PIP36 - Appointing Ben as a PNF Director

Hey all - thanks again for another good community call - appreciate the questions from you all to clarify the proposal, and i hope that we can separate the issue of this proposal, voting Ben as a director, from all the other concerns & needs that need to be addressed.

As always @Jerry will post the video today to the POKT youtube, so look out for that.

For now I’ve included the transcript from our good friend Fred the robot. There’s some good info on how PNF is structured around here if you want more details.

Here are my key takeaways from the call:

  1. The current board consists of Jack & Dermot, with Ben filling in for Nelson as the interim director.
  2. This proposal is for Ben to come on as a director, focusing on operations and finance with Nelson stepping down.
  3. PNF is planning on hiring a technical leader, with the expectation that they will want to be a director.
  4. The expectation is that Jack will then step down as a director, which leaves board looking like:
  • Dermot: Growth & Partnerships
  • Ben: Ops & Finance
  • (New Hire): Tech

After the vote ends, we’ll post some next steps & start working on the other concerns brought up here as well.

Thanks all


Hey folks - quick reply on my end as it’s been a busy day and I have to run and get the kids shortly, but I owe a reply, so giving a quick one here right now. I apologize for missing the community call as well - had a meeting that I could not move to as it was with an outside party that was scheduled 2 weeks ago. I got the download of what was discussed from a couple folks an hour ago, but as I wasn’t there, I can’t comment on it too much. @doctorrobinson thanks for the summary above.

First, Mismanagement of Funds was the wrong term. I own it. I meant Mismanagement of Outcomes, or how I I believe funds should or should-not have been spent based on the results. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Second, to @Dermot, yes we meet often, but I have no recollection of us personally chatting about Ben’s nomination. I knew Jack and Nelson were both going to step back (Jack gave me a heads up in Q4), but I have no recollection broaching this specific line item with anyone. I’m happy to apologize for this item.

Third, @Adrienne, yes happy to clarify re: Agencies. PNI had two CMOs for a combined 2 years that hired multiple PR agencies. All PR agencies were deemed a waste of funds and were cut off, since we’re in a space with a product (at the time, and even now) that did not lend itself well to press release material. When I found out that PNF was doing it, I felt the lesson wasn’t learned or carried over. It’s not a knock on you, as you were new here, it’s just the fact this was already done, it failed, and should have been avoided. I applaud you for canning it quickly. It’s not your fault, but the fact it was done irked me as these funds could have been spent better.

Fourth, @Adrienne, for hiring practices, I feel that certain people should not have left, others should not have been hired, or those who were here should have left sooner. The feedback was provided by constituents that were closer than I am to the Foundation and was ignored repeatedly (so I have been told by my own trusting parties). In this case, money was not well spent, which is what I meant by mismanaged, so the outcome was poor. I am choosing not to go deeper as to not disparage people who cannot defend themselves.

Fifth, as for a technical leader, I still believe Olshansky is the only person today that can fill that role. We moved heaven and earth to migrate knowledge of Morse from Luis and Andrew and the founding team to Olshansky. As the chief architect behind the protocol, Olshansky is the only one who has the best insight on Shannon. Hiring outside for this role is not ideal as you’re adding another cook to a kitchen too early on in the process. I believe Olshansky should fill the technical leadership role (not as a director) but as the primary authority until a much later date in the future and if it requires more of him than he’s able to provide, then PNF funds a full time engineering hire to help backfill.

I’ve said my part. I will own that this did not come out the way I originally intended it to - part of it is an emotional response, as I have had a very tenuous working relationship with the Foundation at times (as mentioned in my earlier post) and part of it comes from many folks feeling like they cannot speak up in the forums or with their votes (or can even obtain votes). These were my signals for wanting to shake up the Foundation directorate to bring a community veteran voice. I saw the opportunity, albeit very last minute, and decided to act.

I hear that Shane may be considered for something here. If that’s the case, then I consider that a win.

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“You and @Dermot tend to be unreasonably reasonable humans.”


Apologies for pulling this quote in from chat, but I think this may be the nicest compliment I’ve ever received. And in spite of some of the side noise in here, I think we’ve demonstrated that again in this thread.


…covers my single largest immediate concern. And the commitment to work together on improving communications, oversight, and general accountability, along with making sure that observers have direct input into relevant strategy conversations, cover the rest of my concerns. Although these debates can be frustrating sometimes, there hasn’t been one yet that I don’t think has come to a reasonable conclusion.

Over the last two years, I have heard everything from “DAOs don’t work” to “the Foundation is ineffective” and everything in between. This not a POKT problem, really; that sentiment is echoed through out web3. Governance is hard. The broader the form of governance and the more “citizens” involved, the harder it gets. The ONLY thing that helps mitigate this is when there is a common shared goal to which all the players are aligned.

Here in this ecosystem, the success of the protocol, both in adoption and economic health, is that common goal. It is my central driving purpose in participating in this ecosystem, and why I spend full time work hours every week unpaid engaging and supporting the community and contributing my experience and expertise to various entities in the ecosystem. There is no entity in the ecosystem for whose success I would risk the health of the total; the math is wildly lopsided given my stake in the network.

Given that, it’s not only ludicrous that I have to deal with claims of bias every time I participate in debate, there’s a specific lack of good faith in moderation here that those posts aren’t addressed according to the community guidelines we’ve all agreed to adhere to, specifically item 2:

Do not make personal attacks at any one individual or organization. This includes arguments or reactions directed against a person or organization rather than the position they are maintaining. Debate the idea, not the person or organization. Personal attacks also consist of making damaging remarks relating to one’s lifestyle or choices such as questioning a person’s intelligence, values, integrity, motivations or decisions.

In the reasonable portion of the debate here, I found my concerns well addressed. The lack of enforcement around “integrity, motivations, or decisions”, however, undercuts the success of the debate in proving the merits of the proposal.

I would respectfully suggest to leadership that when emotions are high is precisely when it’s critically important to enforce the standards and decorum that we hold as central values. I expect in the future to not have to battle ad hominem attacks without appropriate moderation.

Given the resolution of this debate and the commitment by the foundation to empower board observers appropriately, I am changing my vote to approve.


I appreciate all the time that folks have put into clearing up these definitions. Understanding that this role isn’t trying to assign “The Director” but instead making @b3n a “director” of Finance and Operations was really helpful for me. From how I see it, this vote doesn’t deter the need for filling technical expertise, nor does it limit what that position could be. They are separate.

This sums things up for me :point_down:

I voted in favor because I think Ben would do well as a head of finance and ops. The need to fill a technical lead shouldn’t prevent Ben from taking lead on Nelson’s responsibilities (which was never technical in the first place).

Ben is a good fit IMO. If it passes, then great, if not, then PNF should resubmit with the clarity we have gleaned from the past 24h. Regardless, it is really encouraging to see change happening :slightly_smiling_face:


I am in support of both the proposal and as well the sentiment posted here in regards of a change of representation in PNF directors.

Proposal Focus

As Shane and others mentioned, this proposal is simply to replace Nelson (who is likely going to be inactive). Given the director Ben is replacing, there is very little argument that he is not capable of his director responsibilities. It is important to ensure that PNF can continue its multi-sig operations and have proper handoff. 2 signatures is too insecure and risky, three is the minimum threshold.


We should assume the back channels are not malicious and are used as an effective communication channel for time-sensitive matters. Given that it didn’t reach @ArtSabintsev 's attention until early this week, I believe it’s fair game for him to raise his concerns as long as it’s within the voting limits. After catching up a little more, there is very little reason to believe this is simply a “powerplay” by any actor, but rather genuine concerns voiced by the community and leaders. The timing wasn’t as good, but it led to good discourse and gave voice to a lot of community members behind the scenes. I fully understand Art’s intentions here and like he said, everything that has happened so far can be considered a win.

Technical/Community Directors

It is my personal opinion that POKT would benefit from a technical director who does not have previous ties with the network such that

  1. Ex-Employee of PNF/Grove
  2. Ties with a VC that bought into the token sale

It would make for a far more balanced neutral Foundation.


This proposal has become a lot more than just voting Ben into director. It has led to great arguments on what the Foundation can look like in the future, and this should help PNF prioritize better what the DAO wants to see. As Jack transitions to part-time, I see an opportunity for his director role to be superseded with what everyone has been echoing , but this should not exclude Ben from being appointed as director, and hence why I’m voting for the proposal.


Succinctly and perfectly stated.


This proposal has passed with 21 yays and 7 nays on Snapshot.

Thanks everyone for your input and participation in the last couple of days. A real community effort.

We at PNF have learned a lot from this process, and I hope everyone involved has too.

Please also welcome @b3n as a new director!!


Thanks all for your faith in me to perform this role and for the many messages I received. I’m glad the debate led to more clarity around PNF’s board operations.

What happened here is a good guide for how we can solve any challenges our ecosystem faces - directly, together, and by seeking to better understanding each others needs and talents. That’s a blueprint for what I hope to bring to the role and now this is done I’m excited to get on with it.


This PIP got all the grandpas out of hiding… :smile: :smiley:

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