Snapshot (The Portal)

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Snapshot is an open-source voting platform for Web3 projects, DAOs, and communities that uses IPFS as its main storage layer.


  • Based in:
  • Started in / Announced on: 8-2020
  • Testnet release:
  • Mainnet release:
  • Off-chain voting solution.
  • Snapshot is a voting tool based on the IPFS decentralized storage system, used by many crypto projects to poll their user bases.
  • Snapshot enables token holders to vote on the protocol-level decisions without needing to make actual transactions, just signing with your key is enough.


"Snapshot Labs, the creators of Snapshot, emerged from stealth mode in August 2020. At present, there isn’t a lot of information about who is behind Snapshot, but from various forums, it looks like it emerged from Balancer Labs"

  • From an IPFS blog (25-8-2022):

"Snapshot was originally built while Fabien, Snapshot's founder, was working for Balancer. The goal was to create a voting platform that would be flexible enough to grant BAL tokens within Balancer pools voting power. However, doing this on-chain turned out to be too computationally heavy to be feasible. That's when he realized that doing it off-chain with IPFS could provide them with the flexibility needed.

While free ("gassless") voting was not one of the initial requirements for Balancer, it came as a serendipitous bonus of the off-chain design with IPFS. Two weeks later, Fabien began generalizing his gas-efficient implementation using IPFS so that could be used by projects and DAOs beyond Balancer – and Snapshot was born.

After open-sourcing an early version of Snapshot, it was quickly adopted by early DeFi projects like Yam and Yearn and has since taken over the governance landscape."


  • Whitepaper can be found [insert here].
  • Code can be viewed [insert here].

"Snapshot is completely open-source, allowing others to contribute to the project or create alternate versions, meaning it could go in any number of directions."


How it works

"Traditionally, to vote using cryptocurrency would normally incur fees to process the movement of currency from one wallet to another. But on Snapshot, that doesn’t happen, thanks to the clever use of the decentralized storage network called IPFS. Because Snapshot doesn’t use ‘on-chain’ verification, any votes are essentially fee-less.

For companies looking to use Snapshot, they need to have an existing profile on the Ethereal Naming Service, or ENS. Once they have that, they then add a record on ENS to allow votes to be viewable at that address. Users, meanwhile, need a wallet address with the required cryptocurrency in order to take part in a poll.

  • From an IPFS blog (25-8-2022):

"Snapshot is unique in its use of IPFS to store proposals and user votes using a technique known as ‘off-chain’ voting, where the cryptographic signatures proving user votes are persisted to IPFS instead of being stored on the blockchain.

This means that voting with Snapshot is practically free since voters don’t need to pay gas for transactions, i.e. gasless voting. In doing so, Snapshot lowers the barrier to entry for voting, increases governance participation, and allows projects and communities to scale their voter base.

Transparency, one of the core tenets of governance in the Web3 space, is achieved by having all proposals and votes persisted using content addressing on IPFS, thereby allowing anyone to view, audit, and replicate a copy of the CIDs containing the cryptographic signature.

Each space configuration in Snapshot allows you to configure various strategies to determine:

  1. Who can participate in voting, e.g. token holders of an ERC-20 token or NFT tokens (ERC-721, and ERC-1155.)
  2. The voter's voting power, e.g. one vote per token.
  3. Who submit proposals to be voted on, e.g. token holders with a given minimum number of tokens.

For example, the ENS project requires holding the ENS token to vote on proposals and at least 10k ENS tokens to create proposals.

Once a space is created, voting happens through proposals. A proposal describes the issue of a vote and also has a voting system that determines the choices voters can select, and how the results will be calculated.

Importantly, each proposal includes a Snapshot block number pointing to an Ethereum (or any other supported blockchain) block number. The block number is the snapshot where the balance of voters will be counted. This prevents manipulation by the temporary acquisition of tokens after a proposal is made.

Every space, proposal, vote, and user action is added to IPFS and has a content identifier (CID). To make it easier to persist data to IPFS, Snapshot built a microservice called Pineapple and a client library called pineapple.js. Together they abstract the details of uploading content to multiple IPFS pinning services. The Pineapple microservice, races uploading the JSON to multiple IPFS pinning services and returns a response as soon as at least one of the services responds with a success. Additionally, the data is also uploaded to AWS S3."

Gnosis Merger

"Gnosis has merged its multisig wallet, Gnosis Safe, with the off-chain (and therefore gasless) DAO governance dashboard, Snapshot, to create SafeSnap as an addable module for Gnosis Safe. Gnosis’ newly launched DAO governance tool, SafeSnap, aims to allow users to execute decentralized governance decisions  without incurring expensive gas fees on-chain."



"Snapshot is a beloved governance tool that lets DAOs come to token-based consensus, but it does not have any native way to push results on-chain. oSnap is a joint effort between UMA and Snapshot to add this execution functionality, specifically for (formerly Gnosis) Safe multi-sig wallets. The result is that DAO tokenholders are able to propose and execute on proposals from start-to-finish, without any specific person’s signature required."


"Aragon and Balancer Labs are collaborating to launch Snapshot, an off-chain voting platform. Through the implementation of Aragon Agreements and Aragon Court, Snapshot will enable DAOs to take their off-chain voting and record it on the Ethereum blockchain."


  • 5M votes cast, over 9000 projects & DAOs on Snapshot and more than 63K proposals created (12-9-2022).
  • Leveraged by projects from Yearn Finance to social tokens like COIN (1-10-2020).
  • From Decrypt (4-6-2021):

"There are a wide range of companies in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space that have taken advantage of Snapshot’s unique polling system. These include Uniswap, Balancer, Yearn, Bancor, The Graph, Aragon, and others. Decrypt uses Snapshot too."

Team, Funding



"Got a stimulus boost thanks to $200k in funding from Aragon and Balancer yesterday afternoon."