The first one on our Aragon Nest Team Interviews is That Planning Suite who are working on an open source incentivization app.
With this series, we want to bring forth the teams that have received a grant and funding from the Aragon Nest grants program. That Planning Suite was the first team accepted into the program and we're all thrilled to see their suite of apps becoming a part of the Aragon ecosystem.
Our team is composed of members of Space Decentral and Giveth. Yalda of Space Decentral began contributing to Giveth early in the year via the Bright ID app, and that’s where she got to know Quazia — although they had interacted in the Curation Markets lobby in November of 2017 as well. They realized they had shared visions about needing more collaborative tools for DAOs and henceforth, That Planning Suite was born. The team also includes Radek, Sean, Kevin of Space Decentral; Deam of Giveth; and Otto of Kybern Systems (who is also a Space Decentral contributor). We all share a passion of building toward a future where progress can be accelerated by making it easier to coordinate, and making it more fair and transparent as well.
Yalda: The Ethereum community is probably the largest community of developers, designers, and thinkers in the world that are working in coordination with an authentic drive to truly change society. There are so many different building blocks under development, and I am excited to see all of the pieces combine one day to create the dream of the "World Computer". Due to the dominantly open source and collaborative nature of most players in the ecosystem, it brings me faith that the next phase of the web will not be one of surveillance, control, and monopolization, but one that enables financial freedom, worker autonomy, and self-actualization.
I think that the Aragon community is one of the most open minded, strategic, collaborative and revolutionary groups in the Ethereum ecosystem. The community inspires me and I am stoked to be a part of it.
And Aragon is relevant for society because it's a movement that everyone is invited to partake in. Aragon is enabling the development of new technologies that will foster a greater sense of autonomy amongst individuals and organizations alike. As Buckminster Fuller says "If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking." Aragon started off by launching a tool, but this tool is a building block to something greater, the tool is a foundational component in the revolution of how we organize, work, and govern.
Quazia: It's also impossible to move towards a more peaceful society if we rely on force mechanisms to uphold agreements between people and Aragon is the most promising path away from that.
Yalda: While there may be some similarities in what we are building to Colony or DAOstack, the Planning Suite is crucial since it is going to provide Aragon DAOs with a more comprehensive toolkit that will support a variety of collaborative use cases — the combination of which hasn't been attempted yet in the Ethereum ecosystem. We believe that once this suite exists, it will be easier to manage the majority of a DAO's work within Aragon.
Quazia: In addition, even though Colony or DAOstack may have similar functionality, long term groups will pick one of the three and the overly opinionated nature of other options means that modularized functionality that mirrors those projects must exist within the Aragon ecosystem.
Yalda: One reason is because many of us are so aligned with Aragon's vision and ethos. The other reason is that we saw ourselves using Aragon for our own needs (e.g. Space Decentral, Giveth) and hence we realized that building on Aragon was the best strategy due its robust permission & access control system, and flexibility to design custom tailored-governance solutions. Lastly, the type of apps we wanted to build didn't require native tokens. The combination of these reasons made it obvious that applying for a Nest grant was the most logical step.
I thought that for the most part the process was quite a smooth and intuitive process and there were clear instructions and examples for how to format the application so that was very useful. There is one aspect of the process that I believe needs improvement, that is the proposal/application flow for the use case when a proposal doesn't exist, but I haven't figured out the optimal design yet :)
Yalda: Whenever we started working on the project, our technical assumption was that we would be able to build a single app using multiple interconnected contracts, and that this app would also be able to spawn new contracts to create custom planning tools. But the single "Planning Tab" evolved into the "Planning Suite" once we realized multiple apps will be needed to accomplish our vision. The Planning Suite is a toolkit of new Aragon apps that are meant to be complementary to the existing apps. The suite includes:
Since the Aragon apps we are building handle financial transactions, the biggest challenge is definitely going to be ensuring that what we build isn't vulnerable to attacks aiming to deplete a DAO's funds.
Quazia: Adoption and usability are also concerns at the front of our minds.
Yalda: It's hard to communicate where we are at without fully understanding how many apps we are building, which is why I described them above. Right now we are finalizing Range Voting & Allocations, and in the middle of development for the Projects and Address Book apps.
I can't wait to use the Planning Suite to develop the Planning Suite - especially the ability to collect non-transferable tokens by completing tasks. I'm also looking forward to getting some user feedback once some of the apps are on testnet.
Quazia: Really excited to work on the Rewards elements, getting more intelligent dividend tokens that work out of the box will undoubtedly have some interesting use cases.
Yalda: We definitely have a bias to projects funded via Nest or building on Aragon such as DAppNode - because infrastructure is key to build the new internet, Bright ID - because privacy-protecting identity solutions are important to build a post-surveillance world, Harbour - because electing committees can still have a place in DAOs, Giveth - because we need more transparent altruism in the world.
But for a non-Aragon ecosystem project, MakerDAO is quite amazing. Because well first, it's a DAO, enough said. Second, it's a unique mechanism for stable coins that has held strong through recent periods of volatility. Third, stable coins pegged to USD will be important because not everyone has the mind (or financial security) to work on contracts denominated in volatile currencies such as ETH. In building ecosystems like Aragon where you have Payroll apps and such, it would be important to have the option for salaries to be paid in DAI or other stable coins. And fourth, MakerDAO's lending market can be extremely useful for people that want to hold ETH positions yet need to spend money: if one feels confident in the market's trajectory, collateralized debt positions can become a great way to take full advantage of potential gains. Of course it's still risky, but it's an exciting design regardless. Their current UI may be a bit unusable, but I am very much looking forward to their next iteration.
Yalda: Non-technically savvy people can of course use what we build and provide us with their insights on what features are missing or what is confusing. Alternatively, they can help with design work and writing documentation. Technically savvy people can help with security audits and code reviews, or of course just helping pick up some open tasks. It's easier to contact us up in chat first so we can properly plan sprints. (try to find us on Riot in the following channels: #spacedecentral-dev:matrix.org OR #giveth-social-coding:matrix.org)