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Participate in Polkadot OpenGov

Learn more about Polkadot OpenGov

For background information about Polkadot OpenGov, please refer to this dedicated Wiki document.

This guide will instruct token holders how to propose and vote on public referenda using the Referenda module (OpenGov). Below are a few links to stay informed and directly engage with the community.

  • Polkadot Direction - a place to discuss governance and the future of Polkadot.
  • Kusama Direction - a place to discuss governance and the future of Kusama.
  • Polkadot and Kusama Polkassembly - for current referenda, latest proposals, motions, treasury proposals, tips, bounties, and more.
  • Polkadot Daily Digest - News about what is happening in the Polkadot ecosystem, published every weekday except holidays.

Polkadot OpenGov Terminology and Parametersโ€‹

The important parameters to be aware of when voting using the Referenda module are as follows:

Origin - Each origin has a fixed set of privileges. When making a proposal, it is important to choose the origin that has the privilege to execute the referenda.

Track - Each track has its own dispatch origin and a preset configuration that governs the voting process and parameters.

Submission Deposit - The minimum amount to be used as a (refundable) deposit to submit a public referendum proposal.

Prepare Period - The minimum time the referendum needs to wait before it can progress to the next phase after submission. Voting is enabled, but the votes do not count toward the outcome of the referendum yet.

Decision Deposit - This deposit is required for a referendum to progress to the decision phase after the end of prepare period.

Decision Period - Amount of time a decision may take to be approved to move to the confirming period. If the proposal is not approved by the end of the decision period, it gets rejected.

Max Deciding - The maximum number of referenda that can be in the decision period of a track all at once.

Conviction: A multiplier to increase voting power.

Approval: the share of the approval vote-weight after adjustments for conviction against the total number of vote-weight for both approval and rejection

Support: The total number of votes in approval (ignoring adjustments for conviction) compared to the total possible amount of votes that could be made in the system. Support also takes into account abstained votes.

Min Approval - The threshold of approval (along with the min support) needed for a proposal to meet the requirements of the confirm period.

Min Support - The threshold of support (along with the min approval) needed for a proposal to meet the requirements of the confirm period.

Confirmation Period - The total time the referenda must meet both the min approval and support criteria during the decision period in order to pass and enter the enactment period.

Min Enactment Period - Minimum time that an approved proposal must be in the dispatch queue after approval. The proposer has the option to set the enactment period to be of any value greater than the min enactment period.

Origins and Tracks Infoโ€‹


For every referendum in each of these tracks, the Polkadot-JS UI displays interactive graphs of the support and approval.

UI Support and Approval


The origin with the highest level of privileges. This track requires extremely high levels of approval and support for early passing. The prepare and enactment periods are also large. For instance, a referendum proposed in this track needs to amass 48.2% support (total network issuance) by the end of the first day with over 93.5% approval to be considered to be part of the confirm period. The support curve drops linearly to 25% by the end of day 14 and almost to 0% by the end of day 28. This ensures that the token holders receive ample time to vote on the proposal during the decision period.

Whitelisted Callerโ€‹

Origin commanded by the Fellowship whitelist some hash of a call and allow the call to be dispatched with the root origin (after the referendum passes). This track allows for a shorter voting turnaround, safe in the knowledge through an open and transparent process for time-critical proposals. For instance, a referendum proposed in this track needs to amass 20% support (much lesser than the root) by the end of the first day with over 93.5% approval to be considered to be part of the confirm period.

Staking Adminโ€‹

The origin for canceling slashes. This origin has the privilege to execute calls from the staking pallet and the Election Provider Multiphase Pallet.


The origin for spending funds from the treasury (up to 10M DOT). This origin has the privilege to execute calls from the Treasury pallet.

Lease Adminโ€‹

Origin can force slot leases. This origin has the privilege to execute calls from the Slots pallet.

Fellowship Adminโ€‹

The origin for managing the composition of the fellowship.

General Adminโ€‹

The origin for managing the registrar. This origin has the privilege of executing calls from the Identity pallet.

Auction Adminโ€‹

The origin for starting auctions. This origin can execute calls from the Auctions pallet and the Scheduler Pallet.

Referendum Cancellerโ€‹

The origin can cancel referenda. This track has a low lead time and approval/support curves with slightly sharper reductions in their thresholds for passing.

Referendum Killerโ€‹

The origin can cancel an ongoing referendum and slash the deposits. This track also has a low lead-time and approval/support curves with slightly sharper reductions in their thresholds for passing.

Small Tipperโ€‹

Origin able to spend up to 250 DOT from the treasury at once.

Big Tipperโ€‹

Origin able to spend up to 1000 DOT from the treasury at once.

Small Spenderโ€‹

Origin able to spend up to 10000 DOT from the treasury at once.

Medium Spenderโ€‹

Origin able to spend up to 100000 DOT from the treasury at once.

Big Spenderโ€‹

Origin able to spend up to 1000000 DOT from the treasury at once.

Create a Referenda Proposal using Polkadot-JS UIโ€‹

Submitting a Preimageโ€‹

The act of creating a proposal is split from submitting the preimage for the proposal since the storage cost of submitting a large preimage could be expensive. Allowing the preimage submission to come as a separate transaction means that another account could submit the preimage for you and pay the fee. The example below demonstrates the creation of a preimage to propose and approve a spend of treasury funds.

submit preimage

Follow the steps below to submit a preimage as shown in the screenshot above.

  1. Navigate to Governance -> Referenda.
  2. Click on the "Add preimage" button.
  3. From the propose drop-down field, select treasury.
  4. From the unlabeled drop-down field to the right of the propose drop-down field, select spend(amount, beneficiary).
  5. In the amount: Compact<u128> (BalanceOf) text field, enter the spend amount.
  6. The beneficiary: MultiAddress (AccountIdLookupOf) drop-down field will have Id selected by default. Select the beneficiary from the Id: AccountId drop-down field.

Copy the preimage hash value before clicking the "Submit preimage" button.

  1. Click the "Submit preimage" button.

After the preimage is submitted successfully on-chain, Polkadot-JS UI lists it under the tab of Governance -> Preimages.

Submitting a Proposalโ€‹

Submitting a proposal requires you to bond some tokens. On Polkadot-JS UI, you can navigate to the Governance -> Referenda to make a new proposal. In order to submit a proposal, you will need to submit what's called the preimage hash. The preimage hash is simply the hash of the proposal to be enacted. The easiest way to get the preimage hash is by clicking on the "Submit preimage" button as shown in the previous section.

submit proposal

The proposal will be registered from the account selected and the balance lock will be applied to it. An appropriate origin must be chosen, as each origin has different privileges, and acceptance criteria. After entering the hash of the preimage for the proposal, the preimage length field is automatically populated. The enactment delay can be specified either as a block number, or as a specific number of blocks after the referendum is approved. The deposit for this proposal will be locked for the referendum duration.

Submitting a Referendum on the Whitelisted Caller Trackโ€‹

Let's consider increasing the number of validators participating in parachain consensus. You could submit a preimage with the call that sets the number of validators to 1,000 and submit a referendum to the Root track directly. However, this requires a large decision deposit and has very conservative passing parameters such that it will probably need the entire 28-day voting period to pass.

Operations that are deemed safe or time critical by the Polkadot Technical Fellowship can use the Whitelisted Caller track. This track requires less turnout in the first half of the decision period so that it can pass more quickly. This track is typically used for more neutral, technical proposals like runtime upgrades or changing the system's parachain validation configuration.

Using the Whitelisted Caller track requires some special calls. Submitting a referendum in the same form as other tracks will not work. Namely, rather than voting on a particular proposal, the Whitelisted Caller track requires a vote to dispatch the proposal via the Whitelist pallet. Before opening a referendum on this track, you should also attempt to get a positive signal from the Fellowship that they will whitelist the proposal. If they do not, then even if the public referendum passes, it will not execute.

Below are the steps to follow when submitting a proposal to the Whitelist track.

  • Submit a preimage with the call to dispatch the proposal (call) you want to submit -- whitelist.dispatchWhitelistedCallWithPreimage(call) -- and obtain the preimage hash. This is the preimage for the public referendum on the Whitelisted Caller track.


  • Obtain the hash of call. The Polkadot Fellowship needs to start a Fellowship referendum to whitelist the call with whitelist.whitelistCall(callHash). The Fellowship referendum gets voted on by the Polkadot Fellowship members only.


  • The public now votes on the referendum. Someone must place a decision deposit to go into the deciding phase.

  • Once passed, it gets enacted successfully as long as the call has been whitelisted by the Fellowship.

Note that the public referendum and Fellowship referendum can happen simultaneously. However, if the Fellowship does not whitelist the call, you must submit it directly to the Root origin.

Voting on Referendaโ€‹

As Polkadot OpenGov takes both the approval and support into account, there are four options to choose from when voting on a referendum:

  • Aye
  • Nay
  • Split
  • Abstain

Also, you have to specify the conviction multiplier for this vote. The longer you are willing to lock your tokens, the stronger your vote will be weighted. Unwillingness to lock your tokens means that your vote only counts for 10% of the tokens that you hold.

For detailed instructions on how to vote on Polkadot OpenGov referenda, check this support guide.

Polkadot OpenGov uses Conviction Voting Pallet (Not Democracy Pallet)

Use for voting on Referenda in Polkadot OpenGov instead of (which only works for the old version of governance).

Removing expired voting locksโ€‹

To remove the lock from votes, you first need to call removeVote and then unlock through the convictionVoting pallet. For detailed instructions, check this support guide.

Delegating Voting Powerโ€‹

For an overview of how delegation works in Polkadot OpenGov, check out the Multirole Delegation section on the Learn Polkadot OpenGov page.

Delegation Dashboardโ€‹

To make multi-role delegation easy and intuitive, Delegation Dashboard provides an interactive interface that displays the list of delegates and their details. The video tutorial below walks through the features of the Delegation Dashboard and shows how to perform multi-role delegation.

Delegation Dashboard Tutorial

For detailed instructions on how to delegate your voting power using dashboard, check this support guide. If you like to use Polkadot-JS UI for performing multi-role delegation, the instructions are available here.