As PNF identified in our strategic thesis for the ecosystem, decentralizing Pocket’s demand is critical because it
In other words, becoming a gateway-verse (an ecosystem comprised of multiple gateways) will drive the same optimization of the demand-side that we’ve already seen play out on the supply-side, as coopetition drives innovation in:
- Methods for ensuring data integrity and QoS
- Other operational quality factors that determine customer acquisition/retention - marketing, sales, DevRel, customer support
- Cost-savings, enabling the DAO to increase the GatewayOperatorFee and scale the protocol revenue per relay
- Differentiated strategies to product-market fit (e.g. alternate value-add services) increase the likelihood of Pocket ecosystem gaining traction
Furthermore, gateways are here to stay; v1 introduces an on-chain gateway actor, which we should begin preparing for now by:
- developing our collective knowledge about the technical details and practicalities of operating gateways,
- maximizing insights for the protocol developers to refine the on-chain gateway actor’s mechanisms, and
- bootstrapping independent gateways to ensure that when v1 launches it is hitting the ground running as a gateway-verse.
The purpose of the “Into the Gateway-verse” project is to help the Pocket Network ecosystem make the leap from a single gateway paradigm to a multi-gateway paradigm.
Our aims with “Into the Gateway-verse” are:
- Remove any logistical barriers to Pocket Network becoming a multi-gateway ecosystem
- Support a second-mover gateway to bootstrap their gateway and develop open-source IP that will lower the barrier to entry for subsequent gateways
- Learn more about gateway operating to inform refinement of the on-chain gateway actor mechanisms in v1
- Foster innovations in gateway technology, including enhanced methods for data integrity, quality assurance, cost-savings, and value-add services
- Diversify Pocket Network’s sources of protocol revenue
We believe that doing all of the above is the most significant impact we can have on the future growth of Pocket Network’s protocol revenue.
The north star metric for Pocket Network is protocol revenue (measured by the fees collected from gateway operators). As of 19 June 2023, this is sitting around $40k per month (per Web3Index).
While there will be a lagging impact of the objectives we outlined above, we expect this metric to improve as a result of achieving these objectives.
We began talking to Nodies (a subsidiary of BaaS Pools, LLC.) about the vision of a gateway-verse when they approached us in February with a proposal to build their own gateway. In the time since, they have formed a team of 7 community members, comprising Poktblade as the lead developer, 2 sys-op engineers, 4 software engineers, and a sales rep.
Now that they have pushed forward in soft launching their RPC webapp and we are one month into The Road to Revenue, we feel it is time to begin supporting Nodies more directly with bootstrapping grants and hands-on support by PNF and community members alike. This would include a do-not-exceed budget of $300k in grants – $50k per month for 6 months, or sooner if Nodies reaches a sustainable threshold. We expand more on the budget below.
In return, Nodies will provide the following contributions to our ecosystem:
- Open-source R&D of data integrity and QoS assurance methods
- An open-source QoS-weighting module for subsequent gateways to build with
- Development of cost-saving innovations for gateways, which will ultimately enable the DAO to increase the GatewayOperatorFee and generate more protocol revenue per relay
- Continuous knowledge sharing of their experience as a gateway operator, through regular community calls, forum posts, and open-sourcing of tools and technologies
- Sharing insights with the core protocol developers for the refinement of the on-chain gateway actor in v1, as well as the Watcher (fka fisherman) actor
- More protocol revenue
Nodies have proven themselves to be the perfect second-movers in our gateway-verse through a prolific history of contributions:
- Protocol Expertise: Nodies have demonstrated a familiarity with Pocket’s protocol codebase through significant contributions such as LeanPocket and (already contributing to QoS improvements) fixing the session rollover issues
- Readiness to Scale: Nodies have proven their capability to operate infrastructure at scale after several months as one of the largest node operators in our ecosystem
- Trustworthiness: Nodies contributions have demonstrated their altruism in the service of the broader ecosystem’s success – open-sourcing LeanPocket when they could have used it to gain an unfair cost advantage, fixing the ChocolateRain bug when they could have exploited it for personal gain
With the introduction of new gateways, it becomes important for POKTscan to be able to differentiate between which gateway the network’s relays are coming from, to ensure accurate tracking of gateway fees. We will therefore work with POKTscan to update their dashboard to reflect the emerging gateway-verse.
As the gateway-verse scales, we may also look to data aggregators like POKTscan to develop monitoring systems for identifying suspicious behavior by gateways.
This is an indicative “do not exceed” budget. Final numbers and costs are subject to change.
For clarity, any excess or unutilised funds from the Era Budget will be returned to the DAO Treasury at the end of the Era or at the close of the “Into the Gateway-verse” project (whichever comes first), and any remaining funds from the Era allocation will be returned to the DAO treasury at the end of each cycle.
|Deliverable||Responsibility||Projected cost ($)|
|Support Nodies as a second-mover in the Gateway-verse||Nodies||$300k ($50k per month for 6 months)|
|Misc project ops (e.g. legal contracts)||PNF||$30k|
As explained in PNF’s Era Budget proposal, the Era Budget is only for must-have (“keystone”) projects.
We must have a pioneering second-mover gateway, i.e. a team who is equipped to overcome the barrier to entry and develop open-source knowledge that others can borrow from. It has been a difficult journey for PNI and it won’t be much easier for the second-mover, so it’s important that they receive hands-on support. Through this process, they will develop open-source knowledge that will progressively lower the barrier to entry for subsequent gateways.
A third-mover gateway is a should-have prior to v1, not a must-have. This means that it is not budgeted for up-front but can still be supported through grants from the Era Allocation (80% of future DAO block rewards).
Each gateway team already has an incentive to do their own Sales/DevRel, which relegates supplementary incentives (e.g. to fund DAO contributors to help gateways with DevRel) to being a should-have rather than a must-have. These initiatives can be funded by the 80% Era Allocation.
|Stakeholder||Role and Responsibilities|
|PNF||Steward the project by setting the objectives, maintaining oversight over all contributors and ensuring that the project is delivered in an efficient and high-quality manner.|
|PNI||Support PNF with understanding app stake logistics, free up app stakes for Nodies, then knowledge share with Nodies and all subsequent gateways.|
|Nodies||Develop their gateway, share their knowledge with the ecosystem, and generate revenue.|
|Community Developers||Help PNF to implement this project by working on related POPs.|
|DAO voters||Approve the “Into the Gateway-verse” budget of $330k included within the new ERA proposal once it goes to a vote.|
|Community members||Provide input and comment on this project, including supporting Nodies with feedback and testing of their gateway.|
|PNF’s PR firm||Connect PNF to the right contacts to ensure that the multi-gateway milestone gets awareness with its target audience.|
|PNF’s law firm||Support PNF with drafting contracts.|
|Activate GatewayOperatorFee||DAO||May - Done|
|Scope out app stake logistics||PNF & PNI||May - Done|
|Align on objectives and approach for the “Into the Gateway-verse” project||PNF||June - Done|
|Finalise contracts between PNF and gateway operators||Fox Williams (PNF’s legal firm), PNF||June - Ongoing|
|Update Portal backend to free up app stakes for Nodies||PNI||July - Ongoing|
|Update POKTscan to segment relay tracking by gateway||POKTscan||July|
|Grant app stakes to Nodies||PNI||End of July|
|NodiesDLB begin testing of protocol integration||Nodies||End of July|
|Begin Gateway Office Hours for knowledge sharing by Nodies||Nodies||August|
|Finalise marketing and PR plan for gateway launch||PNF’s HoM and PR Firm||August|
|Rebrand PNI to avoid confusion or advantage||PNI||August|
|NodiesDLB full launch of protocol integration||Nodies||August/September|
We will use this post to make continual updates as we achieve more milestones and more information and questions come to light about the final approach to the relevant social, economic and technical components relating to the project.
We encourage all community members to join us in bringing this project to fruition, so please feel free to reach out or just comment if you feel you have a valuable contribution to make. We will also announce one or two Pocket Open Priorities (POPs) in relation to “Into the Gateway-verse” in the coming weeks, so watch this space.