Bringing Multichain Governance to DAOs with zkSync and LayerZero

Multichain governance enables DAOs to govern assets and permissions across EVM chains from one mainnet DAO smart contract. This Aragon OSx plugin leverages the LayerZero protocol for cross-chain messaging and the zkSync Era rollup for low-cost and secure voting. Explore the open-source code here or get in touch for a custom build.

Here’s how governance in multichain DAOs works from proposal to execution:  

  1. Create a custom census with tokens across chains: Create a custom census using governance tokens across multiple chains using LayerZero’s Omnichain Fungible Token (OFT) standard.
  2. Cast low-cost votes on zkSync: Once the census has been created, members will be able to vote settling on zkSync at a fraction of the cost. Or, they can vote on the chain they hold their tokens on.
  3. Execute the action across chains simultaneously: After the vote, use the Aragon OSx permission management system to execute the action programmed into the proposal on multiple chains simultaneously from your mainnet DAO.

The architecture is diagrammed here:

The multichain governance plugin architecture built by Aragon

If you’re interested in using this design, inquire here about a custom build.

This specific multichain governance design would not be possible without Aragon OSx’s modular permission management system, making it simple to grant and revoke permissions to external contracts from a DAO contract.

Here’s what you can do with the plugin and why it’s exciting for the future of onchain governance.

How it works

Execute actions on any chain simultaneously

You can execute actions not just on mainnet, but on any chain that the main DAO has a proxy DAO deployed on. This gives you ultimate governance flexibility to adjust parameters and send assets on the precise chain you need to.

If you want to execute multiple actions simultaneously, you don’t have to create multiple proposals to execute the actions. You can execute all the actions from a single proposal, saving your DAO time and resources. This is enabled by the permission management system at the center of Aragon OSx.

Build a census with tokens from any chain

With the multichain governance plugin, voting rights are no longer fragmented. DAO members can hold governance tokens across any EVM chain and they can be counted in the same voting census on zkSync.

The plugin leverages  LayerZero’s Omnichain Fungible Token Standard (OFT) to extend the capabilities of governance tokens, enabling token holders to cast votes on zkSync, no matter which chain their token originated on.

You’re not limited to only fungible tokens, either. You can also use different tokens in your voting census, such as NFTs. This gives you more membership optionality, because your members can hold different tokens on different chains and still have them counted toward their voting power. As long as the tokens follow the ERC-20 Votes Standard, they can be used in the wrapper.  

Vote on zkSync to save gas costs and increase token participation

With this plugin, you can save DAO members from having to cast expensive mainnet votes. All votes are cast on zkSync, so they’re just a fraction of the cost of what voting on mainnet would be.

This saves token holders significant gas costs when they vote. It can also increase token participation, because members might be more likely to cast votes if they don’t have to pay for them. Higher token participation can improve a DAO’s governance security, because it’s harder for a single entity to buy up the token and unilaterally pass proposals.

Have the advantages of security and liquidity on Layer 1, while increasing voter participation with Layer 2 scalability

Multichain governance gives you the best of Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains. Your DAO will have the security and liquidity benefits of being deployed on Ethereum mainnet, with the scalability of voting for a low cost on a Layer 2.

“It's clear now that Ethereum is scaling through rollups, but we've left behind the piece about connecting and managing accounts across them. By working on multichain governance, we're enabling Ethereum to scale by helping distribute liquidity and offloading some transactions to L2s, while protocols will still be able to live on mainnet.”

— Carlos, CTO

What's under the hood

We’re proud to integrate with LayerZero and zkSync to make multichain governance a reality. Here’s how it all fits together:

LayerZero: Omnichain interoperability protocol

LayerZero powers the cross-chain messaging leveraged by the multichain governance plugin to offer novel and unparalleled ease of governance across chains in a gas efficient way. This is done using the widely adopted Omnichain Fungible Token (OFT) standard.

LayerZero’s Omnichain Fungible Token (OFT) standard makes native multichain assets possible. You can wrap any token to become an OFT, making it usable on any EVM chain. Instead of sending your asset to a bridge, receiving a new asset minted from that bridge, and then trusting that bridge’s security to keep your assets safe, OFTs are native assets.

Here’s how it works: when you want to wrap your token, the token on the original chain is burnt and the new token is minted on the destination chain, with LayerZero relaying the cross-chain messages to complete this action. When you want to send the tokens back to the original chain, the process is conducted in reverse: they’re burnt and then minted back on the original chain.

zkSync: the future-proof zkEVM on the mission to scale freedom for all

All votes in the new multichain governance plugin will be conducted on zkSync, a rollup leveraging zero-knowledge proofs.

zkSync is both hyperscalable, being the L2 with the highest total number of transactions, and secure, as it inherits 100% of Ethereum’s security. zkSync’s low-cost transactions and emphasis on security make it an ideal place to conduct your DAO’s votes.

zkSync’s technology also supports paymasters, making it possible for DAOs to pay for their members’ gas fees to vote.

These two industry-leading technologies, when paired with the modular permission management system of Aragon OSx, make multichain governance possible.

Aragon OSx: DAO framework with security and modularity at its core

At the center of the multi chain design is Aragon OSx, a modular and adaptable protocol that enables you to manage permissions to external contracts and addresses. Here are a few reasons that make Aragon OSx a perfect fit for building multichain governance:

  • Flexible permission management system: the permission management system at the core of the protocol is flexible enough to add a cross-chain condition using LayerZero.
  • Unopinionated protocol design: the design of Aragon OSx doesn't conflict with the different choices of various L2s. OSx is simple and un-opinionated, so it’s easier to plug-and-play different EVM chains.
  • Replicable plugin system: The plugins you build are replicable across chains, so you don’t have to redo development.
  • Strong base plugin contracts: The base contracts handle the majority of the logic, making development easier.

You can learn more about Aragon OSx here.

Become future-proof

We live in a multichain world. A thriving ecosystem of rollups have emerged as the solution to Ethereum scalability, so protocols need a way to govern assets and permissions across chains.

Multichain organizations now have an answer to govern entirely onchain. The multichain governance plugin will enable seamless management of the protocols deployed across chains without the security risks of deploying multiple DAOs or fragmenting their members’ voting rights. With lower gas fees for voters incentivizing participation, token holders won’t have any barriers to participate.

With powerful multichain governance, organizations will be able to run their full end-to-end governance stack onchain, leveraging the advantages of being built on trustless, permissionless, and censorship resistant technology.

Multichain governance for multichain protocols will change the way we govern onchain, forever.

Call for partners and feedback

Check out the codebase for this governance design here. If you’re interested in implementing this plugin for your own DAO, email us and we’ll be back in touch!

Aragon has been building onchain governance infrastructure for over 7 years, with its tech securing billions of assets. Govern your protocol onchain with Aragon OSx: the secure and modular DAO framework with customization built in. Or, launch a DAO in 10 minutes or less without writing any code on the Aragon App.

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