The Tezos Foundation has announced it will relinquish previously held “veto power” over the Tezos network which was to be retained by the foundation for a period of one year following launch. The original goal of holding the veto power over protocol changes and proposals was to ensure that the ecosystem could grow, with guidance from the Foundation, and avoid pitfalls of changes which might inhibit growth and adoption.
The press release, titled “A Statement Regarding the Strategy of the Tezos Foundation,” lays out a vision for self-governance and leans on the understanding that the Tezos community has been building for nearly one year since the original ICO fundraiser in July of 2017. At this point, community members and developers have had months and months to digest the Tezos codebase and begin to understand the inner-workings of the protocol as based on Arthur Breitman’s original vision for the project. It is with this understanding that the Foundation has decided to relinquish control to the holders of Tezos tokens rather than retain a centralized point of control:
As highlighted in the Tezos position paper, the success of any decentralized network is determined by the efforts of a robust, diverse, and flourishing community. The Foundation exists as a part of this ecosystem, alongside developers, scientists, network validators (“bakers”), and enthusiasts all working towards the success of a platform that we believe will ultimately drive social, political, and economic innovation on a global scale.
As a foundation, we believe our role within the community is to deploy resources that support the long-term future of Tezos. Grants offer a strategic way to help community members, such as educational and research institutions, open-source developers, or activists from all over the world to support the advancement of this decentralized network.
One of the most important features of the Tezos protocol is its ability to improve itself through protocol amendments proposed and approved by community members. Although previous leadership at the Foundation had considered retaining a veto power over protocol amendments for one year, we have decided not to retain that right. We believe this decision will further support the decentralized nature of the Tezos project.
There had been prior criticism over the veto power being held by the Foundation, however, most supporters understood it could be arguably necessary for a burgeoning blockchain to have some form of central control for a short time while the project grew.
According to the original Tezos white paper (PDF), the Foundation would retain veto power over any votes for changes to the protocol:
Protocol upgrade votes will be much more frequent in the first year in order to allow for rapid iteration. As a security measure, the Tezos foundation will have a veto power expiring after twelve months, until we rule out any kinks in the voting procedure. (Tezos White Paper, September 2, 2014)
This particular caveat was troublesome in some respects since it meant that the Foundation would essentially retain full control over the protocol for at least one year. With the latest announcement, however, the new Tezos Foundation board sees things much differently:
Tezos’ potential rests in the hands of its community, and we have no doubt that the Tezos community is among the strongest and most exceptional in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. All interested parties are welcome to join the Tezos community and contribute to the project.
We are committed to supporting initiatives put forward by the community in their efforts to advance Tezos and other open-source technologies. Preparations for the launch of the betanet are being finalized.
With the goal of decentralization in mind, allowing the community to take hold and begin guiding the protocol will yield more interest and provide stakeholders with immediate investment of having Tezos’ best interests in mind.