The Bisq DAO will soon go live on mainnet. But there’s no need to wait—you can tinker with it right now and experience truly decentralized governance for yourself.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use the Bisq DAO on our testnet.

Specifically, we will walk through one voting cycle. Voting is a crucial duty within the Bisq DAO that makes decision-making for the Bisq project accessible to all who use it—users and contributors alike. You’ll see how to make a proposal, vote on other proposals, and how the BSQ token enables the process to be handled in a decentralized and trustless but meritocratic way.

For a brief overview of how the Bisq DAO works, see our Introduction to the Bisq DAO doc.

Before you get started, please note the following:
  • This guide assumes you have Bisq v0.9.1 or later installed. If not, you can get it from the Bisq downloads page.

  • All references to BTC and BSQ in this guide are for test values. You should not be working with real BTC at any point during this guide.

Let’s begin!

Quick note on testing

The launch of the DAO is a critical step for the Bisq Network. Rigorous testing and feedback from a wide user base is crucial, and as with all valuable contributions to Bisq, we’re awarding BSQ to meaningful testing feedback.

Upon completing a testing cycle, as outlined in this doc, we invite you to take part in the following:

  • Complete a survey. This one. It’s short, only 4 questions. Award: 20 BSQ.

  • Create a meaningful GitHub issue. Something that will help developers improve the software and user experience. Please create issues in the main Bisq repository. Award: 50 BSQ.

  • Find an advanced technical flaw. Find consensus bugs, data inconsistencies, or some other major bug? Let us know. More details here. Award: varies; up to 10,000 BSQ.

If you do take part in any of the items above, don’t forget to file a compensation request at the end of the month!

Switch to dao-testnet mode

Issues on the main Bitcoin testnet made it unusable for Bisq DAO testing, so dao-testnet refers to a regtest network maintained by Bisq contributors specifically for DAO testing.

The Bisq DAO is only live in dao-testnet mode right now, so to try it out, you’ll need to run Bisq in dao-testnet mode.

There are 2 ways to enable it:

Option A: Through the command-line

If you’re comfortable with the command-line, you might prefer this method, as it allows you to run a dao-testnet version of Bisq alongside mainnet Bisq (so you don’t lose access to any open trades/disputes while testing).

Just run the Bisq executable with the --baseCurrencyNetwork=BTC_DAO_TESTNET flag. Default locations for the Bisq executable are:

  • Windows: "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Bisq\Bisq.exe"

  • Mac: /Applications/

  • Linux: /opt/Bisq/Bisq

Option B: Through the graphical interface

Pick the Bitcoin DAO Testnet option in the drop-down in the General preferences section of the Settings screen.

Bisq maintains completely separate data directories for different currency networks, so it will generate a whole new directory when you restart Bisq in dao-testnet mode for the first time. When you switch back to mainnet, your mainnet configuration will be reloaded, untouched from your time on dao-testnet.

Beware of open offers and open disputes!

Because Bisq runs from a totally different data directory in dao-testnet mode, it won’t know anything about open offers and open disputes from mainnet. So if you have any such open items, be aware that you won’t get updates on them until you switch back to mainnet mode.

To avoid this issue, consider running from the command-line with the instructions above.

Go ahead and restart Bisq when prompted. Voilà—you should be in dao-testnet mode. You’ll know because the window’s title bar should include the text [Bitcoin DAO Testnet].

Switch to dao-testnet
Switch to dao-testnet from the Settings screen.

Request BSQ and BTC for testing

As we covered in the Introduction to the Bisq DAO doc, virtually all actions in the Bisq DAO require BSQ tokens. So let’s get some!

To get test BSQ and BTC, simply ask for some on Slack and a contributor will send you some. Don’t forget to include your addresses.

Get your BTC address

Go to the Funds screen. On the Receive funds tab, you’ll see your BTC addresses. Pick one, preferably an unused one.

Get your BSQ address

Go to the DAO screen, navigate to the BSQ Wallet tab. In the Receive section, you’ll see an address:

Get your BSQ address
Get your BSQ wallet address.

Participate in a voting cycle

Now that you’ve got some BSQ, let’s use it.

There’s a lot you’ll be able to do with BSQ when the DAO goes live on mainnet (like, for example, getting a 90% discount on trading fees by paying for trades with BSQ instead of BTC).

For now, we’ll use it to test Bisq’s governance mechanism: making proposals and voting on proposals to change various aspects of Bisq.

We’ll do this by participating in one voting cycle in the Bisq DAO. Voting cycles are composed of 4 phases and last for 4,380 blocks (about 1 month on average). Here are the 4 phases:

  1. Proposal phase, in which stakeholders submit compensation requests and other proposals requesting reimbursements for trading fees, changes in trading parameters, or changes in some other aspect of the Bisq project.

  2. Blind voting phase, in which stakeholders cast their votes on submitted proposals. Votes are encrypted in this phase to prevent later voters from being influenced by earlier voters.

  3. Vote reveal phase, in which each stakeholder sends the decryption key for their vote.

  4. Vote result phase, in which vote results are calculated and BSQ is issued accordingly.

For testing, voting cycles are shortened to 979 blocks (just under 7 days), and each phase is shortened proportionally. You can see exact timeframes on the Dashboard section of the Governance tab on the DAO screen.

Voting cycle overview
Voting cycle overview.

Let’s begin by making a proposal.

1. Make a proposal

To make a proposal for the current voting cycle, the voting cycle needs to be in the proposal phase. If it’s in the blind voting phase, you can skip this section and vote on current proposals. If it’s beyond both these phases, you’ll need to wait to participate until the next voting cycle starts.

In the Make proposal section of the Governance tab of the DAO screen, you’ll find a form to make a new proposal. Simply fill the form and hit Make proposal.

We’ll make a proposal to change a parameter, but feel free to make another type of proposal:

Make a proposal
Make a proposal.

Couple things to note:

  • Information you’re asked to provide will vary based on the type of proposal you’re making.

  • In most cases, you’ll need to provide a link with more information on your proposal. Since these proposals are not real, please don’t make new GitHub issues—just link to one that already exists.

  • There’s a 2 BSQ fee to make a proposal to discourage spam.

Once you’re done making a proposal, you can sit back and relax until voting starts.

2. Vote on proposals

Cast vote on proposal
Cast vote on a proposal.

Once the period to make proposals is over, it’s time to vote. As long as you have some BSQ, you can vote—it doesn’t matter if you submitted a proposal or not.

You can see all proposals in the current voting cycle in the Browse open proposals section of the Governance tab on the DAO screen.

Click through each proposal to see more details, and then vote on the proposals you want—you can vote for the ones you like (ideally, the ones you know intimately and have a strong opinion about).

Select voting weight ad submit all votes
Select voting weight and submit all votes.

When you’re done casting your votes, make sure you actually submit your votes by clicking the Vote on all proposals button at the bottom of the screen.

To submit your votes, you’ll need to specify a BSQ amount to use for voting weight. The more BSQ you include in your vote, the more weight the vote carries. This BSQ cannot be traded or otherwise transferred for the remainder of the voting cycle, or your vote will be rendered invalid. It will be released for you to use again as soon as the voting cycle has finished.

This is why, as you see in the screenshot to the left, we use most (but not all) of our BSQ for the voting weight—we left some BSQ available for spending in case we need it for other purposes during the voting cycle.

Vote weight from earned BSQ is BSQ earned from contributing to Bisq: this BSQ is treated slightly differently from BSQ bought on the open market when determining a stakeholder’s voting weight.

For an overview of voting weight, see this section of our Introduction to the Bisq DAO doc.

3. Reveal your vote

After the blind voting phase is over, you must make sure Bisq goes back online at some point during the vote reveal phase to publish your vote reveal transaction.

Bisq will publish the transaction automatically when it’s online, so you don’t have to actually do anything, but you can check the BSQ block explorer to be sure the transaction was published. More details below.

This transaction includes the key to decrypt your vote from the last phase. It also includes a representation of all votes you’ve received from the network, which is used to determine a consensus of all votes cast on the network. See more details here.

Don’t forget this step! If your vote reveal transaction is not published, your vote won’t be decrypted, and it won’t be counted.

4. Get vote results

Once the vote reveal phase is over, results are published and the next voting cycle starts. You can see results on the Vote results section of the Governance tab of the DAO screen.

See voting results
See voting results.

As you can see, our proposal was accepted. Hopefully you have similar luck!

If your proposal was a compensation request, this is when the BTC you included in your request will show as BSQ (after having been 'colored' by the voting process). Check your BSQ wallet balance in the BSQ Wallet tab of the DAO screen to see the updated balance.

That’s it—you’ve now participated in a full voting cycle of the Bisq DAO, the upcoming decentralized governance mechanism for the Bisq exchange. Bravo!

If you could, please fill out our DAO testing survey. It’s very helpful to us!

Explore a BSQ block explorer

Since BSQ is just bitcoin, you can see BSQ transactions on any bitcoin block explorer. But because these bitcoins are colored, ordinary bitcoin block explorers can’t recognize which bitcoin transactions are also BSQ transactions.

So there’s a BSQ block explorer. Whenever you do a BSQ transaction, you can see it there.

Here’s a screenshot of the past few BSQ transactions as of mid-December 2018. You’ll notice that this block explorer recognizes the various transaction properties that make valid BSQ transactions, and it labels them accordingly:

Some recent BSQ transactions
Some BSQ transactions on the BSQ block explorer.

Next steps

At the moment, the Bisq DAO is being tested thoroughly. If you’d like to help, there are bounties! See more details here.

Otherwise, check out our conceptual overview of the Bisq DAO and our two video series: one that’s quick and to-the-point and another that’s more extensive.

Get help and stay in touch

If you get stuck, reach out! There’s a community of people to help you on Slack, the Bisq forum, and the /r/bisq subreddit.

You can get news and updates about Bisq via Twitter and YouTube.

And if you really like Bisq, consider contributing! Even if you’re not a developer, there’s much you can do.

Improve this doc

Find a typo or have other suggestions for improvement? Please edit this doc or report an issue.