower, and inevitably clearer transition is necessary; while also working within the confines of the Roman-inspired framework.
After the initial 2-year Caesar term, TidusDAO will hold a duo-class election whereas the Senate elects one Consul, and the House elects the second. While the previous Caesar moves to a Senate role if not re-elected. These two Consuls will replace Caesar HOW? Details.
This will be an exciting and contentious time. However we believe it will be a much fairer structure then the whale-dominated, delegated token approach. These decision-making frameworks, although tried and true in antiquity, have yet to be put to the hot iron of crypto mortality.
All great products have a great story. TidusDAO is not attempting to simply stamp the Romans on the DAO and charge into the elephants of Carthage.
TidusDAO believes that with a focused growth strategy based on vetted integrations and UX/UI along with an inclusive DAO the dilemma can be solved. Great products want their users to be heard, but not at the cost of paralyzing the development process or evolution of the product.
Early-generation crypto wallets have seen success, but the main players have become increasingly centralized as capitalist forces have to come into play. It is extremely difficult to both satisfy native crypto users' needs while simultaneously trying to onboard the next generations of users. Lack of understanding, bad UI/UX, fraud links, and poorly run DAOs are just some of the problems the average user faces
Crypto DAO and dapps have a unique problem of sybil attacks, and large token influence (whales). Not to mention the constant attack on the code of the products themselves. Unique solutions must be created to grow with the wants, and needs of the user base, and it should be expected to be difficult to achieve long term goals for the product.
TidusDAO will provide the tools, and freedoms consistent with the true themes of decentralization while educating the next generation of crypto explorers. TidusDAO intends to be part of this wave of new dApps that binds the freedom of peer-to-peer transactions in the spirit intended by the original creators of web3. What follows are the separations of power, roles, and smart contract techniques planned to be available to the users of Tidus Wallet.
Anyone staking TIDE with the minimum number of vTIDE will have access to the House. Votes in the House are based on the total amount of vTIDE, with one vote per vTIDE and so forth. House members can table proposals to their Tribune (s) and expect feedback, acceptance, or refusal.
House members vote only in Tribune elections, OR elections that have been approved by the Senate, and/or Caesar. The House chooses who will get access to the Senate creating the channel of communication from developers to token holders. In fact, Tribunes take all the ideas, praise, complaints, and attention of your token holders and filter it into feedback the DAO can act on. House members can not directly send proposals to the Senate. It is difficult to predict exactly how the House will expand, but there is a role of Magistrate that will most be added at a later date to better define the numerous sub-Roles that will pop up depending on the direction of the DAO
TidusDAO will expand upon the idea of NFT staff permissions being a clean, safe way to send around privileges. Not to mention staff NFTs are just great fun. Something seriously lacking in DAOs at the moment. The intention of the NFT 'Staffs of Office' is to clearly separate and define powers and privileges as much as possible at the smart contract, or code level. By iterating over these staffs as the DAO develops we will be able to consistently improve the user experience, and control scope creep and longer term problems of too many people having access to sensitive systems, wallets, or data flow.
The TidusDAO is arranged in a manner that allows the DAO to flow from a semi-centralized beginning to an eventual fully decentralized system. Other DAOs and protocols have suffered from attempting to decentralize too early and get stuck in the common problems of trying to satisfy the masses. On the contrary DAOs that are overtly centralized suffer from dependency on the few, and end up in convoluted power struggles where token delegation gets extremely complicated with large players pushing their token powers around with little, or no recourse.
Unless your proposal is championed by a whale, the smaller token holders have little, to no say in how the DAO operates. They are more likely only able to hope someone steals their idea, or gives some mild credit. Creating culture is extremely important to maxing out the potential of the social pressure inherent to the Roman governance systems. When men were chosen on merit, Rome excelled. The same goes for DAOs. The best proposals should be rewarded, with the token holders directly benefiting from good ideas.
The Senate is the base of operations for short, and long term decision making. Specifically insulated from the House by Tribunes, Senators are expected to be trusted members of the TidusDAO community and have powers that reflect this trust. Day-to-day decisions regarding the TidusDAO must be protected from House token whales, proposal overload, and paralysis in an emergency situation.
SENATE (Proposal Flow)
Ever since Montesquieu suggested the separation of powers it has been important to allow secure, quick, and efficient workflows. The main issue with DAOs has been an inability to work well in times of plenty, and in times of emergency.
The Senate is placed separately from the House to ensure that the day-to-day operations do not get interrupted by mundane tasks, questions, or outright denial of operation (via stalemates over arguments). The TidusDAO Senate is designed to start with a semi-centralized seat of power, and eventually decentralize after the first free elections of the House two years after TGE. In the TidusDAO there is inherent social pressure wielded by the vetoes of the Tribunes, Caesars, and eventually Consuls.
Other than the hopefully, rare cases of vetoes the Senate is free to operate more akin to a typical Board of Directors hierarchy. It can be thought of as more akin to having a CEO (Caesar), or eventually Co-CEOs (Consuls) Since all Senators will be aware that the Caesar||Consuls are running the show, proposals will be expected to be aligned with the vision of the Caesar||Consuls.
Any Senator can put forth a proposal, and this proposal would be voted on by the rest of the Senate, however, Caesar||Consuls can immediately squash anything they deem problematic. The Caesar||Consular veto is not designed for the early stages of the TidusDAO, it is designed for the future when the House would eventually hold an election for their first Consul.
The House and Senate were also separated for the express purpose of whale protection. With the creation of the TidusDAO it is assumed that large unknown token holders would preferentially be left on the sidelines until vetted, needed, or brought up to speed. Large, whale-backed token attacks for treasury control have been problematic in the past. The users can think of the Senate as protection for the status quo.
Senate (Tribune Veto)
The Tribune's main purpose is to exert social pressure on the Senate.See more details on the role later in this paper
Since the Tribune is normally the only role elected by the House it is paramount that they are given some leeway in regards to their influence over proposals.Examples of a Tribune Vetoing
- A Senator proposes to change the fee for a swap on the Ethereum blockchain. The change will make a nominal difference in the amount of fees collected for TidusDAO.
- Tribune does NOT veto
- A Senator proposes to shorten the time for token unlocks for the team without consulting the House, or justifying their decision.
- Tribune vetoes
- Consul does not veto after seeing reaction off-chain
- A Senator proposes to increase fees across the services offered by the wallet. It is not well thought out, and some of the fees will cause less usage of the wallet by its users
- Tribune vetoes
- Consul vetoes Tribune as the wallet is run by the Senate, not the House.
Consuls can veto any proposal they wish, but it is expected that they will keep a close eye on the Users. If there are no Users, it will obviously negatively impact the product/DAO.
Clearly if users feel they are receiving the best UX/UI experience with representation that is delivering results they will spread the word. Crypto wallets as of now lack representation, it does not have to be dramatic, or heavy-handed. Merely well-crafted communication to the user that they can easily engage in governance if they choose to. Focused on a single product; Tidus Wallet.
Anyone possessing a Senator staff (NFT) may vote on proposals in the Senate. Votes in the Senate are not dependent on TIDE, or vTIDE token holdings and are strictly on a one vote per Senator system. Certain roles such as Consul, Caesar, and Censor should simultaneously also be Senators. As they can vote as such.
Caesars, Censors, and Consuls can all vote in the Senate.
Caesars, Consuls, and Censors can all add||remove people from the Senate.
Clear definition of roles is paramount to any practical governance system. TidusDAO utilizes the first set of Bob's Roman-inspired roles, while specifically leaving room for roles that are designed with larger organizations in mind. Roles that are designated as OPTIONAL are suggested to be best utilized when an organization has a larger number of members. The system is designed to work well with small, and larger groups.
- Magistrates - OPTIONAL
- Consuls - After 2 years
- Censors - OPTIONAL
The first role of TidusDAO is Caesar. Serving two purposes in both providing a single voice during times of stress for the DAO, but also in blocking stalemates expected in times of disunion. The Caesar role comes with a time lock - automatically burning the staff of office at a certain date and time, or upon completion of objectives attached to the role. If for example TidusDAO was going through a transition to another chain, or contentious upgrade, a Caesar might be best suited to bring the DAO through this challenge. Think of the Caesar as the DAO CEO, brought in to have one voice.
The TidusDAO Caesar time lock has not been started at this time but will last 2 years from its start
Other than the initial Caesar, the election of a Caesar would follow the specific case and format below:
- This rule is designed to enforce maximum social pressure on Consuls to work things out.
Note that both Consuls are expected to stand for the Caesar election that is called, but it is not required (see below). The Senate votes on Caesar elections.
I'm going to run down a specific example of this happening with step-by-step instructions:
- Consul 1 wants to take a large portion of the treasury and invest it into off-chain US treasury bonds.
- Consul 1 decides to put forth a proposal to the Senate directing the TidusDAO to specifically take a certain amount from the treasury and buy said treasury bonds.
- Consul 2 disagrees with this decision and vetoes Consul 1's proposal. This is a last resort as Consul 2 feels that Consul 1 is fixed in their position on the treasures
- This triggers an automatic election in the DAO as Consuls must work together, and a stalemate could be fatal to the DAO.
- Consul 1 & Consul 2 are automatically up for election as Caesar.
- There is only one Caesar
- If Consul 1, OR Consul 2 do NOT wish to stand for election as Caesar they may nominate someone else from the Senate.
- There is an immediate vote over a 7-day period.
- The time period can be adjusted prior to any such election, but only unanimously if during the election period. (i.e. to shorten it in an extreme emergency)
- Conditions may be added to the Caesar role, but must be supported by the majority of the Senate. This is one of the few cases where a Consul can still vote even though they are technically not Consul at this time, but still a Senator in rank.
- Term Limit (Default 30 days)
- Major Transition (launch of new features/product)
- Major Consul Event (death, arrest, suspicion, fraud)
- Major Goals (# users, # txs, re-orgs, sub-DAOs)
Examples of Caesar Conditions:
Those chosen to reside in the Senate wield a staff of office. This staff carries the powers of office via ERC-721 tokens. This can also be substituted for different blockchains to the token program of choice, but for the purposes of this paper we will discuss the Ethereum blockchain common method.
Senators vote with their Senatorial staff and the voting is one vote per Senator. See more information about Staffs in the appropriate section. Senate enrollment is controlled via a whitelist to prevent attack surface for hacks, and a Senate can be a minimum of two, with no fixed maximum.
Senators can table proposals directly for voting, but are subject to the veto of Tribunes. Only proposals affecting tokenomics may be vetoed by the Tribune, yet this is still up for debate (i.e. interpretation of the Tribune). Tribunes must only argue that a proposal affects the tokenomics to utilize their veto, but they risk being vetoed by the Caesar, or Consuls who harbor the stronger veto.
In the future with multiple Tribunes being elected into a TidusDAO it is assumed that Tribunes will also be able to veto other Tribunes thus causing their own elections to be called, but this will be left to the operators of TidusDAO and is beyond the scope of this paper.
The three main jobs of the Tribune are:
- Present proposals to the Senate
- Filter the House
- Veto proposals they believe are not in the House's interest.
This is the philosophy of the Tribune. The risk to a Tribune vetoing is high, mostly due to the fact that they may be vetoed by a Caesar||Consul. The veto is more of a social statement - similar to someone resigning from a board of directors, or screaming aloud. Since a proposal 'affecting tokenomics' is ambiguous as a guideline, it is expected that Tribune will use their best judgment in their use of the veto power.
Generally speaking they are the most direct method of interacting with the Senate. Tribunes are used as a release valve to allow proposal flow through the House into the Senate without undo distraction to the main kernel of power i.e. the Senate that is chocked full of developers, early investors, founders, and so on. Tribunes are the only position elected by the House and carry the aforementioned tokenomics veto. Tribunes are expected to evaluate proposals and provide criticism right up to dismissing the proposal outright. Guidelines loosely would be:
Tribune elections are voted on by the House. It is the most important role in the House, and is expected to be quite contentious as they control proposal flow to the Senate. They also are the one check of power that the House controls. It is expected that whales i.e. large token holders will attempt to become Tribunes, or use their substantial voting power to get preferred candidates.
The final form of the Roman-style governance of TidusDAO is the Consul system.
One Consul from the Senate, One Consul from the House. After years of training the DAO pulls off the training wheels and becomes a functional decentralized DAP. Elections are expected to be fierce and common until order is decided. There will likely be Caesars, more than Consuls. It is a testament to the user that they can choose to swing to centralization, or decentralization depending on the needs of the product (TidusDAO).
Consuls wield power with their almighty veto. The Romans believed that no one person should wield absolute power due to their negative experiences with kings. Thus the dual-Consul system was born. Eventually when the Plebeians (new Romans) wanted representation with the Patricians (old Romans) a deal was struck to have one Consul from the Senate, and one Consul from the House.
Important to note that if a Consul vetoes a Tribune the Consul is minimizing the Tribune's power. Game theory would dictate that this would most likely only happen when necessary as TidusDAO will not be successful if the House's representatives of power (Tribunes) are vetoed without good cause. Finally, if a Consul vetoes another Consul an immediate election for Caesar will be called by the Senate. See more about this specific situation in the Caesar section.
A role designed more for a larger TidusDAO, Censor will not be activated at the launch of TidusDAO. Censors are expected to handle such duties as:
Censors cannot remove Consuls or Caesars from the Senate. Censors are expected to come from the ranks of ex-Consuls, Ex-Caesars, lead developers, or the village elders of the DAO so to speak.
This position is akin to the head of Human Resources and Accounting combined. Censors are expected to have an intricate knowledge of the DAO/DAP's finances, and can also be a bridge from off-chain to on-chain treasury management when interacting with traditional financial institutions.Censor Elections
Censor elections are voted on by the Senate, and can be appointed by a Caesar via a proposal and vote.
NFTs & Smart Contracts in TidusDAO
The use of NFTs for security and style is one of the interesting wrinkles in TidusDAO. It is believed that NFT mechanics in regards to simplified security would allow the DAO to have less attack surface. Specifically the separation of smart contracts is normally not advisable unless there are specific benefits to be gained. TidusDAO believes that these benefits will be more apparent as the DAO scales, with the separation of 'House’, 'Senate’, 'Proposal’, and 'Powers of Office’ smart contracts.
TidusDAO believes that the initial conditions and variables of one of the first, if not first product DAO, or DAP (Decentralized Autonomous Product) are integral to the long-term success of the decision-making being undertaken by the Senate, House, and the overall user satisfaction in general.
The TidusDAO can burn the staffs of bad actors, or mint new staffs when required. It is expected that there will be more use cases for these staffs as TidusDAO expands and other projects experiment with this idea.
There will most likely be many iterations of these 'Powers of Office'. Upon a successful Proposal new staffs can be created, with the old ones burned. Originally the staffs imbued with 'Powers of Office' will be simple in nature and exist merely as a purposeful separation of the powers of office, from the role itself, but over time TidusDAO hopes to greatly expand on this idea.
The TidusDAO staff NFTs are encoded in the ERC-721 standard. The actual proposals as well will be, or eventually be enshrined as an ERC-721 NFT. Thus far the following smart contracts will be used to run the TidusDAO:
- Power of Office (ERC721) - all positions
- Each position has its own metadata
- Individual Proposals (ERC721)
- Each proposal eventually becomes more automated and customizable.
- Senate Smart Contract
- The heartbeat of the DAO/DAP, very simply voting mechanics for security, and speed.
- House Smart Contract
- The inclusion of the user in the design, experience, and future of DAO/DAP.
TidusDAO Decision Flows
The dynamics of a Roman-style DAO proposal flow are relatively straightforward with some interesting interactions between the Tribune and Senate.
First we will examine the flow from the House to the Senate:
Secondly, we examine the flow from the Senate. It is important to note that Consuls can kill proposals they don’t agree with, but cannot easily force through proposals. This is also due to the fact that you should have setup your Roman-DAO with rules that make sense. Considering a team creating a RomanDAO has probably selected Senators that they trust, it is unlikely to be helpful to have nuclear options in regards to constitutional change of a RomanDAO. It is purposefully difficult to do this without some sort of consensus. This allows the original constitution to remain in place unless there are clearly better options moving forward.
In the veto flow of the Consuls it's important to remember a Consul should be reluctant to veto their fellow Consul unless the situation is dire, and is beyond negotiation. Generally speaking any DAO should be able to rectify the issues of the day with other available Roman-style DAO mechanics. Vetoing a Consul and triggering a Caesar election should only be used as a last resort, or with a solid plan moving forward.
$TIDE Utility and Governance
When you stake TIDE you will receive vTIDE:. vTIDE can be used for DAO governance voting. In the future users staking TIDE will receive a share of the product's fees via the reward pool.
For more information on the genesis of the Roman rules used by TidusDAO checkout Bob's substack
Fees & reward Pool
Tidus Wallet has the following fees: