As an artist-owned platform, Audius was designed to be owned, operated and managed by its very users. This is why $AUDIO – the native platform token – plays such an important role in the wider Audius ecosystem.
Perhaps the most important element of ownership is the idea of governance – or the process, interactions and decisions that control future iterations of the platform.
In the case of Audius, governance is the process of modifying or upgrading the network through token-based voting. This process allows $AUDIO token holders to control changes to Audius by voting on proposals that are submitted on-chain.
Examples of governance proposals include but are not limited to new features, community grants, treasury management and token distributions.
Stated another way, anyone can suggest changes to Audius using $AUDIO.
Should more the majority of the votes (i.e. 51% or more) agree with that suggestion, the change is hard coded into the platform for all to use! Audius governance also features a minimum quorum, meaning at least 4% of the total $AUDIO supply must vote on the proposal for it to pass.
What is Governance?
Governance is a modular process that largely abides to the following framework:
- Community members suggest changes.
- Third-party developers produce the code necessary to enact those changes.
- Protocol politicians (either community members or third-party developers) propose the changes as an on-chain vote.
- $AUDIO holders vote for or against the proposal.
- The proposal is executed in the event it passes, making its way into the underlying platform.
This means you have a direct voice in the ways that Audius changes, made possible through $AUDIO.
It’s important to recognize that in legacy systems, the process of upgrading products is handled in a completely centralized manner. There may be an opportunity to submit a feature request but more times or not, users are completely at the beholden of the parent company to choose what to (and what not to) implement.
With Audius, you have a direct voice and means of having any change implemented, so long as it garners support from the wider community of $AUDIO holders.
What’s to Know?
To vote on proposals, tokenholders must stake (or use) $AUDIO either by running a node or delegating tokens to a node operator. Details on how staking works and how to delegate can be found on the Audius blog.
In the future, tokenholders may vote to upgrade the protocol such that they could receive voting weight by locking $AUDIO to access exclusive features directly through the audius.co front-end. This process can be handled entirely by the community of $AUDIO tokenholders, without any involvement from the Audius team.
Only staked $AUDIO receives voting weight in Audius. This is done to ensure that aligned actors participating in the system have a voice over important protocol decisions.
All on-chain proposals can be found through the protocol dashboard and will always be fully transparent from now throughout the life of Audius.
What’s to Govern?
The realm of governable topics in Audius is truly endless. For the sake of this article, here’s a more granular view of what areas may be of interest.
- Protocol upgrades – technical changes that allow Audius to operate more efficiently
- Community grants – $AUDIO rewards distributed as incentives to build on Audius
- Treasury management – Decisions on how to utilize tokens held in the community treasury
- Token distribution – Changes to the issuance schedule or fixed allocations to specific rewards programs.
The community treasury currently holds 19M $AUDIO that went unclaimed from the AUDIOdrop, all of which is subject to be distributed at the community’s discretion. This means anyone with at least 1% of the $AUDIO supply can make a proposal for how they would like to see those tokens used.
While governance may feel like a daunting topic for new users, the premise of owning the platform you create value in is one that fundamentally differentiate Audius from its predecessors.
Over the coming weeks, Audius will share more details on the specifics of how to craft a proposal, and how to get more involved in the governance process as a whole.
In the meantime, start brainstorming ways for how you might want to contribute to the Audius ecosystem – the community is here to support!