by 0x9982b469910c2ee2ea566dcfcc250cdd34056397 (MrEric)
Should the Decentraland DAO delegate to the Foundation the responsibility of developing and executing the roadmap for the Reference Client?
The Reference Client (the app at play.decentraland.org) is currently the most widely used Decentraland client. Right now, the Decentraland Foundation is the main contributor to the Reference Client’s open source code base, but given the DAO’s ownership of the client (and the need to have the DAO approve major changes), the Foundation is hindered in how quickly and effectively it can develop new features and improvements.
To overcome this hurdle, the Foundation is suggesting that the DAO delegate the development and maintenance of the Reference Client to the Foundation. This delegation would be reviewed and renewed every 12 months. The Foundation would provide a roadmap to the DAO to review, provide feedback on, and approve on the same 6 month schedule to help communicate to the community the Foundation’s strategic and technical priorities.
This delegation would empower the Foundation to:
- Communicate and execute a solid roadmap both for community developers and users
- Build a richer feature set (e.g. better in-world navigation, social interaction, and content moderation tools)
- Ensure that the client is faster and more stable
- Improve the quality and performance of the client’s graphics
- Improve the client’s ability to support more concurrent users
To better understand the scope of this proposed delegation and the extent of it’s impact the broader platform, it’s important to define some terms:
The DAO was created to help the community direct the development of the platform’s policies, infrastructure, content moderation, and smart contracts. The DAO owns the smart contracts for Decentraland’s digital assets (like LAND, Names, Wearables, etc.), so any changes made to those contracts must be approved by the DAO. Furthermore, platform-impacting decisions or changes to Decentraland’s codebase (i.e. decisions that impact the entire Decentraland community, like strategic decisions for the client) must be approved by the DAO.
The “Decentraland Foundation”
The Foundation is a non-profit organization that was formed to help protect the intellectual property of the Decentraland brand (something that the DAO lacks the legal status to do). The Foundation was also tasked with supporting the decentralization of the platform alongside the community.
The “Decentraland Stack”
Decentraland is made up of a complex “stack” of different smart contracts, protocols, and applications. Together, they make up the Decentraland Platform. Generally speaking, the different decentralized layers can defined as:
- The smart contracts that make possible Decentraland’s scarce digital assets (like land, estates, wearables, names, etc.)
- The Catalyst software used to run the distributed network of servers that host and provide content to users.
- The software development kit that people use to build content for the world.
- dApps like the Builder that allow people to create and arrange content for the world without writing code.
- dApps like the Marketplace that allow people to manage and exchange Decentraland’s digital assets.
- Clients that allow users to interact with the content of Decentraland. Decentraland clients are like web browsers (e.g. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox) in that they all provide access to the same network and information, but are not the web itself.
The “Reference Client”
The Decentraland Reference Client discussed in this proposal is a web based app that allows people to access and interact with content and other people within Decentraland’s virtual world. This application sits at the top of the Decentraland Stack.
It’s helpful to remember that the Reference Client does not constitute the entire Decentraland Platform, that it is just one alternative for accessing the Decentraland Platform, that anyone can develop a customized client, and that the roadmap discussed in this proposal for the Reference Client can’t dictate changes to any other components of the platform - those must still be approved by the DAO on a case by case basis.
Duration and renewal of the delegation
The DAO would delegate to the Foundation the responsibility of developing and maintaining the Reference Client for a period of 12 months, according to a roadmap approved by the DAO on a biannual schedule.
The Foundation would be responsible for writing each 6 month iteration of the roadmap, but each iteration must be approved by the DAO.
Ideation and validation for the roadmap
The DAO must have a clear path to contribute ideas and requests to the roadmap. This could take the form of a new polling category within the DAO specific to client feature requests and suggestions. These proposals could then be voted on by the community, with accepted suggestions being passed to the Foundation for inclusion in the next iteration of the product roadmap.
Deviations from the roadmap
The Foundation would be able to reasonably depart from the roadmap to make full use of the Foundation’s familiarity with the competitive market, Decentraland’s user base, and regulatory requirements, but these departures must be later approved by the DAO as part of the biannual schedule.
Funds to develop the Reference Client (e.g. payroll for developers) would still be provided by the Foundation, not the DAO.
Termination of the delegation
The DAO may choose at any time to revoke this delegation in favor of giving it to another entity.
Limits of the delegation
The delegation is limited to the Reference Client and does not allow the Foundation to make changes to other areas of the Decentraland platform (e.g. changes to the Marketplace’s smart contracts); any such changes must pass through a vote in the DAO.
- The Reference Client is a complex application that is relevant to the continued development of the platform.
- The development life cycle for something as complex as the client requires countless technical and strategic decisions to be made on a daily basis
- Given the time it takes to write proposals and pass them through the DAO, it would be extremely impractical to have the DAO weigh in on each of these decisions
- So, it’s clear that in order to develop the client at a speed sufficient to compete with other metaverse projects, at least some level of formal delegation is needed
- The Foundation is the best candidate to receive this delegation given its proximity to the platform, its resources, and its knowledge of the market and the Decentraland community
- The suggested delegation would provide the Foundation with the autonomy needed to execute quickly, while still being subject to the relevant decisions, directions, and control of the DAO
- Invalid question/options