Neurons 101

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On the Internet Computer, a neuron is a unit that holds tokens and can vote on governance proposals. Simply put, you can lock ICP in the NNS into neurons that can vote on NNS proposals. Switching to the SNS tab, you can lock SNS1 tokens in the SNS into neurons to vote on SNS-1 proposals (using OpenChat or DSCVR).Neurons have different properties and can perform different actions. To clear up any confusion let’s go through these properties and actions. NOTE: not all of these are available in the SNS yet on the NNS frontend dapp.

Properties

  • Stake (NNS / SNS) - The amount of tokens that a neuron holds. You can always increase this stake, however you only will get access to these tokens again, once the neuron’s “Dissolve Delay” (see below) hits 0.
  • Dissolve Delay | Remaining (NNS / SNS) - Every neuron has a dissolve delay (also displayed as “remaining”). This is the time it would take your tokens in the neuron to become liquid (unlocked) after you “Start Dissolving”. The higher the dissolve delay, the higher the voting power (and voting rewards in case it’s configured).
  • Age (NNS / SNS) - Age is a multiplier that gets applied to your voting power. The longer you keep your neuron locked the higher this multiplier is. Clicking “Start Dissolving” resets this number to 0 immediately.
  • Voting Power (NNS / SNS) - Voting power is how much your locked tokens count when used for voting. Voting power depends on the stake, dissolve delay and age bonus. Example: 10 ICP locked for 8 years that has 0 age bonus, will have a voting power of 20. The way voting power is calculated can be changed by the DAO.
  • Maturity (NNS) - Maturity is the voting rewards you collected that are not yet minted. You can use maturity in two ways: “Stake Maturity” or “Disburse MaturitySpawn Neuron” (see below). Voting rewards are configured to be 0 for SNS-1, this can be changed by the SNS-1 DAO through a proposal.
  • Minimum Staking Period for Voting (NNS / SNS) -The minimum dissolve delay your neuron needs to have in order to be eligible to vote on proposals.
    • NNS - 6 months
    • SNS-1 - 1 month

Actions

  • Vote (NNS / SNS) - Neurons can vote on governance proposals. In the NNS, you have a tab called “Voting” where you can see all proposals. In SNS-1, you can vote using OpenChat or DSCVR. We are working on adding an SNS voting UI to the NNS dapp.
  • Start/Stop Dissolving (NNS / SNS) - When a neuron is dissolving, the time it is locked for is ticking down. Once it goes down to 0, your tokens become liquid. The reason why you would want to keep your neuron locked and not dissolving is so that it stays above minimum required dissolve delay to vote and so that it accrues age bonus increasing its voting power.
  • Increase Dissolve Delay (NNS/SNS) - You can always increase a neuron’s dissolve delay, but only decrease it by dissolving.
  • Stake Maturity (NNS)- Staking maturity locks your voting rewards for the same period as the dissolve delay which will contribute to the neuron’s voting power. Once your neuron is completely dissolved, you get both your original stake and the staked maturity. Staking maturity allows for compounding rewards.
  • Add Hotkey (SNS/NNS) - Adding a hotkey to a neuron allows another principal to vote with your neuron. If you add your OpenChat or DSCVR principal as a hotkey, you will be able to vote using OpenChat’s or DSCVR’s UI.
  • Follow Neurons (NNS / SNS): An advantage of the liquid democracy implemented in the NNS is that neurons can follow other neurons. This way you can delegate your voting to other neurons and still receive voting rewards. This will soon be added to SNS.
  • Disburse (NNS/SNS) - Make the tokens inside a neuron liquid.

SNS-1 tokens need to be locked for at least 30 days for them to be eligible to vote. Clicking “Start Dissolve“ will start the timer, however once it dips below 30 days, the neuron will not be eligible to vote.

See Also