Tezos Concludes First Voting Round for Upgrade Proposals

Multimillion-dollar blockchain Tezos has completed the first round of voting for two system-wide upgrade proposals dubbed “Athens A” and “Athens B.” The blockchain officially launched last September after securing $232 million in a 2017 ICO. It was then valued at more than $1 billion and currently sits at around $360 million in market cap, per CoinMarketCap.

Garnering 25,855 community votes in total, Athens A got the majority of bids from bakers, the equivalent to miners on a conventional PoW blockchain, with an overall 18,181 votes. However, more than half of the baking community decided to abstain from the vote.

“The Tezos Foundation decided to remain neutral by not upvoting any proposals …. As noted, this contributes to the required quorum and further elevates the voices of other members of the Tezos community in this historic first vote,” the Tezos Foundation detailed in a blog post.

Athens A will introduce two backward-incompatible adjustments to the network. First, computation limits per block or “gas limits” will be raised on the Tezos blockchain to enable greater transaction throughput. As Cryptium Labs founder Awa Sun Yin elaborates in a blog post:

“If the gas limit is increased, it would enable more computation in blocks and operations, meaning that not only the maximum of transactions per block could increase, but also the complexity of the transactions.”

Second, roll sizes will be reduced from 10,000 XTZ to 8,000 XTZ. According to Tocqueville Group’s Jacob Arluck, the amendment would “incrementally” lower the entry barrier for baking as well as block creation.

Per Yin, none of those changes are all that radical. However, they are geared toward “testing the actual on-chain governance process and setting a precedent for future protocol upgrades and proposals,” as mentioned in a blog post.

Nomadic Labs CTO Benjamin Canou agrees with Yin that “the main focus of this first vote is to demonstrate the amendment procedure itself and what it can achieve.”

“It is worth mentioning that even though not radical and super technical, the changes are far from trivial. Take the proposed increase to the gas limit, for instance. It is mostly the change of a constant but just being able to have the community decide on this change is already a breakthrough,” Canou stated.

Since the proposal voting period has already ended, bakers on Tezos will now proceed to an approximately three-week “exploration” period.

The Athens proposal will go through four stages before eventual activation on the live Tezos blockchain. The second stage is the Exploration Vote Period. During the exploration phase, bakers will vote if Athens A should advance to a testing period.

Upon winning the supermajority of votes to do so, which is 80% out of 80% quorum, the Athens proposal will move to another three-week period in which the Tezos blockchain will spawn a new yet temporary blockchain network.

Lasting for 48 hours, the secondary blockchain will serve as a test network that activates proposed code beforehand and guarantees its proper function.

The final phase or the “promotion period” studies the proposal in its entirety and enables another community vote. The entire process will take about three months to come to a conclusion.

“We are mainly interested in seeing the actual protocol upgrade and the entire Tezos’ community using the Athens protocol from the winning proposal,” HappyTezos founder Andrew Paulicek stated.

According to Paulicek, he was specifically keen on witnessing the integration of zero-knowledge cryptography like zk-SNARKs also voted on over the next months.

“We are indeed working on adding zero-knowledge cryptography via a future protocol upgrade proposal later this year. The exact shape that this integration will take is not yet decided,” Canou noted affirming the plans.