When people think of ethereum, they generally think also of the protocol’s developer Vitalik Buterin, now – off his creation – a multi-millionaire.

No doubt, Buterin is a leader of sorts for the community, even if decision-making is somewhat decentralized. And above that, ethereum’s most active developers have a significant amount of say in the direction of the technology.

Recently, however, the protocol’s decision-making has been called into question as a series of controversial proposals have arisen – be it the development of new forms of mining hardware or the recovery of lost funds due to various vulnerabilities.

As the community debates the various pros and cons of such proposals, Buterin has begun working with economics researcher Dr. Glen Weyl to experiment with the idea of enabling a new kind of voting for the ethereum users. In a blog post announcing the collaboration on May 21, Buterin described how ideas from Weyl’s recent book, “Radical Markets,” could help address these governance challenges and coordinate solutions for contentious issues.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Weyl, who received a Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University and is now a researcher at Microsoft, explained that quadratic voting aims to focus voters on issues they are passionate about and educated on. Rather than votes being distributed equally across participants, users can purchase extra votes to have a greater say in certain issues.

“The idea is it allows people to express how important things are to them, and not just which direction they feel about it,” Weyl said.

The collaboration comes at a time when other ethereum researchers have banded together in an effort to come up with ways to better measure community sentiment.

And although Buterin wasn’t directly involved in those meetings, in the blog post, he noted his belief that existing proposals for decentralized decision-making either put too much authority into the hands of those who own ether or, in trying to reach a larger pool of stakeholders, are vulnerable to attack by fake accounts and malicious actors trying to sway the vote.

As such, Buterin and Weyl write, the quadratic voting proposal is a more “moderate alternative” to other forms of decentralized governance.

Weyl told CoinDesk:

“[Quadratic voting] allows for decisions to be made for the greatest number of people.”

Connecting communities

The duo’s post on the matter seems aligned with an announcement made earlier this month by Virgil Griffith from the Ethereum Foundation, the not-for-profit that funds ethereum-related research, that it was seeking applications for projects wanting to test experiments based on Weyl’s theories.

Prior to fully fledged announcements, however, Buterin and Weyl’s blog post hints at ways the method could occur.

“Citizens can use a (possibly artificial) currency to buy votes at the cost of the square of the votes bought on…