NFT-DAO Departure Discussion, Fund 3 and 4
Thank-you Tyler, Dan and TAK for your comments and your contribution to NFT-DAO.
I am Stephen (stephen.rowan) and I joined NFT-DAO in early March 2021. I started building NFT-DAO documentation repositories on 11th March and an NFT-DAO GitBook from 17th March as way to provide a reference history for the genesis of NFT-DAO. Recording meetings, research, and Discord posts.
On 30th March, just prior to NFT-DAO receiving funding I joined the Governance group (dubbed “HOLON”) and created the NFT-DAO / Governance-HOLON repository to store, develop, track, and discuss distributed governance deliverables.
From the outset I pushed for the adoption of a Code of Conduct and a Charter – which unfortunately lapsed as teams (“HOLONs”) increasingly focused on Fund 3 deliverables.
With Dan, from early April I started work on research and development of governance tokenomics. On 11th April I created the NFT-DAO Standards repository in preparation for Phil Lewis’ proposal for Catalyst liaison with InterNFT and The Interwork Alliance. On 13th April I negotiated an open-source concession with GitBook. On 30th April I started a GitHub training program for governance contributors.
On 29th April I proposed a Test Strategy for UAT of a Token release which was signed-off and started researching OccamFi’s initial IDO as a case study.
On May 6th members of the Governance team (“HOLON”) were privately informed of an offer of an invite to a “incubator” organized by OccamFi. This turned out to be an admission process where NFT-DAO was selected as one of three “winners” who would be eligible for consulting to develop our business model further.
I posed the question “What accommodation will NFT-DAO give to members who do not want to participate in the IDO” to the Core Cohort and received the response “We’re not entirely sure what this question is asking. NFT-DAO members are free agents, and we observe each other’s right to independence whether that’s in agreement or disagreement. Contributions will be gauged further with core contributors.”
On 12th May I completed my OccamFi case study and published it to the Catalyst community. The response to the OccamFi study by other NFT-DAO members was enthusiastic – as many were uninformed and there was considerable confusion about the nature of the OccamFi offer.
At a meeting on the 14th May Governance team (“HOLON”) were made aware of a partially completed “Core Contributor survey” which proposed an equal share of reward regardless of contribution.
At the same meeting I raised concerns about how a partnership with OccamFi would affect NFT-DAO’s open-source aims and community reputation.
On the 18th May, dissent over the “Core Contributor survey” prompted to me design a revised Contribution-Survey with an emphasis on surveying contributions first to overcome the difficulty of fairly apportioning rewards. Despite support for this approach, we were unable to assess contributions in this way as events overtook us.
From 20th May, internal relations deteriorated further after it became known that most of the development team had left and trust in any neutral handling of business decisions ended.
On 24th May I wrote to the Project Catalyst Moderation Team expressing concern that these events were not reflected in NFT-DAO’s reporting. And subsequently I left NFT-DAO.
Decision making pathway
On 1st June the NFT-DAO “Core Cohort” met to vote on a decision-making pathway
The problem statement for this vote read “Agile decision-making has been stymied by a “design by committee” approach, in an attempt to please all parties. This has not worked. As NFT-DAO resides between a start-up and a collaborative community ( an emergent DAO), we need to find an organisational model to reach consensus faster for phase 2”
The Core Cohort then voted to
- assign all decision-making to HOLON leads - to “make representational votes” (how representation is arrived at is not specified). In effect granting the start-up team leaders full authority.
- to grant the Business Lead (Rich Kopcho) “autonomy” (e.g., full authority) to pursue Mukn dev. option.
Scope of the Fund 3 proposal – “Comprehensive NFT Framework Collab”
The Fund 3 proposal – “Comprehensive NFT Framework Collab” states : “Collectivism - Each individual NFT project is better served by the collective experience of the community (as is the case with Project Catalyst itself), rather than being limited by the experience of one individual or team alone”.
In my view collectivism failed in NFT-DAO because the community was sequestered into teams (“HOLONs”) with no adequate lines of communication. Consequently, decisions did become limited to individuals and teams. This culminated in the vote of June 1st when the core cohort elected themselves authority and decided in favor of being a start-up working towards being a DAO. NFT-DAO’s current approach to organizational structure is documented here.
The emphasis on specialized team or “HOLONs” led to a Silo effect which fragmented the community and allowed no visibility of emerging problems.
Tension over business and governance strategy
After the OccamFi offer tensions emerged over the business and governance strategy of NFT-DAO with one side focusing solely on delivering a minimum viable product (MVP) and the other wanting to develop the MVP using distributed decision-making. In the June 1st vote this is characterized by the Core Cohort as “AGILE versus design by committee”.
The lack of tracking system for implementer contributions led to assigning rewards arbitrarily and the opportunity to conduct a revised contribution survey was missed.