EDIT on FEBRUARY 1 - I have changed terms referencing mismanagement of funds to mismanagement of outcomes as that was the intended term. I have expounded on it on a post farther down in this chain.
TL;DR: This isn’t a reaction against Ben at all. He is a valued member of this community. This is a vote against the current and proposed makeup of the Foundation as I have a personal belief that a veteran community voice with a bias-for-action isn’t being represented, and the DAO isn’t currently a good enough forum for that representation to be experienced
Hey @BTTheDefendoooor - thanks for the post. Also, hi @adam - definitely been a while!
First, I’m glad that we have an active conversation going on around what I believe is the first critical proposal of the year.
Second, I’d like to state that I don’t always vote with the crowd. I have in the past participated in whipping votes and have been whipped myself to vote a specific way. Our governance system enables this and I’ve been a party to both sides. I have also taken many contrarian stances in the past with my opinions or votes, such as:
- Voting against funding GRIP (though was later convinced to vote in favor)
- Voting against funding the Reddit social media posts
- Voting in favor of compensating the Thunderhead team for unnecessary tooling (to prove a point that we needed what ended up becoming sockets/pops)
- Voting in favor of MSA’s reimbursements (twice), though was later asked to and convinced to vote against it both times (which were highly contentious each time for reasons I am not going to get into right now)
I say all of this because I want to express that though I hold a significant role in this ecosystem, I am not one to always, at least initially, vote with the crowd. However, it’s rare that I vocally speak up with my contrarian view points. In this case, I decided to be vocal.
I’d like to state clearly that my NO vote is not because it’s Ben being nominated. It’s not a vote against his character. It’s a vote against the process of an internal PNF hire being voted into the Director role. I have a personal belief that at least one of the new directors that are to replace Nelson (and Jack in the near future) should come from the existing vocal and veteran community. I am taking this opportunity right now to state that belief. I think a veteran community member’s voice is missing, especially one that has a bias for action. This isn’t to say Ben isn’t part of the community - he’s put in the work over the last year, and is most definitely a member of this community in my eyes. I am just saying that my personal next vote for a director role should be someone like @shane or @Jinx or @BenVan (examples of the type of people and skillsets I’d like to see elevated). Individuals who are visible, proactive, have stood the test of time, are builders in THIS community from early on, have the weight of experience through multiple market cycles in THIS community, and so on. Were this to happen, I believe Dermot and this veteran community-member-turned-director work together on making the case for a third director, and then making the further case to expand the directorship, add an observer seat, and so on. I would, personally, feel way better about the future of PNF were we to have this makeup.
Given that the Directors must be voted in, I took this opportunity to state my opinion. Albeit, I wish I had done it when the proposal appeared, but I didn’t see this until last night, at which point I felt would be the right time to make a move. Though I believe a PNF or DAO Constitution (or some other official charter) allows for folks to be voted in/out at any time into the Board of Directors, I felt it better to use a scenario when an organic exit was happening to vote no and start that conversation there. This could just as easily have been done ad hoc after someone was elected, but I did not feel that to be appropriate, since it would require ousting someone forcefully.
As for Ben, I think he’s done a good job with Sockets and POPs. The existence of these micro-grant initiatives have been a value add to the ecosystem and fixed the issue of individuals building necessary tooling and working on much needed projects. I have overall negative feelings towards the 3D Governance/CREDs initiative. It’s beyond convoluted, and in my opinion, the result of what happens when one spends too much time theorycrafting a solution. I’m not here to offer countervailing solutions, but to state that the new system, with its multiple paths, varied weighting system, decaying properties, and so on is not what I envisioned to be the upgrade to governance. If anything, it’s even more convoluted, and presumes that individuals voting in our DAO are over-indexing their time on POKT (which is most likely not the reality) or having more technical chops than they do (e.g., proving ownership of a stake on-chain when non-custodially staking for more voting power). Again, my personal opinion, but I know with certainty others hold these thoughts.
Now, with respect to mismanagement of
funds outcomes , first, I should say that Grove/PNI is no paragon here. We had our issues - I caused part of it with decisions made very early in my tenure, but at that time, PNI was also undertaking all the responsibilities of PNF, so we collectively felt that we should be doing all the things we were doing. Thankfully, we’re past that, and I can say with confidence that as of September 2023, we have become way better at managing our funds and runway now that we’ve finished downsizing and focusing.
With that being said, when I called out PNF for
funds outcomes mismanagement, it’s based on the following:
- Consultants for CREDs (I forgot who mentioned it, but I recall hearing that paid consultants were used for this, and given I personally don’t think the result was worthwhile, nor do others I have spoken to, I believe this was not a good use of funds. If I am wrong, then I will retract this statement.)
- BlockScience has also been an initiative which I have been told my multiple parties was a poor use of funds
- The need for a team like CoUnity to clean up Discord.
- Hiring practices (purposefully not elaborating publicly)
- Hiring a PR Agency, though to @Adz’s credit, that was rectified swiftly.
@BTTheDefendoooor I think I’ve addressed your statements. You’re right, this isn’t a vote against Ben at all. It’s a vote against the current and proposed makeup of the Foundation as I have a personal belief that the veteran community isn’t being represented, and the DAO isn’t currently a good enough forum for that representation to be experienced.
On to @adam - I am going to address your concerns next, which were not addressed in my post above.
I shared my opinion and asked others who have privately expressed frustration with the lack of speed/bias-for-action in their dealings with PNF over the course of a year. Even PNF has called this out as a known weakness in their SWOT analysis from their DNA project from about a year ago. I am also heavily biased to operating this way, and as someone who exhibits this quality, I don’t see folks like me in the Foundation, and this has led to, at times, a tenuous working relationship, and built up some of the frustration that blew open publicly in response to this proposal.
There are many who believe that the DAO is not a successful tool. Personally, I have always felt, and have expressed to Jack, Mike, and Dermot on multiple occasions that it would have been so much easier to work in this space without the DAO, and were I to have my way, there would be no DAO, at least not until the project was much further along in its maturity (which is not based on time, but based on reaching a stable non-beta version of the protocol with consistent usage). Again, the DAO, in my mind, hinders moving fast - hell, I and others have decided to NOT put up proposals because we didn’t want to litigate things for months and decided to accept the status quo. This is a sign of failure to me.
To your three points, though consolidating two of them in the first bullet:
- Technical expertise and technical advocate. It is well known that @Olshansky is the primary expert on both iterations of the protocol at this time. He’s not the only one, but he’s the primary one, so much so that he is, in my mind, a Bus factor. He is also someone that cannot simultaneously work in Grove and be a part of PNF. In an ideal world (again my opinion) Olshansky could/would be part of PNF and fill the CTO/technical-board-member at PNF. He already publishes papers, speaks at conferences, and as needed, participates in X Spaces and podcasts. He’s also very well connected in multiple ecosystems in this space and has proven that through various intros he’s made for the benefit of Grove and the wider ecosystem. Could he do more? Sure, but we need him coding, and some of these marketing efforts can go live when Shannon is about to go out (or is out) and he can spend the months afterwards evangelizing.
- Board observer. This position is valuable for insight and experience only. As they do not vote, they do not, at the end of the day, have a say in what transpires. I know at Grove’s board, we value the 2 observers we have and have in the past voted with their recommendations in place.
I think Jinx answered everything else, so I will move on to one last section.
Finally, I want to call out @dermot. He has an absolutely thankless job and I just made it unexpectedly miserable for him and the PNF team today. Personally, I think Dermot has done wonders for the ecosystem as a whole. The ability to get listed on multiple exchanges recently, launch wPOKT on time, and providing and sustaining incentives is a testament to his leadership.
What I want is to do here is add more representation of the veteran community to the make up of PNF. As mentioned above, that is missing, and I think some of the projects that have been undertaken, or the speed at which things have been done, are due to not having that voice or viewpoint.
Most of you do not know, but Mike and I meet with PNF biweekly to catch up, and typically it’s me and Dermot finding ourselves on opposing sides of ideas/opinions/arguments and Mike either mediating, and occasionally taking one side or another. Rarely, if ever, do they spillover into the public, but this one, in my mind, is very different for the reasons I stated above. PNF is a public organization, with a mandate to be public and transparent on their business. I do think a vote for a new director should be done publicly and all sides debated. As mentioned above, I wish I brought this up sooner, given the proposal was up for ~2 weeks, but I didn’t see it until 24 hours ago, so we’re here now.
I’ll live with whatever transpires and continue working through issues as I have in the past. At the time of writing, the current voting is 9-7 against Ben’s appointment, so clearly the community has a mixed opinion, and as Jinx said above, there really isn’t a voting block here - it’s just a group of people who have one way or another felt that this specific vote is a way to get better representation at PNF.