What is Governance? 🏛️
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) typically rely on democratic voting mechanisms to facilitate coordination. Token holders are able to express their position on a variety of governance proposals by using their tokens to vote.
As important as voting is to the proper functioning of a DAO, participation is notoriously limited. While this is typical of many democratic institutions, voting on Ethereum is unique in that it requires a transaction to complete. This means a voter will typically be required to pay gas to signal their opinion on a proposal. This leaves many smaller token holders left out of governance since voting on every proposal can quickly become prohibitive due to gas costs.
So how do we lower expenses to ensure that anyone who wants to vote on a proposal can do so?
One solution is Snapshot.
What is Snapshot? 🗳️
Snapshot is an off-chain multi-governance client that enables gasless voting for DAOs. Anyone can create a proposal or vote on an existing one with a simple signature stored on IPFS rather than an on-chain transaction, making DAO governance more affordable and accessible to the average community member.
Snapshot is entirely open-source, and it has become one of the de facto voting methods for DAOs.
Vote on Snapshot Tutorial 📖
In this tutorial, we’ll walk through how to cast a vote using Snapshot. You’ll need:
- A Web3 Wallet (e.g. MetaMask)
- Governance tokens of a DAO that uses Snapshot
- Voting power (more on this below)
First, login to your wallet and head to https://snapshot.org/#/.
Next, search for a DAO with a proposal you would like to vote on. DAOs with active proposals will have a green badge on the corner of their logo. Once you find one, click on the logo.
You’ll be greeted with a list of current and past proposals for that specific DAO. Select the active proposal from the list that you'd like to vote on. In the example image below, you can see that Gitcoin has an active proposal called ‘Decentralize Gitcoin Allocation’ that ends in 2 days.
After clicking on the link, you will be redirected to a page that displays the specific details for that proposal. Before going any further, let’s review the information on this page:
- Strategies: The default strategy is to calculate the balance of an ERC20 for each voter, but there are other strategies as well. For example, Gitcoin includes a delegation strategy.
- Author: The individual or entity that authored the proposal.
- IPFS: The IPFS link for the proposal. This is how the vote information is stored.
- Voting System: The specific voting methodology being used. In our example, Gitcoin is using ‘Single choice voting’ which means the voter can only elect one outcome: ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. There are also the approval voting, quadratic voting, ranked choice voting, and weighted voting methodologies.
- Start Date: The date/time in which voting goes live.
- End Date: The date/time that voting ends.
- Snapshot: Voting power is calculated at the "snapshot" of the proposal which occurs on the specific block number listed here. If you didn’t have any governance tokens as of this block number, you will not have any voting power for this specific proposal.
- Current Results: The breakdown of votes thus far. In the example, you can see 1.45m $GTC have voted in favor of the proposal and 779.49 $GTC tokens have voted against it.
Once you are ready to cast a vote, click ‘Connect wallet’ in the corner of the page and follow the prompts.
Now that your wallet is connected, select how you would like to vote in the ‘Cast your vote’ section of the page. Once ready, click ‘Vote’.
You’ll be prompted to confirm your vote. On this confirmation screen, you’ll be able to see which option you selected, the snapshot block, and your voting power. Click ‘Confirm’ after reviewing.
You will need to sign the transaction with your web3 wallet. No gas will be required as this is just a signature transaction.
After you've voted, you will be able to see your name in the list of voters toward the bottom of the page.
If you've followed this guide, you've now successfully voted in the governance of a DAO. Be sure to hop into the Discord or forums of the projects you're interested in so that you can stay up to date on upcoming proposals.
Informed and engaged community members are the lifeblood of decentralized organizations. Participate, contribute, and vote for the future of Web3.