NFT-DAO Departure Discussion, Fund 3 and 4

I am creating this forum post to have an NFT-DAO departure discussion located in one public place. Twitter is a great source but to discuss this topic at length but we need to bring this discourse to the public forum. This will enable a certain level of scrutiny and availability of all parties/willingness to come to the table/talk things through.

Thank you

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Thank you TAK for getting the ball rolling :pray: some words on the situation in general and then follows my report

First off I didn’t leave because of lack of compensation or reward (or even the outlook of such), but because of lack of transparency, honesty and a set of established and agreed upon (mindful) values within the core of NFTDAO.

Additionally it’s important to state I don’t feel that anyone in the core team is acting out of intentional malice, however some might - to some extent - be ignorant towards the impact their actions have on the balance of the future of the global economy, the planet and us as humans.

My report

3 [Problems] caused departure and what I [tried to fix]

1) Communication

intransparent reporting between holons (“siloing”) [Problem];
Voted for opening meetings, limit tools, apps [tried to fix]

Lead to high cost of information acquisition: long discord texts, multiple collaboration tools and message apps. The more people joined the discord the more chaotic it got. That was described as a feature not a bug. Might be true to a point, as Paracelsius said “It’s the dose that makes the poison”.
Towards the end and likely mixed with my experience, the silos felt more intentional than accidental.

2) Structure

Using the term DAO as a marketing tool [Problem];
Setup basic DAO structure, docs and focus collective attention there [tried to fix]

The name NFTDAO would suggest a basic DAO structure or at least the tools to build one have been decided upfront and established at least with documentation and initial workflows. None of this was available but expected to be delivered by the governance holon as a deliverable for Fund3. I was shocked to find out, still was eager to deliver and shifted focus towards building those structures as well as drafting and researching a token engineering design document, of which a reputation building mechanism would have been integrated in a DID (optionally anon) that is interoperable with other DIDs. Stephen created the Contribution Survey document and proposed a (for now) manual process to track contributions asap. In order to at a later stage be able to allocate rewards from funding to the value a contributor generated.
Supported with a team (or organisation) charter drafted in concert with the the holons, we advocated those two documents should form the initial basis on which to start working as a DAO and successively automate the processes. The endeavour failed because the core team at NFTDAO decided it is much more important to focus on a ticket sale (that was never the scope of the initial proposal) for a marketplace (that was also not part of the proposal); thus the forming of a common goal or consensus about the values or collective mindset of said autonomous organisation was tagged as secondary goal. This led to the next issue responsible for my departure.

3) Occam(.)fi and the “hackathon”

When word emerged about a possible partnership with Occam(.)fi I have never heard of them before. (I was shifting my personal focus from DeFi to governance beginning of this year.)
Once I started my due diligence I was reminded of the ICO craze back in 2017, that I’ve been part of with the aeternity blockchain core team (I left in summer 2017 to work in Malta on the DLT legislation framework).
When I found Cardano back in October 2017 I was happy to have stumbled upon a community that shared very similar values (to mine) and took transparency & honesty to a new level. The more appalled I was when I found about the private VC sale Occam(.)fi did before the launch.
Stephen, being the high-priest of documentation, conjured up a due diligence document on Occam(.)fi that aggregated in a timeline everything that has happened, including community feedback and responses. I reviewed the document and sources for almost 3 days and concluded Occam(.)fi raises all red flags for me to personally attach the bad actor label. I voiced my concerns and also stated I will stop all work immediately until Occam(.)fi situation is resolved or discussed in the open with all holons.
In case NFTDAO would go ahead with any kind of partnership or cooperation I would leave NFTDAO.
Shortly after, it was mentioned in some of the private discord holon channels that NFTDAO was accepted to and “won” the Occam(.)fi hackathon. This is not sth that PC funds, or I with contributions, should power, enable or encourage - on the contrary.
There is a longer list of the events and thoughts on Occam(.)fi - contact me if you want to read them.

Currently doing

I currently work on setting up the afore mentioned basic structures, documents and workflows for a new “DAO” like project. We use the term ACO (autonomus creator organisation) SecretDecks · GitHub - A kind of DAO from creative creators for creative creators. The “Soul” (or brand) of the ACO is “SecretDecks”.

It’s about self knowledge through reading the Tarot and we roughly sketched a small app ecosystem around that. Stephen and Tyler are already knee deep in the trenches and are contributing left and right!
Once the onboarding (discord and github) is setup (about 85% done) and we have the basic docs and workflows prepared (about 65% done), as well as have a process for distributing funds, that is when we’ll apply for catalyst funding.

Closing statement

I don’t feel that anyone in the core team is acting out of intentional malice, however some might - to some extent - be ignorant towards the impact their actions have on the balance of the future of the global economy, the planet and us as humans.
We have this incredible tool (DLT) in our hands now that we can deploy to create transparent supply chains, closed loop economies and true value societies that takes into account the balance of natural emerging systems (like our planetary ecosystem) and integrates them as a stakeholder in a capitalism that is nurturing not neutering. That can only be accomplished if we start acting honest towards our Selfs and others, now.

We have this incredible tool (DLT) in our hands now that we can deploy to create transparent supply chains, closed loop economies and true value societies that takes into account the balance of natural emerging systems (like our planetary ecosystem) and integrates them as a stakeholder in a capitalism that is nurturing not neutering. That can only be accomplished if we start acting honest towards our Selfs and others, now.

End of Report

Hopefully this will serve as a learning experience for all parties and we can grow and prosper next to each other.

Stay mindful, healthy & happy :pray:

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I have my own proposal in Fund 4. It aligned with the goals of the NFT-DAO proposal in Fund 3. Rich reached out to me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on the frontend for this project, seeing that my fund 4 proposal deliverables would be fulfilled and the DAO would have a nice-looking frontend, I decided to collaborate with the DAO. It seemed like a win-win situation.

The reality of this collaboration suddenly changed when the DAO got offered an IDO worth approximately 5 million dollars. I quickly went from writing simple react components for the frontend to creating a fully functional marketplace with a fake smart contract system.

Members of the development team for the DAO asked for equity for the contribution to the marketplace, seeing that Rich Kopcho made an LLC for the DAO and was offered an IDO; this seemed like a good idea at the time. I knew the importance of what I was building and the potential it had within the realm of the crypto industry. We were told by Rich that we were expected to work for free. Upon hearing that in a meeting, I decided to leave and stop contributing to the DAO.

The code I have written is my own and was not pushed to the DAO repo, though other members have contribution access to it. The other developers said to push to a DAO repo with a minimum set of solutions such that the group can leave as a whole. After leaving, I was removed from the repositories containing my original code.

Rich told specific members of the DAO, who have contribution access, to steal my full code from my repo. Also, he secretly recorded a conversation of my personal overview of my code to the team so he can hire third-party developers to reverse engineer the fake smart contract system.

Mutual Knowledge was hired to review said code and potentially build the marketplace for the DAO. The review was paid in full. The marketplace may be built. The problem lay within the marketplace building scheme, specifically the smart contract system they will implement. Plutus is not on mainnet so any smart contract style backend will be a fake smart contract backend. I worry that MuKn will be using the information from an unauthorized recording and code from a repo I can not access to create the marketplace.

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Dan and TAK, thank you for sharing your perspectives

This is Tyler, I was one of the original co-proposers on the F3 proposal and led the marketing holon. I joined Rich early on in the process and set aside a proposal of my own to help with his Comprehensive NFT Framework. Even though it may seem like a mess at the moment, there are a handful of positives which emerged. I believe there is a path forward, and do not consider NFT-DAO a failure.

Background

NFT-DAO is positioned as a collaboration project with the mission of completing a comprehensive NFT framework. In the NFT-DAO genesis document it states that building ‘BOXCAR’ was the primary purpose of the collaboration and through the process of building ‘BOXCAR,’ a holonic DAO structure would emerge. We set up a discord server, put up a website, and people started showing up. Then a lot of people started showing up. Some people wanted to mint NFTs, some wanted to work on governance, some folks wanted to code. Many people seemed eager and willing to contribute in good faith, including myself. It was messy and making collaborative decisions was hard without a governance model. Decisions ended up becoming semi-centralized with input from the community input taken into consideration through polls and questionnaires on Typeform and airtable. This was not ideal, but did result in “The Comprehensive NFT Framework Collab” being branded as NFT-DAO.

Reason for leaving

I stepped down from NFT-DAO a couple weeks ago because I no longer felt comfortable marketing the Akkadia marketplace ticket launch without a transparent contribution model in place. After the fallout with the development team that TAK mentions above and Rich explains here, it seemed irresponsible to move forward with marketing until we had written agreements outlining how revenue generated would be managed and distributed to all contributors that helped to build and launch Akkadia. I was also becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of winning future rounds in Catalyst with a governance and contribution model being secondary to revenue generating products.

I agree with DanMercurius’ description of the key problems around communication and structure. He, Stephen, Troy and the rest of the Governance holon were making progress with tooling around a governance model and a contribution token, but it did seem to take a backseat to the ticket auction. Although progress slowed, the governance holon did continue to work after Dan and Stephen’s departure after Occamfi entered the picture.

OccamFi

Without having a structured collaborative decision model in place, the core team decided to move forward in filling out the typeform for the Occamfi hackathon after Rich brought it up in one of the core meetings. The only decision made from my perspective was to fill out the typeform. Not participate, just fill out the typeform so that we would have the option of participating if we decided that was something we wanted to do. Regardless, the focus on tickets coupled with a lack of transparency, miscommunication, and the entrance of another variable (Occam) accelerated fallout and division amongst the community.

The NFT-DAO community’s response to the possibility of participating in a hackathon that may have led to the opportunity to be accepted in an IDO accelerator program made it clear in my mind that a transparent governance and a contribution model needed to become a priority. At the same time there was pressure to get an NFT product to market quickly, so I continued with marketing and design work relating to the Akkadia ticket launch, until two weeks ago when I decided I wasn’t comfortable and left due to the reasons previously listed.

Current project

As Dan mentioned in his post, I’m currently working with him and Stephen on Secret Decks. Although there is risk in getting to market a bit later, we believe that creating a solid governance and contribution model is necessary before applying for Catalyst funds or launching products.

Closing statement and recommendations

Despite the rough waters, I found great value in working with NFT-DAO. I believe that everyone I collaborated with believes they are acting in the best interest of both NFT-DAO and the Catalyst community, but also have learned that without a deliberate adherence to transparency, governance, and contribution metrics, paranoia can creep in and seed distrust amongst the community. When funding/revenue is introduced distrust is magnified.

I believe that NFT-DAO deserves the funding awarded to them in Catalyst Fund3. It is my recommendation that NFT-DAO distributes those funds to the contributors that helped them realize the deliverables as presented here, NFT-DAO Catalyst Townhall Presentation. That is, as long as those contributors are willing to accept payment.

There is value in the process. What I mean by this is that even though MuKn has recommended rebuilding Akkadia from scratch, that doesn’t negate the time and effort that a group of professional developers exerted in organically forming a self-organizing development team with the task of building Akkadia.

I’m confident that the NFT-DAO community will apply the learnings acquired through the recent setbacks to build the foundation that will lead to sustainable community and product growth. I look forward to following along.

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For reference, part of this discussion took place under ideascale proposals, to be found here

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NFT-DAO Departure Discussion, Fund 3 and 4

Thank-you Tyler, Dan and TAK for your comments and your contribution to NFT-DAO.

Background

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.

OccamFi

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.

Assessing Contributions

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.

Breakdown

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

  1. 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.

And

  1. to grant the Business Lead (Rich Kopcho) “autonomy” (e.g., full authority) to pursue Mukn dev. option.

Conclusions

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.

Transparency

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”.

Contributions

The lack of tracking system for implementer contributions led to assigning rewards arbitrarily and the opportunity to conduct a revised contribution survey was missed.

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@Stephen_Whitenstall, I hope that Catalyst makes this unfortunate event publicly available ASAP to the whole community, before it leaks and uncontrollable spreads. By doing it, validates the Funding system, sets the tone on the level of accountability expected from Fund winners, and the trust they were invested with, when they were awarded the funds. So glad you are here. thank you.

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Thanks to everyone for giving their reports. Transparency is something that must be prioritized in all projects that are involved with funding from the Treasury.

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I’m traveling in Europe on business since last weekend and writing an NFT-DAO update report that covers the issues raised. In the meanwhile I prepared this summary slide.

It appears it was not clear and communicated that compensation was being thought through.

offhand I think dev compensation would have needed to have been thoroughly “thought through” prior to petitioning to receive significant Catalyst funds via lump sum

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“Departing individuals took to public platforms to damage the reputation of the NFT
DAO and those committed to its success—where agreements could not be met on
performance and compensation.”

I’m puzzled about the wording of this and would be happy to get a clarification to prevent misunderstanding:
Since this can be understood as "the departing individuals used public platforms to intentionally damage the NFT-DAO. OR it could be understood as “the departing individuals use of public platforms happened to cause reputational damage to the NFT-DAO”. I think it is critical which of those is meant, or if there is another interpretation that I can’t see myself right now.

Secondly, I’m not clear about the nature of the damaging use of public platforms, did the individuals:

  • Share confidential data from the NFT-DAO that has the potential to cause reputational damage?

  • Share personal points of views that have the potential to cause reputational damage?

  • Share publicly available data in an out of context way, which has the potential to cause reputational damage?

  • Show publicly available data in proper context which happens to have the potential to cause reputational damage?

  • Share untrue or false information, giving false statements that have the potential to cause reputational damage?

In short, is there a claim of unfair behavior by the departing individuals and if so, how are those claims based?

Edit: typo

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The original number added to IdeaScale was $100,000 which was much closer to what was needed.
However, the Catalyst community feedback was it would not get funded at that number and suggested we rethink the numbers based on fund size, potential other projects etc.

yeah that doesn’t address the point

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Compensation was a non issue in the governance holon. Both Stephen and me stated interest in a reward through acknowledgement of contribution in an immutable way (with a NFT for example).
Clear communication was an issue however.

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