Octant's Purpose & Designing A Governance Structure

Octant’s Purpose & Designing A Governance Structure

Over the past few months, we have been closely listening to feedback from our community. One of the places we recognized a need for improvement, was the lack of clarity in what Octant was aiming to achieve. We have responsibilities to the GLM token and ecosystem, as this is where our the ETH that drives our staking operation comes from. We additionally feel that public goods funding is an extremely important mission that Octant should contribute towards, because we have a great opportunity to do so with our treasury. Both of these aspects presented a very unique opportunity for Octant’s mission:

Our goal is to become the first self-sustaining PGF ecosystem to financially empower both public good projects and its users.

Already we have redesigned Octant’s reward mechanism to more closely align with this mission. But even if this change fully accomplishes its intents, this only drives extrinsic motivators for Octant.

We also recognize that the current structure of Octant, with its limited scope for community impact, does not strongly incentivize our community to engage. In a DAO, user engagement and growth are often driven by the sense of ownership and influence users have over the platform. Long term, the core Octant team envisions a community driven structure for Octant governance. But governance is hard, and if you add a large treasury, it becomes even harder.

We’re looking to create something that evolves to grow within the framework of our existing system. One that could eventually become strong enough to either replace, alter, or strengthen our prevailing structure. We feel now is the right opportunity for this evolution to take place.

A Governance Framework For Octant’s Community Fund

Big changes for rewards are coming for Epoch 3, and part of this change includes a community fund, where 5% of Octant staking rewards will be allocated. With community ownership over this fund, we need a governance framework for this to become possible.

So how can we get to a place where the community can govern this fund, and potentially more down the road? The approach I see now that we have a clear mission, is to bring in a diverse group which has experience and interest, so that they, and the core team, can collectively design a framework that both empowers our community while pragmatically taking a path towards decentralization.

What is the plan, and how will it work?

One of the superpowers of our ecosystem is diversity. Over the past few months, we at Octant have been paying close attention to individuals who have shown an interest in Octant’s evolution. We have asked these individuals to join us on a journey of collectively designing a governance structure.

We are building a governance council for Octant. The main intention of this council is to start at the base of our governance decision tree, with the goal of designing a framework for the community fund. Early on, these members will be learning the nuances of Octant & the broader Golem ecosystem so that we can level set before jumping into this work. Once this context is established, we will map out our path, and take each element of this process on, one by one.

The design though is not going to be exclusively driven by the core team and the council. Additionally, any community member wishing to participate can have their voice heard. Other than a call once a month with this group, the vast majority of this conversation will be taking place on this governance board. Our Discourse Forum is open to anyone, and we welcome the diversity of opinions that our ecosystem offers!

Where are we currently?

Current work involves outlining a document so that anyone who wishes to understand the context and nuances of where Octant comes from, can feel confident in doing so. You can find this doc (still a work in progress) here.

Additionally, we’re currently focused on an aspect (which is often overlooked) in how we can design for the social layer, which provides sustainability for engagement. Many DAOs design something that finds excitement early on, but then people lose interest and they ultimately fail. Sustainability is a key feature for Octant, we’re in this for the long run. Answering questions about who are the various users that can see Octant as a tool to solve their problems. What are their roadblocks? Are they initially lurkers or do they dive in immediately?

With a thorough understanding of our users needs and how they potentially will engage in governance, we can then move forward with Octant’s framework. Answering a few key questions including what successful decentralization looks like for Octant, and figuring out how our governance model will operate, including the decision-making process and voting power.

We’re also looking into how to prevent power from becoming too centralized and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. This process is about opening up a dialogue with our community, inviting everyone to help shape a structure that aligns with Octant’s mission and values.

What’s Next?

Our first call with everyone is taking place on Monday Feb 12th at 8am PST, 5pm CET. Each monthly call will be recorded.

If you are interested in joining this conversation, please know that you can always reach out to any of the team members of Octant in our Discord. We are really excited to begin this journey, and if you feel called, consider joining us for the ride!

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These are really exciting changes and glad to be at the forefront while they happen!

This actually seems to be a new meta in the web3 space - create a governance token but circumscribe its power to managing 5% of revenue/profits earned by the protocol. For example, Open Dollar (a CDP on Arbitrum) came out with a similar structure and we should keep tabs on how they manage things

This is really interesting, and i guess the most immediate application for the community fund would be figuring out the mini-rounds that octant should run?

It’s also really interesting that Gitcoin is now having a “matching on matching” pool so money we sponsor in running these mini rounds will be multiplied from their own corpus.

Its still early days but i’d love to see the use of “expendable voice credits” where rather than having fixed voting power for every proposal, I can accumulate voting power and spend more on proposals that matter more to me. We’d need to study the mechanics of how people can earn voting power during each allocation window by passing on their rewards to public good projects.

This is a tough one to crack, too many governance forums become theater where the main decisions happen behind the scenes over call, TG groups or DMs. Brice had a penetrating article on how it plays out in Aave’s forums

Im the spirit of openness, its cool to have meetings held as twitter spaces instead of google meet. That way, there’s more porosity in the audience that comes and listens. There are ofc disadvantages to the approach, such as not having more than 12 people as speakers and becoming more shy on such a public stage

I would still love to see some of the council meetings happening leisurely over a twitter space!

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Indeed, this is one idea. But I think the fund should also be in part to support Octant growth even if that extends beyond public goods funding. I think both sides of the Octant ecosystem should be supported by the fund, and this is in part what I hope we can dial in within our governance working group to establish what is eligible.

I’ve been chatting through this idea with a few who are interested in the concept of “proof of contribution” and I would imagine this lines up wel with your idea here. The problem with voting power as a function of what you donate to public goods is that it can be gamed. My intuition tells me we need to go beyond just this, but it could be one aspect as a piece to the pie.

This is why I like to start from the beginning so that we can try to tackle these problems head on rather than finding out we skipped steps that lead to these problems. I’m excited to share this social layer work with you that we’ve been drilling away at. This will be shared with everyone on the upcoming call.

While we do have a telegram group for the council, I am going to try my best to steer the conversation to be consistently here on the forum, both now and in the future (unless a better transparent piece of tech like within Farcaster comes along).

I’m totally open to this. I told the working group who is joining the call on zoom this upcoming Monday that the majority of this work would be done async here on the board. But we are also looking to establish culture around our newly defined mission at Octant, so I see no issue with establishing some rituals around governance for Octant on twitter spaces!

Looking forward to the Monday call, and let me know if I can follow up on any of these points!

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Excited to see how this process unfolds and hope to contribute to it as well. It’s like watching a democracy being born :grin:

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I’m very excited about this initiative, the approach is just lovely to see a bottom up initiative Govern the Community Fund in a neutral way.

IMO anything that have more than 1 step is a “game”, instead of be afraid of opening a Pandora box that could be “gamed” we should just design the game mechanics in a way that we actually prevent capture + achieve the Octant goals efficiently.

I’m very excited about Reputation tokens & time-bound roles; I think they can provide a way to prevent free-rider problem @devanshmehta outlined

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Thanks for the comments here @devanshmehta - thoughtful as always :slight_smile:

As a representative of Gitcoin we are excited to see these changes and look forward to working with Octant core contributors and the wider community to drive meaningful impact and sustainability for digital public goods. Dropping a few replies in line here to some of the comments.

In thinking through the design of our new structure at Gitcoin partners like Octant were top of mind and we look forward to driving impact in the way you describe!

Very much agree on this point and appreciate the work that @james and the Octant team is doing to come up with creative solutions to improve.

Looking forward to next steps RE: the council and would be open to helping support that initiative however I can. Tagging here a post from our forum describing some of the work myself, Sejal and Mathilda are doing to this end.

Onward and upward!

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