In recent months, a new trend has risen in the blockchain sector and it could have a far-reaching impact on its future development.

Several top executives have driven the formation of protocol councils: groups that are meant to direct any changes to blockchain protocol and to properly implement security measures wherever necessary. 

Insiders say that, unlike conventional boards of directors, these councils are meant to act as network guardians who will step up in the event of any emergencies or serve as final approval on any changes to the protocol. By doing so, these could push those ambivalent towards decentralization off the fence.

What are the Councils Expected to Do?

Looking to the protocol council formed within Polygon, an Ethereum layer-2 network, as an example, these are groups of individuals – though not necessarily executives or developers – given the mandate to take charge of any emergencies involving protocols or any significant changes to them.

In Polygon’s case, their council is made up of leaders working within the Ethereum ecosystem who are meant to drive community-led initiatives regarding future upgrades to the blockchain.

A protocol council is tasked with two specific duties. The first involves overseeing regular protocol upgrades, including the addition or removal of features into a blockchain. In the second, the group may bypass the standard governance framework to do whatever is necessary to resolve a protocol-centric emergency.

A Necessary Evil

For Mehdi Zerouali, a director for the blockchain security provider Sigma Prime and a member of the Polygon protocol council, such groups within a blockchain network need to be seen as a necessary evil. By this, he means that they may be beneficial to the development and eventual decentralization of blockchains, but they also carry a particular risk.

Zerouali points out that those who look to such councils for guidance need to trust that those in the group will not collude toward the failure of a blockchain to profit from it. It is a major risk, but it could be the key to fast-tracking the sector’s long-awaited decentralization.