Ensuring continued balance in DAO snapshot votes

Author: Maha (Aura contributor)


Over the past 18 months since the launch of veBAL, there have been a number of turbulent votes within the DAO, accompanied by gradual changes in voter composition. During this time a number of measures have been implemented to maintain balance of votes and voter integrity.

Whilst the reality of voting is quite nuanced, as Aura approaches 50% of the veBAL share it is becoming a concern that the distribution of votes is again becoming imbalanced and that action needs to be taken.

This post seeks to address those concerns, propose a number of potential measures, and open up to the forum to decide the most equitable path forward.

Current state of vote distribution

As seen on DefiWars, current total supply is 7.3m veBAL, with the top 5 voters accounting for almost 90% of that. The quorum on snapshot is 2m veBAL, requiring ~27% voter turnout.

One significant point to note is that over the past year, roughly 3m in veBAL has been gradually unlocking, with an unlock date of last week. This 3m veBAL was minted/staked by Balancer shareholders or similar parties and subsequently delegated to Maxis and other similar stakeholders. This unlocking has linearly reduced the voices there over the past 12 months.

Additionally, as per the peace treaty, another significant amount of votes has been unlocking from Humpy.

In terms of Aura’s token distribution, while it has a lower market cap, the token distribution is relatively more diverse, with the top 5 holders having 40% of the votes, the top holder being a liquid wrapper (jAURA) who does not participate in Snapshot. Balancer DAO Multisig recently became the 6th largest token holder there after claiming and locking 1.4m vlAURA from their vesting stream.

Current state of delegates & active voters

Generally speaking, both DAOs are lacking a diverse set of large, active delegates relative to other DAOs like Aave. Taking a look at recent Balancer snapshot votes (One, Two, Three, Four), shows that Aura and 1-2 Balancer Maxis are the only accounts currently voting with >1k veBAL. Aura votes have a similar distribution (One, Two). Aura’s activity is thus largely critical to maintain activity in the Balancer votes at the minute.

Addressing Aura first, the most active and largest voter is the Aura Delegate Council, comprised of 7 members and with 25% of the voting power delegated to it. This council contains Aura contributors, a karpatkey co-founder, a balancer maxi, and 2 community members and currently votes as a majority based on poll results. Both Aura as a DAO, and more specifically the Delegate Council, have voted on every single Balancer Snapshot vote since their inception.

There are probably a number of reasons for the lack of diversity, one being that the largest voters are too large, making voters feel like they have no voice, another could be the large quantity of votes coming through, and for Balancer, the unlocks mentioned above are another big reason for lack of delegate power.

Aura voting history, alignment and integrity

There have been a few notable periods of controversy in the DAO, with the gauge framework & peace treaty, and then again with a number of SP funding proposals, leading to a period of peace and tranquility that we have experienced on Snapshot for the past 6 months.

As the largest veBAL holder, it is undeniable that Aura is aligned with the long term success of BAL. The value of BAL, the emissions, and fees/revenue generated in Balancer DAO is what Aura’s whole world is built around, and it’s future livelihood. With that being said, given that Aura is an external party and somewhat faceless, it is sensible and rational to consider that they may not be aligned and thus prepare for that scenario.

On that note, I believe that Aura voters have shown integrity and strong alignment with Balancers best interests through this period, by not attempting to abuse their voting power through creating proposals that would explicitly benefit Aura, or attempt to pressure the DAO to do so. Aura also were a major assistance in the creation of the peace treaty. It is possible to consider that this level of alignment will continue for the future lifetime of Aura.

It is worth addressing the notable tension between Aura voters and Balancer employees/community members that came during the period of SP funding in which Orb was wound down and other budgets re-assessed. The process of evaluating and addressing funding requirements is difficult and emotionally charged for both sides, and it was a difficult time, however it now seems like the DAO has reset to be in a much healthier position from an expenses point of view and that those times are behind us all.

The solution(s)

To address Aura’s large size, I believe the most robust solution to be a cap on the maximum voting power of any individual Snapshot voter to be 40-45% (may be extended to include groups of addresses under a single entity). Otherwise, another suggestion could be to return to pass through voting. Even though there is a peace treaty, it would be prudent to have some sort of contingency plan or note from Humpy to accompany this.

For voter diversity:

  • Encourage increased voter activity on both DAOs through more structured programs
  • On Aura’s side, potentially move Aura Delegate council to vote proportionally to poll results rather than in a block, and optimise the composition

Next steps

Decide on a course of action, propose BIP, put it to a vote :v:t2:

The initial BIP should probably be quite simple: cap any individual snapshot voter to 40-45% using this custom snapshot strategy. Following that, some BIPs or discussions on how to increase the voter diversity.


Useless to say, a resolution to this situation is currently not only needed but mandatory.

Lately we have had a healthy discussion in the Aura discord with the community to address this issue. The overall consensus is that is good to move forward with some kind of proposal resembling the key point above, re: limiting the total amount of Aura vote in the Balancer ecosystem below 50%. This will keep both parties, Aura and Balancer, aligned, and frens, like it should be.

At the same time, this proposal doesn’t limit any further accumulation of veBal in AuraBal which, from an economical standpoint, is key for Aura to keep growing.

Looking forward to hear opinions of other stakeholders.


yes i totally agree this will keep both parties, Aura and Balancer, aligned, and frens, like it should be.
At the same time, this proposal doesn’t limit any further accumulation of veBal in AuraBal which, from an economical standpoint, is key for Aura to keep growing. will love to see a response for this


Delighted to see this. It shows strong cooperation and alignment between Balancer and is a great step forward in terms of decentralization.

I am most excited about the push for more voter diversity for all of the reasons so elegantly laid out here by @0xMaha


It is always a good idea to include more ideas and different point of views when building an effective DAO. I think that the idea proposed is a good one (about limiting the voting power), as Balancer Governance has its own specificities.

I echo that the next step is to promote more delegates, so there are more eyes ensuring that what is done is right, and more minds thinking about how to move Balancer forward.


Great post ! Fully supportive of the proposal, the detailed analysis of Aura’s alignment and integrity is reassuring. Kudos to Aura for its collaborative efforts, like the peace treaty. The suggestions for enhancing voter diversity and mitigate operational risk are spot-on. Excited about the positive impact on veBAL’s future! :+1:


Nice proposal which is important for the alignment of aura with balancer and the wider balancer ecosystem.


Im in support of this. Glad more discussion is being brought into forums. Thank you for summary of what is/has been going on.


Thanks a lot for putting forward this initiative. In regards to this quote: to me this sounds very reasonable. A few inputs from my side:

  • Maintaining a healthy delegator set would be really great. I will also do my part and use my delegated vlAura stack (>300k) to actively vote on Aura Snapshot
  • A cap below 50% is absolutely needed to put governance into balance again.
  • In regards to a healthy delegator set: It would be great if that both Balancer and Aura can attract more delegates and therefore distribute voting power accordingly

Thank you for pointing this out. Not many are aware but we all strive for a healthy and efficient ecosystem. I also want to note that the collaboration and communication channels between Aura and Balancer contributors are very constructive and aligned!

In full support of this initiative!


Thanks so much Maha for taking the initiative of bringing this point up.

I think all the suggestions are good and I agree with the overall sentiment that we need more active delegates participating.

A good step would be for the current delegates on both Balancer and Aura to chime in here and show their willingness to step up their participation with any relevant comments. I think by doing so they will be more likely to attract new delegations as a lot of voting power will be following this discussion closely. We could also consider other structured programs to attract more delegate participation.

It would also be great to have @humpydumpy007 chime in on this as they are a key stakeholder in both projects.


I commend the initiative by Aura to cap its max voting power under 50%.
For my part, I am committed to the peace treaty, by delegating part of my voting power to key actors within the DAO, to promote diversity.


In favour of this as well. A balance is much needed. :+1:


I also support this initiative. A healthy, vibrant Balancer community benefits all participants.