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Governance Reports

Polkadot Bi-Weekly Governance Report — Week 13 & 14, 2024

April 18, 2024

In the last 2 weeks, Simply Staking has voted on several referendums on the Polkadot network. This bi-weekly Governance Report summarises these referendums and provides rationales for our voting, including a brief update on some of the hot topics being discussed in the community.

Table of Contents

Hot Topics

Decentralised governance is not without its fair share of drama and intense discussion. Recently, there’s been two points of discussion that has stood out:

The DED airdrop has been marked by significant controversy and community involvement from the start, illustrating the complexities of token launches and airdrops. Initially, the airdrop for DED tokens generated widespread interest, but it faced criticism due to last-minute changes in its execution strategy, particularly concerning the adjustment of the initial circulating supply and distribution of tokens. This move was intended to influence the market dynamics of DED tokens but led to confusion and speculation among stakeholders due to the opaque nature of these adjustments. Once trading started on HydraDX, airdropped tokens were initially locked, though these have since been unfrozen.

The Conor Daly sponsorship deal encountered a significant hiccup when a $3 million payment failed due to a technical glitch. This sponsorship was key to boosting Polkadot’s visibility, intending to broaden it beyond the traditional tech and crypto sectors into mainstream sports.

The issue quickly garnered attention within the Polkadot community, who responded swiftly by proposing a new vote (Ref 616) to rectify the payment failure and suggesting a community-driven bridge loan to support the sponsorship financially in the meanwhile, showcasing a collective effort to address and solve the unexpected challenge. You can read more about this new referendum under Referendum #616: Conor Daly Indy500 Replacement Ref.

Referendum #601: Polkadot Agents Program — Phase 1

Stake Plus Inc. has proposed an ambitious program, requesting $485,000 in funding, to develop a reputation and work history system aimed at better quantify the contributions of community members.

The primary goal of this initiative is to establish an infrastructure comprising an API, Web UI, and Indexer, designed to quantify and transparently showcase the contributions of community members towards the Polkadot ecosystem. The system would integrate with existing bounties, collectives, and programs to offer a comprehensive overview of each agent’s reputation and work history, based on their verified activities and contributions.

The context behind this proposal stems from the need to evolve the current decentralised governance model by providing a systematic way to track, reward, and recognise community contributions. The lack of a standardised method for tracking and rewarding community contributions, it is argued, complicates the recognition of individual efforts and strategic resource allocation. By creating a more transparent and accessible method of documenting acknowledgments, the program seeks to foster a productive and dynamic community environment.

While the Polkadot Agents Program outlined by Stake Plus Inc. presents, at least in theory, a promising framework for enhancing the ecosystem’s governance and contribution recognition mechanisms, there are concerns that warrant a cautious approach. For starters, accurately assessing the value and impact of these activities is a nuanced challenge that a purely quantitative system may not address effectively. The diversity of contributions in open-source ecosystems and the variability in their quality and impact make it challenging to encapsulate an individual’s role and significance through a numerical index or score.

Furthermore, the proposal’s approach assumes that a comprehensive API, Web UI, and Indexer can seamlessly integrate and distill such a complex array of data into a transparent and universally accepted metric of reputation. There is a risk that the proposed system could oversimplify or miscategorise contributions, potentially leading to a misrepresentation of an individual’s involvement and value within the ecosystem. In a community-driven environment where intrinsic motivation plays a significant role, the introduction of an overly rigid or flawed evaluative schema could inadvertently dampen enthusiasm and innovation.

Given the substantial funding request and the speculative nature of the project’s outcomes, it may be more prudent for Stake Plus Inc. to demonstrate the feasibility and impact of their proposal through a smaller-scale pilot or phased implementation. This would allow for iterative development, community feedback, and tangible proof of concept before committing a significant portion of the treasury’s resources.

In conclusion, while the initiative is very interesting theoretically speaking, Simply Staking voted Nay as we’d prefer a more measured and validated approach for now. There remains a big question mark on whether or not a system like this can capture the different nuances of community contributions, and in our humble opinion, we don’t see how it can.

Full proposalPolkadot Agents Program — Phase 1

Referendum #611: Telenova: Polkadot Wallet built into Telegram. Retroactive Funding for 6 months

Novasama Technologies GmbH has developed Telenova, a self-custodial Polkadot wallet integrated directly into Telegram. Telenova aims to simplify the management of DOT & KSM tokens for Telegram’s vast user base, making cryptocurrency transactions more accessible and user-friendly. The team seeks retroactive funding for six months of research and development, requesting 45,555 DOT, approximately $426,400 USD, to cover the costs incurred during the project’s execution from October 2023 to March 2024.

Telenova leverages Telegram to offer a cross-platform Polkadot wallet that includes features such as easy onboarding with Telegram cloud backups, the ability to send tokens as gifts, buy/sell DOT and KSM tokens, receive balance notifications, and view balances in fiat currencies. The wallet emphasises security, incorporating personal Telegram cloud and manual backups for account recovery, ensuring users maintain control over their funds.

In our view, Telenova addresses several challenges within the Polkadot ecosystem, providing a web2-style experience within Telegram and simplifying the onboarding process for new users, of which Telegram has some 800+ million monthly active ones. By integrating with Telegram, Telenova aims to introduce Polkadot and Kusama to a wider audience, potentially facilitating greater adoption and engagement within the ecosystem. The proposal for retroactive funding seeks to reimburse Novasama Technologies for the research and development efforts undertaken to bring Telenova to fruition, highlighting the project’s aim to lower barriers to entry into the Polkadot ecosystem through a widely-used messaging platform while focusing on security and ease of use.

Simply Staking decided to vote Aye on Referendum #611, and see no reason to do otherwise. Polkadot need users and Telegram is widely used, plus a lot of the work has already been done. Looks good!

Full proposalTelenova #1 Retroactive Proposal

Referendum #613: Polkadot x The Tie Partnership to Increase Institutional Exposure and Access

The Tie has submitted a proposal to the Polkadot community to amplify Polkadot’s institutional visibility and enhance its connections within both traditional and crypto-native institutional spaces. The proposal details a suite of services aimed at boosting Polkadot’s presence and accessibility among key financial players, driven by The Tie’s track record of working with token issuers to increase institutional exposure.

According to the authors, Polkadot’s technology is being under-recognised within institutional circles, largely due to a limited engagement strategy and a lack of polished blockchain data and analytics tailored for institutional consumption. To address this, The Tie proposes a partnership with the Polkadot ecosystem that would facilitate Polkadot’s participation in key institutional events and enhance its analytics representation.

The solution includes Polkadot’s integration into The Tie’s existing institutional conferences, positioning it as a keynote speaker at the flagship Bridge conference, sponsorship features, and targeted institutional networking opportunities. Moreover, The Tie aims to create exclusive analytics dashboards and standardised metrics, as well as redistribute Polkadot analytics via APIs to a wider institutional and retail audience through platforms like Interactive Brokers and Cointelegraph.

However, the funding request of 150,000 DOT is quite substantial, and going over The Tie’s website does not provide clear assurances to be quite frank. One community member suggested that The Tie should consider demonstrating its value to the Polkadot ecosystem with a smaller, more measured initial engagement that highlights its analytical and institutional engagement capabilities. Either this or further evidence to support some clear benefits that this proposal is likely to bring to Polkadot. Hence, this is the position Simply Staking has taken for now, and has as such voted Nay.

Full proposal: Polkadot x The Tie Partnership to Increase Institutional Exposure and Access

Referendum #616: Conor Daly Indy500 Replacement Ref

This referendum is an urgent Polkadot governance referendum introduced to address a failed transaction initially approved in the prior referendum #514, seeking to dispense 290,000 DOT to the Treasury partners, namely Conor Daly and Athelo Group., involved with the Indy500 racing event.

The need for this corrective action arose from an unforeseen technicality following a runtime upgrade and a UI bug within the polkadot.js interface, which led to a rare, previously unexperienced issue with the preimage. The complications resulted in funds not being distributed to Daly and his team, who had already proceeded with taking on significant expenses based on the assumptions of the passed proposal, including the painting of the race car, fabrication of custom suits, and other contractual agreements.

To mitigate the immediate financial shortfall and preserve the reputation of Polkadot and its stakeholders, the community rallied to pool loans from willing token holders, raising $1.3m for Daly and his team to cover expenses in the meantime until the newly requested referendum could formalise the repayment process, anticipated to happen within approximately 25 days.

Without any hesitancy, Simply Staking voted Aye on referendum #616.

Referendum #617: PolkaBot.AI — Decentralized AI Education Hub on Polkadot

Trace Alliance has proposed the development of PolkaBot.AI, a decentralised AI education hub designed to revolutionise learning within the Polkadot ecosystem. With a request for 21,524 DOT, this initiative aims to leverage Generative AI to offer a dynamic and interactive educational experience for newcomers and others seeking to educate themselves about Polkadot, addressing the ecosystem’s need for an adaptive learning tool.

The project underscores the necessity for a more engaging way to interact with content, moving beyond static interfaces to facilitate deep dives into Polkadot’s complexities through a fragmented information landscape. By introducing an AI-powered tool that adapts to individual learning styles, PolkaBot.AI promises to significantly enhance the way users engage with the ecosystem’s content.

PolkaBot.AI will serve as a learning assistant, helping users learn about Polkadot in an engaging way that adapts to their personal learning preferences, and has been designed to minimise the challenges associated with AI, such as hallucination and data ownership issues. PolkaBot.AI gathers and verifies information provided by the community, whereby people who contribute with accurate and helpful knowledge are rewarded with DOT and NEURO tokens. On this point, the proposal includes a 250,000 NEURO and 5,500 DOT incentive pool for knowledge miners providing high-quality inputs.

The tool would be accessible across multiple platforms, including a dedicated website, X profile, and bots on Discord and Telegram, ensuring wide accessibility and engagement.

Objectives

– Achieve 5M+ impressions on X posts.

– Attract 20,000 unique users, identified by various means including Polkadot wallets and social handles.

– Generate over 50,000 replies through Telegram and Discord bots, and 5,000+ replies on X.

The funding requested by Trace Alliance will cover the development, launch, and maintenance of PolkaBot.AI, with a detailed budget plan that outlines allocations for various milestones and tasks.

Simply Staking voted Aye on this proposal, as we believe implementing machine learning is a forward-thinking way of making educational resources more available to the Polkadot community and supporting its users. In part, because the idea that adaptive learning and interaction can foster a more informed, engaged, and collaborative ecosystem, and thereby drive growth and adoption of Polkadot and its technologies makes a lot of sense to us.

Full proposalPolkaBot.AI — Decentralized AI Education Hub on Polkadot

Referendum #618: Subsquid Migration to ArrowSquid & Indexing Upgrades

LimeChain has proposed an initiative to enhance the Subsquid framework, a tool for accessing on-chain data within the Substrate ecosystem that includes networks like Polkadot, Kusama, Moonbeam, and Acala. The proposal focuses on migrating the existing Subsquid infrastructure to a new processor named ArrowSquid and upgrading its indexing capabilities, which aims to significantly improve the speed, efficiency, and functionality of data indexing and access, benefiting developers and users across these chains.

Subsquid serves the community by providing GraphQL gateways for on-chain data, which are essential for APIs and data exploration tools. Currently, over 50 public squid endpoints operate on the older Firesquid processor. The shift to ArrowSquid promises to ingest unfinalised blocks directly from network nodes, offering near real-time API responses with subsecond latency. However, adapting to ArrowSquid requires adjustments due to breaking changes introduced with the upgrade.

A notable gap in the current Subsquid framework is its lack of support for indexing data from the Staking and Crowdloans pallets. These pallets hold crucial information for understanding and participating in network activities such as staking, rewards, and crowdloan campaigns. Enhancing indexing capabilities to include these pallets will provide deeper insights into network dynamics and user activities.

The project is structured into two main milestones:

  1. Migration to ArrowSquid: Updating the giant-squid-main codebase to utilise the ArrowSquid processor, including necessary upgrades to dependencies, configurations, and endpoint adaptations, followed by thorough testing and deployment.
  2. Indexing Enhancements: Developing the capability to index calls and events from the Staking and Crowdloans pallets to enrich the data available through Subsquid’s endpoints.

LimeChain has contributed significantly to the blockchain and Substrate ecosystem through various infrastructure solutions and development frameworks, and the proposal funds aims to cover the costs associated with running the enhanced infrastructure and ensure the successful implementation of these upgrades.

Simply Staking decided to support the proposal with an AYE vote, as we recognise the need for real-time data and improved indexing to drive innovation and usability across Polkadot and its connected chains.

Full proposal: Subsquid Migration to ArrowSquid & Indexing Upgrades

Referendum #623: Polkadot Growth Index 📈 and AI Insights 💡

Tokenguard has proposed the creation of a Polkadot Growth Index, an on-chain tool designed to provide key growth insights for dApps, parachains, and relay chains, which in turn can enhance user acquisition, total value locked (TVL), and offering greater transparency for the community.

The proposal is essentially an extension of Tokenguard’s earlier efforts that received support through OpenGov and Web3 Foundation grants; to deliver accessible, no-code, on-chain growth tools for the Polkadot ecosystem, such as dApp Marvels and Dashboard Creator. The proposal aims to tackle the ecosystem’s current lack of a user-friendly analytics platform that can effectively track and present growth metrics such as user activity and TVL; a concern expressed multiple times by both the community and the Web3 Foundation, pointing towards a need for improved tools that can provide valuable insights into individual dApps, DeFi projects and the ecosystem as a whole.

From the perspective of developers and project builders within Polkadot, the lack of such analytics tools translates to a foggy understanding of user behaviours and trends, problematic tracking of new user sources, and an overall handicap in strategizing for user engagement and retention. The financial burden of creating bespoke analytics solutions, which can range significantly in cost, adds another layer of difficulty for project teams.

Tokenguard’s proposal aims to fill this gap by creating a solution that includes an Ecosystem Growth Index and a dApp Growth Index within the Tokenguard app that will offer comparable analytics for Polkadot & Kusama Relay chains and parachains. The Ecosystem Growth Index will feature a leaderboard showcasing ecosystem growth through a synthetic indicator comprising predefined on-chain metrics; whereas the dApp Growth Index will track the growth of dApps through similar metrics, reflecting user activity on specific smart contracts.

The proposal refers to several possible benefits for the ecosystem:

  • Enhanced dApp & DeFi activity with insights into user conversion and engagement.
  • Cost savings for projects on building and maintaining in-house analytics tools.
  • Increased TVL for dApps & DeFi by understanding user conversion sources.
  • Higher ROI from ecosystem grants through clear insights on dApp user acquisition.
  • Greater community trust due to publicly available and transparent growth indices.
  • Attraction of new users to the ecosystem and dApps through social media promotion.
  • Provision of crucial updates and insights to dApp & DeFi builders.

The proposal includes milestones, deliverables, and a detailed timeline for the creation of the Ecosystem Growth Index, dApp Growth Index, and dApp AI Insights. The team behind Tokenguard has a strong background in web3 and has previously delivered successful projects within the ecosystem.

For the Polkadot community and potential investors, these tools offer the promise of transparency, enabling informed decisions and strategies that are responsive to the actual behaviours and needs within the ecosystem. For dApp builders, it presents a cost-saving alternative to developing in-house analytics solutions and could potentially improve their ROI on project grants by allowing more focused user acquisition and retention strategies.

Tokenguard has requested 16,344.73 DOT for the implementation of this proposal, which encompasses the integration of Polkadot and Kusama Relay chains along with three selected parachains into the analytics tool. The funding is also projected to cover twelve months of data storage and the necessary maintenance to ensure the tool’s effectiveness and reliability.

Overall, Tokenguard’s proposal represents an effort to bring clarity and actionable intelligence to the Polkadot ecosystem, where data-driven decisions can aid growth and maintain a competitive edge. By providing builders and the community with actionable insights and comparative data, tools like these can help projects engage, retain and expand their user base and contribute to the expansion of the ecosystem.

Given the strategic importance of enhancing ecosystem growth and the proven track record of Tokenguard in delivering valuable analytics tools, supporting the Polkadot Growth Index proposal aligns with the goal of fostering a robust and dynamic Polkadot ecosystem. Therefore, Simply Staking decided to vote Aye on this proposal, recognising its potential to drive meaningful growth and innovation within the Polkadot ecosystem.

Full proposalPolkadot Growth Index 📈 and AI Insights 💡

Referendum #625: Technical Support Bounty

This proposal aims to bridge the technical support gap that emerged after Parity ceased its support services, which has notably impacted the efficiency of Business Development teams and Head Ambassadors, hindering their ability to provide effective assistance to clients and projects. The proposal suggests a bounty system to incentivise skilled developers to offer technical support across various tracks, thereby enhancing the ecosystem’s support structure and facilitating growth and success for Polkadot projects.

The proposal outlines a structured approach to address these challenges:

  1. Developer Registration for Support Tracks: A system for developers to register and offer technical support in specific areas, ensuring targeted and relevant assistance.
  2. Curated Team of Volunteer Curators: A team of up to 15 volunteer curators, with a trust threshold of 2/3, will oversee the quality and effectiveness of the support provided.
  3. Transparent and Fair Compensation: A retroactive payment system for developers based on verified service hours, ensuring fair compensation for their contributions.
  4. Open Registration for Curators: An invitation to the Polkadot community to volunteer as curators, promoting transparency and community involvement.
  5. Flexible and Scalable Support System: The bounty system is designed to be adaptable, allowing for the addition of new support tracks as the ecosystem evolves.

The proposal also emphasises the importance of a code of conduct for curators, highlighting guidelines for respectful and professional interactions, constructive engagement, and collaborative support. It explicitly prohibits harassment, hate speech, plagiarism, impersonation, and the dissemination of false information.

With a requested allocation of 30,000 DOT, this bounty proposal seeks to address the gap in technical support within the Polkadot ecosystem, particularly following the end of Parity Technologies’ support services.

To facilitate growth and success across the ecosystem, projects and developers looking to build on Polkadot must be able to get assistance should they need it. Such organic growth must be encouraged. For this simple reason, Simply Staking voted Aye on referendum 625.

Full proposal: Technical Support Bounty