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Polkassembly is a governance explorer and forum for the Polkadot ecosystem. It allows anyone to discuss governance proposals and referenda, and provides an easy way for token holders to participate in Moonbeam’s on-chain governance via MetaMask. Moonbeam features native on-chain governance allowing token holders to make their voices heard through token and conviction weighted, on-chain voting. Please note, tokens locked in democracy will remain locked until the selected lock time has passed and the expired locks are cleared. For definitions of key governance terms and parameters, check out this Overview of Governance in Moonbeam.

In this tutorial, we’ll go through the steps of voting on Polkassembly with MetaMask from start to finish. You’ll learn how to sign up for Polkassembly, how to vote on active referenda, and how to free up any funds locked in democracy. Polkassembly is currently live on Moonriver and will be live on Moonbeam with the release of runtime 1400. In this particular example, we’ll be interacting with Polkassembly on Moonbeam, but the process is exactly the same for Moonriver. For a detailed video tutorial on interacting with Polkassembly, check out How to Participate in Moonbeam Governance with Polkassembly.

On the homepage of Polkassembly on Moonbeam, you’ll see the latest referenda currently open for voting, in addition to any proposals. Proposals are eligible (but not guaranteed) to move to referendum status once per launch period after a 400 GLMR or 4 MOVR bond has been submitted. Each launch period, the most seconded proposal moves to referendum status, at which point the bond is refunded. There is no guarantee that a proposal will move to referendum status, so the proposer and seconder bonds could remain locked indefinitely.

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Principles of Moonbeam’s On-Chain Governance

A token holder’s influence in a vote is determined by two parameters specified at the time of voting: lock balance and conviction. Lock balance is the number of tokens that a user commits to a vote (note, this is not the same as a user’s total account balance). Akin to Polkadot’s governance, Moonbeam uses a concept of voluntary locking that allows token holders to increase their voting power by locking tokens for a longer period of time. Specifying no lock period means a user’s vote is valued at 10% of their lock balance. Additional voting power can be achieved by specifying a greater conviction. For each increase in conviction (vote multiplier), the lock periods double.

Lock Periods Vote Multiplier Approx. Lock Moonbeam Approx. Lock Moonriver
0 0.1 None None
1 1 2 days 1 day
2 2 4 days 2 days
4 3 8 days 4 days
8 4 16 days 8 days
16 5 32 days 16 days
32 6 64 days 32 days

Sign up with MetaMask

The first thing you’ll need to do upon visiting Polkassembly is to create an account. Note, you’ll need to create an account for each network (such as Moonbeam and Moonriver) before voting. However, signup is a breeze – you’re able to sign up for Polkassembly simply by signing a message from your MetaMask account. You also can sign up via email. To sign up with MetaMask, take the following steps:

  1. Click on Sign-up in the upper right corner
  2. Choose the MetaMask account you’d like to connect with Polkassembly
  3. Press Next
  4. Press Connect
  5. If you connected multiple MetaMask accounts to Polkassembly, you’ll need to choose which one you’d like to sign in with
  6. Review the terms and conditions
  7. Press Sign-up

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After pressing Sign-up, you’ll be prompted to sign a message in MetaMask. Verify that the message starts with “Sign up in polkassembly …” This does not cost anything and is only used to authenticate your login to Polkassembly.

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Voting on a Referendum

To vote on a referendum, you can either click on the referendum directly from the home page or click the On-Chain dropdown, then click Referenda. To vote on a referendum, take the following steps:

  1. Review the description of the action to confirm you’re voting on the correct referendum.
  2. Select the MetaMask account to vote with. Ensure the account is funded with enough tokens to cover the lock balance plus transaction fees. You can vote with any amount of tokens, but specifying your entire account balance without leaving anything to pay for transaction fees will result in an error.
  3. Enter a lock balance which will be locked in democracy for a period of time corresponding to the conviction chosen. Note: your vote’s weight is determined by the number of tokens that you lock and the conviction chosen, not your total account balance.
  4. Enter the vote lock period. The default is no lockup period, which results in a vote weight of 10% of your locked tokens, or you can specify a conviction multiplier up to 6, which amplifies your vote weight 6x and locks the number of tokens you specified in the prior step for 32 enactment periods. For more information on vote lock periods, see this guide to voting on the Moonbeam docs site.
  5. Press Aye or Nay to submit your vote and confirm the transaction in MetaMask.

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Clearing Expired Democracy Locks

Tokens with expired locks will remain locked until you free them, so you’ll need to take a couple of quick steps to remove these expired democracy locks after voting in a referendum. How can you tell if you have funds locked in democracy?. You can see these funds as locked on Subscan under the locked section. Note, funds that are locked in democracy will not be displayed in your free balance on EVM block explorers like Moonscan until the democracy locks have expired and been manually cleared.

Once the lock time has passed, you can unlock your funds in Polkassembly by taking the following steps:

  1. Click on your account in the upper right corner
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Ensure the correct account is selected. If you need to change it, select a different account in MetaMask and refresh the page.
  4. Click Remove and Confirm the Transaction in MetaMask.
  5. If you have locks from more than one referendum, Click Remove and Confirm the Transaction in MetaMask for each outstanding proposal. Note, you may see a lock balance of 0 for certain votes where you chose no lockup period – you’ll need to remove those votes before proceeding to the next step.
  6. Click Unlock and Confirm the Transaction in MetaMask.

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Note: For simplicity, only one MetaMask transaction confirmation is displayed in this screenshot, but you’ll have a minimum of two transactions to confirm.

A Forum for Governance

The goal of Moonbeam’s governance mechanism is to advance the protocol according to the desires of the community. Autonomous enactments and forkless upgrades unite the community towards that common mission. Regardless of the proposal, understanding the context and the reasoning for the change is important. Polkassembly provides a framework for proposers to add context around their proposal, and a platform for the community to provide feedback. This way, Polkassembly enables proposals to evolve and be refined based on community input.

And that’s it! In this guide, you learned how to create an account, vote on a proposal, and free tokens locked in democracy. There’s a lot more that you can do in Polkassembly. For example, you can also second proposals, start discussion threads, and create polls. Polkassembly unites the power of Moonbeam’s on-chain governance with the seamless user experience enabled by Polkassembly and MetaMask.

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Moonbeam Team

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