On–chain governance guides the evolution of the chain.

Contentious forks in the chain present significant legal and tax challenges for tokens backed by real assets.

Polymesh uses an industry–led governance model to prevent hard forks and guide the evolution of the chain.

Watch an explainer on Polymesh Governance

The challenge with governance on blockchain

Why is it a challenge?

Governance is a tricky topic for any blockchain, but especially one for security tokens, where the chain is not only the source of truth for potentially billions of dollars but must also allow participants to fulfill regulatory obligations.

Because of its decentralized nature, when there is a disagreement, a blockchain can split into two separate chains (known as forks). Forks expose major legal and tax challenges for tokens backed by real assets.

The Polymesh solution

Polymesh addresses governance challenges by building governance into its core. Built on the Substrate Framework, Polymesh provides forkless runtime upgrades. It also mitigates the risk of hard forks by relying on a Governance Council to steer the chain past potential issues or disagreements.

The Governance Council is composed of key stakeholders who review Polymesh Improvement Proposals (PIPs) submitted by committees or token holders. The Governance Council finds consensus and charts a path forward for the future development of the chain.

Every user can participate with Polymesh Improvement Proposals

POLYX holders have the opportunity to influence the direction of the Polymesh blockchain by submitting a Polymesh Improvement Proposal (PIP) through Polymesh Governance, or by signalling on proposals submitted by others. Approved proposals will be voted on by the Polymesh Governing Council for implementation.

Any POLYX holder has the right to submit a PIP by submitting detailed information regarding the change and bonding POLYX to the PIP.

More on PIP practices

Governance on Polymesh

Polymesh governance includes three groups of stakeholders.

POLYX token holders

Any POLYX token holder can submit community-curated PIPs and engage other holders so they can signal their approval or disapproval.


Committees are groups of individuals with up to 20 members, categorized by topics. Committees can submit committee PIPs, which are similar to community-curated PIPs except they cannot be signaled on and can be enacted at any time in any order by the Governing Council.

Governing Council

As the decision–making body of Polymesh, the primary role of the Governing Council is to manage the blockchain, find consensus, and chart a direction for development. It can fast-track proposals to deal with emergency fixes and manage the membership of Committees and of the Council itself.

Currently, membership in the Committees and Governing Council is not mutually exclusive, meaning members can belong to both at the same time.

Even more on Governance

How Polymesh avoids hard forks

Governance on Polymesh is designed to overcome potential disagreements, but hard forks will be infrequent thanks to Polymesh’s technical and organizational structure.

Upgrade process

Chain upgrades are decided and implemented by certain stakeholders as delineated in the current governance system. As node runtime is stored directly on-chain, upgrades lead to changes in the on-chain representation of the runtime. Every node checks if there is a new runtime, and if there is, begins working with that version automatically. The possibility of non-malicious hard forks is therefore highly unlikely.

Substrate framework

Built on the Substrate Framework, Polymesh allows for forkless runtime upgrades which allow for seamless upgrades on the blockchain and on-chain recording and storage of governance information. Any change to the blockchain is recorded directly on-chain. This is convenient from a chain management standpoint and enables the possibility for users to have a say in chain management through a user-friendly interface, the governance dApp.

WebAssembly (WASM)

Used for the protocol runtime, WebAssembly (WASM) adds to the improbability of hard forks. Its bytecode was initially conceived to enable high-performance applications on webpages, which is why software companies maintain WASM compilers and virtual machines for various operating system platforms. This landscape makes the risk of hard forks caused by compiler or platform bugs highly unlikely.