PUP-9: Gigachad Pocket Portal Free Tier


  • Author(s): @adam

  • Parameter: BaseRelaysPerPOKT

  • Current Value: 5.2631579

  • New Value: 41,666.6667 (temporarily)


The free tier provided to application developers through the Portal is powered by the Pocket Network Foundation staking its own POKT on behalf of apps. But the Foundation is running out of POKT to stake at the current pace. We can future proof the free tier and free up the Foundation’s POKT for other uses by changing the BaseRelaysPerPOKT temporarily, enabling the Foundation to stake under the new BaseRelaysPerPOKT value and lock in a unique favorable rate that will support a large number of “free tier” offers to applications. In addition to this, the Foundation will be changing the way they manage these free tier stakes, enabling us to support a larger number of free tier applications with more dynamic volume adjustments while minimizing chain bloat, as part of a strategy to more aggressively onboard new applications.


On a daily basis, a multitude of application stakes are being created for the Portal’s free tier. As the Foundation stakes for the free tier of Pocket Portal users to bootstrap the network, the Foundation’s funds are increasingly tied up in application stakes. To give readers a sense, the Foundation is staking roughly 1M POKT a week at the current rate. While this is a good problem to have, it’s going to quickly limit the ability of the Foundation to deploy POKT elsewhere. A temporary change to the BaseRelaysPerPOKT would allow the Foundation to recover POKT to use for other purposes and pre-stake for many thousands of future applications. After the Foundation is able to pre-stake for its desired number of free tier users, the economics would resume normal operations per PUP-7: Whole Lotta Requests.

To make matters more challenging, each application is currently staked individually, leading to a growing number of app stakes on the network. While at first glance this is not a bad thing, we’re attempting to limit chain bloat (unnecessary chain size growth) caused directly by the free tier. By concentrating application on a single or a few stakes per chain we vastly decrease the number of stakes required to run the free tier program, conceivably taking the number of application stakes down from a few thousand to dozens, reducing the majority of chain bloat.


Prior to PIP-6.2, Pocket Foundation anticipated a single-digit amount of new chains being available to users per year. Now that PIP-6.2 changes this, we are seeing an explosion of new RelayChainIDs to the tune of 1 major new ecosystem per month often accompanied by Archival nodes and testnets. At the start of the Portal’s launch, we had budgeted for users to access between 1-2 dozen RelayChainIDs. At present, we have >40 RelayChainIDs and that number is subject to grow significantly in Q4 2021 and beyond. This is an opportune time to adjust the necessary POKT stakes accordingly.

New features, soon to be released on the Portal, will open up simple application staking. At that point, we’ll need application pricing that makes sense for the broader market. In the interim, because PIP-6.2 has closed off permissionless application staking, it makes sense to free up as much Foundation treasury POKT as possible for other purposes or future application staking. Further,the developers and managers of the Pocket Portal will be able to free up prior created stakes (without interruption to users), freeing up any POKT that was previously staked for subsidized applications.

Once the application staking feature is in production, it becomes incumbent on POKT Foundation to return to previous POKT BaseRelaysPerPOKT rates.


Provide detailed justification behind why the specific value was selected.

At the present, we’ve targeted a 10 month payback period from the proposal, PUP-7: Whole Lotta Requests. While this makes sense in the future when applications are purchasing and staking themselves, it only serves at the present to limit our ability to deploy our POKT elsewhere, and limits the possibilities for the Foundation to leverage free tiers as a growth acceleration mechanism. Therefore, I propose reducing the BaseRelaysPerPOKT as much as reasonably possible for this limited time to 41,666.6667. As calculated here, a BaseRelaysPerPOKT value of 41,666.6667 would make free tier application stakes cost 1 POKT. The Pocket Foundation would combine many current free tier stakes into one or several “gigachad” stakes from which the Pocket Foundation could create thousands of endpoints. This method solves for both the POKT stake and chain bloat raised above.

Dissenting Opinions

Acknowledge all opinions which disagree with the rationale of this proposal.

  • Current POKT holders could create app stakes. Counter: Not possible thanks to PIP-6.2: Settlers of New Chains

  • Free tiers eliminate buy pressure in secondary markets. Counter: reducing the volume of app buys in the short-term is outweighed by the potential to attract many more larger apps in the future with attractive free tier offers.

  • Credible neutrality is lost as other applications aren’t able to take advantage of the favorable pricing. Counter: this kind of activity (offering a free tier to onboard new applications) is exactly the kind of thing that Foundations are useful for.

  • This sets a precedent that the majority vote of the DAO can change the parameters in a way that grants them a huge advantage.


Where relevant, provide details of the analyst(s) whose work leads to the recommended value. How are they qualified?

Adam Liposky, Ecosystem Operations Lead


Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.


I see this as a very important strategy. Not only will it help with blockchain congestion, but enable the Foundation to have a robust free-tier to reach new developers.

From a strategic standpoint, this put Pocket in a position to accumulate network effect without any barriers to entry for first time projects.


In general I am in favor of this approach and in addition, I would like for us to get more consensus on broader opportunities and future optionality this could enable.

I want to encourage the DAO/Foundation to consider and outline additional iniatives that GigaChad’s could unlock beyond making the current free tier & the operations invovled in it more efficent (which I agree + ultra to those points)

I don’t believe the details of this should be a blocker for the voting.

Here are some ideas for how the GigaChad stakes could really cement Pocket’s value prop and positioning for both short and long term.

Not I am not proposing we do this per-se, and understand there may be existing constraints that will make a given idea more or less feasible short and long term.

I do want to outline them to gauge the response of this boldness., and ideally activate members to beginning designing what they may look like in action.

I encourage discussion, counter suggestions, or new ideas.

Assumptions of Goals:

  • Short Term: Network effects within guardrails because the protocol is still developing and maturing.
  • Long Term: Self-Sustainable network, elite quality of service, massive diversification & fine grained/balanceable economics.


  • Straight up increasing the Free Tier to an uncompetable number (10M? 100M?)
  • Gigachad stake & incentive program for stakeholders such as
    - Protocol Foundations
    - Ecosystem Influencers
    - Funds with portfolios
    - DAOs with builders
    - Blockchain Start Up incubators
  • Incentive to for independant Portal creators
  • Incentivized Testnet for Pocket 1.0
    - Particularly for Larger players getting involved earlier.
    - “We’ll not only incorporate the testing and feedback to make the network the best service for you, you’ll also get free infra forever”
  • Better Hackathon prizes
    - Top prize gets free infrastructure for life. (ToC apply blah blah blah)

I have some auxillary questions though.

What is the goal # of relays per Gigachad stake? Per day for simplicity.

What is the goal number of Gigachad stakes.

It’s possible we say “We will stake up to a quadrillion relays per day, but agree to use only 100 Billion this next year unless another DAO vote is passed.” If people are super worreid about short term.

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Also the primary demand is coming from people who want to run nodes because of the relay growth and resulting rewards.

Its also important to note that application developers may also want to run nodes.


I think the effects of this depend on how much larger the foundation’s new “Relay Budget” is and if there are limitations to the ways in which it uses it.


This keep me up but is also the risk of any DAO governed protocol . Ultimately majority of validator nodes will have to agree.


To add some more color here, we’ve been able to bootstrap the protocol with this free tier since the launch of the portal 5 months ago.

This proposal will allow us to continue to be aggressive about relay growth while still transitioning applications who wish to purchase POKT themselves and own their right to infrastructure. As we are still early and proving Pocket Network to the broader web3 market, I would support this proposal 100%.


This proposal is now up for voting! Snapshot

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Thank you Adam for the proposal. It is a great initiative to ramp up the free tier program and create flexibility for the foundation to readjust its stakes for optimal servicing. Nevertheless, I see some dangers in the proposal which makes me undecided to vote:

  1. I see the risk in buy pressure as a significant problem. But not because of the free tier, rather the increase of ‘BaseRelaysPerPOKT’. This would mean applications (not using Free Tier) will need fewer POKTs than what would have been needed for their use based on current parameters. With POKT liquidity events coming up and seeing the larger interest in the network, I believe applications that stake themselves will follow. And I am not sure whether the network has to end up subsidizing those entities because the foundation needs to readjust its stakes now. This also leads to another problem, which is my second point.

2 What happens when you change the parameter back? Essentially it means the same entities who had staked for their desired number of relays will have to stake more for the same number of relays. Is it a good strategy to ask your customers to pay more right after using your solution for some time? It is exactly in those moments where the credible neutrality of the foundation might come into question.

Therefore it is important to understand until when this parameter change will remain and when the network will switch back to its default parameter. “Once the application staking feature is in production” doesn’t tell me anything about a time frame. When is it going to happen? Is it quick? Or is it going to take over 6 months?

Overall, I feel this proposal should include a timeframe that is as short as possible, but long enough for the foundation to readjust the stakes according to their free tier and other future strategies. Such a quick change and reversal to default parameters could solve the above problems, and eliminate any potential complaints about the neutrality of the protocol.

Note: I am assuming the parameter change will affect the overall network., i.e., relays the foundations get per POKT and an independent application get per POKT is equally changed with this proposal. Please let me know if I am wrong.

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This proposal has passed!


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Sorry for the delay @Rajeevan_Blockwall. I’ll try to address your concerns below.

This may not be clear, but the parameter only needs to be edited for a day or two at the most so that the stakes can take place. Afterward, the technical implementation would take place on those stakes.

As for this changing any buy-pressure, that would be unaffected. Because of PIP-6.2, application access is permissioned at this time. Therefore, no apps outside of PNF could take advantage of the change. Once the parameter is changed back, the economics resume as normal - including app staking.

Because of what I mentioned above, this scenario would not happen. Apps would not be able to stake during this period; therefore, their stake rate would not change.

The idea is that the actual parameter would be changed for a period of several days max, where PNF could take advantage and lock-in the rate for as long as the POKT was staked (potentially forever). For clarity, the parameter change period would be very short and the impact would last until the POKT was unstaked.

This is correct, but because of the following, only the Foundation would be able to participate.

The main concern about this proposal, in my opinion, is the argument that the protocol is not credibly neutral if the Foundation is able to edit a parameter only it can take advantage of. That said, it’s for the benefit of the network to grow and mature, which all participants should be able to get behind. The Foundation benefits in no real way from this other than by helping the overall protocol grow.

Please let me know if this isn’t clear @Rajeevan_Blockwall

Thank you for the clarification @adam. That settles it!

This proposal has passed!