Last month, PolkaWorld—a Chinese community with more than 50,000 members—put forward a proposal to fund three months of its operational and maintenance costs. It requested 16,842 DOT tokens (valued at nearly $70,000 at the time of writing) to cover expenditures for the last quarter of 2023, which included further promotion of the Polkadot ecosystem in Asia.
With 93.3% of the votes cast as “nay,” the proposal was overwhelming rejected, forcing the community to halt its operations, as revealed by the community’s official Twitter account.
It’s super sad to say that PolkaWorld’s proposal was rejected, and we’ve been halted operations for half a month now. This is the first time we’ve had to pause in the four years and three months since we started in 2019. All of these changes happened after @Polkadot initiated… https://t.co/KxqhCRKTXC
— PolkaWorld (@polkaworld_org) September 15, 2023
In response, members of the community lashed back against the new open governance structure implemented on Polkadot in June, dubbed “OpenGov,” and its apparent impact on long-term contributors.
“This is the first time we’ve had to pause in the four years and three months since we started in 2019,” posted PolkaWorld, adding that “All of these changes happened after Polkadot initiated OpenGov.”
OpenGov grants every token holder a vote, ensuring that all members have a hand in the direction of Polkadot. Earlier this year, it replaced a previous council system of experts that lended its knowledge to evaluating, approving or rejecting proposals.
Although PolkaWorld posted on Twitter that they take an optimistic view of the new governance framework, they noted that “decentralization only works for the informed,” encouraging the project to reinstate (at least partially) its previous council.
“This council had expertise in certain areas and would use their knowledge to evaluate proposals,” wrote a lengthy post by PolkaWorld, adding that “I think this approach shouldn’t be scrapped.”
The post was appended to one by Markian Ivanichok, founder of Brushfam–a Polkadot platform for businesses.
Ivanichok explained that his project would also be leaving Polkadot, citing the aforementioned concerns with OpenGov, along with several other reasons.
A decision he called “long overdue,” the founder wrote of the difficulty to get financing, the lack of business or marketing strategy on Polkadot, and a “stubborn leadership” refusing to recognize the need to change.
In fact, Polkadot—a so-called multichain network that allows its developers to each build upon their own blockchain and connects the plethora of smaller networks together as “parachains”—had a leadership change not long ago.
Parity Technologies, the parent company of Polkadot, saw its CEO and Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood step down from his role, although he remained on as chief architect. Wood has been silent on Twitter on this latest controversy.
Despite claims from PolkaWorld and Ivanichok, Polkadot has been gathering some steam, with news surfacing in May that Uniswap would launch on Polkadot via the Moonbeam parachain.