Introducing Aragon Nest

December 6, 2017

A grants program to support the development of the ecosystems

Ethereum is thriving as a platform for developers to build things on. But sometimes, the underlying core components necessary for these projects to grow and build their products are still missing. Developers need to have the fundamental basic tooling in order to effectively create new products.

But the incentives to build solutions for the underlying technology in the emerging stack are lacking. We need to encourage people who are working on common goods. We need to create an incentive structures that enable people who are willing and passionate about working on these solutions.

But we are not there yet. Right now, someone might feel that they are the perfect person to build a tool that could have a tremendous impact on the ecosystem. But they're afraid to leave their day job to pursue it because there's no guarantee they would have the resources to support themselves. They could do a token sale to fund it, but that is a difficult and taxing process, and it could very well misalign the incentives for creating these much needed common goods — after all, not everything needs a token.

The people that have worked on the fundamental tools and infrastructure have been doing an amazing job. Geth, Mist, Parity, MyEtherWallet, MetaMask, Solidity, the ERC20 Token standard, Casper, just a few of the great examples that have been produced to boost the ecosystem. (Some of them aided by the ÐΞVgrants program which the Ethereum Foundation ran!)

At Aragon we wanted to find a way for us to support the development of these kinds of basic tools. We know that our success will be directly tied to the success of the underlying protocol which we are building upon.

This means that there has to be appropriate tooling for developers to actually build things. They need to be convenient, easy to use and well documented to be useful for anyone to just get started building their solution. There's no benefit in having tools that aren't practical and painless to use.

Talented developers and teams should be able to work on common goods that support the rest of the ecosystem. But to make it their longstanding full-time commitment, they need some economic backing. And not only that —also advising, introductions and technical support from the more experienced people in the community.

Aragon and Placeholder Capital are kickstarting a grants program, Aragon Nest

To help support the ecosystem flourish, we are introducing, together with Placeholder — lead by Joel Monegro and Chris Burniske — a grants program called Aragon Nest.

The team at Placeholder has years of experience in evaluating crypto projects and teams, and we are very proud to have their expertise onboard.

The goal of the program is to attract talent to research and build the necessary tooling for developing solutions around Aragon and Ethereum.

What we're hoping to see with the program in regards to Aragon:

  • Tools for making the ecosystem sustainable, such as open source repositories run by governance tokens using Aragon
  • Developer tools for building applications on Aragon
  • Better communication tools for effective governance, possibly using Whisper and other messaging protocols, by having an app which locks an action in time until there has been significant discussion
  • Complex governance mechanisms with off-chain components, to achieve scalability
  • Aragon UI developer tools and implementations in different frameworks
  • ** More apps for Aragon Core**

These can include things like different governance models, open source incentivization, a token curated registry application or even an accounting app that can be used instead of the one developed by the Aragon team.

And to keep everything running smoothly in the foreseeable future, we will need things built for Ethereum. Things like scalability solutions for EVM-compatible blockchains, a solution to on-chain event-snapshotting and a signer app that works on the OS level with multiple signing providers.

So how will this work and what's next?

First of all, we want the community to help shape Aragon Nest.

This blog post acts as the first step in kickstarting this program. We want everyone to start tinkering and coming up with ideas for the proposals suggested here or with an idea of your own!

As with everything we do, the process and program will be transparent. From filtering applications to setting the evaluation criteria to the voting procedure. Every step of the program will be open for the community members to review and provide feedback on.

All the Intellectual Property created in the course of the program by participants will be owned by them. They are the creators of their solutions and we will only require that all the code is released as open source.

More details will be posted here at the Aragon blog soon.

If you want to discuss the program with others, start bouncing ideas around, gathering people for a team or something else, come join the #nest channel on Aragon.Chat!

And here's a video from the Aragon Community Meeting 06 where we talked about the program for the first time. Big thanks to Joel Monegro and Chris Burniske for also joining in!