The Three Pillars of Polygon Governance, Call for Proposals

The Three Pillars of Polygon Governance, Call for Proposals

Hey everyone,

Given the incredible pace of growth of the Polygon ecosystem, both in terms of adoption as well as emergence of new protocols, such as Polygon zkEVM, we believe it’s important to reintroduce and reinvigorate the efforts around long-term thinking on Polygon governance. We’ll use this post to provide a high-level vision and an overview of the three key areas of governance we believe should be addressed as Polygon protocols, ecosystem and community mature.

We’d love to see discussion happening around how we think about governance, and we invite you to contribute by discussing below and/or posting standalone proposals that may eventually translate into Polygon Improvement Proposals (PIPs) or non-formal proposals for topics outside of the PIP framework’s scope. The ultimate goal of this exercise is to come up with specifications for an overarching governance framework, capable of pushing the Web3 ethos and decentralized decision-making forward.


We believe in an equitable, inclusive world brought forward by decentralized technology.

To achieve this vision, our team will work with the community to propose decentralized frameworks that allow for optimal maintenance and development across Polygon protocols.

First, we will focus on ensuring that Polygon protocols require no single coordinating entity by design. We believe that the role of Polygon Labs (a development and growth team for the decentralized Polygon protocol) in the ecosystem will naturally further decrease over time and want to enable that transition, especially as it concerns the maintenance and development of Polygon protocols. This being said, Polygon Labs’ decreasing role cannot happen in a void; rather, it should be accompanied by the emergence of a vibrant decentralized community.

3 Pillars of Polygon Governance

We believe 3 pillars of Polygon governance can be distinguished, each of them with its own characteristics. Together, they form the overarching decision-making framework that helps Polygon to sustain itself as a decentralized network of protocols. We plan on publishing separate posts to address each one of them, along with proposals on how to approach them on a case-by-case basis to open the discussion to the community and hopefully bootstrap new relevant approaches.

Protocol Governance

The roots of open source development grow deep. In fact, the entire discipline of software engineering arguably comes from the open and transparent collaboration between academics and researchers in the 1950’s and 1960’s, back when “programmers were paid for the act of programming, not for the programs themselves”. (Perens 1) This collaborative culture eventually became a victim of its own success with the gradual commercialization of software.

However, the principles of open and democratized development persisted. From language development, such as Python’s proposal framework, through RFC standardization at the Internet Engineering Task Force, all the way to the more familiar examples of decentralized network governance (Ethereum and Bitcoin), one can clearly see the old foundations of collaborative open-source programming.

For Polygon PoS, the PIP framework was recently introduced to provide space for decentralized network development and maintenance.

A successful PoS network upgrade requires buy-in from various parts of the ecosystem, including core infrastructure developers, validating and full nodes, dapps, and infra providers. While ⅔ of the validating $MATIC stake defines the canonical chain, the community provides an ultimate check via a potential fork of the PoS network, were it to be hijacked by malicious actors.

Because of a resulting deep need for consensus-finding, the PIP process is used to coordinate upgrades in a formalized manner, emulating the EIP framework on Ethereum. It consists of several components that enable decentralized decision-making:

  • The PIP repository which serves as both a versioned and canonical source of truth for proposals, as well as an educational tool for the community;

  • The community forum, a modern-day agora for the community to define the direction of Polygon protocols;

  • The Polygon Builder Sessions which are protocol developer-oriented calls to discuss PIPs, similar to Ethereum all-core-dev calls.

While the PIP framework is arguably sound and draws protocol governance lessons from historically the most resilient networks (Bitcoin and Ethereum), it will never be capable of achieving its full potential without a vibrant community behind it, like what you see in the Ethereum ecosystem, e.g., Eth Magicians. In these early days of Polygon protocol development, we look forward to exploring this subject, both by providing our thoughts, as well as taking in proposals brought forward by the community. Ultimately, the PIP framework should be a self-sustaining community ecosystem, covering all of the Polygon protocols for unified development and governance.

System Smart Contracts Governance

As has been mentioned oftentimes in the past, the highest priority with regards to Polygon protocols is security.

Security of the infrastructure, user funds, and ultimately the new permissionless internet being built as we speak, relies on various design decisions that have to be made at the start of every project. This commitment to security should accompany the development happening within the Polygon ecosystem both in the short and long term.

Bridge and staking contract governance serves as one current example of system smart contracts governance and the above commitment in action. In order to secure the chain and reduce smart contract risk on bridged assets, a security council, composed of Polygon community members and security experts, was formed at the outset of the Polygon PoS protocol and now Polygon zkEVM. The purpose of these councils is to provide necessary guardrails as Polygon protocols make their way to an ever-increasing number of users, translating to the councils’ ability to upgrade various contracts, including bridging.

Security councils operating using implicit or explicit community mandate to secure and enable upgrades of L2’s is nothing new. All L2 protocols need to, at some point, try to balance multiple potentially-competing interests, including decentralization, immutability, and security. However, as the space keeps evolving, various seemingly-unsolvable dilemmas may yet see their solutions.

In the same way we’re committed to security, we’re equally committed to finding answers to the security and decentralization dilemma.

In order to improve the current state, reduce overall reliance on security councils without compromising on security, and finally introduce community checks, we want to actively research improvements and seek guidance. And there’s no better place to do that than in the broad blockchain community that was able to bootstrap the decentralized ecosystem from nothing to a $1.3 trillion industry in 13 years. This is also where our last commitment on the governance of system smart contracts comes from:

We’re committed to work hand-in-hand with the industry and community, leveraging on the joint expertise and passion to push the space forward.

Public Goods Funding

We believe that Polygon protocols should be able to not only maintain themselves but also evolve in a decentralized fashion.

If we consider decentralized infrastructure a public good, we quickly realize that the same way a lack of electrical grid can hold societies back, a lack of participation at a protocol’s core layer by developing clients, upgrades, and infra is single-handedly capable of halting progress.

When looking at various decentralized protocols, we can see a plain divergence between the incentives for dapp builders and core protocol developers. While dapp builders rely on commercial success of their project, core protocol devs need to depend on grants and other sources of funding.

It’s a natural and understandable process, but what the markets tend to forget is that without core infrastructure maintenance and development, blockchain networks risk becoming obsolete and unable to support application needs.

In addition to core infrastructure development, a decentralized community should likely be able to autonomously allocate capital towards the growth of a protocol’s ecosystem.

For the above reasons, we want to start exploring models that address public goods funding of a decentralized ecosystem, and how they may be introduced in a measured and assessment-driven manner.

Note: the recently-announced PIP Bounty Program can be considered one of the first steps towards sustainable public goods funding for Polygon protocols.

Call for Proposals

We’re glad to bring the conversation on the above-mentioned pillars to the community.

Do you agree with how we lay out the main pillars of Polygon Governance? Did we miss anything?

In going back to the foundational principles of collaborative infrastructure building, we’re looking to hear from users, dapps, industry experts, and any other ecosystem participants.

The ability for ecosystem actors to participate in shaping the underlying protocol via governance is one unique to Web3. It provides a way for any type of user or builder to both influence core development and infuse Polygon tech with their values, as well as leverage on existing Web3 values in a new scalable environment.

Let us know your thoughts below or in a standalone proposal.


Mateusz Rzeszowski

Bojana Tomic

Hudson Jameson

Tanisha Katara

George Serntedakis

Harry Rook


Perens, B. (1999). The Open Source Definition in Open Source: Voices from The Open Source Revolution. 1st edition. Available at Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution (accessed in April 2023).


Thank you so much for putting this together.
It looks good to us.

We would love to see a proposal to independently audit the staking smart contract, since it looks like it has been a while.


Congratulations on kickstarting this journey. It is as important as it is necessary. I particularly like the emphasis on enabling participation and creating a sense of community. One of the most important measures of success for a protocol is when independent teams start working on it without being hired by the original team. Creating a framework that encourages these interactions is the key to the longevity and decentralization of open-source protocols. Can’t wait to participate!


Amazing, this can have significant implications for the Polygon ecosystem.

Can help solidify Polygon’s position as a leading blockchain platform, attract new users and developers, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the network.


I like Polygon is thinking of becoming independent & community governed, in the past, I’ve seen how much effort & manual work a few teams of Polygon used to do. For example, the polygon village team checks the applicants and manually create the telegram groups with respective coordinators which will take a lot of time & effort. I always used to think why can’t this be optimized by involving the community maybe we should have a forum where grant applicants can go & pitch the product & community will vote on it.

This is from the public goods perspective, but let’s look at the security

Polygon does have the infra of validating nodes which may have the centralization risk, so how can we leverage the Ethereum community around this & make this decentralized?

Also, in the governance, we can take inspiration from the MakerDAO endgame & maybe work on creating a subDAO sort of thing to make the above-mentioned stuff meaningful & effective. You should also host the governance calls with different teams weekly.

I am looking for meaningful contributions to the polygon ecosystem. Thanks


Great to see this discussion commence. We have come a long way up to this very important matter. Congrats all and good vibes


has a somewhat similar thesis for all digital assets with pillars

Great iniative
Governance on such a diverse and multiple technologies system as Polygon might prove difficult tho
On most of PoS systems, you simply have only one token you can use for governance, but polygon is multiple: zkevm, polygon network, Ethereum mainnet …

It would need some clarification and maybe choice of the better polygon solution tbh, so the voters can implicate easier in the governance, just a thought.


We are building the new Village based on the experience gained during the first format. I confirm that the path taken is precisely that of delegating and decentralizing the support to the community you mention in your post.

For Polygon Labs it would not be possible to scale the support offered by limiting itself to its own internal strengths and resources: the Polygon ecosystem becomes bigger and more complex every day and requires attention, skills and experiences too broad to be able to enclose them in a single team.

Decentralization is among Polygon’s primary goals and to achieve it we are implementing a progressive form of delegation and decentralization, so as to be able to obtain it in an organic and natural way.


I am impressed by your thoughts, and excited to see how will this shape but I will share my ideas here:

  1. We need to have clear communication around the grants, I like way
  2. Remove the dependency on the internal teams & make it community-driven(Again this involves the centralisation risk, so we need see the path we can take to make the journey decentralised)
  3. Automate & automate
  4. Dashboard, where one needs to have a polygon id to apply for the grants & the Id, should have all necessary info like Name, Twitter handle, country…etc
  5. Make the onboarding journey simple like connecting the polygon Id and then the standard input fields where we can get all necessary info on the product, vision & how can this add value to the polygon ecosystem in the long run.
  6. Weekly calls with the approved applicants, knowing the status
  7. Grants dispersal via retroactive based on the deliverables rather than just giving 100% of the proposed amount (I know for a fact 99% of the grants to date were been funded to useless products) We can take inspiration from the Gnosis chain’s recent post on the grants
  8. Setup a committee from the community with relevant experience (Maybe 1-2 polygon team members can be the core & the rest should be from the community, we can roll out the interest form & then shortlist the candidates with clear deliverables pipelines)
  9. Let’s try to make it as transparent as possible.

I hope this feedback helps. Let me know if you need help to work on this, I can share more thoughts here’s my discord: ihsotas#6448


Limited to what concerns Village, there is no grant program, in discontinuity with the previous format.
Grants were no longer an efficient tool for ecosystem growth.
The support offered by Polygon Village, which will be progressively decentralized, mainly focuses on a few pillars:

  • connection with the rest of the ecosystem, through intros to communities and projects
  • drive to build and grow in a composable and interoperable way
  • a light form of mentoring, which allows younger projects to learn from the experience of others and more consolidated projects to scale thanks to the know-how of others
  • validation of the idea, speaking with others
  • visibility
  • follow a path of internal decentralization, implementing dedicated frameworks and tools (soon we will launch what we call “DAO CAMP”)
  • credits and vouchers from partners

Other than that, answering some of your advice:

  • The Village program already organizes weekly Office Hours and Cohort calls, which will increase with the number of projects supported
  • Most of the services (for example vouchers) will be rendered with an automatic self-serve mode
  • The integration with Polygon ID will be progressive and organic
  • The delegation and decentralization phase will focus on new highly reputable figures from the community

I stop here not to reveal more about what we are organizing and which we believe will see the light in the first half of May :slight_smile:

Feel free to share your thoughts and I hope more will follow your example. The ecosystem needs ideas, passion and enthusiasm to grow.


I agree grants weren’t efficient, what was the reason though? Weren’t efficient because of the centralization, filters, focus, or priority?

  • Could you please create the public calendar & post it somewhere regarding the office hours & cohort calls?
  • Describe more on the credits & vouchers, more on the economics side. Because I think this should be plug & play not that we will purchase the credits from the partners & then if the projects in the villages don’t need them then it’s a waste of the budget.
  • Also, can we work on the documentation on the budget we need to allocate to the polygon village & KPIs to track the goals?
  • I used polygon Id and I guess it’s already in a good state to integrate it within the polygon ecosystem, I don’t know the exact number of applicants in the last cohort but I think it’s a good start this year.
  • Regards to Delegation and decentralization what are the parameters that one should pass to give them the reputable tag? Can pseudo- anon contributors like me be reputable?

first to say congrats on call for proposals, it is a good way to involve community into decentralization process

agree that Grants were not efficient way for ecosystem growth, it become obvious in many different protocols

Will protocol governance be resolved through Snapshot, or Polygon is planning to implement different governance voting procedure? Or planning different voting type


Thanks for all the contributions so far, everyone!

I’m really glad to see that the response to our conceptual framework has been overwhelmingly positive, both in this thread and elsewhere.

Let me get down to some specific points/questions.

Can you clarify what kind of improvements you’d be interested in seeing here?

A similar thesis to what exactly? I think the first part of your sentence got cut.

This is correct. Various risk/security considerations have to define the correct models for protocol governance of each of those solutions. Regardless of the protocol layer, however, what do you think of bringing them under the PIP framework umbrella?

For the way protocol governance (and consensus) works on Polygon PoS, feel free to check out the governance wiki. The short answer to your question is that protocol governance doesn’t require any off-chain voting mechanism or procedure. The PIP framework provides only a social coordination layer for decentralized consensus-finding across various ecosystem participants, e.g., full and validating nodes, users, dapps, etc., (similarly to the Ethereum Improvement Proposal framework).

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I was thinking we should have a dashboard something like ethernodes where we can get info on the validators & their geographies of them with status, based on the density of nodes in a particular region we might implement some incentivization mechanisms in other regions to run validator nodes. This is the rough idea but people can add more points here.

I would like to also suggest to think on these point here

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Congrats team!

Excited to be along for the ride.


Polygon Village is still under development and will be officially presented in a few weeks with a forum post in which we will answer many of these questions.

These are the answers I can offer now:

  • Village Office Hour takes place every Friday at 4PM CET within the Polygon Discord server<
  • Polygon Village is a 0 budget program, based on a huge operational and systemic effort. The vouchers, of very high value and impact, are provided pro bono by the partners<
  • Polygon Village’s unique goal is to support the decentralized growth of the ecosystem.
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, please find my follow up inline here

Village Office Hour: it is listed in the events list and will take place in the Community Stage channel

Budget: Previous Village was part of the DAO and had a budget dedicated to grants and vouchers. Village is now a fully non financialized program. There are not “paid vouchers” now, they will be replaced by discount codes offered by partners.

Village Mentor profile is still under development. As previously indicated, all the details about new Village will be distributed once ready.