PEP-48: Quarterly Reporting through Messari Protocol Services

Attributes

  • Author(s): Jack Purdy, Director of Business Development - Messari Protocol Services

  • Recipient(s): The funds will go to Messari Protocol Services, the public-goods-funded arm of Messari that provides open-source data analytics and reporting for DAOs.

  • Category: Relationship

  • Asking Amount: $26,250 in POKT per quarter

Summary

We are proposing that Messari provide investor relations services for Pokt DAO with in-depth reporting and research. This would serve to better inform existing stakeholders as well as attract new ones. while building out the open-source data infrastructure for the community.

These reports would live as free resources on Messari and would be distributed through our newsletter, social channels, and third-party distribution partners including Bloomberg, S&P Global, and Refinitiv.

Abstract

Beginning in Q2 we will provide 4 quarterly reports that present and analyze major KPIs and fundamental metrics which will include:

  • Amount of POKT staked
  • Number of relays
  • Number of applications
  • Rewards data
  • Latency/uptime of providers

Where relevant these data points will be split out on a per chain basis as well as individual application use (DeFi, NFT, gamint, etc.). The report will also delve into major governance developments, upgrades, and key roadmap initiatives on a recurring basis. Examples include: The Graph, Filecoin, Livepeer

They will be distributed to a wide crypto native audience through the Messari newsletter comprised of 300k investors and builders in the space along with three of the largest traditional research platforms in the world.

  • S&P Global
    • Capital IQ: 12,000 enterprises
  • Bloomberg
    • Bloomberg Terminal: 325k users
  • London Stock Exchange (formerly Thomson Reuters)
    • Refinitiv: 40,000 enterprises and 400,000 users

Motivation

This proposal is designed to improve the data analytics and research available to the Pocket ecosystem including core on-chain metrics, governance initiatives, and core protocol developments. This will enable existing stakeholders whether its infrastructure providers running nodes, projects using the network, or investors participating in governance to make better informed decisions in order to guide the strategic direction of the protocol.

In addition, this will grow the Pocket ecosystem by attracting new stakeholders. Without adequate investor relations services and standardized reporting, it can be difficult for new entrants to find reliable data with the necessary context to make gain actionable insights. We aim to create the 10Q equivalent in the same way anyone can go to Apple’s financial statements to learn more about the company and its performance, anyone can publicly see Pocket’s reports to learn more about the protocol and observe it’s performance. Over time, this will bring more stakeholders into the ecosystem who will be more likely to contribute value to the DAO, allocating their time and money to grow the network.

Lastly, not only are we creating these reports but we’re ensuring they get sent out to a wide audience that can consume them. This is done through Messari’s channels of over a quarter million crypto-natives, which reach most of the active professionals in the industry as well as through our distribution relationships with Bloomberg, S&P, and Refinitiv. This goes a long way to further professionalize Pocket to world outside of crypto including major funds, banks, financial service companies, and large corporates in the world that will better grasp the magnitude of economic activity generated by the protocol. As more of these players are getting involved in crypto (ex Polygon/Starbucks or KKR/Avalanche) they’ll be able to expend substantial resources investing and participating in the on-chain economy.

Needs Being Met

Link to relevant Feature Requests and/or Proposal Requests from the Needs category in Discourse, which your proposal fulfills.

Budget

We’re proposing $26,250 in POKT at the beginning of the first quarter to be reported on (Apr 1) and then $26,250 in POKT at the beginning of the next 3 quarters (July 1, Oct 1, Jan 1). The amount is fixed in USD therefore the amount of POKT from the treasury will be determined based on the prevailing market rate on the day of payment.

Rationale

Investor relations are a critical function of any organization whether its a traditional company or a DAO. Hiring in-house to perform these functions would be significantly more expensive (and wouldnt have the distribution) but Messari is able to achieve economies of scale having done this type of reporting for ~40 projects.

Other DAOs are investing substantial resources into these services with examples including:

  • MakerDAO has a Strategic Finance team doing their reporting for $1.3 million/year.
  • Aave is spending $1.5m on similar services

We recognize this is not apples to apples and these scopes are broader than just reporting/analytics but I think it showcases the substantial work that goes into these types of services.

Dissenting Opinions

The price is too high!
While we understand its a bear market and spending is tight, we think that in times like this it’s even more critical to highlight fundamentals as far too often “price go down” becomes the barometer of success. By shifting the focus to what really matters rather than market forces it highlights the true value offered by decentralized protocols.

On-chain data is freely accessible, why do we need to pay someone to give it to us?
Even though blockchain data is open by default, there is still a significant amount of work needed to put it into a digestible format. Most people dont want to sit through and parse raw data which is why there is value in having a sector-specific analyst whose full-time job is synthesizing information to take it and create an articulate narrative.

Shouldn’t this be done in-house since they understand Pocket better than anyone?
While yes, those building a protocol understand it better than anyone that doesn’t mean their time is best spent making sure everyone else can understand it. Outsourcing this type of reporting and research provides a much lower cost way to keep everyone up to speed and has additional benefits such as broader distribution that can be a strong driver of growth, something that can’t be replicated by doing in-house.

Deliverable(s)

Q2 report released following the end of the quarter (6/30) with each consecutive one coming 3 months after

There is also a termination clause at the end of Q3 where the DAO can cancel the engagement if they feel they are not receiving enough value from our services.

Contributor(s)

Mihai Grigore - Senior Analyst focusing on key metrics and technical understanding of Web3 protocols. He currently covers research and reporting for Livepeer, Filecoin, The Graph, ENS, and Braintrust. He previously worked in data science at UBS and Swiss Re, and started two tech ventures. Mihai completed his PhD in information systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). His background is in computer science and math.

Additional resources
Mike Kremer - Data Engineer
Ryan Celaj - Research analyst

Copyright

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

3 Likes

Poktscan does not have a relationship or agreement with Messari, nor has formally been approached to collaborate with this proposal. Messari should not be mentioning Poktscan as a partner not contributor without prior written authorization from its CEO.

1 Like

Apologies for the confusion, I’ve removed mention of Poktscan from the proposal.

For the community’s reference, one of our data scientists had several calls with the team to help us better understand the data architecture. In drafting the proposal, we wanted to mention how we would source the data which we plan on using their tools, however, there is no commercial engagement between Poktscan and Messari.

2 Likes

On the surface, I’m in favor of this proposal given Messari’s reach and reputation. However, I did have a little sticker shock at the price, and it was reinforced by asking for payment in stablecoin.

If your value proposition is that we should engage this service because it will reach a broader investor audience (with the unstated but clear implication that this could increase token value), why would you saddle the DAO with converting $POKT to stablecoin, when the upside you imply would happen benefits you if your reporting has the desired effect?

5 Likes

If I may add a few words-

This could be broken down into: a) Reporting b) Marketing

For a) benchmarking needs to be done against other players in the market to whom it could be outsourced. And then how much would it cost to hire a full-time blockchain data analyst by the DAO. My assumption is that both would be more cost-effective.

This could also be treated as a marketing expense- marketing through brand association. Messari is important and association would certainly help bolster Pocket’s brand value in addition to growing its reach and maybe even add to sales. The question is whether that’s worth 25k a quarter in stables at this time given other priorities such as V1, and/or are there alternative ways to associate with Messari in order to fulfil the marketing gains.

Deferral could be a prudent move instead of closing this one way or the other, while we get ourselves ready for such expenses.

4 Likes

I’m inclined to agree. The lack of a “bet” made on the success of the outcome (vis a vis distribution in native token) feels more like a simple pitch for services versus an ecosystem partnership.

3 Likes

Thanks for the post @JackPurdy_Messari

From my perspective, Messari is one of the most respected brands in the crypto space. I know that they only take on projects that they are genuinely interested in covering, so my first reaction is to be delighted that Pocket is now at the level of importance to justify its inclusion as a committed research partner. (Although, I would say that they are at least 12months behind in finally doing so!)

I don’t think anyone is implying this, but for the record, I don’t see this proposal as a pray-and-spray approach to make money from a random project with a DAO treasury.

In terms of the potential value add to the Pocket ecosystem, being covered in a similar high-quality manner as the other leading Web3 infrastructure projects as the Graph, Filecoin, Livepeer, etc, is a genuinely beneficial addition to Pocket being seen as more “legitimate” and “Tier 1” and so on… This is a pretty subjective and wishy-washy value-add to some, but I think it’s crucial for Pocket to have more independent long-term focused research shops sharing their thinking on the overall mission and vision and traction of the project, as well as to add further input around key changes to the protocol, and governance etc.

@JackPurdy_Messari can you share more detail on what the quarterly updates will look like for Pocket? And will they be coupled with interim updates around key changes to the protocol, governance etc? Another way to ask this question is how will this change how Pocket is covered when you are preparing other research articles and reports on infrastructure more broadly, or anything else in this regard. What new insights do you expect to bring to the coverage on Pocket quarter-to-quarter? And is there anything about the typical coverage from Messari that a casual onlooker may not appreciate?

Regarding the cost of this proposal, I think it’s a fair question to ask whether a material portion of the quarterly fees could be paid in POKT, as it will otherwise fall on the foundation to sell down enough POKT into stablecoins to pay such fees. I think the foundation will be able to suck up the coordination costs to enable this on behalf of the DAO, and the market should be able to absorb an additional $25k/quarter of additional selling pressure, but it just feels better if there is a degree of quid pro quo involved with the proposal. And I like the alignment point made by Jinx too.

@JackPurdy_Messari would you be willing to amend this proposal to 50/50 POKT and USDC? And does anyone else in the community suggest another proportion that they would be more happy with? cc @Jinx @Caesar

Lastly, re the following quote:

I don’t view this proposal as a hindrance to the aims of v1 unless I’m missing something @Caesar ?

If this is a point about wanting to hold funds back to make sure the DAO has enough to spend post-v1 - or something of that ilk. In that case, the DAO treasury is c.$6.5m (and growing), with only c.$1.4m distributed over the last two years, so I don’t think that the size of the current treasury is a material issue when considering this grant. Although, I think it’s still fair to question whether this is the right quantum for the partnership/service.

3 Likes

Hello Dermot,

Thank you for your question. I am not privy to DAO treasury and I am not a DAO voter yet. I would reserve any direct feedback on DAO budget and expenditures for now.

My comments above were around a slightly different approach in dissecting the above proposal into a) reporting and b) marketing from an expense/value standpoint, do the benchmarking and ROI study on both separately and then arrive at answers.

I am of an opinion that this is more of a marketing expense than reporting, and I greatly value marketing incidentally. I belief that Pocket is under-invested in marketing.

My V1 commentary was related to the marketing section of my breakup. Timing of an expense could determine how much value we extract from it. Post V1, Pocket is going to be more marketable and sellable. An argument could be that we could get more bang for the buck once we are better equipped technically and also have more success stories (such as a successful V1 upgrade) to tell.

A general advice is to not take the first option that we come across and before we are fully aware of other alternatives. And that’s also why I suggested deferral (in addition to V1 completion) instead of rejection. During that time we could continue engaging with Messari and getting more information about their offerings, and on the other hand do the benchmarking and comparative analysis against other alternatives.

Having said all that, we absolutely need reporting (and especially financial reporting) as I have raised a few questions and suggested starting points in this recent need: Financial Key Performance Indicators- Pocket Network . Question is how much should we be willing to pay for this.

Thank you for reading.

3 Likes

While having more prominence at Messari is a great marketing point and has value:

  • Messari has previously and will need to continue to mention Pocket: it’s business is to review and update on Web3 companies, Pocket (along with other Web3 projects) is it’s literal raisin d’etre and gives Messari value.

  • In essence, we get an analyst who is covering half a dozen other projects to write a quarterly report. Maybe a bit more mentions through Messari’s releases. Not downplaying this, it’s helpful, but let’s call a spade a spade please.

  • $25k/quarter is the sticker price. Who has ever paid sticker price for buying ads?

I appreciate there will be a long come back of ‘why it’s worth it’ etc etc. To drill down, an analyst writes a quarterly report- marginal cost to Messari is 1/6th or so pay for an analyst (that’s marginal, I appreciate the ‘but we have to keep the lights on’ argument).

  • Whatever the final price is, should definitely not be 100% stables. 50/50 POKT & Stables with a lock up period on the POKT for 1yr so it isn’t immediately dumped.

Respectfully to Messari- I appreciate and applaud sales teams and the sales cycle. However, $25k a report is bull market pricing and all good negotiations start by anchoring a high price and then slowly coming down. This would be better to be done behind closed doors instead of the ultra transparency of the DAO as there are second order game theory effects to sales pricing. I think more negotiation on price is needed.

I would currently vote ‘NO’ on this proposal. However, with a more reasonable pricing in place I’d be happy to change to a Yes and support this proposal.

6 Likes

I would vote NO for this proposal. $25k is the unreasonable price imho even with all the Messari’s reputation.

Aside from that, mentioning Poktscan as a partner or contributor while there were no communication at all among these two parties isn’t looking good as well.

2 Likes

Appreciate all the feedback! To address these points:

  1. Stablecoin payments - we’d love to be able to accept $POKT to showcase a commitment to the community. Unfortunately as a company we’re limited to holding tokens that are supported on the US regulated custodians we use.

  2. For more details @Dermot they’ll be released as 4 quarterly reports similar structure and length to the examples I shared. In the interim we will (and already started) covering governance updates on a real-time basis by our dedicated governance analysts. By covering protocols with these quarterly reports it definitely helps inform other research reports.
    For example, we started doing quarterly reporting for Balancer last year and having spent so much time with them we felt certain topics warranted reports of their own to go deeper on.
    The veBAL Wars
    Introducing Staked aTokens
    In fact, one of our analysts started spec’ing out what one of these could look like for Pocket. Here’s an outline of another report we could include as part of the package to better inform the community on the existing governance structure and how its changing while providing actionable insight looking at voting power concentration, active voters, voter history, proposal history, etc. If you want an example of what this could look like - we did a similar analysis for Optimism

Regarding the sticker price… Don’t mean to be cheeky here but I can name 40 top protocols we’ve gone through similar processes with that paid sticker price. We’re not marking this up to make a huge profit we’re looking to cover the resources that go into this which I can tell you is a lot more than just one analyst writing the report. While yes blockchain data is all publicly available there’s significant data science and engineering effort to put it into any sort of usable state.

Going through the due diligence processes to get onto 3 of the largest research platforms in the world is no walk in the park either. We’re expending BD/marketing resources on distribution to ensure we get the most value out of these reports so they are not only read by most of the crypto world but outside our bubble to large players who are starting to not only get up to speed but actively allocate resources to interacting with web3 protocols.

2 Likes

@JackPurdy_Messari - I respect the hustle, I spent many years in a similar position, and so nothing I say is meant as an attack, either personally to you or to Messari, it’s a company with a great reputation and I have faith in its work. So please don’t take the following as an attack.

  • We are spending $25k on a DAO governance report? We within the DAO, or PNF are acutely aware of how the DAO works and have debated PNF ad nauseum under PIP-26.
    Key question: who is this report for? If it’s for our own community, we definitely have the resources to make our own at a fraction of the cost from those with more insight than an external observer new to our project.
    If it’s a marketing tool - is this the best subject to promote? Internal lengthy debates on governance, legal structures, hierarchy etc is not exactly prime reading to get people interested in Pocket. If we are to work with Messari (and I think under the right circumstances it would have a great ROI and be mutually beneficial), then lets commission a deep dive into v1 when we are at launch. Even institutional analysts are going to yawn at the minute discussions over governance.

We as a community are having a major debate about raises and runway and how we need to tighten our belts, but then want to drop $25k a quarter on arcane research papers? A partnership with Messari has great potential IMO when we are ready with something new and exciting to maximise eyeballs to (v1). Changes to governance structures is a niche field within DAO research/lore and doesn’t justify an Ad spend.

1 Like

@JackPurdy_Messari - what custodian do you all use? You can custody the $POKT with Copper.

5 Likes

To clarify this governance report we’d include for free - $25k is covering all that goes into each quarterly report with the much broader scope.

And @kjenkins we’re using Coinbase but I can check with our Finance team to see if we could onboard with Copper.

5 Likes

Alright so good news - we’ve found a way to make it work!

In order to accept $POKT, we’ll just need to add a 10% buffer to account for market volatility and additional costs on our end to accept native tokens.

5 Likes

This shifts my opinion on this proposal.

5 Likes

So now we pay more ($27,500/quarter) for Messari to instantly market dump POKT?

Without a vesting schedule (please correct me if there is one and I’ll recant this comment,) this is worse, than the DAO OTC selling POKT for stables.

Empower PNF to negotiate a one time fee for a review and marketing push when we have v1 out and something to promote.

1 Like

I agree with Cryptocorn. This proposal should not be supported now, but reconsidered once V1 goes live so that we have something really worthy to throw so much money on it.

1 Like

Reposting this, the rationale behind discussing this post-V1 has been laid out more than once in the thread above.

1 Like

One thing I’d say here from my experience in startups and investing is that marketing does not just turn itself on overnight. It takes months to build up trust and awareness with the right individuals and institutions.

So whether or not you believe that this proposal is the right one, or the quantum in question is reasonable; if we want v1 to have the maximum marketing impact on arrival, we need to start the work now.

I would, therefore, argue that if you believe in the potential of a partnership with Messari, not to hesitate in putting it in place.

Messari is not a panacea in any case. But if you do not believe in the potential impact of a partnership with them, I would implore the community to be ready to back other such partnerships in the future. And to advance some of their own solutions sooner rather than later. As we do need to get ready for v1 well in advance of its launch.

7 Likes