OpenGov goes live on Kusama Network!

6 min readNov 23, 2022

Kusama referendum 244 has already passed community vote and been executed! This referendum upgrades Kusama runtime to v9320, which includes OpenGov on Kusama: a first step to more decentralized, efficient, and dynamic governance on the network.

What is OpenGov?

OpenGov is a V2 update of Polkadot’s first governance system, designed to solve the problems of the current governance system. Compared to Polkadot version 1’s “tricameral” governance system, OpenGov’s governance system removes the “Council” and “Technical Committee”, which is comparatively a centralized decision-making organization and introduces Fellowship, which may include Tens of thousands of experts and a multi-channel referendum.

OpenGov is currently running on the Kusama network firstly. Later it will also go live on the Polkadot network.

Multi-track referendum

For the average user, the most intuitive change in OpenGov is the Multi-track referendum.

Why set up a Multi-track Referendum?

The first version of the governance system has been running for almost two years and so many types of “operations” happened on the Polkadot and Kusama networks, most commonly including runtime upgrades, opening slot Auction, extending/replacing slot leases, approving/rejecting treasury motions, approving/rejecting tip, approving/rejecting external proposals, etc. These various “proposals” are either approved by the Technical Committee, Council, or by a referendum of all DOT holders. In OpenGov, where the Technical Committee and council have been eliminated, governance has become simpler and more decentralized, and we have only referenda. Gavin create a concept called Track, which is actually a classification of the different referendums, and each track has a different voting/deciding time, confirm time, and other parameters depending on the “urgency/risk” of the “operation” on the network. These different tracks can also be interpreted as different channels.

In OpenGov, anyone can submit a referendum at any time, and as many times as they want. Any DOT holder can also vote on these referenda. So there could be many referenda in OpenGov, maybe even thousands of them at the same time, which dramatically improves the efficiency of the governance system!

Currently, Opensquare has synchronized the UI of the latest OpenGov, in this version we can see that Parity has released 13 Tracks, including:

  • Root: General network improvements, runtime upgrades, etc. Up to 1 proposal can be processed at the same time.
  • Whitelisted Caller: Able to dispatch a whitelisted call, and up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Staking Admin: Cancelling slashes and processing up to 10 proposals simultaneously.
  • Treasurer: Spending (any amount of) funds, up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Lease Admin: Able to force slot leases, up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Fellowship Admin: Managing the composition of the fellowship, up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • General Admin: Managing the registrar, up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Auction Admin: Starting auctions, up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Referendum Canceller: Able to cancel referenda, up to 1,000 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Referendum Killer: Able to kill referenda, up to 1,000 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Small Tipper: Able to spend up to 1 KSM from the treasury at once, up to 200 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Big Tipper: Able to spend up to 5 KSM from the treasury at once, up to 100 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Small Spender: Able to spend up to 50 KSM from the treasury at once, up to 50 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Medium Spender: Able to spend up to 500 KSM from the treasury at once, up to 20 proposals can be processed simultaneously.
  • Big Spender: Able to spend up to 5,000 KSM from the treasury at once, up to 10 proposals can be processed simultaneously.

Please note that the initial parameters of the referendum are different for each track, and you can find them at the:

The Referendum Process

Submit a referendum

  1. Open Kusama Network on Polkadot JS and select Governance —— Referendum.

2. Add the preimage first. Let’s take the example of requesting 100 KSM from the treasury.

3. After generating the preimage, click Submit a proposal, fill in the preimage, and select the Medium expense track, please note that a submission deposit of 100 KSM is required here (initial parameter, which may be adjusted later). Click Submit and you are done.

Open a deciding period

In the first version of the governance system, many proposals required the council to open a voting period and eventually move to a referendum. In OpenGov, the proposer can open the voting period themselves, but a decision deposit of 16.66 KSM (the initial parameter) is required now to open it.

According to Gavin’s previous article, this deposit is called a Decision Deposit, and Gavin thinks it is cheap to create a referendum by paying a deposit to track the on-chain storage it requires (although right now in the experimental phase, the amount of this deposit is set at a very high value 100 KSM). However, deciding to vote on a referendum entails greater risk and a limited number of proposals can be voting simultaneously on each Track. Therefore, a higher (but refundable) deposit must be paid to mitigate spam or overload the system.

Voting/Deciding Period

The initial voting period for all tracks is currently set to 28 days. Anyone can vote Yes or No, and you can also plus your voting power using the “convince”.

Confirm period

Different tracks of the referendum have different confirmation periods. The high-risk tracks take longer to be confirmed. This is an additional defense against those who raid the referendum approval criteria through a large number of votes. You can see the confirmation time of different tracks here.


If a referendum does not pass within the 28-day voting period, it will be considered not passed, but your decision deposit is refundable.

If a referendum successfully passes within the 28-day voting period and also remains passed during the confirmation period, the referendum is considered successfully approved and is implemented after the Enactment Period.

The Enactment Period is also specified when you submit a referendum, but it needs to be subject to a minimum value, which depends on the Track. Some more high-risk tracks force an extension of the Enactment Period to ensure that the network has enough time to prepare for any changes that may come.

Please note

OpenGov has just been launched, and all the parameters above, are just initial parameters. In order to better hear the suggestions from the community, Parity has also posted an open discussion in the Polkadot Forum to welcome everyone to experience the new governance system. If you have any suggestions and ideas, you can post them here.

If you want to learn more about OpenGov, check out Gavin’s article —— Gov2: Polkadot’s Next Generation of Decentralised Governance.

About PolkaWorld

PolkaWorld is a Polkadot global community founded in 2019. We have gathered more than 50,000 Polkadot enthusiasts, and have always been committed to spreading Polkadot knowledge, training Substrate developers, and supporting Polkadot/Kusama ecosystem.

Twitter: @polkaworld_org.