Discussion Regarding AGP - Aragon Acquisition of DOTs

agp
#39

As both a sale holder of ANT and DOTs I think both projects are tarnishing their reputations from the manner of this acquisition.

While I agree Aragon needs to hedge platform risk. Polkadots continuing errant behaviour and untested platform ( fisherman unproven , possible plutocratic governance ) in my view does not warrant a paid acquisition by Aragon. It further makes the case for free acquisition as @seeking has elucidated.

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#40

Is there anywhere I can find a list of conflict of interests regarding the parties involved in this? For a deal/topic of this size I would expect to see any potential conflicts outlined clearly so that voters can make an informed decision.

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#41

@seeking Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. (also thank you to @A.Zhang and many others on this thread). I’ve been trying to stay out of the discussion because I’ve already spent way too much time analyzing and critiquing the governance/token model of Polkadot as well as the recent actions by the W3F team.

This is beginning to get a bit ridiculous though. The entire discussion around DOTs, how it’s being brought up, and the process of selectively disclosing information feels wrong. I don’t like it, not one bit… At this point I’m too burnt out to articulate myself clearly, but you did a great job highlighting many important points so thank you for that :slight_smile:

#42

I would certainly love for the price to be public, and believe me, we tried. Unfortunately, in the world of fundraising and legal agreements, things are not that easy.

Why get involved in a process that doesn’t align with the values and goals of Aragon (transparency, etc…)? I get that it’s important to choose the best tech to support the platform and that scaling is important, but is it worth sacrificing (or compromising on) core values?

Our goal was to negotiate a great deal on behalf of ANT holders and present it under a vote. What ANT holders do from now on is entirely on them. They either trust the AA and its negotiation skills, or they don’t, which I’m not judging at all. I’m sure ANT holders will do what’s right for them.

Voter turnout is very low. This is a high stakes vote. It would be easy, trivial even, for any well funded individual or organization to sway this vote significantly. How is that being addressed?

#43

I think the most relevant information on this is here: Clarifications on AGP-41: Acquisition of DOTs

The proposer @rzurrer is involved with the web3 foundation / polkadot as discussed above.

In regards to conflict of interest, I think it’s important to take that with a grain of salt, everyone in this thread may have different interests, and many (or most) of the people posting in this thread had not ever posted or engaged in the community prior to this issue. You do not need to hold ANT to post here or to be heard, you don’t need to hold ANT to submit a proposal. Someone who holds a lot of ANT but even more of another asset may still be less economically aligned with the project than someone who has a small stack of ANT but is passionate about the project and spends hours working on it. While its tempting to try and get everyone to truthfully disclose all of their interests and try and gleam their motivations for saying or doing some specific thing, its probably best to look closely at the proposal itself and whether it is good or bad and make an independent determination.

I’m not sure why allowing a proposal to be voted on would not align with Aragon’s values. It’s totally reasonable for ANT holders to reject the proposal because the terms of the agreement are under some non-disclosure agreement. Giving ANT holders a voice in important decisions is I think strongly aligned with the core values of Aragon, if we expect the Association to filter out any and all potentially controversial votes from the AGP process then how can we expect to learn anything meaningful about where ANT holders as a group stand on issues?

This is an interesting challenge, as if all votes are low stakes, there is actually very little incentive to get involved and participate in the process.

Right now there is not a tremendous amount of liquidity for ANT, so I’m not sure how easy it would be for a well funded organization which hasn’t accumulated a large stake of ANT over an extended period of time (and intends to hold that position for an extended period of time) to really swing the outcome of this vote on a whim. If a well funded organization does decide to take a long term position in ANT, shouldn’t they be considered legitimate stakeholders in the project? If not, why not?

I think the main argument is one of expectations and norms, and the idea that the introduction of new stakeholders will result in the project diverging from those established expectations and norms within the community. As I mention in another thread, the role of the association in the current AGP process is to ensure that proposals meet some subjective criteria. It’s not a straightforward job, and proposals like AGP-41 can be difficult to judge. If the association is heavy handed in filtering proposals, then the impact that ANT holders have on project governance is minimal, and if the filtering process is too loose, then the process can devolve into a tyranny of the majority. Personally, I think allowing AGP-41 to be voted on was the correct call, even though it is controversial and I do not know what the outcome will be.

I’ve so far avoided taking a specific position on this issue but will go ahead and do so now. I think that ANT voters should vote no on AGP-41, not because I don’t think it is reasonable or prudent to consider acquiring DOTs, but rather because the proposal was submitted and finalized very close to the submission deadline. Had the proposal been submitted earlier perhaps discussion could have resulted in a proposal which was more agreeable, that included a maximum acceptable price. I would like to see proposals made earlier in the process and refined based on community feedback, and since there is no urgent need to acquire DOTs in this voting cycle specifically, I think it would be healthy for ANT holders to reject this particular proposal and then it could be discussed and resubmitted in the future in a hopefully less polarizing manner.

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Clarifications on AGP-41: Acquisition of DOTs
#44

Those are all really good points. Thanks again for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and detailed response :slight_smile:

When I said that I felt the proposal doesn’t align with the values of Aragon, it was really because of the lack of transparency and that it felt like it was being “pushed” through by a special interest rather than being broadly supported by the community. As you mentioned, it doesn’t have to be that way and there is the role of the association to help guide that process as well (sorry I keep forgetting about the association lol).

You also raise a very good point that if all topics are trivial there’s no incentive for voters to vote, but if the topics are too impactful then it’s a salient attack vector. Also, if there’s not enough liquidity atm to swing/buy the vote that’s a very helpful thing to know. I don’t watch the markets with that level of detail, so thank you for sharing that. It would be interesting in the future to have a dashboard for ANT metrics available to the community (assuming there already isn’t one):

  • price (tracked over time like any price chart)
  • total supply
  • total distribution
  • distribution of hodlers vs recent acquisitions
  • liquidity (tracked over time just like price)
  • voter turnout (tracked over time just like price)
  • “flippening” metric showing if there is enough liquidity to overrule the average voter turnout
  • and anything else relating to token metrics that could affect on-chain voting

This could potentially help provide clarity around token voting, esp when controversial and impactful proposals come up. Then people don’t have to speculate with tin foil hats that someone is “buying” the vote, but can actually check. Of course any metrics we measure are going to be an imperfect map of the territory, but it’s data that could potentially contribute to better decision making, or at least better conversations. Currently there’s lots of data in lots of different places, but (afaik) not in one easy to look at dashboard that’s specifically tailored to the Aragon community and monitoring stats that could affect on-chain voting. Does anyone know if anything like this exist atm or if there are plans to build something like this?


Edit:
Thanks to @LouisGrx I’ve discovered some helpful resources in this direction. They’re not in a script that you can easily run yourself to verify their accuracy, but it’s a start!
Foreground Capital Twitter conversation w @ameensol on the feasibility of acquiring enough ANT tokens to buy the upcoming AGP vote

Edit (again):
There’s also Scout which is building blockchain analytics and has a page specifically dedicated to Aragon. Etherscan and CoinMarketCap also provide a lot of metrics. It’s also been discussed that having an Ethereum archive node availabe to the Aragon community could help with these kinds of endeavors.

Are there other resources out there that I am missing?

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Clarifications on AGP-41: Acquisition of DOTs
#45

FWIW, I am an ANT holder. Participated in ICO. Made an account for the first time in this forum for this discussion. I co-organized and led a night of our local meetup featuring aragon. I am also cofounder of the Concourse Open Community, and our long term plan is to decentralize into a DAO in 5-ish years, maybe shorter, maybe longer depending on lots of unknowns. I would like there to be good tooling at that point in time, and Aragon is the best bet.

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#46

Yes, this is planned and the Aragon One team will be working on it soon :slight_smile:

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#47

Have there been any updates on this, or are non-accredited retail investors in the Aragon community still being asked to vote on a deal they don’t have terms for to purchase tokens for a platform that isn’t even finalized or live and working in the wild yet?

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#48

I have 0 ANT.

In terms of crypto, SpankChain only has fiat, BTC, ETH, and a few DOTs. I personally only hold SPANK, ETH, BTC, and ADT.

To be honest I don’t understand the ANT value prop. If it’s governance of the Aragon Network itself with the critical decision making power being how the treasury is spent, then it’s sort of a hedge-fund-by-token-vote, and I don’t find that a particularly interesting model. I have read plans about building the Aragon Court, where ANT becomes a work token (you stake it to participate as an arbiter), but I suppose I am waiting to see it demonstrated that DAOs would willingly abdicate their own sovereignty to the Aragon Court (especially if Aragon further abdicated sovereignty to the Polkadot governance system).

I am a supporter of Aragon project for its potential, but so far I’ve been somewhat disappointed by the product. For one, I had wanted to use Aragon for the MolochDAO, but ultimately decided against it because Aragon DAOs weren’t designed to be 51% attack resilient, which means they can’t socially scale cooperation amongst mutually untrusting members.


Luis and Jorge seem to think I am mistaken and that the ragequit is achievable within their current framework, but I asked two weeks ago and haven’t seen anything yet.

I remain optimistic that the relentless Aragon team will figure out these challenges, and that I may find ANT more compelling in the future. Of course if this onchain governance treasury management works, I could see value being driven to the token purely from that. If this proposal passes and AGP-42 fails, for example, ANT holders might be inclined to submit a proposal for ANT buybacks from the Aragon treasury, given that the market cap of ANT ($25M) is lower than their reserves ($28M just in ETH, plus their other holdings).

A strong argument could be made that the Aragon team has too much money and is getting distracted. Instead of focusing on platform utility they are focused on technical scalability. I have told Luis and Jorge in the past that if MolochDAO isn’t being built on Aragon, then there is no point for Aragon to exist. I stand by that statement, and yet I still look forward to a more useful Aragon in the future!

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#49

Have you read the whitepaper at all?

I read on Twitter that Aragon Black was interested in doing this, which I think is great, because A1 doesn’t have much bandwidth.

Not getting distracted at all, and the products we ship prove that.

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#50

Alrighty @luis, I guess I’ll just have to use the MolochDAO code instead of Aragon for #YangDAO2020 then. Would have been great to collaborate.

#51

I’m still learning about Aragon, but it recently came to my attention via @lkngtn that there’s an awesome survey app. From the announcement:

Bringing our Survey app to Mainnet now enables any ANT holder to participate in the surveys we put up in order to get a feel of what the token holders actually want from the project.

Why was an AGP rather than the survey app to gather signals on how the community feels about Aragon going into negotiations to acquire DOTs?

#52

The survey app hasn’t been updated to the latest code changes until very recently. I love the survey app and would love to use it for signaling, instead of the voting app.

I think we could do a Meta AGP to install the survey app in the governance DAO, and do next votes using it!

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Meta: Separation of Signalling and Voting #51
#53

Awesome! That would be great because even though AGP-41 was meant to be a signalling exercise, it felt, at least to me, like more than that. That’s probably due in part to the larger Ethereum/Polkadot drama, but also that most AGP’s intend to make decisions around finances and governance. It would be really helpful if signaling and decision making were separate things on separate apps with separate processes :slight_smile:

Edit: @luis I’m going through the APG docs (AGP-1, how-to video, wiki) to learn about how to submit a Meta AGP to separate signalling from voting, but in the process I’ve gotten a bit confused…

There’s 4 tracks (Association, Finance, Meta, Proclamations), but none of them say anything about signalling. The Finance Track requires a lot of details that AGP-41 does not provide such as the amount requested. AGP-41 is also vague specifying multiple reasons for the purchase of DOTs, but leaving the whole thing open ended for the Aragon Association to figure out. It’s literally a proposal for the Aragon Association to finish writing the proposal. That’s weird. APG-1 states that proposals will be rejected if they do not fit within a particular track, are too broad, or if the creator of the request does not move the proposal to Stage IV before Stage IV is scheduled to begin. In this case though, despite being a signalling proposal that does not fit within a specific track, the request being unfocused, and the creators of the proposal not making any edits and not making their own request to move to stage IV, it still went through as an AGP.

The Aragon team has shared the thinking behind why this AGP went through, but from what I can tell it does not fit within the AGP process outlined by Aragon. This concerns me because it looks like very governance processes that were put in place to ensure integrity for the community has been subverted. Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong, but this looks like a mistake on the part of the Aragon Association and AGP editors :confused:

Edit to my edit: Pinging the AGP Editors @lkngtn @light and the AA Board of Directors, but I can’t find who’s actually on the AA BoD. The Wiki says that the AA is @jorge and @luis, but there’s also the AA that was approved in AGP-11 with @stefanobernardi. Are those 2 separate entities, and how to they relate to the AA BoD outlined in the AGP process?

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#54

As an AGP Editor, I can explain my rationale. From AGP-1 description of Finance Track:

Proposals made to the Finance track must affect the movement of assets held by the Association multisig. The Association will have discretion over which multisig transfers must go through the AGP process.

This proposal, while only presented as a signal from ANT holders intended to inform an association treasury management decision, does relate to the movement of funds from the association multi-sig. I could also see a strong argument for putting it in the “Association” track or being directed to a temporary “Other” track. Or as you suggest, simply rejecting the proposal on the basis that there isn’t a provision within AGP-1 yet which is a close enough fit, and suggest a meta-track proposal be made first. Making a judgement call here can be tough and I try to do what seems most reasonable, given the circumstances.

There have been other instances in this cycle and in the previous cycle where a proposal hasn’t followed the exact template provided for a track, or where the appropriate track for a proposal is not entirely clear. My personal position so far has been to err on the side of inclusion rather than rejection in the absence of community input on the specific proposal in question, or a precedent set by discussion of previous proposals of a similar nature.

I would love to see further discussion around this topic and appreciate additional clarity around the expectations associated with the AGP editor role.

#55

Thanks for sharing. While I don’t agree with the decision that was made, I see your reasoning.

It would be great to have more clarity around this. Following the AGP-1 guidelines I’ve created a forum post, GitHub issue, and dropped a note in the governance channel to begin discussions in this direction. This is my first time engaging in the AGP process so please let me know if there’s anything I should change! :slight_smile:

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#56

Other AGP Editor chiming in, I will share my reasoning as well which is similar to @lkngtn’s:

The Finance Track requires a lot of details that AGP-41 does not provide such as the amount requested.

Actually nothing in the template is required, intentionally so to keep it flexible at this early stage. AGP-1 says:

Sections marked as “required” in the template must be completed.

And you’ll notice none of the sections in the template say “required” at this time.

the request being unfocused

I think the focus of the proposal is quite clear: the AA should buy DOTs, partly for portfolio diversification, partly for technology diversification.

despite being a signalling proposal that does not fit within a specific track

I think the Finance track is the most appropriate since it would “affect the movement of assets held by the Association multisig”. A case could be made that it would fit into the Association track, since the Association has discretion under AGP-1 to make funds transfers without further approval anyways, but Finance seemed most appropriate here.

the creators of the proposal not making any edits and not making their own request to move to stage IV

web3-foundation, who submitted the PR and is listed as a co-author, stated their proposal was finalized which I take to mean ready to submit to Stage IV. If they were unresponsive or did not explicitly say the proposal was finalized then it would not have been merged.

[https://github.com/aragon/AGPs/pull/41#issuecomment-482117162]

This is my first time engaging in the AGP process so please let me know if there’s anything I should change!

Thanks for your suggestions, I’ll take a look and let you know what I think after this round of votes is over.

#57

Thanks for your response. I still disagree with the whole thing, but I’m learning a lot in the process and now understand your reasoning behind the decision a little better :slight_smile:

I did not know that the fields in the template or AGP-1 were not mandatory. That’s good to know. Also the Web3 Foundation stated their proposal was final, but only after prompting. I interpreted AGP-1 to mean that it was the writer’s responsibility to stay engaged in the process and follow the process, not the communities responsibility to remind them to do so. A detail, but I’m trying to understand this as thoroughly as possible, and it seemed like the best way to do that would be to read through AGP-1 and then pointed out things that don’t make sense to me.

I think the focus of the proposal is quite clear: the AA should buy DOTs, partly for portfolio diversification, partly for technology diversification.

Well again, this is confusing because it’s being presented as a vote for signalling, but at the same time it’s being presented as a decision to make a decision, so the whole thing is confusing and frustrating. Rather than just being upset about it, I’ve starting a Meta AGP to Separate Signalling From Voting. That’s actually one of my favorite things about the Aragon community: disagreements can be healthy and there’s a productive way to go about discussing things and creating changes beyond just complaining on social media or forums.

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#58

Everyone gets a reminder as the deadline approaches. In this case, someone else reminded them before the editors did. This is a courtesy, not an official part of the process.

The only hard requirement proposal authors have under AGP-1 is to finalize a proposal that is compliant with AGP-1 (and by proxy, AGP-0) before the Stage IV deadline. They are not required under AGP-1 to engage in any way other than to write and finalize a compliant proposal. In this case, this proposal is considered to have met these requirements. The process is intentionally flexible and relatively lightweight so we have plenty of room to experiment. Imposing too many hard requirements at this stage would imply we already know what’s best for this process (and that such requirements would considerably improve the process) when that is arguably (and at this stage, almost certainly) not the case.

A detail, but I’m trying to understand this as thoroughly as possible, and it seemed like the best way to do that would be to read through AGP-1 and then pointed out things that don’t make sense to me.

You’re doing good!

Well again, this is confusing because it’s being presented as a vote for signalling, but at the same time it’s being presented as a decision to make a decision, so the whole thing is confusing and frustrating.

As mentioned, the Association already has discretion under AGP-1 to make any funds transfer it wants. However they could lose legitimacy if they did that routinely, especially for potentially controversial moves like this. So it makes sense to me to give a pre-approval signal to them, via an AGP like this, so they could make such a transfer with greater confidence of support from the community.

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