What follows is a transcript of our Telegram chat originally posted on the Commonwealth Labs website. We hosted this AMA as a follow up to our podcast episode with Dillon shortly after Edgeware mainnet launch.  We discuss the history of the team building Edgeware, governance innovations and layers introduced by the team, Edgeware launch and complications, as well as the future of the chain and governance processes around it.

Participants included Felix of Chorus One, Dillon of Commonwealth Labs, Gavin of Figment Network, and Sunny, coordinator and developer of Straightedge and Cosmos.

Felix
To get started, would you please provide us with some history of how and why you ended up founding Commonwealth and how that led to Edgeware itself?

Dillon
So a bit of background on myself. Prior to building Commonwealth, the cofounders and myself have been involved in the crypto space for quite some time. Dabbling since at least ~2014. We made the first real leap in 2016/2016 when Drew and I left school to start a company called Source, AIRBNB for WiFi with a medium of exchange token.

We took a lot of that experience and brought on another friend, Raymond, who we founded Commonwealth with. Commonwealth was born from our experience wearing many hats within the space —investing, mining, research, company building. We saw that it was still tough to coordinate the social layer around blockchains. Edgeware was (and is) and experiment that was in line with the same ideas of trying to build new mechanisms for coordinating people!

We ended up being connected with folks working in the Polkadot ecosystem, and thought the technology provided an ideal platform to move quickly in the space which is notorious for delays.

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Gavin
What are the primary governance innovations being introduced by Edgeware? Given that Edgeware is part of the Polkadot ecosystem, and Polkadot appears to have a very thorough and complex governance system.

Dillon
I think of governance like an onion. There are many layers:

1. Who is involved in the first place (the lockdrop was the chosen mechanism to seed the community - and probably thing Edgeware is most known for.)

2. How do we gather information from stakeholders in a light manner (we built https://commonwealth.im as a UI for that as well as adding in an on-chain polling mechanism)

3. How do we know if people participating in the system? (built an identity system to link a social identity like twitter or Githuh to an EDG address)

4. What are systems for on-chain activity? (This we inherent from Polkadot—the council, an on-chain treasury, and stake-weighted voting)

To expand on #4, most of the changes are around parameterization. EDG just has one council. Whereas Polkadot has a council and a technical collective. These are both sets of individuals that are voted into some “governance position” through stake weighted voting. We also introduced the idea of delegated voting into Polkadot. Prior to Jan 2019, there was no delegated voting on Polkadot. We prototyped the initial modules, and it was later added as a governance feature in Polkadot.

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Felix
Taking about moving quickly, you definitely set a pace of experimentation and innovation in this space. It's been roughly a year since you announced Edgeware and the lockdrop and you decided to launch the network early last week. As Gavin just addressed his fears, do you think that launching was premature? Or is it all part of the experimentation to iterate on a better system?

Dillon
Yea, the philosophy from the beginning has been that Edgeware is the community’s from day one and we want the system to be live, so people can actually participate in it. But there are still gaps in tooling / communication that make living up the ideals tough. We’re working on this!

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Felix
So you recently announced that Edgeware mainnet will be relaunched and the current network downgraded to a testnet (read more: https://blog.edgewa.re/relaunch-clean-genesis-for-edgeware/) Do you want to brief us on how this is going to go down?

Dillon
Well first, I'm sure there will be a number of proposals that will be circulated within the community and I'm curious to see those..

But we've sent out info to the all of the community channels about it, everyone seems to have been able to get the message so far. It's an interesting question around "testnet" vs "mainnet" status and how it mostly socially determined.

As far as booting up a new main chain, of course there are some changes that should be made to the genesis parameters that we detailed, but I think the number 1 thing that will setting standards for participation on the new main chain, and making sure that everyone knows what is going on.

So a lot of the upcoming few weeks will be more around documentation and setting clear guidelines 🙂

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Felix
Seems like it'll be another interesting governance/coordination experiment. I'm curious, did EDG tokens get listed or traded somewhere while the network was live (that you know of)?

Dillon
Haha, not that I'm aware of.

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Felix
Maybe we can also integrate our Straightedge representative @sunnya97 - how has that experience been so far? Did Straightedge experience similar issues like Edgeware (slashing etc.?).

Dillon
There's been slashing on both so far, but nothing I'm sure the community can't come to consensus on how to deal with.

Sunny
We weren't at first, but then as more validators joined, the slashing started, makes me think that the slashing events happening has something to do with # of validators. Straightedge did an emergency hard fork less than 24 hr after first launch, to reset the token balances to proper bonus results.

It's to be seen what the community decides to do about the slashing.

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Felix
How do you think about governance recovering slashing or maybe even slashing some accounts itself?

Dillon
This was something that was discussed internally and I think voiced in the discord. I'm not sure it's up to CW to decide on this issue, and I think it is certainly left up to the community decide on it. It remains to be see if the community will take a more active "move fast an break things" approach with governance, or a more "neutral" approach with how balances are treated by the on-chain voting system

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Gavin
@dillchen mentioned gaps in Edgeware communication, @sunnya97. What has Straightedge's communication strategy been?

Sunny Aggarwal
Pretty focused on Discord and Telegram. I've been making some proposals (such as to reset balances) but discussion and decisions happen mostly publicly on the discord.

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Sunny Aggarwal
Dillon, how well do you think the community understands the governance procedures on Edgeware?

Dillon
It can definitely be improved, and we're creating some walkthroughs to aid this effort

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Gavin
When I imagine iterating on governance, I think of this as being complex and with many experiments. Is there a way to make this process as stable as possible? Thinking the 'move fast and break things' approach may be problematic if it's the underlying tech that supports the governance experiments.

Dillon
Really, really great question- think it depends on the value function we are judging governance on.But basically, what would be cool to see is governance experimentation get pushed to the edges:

I.e have the treasury seed ~50 DAOs. Each DAO has different voting rules and we see how well they allocate the token. If you want to get really trippy, you could use a DAO Factory Contract that takes in some randomness and the generates some governance rules for the DAO to run.

End of AMA