To the Decentraland Community,
In light of the open meeting on December 15th, convened by the Facilitation Squad under the theme “DAO-FOUNDATION Synergy - Open Session,” I offer this formal response. The meeting’s open structure allowed community members to directly convey their requests and suggestions to the Foundation, on behalf of the broader Decentraland Community. Following the facilitator’s summary and proposed action points, this document serves not only to engage those not present in the original Discord discussion but also to provide a detailed response to the summary of the meeting. It aims to offer clarifications and articulate our stance on the requests raised by these community members.
A. About the Decentraland Foundation
The Decentraland Foundation is a private entity, established in 2020 with an irrevocable 10-year funding mechanism of 222M MANA tokens to support its mission: to ensure the growth, security, and sustainability of the Decentraland platform.
As part of its commitment, the Foundation undertakes several key responsibilities:
- Management of Brand IP: Manages Decentraland’s brand identity, oversees marketing and partnerships, and organizes key events. It also controls Decentraland’s official social media accounts and domains for secure communication with the community.
- Protection Against Misinformation: Issues takedown notices for fake sites and accounts, safeguarding the community against misinformation and potential fraud or scams.
- Security Oversight: Handles security reports and manages a bug bounty program, contributing to the platform’s overall security.
- Smart Contract Development and Audits: per detection or need, develops critical changes to smart contracts, orders external audits, and submits changes to the Security Advisory Board (SAB) for approval.
- Codebase Contributions and Oversight: Makes and oversees contributions to Decentraland’s codebases and manages releases to the Decentraland domains.
- Revenue Generation for the DAO: Develop mechanisms that generate revenue streams for the DAO (such as Marketplace fees), in addition to ideas from the community.
- Proposals for Consensus-Critical Changes: Sends proposals to the DAO regarding consensus-critical changes to ensure alignment with community interests and platform integrity.
B. About the Decentraland DAO
Concurrently, the Decentraland DAO, established alongside the Foundation, plays a crucial governance role. It controls consensus-critical smart contracts and changes to the decentralized network. Like the Foundation, the DAO is also supported by an irrevocable MANA vesting contract of the same size, term, and nature. The Foundation actively collaborates with the DAO, executing some voted proposals and participating in its initiatives without compensation.
As we envision the future, the collective decision-making process involving the DAO will be vital, especially as the Foundation’s vesting contract nears its conclusion in 2030 or when the treasury funds are nearing depletion. This pivotal discussion is slated for a future date.
C. The Decentraland Community: A Diverse and Dynamic Ecosystem
Our community includes about 307,000 MANA holders, 7,000 LAND owners, and 14,000 NAME holders, with active governance participation from 4,500 unique voters and 40 DAO contributors across various committees and core units.
The DAO, representing a new concept in both form and function, embodies decentralization, autonomy, and organization. It manages a significant treasury, allocating over 13M USD since June 2020 to various projects that enhance the Decentraland experience.
D. Relationship between the DAO and the Foundation
The Decentraland Foundation and DAO are integral to our community, sharing the goal of developing Decentraland. Each entity plays a unique role in this endeavor.
Communication between these entities is crucial. We have implemented several ways including a Request for Information (RFI) process, providing quarterly updates, and hosting an All Hands meeting every 8 weeks. Going forward, the Foundation is dedicated to enhancing this communication, in collaboration with the community, informed by feedback from DAO proposals and canny submissions.
What follows is a detailed answer to the summary of the meeting marking our continued journey toward collaborative growth and innovation in Decentraland.
The community feels like there is currently limited visibility into Shape-Up Cycles, indicating the necessity for improved communication and information sharing within the community.
We have heard the feedback and we’re making project cards public for the community to provide more visibility into past and upcoming work. You can access them here.
Another significant issue with our DAO lies in our lack of access to information about foundation investments and its vesting contract, raising concerns about accountability and recourse. If the foundation deviates from our expectations or fails to adhere to the roadmap, we currently lack a mechanism to hold them accountable.
As the Foundation operates as a private, independent, non-profit entity, it is not obligated to disclose its financial details. It’s important to note that the Foundation is not employed by the DAO; there are currently no formal business agreements or financial transactions between the two parties. The two are completely independent of each other; thus, there is no requirement from the Foundation to comply with DAO requests or vice versa.
There’s a need to have access to a regularly updated organizational chart from the Foundation. This simple measure can provide a high level of transparency without revealing confidential details from the foundation. When key figures such as the head of engineering or head of marketing undergo changes, it is essential for the community to be informed.
For inquiries or communications with the Decentraland Foundation, the designated channels include email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com, each corresponding to their respective departments.
The Foundation, as a private entity, is not required to and doesn’t intend to publish an organizational chart. However, any changes in the position of the Executive Director will be duly communicated to the community.
Regarding the Request for Information (RFI) process, there may be room for improvement as it currently seems to lack speed.
We would prefer it if this kind of statement comes accompanied by a description of what can be improved, why it is important, and how to improve it with concrete actions.
There is a misalignment of priorities between the DAO and the foundation, leading to misunderstandings. From a DAO perspective, clarifying priorities and revisiting the manifesto could bridge this gap.
The priority for the Decentraland Foundation is to build a more performant Explorer that is positioned for growth. Additional priorities include continuing to improve the creator tools, polishing the onboarding experience, and fixing bugs.
It would be beneficial to have a clear understanding of the DAO’s priorities.
The proposal concerning roadmap delegation is an area that requires thorough review due to the numerous misunderstandings it generates. There seems to be also a misinterpretation in the understanding of the proposal’s participation aspects that lead to frustrated expectations from both involved parties.
Agree, that proposal needs to be reviewed. As it stands, it generates the false impression that the DAO is hiring the Foundation to develop the Decentraland client. The Foundation is working on the client using its own resources because it is necessary for the future of the platform. The client is one way to present Decentraland. It is currently the only fully functional client. The Foundation created it and has the ability and freedom to make updates to improve the experience for all.
Simultaneously, within the DAO, efforts are underway to develop an alternative client, reflecting the decentralized and open-source ethos of Decentraland. Ideally, the future will see multiple clients, each managed by distinct teams, continuously evolving and integrating new features into the protocol, thus fostering a dynamic and innovative environment.
There is also a lack of clarity about what is included in the roadmap and the scope of the foundation’s work. For instance, is SDK work included in the reference client? This ambiguity needs resolution to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the development landscape.
Decentraland Foundation will work in all parts of the stack following its mission to improve the Decentraland project. That includes the SDK, Communications Protocol, Explorer, Marketplace, Website, etc. The “reference client” as stated in the governance proposal refers to the Explorer only.
We lack regular check-ins with the foundation, to avoid relying on ‘blind trust’ for the development of the reference client. The absence of a roadmap leaves the community uninformed about the Foundation’s plans, and having such a roadmap could have provided valuable insights.
At the moment the channels to communicate with the Foundation are the RFI and our Support channels. I do have regular check-ins with core units of the DAO, if you want to have a person to be a speaker of the DAO please elect that person.
The Foundation works in 8-week cycles, with the new explorer being the only project with a multi-cycle approach. The goal is to deliver an updated, high-performance client in 2024. Project details for each cycle are shared during All Hands meetings, and additional updates will be communicated in future All Hands sessions.
Regarding roadmaps, consider the example of Roblox—search for Roblox Roadmap, and you’ll find a splash page prompting you to click for the full roadmap. This exemplifies what a roadmap is. It is distinct from product marketing, general marketing, a manifesto, an AMA, an RFI, or a canny. A roadmap’s purpose should be to outline what tasks will be addressed within a specific timeframe.
Roblox officially launched in September 2006 and as of December 2022, the company employs over 2,100 people. As a Foundation, we only have 60 people. In regards to outlining tasks within a specific time frame, that is what we do with our Product Development Process, in 8-week cycles.
G. COMMUNICATION AND PARTICIPATION
While there’s talk of developing a roadmap, it seems to be solely initiated by the foundation, with no collaborative effort involving engineers or software developers beyond the foundation’s confines. A first step could be discussing liaisons with the Foundation, particularly in terms of Developer Relations (Dev Rel). An option could be to hire a new one or use existing human capital.
The DAO is free to hire/elect technical professionals who can assess the priorities of the community and present them in an articulated way. The Foundation is willing to cooperate with such people.
The manifesto requires a thorough review. Misalignments persist between the priorities of the DAO and the foundation. For example, when inquiring about VRM, we were informed that it wasn’t a priority, highlighting a disconnect between the foundation’s stance and what may be considered essential by the DAO.
The economy around Wearables and Emotes has been proven to be a great success in Decentraland. The ability to export your avatar into VRM has been implemented in the Explorer, thanks to a community-made implementation called DCL VTubing App which is open source.
Currently importing VRM into Decentraland is not a priority. There should be a thorough conversation about the topic and its implications. For example, it could be argued that allowing players to import their VRM as an avatar might harm the Decentraland Wearable economy. Also, there is no way to ensure the rights of ownership of the VRM avatar, anyone could clone your VRM model and use it themselves.
Any member of the community can propose a feature or benefit through Canny or by initiating a DAO poll to gauge community reaction to a well-developed concept. It is beneficial for all involved to have a clear understanding of the suggested implementation, its advantages, and the potential compromises involved.
Promoting the product externally is crucial too and Foundation and the DAO are not doing enough about it. This includes participation in game developer conferences, dev cons, and events like NFC NYC. Allocating funds for attending major conferences could facilitate these external engagements and enhance communication with the developer community.
In 2023, Decentraland received 7,000 media mentions globally, including in international press (Forbes, Variety, NBC CNN, etc.) and industry-focused outlets (Coindesk, Decrypt, Blockworks, Cointelegraph, NFT Podcatcher, etc.). We also participated in various events worldwide such as ETH Argentina, NFTSE, Web32 Belgium, METAMs, Permissionless, Metaverse Business Conference, Hollywood and Gaming Summit, WWD Tech Symposium, Financial Times Future of Finance, and more, as shared in Quarterly Update blog posts.
We acknowledge the importance of both digital and in-person event presence and have allocated a budget for 2024, focusing on Gaming (e.g., GDC), Tech (e.g., The Next Web), and Crypto/Web3 (e.g., EthCC) events. The DAO can allocate teams and budgets for other conferences, and the Foundation can provide support in booth setup and creating engaging experiences.
Additionally, the Ambassador Program voted by the community has kicked off, facilitating educational sessions and meetups globally through collaboration between the Foundation and the DAO.
The priority is to improve the experience before full-scale user acquisition efforts. The Foundation also believes that it’s healthier from a decentralization perspective if community members and the DAO spearhead such marketing efforts.
Ask the Decentraland Foundation for a dedicated discord channel where projects and creators can share their most important/large scale events & scene update posts from social media. This streamlined process should help the Decentraland marketing team easily know which posts/events projects have that are important to them while keeping it easy to find for the marketing team in 1 channel, saving the marketing team time.
We are open to adding this and the Marketing Team can review the requests. Please note that we cannot commit to resharing every post but the marketing team can share guidelines and expectations once the channel is active.
H. ACTION POINTS
- Specify clear and tangible expectations concerning the roadmap, including its format and the mechanisms through which the community can actively contribute to its development.
1.1 A formal and comprehensive statement from the Foundation’s scope of work and responsibilities.
Added in this document and more information to be shared in our Manifesto this week.
1.2. For the long term scope, community -studios or verified creators- should have interaction with the GitHub review process.
To do so, DAO should hire technical representatives capable and willing to spend time doing code reviews. All code is open source and contributions are made publicly on Github, anyone can leave comments there.
1.3. Build and share actual roadmaps and their traceability. Below you’ll find some examples of what the community expects from Foundation:
Our next hairy goal is to release a new Explorer with superior graphics and performance. We are not publishing a roadmap for the moment and instead share the Product Development cycle details.
1.4. Unveiling the black-box
- Canny Feedback - more and better traceability and visibility (requests or comments that are actually being considered)
- Include community members in community proposed initiatives and/or be very clear with the things that are being developed to avoid duplicating efforts.
Feedback coming from Canny is reviewed at the beginning of every cycle. We will improve our process and provide community answers within Canny to give visibility. Should a DAO technical liaison be hired, they could take on the responsibility of keeping the community up to date with the responses to their Canny requests.
We released a “Foundation Development Cycles” notion with the internal documentation of the projects we embark on.
1.5. Limit upgrades during major events and activities: During high peak seasons (Holidays, MVMF, MVFW, and big events) there always seems to be an upgrade or hotfix that breaks a lot of things, which causes huge problems.
- Implement a BEAR (Break from Enhancements, Alterations, and other Restraints) ticket system, which will limit platform upgrades during major events. This ticket system must be made available to members of the community.
I’m not aware of the BEAR ticket methodology nor couldn’t find any documentation online after a quick search. It should be developed and maintained by the DAO directly, and the Foundation could check against it.
We currently do our best efforts to avoid deployments during big events, and I recognize that we can and do fail sometimes.
Foundation procure is to notify via Discord any major upcoming changes and we are open to feedback and push the dates, if necessary. Contact support for these inquiries.
- Define concrete expectations regarding regular technical meetings and reporting
2.1. At a high level comms, the community asks for:
- More reportability and visibility on the shape-up cycles.
- More clear comms with the releases and new implementations (before they’re released and implemented)
We’ve added the Product Development Cycles to a public notion for your visibility so you know what is being worked on and the approximate timing. These are also discussed during the All Hands meetings which are recorded for the community.
The Foundation will continue to notify via Discord for releases.
2.2. To adopt a proactive rather than reactive approach, organize technical meetings with registered studios on a monthly basis and/or async through Discord/Slack channels.
I can provide 2 hours every month to have a meeting with such a technical committee. The DAO is responsible for electing their representatives and preparing the agenda. I can not commit to async comms through Discord/Slack at the moment.
- Foundation Roles
3.1. Discuss the possibility of hiring a technical liaison and/or define the criteria for electing community members that could fulfill that role. The DAO and the Foundation could collaborate to conduct interviews and make a joint hiring decision for this position, utilizing shared resources and aligned budgets.
This is a DAO responsibility, I can participate in a 30 minute interview with the qualified candidates and give my feedback to the manager of the hiring process.
Foundation won’t allocate a budget for this person, nor manage their work. We currently have a Foundation/DAO Core Units meeting every other week. This role can be added to that catch-up, in addition to the check-ins I have with Core Units.
As stated above, I can participate in the interview process and give this technical committee 2 hours of my time per month.
3.2. Explore other potential roles that could be also hired through a joint effort between the DAO and the Foundation (Social Media Roles, Developer Roles, 3D Artist Roles, etc.).
The staffing and hiring strategies of the Foundation are not up for discussion. Shared responsibilities present challenges in task prioritization, alignment, and meeting management and community expectations. While the DAO is free to hire as it sees fit, the Foundation will neither finance nor oversee their work.
- Marketing and Events
4.1. Discuss the possibility of a dedicated “Marketing” channel for major events and very important social media posts for Decentraland marketing to share for a more streamlined communication process and additional exposure (whole different instance, separated from technical meetings and comms).
Yes, noted above. The DAO can create the channel and the Marketing Team will review on a regular basis.
4.2. Allow players to “subscribe” to events from event creators on the events page and have them automatically populate into a calendar that can be automatically populated in an external calendar like Google Calendar.
This is a feature request that should be on Canny.
4.5. Review RFI process (review timings)
We have no problem speeding things up and adjusting this process. Please send a new governance proposal with the timings and reaffirm it as the main communication channel.
- Handover strategy “if the Foundation ceases to exist, who and how will take ownership of the reference client development process?”
We will review when the time comes, it is currently too soon to discuss. The vesting contract doesn’t expire until February 16, 2030.