Tezos Governance

Published by Mario Oettler on

In this topic, we touch briefly on the Tezos governance process. The purpose is to learn how an on-chain governance process could work.

We took the following information from the Tezos whitepaper and official documentation:



Protocol changes are adopted in election cycles. Each cycle lasts 131072 blocks and is divided into four quarters. (The average block finding time is 1 minute. Hence, each election cycle takes about three months.)

The terms delegates and bakers are used equivalently in this document. Bakers/delegates are those nodes that take part in the block creation process (also called baking).

First Quarter: (Proposal period) Delegates suggest protocol amendments by submitting the hash of a tarball of a protocol file (.ml or mli file). Those files contain the validating rules (= protocol). They use a proposal operation that takes the source code, hash, and period as input parameters. https://medium.com/tezos/amending-tezos-b77949d97e1e

Once the file hash is available, stakeholders can approve of any of these protocols. This is done in the form of approval voting.

Second Quarter: (Testing_vote period) In this quarter, delegates cast a vote for the proposal that received the highest approval in the first quarter. They can cast a vote for the protocol, against it, or explicitly abstain. Abstentions count for the quorum.

Third Quarter: (Testing period) If the quorum is met, the new protocol replaces the test protocol. This means the new protocol is first implemented in the test net. The goal is to give voters a chance to detect flaws in the proposal before applying it to the main net.

If the quorum is not met, the new protocol is rejected. In order to avoid an uphold of the voting procedure through lost coins, the minimum quorum is recalculated after every election cycle:

Q = 0.8Q + 0.2q

q: quorum reached during the last election cycle

Q: minimum quorum

Fourth Quarter: (Promotion_vote period) In this quarter, voters have the chance to vote a second time. This time the successful protocol is implemented in the main net. A supermajority of voters must approve the protocol update. And again, a minimum quorum is required.