Today we are introducing the Lyra Launch Council, a community elected group that will oversee the launch of the protocol and token. In just two months, Lyra has grown from a handful of core contributors to a vibrant community with over 6000 discord members. After a successful testnet and trading competition, our focus must shift towards bringing Lyra to mainnet. To do this, we need a framework to transition control from the core team to the community.
In the search for a suitable structure, there is an important balance to strive for. The power to make decisions should move away from the founding members, whilst ensuring that they can still perform the functions needed to launch successfully. Without the former, we are just creating the illusion of decentralization, and the whole exercise is pointless. Without the latter, the project will grind to a halt. The stage of the project influences what the optimal balance is. A post-launch project will value decentralized decision-making, whereas for a pre-launch project, the ability for the core contributors to execute is critical. Lyra is still at a very early stage, having yet to deploy to Optimism mainnet or launch its token.
Seeing as the core team has been responsible for protocol design and development to date, it’s likely that the more we shift power away from them, the less efficiently they can execute. Given this tradeoff, it’s reasonable to ask, why begin to decentralize now? Well firstly, the project is much larger than the core team and needs a mechanism to include the community in decision making. Secondly, things will only get busier once the protocol and token are live. The sooner we establish a framework, the sooner we as a community can adapt to it.
We need to determine which governance structure yields the optimal balance between decentralization and execution. First, we need to consider the options available for a pre-token project. Direct on-chain token voting is impossible without a token, and would likely be far too cumbersome given our requirements. Direct voting via Discord is possible, but requires significant coordination, introduces overhead and is fairly easy to attack. Our ideal structure is one that can quickly incorporate community sentiment to reach a verdict. We believe that a representative council, elected by the community, is best positioned to achieve this balance. That is why we have decided to establish the Lyra Launch Council.
Lyra Launch Council Structure
The Lyra Launch Council is a five-seat council that will sit for three months from the 17th of August until the 17th of November. During this time, the council will be responsible for voting on Lyra Improvement Proposals (LIPs). An LIP is a design document providing information to the community about a change to the protocol. Practically speaking, this means anything that requires new smart contracts to be deployed. The Lyra Launch Council will begin voting on LIPs in a dedicated discord channel. This channel will be viewable by the public, but only council members will be able to interact. A majority of votes will be required to approve an LIP (i.e. 3 or more votes).
Updating parameters on existing smart contracts will not require an LIP. The smart contracts will be owned by multisigs and require multiple signers from the core team. This is to ensure that we can be as responsive as possible to any initial configuration problems. Once we are confident that the system is well parameterized, we’ll establish a process for proposing changes to the configurable parameters of the protocol. Prior to this, the core team will clearly communicate any change via Discord.
Lyra Launch Council Election
Holding a decentralized election without a token is difficult because Sybil resistance is not an easy property to acquire. To ensure we got sufficient community input, we asked fifty of the most engaged community members to provide nominations. This group was chosen for participating actively in discord, providing insights on the mechanism and valuable feedback on the dApp. The core team collated the nominations and put forward eight candidates. The core team also selected two of its own members to sit on the council. This is because of the technical work required to get the protocol deployed and token launched. By having a significant (albeit minority) presence on the initial council, we are best positioned to launch successfully.
The members of the Lyra Launch Council are:
- Burt Rock
- Dom | Lyra
- Nick | Lyra
The Launch Council will exist for three months, from the 17th of August until the 17th of November. At the end of this period, Lyra will transition to a fully decentralized governance structure, with the details to be determined by the token holders. They may choose to continue with a similar structure, with council members voted in via the token holders, or they may choose a different structure entirely.
The election process had several points of centralization, as the core team chose the council structure, curated the nominations, and selected two members. However, we now have a council in which the majority of members were elected by the community. We believe that this is a satisfactory outcome, giving us confidence in our ability to launch whilst still shifting control to the community.
Finally, It’s important to note that decentralization is not a switch; it’s a journey that we must undertake collectively. As the founding team, we’ve put forward a framework that we believe strikes the right balance between decentralization and execution. We believe that the Lyra Launch Council will allow us to successfully reach the next phase of the project and enable the transition towards fully decentralized governance.