POKT Labs: A Decentralized Moonshot Initiative

The POKT ecosystem has grown in significant ways in the last two years, including the addition of an EVM layer now possible with the release of wPOKT. However, we have a noticeable dearth of core utilities in the ecosystem beyond node clients and some analytical tools. Further, no one in the ecosystem is incentivized to share their experiments with the community at large due to the personal investments in time and money required to perform R&D in the ecosystem. This was made apparent during the implementation of the light client, as it turned out that multiple groups had already created working versions of that software.

POKT needs a centralized moonshot lab which incentivizes R&D and experimentation to turn out utilities which are open source from the first line of code written, and freely shared in the community. This initiative needs to be lead by a technologist with architectural experience who can see the big picture and award work done without having participants go through the POP or Socket processes, which are narrowly tailored around a specific outcome. R&D work needs to allow for the exploration of ideas, and accept that some of this exploration may fail.

An initial focus I would suggest is in cross-bridge APIs for interaction between wPOKT and POKT. I suspect many noderunners would be interested in the ability to have node yields be paid out in wPOKT, but cannot or will not spend the time required to build out that level of automation.

I’m opening this thread to gather ideas on implementation and an overarching framework.

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Here’s the Office Hours in case anyone wants to dip in:

Having given it a little thought post call, I think I’m hearing a couple of different needs.

  1. Y’all want to be able to direct some of the uses of funds towards projects you think are important (e.g. defi tooling). I am not sure if the DAO has asked to open a POP in the past, or if there’s a path for that, but it seems like a good thing to revisit and find a good mechanism for that.
  2. There’s demand for a senior level technical person who can make sure that we’re addressing the entire ecosystem. This is separate from the work the protocol team is doing.
  3. DeFi tools are important
  4. Y’all like the idea of centralizing power :wink:

Some of this is tongue in cheek, but would love thoughts on if solving 2 + 1 would actually hit the mark here?

Could a simple mechanism for someone like Jinx to champion a new initiative, voted on by the DAO to be funded, then managed by a senior technical person to evaluate + deliver on this?


Opinions below -

I think that creating Labs has a nice feel to it, and it’s sparking my internal ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could try lots of experiments & do really cool cutting edge stuff’. But my concern is that it still needs to be managed by someone who has the capacity + knowledge to do it, bound by some rules and requirements to use funds well and be accountable to the protocol/DAO/community. Otherwise it ultimately falls to the Foundation, which already has a lot of these functions built in to it, which makes me think - what are we really asking for here?

So open floor to call out what about a Lab is so interesting to you, and if there are ways we can do that already?

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At first glance it seems that we are adding more structure to something that we should be able to accomplish with what we have. Maybe it was my misunderstanding, but I thought that PNF should be the one that oversights the technical aspects of the contributions and proposals, and that Matteo was hired in part for this role.

During the call there was a lot of talk around budgets, and the issue with Sockets seemed to be that 3K u$d /month was not enough to finance big experiments and/or research (something which I somwhat agree). However this new proposal, creating the “POKT Labs” that should have more funding than sockets, rises many questions around who and how will that budget be assigned.
Also, if POKT Labs is the authority, will they be controlling repositories and PRs? Will the authority of the Labs decide on every project or there will be sub managers? what if the community don’t like the management (has happened and will happen again).

These all are the same arguments that appear each time a structure is proposed to be created, its a little tiresome to go through this every time. I’m not a fan of adding more structure, and I cannot see the real value of this. Cant we just improve the technical leadership of PNF?


Regarding the specific project mentioned here, I agree is something useful and that we should be working towards it, but is the Lab going to focus solely on this project?

We are already working on something that would fit into what POKT Labs pretends to incentivize, but is not related to wPOKT, we are working on IA-RPCs (big surprise). We were thinking on how to make this right for the ecosystem, to be able to showcase our work and making it opensource from line (near) zero.
Our idea was to go through a socket and then maybe be able to evolve to a POP (if PNF/DAO deem the project worthy). I thought that was the way of doing things, if Labs pass then what would be the path?

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This is the meat of the request. And yeah, the foundation does have the ability to create and administer it. That’s part of what’s being asked for discussion here. It’s simply separate from the POPs and Sockets, which as I mentioned, are narrowly tailored around a specific need.

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Matteo may very well be the one to lead this initiative. I haven’t seen him participating within the community yet, so no idea. There’s no proposal here, only questions for exploration.

Yes.

Was the conversation around POPs and Sockets tiresome? Because this is simply exploring another mechanism for community participation.

No, this was just an example of an idea that the Lab could experiment with.

Edited to remove a mistranslation issue that was resolved.

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To some extent yes, sockets are a little less than a year old, and most of the past year the community was more focused on surviving than in experimenting, so the mechanism was not tested very much.
What I’m just asking is for more reasons for this, I’m not convinced of the benefits of this new structure if we can get PNF to provide better technical lead.

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– editing as this was resolved in DMs–

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PNF can very much be the technical lead on this, assuming that Matteo wants to engage with the community. This idea is not proposing a third party structure. It is proposing a funding structure that is capable of supporting broader scale experimentation. Neither POPs (a request for specific feature development needed by the foundation/protocol) nor Sockets (a small cap experimental structure not suited to larger level experimentation) would have the budget in their current structure to account for a broad multi-team experiment like creating a suite of cross bridge APIs. Sockets in particular have singular recipients. The Labs concept is nothing more than ideating around a “multi-socket for single purpose” type approach.

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This best describes the idea of lab,it can be a single purpose outcome targeted at a specific industry.

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