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Announcing the Shutter protoDAO

Announcing the Shutter protoDAO
Shutter protoDAO ensures decentralization of the Keyper set and provides a way for new Keypers to apply to join.

We are thrilled to announce the Shutter protoDAO to the public. The primary purpose of the protoDAO is to select and manage a decentralized Keyper set. In this post, we will discuss its unique features, how it sets itself apart from fully-fledged public DAOs, its primary functions, and how the protoDAO was established.

The Shutter protoDAO embarked on its initial phase, outlining access and objectives. It adopts a one-person/address, one-vote system, promoting a straightforward democratic process. The membership list is fixed and hand-picked for now. Snapshot will be the voting platform, offering dynamic proposal organization and shielded voting. We have established a Discourse forum and a Common Ground chat for the protoDAO. And these channels are also open to the public but will serve more usage to a broader set of people when the complete DAO is launched.

The Shutter protoDAO is a pragmatic, step-by-step approach towards decentralization, prioritizing community involvement and learning from each phase while maintaining operational reliability and security. Initial members of the protoDAO include early contributors and key members of partner organizations. There are plans for increased decentralization and expanded community participation in the future.

The community channels are also a place to hang out and discuss MEV, mempool encryption/privacy, (shared) sequencer decentralization, shielded voting, and other fun topics!


The protocol developed by Shutter is open-source software designed to protect Ethereum L1 and L2 users from harmful MEV, front-running, and other information imbalances. It utilizes a threshold encryption mechanism operated by a group of specialized node operators called Keypers.

To select and manage the Keyper set, we propose the creation of a DAO. As an initial step, we launched the Shutter protoDAO, a precursor to a fully-developed public DAO. The protoDAO has a narrower focus, concentrating on the involvement of early contributors and stakeholders. It is a crucial piece on the roadmap toward decentralization in the Shutter ecosystem.

The primary objective of the Shutter protoDAO is to create a governance system for managing the Keyper set and serving as a testing environment for governance.

This involves:

  • Periodically selecting and managing the Keyper set
  • Building the community
  • Introducing the initial governance elements


In its first iteration, the protoDAO will consist of the following components:

Initial participants (currently ~20)

The memberships of the protoDAO are provided and tracked through Soulbound/non-transferrable NFTs on the Gnosis Chain.

  • Early contributors who have directly supported the Shutter ecosystem
  • Partner organizations or key members thereof

Key Activities of the Shutter protoDAO

The primary purpose of the protoDAO is to develop the selection mechanism for the Keyper set. The protocol is active, providing shielded voting on Snapshot but with a restricted closed set. We've seen tremendous traction and demand for this, with over 500 shielded proposals having been created since we launched shielded voting on Snapshot. Our goal is now to expand the Keyper set to a broader audience, necessitating a governance solution.

Shutter implements threshold encryption and Distributed Key Generation mechanisms to attain its security features. The cornerstone of Shutter's architecture is a threshold encryption mechanism managed by a group of specialized node operators, the Keypers (or Keyper set). They contribute portions of keys combined to create keys utilized for encrypting and decrypting transactions.

Threshold encryption is a method that enables a larger group of participants (the Keypers) to establish a cryptographic lock that can only be opened if a predetermined number (the threshold) of members collaborate. As long as the number of Keypers defined by the threshold generates their shares of the keys, the protocol operates as intended. This ensures that neither an individual nor a colluding minority of participants can decrypt the contents prematurely or obstruct the protocol from decrypting transactions for execution.

Therefore, the most critical aspect of decision-making in the protoDAO will be managing the Keyper set, including conducting an honest Keyper Selection Process, determining membership of the protoDAO, and executing any changes to the Keyper set on-chain.

A well-functioning set of Keypers is essential, and the Keyper Selection Process is of utmost importance for providing effective protection against malicious MEV. Managing the Keyper set is the primary motivation for implementing the Shutter protoDAO.

Decentralization approach

While we're deeply committed to the principles of decentralization, the path to decentralization is complex and not a simple one-size-fits-all journey. A key challenge is ensuring the reliability and security of the Keyper operations while moving towards a more decentralized governance model. The gradual decentralization approach we've taken with the Shutter protoDAO is a pragmatic response to this challenge.

Our goal is to maintain high operational reliability while gradually increasing the level of decentralization. For this, we are adopting a step-by-step approach. We'd rather make a smaller step towards decentralization now, learn from it, and iterate than wait for a perfect solution. Each step is a learning opportunity, giving us valuable insights that will guide the following stages of our journey.

In this initial phase, the emphasis is on community input and involvement over technical decentralization. The community is the lifeblood of any DAO, and we are prioritizing ways to ensure active, inclusive, and meaningful participation. However, we're fully aware that technical decentralization is essential and will come soon.

The Shutter protoDAO is not the end goal but a stepping-stone towards decentralization. We plan to roll out several initiatives to increase decentralization and community inclusion further. These include introducing more decentralized decision-making mechanisms, expanding the Keyper set, and actively seeking community feedback and participation in every aspect of Shutter's governance.

In regards to expanding the Keyper set, the protoDAO is now accepting proposals to join in! Keep reading further to learn more about how to apply.

Discovering the Shutter protoDAO

The success of Shutter relies on the careful selection and management of Keypers. This vital aspect makes the Shutter Network an ideal candidate for the protoDAO governance model.

The protoDAO members are initially a hand-selected group primarily consisting of the Shutter team, early contributors, organizations interested in running Keyper nodes, individual Keypers, academics who contributed to the development of the protocol, and early partners. Over time, the (proto)DAO will progressively decentralize its operations.

While we already have a set of fantastic initial protoDAO participants, if you're interested in becoming a member of the Shutter protoDAO, join our forum, where there's a protoDAO membership application thread!

Join the Shutter protoDAO forum and check out the community at Common Ground.

Apply to become a Keyper

Becoming a Keyper means operating one of the nodes that generate the encryption and decryption keys for either the votes of the Snapshot integration of Shutter or transactions in the context of front-running protection.

You can find more details about the protocol and Keypers on this earlier blog post:

In-Depth Explanation of How Shutter Prevents Frontrunning
In this article, we are providing an in-depth explanation of On-chain Shutter, Shutter’s first instantiation on Ethereum that is ready to be used

The technical requirements to run a Keyper node will be quite similar to running an Ethereum node. Initially, we hope that node operators have professional experience operating a node with minimal downtime.

If you wish to become a Keyper, post a proposal at the Shutter protoDAO forum! More information can be found here, in our Proposals section.

Shutter Forum
Shutter protoDAO, our first step towards decentralized governance

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