Incentivizing new teams to work on common Aragon infrastructure
We have already explained why we are decentralizing Aragon's development, how we are decentralizing the legal vehicle that represents the project and introduced Aragon One, the first company contributing to Aragon's development. In this post, we will lay out the strategy for onboarding more teams to work on core Aragon infrastructure.
The scope of the project is substantial enough that it already has clearly differentiated parts that are targeted towards different kinds of use cases and users. Here's the stack as of today:
It would be foolish to think that we can continue taking on the whole stack and expanding it ourselves. Making Decentralized Autonomous Organizations widespread is an extremely ambitious mission that cannot be accomplished by any single team in the world.
One way would be to have teams working totally separately on their own stuff and slowly building all the stack in an organic way. While this works in some cases, it doesn't hold true for the common infrastructure that has to be built in order for DAOs to emerge.
First, because we are extremely early in building the stack and common infrastructure, we cannot afford to lose time making 50 competing implementations if not even 1 of them works perfectly. We want DAOs to conquer the world in a few years, not decades.
Second, we need to work together on common standards, governance models, research, experimentation, and everything they entail. Doing this requires high bandwidth between teams that cannot be accomplished if we are all working on our own niche pieces and re-inventing the wheel.
Basically, this solution would completely dismiss all network effects.
Having a group of teams working to achieve a common vision around a common product and set of open source components carries the network effects, while still providing much more workforce and keeping the project diverse by including multiple points of view.
I always get mad when people refer to Aragon as an ICO project, a startup, or a company. It is none of those.
Aragon is a movement. It is a set of values, a call for principles, a fight for freedom.
Aragon implements a set of tools and components to empower freedom by making decentralized governance happen.
That is very generic in purpose. A revolution of this kind shouldn't be a plan dictated by a single entity, but rather a set of values, a minimum common denominator of what we want the future to look like.
Having a minimum common denominator means that teams can get together and build opinionated solutions, but always share the same umbrella and values.
We concur that decentralizing Aragon's development is the right path. However, it is not easy to achieve. This may be the first time in history where an entity with more than $200 million in capital refuses to grow and centralize power, and rather wants to disseminate it all out.
This needs to be an extremely conscientious and careful process. At first, we want to handpick teams that we have already positive interactions with. It is important that they share our values, and that their leadership does too.
A good rule of thumb is to ask ourselves: would we acquire this team? If we would, they are probably the right choice.
In this process, it is very important to select teams without ego issues. There are tons of scenarios where the most sensible decision is to work together, but where ego gets in the way and clouds the otherwise rational mind.
Since the first teams will have notable governance power within the project, it is also important to pick teams with leaders that want to maximize voice and unity instead of exit and disputes.
After carefully picking the first teams, the next step is providing them funding, if needed, and also rewarding them with the common financial vehicle that better represents the long term success of the project: Aragon Network Token.
The Aragon Core DApp, and every part of the emergent stack that makes it possible, is a very important and key part in what we do; our revolution cannot exist without a way for people to organize freely, without intermediaries. But also, without DAOs, there would be no need for adigital jurisdiction.
It only makes sense for the development of the Aragon Core DApp to be conducted by an entity that is incentivized for it to exist, such as the Aragon Network. And not only that, but the development of other DAO frameworks which are compatible with Aragon, and therefore the Network.
So the question is: how do we incentivize different contributors to become core contributors?
In the medium term, once the Network is deployed, that probably involves a governance mechanism that reaches consensus on how important a contribution is, and either mints or awards tokens to the contributor.
But we are not there yet. We will need tons of experimentation before rolling out something like that.
In the short term, the process can be much simpler. We can still reward teams with a significant ANT package, as a motivator that will drive development and governance of the project, and carry our values over.