Self-Governance as a Design Goal

4 min readDec 21, 2017

Since Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper nearly a decade ago, the cryptocurrency space has been moving quickly, testing the boundaries of both industry norms and the technology itself. In addition to numerous novel, disruptive applications in virtually every industry, a plethora of new cryptocurrencies emerged. Some were extremely similar to Bitcoin, others challenged Bitcoin’s core mechanics, but almost all of them focused on technical and engineering aspects of cryptocurrencies. Governance norms emerged later–quickly, yes, but well after.

Because of this, many projects resulted in only a few people or tightly knit groups dictating how these new cryptocurrencies were run, what updates were incorporated, and how the cryptocurrency operated. This usually was not intentional or malicious, but it nevertheless can be problematic.

The focus of so many projects has been engineering or technology, with governance approached as an afterthought. While Metronome is supported by technologies both conventional and (in all due modesty) breakthrough, our first-order design criteria for a built-to-last cryptocurrency was sound governance. This is where we’d like to focus the discussion today.

What is governance?

For a cryptocurrency, governance is the way(s) in which a community that built and manages the project defines that community’s explicit and customary norms .

Governance strategies in the current cryptocurrency landscape are either developer decree, institutional “law,” or a “proof-of-personality” (sometimes referred to as “BDFL” for “Benevolent Dictator For Life.) Bitcoin and Ethereum are largely public consensus with deference to leading developer teams. Ethereum Classic and other cryptocurrencies have established foundations. Some chains use stake-based voting. Generally, these approaches have put engineering before governance, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However it can be greatly improved, because a technologist-first strategy is likely to create “superstars” and leaves many dissatisfied and discontent. That discontent has created deep divisions in the larger cryptocurrency community.

Metronome was founded on the idea of self-governance

Rather than building a cryptocurrency and then developing its governance as a follow-on project, Metronome has been built with governance in mind since its inception. Contract development and adoption is not prescribed, but voluntary and collaborative.

Metronome has tried to learn from the successes and failures of cryptocurrencies that have come before it. To that end, every aspect and feature of Metronome reflects an effort to strengthen its self-governing nature, and increases its likelihood of longevity.

Metronome is self-governing in that:

  • It is free from undue influence of its founders — once Metronome is launched, it is solely in the hands of its contracts and its community, it will work without the intervention of founders, and the community members will be able to choose which — if any — updated contracts or new blockchains on which to record their MTN
  • No group — including authors — can force changes upon the contracts or community, instead community members are empowered to choose
  • Its issuance model is constant, predictable, and not subject to the fluctuations of mining or staking power on the network
  • Its token generation event and daily infusions of currency utilize a descending price auction to encourage rapid market price discovery, and to discourage whales from soaking up supply (as is typical with many new cryptocurrencies that offer discounts, bonuses, and pre-sales), and thus having a disproportionate level of control
  • Metronome authors do not take any proceeds from any auctions. Rather, these proceeds stay in the Metronome ecosystem to provide long term support for the community, reducing any possible influence that the Metronome founding team might otherwise have. Further, Metronome authors’ one-time retention is in MTN and is subject to a lock up period of over three years, denying authors undue influence or control
  • The ability to export MTN from the initial ‘genesis’ chain launched by its authors, and import that MTN to follow-on upgrades released — by its authors or other parties — based on the voluntary consensus of the MTN holder community provides an opportunity for both immutable contracts, and a fair distributed mechanism to upgrade those contracts as the market matures
  • Anyone in the Metronome community can begin developing new contracts for Metronome should they wish to, there is no deference to a foundation or group of developers
  • Users will never be forced to upgrade to a new contract or migrate their holdings to a new chain — it is up to each user to decide which chains and which contracts they wish to secure their MTN on

If Bloq is not controlling Metronome, what will the relationship be?

Bloq and Metronome authors realize it is in the best interest of the community to help foster a healthy, vibrant, and dynamic open-source community. They plan to remain active within the community of users and developers by continuing to grow the ecosystem with MTN-enabled and compatible products. However to be clear: Bloq will have no more influence over the course and future of Metronome than any other member of the Metronome community. This is intentional, and vital to achieving the vision of Metronome. The community will define Metronome, and its smart contracts will govern it, anything less self-governing would not be Metronome.


Metronome is future-focused, aiming for longevity through sound, self-governance. To support this, the Metronome team has built this cryptocurrency with self-governance embodied in every feature it offers. Metronome turned cryptocurrency development on its head, and started with what matters most — self-governance.

Keep the conversation going on the Metronome Telegram and its subreddit. Follow the latest news on Twitter.

More to come,

  • The Metronome Team

UPDATE: For various reasons, the Metronome team has chosen to use the new symbol “MET.”




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