ZenIP 42401: Updating Proposal and Quorum Thresholds

ZenIp: 42401
Title: “Updating Proposal and Quorum Thresholds”
Owner: Ross Elkin, relkin@horizenlabs.io
Status: Final
Type: Standard
Created: 02-28-2024


This ZenIP proposes lowering the thresholds required for 1) formally submitting both technical and non-technical improvement proposals; and 2) achieving a quorum of votes for both technical and non-technical improvement proposals. These changes would increase accessibility for community members to put forth proposals, and would bring quorum requirements in line with industry standards.

These changes would apply to both Zen improvement proposals (ZenIPs) and EON improvement proposals (EONIPs).


When the Horizen DAO launched in September 2023, the Constitution of the Horizen DAO specified the parameters for the ZenIP/EONIP proposal process. These parameters covered proposal types, requirements on the number of $ZEN needed to put forth each type of proposal for a vote, and quorum requirements for a vote to adopt an improvement proposal.

Since that time, it’s become clear that these thresholds - particularly those pertaining to proposal submission - are too high. The current thresholds for both ZenIPs and EONIPs are as follows:

  • Technical:
    • Submit proposal for vote: 200,000 $ZEN held or delegated
    • Vote quorum: 10% of circulating supply participating
  • Non-Technical:
    • Submit proposal for vote: 100,000 $ZEN held or delegated
    • Vote quorum: 5% of circulating supply participating

Community members have on multiple occasions expressed displeasure with what they see as unreasonably high proposal thresholds which discourage proposal submissions. There have also been occurrences in the past months of votes having nearly failed due to the quorum thresholds, and proposals voted on to date have only modestly exceeded the quorum levels.

This proposal recommends changing these thresholds to incorporate the learnings of the initial months of the Horizen DAO in the hopes of increasing participation in community governance.


In order to further facilitate community involvement in decentralized governance and reduce the likelihood of failed votes due to lack of a quorum, this proposal recommends the following changes to the thresholds:

  • Technical:
    • Submit proposal for vote: 100,000 $ZEN held or delegated (vs. 200,000 $ZEN currently)
    • Vote quorum: 5% of circulating supply participating (vs. 10% currently)
  • Non-Technical:
    • Submit proposal for vote: 25,000 $ZEN held or delegated (vs. 100,000 $ZEN currently)
    • Vote quorum: 3% of circulating supply participating (vs. 5% currently)

These changes would apply to both ZenIPs and EONIPs. Additionally, no changes are proposed to the majority requirements for either proposal type (i.e., 67% of votes in favor for technical proposals, simple majority in favor for non-technical proposals).


As discussed above, the overarching reason for these changes is to make the governance of Horizen DAO more accessible for community members and increase the likelihood of successful votes (“successful” meaning, in this context, valid due to reaching a quorum). These changes demonstrate Horizen DAO’s responsiveness to the community, and bring these governance parameters more in line with those of other leading DAOs.

It’s worth noting that when the Horizen DAO launched, the community was not able to vote on individual aspects of its governance. The governance structure was presented to the community as a comprehensive package, which community members were able to implicitly ratify via continued participation in the project, or to reject by disassociating from the project and/or selling their $ZEN. This approach was understandable, as having the community vote on each individual parameter would have been extremely inefficient. However, the Constitution of the Horizen DAO addressed this reality by allowing for changes to the governance framework and the Constitution itself, as enumerated by the improvement proposal process. This improvement proposal is the first one amending the Constitution of the Horizen DAO as part of this framework.

Security and Privacy Considerations

Lowering the proposal threshold would make it easier for more community members to submit proposals for vote, and reducing the quorum threshold would mean that votes could take place with a smaller amount of voting power participating. While this proposal operates under the assumption that the effects of these changes are net positive, there are some potential risks. First, this change may increase the volume of proposals, which if taken too far could overwhelm the proposal process and Special Council. This change could theoretically also make it easier for bad actors to participate in governance by lowering the barrier to entry. However, the proposed thresholds are still high enough to make these scenarios unlikely, and the Horizen community should wield sufficient voting power to thwart any unscrupulous actors.

Reference Implementation

If this ZenIP passes, implementation would entail amending the official DAO documentation to reflect the changes. This includes the Constitution of the Horizen DAO; documentation website; and any other relevant documents. The Snapshot space administrator would also need to configure the new settings.


Totally in favor even if I think that we still can lower the non-technical proposals threshold


I fully agree on all points. I think we could even lower the required stake for ‘Submit Proposal,’ but this can be a good intermediary step. Regarding the quorums, I’m 100% in alignment.


I’m in favor, as well. For the record, I wasn’t initially a fan of lowering thresholds until I was presented with data from other ecosystems. I didn’t realize we were multiples higher than other DAOs to get things done. Given that we’ve had some trouble hitting quorum on key votes, it makes sense to lower the thresholds to be in line with the rest of the industry.


Note: updated the ZenIP number


:+1: Primarily it makes it easier for a wider range of participants to engage in the decision-making in the DAO.