Aragon DAO Research Summary

Hi! In response to some posts in the governance channel, I checked out Aragon and if we could use it for Pool Together. I cannot join the Swim Meet calls, so I promised I would post a summary here for you to take a look at and potentially discuss during the Swim Meet. I wanted to make it a small summary, but I failed horribly at that.

Short introduction: Aragon allows setting up a DAO following a set of templates that include specific apps. As far as I can tell, the best template for Pool Together would be the Company template which includes the Token, Voting and Finance app (you can always add more apps after the DAO creation, I think). You can optionally add the Agent app to this template when creating the DAO.

The Token app allows for creating and distributing a token which represent membership and voting power. The main problem here is that as of now it seems you cannot connect this to an existing ERC20 token that is freely transfereable like the POOL token. As far as I can tell the token you create for voting etc is internal to the DAO. I’m not sure if an Aragon DAO is something we would replace the complete current governance setup with or just have as an extra option for organising the Swim meetings / ideas etc, so I don’t know if this is ultimately a problem or not. I have an outstanding question about this in the Aragon Discord, but have not received an answer yet.

The Voting app allows to create votes, checkout running and closed votes etc. As far as I can tell without actually setting up a whole organisation, these votes all happen on-chain. This app also allows setting a lot of parameters such as minimum voter turnout, minimum consensus etc. This allows for example to configure that you need at least 100k votes for a proposal to pass and the majority (or any arbitrary precentage) needs to be in favor of a proposal, just like the governance votes are configured at the moment.

The Finance app allows for managing, you guessed it, the finances of the DAO. I don’t think much more details need to be discussed about that, I’m not even sure if this would be of interest for PT.

The Agent app allows the DAO to directly interact with another smart contract on Ethereum, presumably to trigger actions there depending on votes in the DAO. I’ve wondered whether this could be used to track POOL balances etc, but as of now, I don’t know.

Aragon is also deployed on the xDAI chain by a third party, so that is definitely also interesting because it would allow for cheap governance using a side-chain. I have not looked into that third party, I vaguely remember reading about them at some point in time though.

They will also introduce Aragon Govern (soon, they claim) which is a replacement / addition to how Snapshot currently works. Essentially, they say that Snapshot currently serves for sending a signal of how people want to vote, but in the end the multi-sig still decides (and can only vote one way). They introduce a way to mitigate this through a DAO and timelocked vote which can be disputed. This process also uses the Agent app.

One other question that also popped up in the governance chat and is related tot Aragon Govern was their ERC3k proposal which allows for gasless governance. Its goal is to have off-chain governance leading to provable correct on-chain voting. One of the possible implementations is to have a Discord-style poll where people can vote and afterwards bring the result on-chain using a decentralized oracle.

I find the latter quite exciting, it allows for so many different styles of governance rather than just token-based. I happen to be deeply involved in the oracle service they are collaberating with to get this of the ground, so I’m not going to name them here (unless requested) because that would essentially be shilling and this post is meant to give an unbiased overview.

There is probably a ton of stuff I’m still missing, but this is my attempt at explaining everything a little bit. Let me know if you have any more questions!