Other Internet is an applied research organization. In the summer of 2021 we completed an analysis of Uniswap’s off-chain governance and Discord community. Now with this grant from Uniswap Grants Program, we are excited to extend our inquiry into what more effective governance practices for Uniswap and the Web3 ecosystem might look like.
Uniswap protocol is thriving, processing over a billion dollars of volume each day. While governance of Uniswap's protocol parameters is relatively constrained, there's wide potential for community-led experiments around ecosystem development and treasury disbursement. It is at this social governance layer that Uniswap faces new challenges. Some are classical governance problems: voting power asymmetry, overcoming voter apathy, and efficient capital allocation. Other challenges are novel to user-owned networks, such as distributing ownership effectively and designing functional participation models for multiple classes of users.
Cryptocurrency protocols are fundamentally political technologies In a recently published essay, we argued that crypto protocols and communities must look beyond their immediate horizons to develop a definition of public that includes those who are impacted beyond the protocol layer. This expansive definition is not a product of idealism — it is the reality of disruptive software with zero marginal costs of distribution.
Today, Uniswap’s stakeholders include developers, traders, liquidity providers, mechanism designers, open source projects, Ethereum validators, MEV researchers, academics, and even blockchain climate researchers. It is not difficult to imagine a world where hundreds of millions more either use or are impacted by Uniswap. For this reason, it is imperative to set a scope of governance that is similarly expansive.
In the upcoming year Other Internet will carry out a series of research projects and governance initiatives. This work will be action-oriented, culminating in concrete recommendations, governance proposals, and new products attempting to positively shape the Uniswap protocol. Our work aims to bring about a future where Uniswap's governance creates a positive impact for more than just its largest token holders. While Uniswap will be a central focus of our efforts, we aim to develop practices and learnings that benefit all organization that utilize crypto and Web3 technology.
Specifically, we will:
- Explore a redesign of the proposal process
- Suggest new programs and committees akin to UGP
- Publish insights into the treasury and how it is being used
- Foster new community leaders
- Experiment with new decision making methods beyond one-token-one-vote
There is no doubt that Web3 will be the site of governance innovation in years to come. But in order to truly innovate, we also need to take stock of what has come before. The classical governance challenges that Uniswap faces today have historically been sites of creative problem-solving for a wide range of public, private and third sector organizations. At the same time, new forms of experimental governance are currently flourishing in spaces outside Web3, from local mutual aid networks to highly coordinated online fandoms. Our applied interdisciplinary research approach will bring together these fields of governance knowledge from the entire spectrum of online and offline communities, past and present, to ensure continued innovation in Web3.
As a group of people, we are motivated by a future that is more free, fun, peaceful, and equitable. We imagine an other internet that that radiates these qualities. By no means is this future promised, but it is an option.
For updates on our research, upcoming experiments, and Uniswap governance work, please follow Other Internet on [Twitter](https://twitter.com/otherinternet__ or Substack.
© 2022 Other Internet