Governance Reports

Polkadot Bi-Weekly Governance Report — Week 15 & 16, 2024

April 18, 2024

Over the last 2 weeks, Simply Staking has voted on several referendums on the Polkadot network. This bi-weekly Governance Report summarises these referendums and includes the rationales behind our voting. The big talking point within the community right now is the proposed partnership with Inter Miami FC, which we summarise below.

Table of Contents

  • Referendum #643: Mythical Games and Polkadot Partnership Proposal
  • Referendum #644: Polkadot & Inter Miami CF Main Partnership & Training Kit: Blockchain Technology Integration, Seasons 2024 & 2025
  • Referendum #649: Infrastructure Builders Program Bounty
  • Referendum #663: ⧓ Apillon Platform — Milestone 2 Proposal
  • Referendum #668: 52 Weeks of Kus Coverage ❤️🤖
  • Referendum #669: Polkadot Drone Shows Over VELD Music Fest

Referendum #643: Mythical Games and Polkadot Partnership Proposal

Referendum #643, proposed by Abilex AG with the support of the Mythos Swiss Foundation, seeks to establish a partnership between Mythical Games and Polkadot through a token swap. The proposal involves exchanging 1,000,000 DOT for 20,000,000 MYTH tokens; intended to integrate Mythical Games’ operations and user base into the Polkadot ecosystem, enhancing Polkadot’s standing in blockchain gaming by transitioning Mythical’s operations from a permissioned EVM blockchain to a public chain secured by Polkadot.

The token swap aims to leverage Mythical Games’ substantial user base (over 4 million players) and its leading position in blockchain gaming to benefit the Polkadot community. The proposal outlines the distribution of MYTH tokens to DOT holders, incentives for ecosystem partners, and plans for extensive use of DOT block space, which could enhance DOT’s utility and demand. The plan also involves significant technological integration, enabling seamless interactions between Mythos and Polkadot platforms.

The community feedback has been varied, with concerns primarily focusing on the effectiveness and impact of the token swap proposal. Criticisms include:

  • The perceived lack of detailed planning and unclear benefits for the long-term value of DOT.
  • Concerns about the large scale of the swap and its justification, given the speculative nature of the MYTH token.
  • The distribution strategy of MYTH tokens, which some community members feel could be better targeted to active and contributing members of the Polkadot ecosystem.

Simply Staking has voted Aye on Referendum #643 because we believe this partnership with Mythical Games represents a significant strategic opportunity for Polkadot. The potential for Mythical Games to bring its extensive user base to Polkadot is very welcomed, and integrating a leading blockchain gaming company could help expand Polkadot’s reach but also utility, attracting both more developers and users.

Referendum #644: Polkadot & Inter Miami CF Main Partnership & Training Kit: Blockchain Technology Integration, Seasons 2024 & 2025

The proposal seeks to establish a strategic partnership between Polkadot and U.S. football/soccer club Inter Miami CF, most notably with Messi in the team. This partnership involves Polkadot becoming the main and exclusive training kit partner for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, with a total funding request of 968,000 DOT (equivalent to approximately $8,820,000 USD).

Given the large scope of the proposal, a summary that does it justify is difficult, so we encourage you to read the full proposal. In short, the partnership aims to leverage the global appeal of Inter Miami CF to enhance brand recognition and adoption of Polkadot through various activations. These include in-stadium promotions, digital activations like NFTs, and the use of Inter Miami’s digital platforms to drive fan engagement and education about Polkadot technology. It aims to transform the fan experience by integrating blockchain technology into various aspects of fan engagement, offering unique, technology-driven interactions.

Feedback from the community offers varied views. Some members express skepticism about the effectiveness of sports sponsorship, questioning how much actual adoption and understanding it would promote among football fans. There are also concerns over the return on investment, with several comments debating whether the visibility provided by a training kit sponsorship justifies the expense involved. Others note that recent improvements and the inclusion of star players like Messi could enhance the team’s appeal and potential impact of the sponsorship.

Simply Staking has voted Nay on Referendum #644 for the time being, primarily due to concerns regarding the execution and potential return on investment of the proposed partnership. Although we recognise the possible potential of this partnership for Polkadot’s visibility and the fact that a high-profile club like Inter Miami CF offers a unique platform to a global audience, there are also a lot of question marks that remain. We believe that the marketing strategy, focusing largely on passive brand exposure through training kit logos and stadium banners, is unlikely to engage football fans effectively with Polkadot technology. Most notably, how the partnership can convert people into users on Polkadot. We note that work on this front is being done, but we think these things should be fully ironed out before the proposal goes on-chain. The funding request is simply too large to leave anything to chance. An alternative way forward is to pursue this proposal through a Bounty, allowing for a more controlled and effective execution, with thorough due diligence of the contracts to ensure all deliverables are clearly defined and include necessary guarantees beneficial to the Polkadot community.

Referendum #649: Infrastructure Builders Program Bounty

The Infrastructure Builders Program (IBP), a collective of independent infrastructure service providers, proposes to serve as the main ecosystem RPC and ‘IT department’ for the Polkadot ecosystem. The proposal requests a bounty of 461,054 DOT (approx. $4,126,430 USD) to enhance and expand its infrastructure services, providing essential support to both the Polkadot relay chain and all associated parachains to establish a resilient, globally distributed network that avoids reliance on centralised tech giants.

The IBP intends to deploy over 1140 RPC nodes across 15 data centers globally, handling an estimated 37 billion requests per month. This expansion is driven by the success of a previous initiative on the Kusama network which demonstrated effective cost management and operational success, providing substantial groundwork for scaling up on Polkadot. The financial model proposed is performance-based, with payments made retroactively for services delivered, ensuring accountability and efficiency.

Simply Staking has voted Aye because we believe in decentralised infrastructure that can underpin the operational effectiveness of the entire ecosystem, supporting current and future projects. By investing in this infrastructure, we are investing in the long-term health and competitiveness of Polkadot.

Referendum #663: ⧓ Apillon Platform — Milestone 2 Proposal

The Apillon platform, designed to bridge Web3 technologies with developers and users, seeks further funding from the Polkadot Treasury to continue its expansion. This request follows the successful completion of Milestone 1, where Apillon delivered a wide range of advanced technical features and began to solidify its position as a comprehensive tool for Web3 development. The current proposal, Milestone 2, aims to enhance user onboarding processes, simplify developer interactions with smart contracts, introduce cross-chain functionalities with XC-20 assets, and provide essential services like RPC and indexing.

Milestone 1’s achievements set a high standard, with Apillon successfully completing numerous deliverables, thus proving the team’s technical capability and project viability. The platform reported substantial user engagement, with over 100,000 users, and significant usage across its features, indicating a strong foundation for further development. The funding requested for Milestone 2 aims to build on this progress, focusing on crucial areas that would reduce entry barriers to Web3 development even further and enhance the platform’s utility.

Feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, reflecting confidence in Apillon’s progress and future plans. Community members have praised the platform for its intuitive tools and contributions to the Polkadot ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of Apillon’s role in enhancing developer experience (DevEx) and onboarding. The open-source approach of Apillon has also been highlighted as a pivotal step in fostering a collaborative development environment.

Simply Staking has voted in favor of this proposal based on Apillon’s demonstrated commitment to its roadmap and its impactful delivery during Milestone 1. The decision to support Milestone 2 was influenced by the clear progress made in terms of technical development, user engagement, and community building. Simply Staking believes that further investment in Apillon will not only benefit the platform but also significantly contribute to the growth and development of the Polkadot ecosystem by making it more accessible and user-friendly for developers globally.

Referendum #668: 52 Weeks of Kus Coverage ❤️🤖

The Kusamarian, a key media channel in the DOT ecosystem, has submitted a proposal for continued funding for their various digital platforms, providing comprehensive coverage across Polkadot and Kusama. The proposal requests 74,533 DOT to cover production and promotional activities for a year.

The funding requested amounts to 69% of the production and native promotion costs, based on the 7-day EMA of $8.64 per DOT. This budget is designed to sustain The Kus’s efforts in providing valuable media content, including news shows, podcasts, governance livestreams, and special coverage of significant events within the Polkadot ecosystem.

The community response has been overwhelmingly supportive, highlighting The Kusamarian’s role in fostering informed participation within Polkadot. The quality and consistency of Kus’s content, which not only covers current events but also provides educational resources beneficial to new and existing users within the ecosystem, has not escaped anyone.

Simply Staking has voted in favour of this proposal. The Kus’s ability to effectively communicate developments and educate the community has been evident, and funding The Kusamarian will further enrich the community’s understanding and engagement, ultimately contributing to the growth and stability of the Polkadot ecosystem.

Referendum #669: Polkadot Drone Shows Over VELD Music Fest

Referendum #669 proposed by TorosAgency seeks funding for a high-impact brand awareness and public relations campaign centered around Polkadot at the VELD Music Festival in Toronto, Canada. The campaign includes sponsorship of three drone light shows and a corresponding public relations effort, intending to increase Polkadot’s visibility and the value of the DOT cryptocurrency by capturing the attention of over 100,000 festival attendees and beyond through media coverage and online engagement. The budget request totals 21,557 DOT, valued at approximately $170,300, covering sponsorship rates, design, agency fees, and related costs.

The campaign features three 10-minute drone shows across the festival days, with the concluding segment of each show spotlighting a provocative message and the Polkadot logo, complemented by PR activities including press releases, media kits, and social media engagement targeting both local and cryptocurrency-focused publications. Additional sponsorship perks include mobile advertising throughout the festival site, promotional placements on the festival’s digital assets, and influencer engagements.

The proposal outlines a few KPIs in terms of online engagement metrics:

  • Estimated impressions from drone shows.
  • Earned media hits.
  • Keyword search volumes.
  • Social media mentions across platforms like Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, and Instagram.

Community response to the proposal has been mixed, tilting towards Nay. Some members appreciate the innovative and engaging approach, while others have suggested coordinating with broader marketing efforts within the ecosystem and exploring the addition of NFT-based PoaPs (Proof of Attendance Protocols) to create a more interactive and enduring connection with event attendees. Critics argue that the proposal might not contribute meaningfully to Polkadot’s long-term growth, and we agree.

Simply Staking has voted Nay on Referendum #669. We’ve seen a proliferation of costly marketing proposals recently, and many of them we believe lack clear, actionable deliverables and do not effectively contribute to onboarding new users to Polkadot. Too many focus excessively on superficial brand exposure without a solid strategy for substantive engagement or user acquisition, which are crucial for the long-term adoption and success of Polkadot. For us to consider an Aye, we believe the proposal authors need to demonstrate a direct and practical impact on expanding the Polkadot user base, and align the campaign’s message and tactics with the broader goals and image of the Polkadot ecosystem.