Request for Proposal: Iron Fish Foundation Governance

Elena Nadolinski

CEO & Founder @ Iron Fish

Iron Fish has always been a community driven project. Since mainnet launch, our focus has been on how to continue bolstering Iron Fish’s decentralization and resilience.

Your voice is important and strengthens decentralization. As such, the Iron Fish Foundation is opening a call for proposals and discussion from the Iron Fish community on the topic of: what is the governance for Iron Fish?

In this post, we walk through how to submit your proposal, and what to expect during the process. Once you submit your proposal, we highly encourage you to spread the word on social media to get as much feedback and awareness on it as possible. Eager to share the news? Here’s our announcement tweet to share!

Please note—this request is for proposals about how the Iron Fish Foundation should approach governance. Although the grant proposal process is sometimes determined by governance, the foundation will determine grants at this time. We will share more details on that process soon.

The Iron Fish Foundation 

The Iron Fish Foundation, established April 2023, acts as a steward of the Iron Fish project. Its mission is to bring privacy to crypto through ecosystem growth to establish Iron Fish as the privacy platform for all crypto.

The Foundation partners with community members and organizations to accelerate the growth of the Iron Fish ecosystem through a combination of developer grants, events, partnerships, education, and resources. Governance is critical to the operations of the Foundation, determining how decisions should be made and funds allocated. We want the Iron Fish community to influence how the Foundation governance is organized.

Interim Governance Structure 

Until a community proposal is accepted, the interim governance structure for Iron Fish is as follows:


Anyone can submit a proposal. A proposal is a request to introduce a change to the core Iron Fish protocol. Currently, the process for proposals to be accepted is:

  1. Start a discussion about your idea on Discourse. Be as specific as possible, and make your claim for why this proposal is important.

  2. Get feedback from the community, especially from the core Iron Fish node implementation contributors.

  3. Once discussions are converging, flush out your proposal into a draft FIP (Fish Improvement Proposal).

  4. Once the improvement proposal is clear and well defined, make a Pull Request (PR) with the code contributions as defined by your proposal (either directly through your efforts, or from other developers in the community by championing your idea).

  5. Ask those who have merge permissions to review your PR, and resolve any comments.

  6. Once the PR gets merged, that FIP is marked as accepted and merged into the FIP repository.


Grants is the process by which outside teams or individuals apply for monetary compensation (either in fiat or IRON tokens or both) to complete a feature, integration, or product that positively impacts the Iron Fish ecosystem or network. You can apply directly to the Foundation for grants. Stay tuned for more information on this process.


In our eyes, the ultimate governance is merge permissions into the Iron Fish core node implementation repository. Currently, merge permissions are reserved for IF Labs engineers and the Iron Fish Foundation.

The Request 

There are a lot of governance models out there—from Optimism’s highly structured approach, to Bitcoin’s consensus-focused model. We’ve spoken to a number of experts and explored other chain’s choices. Now, we also want to ask the Iron Fish experts: all of you.

The Iron Fish community is impressive ❤. Thank you for being invested in its future. If you have a vision for the future of Iron Fish, please see the suggested template below for your proposal on governance 👇

Suggested Proposal Template 

Your proposal should mention these categories:

  • Stakeholders: Who are the stakeholders for Iron Fish (current and future)

  • What can be governed (e.g. merge permissions to the core Iron Fish repo, committee, airdrop, etc)

  • Principles of governance: What is the governance structure (formation of committees if applicable, etc). As part of this request for governance proposals, please clearly outline the process by which individuals can apply for merge permissions.

  • Lifecycle of improvements: What is the full lifecycle flow from idea, to improvement proposal (FIP, Fish Improvement Proposal), to a request for comment, to code contributions and acceptance into the canonical Iron Fish implementation given your proposed governance structure

Optionally, please mention your thought process around your proposal, especially if you were inspired by other open source communities (even outside of crypto) in your writeup.

Deadline Information 

Please submit your proposals by end of day on October 1, 2023 (in your respective time zone), however the earlier you submit your proposal, the more time there will be for discussion from us and the community.

All submissions should come through the Discourse forum under the Governance section with the naming convention:

[Proposal] Username-Governance-Proposal

Whether you submit a proposal or not, visit the Iron Fish Discourse and let us know your thoughts on the submitted proposals.

Governance Structure Review 

From October 1–31, 2023, the Foundation will review all submitted proposals. During this process, we may suggest amendments or have questions, so please keep an eye out for communication from us.

Like always, if you have any questions, we are accessible in Discord.

Thank you all so much. We’re excited to build the most resilient durable privacy platform for crypto with you.


Join the Iron Fish community 🏃🐟 

Elena Nadolinski

CEO & Founder @ Iron Fish

Elena is the Founder and CEO of Iron Fish — previously worked at Airbnb, Tilt, and Microsoft. Fell down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole in 2017. Really didn't want her insurance to know she eats pizza.

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