Building a Trustless Decentralised Governance Application ๐ŸŒ

Published on 09.07.2024 by Keno DreรŸel

TLDR: We designed and implemented a decentralized voting app which you can try out at governance.aeternity.com!

๐Ÿ›๏ธ Introduction and Background

The aeternity blockchain, a platform committed to creating a more equitable online ecosystem through scalable, open-source, and cryptographic protocols, introduced the Governance App to embody its vision for participatory digital governance within the Web3 space. This case study explores the app's development, features, challenges, and its broader implications for blockchain governance.

The Governance App was envisioned as a tool to empower the aeternity community, enabling them to have a say in the platform's direction through a transparent and verifiable polling mechanism. The Unit 214 Team was commissioned to implement this vision. The development process was focused on their commitment to open-source principles, actively seeking and incorporating feedback from testing phases to refine and improve the app. Key challenges such as user accessibility and poll result verification were addressed through iterative testing and community feedback.

โš™๏ธ Features and Functionality

At its core, the Governance App allows users to create and participate in polls, facilitating a democratic decision-making process within the aeternity ecosystem. It emphasises ease of use, with a user-friendly interface that makes participation accessible to all members of the community. To ensure transparency and trust, the app features robust verification mechanisms for poll results, and ongoing optimizations have significantly improved performance and user experience.

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Challenges and Solutions

The development of the aeternity Governance App had three core technical challenges, each addressed through innovative use of technology and programming frameworks:

๐Ÿ”„ Liquid Democracy and Real-time Aggregation

Implementing a liquid democracy system, with its potential for infinite delegations, required a robust and fast solution for real-time vote tallying. We leveraged smart contracts on the blockchain to manage the complex logic of delegations and secure voting. The Node.js backend, developed with efficiency in mind, ensures accurate, transparent, and immediate aggregation of polling results, embodying the democratic ideals of the app.

๐ŸŒ Application Optimization for Global Accessibility

To enable the Governance App's responsiveness worldwide, especially on slower networks, we focused on minimising the application's size. Utilising Vue.js for the frontend allows for a lightweight, yet dynamic user interface. On the backend, Node.js, combined with efficient database management through PostgreSQL and caching solutions via Redis, significantly enhances the app's delivery speeds and overall performance.

๐Ÿ’ช Resilience and Independence

Building an app capable of functioning independently of its backend was a priority, ensuring usability even when the backend was offline or not trustworthy. Smart contracts play a pivotal role in maintaining functionality, allowing users to interact with the blockchain directly and securely for critical operations like voting and delegations. Additionally, the app is also validating the smart contracts code to ensure their integrity.

These challenges were met with fully perishable state in the backend, a focus on client side data processing, and exceptional error handling, ensuring the Governance App was not only a testament to aeternity's technical possibilities but also a forward-looking solution for decentralised governance with great user experience, regardless of the users connectivity and trust in central entities.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Results and Impact

The Governance App has seen a positive reception from the aeternity community, with an increasing number of polls and active participation reflecting its utility and impact. The app was built from scratch in 4 months and has been running in production on low maintenance and with no significant incidents since 2019.

๐ŸŽฏ Conclusion

The aeternity Governance App's development signifies a remarkable achievement in blockchain-based digital governance, showcasing our team's ability to navigate complex technical challenges with innovative and effective solutions. We have successfully implemented a system that supports liquid democracy and ensures global accessibility and resilience. This work has not only demonstrated our technical capabilities but has also had an impact on the aeternity community, fostering a more democratic and participatory decision-making process.

About the Author

Keno DreรŸel
Co-Founder, Full-Stack Engineer
and Machine Learning Specialist
Tags: BlockchainNode.jsDecentralizedAeternityVue.jsweb3