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Building a strong decentralized governance protocol with HOPR

Anjali Sriniwasan

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HOPR is a privacy protocol dedicated to providing metadata privacy as part of the Web3 and DeFi movements to build a better, more decentralized Internet. HOPR was founded in early 2020, with the backing of several high-profile investors. The most prominent of these was Binance Labs, which contributed $1 million in funding.

The HOPR protocol is supported by the HOPR token, which lives on Ethereum and is used to incentivize data transfer across HOPR’s peer-to-peer incentivized mixnet. Think of it as like Tor, but scalable and without needing to rely on dubious centralized gateway nodes.

The HOPR Token

HOPR has solid DeFi credentials. The HOPR Token launched in three stages in late February 2021. First, a pre-sale limited only to participants in HOPR’s popular incentivized and gamified testnets distributed 50 million HOPR tokens, with purchases capped at 16,000 HOPR tokens per user. This was followed by a public distribution via a Balancer Liquidity Bootstrapping Pool to set the market price. Finally, the liquidity generated ($35m in HOPR and DAI) was moved to a pool on the Uniswap DEX.

This has been supplemented by the HOPR Farm, where HOPR Token holders who provide liquidity get a share of 5m Tokens in yield farming rewards. The returns here have been generous but sustainable: users who participated in the presale and then contributed all their tokens to the pool as liquidity have seen returns of around 50%. The Farm is just over a third of the way through its lifecycle, so there are still around 3m Tokens left to distribute.

Commitment to Decentralized Governance

What’s unique about all this is that it was achieved entirely through community governance. Participants in HOPR’s incentivized testnets were each given a single non-fungible and non-transferrable gHOP token to signify membership in the HOPR Genesis DAO. This DAO then provided proposals on how to launch the HOPR Token and voted for the winner.

Governance is a big deal in crypto at the moment, particularly DeFi, but despite the hype over governance tokens, actual participation has been very low. HOPR is bucking this trend, with almost 100 proposals created for the Genesis DAO in just a few hours. The final vote had almost 50% participation, a huge increase from the lows of 5% seen even in multi-billion dollar projects like Uniswap.

This may be because HOPR seems to be truly committed to decentralization and fairness. The HOPR Association, which runs the project, and the HOPR Team received exactly zero funds from the launch. All the money raised went to sustaining the token through liquidity provision. Team members didn’t even vote in the launch proceedings. The HOPR Association is transparent in its funding practices and doesn’t need to raid the community pot to sustain itself.

This is a stark contrast from previous so-called “fair” launches when teams would disproportionately award themselves tokens under the guise of generous airdrops.

Building a DAO for the Real World

HOPR also has bigger governance goals than most. Unlike the average crypto DAO, which is just focused on how to make on-chain decisions, mostly limited to protocol parameters, HOPR is building decentralized governance that can tackle the complex problems of off-chain business. They call this DecenGov: decentralized, community-enabling governance. A real-world DAO needs to be able to do everything a brick and mortar company or country can, including negotiate, conduct business, and modify its own rules and structure.

The next step in HOPR’s exciting governance journey is starting next week, with the launch of the first in a series of incentivized governance experiments. Community members will once again be tasked with making proposals that affect the HOPR Token. Then every HOPR Token holder will be asked to vote for their favorite.

Perhaps most excitingly of all, there are up to 50,000 HOPR Tokens to be awarded as incentives for community members to provide high-quality contributions to the discussion. Like at the token launch, the team won’t contribute to the decision-making, but they will be watching closely and tweaking the procedures so each governance round is smoother and more effective than the last.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in this experiment, contribute to online privacy, and maybe earn some HOPR Tokens. If you’re at all interested in the current big trends of privacy, DeFi, and crypto governance, it’s definitely worth joining their Telegram or forum.

Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice. 


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Anjali is currently pursuing her Masters, specializing in Mass communication, and journalism. As a crypto-journalist, her interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.

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