2022 was a definitive year for blockchain. The cultural values of the industry as a whole were put under scrutiny with the implosion of major crypto funds and exchanges due to criminal behavior. Yet, the value of self-custody became painfully obvious to many who trusted centralized entities that turned out to be, well, extremely untrustworthy.
The U.S. Treasury Department, in a dramatic display of overreach, sanctioned the virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, 45 Ethereum addresses associated with its operations, and arrested the lead protocol developer. As a whole, 2022 was a year in which the importance of privacy and censorship resistance were re-enforced.
This is all set against the backdrop of economic headwinds, confusion as the world continues to deal with COVID-19, and a protracted war in Europe. This is not our first nor our last experience in the doldrums of the hype cycles that seem to track time in crypto. In fact, it’s when the great cleanse ensues that we’re given the gift of stillness. A time to apply first principle thinking, to revisit assumptions, improve upon the narrative and ultimately, build.
And that’s exactly what we did in 2022. The events of this year strengthened our conviction about the importance of building credibly neutral infrastructure as we focused on building the Gnosis Chain. It is the most important step towards ensuring that everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, has access to what we build. Without such an infrastructure in place, how can we resiliently coordinate with each other to face the myriad of challenges before us? This is why we worked hard this year on growing the community of validators securing the Gnosis Chain by making the process user-friendly and financially accessible. As a community-run public blockchain, secured by hundreds of thousands of validators, Gnosis Chain is committed to being the most resilient and unstoppable network available. We were guided by this mission in 2022 and we will continue this pursuit well into the future as we introduce new mechanisms to further decentralize the Gnosis Chain.
The GnosisDAO also continued down its path of progressive decentralization this year with the spin off of teams forming their own DAOs (Safe and Cow). New working groups emerged with the Gnosis Builders coming online to steward the Gnosis Chain ecosystem and Factor, a web3 venture fund strategically managing investments for the treasury.
This year was nothing short of monumental for Gnosis. It was packed with landmark developments and accomplishments.
Certainly the most significant event this year was the Gnosis Merge. The Merge replaced the legacy Proof-of-Authority consensus (PoA) with the open and unpermissioned Beacon Chain Consensus. The Merge transitioned Gnosis to a fully decentralized and permissionless Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network secured by approximately 111,111 validators making it the third most decentralized network behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. Notably, Epoch 0 of the Gnosis Beacon Chain launched on December 08, 2021 at 19:55 UTC ~ exactly one year before Gnosis Chain reached Total Terminal Difficulty and merged! To learn more about the Gnosis Merge, please visit our new website here.
Earlier in the year we worked with creative studio XXIX to re-imagine the visual identity of Gnosis. The overall aesthetic is a solarpunk vision of the near future that emphasizes a culture of abundance. It’s what our lives might look like if we manage to solve the coordination failures around major contemporary challenges such as climate change. Recently, we applied the brand guidelines to our new website gnosis.io.
This year the GnosisDAO saw 52 Gnosis Improvement Proposals (GIPs). That’s nearly twice the amount of GIPs from 2021! Many proposals this year were related to the development of the Gnosis Chain ecosystem.
- Cow Spin Off - 6 January 2022
Gnosis Protocol rebranded to Cow Protocol (CowSwap) and spun off into the CowDAO with the COW governance token! Cow Protocol is a fully permissionless trading protocol that leverages Batch Auctions for matching orders. The Protocol is uniquely designed to maximize liquidity via Coincidence of Wants (CoWs) as well as allowing a flexible use of additional liquidity sources whenever needed.
- Gnosis Guild and the Zodiac Protocol - 2 February 2022
The DAO continued to fund Gnosis Guild and the maintenance of the Zodiac open standard for DAOs. A composable design philosophy for DAOs, Zodiac is a collection of tools built according to an open standard. Zodiac enables DAOs to act more like constellations, connecting platforms, protocols, and chains, no longer confined to monolithic designs.
The community voted to improve economics and clarity of GNO rules by burning 68% (6.8MM GNO) of the total supply (10MM GNO). The GIP formally vetoed the GnosisDAO treasury from voting, giving more voting power to GNO holders.
- Safe Spin Off - 9 February 2022
In a similar fashion as CowDAO in 2021, the Gnosis Safe team spun off, rebranded to Safe, and formed the SafeDAO. An industry standard, Safe is a multi-signature smart contract wallet that allows users to define a list of owner/signer accounts and a threshold number of signers required to confirm a transaction. Once the threshold of owner accounts have confirmed a transaction, the Safe transaction can be executed.
- Ecosystem Fund - 13 April 2022
The GnosisDAO voted to fund the Gnosis Builders; a concerted ecosystem development effort to support developers and projects building on the Gnosis Chain with investments, grants, technical support, business development and marketing.
- Erigon - 13 April 2022
The GnosisDAO voted to partner with Erigon to run on Gnosis Chain for at least three years. Erigon is an Ethereum client built to enable performance optimizations and brings client diversity to Gnosis Chain, a critical component of maintaining the decentralization of the network.
- Nethermind - 24 May 2022
The DAO also voted to partner with Nethermind to run on Gnosis Chain for over three years. Nethermind provides client support for node operators on Gnosis Chain. The partnership also ensures client diversity and, therefore, the resilience of Gnosis Chain.
- Praise Reward System - 25 May 2022
Community members put together a proposal to implement the Praise Reward System, designed by Giveth, for the Gnosis Chain validator channel on Discord. Praise gives validators the ability to earn GNO for helping others with troubleshooting issues with running a node.
- MakerDAO - 3 June 2022
Karpatkey authored a proposal regarding a strategic partnership between the GnosisDAO and MakerDAO to benefit the Gnosis Chain ecosystem. GnosisDAO and MakerDAO both share a vision of using DAI to build a decentralized digital global economy that is fair, transparent and efficient. To learn more about the proposal read here and here.
- Succinct Bridge - 30 June 2022
Succinct Labs and the 0xParc community proposed to build a zkSNARK-enabled bridge for the Gnosis Chain native bridges. Gnosis' native bridges allow for sending tokens and data, and are currently run by a group of trusted bridge validators. This proposal moves the Gnosis Chain towards trustless bridges, a significant innovation. Gnosis' native bridges are first-class citizens in the chain's architecture due to the native xDai bridge's integral role in minting and burning the native xDai token used for gas.
- Bootnode - 29 July 2022
The Bootnode team onboarded as a core contributor of the DAO to support the growth of the Gnosis Chain ecosystem for a 6 month engagement. The team has worked closely with all involved parties to maintain and improve the bridge solutions that empower the Gnosis Chain. Bootnode has also worked to improve the Circles infrastructure, a project associated with the GnosisDAO community. Lastly, BootNode setup and ran the Gnosis Chain full-stack (validator nodes and bridges) focusing on the Gnosis Beacon Chain in preparation for The Gnosis Merge.
- Gateway - 18 October 2022
Gateway.fm authored a proposal to build and support resilient infrastructure for the Gnosis Chain. Gateway.fm provides geographically-distributed enterprise infrastructure built for speed, scale and stability. Their work will extend into 2023.
- Agnostic Relay - 30 November 2022
Agnostic Relay - an open-source MEV Boost relay available to anyone, anywhere in the world, without prejudice or privilege. It is a credibly neutral tool for the Ethereum ecosystem through which any and all transactions may be validated unfiltered on the network.
In the trilemma of scalability, decentralization and security, Gnosis is committed to decentralization. Post-merge and in addition to emphasizing geographic distribution of validators, Gnosis will track a number of key metrics to measure the decentralization of the network. Unique deposit addresses, nodes in the network, and client diversity are all critical aspects of ensuring that Gnosis is the most decentralized public blockchain available.
Other technical proposals to ensure that Gnosis Chain becomes even more resilient in 2023 are base layer solutions such as a shutterized beacon chain allowing users to send encrypted transactions. Such a design would ensure equal access as all transactional data would be generic and anonymous. Additionally, validators could be subject to automatic slashing in the event that they censor blocks if we actively measure the amount of censorship happening on the network. Transaction order flow could also be routed from wallets and apps to anti-MEV mechanisms that utilize Cow Protocol.
This year was a landmark thanks to the GnosisDAO community. From the teams that coordinated a successful merge, the thousands of node runners securing the Gnosis Chain, and to those tirelessly building, we are forever grateful to our dedicated community members. We can’t wait for what 2023 holds and see you on-chain! HAPPY NEW YEAR!