Introducing Snapshot X: our upcoming on-chain voting framework for trustless execution

As you may have heard, we are working on Snapshot X (previously named StarkVote) in collaboration with the StarkWare team. This solution will improve Snapshot in many ways. This is the first in a series of posts that aim to explain and go through the upcoming solution.

What is Snapshot X?

Snapshot X is a voting framework built on StarkNet, the layer 2 ZK-Rollup. It will allow any DAO to run their governance on-chain on layer 2 and execute transactions on Ethereum.

This will provide similar security guarantees to what you get with a voting framework on layer 1, for just a fraction of the cost. We estimate the cost for a vote on Snapshot X around 1,000 gas or about 50x to 100x times cheaper than on Ethereum.

The core innovation of Snapshot X lies in using storage proofs to verify balances. This approach was previously unfeasible due to the high cost of computation on Ethereum. However recently with the advent of L2 technologies like StarkNet, the cost of on-chain computation can be reduced significantly. This allows the storage proof approach to become economically viable whilst maintaining all of the security and decentralization of Ethereum. Here are some of the benefits of Snapshot X:

Trustless execution

Snapshot X will allow your DAO to execute transactions on-chain in a fully trustless way without relying on any human or oracle input. All calculations related to votes will be done on StarkNet which then will control the execution on Ethereum.

Permissionless and censorship resistant

The settings of a space, the proposals, and the votes will be published and verified on-chain on StarkNet. The framework will be entirely permissionless, anyone would be able to interact with it on-chain without going through Snapshot client if they wish to.

No need for expensive checkpoints

Currently, most token contracts using on-chain governance need to implement additional functions to store what we call checkpoints that incur additional gas costs when transferring the token. For more information on this point, read this interesting thread. Snapshot X removes the need for such checkpoints by using storage proofs.

Support native Ethereum signatures

As StarkNet supports native Ethereum cryptographic signatures, users won’t need to change the way they interact with Snapshot, they can keep using their favorite wallet.

Gas-less experience as usual

Users can vote and create proposals by signing messages, without paying gas cost, the same way they do today if you use Snapshot. These messages will be sent to Snapshot hub which will act as a meta-transaction relayer, sending votes and proposals on-chain on layer 2. The cost will be sponsored by the DAO using Snapshot X.

Fully integrated on the Snapshot client

Snapshot X will be available as a plugin within Snapshot, once enabled on your space you’ll be able to add transactions to be executed in a proposal using the transaction builder, similar to how you would do with SafeSnap currently.

When Snapshot X?

This is still a work in progress, we plan to release Snapshot X in Q2 of 2022. We will onboard a few DAOs to the project and open it for any DAO later in Q3 2022. Initially, the Snapshot X framework will support only ERC-20 and delegation voting strategies, it will be followed closely by ERC-721 then multichain support. Over time we plan to expand the range of strategies possible along with different voting systems.

Get in touch

If you wish to be amongst the first to test Snapshot X please reach out using this form. If you have any questions about the solution, join Snapshot Discord, we’ll be happy to discuss it with you! In the coming weeks, the Snapshot and StarkWare teams will publish other articles to explain the architecture design of the Snapshot X framework.

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