Request for feedback - Conflict of interest with Steward voting

Delegates are voting on proposals that directly benefit themselves, and also donating to grant recipients.

A steward should not vote on a proposal that benefits themselves because it would create a conflict of interest. In any decision-making process, it is essential to ensure that the decision is made in the best interest of the group, rather than for personal gain. When a delegate votes for a proposal that benefits themselves, they are not fulfilling their duty to represent the group fairly and impartially.

A steward should not vote on a proposal that benefits themselves:

  1. Financial gain: Suppose a steward has a financial interest in a proposal that would provide financial benefits to them. In that case, it would be inappropriate for them to vote on the proposal, as their vote would be influenced by their personal gain rather than the good of the group.
  2. Personal relationships: If a steward has a personal relationship with a person or group involved in a proposal, their judgment may be clouded by their emotions. In this situation, the delegate may not be able to make an unbiased decision, and their vote may not be in the best interest of the group.
  3. Career advancement: Suppose a steward has a vested interest in a proposal that could advance their career. In that case, their vote may be influenced by their desire to advance their career rather than the benefit of the group.

Currently, the stewards vote on proposals that directly impact financial gains, advancement and also donate to grant recipients.

This demonstrates a clear conflicts of interest.

How can we create a system that is not biased towards any outcome and impartial?


I made a very similar comment to this two years ago when the DAO first got started, and for the most part, it was well understood by the then-current stewards. I agree wholeheartedly that, like a judge in a court of law (Clarence Thomas), even the appearance of a conflict of interest is to be avoided.


Thank you so much for your feedback!
As I known, most of stewards are consciously avoiding the conflict of interest, like some stewards are working in Public Goods Funding (PGF) work stream, so they would abstain from the voting.

here is an example - Snapshot

but I cannot make sure all stewards follow the rules, so did you see the negative impact or would you like have some examples?


hey @Supreme
I think there are two questions at issue here. One is voting on snapshot / tally on Gitcoin Governance proposals, the other is making donations/contributing/voting via the Gitcoin Grants rounds.

For stewards voting on Gitcoin proposals with a COI, Gitcoin does have a policy prohibiting this activity and you can find it here Gitcoin DAO Governance Process v3). I think our stewards and contributors do an admirable job sticking with this policy and we do have robust conversations on the forum (see `here debating this. If we missed the mark at some point, please pass over any examples and we will for sure look into it.

Regarding stewards on contributors making donations to grants rounds, based on my reading of the Gitcoin Beta round eligibility document, it looks like there is no prohibition for grantees donating to their own cause, or causes they may be involved with.

I could be wrong on this last interpretation so I welcome input from the PGF team - they for sure will know more than I about this case.

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Just related to these last two points… your definition gets a little broad, so perhaps my clarification here adds some context to what is, or what is not a COI.

this, this is the gold standard:

In practice, proving a COI is exceptionally difficult and time consuming. The appearance of a COI is generally what I fall back on given just an appearance of a COI is as damaging as an actual COI.