Proposal: Transfer the Aragon Project Funds to an Aragon DAO Governed by (Delegated) ANT

Past: Governance Ambiguity

Rather than repeat the Minimum Viable pathway, as taken with the Charter. I suggest we take the time to get this right, upfront.

As we’ve seen with the Charter, minimum viable options that require further clarification create ambiguity which effectively undermines governance. Instead, we can seek to establish unassailable, collective governance legitimacy as opposed to repeating the past.

Present: Charter Changes

The ESD have secured funding for Charter adaptation. Agree with @b3n that Charter change requires at the very least

However, as DAO should we not aspire to a cross-discipline, highly coordinated and deeply accountable community to naviagate from current state to optimal and battle-hardened governance that we can safely steward tresasury to, in time. This is why I am here…

Future: Unassaible Governance Legitamacy

Rather than simply accepting, that the criteria proposed here will provide the best outcome (which they may well prove to) - what I counter is that we empower the community to learn and model, debate and investigate and vote on the whole range of parameters that will impact the future of the Aragon Network DAO governance. A collective consensus-building process akin to the TEC Common Upgrade would also ensure the desired result:-

This is imo the optimal path to unassailable, decentralised, governance legitimacy and we already have much of what we need to succeed! Excited

Everything about this conversation resonates with me and IMO we have and great ally here in @GriffGreen and the opportunity to build the DAO from the groundup in partnership with other ecosystem collaborators based on tested and proven process,

@GriffGreen I would love the opportunity to talk with you with the intention to develop a proposal to build community governance from the ground up including TAO voting if this is what ANT holders want to support.

We have the fantastic Aragon manifesto but imo a key part of the decentralisation process should be to raise awareness and facilitate discussion about the MVV for the DAO. I see MVV as something that should seek input from every community member - sure it is a massive undertaking - but worth it for it’s ability to build collective consensus and shared understanding of the DAO’s raison d’etre. Is this the type of learning and experimentation that @Sixto5 might be interested in leading?

Understand this could slow us down a few months

Just to be clear @mlphresearch I 100% support the need to decentralise and will actively participate in any team working towards this goal. Yet in raising this need you’ve seeded a super important conversation and opportunity to build this right from the outset (now) as opposed to rushing through a vote (which would likely succeed) but would not help us build the social aspect of the DAO like a more time consuming but incredibly powerful, ground-up and collective Governance process can. I don’t see these processes as being mutually exclusive but complementary, if we move this proposal to vote I may support it as one means towards decentralisation but I already favour and will actively strive for the social-collective approach.

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Sorry to be a bore about this but here’s a link to the Charter I’d like to specifically draw the authors @mlphresearch attention to the requirements for this type of financial proposal as determined by the Aragon Governance Proposal Process S 5 (f)

i. Public deliberation phase: A post with the draft of the proposal is posted in the Aragon
forum for a minimum of 7 days and maximum of 14 days with the format:

  1. Title of Proposal (in the format “Financial Proposal:[title]”)
  2. Description of the Action
  3. Description of why the author believes it will help to increase the number of Active
    Aragon DAOs
    a. By default, all Financial Proposals involving a deliverable should use an Escrow
    (see Additional Definitions). In cases where the use of an Escrow is omitted, a justification must be included in the Description.
    b. Greet.me shall be the default Escrow provider for Financial Proposals.
  4. And suggested optional: ETH Wallet address of the author(s) and/or other identifiers

I’m aware of these requirements but I classified the proposal as beyond merely financial and thus didn’t tag it as such. I also wanted to keep the first draft as short as possible and left most under point 3 implicit. But here’s the gist: it is my impression that, over the years, Aragon has lost a lot of good faith in the broader crypto community and much of it has to do with Aragon’s failure to turn itself into a proper DAO. This has held Aragon back in a variety of ways but, among other things, it has hampered Aragon’s growth and adoption as a leading DAO framework.

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@lee0007 - it’s why we are all here. My point is to actually coordinate on it.

100% agree. This is a conversation that has not been engaged in prior to or since the establishment of AN DAO.

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Hello, thanks to all participating, there is some really great minds and thus responses to this proposal!

Although in the medium and long-term, as has been discussed often, I believe Aragon should become a DAO, due to the many reasons (offered by the most engaged members of Aragon in the responses) I believe that the sudden urgency to DAOify at the speed in this proposal is unrealistic and creates considerable unnecessary risk from several different angles including legal and governance. Big thumbs up to everyone adding their expertise here. In the comments I see the most active community members asking for patience and due diligence, this is a strong internal indicator in my opinion of the current state of affairs.

There is a new product on the way, a much more intense conversation to increase community engagement, and quite obviously a need to better decentralise ANT holdings. I believe these successful initiatives could more holistically create a better outcome while reducing risk.

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For me, this is the most important discussion indeed - without clarity here, decentralizing a HUGE DAO like Aragon might lead to confusion, resources being wasted and no real value being created.

Doing this decentralization gradually would help a lot to avoid those issues, especially the technical ones.

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I may be bringing too much web2 thinking into this, but it sounds like if the proposal is approved we will be working backward from the 30th November deadline.

I agree with @GriffGreen that while there are many details to work out, basically the only one that has to be agreed upon is the MVV.

For all else (non-complete list, based on issues raised here):

  • Technical infrastructure
  • Off-chain and on-chain governing rules
  • Minter contract ownership
  • Legal
  • Admin (i.e. AA committee not wanting/able to make the transfer)
  • Stakeholder engagement

There could be two working groups per bullet - one towards a best-case scenario and one towards a fall-back option (if the best-case team on each bullet is not ready by 30th November, we use the fall-back option for that bullet for the transition to happen)

Is this broadly what you have in mind, or is there a different path around which there is the soft consensus that you mentioned?

I have to note that I am writing this under the assumption that token holders are the main stakeholder to consider with community contributors to the current AN DAO as well as AA/AL team members beings secondary. TLDR: I am assuming fixing coin-voting is not part of the scope of the currently discussed proposal.

This seems like the right forum for such a conversation. While alternatives might have slightly higher convenience factor, they would go against the aspirations for transparency and inclusion mentioned through the thread

Something that came up during a call with @joeycharlesworth today.

Is this $20M budget to sustain both AA and AL teams or AL-only?
If the second, do you envision the AA team to be dissolved?

I think the budget should be sufficient for a merged entity but curious to get @joeycharlesworth thoughts on this.

Adding the thread for charter changes to keep this focused on the Macro discussions: Charter Updates - Discussion

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Thanks @lee0007 for the input.

Certainly, this is a potential and tangible scenario where we might iterate the MVV with the community to build and strengthen their governance knowledge and confidence. A fascinating context where, we could learn from each other while we put the community at the centre, we could collaborate with Commons Stack and @GriffGreen as already mentioned in the proposal.

And this proposal could mark a proven step towards a real decentralisation.

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I would disagree, this forum thread is for discussion of this proposal. I am interested in discussing with @GriffGreen the early ideation of alternative/complementary community governance proposals as they relate to use by AN DAO of the CommonsConfig and TAO Voting tooling - which although they could apply here if already implemented, they are not, and currently beyond the scope of this proposal.

Maybe, not this thread, but this forum is the place to have this discussion.

While the way you framed it, it sounds like some small early-stage experiment, the discussion so far leans towards exploring this is as the main governance mechanism for $300m treasury. Furthermore, there is another proposal directly relating to this one, which envisions the discussion of TAO Voting in the Charter.

Proposal 4 : Voting (July 22)

  1. Addition of Delegate Voting [2]
  2. Delegate voting rules [3]
  3. Staked ANT Voting Future [18]
  4. TAO voting [new]

It would be fantastic to see a ragequit mechanism included in this and similar proposals.

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In the current situation, in which the market cap of ANT is lower than the treasury, wouldn’t this be super risky?

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One of the improvement opportunities that we’ve detected so far is that we should improve the communication between the Aragon Association (AA) /Aragon Labs (AL) contributors and the wider community. Considering the importance of this thread discussion, and for the sake of providing context regarding the current situation within AA / AL, it’s important to highlight the following:

  • The team members of AL and AA are currently undergoing a merge in order to achieve greater product, tech and growth focus, improved overall team coordination and single alignment around ANT.
  • Consent between both AA/AL teams has been achieved in terms of Product, Tech and GTM as highlighted in the following:
  • Merged squads have already been assembled and are actively working on Aragon App (the new frontend application), new Core Smart Contracts, a new SDK, and the open voting protocol.
  • This merger and eventual transition to AN DAO is being advised upon by HoolaHoop, whom I have invited to partake in this discussion as this proposal has important outcomes for the success of this merger.
  • Aragon Labs is a Swiss AG, in other words, a for-profit limited liability entity with shareholders. The majority of the contributors currently sit under Aragon Association and do not have shares in Aragon Labs. Aragon Association owns 51% of the shares in Aragon Labs AG.
  • Under Swiss law, it’s impossible for any company type (AG or GMBH) to not have an economic share class. This obviously creates misalignment of governance interests with ANT. Associations by contrast can have ANT staking mechanisms built into the General Assembly (it’s most powerful body with the ability to elect the committee) and have decisions subject to ANT holder votes.

With this in mind, I would propose that all contributors across AA and AL are transferred into a new Swiss Association (lets call it NewCo for now) with a designated purpose to execute on the existing product development, go-to-market and tech strategies. This will provide the core team with much-needed stability and focus. The proposed funds should be sufficient for the merged team to prove the value of their contributions to the Aragon community and recruit new contributors, including through AN DAO. After these funds have been depleted, this entity would need to apply to AN DAO for further funds.

Under this proposal, Aragon Association would continue to exist with limited funds to manage access to centralised tools and services that may need to be accessed by multiple teams in the network (Discord, Twitter, Aragon Website and so forth). The Aragon Association could simply sub-contract administrative access to these services to the AN DAO or one of it’s guilds to ensure access neutrality across the network. As mentioned on a previous post, I believe the Aragon Association should ultimately be controlled by ANT holders forming the General Assembly.

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Just a quick clarification question @mlphresearch in the proposal you have said “DAO treasury” do you see this as a Multisig or another structure which will manage the treasury.

If a multisig, do you see this as an election process and if so how many signers. I would think a 7/13 for safety of the treasury.

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Another important legal implication that seems worth to mention is that the approval of the proposal - in granting to the DAO a substantive governance power over the entire treasury - would probably modify the nature of the ANT token: from utility to something more similar to a security.

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Hi there!

First of all, sorry for participating late in the conversation. It’s been quite overwhelming for me to keep up with all the most recent and important conversations happening in the Forum (I believe this is a shared feeling among other contributors within AA/AL too).

To put myself in context: I’m currently acting as co-CEO of Aragon Labs, the Swiss AG for-profit company that was set up between Aragon Association and the Vocdoni team after joining forces back in December 2020 with the objective of bringing decentralized voting tech to mainstream.

I believe that I speak on behalf of many AL team members when I say this:

  1. We are happy to change the current setup if that can increase incentive alignment towards ANT, and we feel comfortable with switching to a non-profit legal entity that unifies all core contributors. Vocdoni’s roots have always been tied to a non-profit / public good ethos, and we’ve historically used “for-profit” entities as a vehicle for fund-raising only.
  2. We welcome the initiative of decentralizing Aragon, and we believe it’s a step in the right direction. Considering the significance of the process, we feel that process should be safe to try from a governance perspective. A gradual roll-out with clear milestones would be our preferred approach so that we can fail small (I’m sure there will be failures, and we should welcome them. We just need them not to be fatal). On a personal note, I fully trust in the capacity and outstanding work that community members such as @lee0007, @fartunov, @AlexClay, @daniel-ospina @b3n are spearheading, and I hope I can contribute positively to this conversation too.
  3. We believe that the best way we can help bring value to Aragon is to ship innovative Product and Tech aligned with Aragon’s Manifesto, which we are using as our MVV. We are now focusing on the short term to reach operational excellence so we can ship at the speed that the industry requires, and we look forward to increase our engagement within the AN DAO with better communication and coordination with the community.
  4. We welcome collaboration with other teams who also want to build products and tech that supports Aragon’s mission (1Hive, EVMCrispr, others).

Overall, feeling positive and excited towards this new phase for Aragon.

Joan

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Can you share more info please on this? in which jurisdiction(s)? To confirm, if ANT holders controlled the General Assembly of the AA and it’s funds via an appointed committee, assuming there was not a large scale transfer to the DAO, do you see that as better from a security risk standpoint?

Also tagging @ronald_k for input here.

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