Agora: A Plutus Governance Module

As the DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) in Cardano become stronger, they naturally attract B2B/B2C (Business to Business / Business to Customer) web2 companies that offer them products and services.

The problem that arises is that there is no standard governance framework for these companies to effectively participate in shared decision-making.

The entire process of submitting proposals, delegation at the draft stages, and voting (liquid democracy), execution of proposals (involves sending treasury funds), must be included for a governance framework to become the standard in Cardano .

B2B/B2C companies, DAOs, DApps and community members will be able to use Agora to create proposals, vote on them (any token holder can cast a vote), or delegate their vote, block a proposal after it is approved, and run a proposal blocked after the time period expired.

Agora aims to bring together the tools for Cardano DAO development, and serve as a single governance library for decentralized projects, on the Cardano blockchain.

The Agora project is not a DAO. It doesn’t have tokenomics or even a token, it’s just a Plutus library, a standard for the government.

The proposal 

Agora is a simple model to build chain governance, to unlock B2DAO economic models and open source DAO tools, from a set of Plutus smart contracts that are composed to form a government system tailored to the chosen design. .

Agora is built on the Compound Governor Apha pattern, which is the main governance module used in Ethereum DeFi (Compound, Uniswap, Gitcoin, Fei).

The implementation of EVM smart contract design patterns has been the biggest challenge in building Agora to date. The developers have overcome this by reverse engineering the Governor Alpha framework targeting the Plutus eUTxO model.

In the DAO design, starting a proposal will require the proposer to have a certain number of governance tokens (GT). A script is then created that will handle all voting interactions. Any Cardano native fungible asset (including ADA) can be used as a governance token.

The life cycle of a proposal will be divided into phases.

Draft Phase

During the draft phase, a new UTXO is created in the proposal script. At this stage, only votes in favor of co-signing the draft are counted. For the proposal to go to the voting phase, a GT threshold must be staked to support the proposal. This threshold will be determined by the system and could itself be a ‘governable’ parameter.

Voting phase

phase In the voting phase, users can use their entries to vote for or against a proposal. There is potential for controversy within the system and therefore voting on proposals may need to be limited. The method by which a user’s votes are weighted, and the thresholds necessary for proposals to pass, are determined by protocol.

Blocking phase

Once the voting phase has been executed, the proposal will have been approved or disapproved. A delay will be applied between the approval of a proposal and the execution of its effects, to allow users to prepare for incoming changes in the system. Additionally, it will give system maintainers the opportunity to intervene, in the event of hostile action.

Execution phase

Failed interacted proposals will no longer. The only value they will hold is your state thread tokens and the minimum ADA requirement, so little value is lost.

Successful proposals will be verified by the governor component, which will issue ‘government authority tokens’ (GAT). Burning these tokens will be a prerequisite for making changes to the system, therefore possession of one will serve as a form of “license” to make the changes.

There will be a limit before which the effects of a proposal must be executed. Since the effects of any approved proposal will necessarily have been endorsed by the community, it can be assumed that community members will have received incentives to ensure that the effects are enacted soon after the proposal has been approved.

The Roadmap

Agora v1 will be open source. Most of the functionality required for v1 is now complete, including proxy voting. The goal is to deliver the full v1 functionality soon after the library is open, and build out the v2 features plus any additional functionality requested by Cardano DAO infrastructure developers.

Agora v1

  • Governor
  • Treasury
  • Stakepool
  • Proposals
  • Effects

Agora v2

  • Reward Distribution
  • Escrow staking pool solution

3 months– Full v1 functionality (Governor, Treasury, stakepool, Proposals, Effects) and collaboration with ecosystem developers to include feature requests additional. Comprehensive documentation covering every function in the governance module.

6 months– Full v2 functionality (reward distribution, escrow staking pool solution) and includes additional feature requests.

12 months: Integrations with other DAO tools/applications (eg any Tally/Snapshot wallet solution), Application UI/X to interact with Agora from an easy to use web application.

The Budget

The proponents detail the need for funding, for a total of USD 100,000.-

Total Time 1,075 hours of engineering

  • Expansion of Agora’s functions to manage Stake Validators 175
  • DAO Treasury 25
  • Multi-stakeholder functions 50
  • Implementation of Plutarch test tools (apropos -tx) 100 Gold
  • files via Plutarch-test 50
  • Proposal effect script templates 100
  • Governor script that acts as a central authority minting authority tokens and initializing proposals 100
  • Monomorphic proposal script to track the progress of proposals 75
  • Deploy a monomorphic staking pool parameterized only on system parameters 100
  • Security Audit 125
  • Documentation and guides 75
  • Now the UI/X frontend application 100

The Team

The team consists of multiple senior Haskell/Advanced Plutus engineers, who build smart contracts of Agora, and the expert developers of the MLabs Cardano ecosystem (IOG Plutus Partner), with over 80 Haskell developers working on some of the largest projects in the ecosystem.

Contributions to the library to date include Plutus developers at LiqwidLabs, MLabs, and ADAO.

LiqwidLabs is a team of expert Haskell/Plutus engineers and full-stack developers building the first native lending and borrowing protocol on Cardano. 

CTO Emily Martins has been a professional Haskell developer for over 6 years and is a polyglot capable of creating concise and secure code in multiple languages.

MLabs is a premier Haskell development store in the Cardano ecosystem. As IOG PlutusPartners, they work closely with the Plutus team focused on improving off-chain tools and infrastructure for Plutus developers. Over 80 Haskellers working on innovative community projects including:

The experience gained over the course of building Liqwid and working with one of the most prolific Plutus early development firms gives them access to the most talented pool of Haskell developers/ Plutus in the ecosystem. The developers working at Agora are applying their added Plutus experience to successfully implement this governance product on Cardano.

B2DAO economic model: Agora’s governance library will help B2B/B2C companies submit proposals to provide their services to the Cardano DAO in a streamlined process that currently does not exist on-chain.

Open source tools: Agora is open source soon with a structure for developers from the Cardano ecosystem to contribute to the library.

DAO2DAO economic model: Agora helps unlock the full potential of cross-protocol governance transactions between 2 or more Cardano DAOs


You can read the original proposal on IdeaScale: Agora: Plutus governance module

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