The Seeding of the Polkadot Alliance: Fighting for an open source culture and open collaboration that benefits the Polkadot ecosystem

Seven of Polkadot’s leading projects have joined forces to establish standards and ethics for open-source development. The Polkadot Alliance was founded by Acala, Astar, Interlay, Kilt, Moonbeam, Phala, and Subscan, seven of the top projects occupying Polkadot’s parachain slots. The on-chain collective aims to support development standards and expose bad actors within the ecosystems of Polkadot.

The Polkadot Alliance is a ranked, on-chain collective. The ranks consist of "Fellow” and "Ally" and will be discussed in more detail later. Although there is nothing in the protocol preventing an individual to join, the members of the Alliance are expected to be companies, projects, other collectives, or even other networks in the Polkadot ecosystem (e.g. a company working on a parachain, or the Kusama network itself).

Founding Members:

Acala - 12Nc2RuRfmZwNog7jCFzDK2D56HUfy9bYRr9dcFkpJnUwqpn

Astar - 1j5YyEGdcPd9BxkzVNNjKkqdi5f7g3Dd7JMgaGUhsMrZ6dZ

Interlay - 15Vd1mF4Uf4hVdS3q72t4y9fXxDZHLkQcHe77yEU4UQ7Jp3J

KILT - 143S55QzbrUYHkFcX6upPD6aJtsmXygLZTYVovpAkjPCMfNi

Moonbeam - 15o341YKi3FDX3fM1onp1bfLbjGcc13YNEFV6yQvSiCQaehi

Phala - 5D4ce5CWZwPrZzTptnHPYHmWEvc6sVBWEDgBnGvbwiGtuNQR

Subscan - 14RYaXRSqb9rPqMaAVp1UZW2czQ6dMNGMbvukwfifi6m8ZgZ


The Alliance performs three primary functions via its collective origin:

  1. Publication of a "Rule" which is this document;
  2. Management of its own membership, including promotion and removal;
  3. Curation of an "Unscrupulous List" containing URLs and accounts.

Proposal hash: 0x00c51905512990b7e0c8635f53de5548a5278e141944319eac99a49c1efd42c7 - please note this is an external motion, meaning if/after Council approves, the community will have the final decision.

The Charter of the Alliance, below:

Charter for a Polkadot Alliance


The use of uncredited code and misuse of the Polkadot brand are a detriment to the ecosystem, and several Polkadot teams have come together to protect and enforce core standards for the ecosystem. The Polkadot Alliance provides an on-chain framework to recognize those teams who empower others and contribute to the ecosystem in alignment with open source culture and call attention to those that do not.


As the Polkadot ecosystem has expanded, some low-quality teams have started to pollute the Polkadot brand. These teams copy code without attribution, use "Polka" branding with no intention of building on Polkadot, conduct scammy token raises on Ethereum, launch rival relay chains, and are disrespectful in their interactions with other community members.

Without a time-consuming investigation into a team's website, code, and whitepaper, it can be extremely difficult for someone to distinguish between good and bad actors.

The Polkadot Alliance provides a set of ethics and standards for the community to follow. Alliance membership indicates that the Polkadot community recognizes the team's positive contributions such as code, infrastructure, community building and education.

The Alliance also provides on-chain means to call out bad actors. Members are expected to dedicate time from one team member to help investigate breaches of the Alliance's standards.


The Polkadot Alliance is a ranked, on-chain collective. The ranks consist of "Fellow” and "Ally" and will be discussed in more detail later. Although there is nothing in the protocol preventing an individual to join, the members of the Alliance are expected to be companies, projects, other collectives, or even other networks in the Polkadot ecosystem (e.g. a company working on a parachain, or the Kusama network itself).

The Alliance performs three primary functions via its collective origin:

  1. Publication of a "Rule" which is this document;
  2. Management of its own membership, including promotion and removal;
  3. Curation of an "Unscrupulous List" containing URLs and accounts.

The Alliance can also make announcements from its collective origin, however it is expected that these pertain to its primary functions.

Note that the Alliance does not have any on-chain governance power. Its collective origin can only manage its own state, but its domain does not reach into other parts of the Polkadot protocol.

Note that the Alliance acts as a collective without intention to form a company or other formal association or cooperation. The aims of the Alliance are defined herein and nothing in this document, other documents or the work of the Alliance, Fellows or Allies shall be interpreted as investment advice.


The collective maintains an IPFS content ID to a "Rule", which is this document and can be thought of as a charter or mandate of the Alliance. It includes all the rules for operation of the Alliance, including guidelines for how it evaluates accounts and websites for inclusion in the Unscrupulous List, how an account or website could be removed from the list, how to join the Alliance, who has voting rights, what actions constitute grounds for removal, etc.

Unscrupulous List

The Alliance, through a 60% majority of voting members, can add or remove websites and accounts to the Unscrupulous List.

Websites in the list may include:

  1. Those known for scamming users.
  2. Projects that have violated the standards expected within the Polkadot community.
  3. Projects that have shown a disregard of open source licenses.
  4. Projects that have used the "Polka-", "Dot-", "Para-", etc. branding with no real intention to contribute to Polkadot.

Accounts in the list may include those associated with known scams.

Intended Use

The Unscrupulous List may sound familiar to those who know of the Polkadot JS Phishing registry, and is indeed meant for similar use. As the Alliance has no on-chain governance power, it cannot stop any user from interacting or transacting with an address in the list. However, it may be useful for wallets to warn users if they are attempting to connect to a listed website or send funds to a listed account.


Polkadot Parachain

The Polkadot Alliance lives on-chain in a pallet on the Collectives parachain, ParaId = 1001. All websites, applications, wallets, etc. that display Alliance membership should pull their information from the on-chain collective as the source of truth for membership. All Alliance members will need to be able to transact on this parachain from their account that is in the Alliance.


Initialization of the Alliance happens from the root origin on the Polkadot Relay Chain. Once the founding members are set, it will be up to them to use their voting rights to manage membership of the collective, namely:

  1. Deciding to promote someone from Ally to Fellow;
  2. Nominating someone as an Ally;
  3. Removing members who have violated the standards of the group.


The Alliance should represent all Polkadot stakeholders, not just the founding set of members. If the Polkadot network loses confidence in the Alliance, it may disband the Alliance via general referendum, clearing all members and requiring re-initialization.


There are two ranks in the Alliance, from highest to lowest:


Definition: Fellows are members whose candidacy is endorsed by other Fellows. Fellows can also be an Ally that was promoted to Fellow.

Note: A portion of the Fellows will be Founding Fellows, which are the teams who built the Polkadot Alliance and started to contribute before it was live on-chain. 

Rights: Fellows have voting rights on Alliance motions. Being a Fellow includes a strong commitment not just to abide by the standards, but also to enforce these standards in a consistent and timely manner. Fellows have voting rights and carry out the primary goals and on-chain operation of the Alliance. They should also be available to investigate and mediate in a dispute between two Allies.


Definition: Allies are members of the Polkadot Alliance who, through active and sustained contributions to the ecosystem, have the opportunity to be promoted to Fellow.

Rights: Being an Ally (and not being kicked) is a powerful indication of alignment with the ethical standards set by the Alliance, but Allies do not have voting rights until they are promoted to Fellow.


Once the Alliance has been initialized via referendum, there are two ways to join as an Ally. The first is by submitting a transaction to join and placing a deposit of 1,000 DOT, which is locked until retirement from the collective.

The second is by nomination by a Fellow, which does not require a deposit.


The majority of Alliance members will remain Allies. Being an Ally (and not being removed by vote) indicates that the Fellows agree that the Ally is acting in accordance with the ethics set forth by the Alliance.

However, some members may wish to take a more active role in operating the Alliance and be promoted to Fellow. This happens through a motion amongst the voting members and requires 60% approval to pass.

Criteria for Promotion

For promotion to Fellow, a team must have a significant positive impact on the whole Polkadot ecosystem. This is judged based on positive impact to the ecosystem in, but not limited to, the following ways:

  • Common good code contribution: Common good code should be some open source code that's used by a significant number of live projects. Code that's for demo purposes would be excluded, as it doesn't have real impact yet.
  • Standard development: Common standard accepted by a significant number of live projects. There are many PSPs, but most of them are not actually used by multiple live projects so those will be excluded.
  • Awareness & Education Efforts: This could include various forms of long-term contributions through marketing, content, and education efforts for the benefit of the broader Polkadot ecosystem, not just a single chain or product.
  • Useful products: Building useful products that drive growth, adoption, user experience, or any significant improvement to Polkadot will be considered a strong positive impact. For example, a wallet or block explorer that supports multiple relay/parachains and has a big user base will be strongly considered to have a big impact on the ecosystem and eligible for promotion. A smart contract project that integrates with multiple parachains and builds a strong user base could also be considered. A protocol that only lives on a single chain with low adoption has a small impact and less chance for promotion to Fellow.


Members who wish to leave the Alliance can do so by signaling their intent to leave with 90 days notice. This "retirement period" is similar to the unbonding period used in staking, and is in place to give voting members time to replace the member leaving, or take action like removing the member and slashing their deposit if they have violated the standards of the Alliance.

This period is long, but we expect members to have long-term commitment to the Polkadot network. Unlike staking, a resignation would be a one-time event. The 90 day notice period is more like a typical resignation notice with an employer.

Forceful Removal

Members can be removed from the Alliance by a motion among voting members that requires 60% approval. Members who are forcefully removed will have their deposit slashed and sent to the Polkadot Treasury.



The Alliance is not only to call out bad actors; being in the Alliance requires an investment of time and a high standard of behaviour. Members of the Alliance deserve recognition in the ecosystem, in applications, and in their own branding and marketing.

The Alliance has a number of [brand assets] (https://github.com/patractlabs/alliance-website/tree/master/packages/app/src/assets/imgs) available for use for its members.

Member Expectations

Fellows and Allies alike must show the Polkadot Alliance badge on their project website,  proof-of-membership or QR code (similar to Star Alliance, the airline alliance) to allow easy verification.

Voting members (Fellows) must commit to evaluate claims of scams or misbehaviour and vote on motions in a timely manner.

All members commit to timely integration of the on-chain information with any of their systems where it would be relevant to display that information, as well as general off-chain best practices. This should include:

  • Displaying correct identicons for addresses
  • Utilizing the finality system (as opposed to arbitrary "confirmation depth")
  • Displaying short-form index SS58 or accounts’ names where possible
  • Displaying identity attestation information
  • Displaying Polkadot Alliance status of addresses
  • Displaying status of addresses and websites that have been deemed unscrupulous.

The Alliance should uphold the following rules of membership, and apply them to all the teams, addresses, and websites that they evaluate:

Minimum Contribution Requirements & Relegation

See “Criteria for Promotion” above for general guidance on how a strong contribution to the Polkadot ecosystem is defined. For Fellows to remain in their position, the project must meet these criteria at least every month, or could be subject to relegation to Ally.

Respect for Others

  1. A warm and welcoming community is key to attracting new members and maintaining existing ones, which helps build up expertise and talent. Open and rational criticism is key to the enlightened evolution of ideas and must be welcomed. However, it must always be taken into account that the Polkadot community is comprised of diverse cultures, experiences and perspectives, so interaction must at all times be based on mutual respect, decency and consideration. Members and representatives of Alliance teams shall respect the Polkadot Community Principles at all times. Repeated infractions may result in the suspension of the team. Teams/projects should encourage their own community members to follow the Polkadot Code of Conduct and manage members of their community who are in violation.

Respect of Intellectual Property

  1. Open-Source technology builds a brilliant network. Technical communities grow and success happens through network effects. Successful members attract users to their platform and to underlying platforms in order to drive growth for other members. Network effects happen on many levels, but often center around the need for shared formats, protocols, interfaces, and their underlying code. Open source and open engineering in general help drive these network effects, and in the case of Alliance members, help Polkadot become a successful platform. Alliance members commit to ensure all code, formats, and protocols used are made open to the maximum degree possible given their business constraints. Alliance members are not required to open all of their technology, but are expected to take a pragmatic approach when deciding to do so. Egregious, persistent, and unreasonable refusal to open parts of technology when to do so could not reasonably be expected to affect the team’s value proposition, but does clearly harm the overall Polkadot technical community may result in a warning and, if unchecked, suspension from the Alliance.

  2. Unattributed code reuse threatens code creativity. Respectful attribution is a cornerstone of a strong technical open source community. A credible expectation that attribution will be given provides an incentive for open-engineering and the sharing of technical labor. Communities suffer and break when work is misattributed. The Polkadot technical community is no different: open source licenses must be respected at all times and minor infractions of this (what could reasonably be considered to be accidental) should be dealt with a warning to the team. Larger infractions (e.g. where code was copied in bulk and the license was clearly stated and ignored), repeated minor infractions, or a refusal to correct an infraction may result in suspension from the Alliance.

  3. Branding builds a strong community. The ability to create and advertise a product under a clear brand is a cornerstone of modern communication. Brands reduce confusion within an ecosystem and beyond by creating clear, meaningful labels to distinguish between teams and products. Trademarks help facilitate this by providing a level of formal legal protection but they are difficult, time-consuming, and costly to enforce. Disrespect of branding and trademarks within the ecosystem leads to confusion of the ecosystem’s user base, resulting in a weaker platform. The trademarks of Alliance teams shall be respected at all times and a clear, unauthorized breach shall result in suspension from the Alliance. The unauthorized use of team or product branding which could reasonably be considered to be derivative from another Alliance team shall firstly be warned and, if unchecked in a timely and reasonable manner, secondly result in a suspension from the Alliance.

Respect of the Polkadot Brand

  1. The community has unity around the Relay Chain. Polkadot was not designed to be a lonely chain and the Alliance very much respects the prospect of a rich environment of many chains each going in their own technical direction in order to optimize for their own use case. So, where there are external networks that deliver key features, use cases, or user-access that Polkadot does not or cannot address, then Alliance members should be encouraged to work together with these networks, building bridges and collaborating in enlightened self-interest for mutual benefit. However, alternative Polkadot-like relay chains which provide essentially equivalent functionality to, or even aim to supplant the Polkadot mainnet provide distraction and fragmentation, and in the long-run could hurt Polkadot’s security, technology, and social integrity. Alternative relay chains deriving significantly or entirely from the Polkadot technology base, in terms of design, protocol, or code should be judged by the principle of the minimum number of relay chains, and prevented from becoming members of the Alliance. Alliance teams should not support or work with these networks. Exemptions are made should the Alliance determine that the network in question provides a greater overall value to Polkadot than the cost of network fragmentation. The complete list of exemptions has only one member — Kusama — as it provides a value-bearing testbed for Polkadot technology and clearly addresses a lower-security, lower-reliability usage proposition.

  2. Polka-/Dot- branding only for Polkadot projects. In the interests of minimizing confusion and retaining a coherent community brand, products branded to give the appearance of being Polkadot-based should be legitimately linked to the Polkadot technology base. Blockchain-based products whose names contain the “Parachain”, Polka", or “Dot” word fragments, or which clearly derive their overall brand from the Polkadot style guide, must have a credible plan to become a parachain on Polkadot or an affiliate network. Teams who host an invalidly labeled product may not be Alliance members and Alliance members should not collaborate with teams who do host such products.

  3. Commitment to scam prevention. It is important for a community to take reasonable precautions to protect their members from serious abuses of trust. While there are some reasonably legitimate projects with weak or no safeguards on their contributions, the reality is that most of such projects promised much and delivered little. Large-scale pre-release crowdfunding on alternative platforms should be investigated by Alliance members and should be up for discussion if the project belongs to an Alliance member. Alliance members may take into account whatever factors they want when considering approval, including the team’s reasons for crowdfunding, the platform on which they are crowdfunding (Polkadot-based platform may be considered a more reasonable choice), the oversight and governance safeguards given to participants, and the team’s demonstrated ability to deliver on the promises they make. All in all, Alliance members should collaborate with any initiatives aiming to protect community members from scam activities.


The Polkadot Alliance is a ranked, on-chain collective of teams with a track record of delivering valuable contributions to the network and who have a long-term alignment with developing a welcoming, innovative Polkadot network. The members set and uphold a set of ethics and standards for others to model in the ecosystem. They also evaluate teams in an effort to provide information and opinions that will protect users from scams and ill-meaning projects.


Heavily based off of this original document

Genesis of the Collectives parachain includes the v0.9.29 Alliance pallet: https://github.com/paritytech/substrate/tree/polkadot-v0.9.29/frame/alliance  

The genesis head and runtime can be found in the special release: https://github.com/paritytech/cumulus/releases/tag/parachains-collectives-v9290

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