POKTs Sockets - 2023 Retro & Updates



Howdy y’all - we’ve seen an uptick in Sockets recently, and now that we’ve been running them for a bit it’s time to iterate on the mechanisms in place. The goal here is to clarify expectations so that we can bring in more aligned contributors, reward them fairly for their work, and increase impact month over month.

Sockets are meant to be DAO initiatives with the community at the helm, identifying which Sockets are creating impact and which ones should be closed. They’re permissionless, as in anyone who thinks they can do impactful work can open one and deliver on that premise. In an ideal world, members of the DAO would be participating in review of Sockets, keeping each other accountable and pushing others to deliver highly impactful work that helps the protocol find success.

At PNF we think a quick grants system is essential to growing our contributor base and getting the problems we see (and don’t see) solved. At this time, we don’t have the community participation we need for Sockets to be self-running. And due to the lack of oversight and input from all of us, we end up not doing a good job ensuring contributors are delivering enough impact by holding everyone to account.

Until we have the necessary engagement, as PNF’s Head of Community, I’d like to steward this initiative for the near term, owning responsibility on both sides of the equation. I’ll keep using the ERA budget to give our community opportunities to get paid by the DAO to deliver impactful work, and it gives Sockets a clear Captain until the crew is ready to take it over (or there is a mutiny :pirate_flag::parrot::crossed_swords:). It also means that someone is checking monthly reports, evaluating them, and finding ways to grow the initiative and get more involvement from anyone who is reading this.

With that in mind, I’d like to update Sockets mechanisms to be more in line with DAO principles, giving more guardrails, making sure people are rewarded fairly, and being responsible with treasury funds.

Socket Changes

  1. The value of a Socket is evaluated + approved by the Foundation. Sockets tend to ask for the maximum value per month, and we want to make sure that’s in line with the expected impact.

    1. Socket requestors should identify and suggest the value for their Socket, but the Foundation will set and approve the value. The requestor can always negotiate or decline the Socket based on that value.
      1. My belief is that by having PNF setting the value of the socket we can protect our limited funds while still allowing contributors an opportunity to get paid for their work, and ultimately add to their proof of impact.
  2. Sockets need to be fully self-directed. As Sockets are experimental in nature, PNF & POKT contributors cannot pull their attention to every experiment in lieu of delivering on our BHAGs.

    1. Sockets should be able to complete their work without Foundation assistance, or have discussed with anyone their work is contingent on before posting the Socket.
      1. Sockets need to be able to unblock themselves and still complete their commitments each month, or find ways to get the help they need without expecting PNF to provide it (although we will support where we can). This can be challenging, and being self-directed is not for everyone.
  3. Sockets need to deliver impact. We’ve been lenient in an attempt to gather learnings, but going forward Sockets must:

    1. Very clearly describe how they support our 2024 ambitions.
    2. Define up front what their impact is, and then self-report on the impact they are delivering.
      1. For a good example of a Socket, with reporting and community feedback, we like to refer to the POKTNews Socket.
  4. Sockets need regular reporting and regular reviews to be effective.

    1. All Sockets approved before the 25th of the same month are expected to self-report by the last day of the month.
      1. If they do not self report, the Socket will be closed during the review cycle automatically.
    2. PNF’s Head of Community will review all Sockets during the first full week of the month, every month, and leave an update in the forum as proof of review.
      1. PNF supports the DAO by closing sockets that are not delivering impact, and we may choose to adjust the value of a socket instead of closing it.
      2. We’d love to see everyone weighing in during this first week; expressing ways in which they’re finding each Socket to be impactful, or constructive ways they can improve. It’s equally valid to suggest closing a Socket down that doesn’t seem to be delivering impact, or supporting POKTs values.
  5. Your historical impact (aka reputation) affects payments structures.

    1. If you’re new to the ecosystem (e.g. have no proof of previous impact), your first payment will be made after your first successful monthly Socket review (currently approved by PNF’s Head of Community).
      1. If you do not self report, your Socket will be closed and no payment will be made.
      2. If there is no impact, your Socket may be closed and a one time payment may or may not be made.
        1. This falls into subjective territory, but the goal is to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of the system, not to punish the experimental nature of these grants.
      3. Upon first successful review, you’ll move to the same payment stream as other contributors.
    2. For anyone with previous POKT impact, you’ll be set up on a payment stream from the DAO, paying daily until the Socket is closed.

Looking Forward

I’d love feedback on if these changes are supporting our original Socket thesis, and if they’re feeling too restrictive or not restrictive enough. Again, our goal is to encourage community contributions while still being responsible about treasury spend.

Coming with the governance upgrades, I’m looking to find ways to incentivize the community to contribute more to these initiatives, ideally taking ownership away from PNF and having the entire DAO feeling empowered to speak up and make these decisions. If anyone has bright ideas around that, well let’s open a Socket!

And a personal note from me - I want to make clear that we’re adding structure and finding our way with these changes. We’re not looking to cut anyone out or off from any of the systems in place, in fact looking to be more transparent so everyone understands what they’re being measured on and why, so it doesn’t feel arbitrary. I’m always open to feedback (public & private) so reach out, or pass it along anonymously.

Thanks all - happy holidays!


Adding a small addendum here.

After some calibration within PNF, we’re discovered there’s a fairly heavy admin burden around opening and paying sockets, which can lead to unclear timelines for new sockets deliverables and payments.

TLDR - Starting February 1, 2024, approved Sockets will start on the 1st and 15th of the month, and will be paid in stables.

The deets:

  • We’re switching new sockets to opening on the 1st and 15th of the month, with a 5 day lead time (roughly) for setup.
  • All Sockets will be paid in stables starting Feb 1. This reduces the admin burden significantly. Our current process requires us to close and reopen every socket every month, with a new calculation based on POKT price. It requires multiple signers across timezones, and isn’t scalable as more Sockets open. And while it’s very nice right now that sockets are getting some extra POKT due to the trailing average, if things were trending the other way it would feel unfair, and this is a good opportunity to get ahead of that.
  • The proof of Impact will be evolving, but as new sockets open we’ll be looking for it to be defined clearly. We’re iterating here, but want to flag that paying attention to the value you’re providing and impact to each other is going to be important as we dial in sockets.
  • We’re looking to re-open bounties (& a version of IDEAS) this week - if anyone has suggestions around tools or ways they’ve seen it done that they love, please share!