How DAOs can use Zero Knowledge Proofs for gasless, private voting
An interview with an Aragon ZK research engineer about the future of ZK and DAOs, Product Guild proposal and new delegate profile up in the forum, DAO Global Hackathon is open for bounties
We interviewed Artem, a ZK research engineer at Aragon, to learn more about what the ZK team is building. Read more about OVOTE and BatRaVot, the two gasless voting protocols with on-chain execution, in the weekly highlight below.
The product guild, which includes the new Aragon App and OS, posted their request for funding in the forum. A new delegate profile of a cross-functional research team, Prisma, was also posted.
We’re hosting the second iteration of the DAO Global Hackathon this spring! Our goal is to bring the “legos thesis” that enabled DeFi to DAOs and focus on modular building blocks to power adaptable organizations. To post a bounty and get involved, get in touch with our events lead at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Highlight of the week: How DAOs can use ZK proofs for gasless, private voting
Voting on-chain in DAOs can be expensive, which deters voters from participating and can weaken community sentiment if fewer people have a say in key decisions. But on-chain voting is a critically important component of DAOs, because it’s trustless and universally verifiable by everyone.
So, the Aragon ZK Research Guild set out to solve this problem and build gasless voting with on-chain execution.
“We built OVOTE, which is very similar to ZK Rollups, but instead of doing it for transactions, we built it for votes,” said Artem, ZK Research Engineer.
Here’s how OVOTE works:
When you want to vote, the program creates a ballot rather than a transaction. The ballot has information about your wallet, what you want to vote for, and a small proof. You send this ballot to an intermediary called an aggregator. The aggregator puts together all the votes and sends them to the smart contract, which drastically reduces the gas cost. The aggregator pays the gas fees, not the voters.
The team also developed BatRaVot, which stands for Batched Ratified Voting.
“They operate quite similarly. The key difference is the zero knowledge proof system we use,” said Artem. “For BatRaVot we used a lightweight, custom-built solution.”
BatRaVot is about two times more efficient than on-chain voting in terms of gas cost. It also has different voting options, such as delegated voting. And, it can be extremely flexible with the data you put into it.
“The fact that we do most computations off-chain means we have a lot of flexibility in how we support data. So you could vote with NFTs and wouldn’t need to change the contract much,” he said.
Artem even noted that you don’t need an Ethereum address to vote in BatRaVot. The protocol is agnostic to the data coming in.
Using ZK to build private DAOs
Right now Aragon uses ZK for reducing the cost of votes, but the next step for the team is to use ZK for privacy.
“The very ambitious next step would be making DAOs private. Not just the voting, but the actual internals of the DAO.”
The team plans to integrate ZK into voting protocols at Aragon, and eventually they could even create “ZK DAOs,” as Artem calls them.
“ZK DAOs make a community private, even on a public internet. It doesn’t feel right when you want to vote in an election and not even the community members can see what you’re voting on. So you need a private space.”
He noted that token-gated systems right now are not provably secure and easily hackable. “If you’re a Discord admin you can always get in,” he said.
What’s next for Aragon ZK Research
Next up for the team is an audit to test the security of both OVOTE and BatRaVot.
“It’s hard to say how secure it is until we do an audit, and audits are hard because there aren’t many specialists in this field yet,” he said.
The team is also exploring the possibility of aggregator attacks. “What if none of the aggregators accepted your vote?” he said. “It’s important to offer different ways to submit votes. And, people can even become their own aggregators, so that’s another way to solve the problem.” This is similar to the issue of validator attacks on the Ethereum blockchain.
After audits, they’ll look into helping integrate it into the new aragonOS and then start working on private voting.
“We could implement it sometime this year,” he said, and they are already working on it today.
Thanks for reading The Eagle!
No new votes this week.
Aragon Product Guild Funding Proposal
The Aragon Product Guild, which includes the App and OS team, detail their plans and funding request for the year ahead.
“Prisma” is a cross-functional research team that services Prism DeGov Research Association, a non-profit association based in Switzerland, to support the advancement of decentralized governance solutions.
The direction they recommend for Aragon is to pursue becoming the leading provider of on-chain governance technology to build and manage decentralized organizations.
We’ll be a meta sponsor at Eth Denver! We look forward to seeing you in March:
Selim, UX Lead, spoke on a panel about the value of web3:
Samantha, Content Editor, spoke on a panel about the intersection of AI and DAOs:
DAO Global Hackathon: Bringing the legos thesis that enabled DeFi to DAOs
Spring 2023, virtual. More details to come soon!
Get in touch with email@example.com to post a bounty and become a sponsor!
Read the blog on what the Aragon ZK Research Guild is building!
Check out the new proposals on the forum.
Get in touch with Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org to post a bounty in the DAO Global Hackathon.
Have a great weekend!
—The Aragon Growth Guild