SanchoNet: building together in the age of Voltaire

7 min

The final stage of the original Cardano roadmap, Voltaire, is set to enact the next generation of governance that fully unlocks the Cardano community’s contributions, fostering a self-sustaining system. Voltaire encapsulates Cardano's ideals of participation, empowerment, and inclusive accountability, guided by a principles-first approach and led by the community.

At the heart of Voltaire is CIP-1694 – the Cardano Improvement Proposal named after the year of Voltaire’s birth. This proposal aims to provide minimal viable on-chain governance, further advancing Cardano's ability to operate as a fully decentralized blockchain network, run by its community.

Central to the governance journey is the technology that will empower on-chain contribution and community consensus, and the first iteration of SanchoNet is now live as the evolving technical testbed for CIP-1694’s on-chain governance actions. It is a new playground for the Cardano community to experience CIP-1694 in a controlled testnet environment. New governance roles, such as future delegate representatives (DReps), will be available to the community to experience and weigh in on the advancement of participatory governance. SanchoNet enables developing and testing governance features collaboratively.

Why ‘SanchoNet’?

The naming of SanchoNet is inspired by the character of Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s companion in Miguel de Cervantes’ literary classic.

In the Don Quixote narrative, Sancho mirrors virtues that align with the principles steering the evolution and governance of this network. Sancho's journey through the novel from a humble farm laborer to a wise governor and loyal friend represents a synthesis of realism and idealism.

The choice of SanchoNet also reflects Sancho Panza's transformative journey, echoing broader themes of growth, self-assurance, and integrity that run throughout Don Quixote. His transformation culminates in the episode of governing the fictional ‘Island of Barataria,’ where his innate wisdom and common sense guide him in delivering just and wise judgments. Through the comedic lens of Sancho's governorship of Barataria, Don Quixote offers a humorous yet insightful exploration of governance and its challenges.

What’s going to be happening?

The recent pre-release of node v.8.2.1 introduces SanchoNet, and this is just the beginning. Over the months ahead, an exciting journey of enhancing and refining Cardano’s governance features will take place. In the spirit of innovation and collaboration, SanchoNet is set to roll out frequent releases of Cardano node and Cardano CLI with additional governance functionalities. These incremental updates will allow the community to engage, experiment, and provide vital feedback. Beyond development of these features, SanchoNet will also enable the development of community-built tools to be integrated with the platform.

SanchoNet will evolve from a testnet into a collaborative platform where ideas become reality and contributions enrich the ecosystem, fostering fully decentralized decision making. The entire Cardano community can join in this quest, turning this digital Barataria into a realm of possibility and progress.

Who is SanchoNet for?

SanchoNet gives involvement opportunities to key stakeholders :

  • Stake pool operators (SPOs): during the initial phases of SanchoNet, SPOs have different responsibilities. Apart from block production and network maintenance, they play a pivotal role initially as the sole participants empowered to vote on governance actions. This arrangement will persist until the introduction of functionalities for DRep registration, delegation, and voting.
  • Developers: a SanchoNet developer is an individual skilled in blockchain technology and programming, with a passion for contributing to the evolution of Cardano governance’s future. Empowering and educating the Cardano community to participate in on-chain governance will require a new set of tools. Whether a developer is integrating a wallet, building a DRep explorer, or supporting governance action proposal discussion, there is opportunity to get involved!
  • Future DReps: DReps will hold significant responsibilities in the governance process, voting on important system updates on behalf of ada holders and playing a key role in shaping Cardano's future. DReps will have the ability to vote 'yes,' 'no,' or 'abstain' on governance actions proposing changes to protocol parameters. DReps represent the collective voice of ada holders, and will play a crucial role in turbocharging Cardano's decentralized decision making.

SanchoNet is all about developing and testing the technical components and processes required to action governance for Cardano within CIP-1694. It informs and engages the Cardano community on Voltaire on-chain governance activities currently underway.

To fully utilize the on-chain components as they are designed for ultimate use on mainnet, a significant program of off-chain elements (e.g. committees, informational tools, etc.) will also need to be delivered, subject to a separate complimentary roadmap and timeline.

As such, SanchoNet will follow an independent development trajectory scoped from a technical, rather than final, governance perspective. SanchoNet will encapsulate the various actions and use cases that SPOs, DReps and other users will undertake within typical usage situations as the wider governance capabilities are rolled out.

Therefore not all SanchoNet functionality will operate initially as finally intended (for example, within constitutional actions), and will be subject to change and iteration during the course of development.

Get involved

Sancho Panza's ability to balance pragmatic realities with lofty ideals mirrors the essence of SanchoNet. Like Sancho, the Cardano community is fostering a system rooted in reality, yet guided by visionary principles. SanchoNet aims to create a platform where everyone’s voice will be heard, embracing inclusiveness and practical wisdom in governance.

Join the Cardano community on this journey building the future of participatory governance. Visit SanchoNet to learn more and get involved.