The Clarity Protocol is an open-source platform that enables decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) to manage on-chain governance. Clarity provides a user-friendly interface and tools for DAOs built on Cardano and Radix to create and vote on governance proposals without needing to write any code.
In June 2022, Clarity launched on the Cardano testnet, allowing users to start experimenting with creating and managing DAOs. After extensive testing and refinement, Clarity launched on the Cardano mainnet in October 2022 and on Radix in October 2023.
- Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) - Groups that leverage blockchain technology to enable decentralized governance and decision-making. Clarity enables DAOs to manage on-chain governance.
- Agora protocol - An audited library of open source Plutus scripts used to create and govern DAOs on Cardano. Clarity extends the functionality of Agora.
- On-chain governance - Governance model where rules and decision-making are encoded on a blockchain. Clarity enables on-chain governance for DAOs.
- Stakes - In Clarity, stakes are used to lock a DAO member's governance tokens to calculate voting power.
- Proposals - On Clarity, DAO members can create proposals to hold votes on decisions. Proposals contain on-chain effects that execute if passed.
- Voting - DAO members can vote on proposals using their stakes. Votes are recorded on-chain.
Organizations vs Agoras
Clarity distinguishes between Organizations and Agora DAOs.
Organizations are groups that can leverage blockchain technology but rely on manual execution of governance decisions by trusted members. Pros of Organizations are that governance actions are free since they don't require on-chain transactions. They also allow for more control by restricting permissions. Cons are that they rely on trusted actors to manually enforce decisions.
Agora DAOs are a subset of organizations on Clarity that rely on the Agora protocol for fully on-chain and automated governance. Agora DAOs use smart contracts to encode governance rules and autonomously execute decisions. Pros of Agora DAOs are trustless execution, transparency through on-chain record keeping, and permissionless participation based on token holdings. Cons are that governance actions require paying transaction fees.
In Agora DAOs, any member can create proposals if they meet the minimum token threshold. Proposals contain on-chain effects that are executed if the proposal is approved through a vote. Votes on proposals are recorded on the blockchain.
The Agora protocol supplies the on-chain governance infrastructure used by Agora DAOs on Clarity. Agora provides core components like governor contracts, stakes, and proposals. Clarity builds on top of Agora to make decentralized governance accessible for everyday users through its interface.
Clarity offers various functionality to enable on-chain governance for DAOs without needing blockchain development skills:
Creating and managing DAOs
Clarity provides tools to create new decentralized autonomous organizations that leverage blockchain technology for governance and coordination.
Participating in governance
Clarity allows members of a DAO to take part in governance activities like submitting proposals, voting, staking tokens, and configuring parameters.
Configuring governance parameters
DAO admins can configure governance settings like token thresholds, timelocks, and voting cadences through Clarity's interface.
There are two main types of voting available in Clarity - polls and proposals.
Polls are off-chain votes used to gauge sentiment from an organization's members. They do not execute any on-chain effects. Creating and voting in polls may be restricted to admin users depending on the organization's settings.
Proposals involve on-chain voting that is recorded on the blockchain. Proposals are only available to Agora DAOs on Clarity. Any member who meets the minimum token threshold can create a proposal.
Proposals contain smart contract effects that will automatically execute if the proposal is approved through the vote. Votes on proposals are submitted via transactions on the blockchain.
There are key differences between the voting power used for polls versus proposals:
- For polls, simply holding the governance token grants voting power based on the token balance.
- For proposals, members must lock their governance tokens into stakes to gain voting power. The voting power is based on the amount of tokens locked in the stake.
Proposals must go through defined stages including drafting, voting, execution, and completion based on the parameters in the DAO's governance contract. Proposal voting is permissionless for any member with enough stake.
Bounties allow crowdsourcing submissions and conducting votes to synthesize collective intelligence.
- Logan Panchot: Handles community growth and fundraising. Graduated from Stanford University and has roles in business operations and community growth at Clarity.
- Justin Schreiner: Leads frontend development. Has a background in Computer Science and is a Plutus Pioneer.
- Matt Laux: Heads full-stack development. An engineering graduate from Texas A&M.
- Ben Hart: Technical development leader with a decade of experience in the software industry.
- Mark Florrison: Leads engineering operations. Founded MLabs, a Cardano and blockchain consulting company.
- Chris Borders: Compliance lead and general counsel with over three decades of legal experience.
- Tomasz Maciosowski, Nigel Farelly, Michał Adamczyk: Plutus Developers with a focus on Haskell and functional programming.
- Mateen Motavaf: Former CEO of SundaeSwap, involved in strategic decision-making for Clarity.
- Shannon Wu: Investor in the blockchain sector, advises Clarity on strategy and fundraising.
- Paul Levine: Has 30 years of experience in the payments industry.
- Izzat-Begum B. Rajan: Legal and tax expert with extensive experience in tax-efficient legal structuring.