GROW - Grants, Rewards, Opportunities & Work

GROW - Grants, Rewards, Opportunities & Work

As we outlined in PNF’s Roles & Responsibilities, PNF’s role revolves around supporting and growing Pocket’s ecosystem, which includes:

  • listening to stakeholders to understand the key problems we need to resolve,

  • accelerating Pocket’s growth by helping the DAO to capitalize on opportunities,

  • unblocking contributors from creating value,

  • keeping contributors accountable to delivering value

All of these responsibilities sit at the intersection of a hot topic in the DAO today – that of compensating contributors, managing DAO spend, and a general buzz about the DAO’s new sense of independence (in light of PIP-26) as well as corresponding questions about what the DAO should work on this year.

After listening to Pocket’s stakeholders across the forum, in countless chats, and in dozens of calls, we have thought deeply about the problems we need to solve around this topic, and we believe we have now designed the systems that will be central to our work helping the DAO’s builders to GROW our ecosystem.

We’re excited to share them with you below.

Pocket has an incredible, passionate community but has struggled to fully convert motivation into participation, and participation into contribution.

The discourse around contributions and rewards recently has been great. DEVS DO SOMETHING is a good rallying cry. But it is also a risk to say the DAO should “spend more” or “move faster” because these spark their own questions of “on what” and “to where”. To where and on what is mostly the purview of our DNA project, and we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have active and continued participation in the project to clarify the strategic priorities for the whole network and the things we must do now to get to our desired future.

While a bias to action is good, without a good understanding of the problems and pain points, any proposed solutions will be misguided at best and outright painful at worst. We plan to spin up and experiment on a small number of programs - that can be subsequently scaled - to maximise the impact of Project DNA, bringing us all into alignment on what we need to do next.

Pain Points

We have spoken to approximately 30+ builders and contributors who have expressed what they find challenging today. Some of these issues include:

  • High-friction funding leads to less bets by the DAO

Contributors today have a somewhat poisoned choice and need to assume seemingly all (or most) of the risk within Pocket. A contributor can invest a lot of time and energy in designing a proposal, pricing and justifying their “potential” work, giving answers to questions that are (frankly) unknowable and then throwing themselves at the mercy of the DAO to try to get a funding proposal passed. Sadly, that might actually be the better option when the alternative is to work for free and invest in infrastructure and then come back in the hope of being retroactively rewarded fairly by the DAO. This creates an incredibly high barrier to entry. Creativity is stifled and innovation cycles are slowed significantly. Stepping back and observing this, it means that we have made very few “bets” as a DAO and have learned very few things from the fire of practical experience. Most contributions to Pocket so far have been in spite of the system. PNF plans to work hard to make the system work for everyone.

  • Monolithic funding mechanisms leads to fewer contributions overall

Because of the current singular funding method, everyone is funnelled into a fairly similar method of trying to start work. The need to create a proposal thus requires a proposal to be large enough to make the ROI on even writing a proposal worth it. And so people tend to create larger proposals or invent bigger things that might justify them doing work. But what about someone who wants to run a simple experiment, or test something, without having to invest every minute for free altruistically. When someone acts in good faith and in service of the DAO to provide impact or learning, it is really problematic not to value this type of contribution. PNF’s role is to activate as many people as possible to contribute to the public good of Pocket and to do that we need to encourage better, smaller and (also) larger mechanisms that support a more diverse range of contribution types.

  • Lack of “large” projects that drive us all forward

Today there is no real mechanism for effectively diversifying the large and critical work to be done. PNI is busy delivering its own projects, and while it is making great advancements with RAD bounties, this itself is limiting in the scale and nature of contribution types it can support. There are other qualified builder teams with the reputation and history to build in Pocket. One of the reasons for the Foundation of the Future proposal was so PNF could play the role of credibly neutral steward and save PNI from having a secondary job of decentralising the project. PNI owning this would invariably lead to calls of nepotism or favourites which, real or imagined, lead to unnecessary perceptions of influence and tension within the DAO. It is PNF’s role to act as a credibly neutral steward and we need better mechanisms that allow us to play that role in allocating work and coordinating large, multi-party ecosystem projects.

  • Lack of speed, agility and innovation because of “the DAO”

The sum of the above challenges of mechanisms, contributors and opportunities is that the Pocket DAO has become monolithic and slow. We believe that the DAO needs to make many small bets and to use these as fuel to learn and innovate more quickly. Not everything should be a proposal, not everything is life or death, not everything needs debate. What is needed is consent, accountability and the freedom to use what we have - energy, creativity and (soon) a unifying strategy and roadmap to take us to the promised land. We want to transition to a culture of “evidence over confidence”. To do that, we think PNF has a role to play in helping people more quickly bring their ideas into contact with the reality of execution.

To this end, we aim to address these problems systematically through the launch of a program we will call GROW.


GROW is a set of grants programs that addresses the pain points above. PNF plans to prototype and incubate these programs using our own energy and treasury.

We have already scheduled pilots for these programs, which will begin in the next week. A number of builders and teams will be involved and we plan to iron out any wrinkles and fine-tune some of the details before returning in a month with more insight into the results and impact. We plan to start, learn,(possibly) fail fast and get funds more rapidlyin the hands of contributors, increasing the velocity of our own learning and experimentation in this new role.

GROW includes three smaller programs:

  • Sockets: Small seed and experimentation grants
  • RPG: Retroactive public goods grants to projects that benefit us all
  • POPs: An open RFP-type program for strategic or priority projects in the Pocket ecosystem

Below is a deeper description of the nature of each program.


Sockets are small seed grants to support builders and contributors who have ideas about how to drive impact towards the priorities of Pocket. They would be widely open to anyone in our community who comes to us with measurable initiatives that we can keep them accountable to. These will move the responsibility for contributors from writing great proposals and being part-time politicians to generating impactful ideas and delivering on them.

These are likely to be spun up quickly to experiment, learn and innovate, and just as likely to be wound down within weeks when the socket is no longer generating ROI for the DAO.

Retroactive Public Goods (RPGs)

RPG will be a grant program enabling the community to identify projects that contribute to the public good and are therefore deserving of rewards from PNF. Many projects today are delivering benefit to all of us in the ecosystem and very often beyond what they have received to build, maintain and improve these products over time. RPG is a method to reward people more fairly for the creation of these public goods and to take us all into deeper discussion around the types of altruistic contributions that have made Pocket what it is today.

Pocket Open Priorities (POPs)

These are larger pieces of work to which contributors or builder teams can make a request for consideration (RFC). PNF and others within the network will scope work to be completed and then make it available as POP. Contributors will submit their consideration and PNF will play the role of credibly neutral steward, allocating such projects and rewards in the direction of teams with the highest capability, chance of success as well as other important factors like price. This will allow Pocket to become a more decentralised project, allow builders to have access to larger opportunities, and hopefully create an environment of transparency and fairness for anyone to contribute to taking us forward.

An outline of the programs and a comparison of how they will be operated can be seen below:

It should also be noted that these programs are being incubated and operated by PNF in addition to the RAD and IDEAS programs for contribution. As we come back to share learnings, outcomes and a go-forward plan for the GROW programs we will also update on the iteration of these too. And this is also not to discount or discourage the formal path open to anyone today to make a PEP to the DAO.

We will share more details on the specification and the results of the pilots executed within each program in about a month, with an ambition to scale these up in the coming periods and possibly including delivery of a set of PEP’s to the DAO in Q2, to increase the scale of funds flowing through the programs.

We’re happy to answer further questions here and are excited to incubate these pilots and prototypes and to experiment with how to more rapidly support contributors in our ecosystem. We look forward to returning in a few weeks with more detailed outcomes from this work and, potentially, specifications for the DAO to consider in terms of scaling up via PEPs.


Is it me or this link points to a closed document?

So this program will be funded and controlled by PNF, without using the DAO funds and without recurring to the DAO for approval on anything?
(not judging, just seeking clarification)

I look forward for this update!


Thanks, I have fixed the broken link

Yes, PNF will bootstrap these programs and run the pilots and experiments. We’ll then return with details around impact and outcomes to open a broader discussion


This is an excellent initiative. The tripartite scheme - Sockets, RPGs and POPs - is well thought-out. Let’s try and make this work.

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