GWG x LiveFast: Historical AIP Voting Analysis With Alternate Strategies

DISCLAIMER:

The data presented in this report and its accompanying interactive raw data spreadsheets was produced by @LiveFast9986 and written collaboratively with the ApeCoin DAO Governance Working Group (GWG).

The information is intended to stimulate discussion within the ApeCoin DAO community and should not be considered an official pronouncement by the APE Foundation or the GWG.

We ask that you download the contents of the following link before engaging:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/1l5mSB_ZtH8KOBeR0oTpdkalAlFmihNdE/edit?usp=docslist_api&filetype=msexcel

OUR CURRENT VOTING STRATEGY:

The ApeCoin DAO currently utilizes Snapshot’s “single-choice" voting system, which allows voters to choose for, against, or abstain.

METHODOLOGY:

As of today, we analyzed all 241 AIPs submitted to the ApeCoin DAO Snapshot page (AIP-1 to AIP-416). We examined the number of unique participating wallets and their voting power. We then recalculated the outcomes using three alternative voting strategies: Quadratic Voting, Supermajority Threshold, and 1 Wallet = 1 Vote.

The downloadable interactive document is available to explore different Supermajority thresholds and simulate voting power distribution. This analysis sheds light on how these alternative strategies might impact future DAO decisions, considering the unlikelihood of Sybil attacks (splitting holdings into multiple wallets) under the current system.

BACKGROUND:

This report builds upon the valuable work of our previous ApeCoin DAO Secretary @Vulkan who established a Dune dashboard compiling AIP data points. Our current analysis expands on this foundation and extend a sincere thank you for his initial contributions.

ALTERNATIVE VOTING STRATEGIES ANALYZED:

Quadratic Voting: This system emphasizes the number of individual voters rather than the voting power of their APE holdings. Two scenarios were considered: including and excluding abstaining voters (as abstentions affect calculations, though AIP-200 clarifies abstentions don’t impact outcomes).

Supermajority Threshold: Set at a 2/3rds majority (66.67%).

1 Wallet = 1 Vote: A flat voting structure where each wallet has an equal vote, regardless of APE holdings.

Voting Strategy # of AIPs Approved # of AIPs Rejected # and % of AIPs with a different outcome
Single Choice 117 124
Quadratic Voting (w/ Abstain) 130 111 15 (6.22%)
Quadratic Voting (w/o Abstain) 130 111 15 (6.22%)
Super Majority of 66.67% 96 145 21 (8.71%)
1 Wallet = 1 Vote 167 74 56 (23.236%)

OUR FINDINGS:

Quadratic Voting: Whether including or excluding abstaining voters, 15 AIPs would have had different outcomes (14 rejected to approved, 1 approved to rejected).

Supermajority Voting: 21 AIPs would have changed from approved to rejected, potentially saving the DAO an estimated ~$21,664,222 USD.

1 Wallet = 1 Vote: This scenario would have resulted in the most significant change, impacting 56 past AIP outcomes.

GENRAL OBSERVATIONS:

ApeCoin DAO has witnessed a concerning decline in voter participation since AIP-4 and AIP-5 with turnout dropping from around 1,700 wallets to an average of 200-250 wallets per AIP. While the rise of delegations might be a contributing factor, further investigation is required.

Examining past AIP voting patterns under the Single Choice system, we observed a strong tendency towards one-sided voting in over 50% of AIPs (high delta). Conversely, 14% of AIPs exhibited close results (low delta). Here’s a breakdown:

  • 144 out of 241 AIPs had a delta exceeding 50%
  • 68 of those 144 had a delta surpassing 85%
  • 34 AIPs had a delta below 20%
  • 10 of those had a delta under 10%

ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY:

The ApeCoin DAO Governance Working Group (GWG) is committed to fostering a vibrant and informed community. While we don’t endorse any specific position within the following questions, we encourage healthy discussion and thoughtful consideration of the data provided.

A few things to consider:

  1. Impartiality in Voting: Do voters make independent decisions, or are they swayed by current voting trends? Would implementing shielded voting influence behaviour?

  2. Evolving Voting Strategies: Should alternative voting methods be explored? How do proposed changes align with current DAO metrics?

  3. Desired Voting Outcomes: What kind of outcomes does the community prioritize? Are there alternative voting strategies that could achieve these outcomes more effectively?

  4. Voter Apathy: What factors contribute to the decline in voter participation (e.g., market conditions, delegation system, or community engagement)?

In closing, we hope you found value in this document, the first in a series of similar reports we will be collaborating on with LiveFast enabled by the GWG Community Governance Improvement Program (CGIP).

Use the following links to learn more about the CGIP program and participate.

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Instructions for Interacting with the spreadsheet

For the community’s convenience and transparency, we have made our spreadsheet interactive in order to allow anyone to customize the threshold percentage for Super Majority as well as create a new delegate and assign any amount of $APE to it.

To adjust the Supermajority threshold, change the number in the green colored cell AM3, as shown below.

To create a new delegate and adjust the amount of $APE it has, adjust the values in the green colored cells AQ3 and AS3 as shown below. For this voting strategy we have also included the addition of Quadratic Voting that will also take into account the new delegate, for your convenience.

Please note that when using the new delegate strategy, it will standardize the results and voting power across all past AIPs. This means that the voting power and choice will be consistent for each AIP, providing a uniform perspective on the potential impact of the new delegation.

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Very well documented report @LiveFast9986

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This is great. I already had similar (not as extensive as yours) data back when I first wrote AIP-318: ApeCoin DAO Voting Reforms back in July 2023.

I recently saw this as a serious issue that needs to be resolved, which is why I recently wrote up the new AIP-471: Special Council To Propose Voting System Reform asking the Ape Foundation to visit this and to revise the voting.

All said and done, this data unequivocally makes the case for changing the voting system.

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Couple quick thoughts:

  • Push forward with exploring the shielded voting. I guarantee you the results being public before final influences the results. Humans are tribal creatures, and while without really doing some serious research it’s not possible to know to what extent the influence happens, it’s worth trying to prevent. For example it’s been studied and proven that if a voter is voting in an election, and the voting place is a school, that voters are more likely to vote FOR any school funding related bills. It’s a difference of “only” a few percent, but that’s enough to swing results.

  • Voting reform needs to happen if we want to confront the consolidation of power. I think this will be unbelievably difficult, as humans are crafty and will try to subvert anything implemented to the best of their ability, but it can and should still make a positive difference.

Great work on this!

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Absolutely agreed. Which is why I added both in all my voting reform discussions and proposals.

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This is extremely valuable information! Thank you @AllCityBAYC and @LiveFast9986. You discussed the “delta”, which you said is the “one-sidedness of the voting.” What I think this points to is the level of voting bloc control and the unconscious community response to this.

AIPs #135-140 saw a large spike in the number of ApeCoin voting with little increase in the number of wallets voting. AIP #162 and 163 were particular examples of this, where the number of ApeCoin voting was over 12 million, but the number of wallets was quite low. This was also true of AIPs #197-201, #203, #221-224, and #231. What this suggests is that there appears to have been an oligarchic solidification of voting blocs that represent large controlling votes and that the small ApeCoin holders have reacted to this with apathy, by voting less often since their votes mean less.

This doesn’t seem to be an issue of impartiality, or of a lack of information or confusion when it comes to reading AIPs. It may reflect a simple truth - that people don’t vote if their votes don’t mean much. Also, equity theory suggests that when some people earn large sums of money and others don’t and there isn’t transparency and accountability for the money spent, voters see this and recognize that their (unpaid) suggestions are not a valuable use of time, especially if they seek to diminish the power of those in control.

I’m quite new here, so I don’t mean to denigrate the hard work of contributors and administrators. I am just speaking from an impartial and hopefully objective view regarding governance. I think these are issues that all groups with large treasuries face, whether they’re DAOs, corporations or nations. The only difference is that in corporations both government regulations and market forces necessitate relatively higher levels of efficiency.

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Yes - that’s precisely it. And that’s been my entire argument this past year.

^this

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Hi mate.

The main pushback I received on the shielded voting for elections which I felt (for now anyway) it perhaps needed more work was:

  1. Removal of Tactical voting - in England we don’t really have this and I was unaware it was so prevalent in other countries - so definitely needs more exploring. (Voting for “X” so “Y” doesn’t win, although you’re actually a supporter of “Z”.)

  2. The removal of real time information - would mean twitter as a fall back voice was potentially lost. (So rn we see who’s losing/winning etc and many take to twitter in a bid to rally support when they feel it’s needed.) Some people suggested they’d vote it down bc of this.

Not mentioned by anyone but something I noticed:

  1. The phases/stages would potentially undermine parts as some of the benefits gained would possibly be lost as results are announced before the election fully concluded.

Reading the whole proposal through there seems to be potentially a lot of suggested changes incoming, only suggestion I’d have is probably not to combine them all in one AIP, unless deeper research has been conducted, to ensure the best result at voting.

Great stuff. LFG.

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Thank you for these details! Appreciate the insights.

On 1 and 2 – I can see this in the short-term, while the DAO still struggles to balance out the voting power across groups, and also battles with extremely low voter turnout. I think on long, if those issues can be addressed, hopefully issues 1 and 2 will no longer be as critical and we can move into shielded voting.

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The problem with shielded voting is it isn’t possible with an on-chain voting solution (to my knowledge). I think DAO’s should always strive to conduct as much of their business onchain as possible. That’s how you create transparency in Web3. Doing things onchain opens the door to many other onchain execution possibilities as well. A DAO of this size should do it’s best to not hide behind multi-sigs controlled by the few. Onchain voting enables full DAO control over it’s treasury.

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Definitely is a potential concern for some DAOs on other chains as you’re right the votes are potentially stored on chain, so in that instance shielding isn’t 100% (some solana DAOs spring to mind). :handshake:

Because we use snapshot our votes are not recorded on chain, (it’s an off chain solution), so if we did ever decide to use shielded it thankfully doesn’t have the same vulnerability. :handshake:

Thanks.

Thanks for sharing these in-depth analysis and the outcomes of proposals with different mechanisms.

As one of the current leads of the BOTB (300k $APE) delegation, I find this information very useful

Overall what do you think these potential changes has for impact on the delegates, and what adjustments should delegations like ours consider?