The Blockchain Socialist

Safeguarding Ethereum's Soul: Protocol Guild and governing the digital commons

December 10, 2023 The Blockchain Socialist
Safeguarding Ethereum's Soul: Protocol Guild and governing the digital commons
The Blockchain Socialist
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The Blockchain Socialist
Safeguarding Ethereum's Soul: Protocol Guild and governing the digital commons
Dec 10, 2023
The Blockchain Socialist

Send me your questions or comments about the show and I'll read them out sometime.

In this episode I spoke with Trent Van Epps, who is part of the Ethereum Foundation and a key member of Protocol Guild (PG). PG is a collective of 152 Ethereum core protocol contributors who are curated to receive public good funding from ecosystem sponsors. In turn, this is meant to balance incentives for contributors to work on the Ethereum protocol and prevent high contributor turnover.

During the interview we discuss  how Ethereum is actually governed more publicly than people realize, the need for alternatives to venture capital, and how other digital commons like the Linux OS is governed. We also deep dive into how PG works and why their vision for public goods funding is different than others.

If you liked the podcast be sure to give it a review on your preferred podcast platform. If you find content like this important consider donating to my Patreon starting at just $3 per month. It takes quite a lot of my time and resources so any amount helps. Follow me on Twitter (@TBSocialist) or Mastodon (@theblockchainsocialist@social.coop) and join the r/CryptoLeftists subreddit and Discord to join the discussion.

Support the Show.

ICYMI I've written a book about, no surprise, blockchains through a left political framework! The title is Blockchain Radicals: How Capitalism Ruined Crypto and How to Fix It and is being published through Repeater Books, the publishing house started by Mark Fisher who’s work influenced me a lot in my thinking.

The book is officially published and you use this linktree to find where you can purchase the book based on your region / country.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send me your questions or comments about the show and I'll read them out sometime.

In this episode I spoke with Trent Van Epps, who is part of the Ethereum Foundation and a key member of Protocol Guild (PG). PG is a collective of 152 Ethereum core protocol contributors who are curated to receive public good funding from ecosystem sponsors. In turn, this is meant to balance incentives for contributors to work on the Ethereum protocol and prevent high contributor turnover.

During the interview we discuss  how Ethereum is actually governed more publicly than people realize, the need for alternatives to venture capital, and how other digital commons like the Linux OS is governed. We also deep dive into how PG works and why their vision for public goods funding is different than others.

If you liked the podcast be sure to give it a review on your preferred podcast platform. If you find content like this important consider donating to my Patreon starting at just $3 per month. It takes quite a lot of my time and resources so any amount helps. Follow me on Twitter (@TBSocialist) or Mastodon (@theblockchainsocialist@social.coop) and join the r/CryptoLeftists subreddit and Discord to join the discussion.

Support the Show.

ICYMI I've written a book about, no surprise, blockchains through a left political framework! The title is Blockchain Radicals: How Capitalism Ruined Crypto and How to Fix It and is being published through Repeater Books, the publishing house started by Mark Fisher who’s work influenced me a lot in my thinking.

The book is officially published and you use this linktree to find where you can purchase the book based on your region / country.

Speaker 1:

Hello everyone, you're listening to the Blockchain Socials podcast. I am Josh and I am here in Istanbul during DevConnect and I am with a friend of mine, trent Van Epps. He is a member of Protocol Guild, which is a pretty big public goods funder in the Ethereum Core protocol ecosystem. He also is a guy at the EF doing coordination around the protocol who has been working on some pretty cool things. We're going to talk about Protocol Guild in a bit, but first we're going to talk a bit about Ethereum and its very elusive governance structures that maybe Trent can help us illuminate and learn more about. So, hi, trent, how are you?

Speaker 2:

Hi Josh. Thank you for having me Long time listener, first time caller. Yeah, it's an honor to actually be here and, well, metaphorically, on the podcast. But yeah, I'm excited to talk about Protocol Guild and maybe help some people understand what this thing is and how it relates to Ethereum governance.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean metaphorically you're here, but also physically in my apartment In every way.

Speaker 2:

we're here listening to the cats meow outside.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, so maybe to start off, ethereum, as everybody knows, it is one of the largest blockchains out there. It's one of the largest market caps of cryptocurrency. Ether is also the first one to put out or to create, like make, smart contracts, I guess, in reality founded by Vitalik Buterin all that context that, in case people don't know and it has been able to kind of bring together many different types of people all kind of around the blockchain world, as we see here now at DevConnect and kind of like, at least for me. I'm sort of I don't even really know that much about the governance around Ethereum. I just kind of get told hey, devconnect is going to happen in Istanbul and there's going to be 100 different events here. You should all come and there's going to be a lot of people from Ethereum. But yeah, maybe do you want to start with explaining a bit how Ethereum works as far as its governance structures?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it borrows a lot, at least from the frameworks that people operate within. It borrows directly from Bitcoin, which borrowed from, I believe, the Python community, and in Ethereum it's called the EIP process. This is where you, in so many words, write up a technical specification of a change or a way you can see the protocol operating in the future, and there's discussion around it on text forums, things like Ethereum research or E3 search or the Ethereum magicians forum People debate the merits, people discuss how it could be better, how it could be improved, whether it's a good fit for the protocol now, and some of these eventually get included in the protocol, and so one of the forums where people discuss changes is called All Core Devs ACD. There's a couple different ones, or there's some testing calls or one specifically related to the specific upgrades, for example, data availability sampling. There might be a specific call related to that. That happens every couple weeks and people will talk about a topic and come to a rough consensus on what the specs should be, what the implementation should look like, what trade-offs should be optimized for, and then it eventually makes it to mainnet as part of a network upgrade, or historically called hard forks. But I like network upgrade better because it has some very specific connotations of like less contentious. Yeah, yeah, like the Ethereum classic. And Ethereum split was a hard fork because the community split, but typically these things aren't contentious, it's just the community introducing a new set of protocol features that everyone is on board with. For example, the merge is it was technically a hard fork, but it's much more of a network upgrade because it brings in proof of stake.

Speaker 2:

So all of these processes, typically most of the time they're async. Obviously, we're here in DevConnect and people are talking and meeting in person, but because Ethereum is such a broad global community, by default people are talking online in text. They're. You know it's a distributed process where people slowly come to consensus. That is maybe not as fast as having everybody in the same office, but in the end it allows for a much broader participation.

Speaker 2:

And this is maybe one of the fundamental aspects of Ethereum's stewardship process as a distributed system is that it's not done by any single corporation. Obviously, it's not done by any single organization, even like the EF, for example. A lot of people have this anchoring bias that the EF is this director of where the protocol is going and what it's looking like. But in reality, there's, I would say, 20 to 30, maybe even more a few that I'm not aware of organizations and teams within those organizations, and then the individuals within those teams that are actively engaged, so probably on the order of hundreds of individuals who are helping to shape what Ethereum is today and what it could be in the future.

Speaker 1:

So my understanding is that again, or like something that people are not super aware of or would be surprised by, is that a lot of these discussions around potential changes to the protocol are public discussions. If you take the time to go into the forums, you'll find the link to join the Zoom call, which will have where the discussion will actually take place, and that's, I think, funnily enough, how you got involved in the Ethereum ecosystem. Do you want to talk a bit about that? Because I think a lot of times people assume that it is very shady in many ways, but actually there is. Things are very public is just that maybe the discussions are so technical that a lot of people don't even want to go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, I definitely get that impression, or I can understand why people have that impression. Maybe more inaccessible it feels inaccessible rather than it being purposefully obscured or hidden away from people. But yeah, so from my personal story, I am not a developer in any way. I mean, I've written some SQL queries and done visual coding things, but I don't know how to write code. But at least now I'm deeply embedded within engineering culture and developers, everyday researchers these are the people I talk to. But I went to school for architecture and design and I found Ethereum and found the All Core Devs call years ago and just started attending the calls.

Speaker 2:

Like you said, the Zoom link is I believe it's public for most of them. Some of them, some of the smaller, more focused ones are invite only. For example, I think the testing call is like if you're on a team that is specifically concerned with this, they will add you to the invite, but the All Core Devs call, anybody can show up, you can add something to the agenda and obviously there's some discretion that the person running the call has to add it to the agenda. But if it's a technical topic that fits within the scope of the call, it's like discussing the Ethereum protocol and, for example, the upcoming network upgrade, there's a very good chance it'll just be included and you'll be able to state your piece and discuss it On a pretty.

Speaker 2:

It has pretty wide reach. It's not like the public call is unimportant and there are private calls that are happening that are where the decisions are actually made. The public call is actually pretty significant. This is where the stewards of the protocol, the people who are actually engaged with shaping it, come to talk about things, and so, yeah, you can just show up, and that's what I did for many years, Not really sure what I was doing, but I found it interesting enough to observe the process, see the relationships that people had, and, yeah, that's open today for anyone to still do.

Speaker 1:

Really, it sounds to me like this is very heavily linked to kind of open source culture, of open source development, which a lot of people just don't know that much about unless they are in open source development.

Speaker 1:

It's like practices that have already been going on, at least since you guys took from Python. There's no on chain governance structures, which is interesting because what I've read is that Vitalik didn't want to do that from the get-go because that was, like, I think, probably I mean probably generally a good decision because nobody knew how to make smart contracts in the first place, and so there is no on-chain governance. But what that means? Well, it means many things and we'll maybe actually I'll save that question for later but the people who are involved in kind of like this open-source development governance or like the institutions I imagine many of them would be like the clients of Ethereum, so like Nimbus or Aragon or Prism or all these big clients that have to add the protocol upgrades to their clients, which then gets spread out to everybody who's running their clients, and a client is just basically like the kind of like the piece of code that you run in order to be able to run an Ethereum node for people. But that's why I assume kind of like the major players would be.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the open-source software culture is something I think a lot of people maybe not take for granted, but it's. It's such a norm that's part of the community at this point that you it's like the language you speak growing up you don't really think about that. You're speaking that way, or maybe the language that you think in it just happens naturally. So, yeah, the culture of open-source software is baked into Ethereum and it wouldn't work without it, and so maybe people we don't talk about it because it's just, this is the norm and it would be. It would be ridiculous to think that the the social and political consensus building could happen if everyone was using closed-source licenses and not actually participating in an open, just like a default open posture towards everyone else.

Speaker 1:

And the. I mean that's kind of. It's almost like it's baked in open-source culture just due to the like, maybe technical features of a blockchain like you can only do open-source.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean it would be. It's honestly hard to imagine getting a broader ecosystem to spring up around a closed-source chain, because but, definitionally, blockchains are useful for getting parties that are mutually distrustful to agree on some final outcome. And if, ultimately, you have to trust somebody who wrote the code that you're running your program on, for example, let's imagine some financial institution wants to use Ethereum, they shouldn't have to trust some company that's operating the software and the people that are running nodes. They shouldn't have to trust the people who are running or writing the software that is actually in the nodes, that that the code is correct, like they can inspect it themselves. This transparency is super important and critical to how trust is maintained. Or maybe put another way, trust isn't necessary. You don't have to trust that somebody else wrote the code in a specific way or it will operate in a certain way. You can just look at the code yourself.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so in this kind of environment, just technically, how blockchains work, how it needs to function as a protocol, as something that is openly available to everyone and is sort of like a set standard of rules for people to follow. In many ways, blockchains are kind of like a commons, as kind of what we've discussed before off the podcast, that there is governance around this shared resource of the protocol of Ethereum that needs to have some amounts of consensus for things to continue to function. Do you want to talk a bit about this and maybe the relationship with thinking about commons in a digital context, because sometimes when we think about commons, we think of just like fisheries or physical things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. So some people probably have at least heard of the idea of commons, but for those who haven't, it's the idea that groups of people can steward or produce shared resources that they govern and are involved in the production of, and traditionally, in the academic sense, commons referred to, like you said, fisheries, or in medieval Europe, it was the commons where I mean that's where the term commoners comes from is the people, the poor people, who had access to this shared, this shared field where they could graze their sheep or grow crops, and there was very specific agreements on how this land was going to be managed, who had access to it, what could be done to it. Things like this were crucial, like the frameworks under which the commons was maintained were very important to how it's structured right. There isn't some external authority that's coming in and saying this is how it's going to be run and you get access to a small portion of it. It was. It's the fact that it's operated by and stewarded by the individuals who end up using the resources is sort of intrinsically baked into what a commons is.

Speaker 2:

And, to your point, today we live in an internet world and the digital, digital artifacts are more and more important in our life, and so there's also a notion of digital commons, and this can be. It could be data, it can be something like Wikipedia. You could think of it as a digital commons. It's a shared resource that editors are putting their time and their effort into making something useful for other people.

Speaker 2:

But software is also a really great example of a digital commons, especially open source. Software is something that is freely accessible. People can experiment with it, they can fork it, they can do things with it that you couldn't otherwise do with a closed source or restrictive licenses, and Ethereum is a really great example. I think it fits quite well into the digital commons frame and, if people are curious, a lot of the inspiration I get for this is from a professor I'm forgetting the school he's with, but Benjamin Birkenbein has written about digital commons and specifically enclosure and capture, and maybe we can get into that a little bit. But yeah, ethereum is a great example of what a digital commons is, because it's stewarded by the people that are producing the software, and this software is freely accessible to anybody who wants to actually make something like Ethereum or understand how it works.

Speaker 1:

So, with the Ethereum protocol being governed as a kind of commons, where people who are willing and able to come to these technical discussions for discussing potential changes for the protocol, but there is no hard governance with the Ethereum foundation, I feel like obviously it would play some sort of amount of influence. It does do some research and what potential upgrades should be. Vitalik, of course, is up there as everyone's profit, and if he suggests something, then it's something that people consider more and more. There are these kind of it has all these kind of things in the commons, but one of the things that is perhaps missing, which we can get into now with protocol guild, is that there is no kind of clear funding mechanism for people who want to work on things that are essential to Ethereum core development.

Speaker 1:

In the crypto world there are a lot of for-profit entities and companies, but a lot of open-source development is something that is not a profitable endeavor for the person directly working on that thing. Necessarily. Is that kind of like the situation? Is that how I described it? Kind of what the situation is and why protocol guild now was something that you thought would be why you have brought forth protocol guild.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, going back to the idea of a commons, there's no single organization. Or we had talked about how Ethereum is created. There's no corporation that's running it or specifically responsible for introducing these upgrades, and that's kind of intrinsically. What makes it so special and so valuable is that there is no single organization that says you know, it's going to look like this, or in the future it will change to look like this, and I'm going to butcher the quote, but it's in the same way that we've inherited this open-source ideal. There's this concept of the quote is something like we believe in rough consensus and running code. I think that's someone from the IETF many years ago. But, in the same way, there's no on-chain governance. We could probably spend a whole topic or a whole podcast talking about how token voting is a horrible system, and there are some chains that have on-chain governance and you know you can supplement them with technical councils as an advisory council too, in addition to token governance, or there are ways that you can balance out the financialized nature of token voting. But, yeah, I'm quite glad that Ethereum doesn't have this, because it leads to a lot of really strange incentives and oftentimes adds more challenges than are worthwhile to having it.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, the set of contributors are the people that are actually working on this. They are broadly from different companies sometimes we have individuals, but they're all working on different parts that need to. In the end, they need to inter-operate. So it's this back-and-forth process of people deciding what ways the protocol will change in the future, and this happens over the long term. It's a stewardship process and because there's no, you know, these are all individual entities. They may have their own interests, they may be commercial entities, but Previously there was no single organization or single mechanism to fund the commons. Because, again, ethereum is a commons, it makes sense that it would be funded similarly, or at least there would be some way for it to be produced or be supported in a way that's in line with the, the output of it, which is this digital commons. Again, maybe I'm just repeating myself at this point, but because there's no single organization, it doesn't make sense to fund these organizations individually, like, for example, you brought up some of the client teams. How do you? In a distributed system, there's no client team that is more important than the others, right? In fact, it's crucially important that there's a broad diversity of these clients being used to produce the network state, and it's. It's actually really bad if there's one that has a greater share of the network.

Speaker 2:

A big theme you'll see in Ethereum is polycentrism, or this idea that many, many voices is better than a single dominating one, and this isn't like some people might might say, this is like hippie or you know, this is like you guys are just. Oh, this is just a dumb, infeasible concept, but like it in reality, it comes from a very practical perspective that if you have a single client running 100% of the network, the any bug in this implementation is the specification, it is the network, and so it's crucial that, like it's not a political statement I mean it is political, but it's not people making a political statement of we're going to have many organizations involved. It's. It's a very practical consideration. Like we need many versions of this running, and that's how you, by, by extension, you end up with this, this process, which necessarily involves many different organizations, many individuals, and so protocol guild fits into that existing context as a funding mechanism which plays into this many contributor governance model.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, so yeah with for people, in case it's still not clear, technically kind of what happens is is that whenever you want to run an Ethereum node, you choose a client, and that right now, there are several different types of clients you can choose and they're each run by their own organization. I think some of them I'm not sure exactly if some, if they're like all for-profit or non-profit, or how exactly each one is but I think most of them are within a commercial entity, but they have, let's say, varying degrees of appetite for growth, sure.

Speaker 2:

So some of them are just very happy to work on the client. Others have a little bit of a broader perspective and they will have, like you know, an audit team, or sometimes they're within a much larger corporation, like there's a couple clients in consensus, so it there's a wide range. But, yeah, one thing well, maybe we can get into protocol guild now, unless you had something else, no, go for it. Yeah. So protocol guild, as we've been teasing this whole time, is this collective of individuals, crucially individuals that are stewarding the core Ethereum protocol, and they, they work on research, so again figuring out what the protocol might look like in the future, and they are people who are working on the client teams, like you just mentioned. They're writing the code, they're testing it, interacting with the researchers to actually validate ideas about how things can change and what they might look like. So, and then there's, like you know, a spectrum in between possible futures and the current reality and people working within that. And then there's a couple other sets of individuals who work on things, like you know, supporting both of these functions testing, dev ops for running test nets. People like myself who do coordination, you know, helping the broader ecosystem engage with the process, the actual governance process of bringing network upgrades to life, things like that. Myself, tim Bico these are people that are sort of like talking, just doing a lot of talking and and helping people engage with the process.

Speaker 2:

So there's there's a number of different types of people that are members of protocol guild, but they're all focused on stewarding Ethereum over the long term, and so this mechanism is specifically concerned with surfacing who these people are and producing a list. So it's a. It's a list that lives on chain. It's a smart contract through the Xerox splits protocol, which is just you can have a contract with a list of addresses and weights associated with it, and we use this as a way for the broader ecosystem to fund the core protocol as a commons. So instead of having, you know, these individual client teams all having to petition whatever some public that's funding mechanism for a grants round or the optimism RPGF, we have a.

Speaker 2:

This mechanism, this contract, the protocol guild framework allows us to say look, here's the commons, or at least an approximation of it. There's, there's some members who aren't sorry. It presents this to the ecosystem as a way for them to fund it, because previously there was no such thing. It wouldn't work for the ecosystem to send money to the Ethereum foundation and then have them distributed. That's weird, and on a number of levels. But now protocol yield produces this list attached to a contract on chain and it goes directly to the individuals and not the corporations. Because why not do you? Why not have the individuals? Why? Why do we have to have a set of intermediaries?

Speaker 2:

give it directly to the people themselves who are working on this stuff it would be weird to give it to the for-profit entity right what they would do with it.

Speaker 1:

But so then it's kind of like in this kind of weird situation just like inherent to the crypto world, blockchain world and open source communities that, like you said earlier, some of these for-profit entities may be building things that are not, like immediately monetizable. So there is like a hypothetical where a for-profit company says we need to cut costs and so we're going to cut our non-monetizable products, and that might be something that is a core part of the infrastructure for Ethereum. But if you are able to fund the individual who is working specifically on that part, maybe in that for-profit company, then they can feel safe that they can continue doing their job as a, as they have already been doing, and while also being paid for it, and not having to monetize their core infrastructure work, which could, you know, disrupt the commons of Ethereum yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I'll give a massive, massive caveat here. Not all companies are bad. The people that the people that work for companies, are not bad people. But it's important, I think, as Ethereum matures and be the governance process becomes maybe more complex as more parties are coming in, it's worth thinking about what this might look like in five years, ten years.

Speaker 2:

This isn't a project that's necessarily going to be completed or done at any point, and it's, I think, it's healthy to think about things like capture or enclosure. Enclosure would be the commons term of when the local baron comes in and says oh wait, actually you guys have been maintaining this, this set of fields, for your sheep. Oh, actually, I'm gonna claim it for myself and set up a wall around it and I have exclusive access to it, and actually I'm gonna make you work on it and I'll take I'll give you some of it back, but I actually retain some. So that's where the enclosure term comes from, and there are examples of this happening in Linux, for example. Yeah, yeah, benjamin Birkenbein has a really cool case study about how Linux gets intermediated by corporate entities.

Speaker 2:

There are some differences between Linux and Ethereum, but also some really interesting parallels, for, how you know, they have a 30-year head start on this. So it's it's useful to see how enclosure or incorporation has played out over the timeframe. As corporations sort of encroach on the commons of this digital software and they try to, you know they're gonna use it for their own financial gain, because that's what corporations do, their their purpose built for that. But in Ethereum, how can we think of ways to maybe counterbalance that or at least provide alternative structures where at some point in the future, when I don't know, ibm shows up or Google shows up and they say we've got ten million dollars and we want to buy a client company and all of the, the relationships and social yeah, the social and frameworks that are naturally client teams are naturally embedded within.

Speaker 1:

That's what they're purchasing, right, they're going to be very disrupted if Google says we're gonna buy one of you yeah, and I mean this is not a common thing.

Speaker 2:

There has been one client team purchase, but I think it's very, very worthwhile to start thinking about a possible future where we we can avoid this outcome or the worst, the worst versions of this right. So, yeah, this is again to any client teams, if you're somehow listening to this podcast.

Speaker 2:

I love you all the commercials. Like corporations, the world is set up for these typically and I get it. But it's just worthwhile to think about what a future might look like where you know big money starts coming in, is in, is interested in influencing the Ethereum protocol or purchasing influences, and in my view, the most likely way that would happen is through the corporate entity, because it's much harder to purchase. You know that the labor of 20 people individually versus oh, we can just buy this client team and that and that's basically the one at one of the, the inspirations or motivations for why protocol guild is so important yeah, I mean it's.

Speaker 1:

It's ultimately a strategy for long-term resilience exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like a credible. It's a credible alternative. Like most, most people are still gonna continue working at client teams or the Ethereum Foundation. These, these entities are still gonna exist, and that's great. I think it would be strange for everything to be under a single organization. That's also has its own trade-offs, but if there was a credible alternative, it's good to have that as a anti fragile mechanism we can layer on top hi everyone.

Speaker 1:

If you're enjoying this episode so far, be sure to subscribe, leave a review, share with a friend and join the crypto leftist communities on discord or reddit, which you can find links to in the show notes. If you're enjoying the episode or find the content to make important, you can pitch into my efforts, starting at $3 a month on patreoncom slash the blockchain socialist. Help me out and join the nearly 100 other patrons that contribute financially, which really helps, since making this stuff isn't free in terms of money or time. As a patron, you'll get a shout out on an episode and access to bonus content like Q&A episodes. You can submit and vote on questions you'd like me to answer and I'll give my thoughts in roughly 20 minutes.

Speaker 1:

The current bonus episodes have so far explored plenty of topics, including how co-ops and dows relate, whether there is a socialist blockchain or a view of previous crypto events I've been to, and recently a video reaction to an episode of the D program. Of course, I'll still be making free content like this episode to help spread the message that blockchain doesn't need to be used to further and change capitalist exploitation if we put our effort into it. So if that message resonates with you, I hope you'll consider helping out. So I think what you explain is kind of like the purpose of protocol guild. But how has it been able to do this funding? Because it does take I mean, you guys have gotten like quite a bit of of of ETH in order to do the work that you guys are doing, because developers are not cheap oftentimes yeah, so one of so I guess maybe I'll just give like a little timeline.

Speaker 2:

So when we originally started the project and I say we, it's like all of the all of the members this has been a collective process and, similar to Ethereum, it's intrinsically requiring a distributed governance process. If it was just me starting protocol guild and just forcing people, it wouldn't work, it would be pretty pointless. This has definitely been a collective effort, a collective activity between all of these. Today, it's 160 individuals that are members of this, and so you know, how do we fund the, the core protocol, and in what way or like what amount, has been a discussion for many, many years, and it came up again in 2021. You know, heading into the bear market, people, people find discussions and topics, things to argue about, and so we this discussion came up again and one of the one of the current members said okay, why don't we, you know, just have an organization, that the focus, the focus, was on retention how do we retain people long-term? Because the concern is, as we start to see more DeFi projects or L2's, things that have a token and, crucially, like high growth potential, it's possible that they will start to pull people away from protocol stewardship, which we all need. We need this to stay long-term and so initially, the concept was okay how can we give exposure like the people that are doing this important infrastructural work? How can we give them some exposure to the, the success of the network? And so the concept was okay, we'll create this collective list and then projects can donate a percent of their tokens to whatever. Whatever token they're they're generating, they can donate it to the membership and then they'll have some exposure.

Speaker 2:

That was the initial concept in 2021 and I think it's shifted more into taking it taken a bit of a broader perspective in terms of this is a way for the membership to assert itself or represent itself, as I mentioned, as a commons, as a collective set of people who are doing labor.

Speaker 2:

It's a collective of individuals We've also talked about like a solidarity primitive like these are core. I think these are much more important to the, the soul of this thing, than just like pure upside. You have a credible alternative if you're working on the protocol that you know this, this, these assets or these resources will be available to you. Anything that's donated vests over time and yeah, so during the pilot, we raised, I think, around 12 to 15 it depends on the day you're looking at it, but we have a Dune dashboard which tracks all this, because it's on chain but raised about 12 million US and that goes directly to those individuals and so had a really successful pilot, and now we're looking at how to take what we learned and implement it in the new version, to scale it up to even more significant amounts.

Speaker 1:

So you guys have done some other interesting things I don't know if you want to talk about.

Speaker 1:

There's some like.

Speaker 1:

There's like the KZG ceremony and there was one thing there was also like a book that you guys made in relation to I believe it was like the switch to proof of stake.

Speaker 1:

It seems like it seems that you guys are able to is an interesting like, a creation of, almost like, or acknowledgement of history through some sort of cultural artifact, and then there happens to be like enough people that become willing to donate or willing to give, give some of their ETH because of that, as part of this like, almost like, a need for a ritual for people to engage in, to like to free them of their money, which means that, like, I think partially that not everybody in the Ethereum ecosystem, at least, is not purely motivated by simply making money. Of course, like if you are a core developer, and then you go and see, like you know, your friend went to Pupu Coin DeFi project and they're making like ten million dollars off of, off of that, there you're gonna you may second guess yourself for, for a little bit, to go to go get some some of that, some of that money, if you are not feeling you are being compensated enough for the the core development work that you're doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so what you're referencing the KGG ceremony was a separate thing, but what you're talking about is some projects I was a part of. Under a few people are curious. They can look up stateful works, which is just a project that I run, and it does slot. It slots in very nicely as a complement to protocol guild as a way to, like you said, create these cultural artifacts. So, yeah, a number of past projects have done something like this where, for example, that there was something I made, something called the beacon book, and this is again. This is separate, completely separate, from my work at the EF and as a member of protocol guild. This was just me creating something, created a book, gathering the perspectives of everyone who had worked on the launch of the beacon chain in 2020, and compiled it into a physical book. There were NFTs and people purchased it and I think it raised like maybe two or three hundred thousand dollars at the time and it went directly on chain to the people that had actually done that and, like you said, there's an interesting.

Speaker 2:

It's really interesting to encapsulate this sentiment of the core theory community, which I know it might be hard to believe, but there are people, like you said, there are people that care about common goods and they care about the people who are actually doing the work to steward this technology, and this is a way for them to express their, this sentiment. It's not all moon coins and scams. Unfortunately, that's what makes it out of the community. But yeah, it's really amazing to see people also recognize that these cultural artifacts are interesting and now that's something like protocol guild exists. I really hope that there are more people who recognize this as a way to create things in recognition. I think of like the Public Works Administration during the Great Depression in the US, like they just paid people to do stuff and create.

Speaker 2:

One of one part of the program was like they paid people to paint murals about workers, which is, you know, hard to believe nowadays yeah, yeah, but in the similar vein, like creating beautiful things to celebrate the work that people have done, and particularly the work that's created for a common good. It's not, you know. Can you imagine making a mural about Amazon?

Speaker 1:

or some.

Speaker 2:

SF tech company, like it doesn't click, but yeah, so I've done the beacon book. We did something related to the EIP 1559 maybe I won't get into that, but yeah, there's been a number of things, and again another one related to the merge, where we're creating art, allowing people to you know they could give this ETH otherwise, but now they have a memento, something beautiful, a token or an artifact is probably the best way to summarize it. And now, with protocol guild, there's this mechanism which will consistently over time, be a like a recipient, or a mechanism that will, for the long term, distribute these funds to the ever-changing set of curators, because we update the membership of protocol guild every quarter. So you know for sure, if you're funding it, that it's going to be an accurate representation, whereas you know you may not have insight into some of these other grant profiles or it's a little hard to have insight, but one of the core guarantees that the membership gives to the broader public, the broader ecosystem, is that we're going to update this every quarter with the membership and the weights associated with it, and I guess I'll say that.

Speaker 2:

So the one of the one of the other details about the mechanism is okay, now you have membership, how do you wait the the funds that are coming into it, and we take a philosophy of governance, minimization and, you know, reducing the number of dials and knobs.

Speaker 2:

We have to turn because I think core developers have more important things to do than argue about who gets what, and one of the very simple mechanism we've settled on is just time waiting. So if you've been around longer, you'll have a larger weight in the set, and this is a way of recognizing and rewarding, or celebrating, let's say, the institutional knowledge that people build up over time, because Ethereum is a very deep technical domain and it takes a while for people to get up to speed and and really understand why decisions were made in a certain way. And once they have this knowledge, we want to keep them around, we want to help them stick around, and so investing investing the funds helps, but also giving people a weight proportional to the time that they've been around is also another way that we recognize it and celebrate this knowledge, because it's super important, because we don't want to make the same mistakes that we made five years ago again in the future.

Speaker 1:

Hopefully we can avoid that by keeping that knowledge around long-term yeah, the the complexity of Ethereum has increased since the beginning and using that, I think, has been well. Yeah, it would be.

Speaker 2:

It would be really bad if some of those, like pieces of knowledge, were lost yeah, you think I'm like like the village elders, like you want to pass that knowledge on to the next generation. Obviously, you know core devs aren't gonna stick around forever. People, you know they get interested in other things and they'll move on. But to the extent that we can encourage people to stick around long enough to pass that on to the next generation of core protocol stewards, the better. And so time waiting investing are these two mechanisms within protocol guild that we can use to encourage that and so you guys are also.

Speaker 1:

I don't know if you want to talk about this, but you're going from right now is a v1, you're going to a v2, so you're adding some, some upgrades to how you guys are running protocol guild and governing that yeah, I won't get too deep into the smart contracts, but we do.

Speaker 2:

Zero X splits can be mutable or immutable. Or you you can change them, or you can just issue them once and they won't change ever in the future. And so protocol guilds contract is updatable and that's how we bring the new membership and the new weights on chain every quarter and this is really important to how the thing operates. But today this is just a multi-sig that updates the split. There's a six of ten multi-sig that sends a transaction, people validate that you know it's roughly correct and then that goes into the split and updates any allocations for funds that are flowing through it. And in the future we we well, rather in the past we started to think, you know, it'd be great if we didn't have this multi-sig and we could make it more trustless for anybody in the membership to have the same governance capacity that any other member has. So we're working on moving to a new system which will use a mall look down, which is just a contract with the ability to create proposals and vote on them, very straightforward. But what we're bringing on chain is a registry of weights, so people don't have to trust, you know, the, the operators of this multi-sig to bring the weights on chain. And you know we all operate in a very high trust environment we have. I know these people personally. I don't think that there would be any funny business where somebody would like issue a transaction that you know reduces my weight slightly. Obviously that trust is there, but the more guarantees, the more certainty we can introduce in the system, the less attention people have to expend ensuring that those guarantees are actually met. So if we can bring it on chain and allow more people to engage with the governance or the curation process, I think that's a win. So we're bringing the off-chain tracking of the weights of members, so their start date will be brought on chain and then that's one way that the membership doesn't have to trust this off-chain process as much and so that'll feed directly into the existing split contract and together these things. We just put it under the protocol guild V2 bucket and yeah, so those contracts are under audit right now and hopefully we'll be actually putting them on chain in the next few months.

Speaker 2:

The other thing, which is maybe much, much larger than the scope of this discussion, but it's thinking about what a legal entity looks like. This has been some of the members. I haven't been involved, but the members have been looking into okay, how do we bridge between the traditional legal world and this on-chain world, and just navigating like bridging between those two worlds has been quite interesting to see the results of those discussions and figuring out what shape actually works or what entity type actually works, and hopefully we'll have a much more, we'll have a better idea of that in the next few weeks, months, and then we'll be able to. You know, as much as we people in crypto like to avoid the traditional world and they think they're escaping from it, I think in reality, we're much more entwined with it than we realize, and so this legal entity is really important for helping us in the future have some structure and some protection for members against each other and also, let's say, other entities outside of it that may have interests that are not in the interests of the membership.

Speaker 2:

So those are the main things we've been working on and hope to have those up and running in the next few months, and then we'll begin fundraising again, going to DAOs, going to organizations that are dependent on Ethereum. So, for example, the Optimism RPGF program we've applied twice now and we're the, I believe, the top recipient in the last round and it's really nice to see people recognizing that this is a dependency to Layer 2s and they can fund their dependencies directly through a mechanism like this without having to rely on okay, we've got to find this client team, this client team, this client team, this one, this set of researchers. There's just a holistic mechanism that they can fund through and, yeah, so we hope to start fundraising again in the near future and then scale it up much larger than the original pilot was.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I want to talk about that. I'm not going to talk about that for a moment, but I wanted to. I'm interested in just talking briefly about the fact that you guys I forgot what they're called Van Ek- Is that the new? Is it an ETF, or I forget what it was.

Speaker 2:

It futures.

Speaker 1:

ETF yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah so they.

Speaker 1:

I don't know if we need to like explain all that, but it's not going to explain it the thing that normal normies can invest in Ethereum through, and they have magically decided to also give some of their profits to protocol guild.

Speaker 2:

The.

Speaker 1:

Thing is like, I mean interesting.

Speaker 2:

It's pretty crazy. So, yeah, etf and exchange traded fund is a way for it's just a structured financial product. That's pretty common in traditional finance and Wall Street. And there's this company called Van Ek. They're very old, I think a hundred. Well, in the scope of things, maybe not that old, but like relative to the U S, that's like. You know, that's. That's significant. It's a hundred year old company and they launched an Ethereum.

Speaker 2:

So the Ether futures product, which is a, it's not on chain, it's off chain and it tracks the price of of Ether in the future and you can buy and sell it. And these products are really exciting for people for a number of reasons. But the thing that's relevant to us here in this discussion is that this company, this traditional Wall Street company, they reached out to a couple of people and said, hey, we want to actually give back to the Ethereum community that's enabling this asset. We want to give back to the people that are actually making this possible, and so they committed to donating 10% of profits from operating this, this financial product, back to protocol guild. And, like you said, this is if you step back and think about it. It's it's pretty absurd that you have what could have been a purely extractive entity. You know they're committing in advance to fund this mechanism of developers all around the world who are stewarding a common, so like these things are kind of bizarre to me.

Speaker 1:

None of the Bitcoin, also like structured financial products, are doing that, as far as I know.

Speaker 2:

To the best of my knowledge, they haven't done it, and it may be the case that it's because, I mean, there's a lot of things, much less structure. Yeah, there's a lot of things to say about why this is the case in Bitcoin. It's not changing as much, it doesn't? They're very happy, right.

Speaker 1:

Being stuck where they are Exactly, but there is no future for Bitcoin and it is the state now and it's always going to be that way.

Speaker 2:

Stewardship is yeah, I don't know how much of a focus that is within the community, but also for the simple practical reason of this thing can exist on chain. On Bitcoin they don't have smart contracts, so this is uniquely enabled by Ethereum. It's a smart contract that they can just send directly to. Obviously, their profits happen off chain, wherever it does, and I will definitely acknowledge, like Van Aak is getting something out of this. This is a marketing benefit for them for sure.

Speaker 1:

I understand there, it also fits there. But before that, futures ETF to flourish after is that they need something to happen into the future, right. It's directly funding in the Ethereum ecosystem for people to do shit for them to even have a chance for this product to keep going.

Speaker 2:

Right and so, in that sense, like the incentives are directly aligned, they benefit from people being interested in Ethereum, from the technology actually developing long term, gaining adoption, because their product is intrinsically dependent on the work of these people, or it wouldn't exist Like the Ether token wouldn't exist without people maintaining the chain and people like external institutions or users actually coming and using it. So these things are all wound up together in the work of the stewards. Yeah, and yeah it is. Yeah, it was pretty incredible to see.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and another thing I want to talk about, maybe as well, is the differences between optimism's current thing on retroactive public goods funding versus protocol guild. So there was like a very interesting sort of discussion and debates between kind of like the different approaches that. I've listened to one of them that happened at Zuzalu, but they are two very different approaches to looking at this problem of public goods funding. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, in some sense they do have significant differences, but also maybe they're completely different mechanisms which are harder to compare, so I'll try to be sensitive to that. And again, here's another caveat. I love the optimism team, I think, the fact that they're this is a declaration of war.

Speaker 1:

What do you mean? No, never.

Speaker 2:

I think the fact that they're one of the only L2s to have a consistent public goods funding program is, I mean, it's kind of, to be honest, crazy that there aren't other L2s which understand that this is. I mean, obviously it's centered around the optimism stack, but the fact that they recognize that Ethereum core contributors are eligible for this it's just recognize your dependencies and fund them. So I celebrate the fact that they're experimenting, they're trying to find a new mechanism, so take that any criticism alongside that, but yeah. So RPGF is an interesting experiment in the sense that they're trying to look back on the work that was done and reward it. I think there may be some disagreements from me personally about how much they over-index on granularity or this idea that you can track every contribution and then directly reward it financially. I think that's a lot more challenging in practice and there are significant challenges with how people are expected to evaluate this and, to their credit, they've introduced things like lists where you can, which are maybe more directly comparable to protocol guild, where you have, you can set up, you can group different profiles, grant profiles that may be in the similar area. So protocol guild is a list of projects essentially just represented by their atomic component, which is the individual, and so they are working towards lists which would approximate something like protocol guild and again, there's no reason that we can't directly engage with a mechanism like this. So protocol guild has applied and gotten funding in the past and is applying to this current round.

Speaker 2:

I think one of the challenges that they're experiencing so I mentioned the idea of scaling it up is hard.

Speaker 2:

There's significant money flowing through it.

Speaker 2:

I think the idea of public goods is incredibly watered down and diluted to the point of it doesn't really mean anything anymore in the crypto space, and we would do well to be more specific. And maybe one other disagreement is I think they have a very particular vision for what our PGF is and what it does, and maybe overly broad, in the sense that projects that take VC funding are encouraged to apply to this thing, and I worry that in the future it'll just end up being an arbitrage between okay, we can fund these companies to do work on the optimism stack and then we'll get whatever returns from traditional investing, but we'll also get access to this optimism incentive program. I think that that will. There's a possible future where it eats up a lot of the funding, so I think that's a challenge. That being said, protocol Guild is happy to like apply or like engage within this mechanism and, like I've personally provided feedback and I'm happy to see that people are doing something, especially that scale Definitely more challenges to be solved. It's not like a mechanism is not complete.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I would. I think we were talking earlier. We kind of compare optimism's approach to kind of I would say, like heavily kind of means tested.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Liberal Democrat style, you know, welfare, but with heavy strings attached versus Protocol Guild, maybe being more like akin to a UBI.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah and I think this again, I'll keep coming back to the idea of the comments like it's really hard when you're making software or you're engaging in a political, social consensus building process. You can't. These are inherently soft processes. You can't articulate this conversation we're having right now, like what is the financial value this provided to the optimism stack? Well, probably zero. But like, imagine we were having a conversation about optimism. How do you place a financial value and this is their thing about impact equaling financial impact, equaling profit and I think this is a really really hard thing to do and it may even be a red herring of some kind. But yeah, in the stewardship of a commons there's a lot of soft things that are really really hard to track.

Speaker 1:

Right, If I picked, if I you know, picked five tomatoes and you did like 14 potatoes how do we, you know, literally comparing oranges?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I think they, over this RPGF system, might over index on trying to like track something, track everything from God mode and then translate that into like you don't, it's really really hard to see something from a thousand foot view and then get down to the resolution of the individual and the work that they're doing.

Speaker 2:

One book that I really love is seeing like a state and it documents a lot of really cool case studies about how the state tries to manage something from far away and ends up fucking things up in really bad ways and how you. It's really hard to surface local knowledge in a way that doesn't completely destroy the efficacy or the value of that that local knowledge, and protocol guild is surfacing that in a way that's legible and at a particular scale. So it's able to bring this local knowledge of here's 160 people who are doing important work and many of them probably wouldn't be surfaced to the RPGF mechanism otherwise, and so bringing them together as a collective gives a certain weight that otherwise wouldn't have been there. And yeah, I just worry about this focus on granular detail and as soon as you start to try to apply basically what's the phrase of? As soon as something becomes a measure, it ceases to become a good measure or becomes a target.

Speaker 2:

Like you will see that start to happen when they say, okay, we're measuring this, this KPI, this, this and this, people will start to target that in order to maximize their revenue from the optimism's RPGF and then game it in certain ways. And I just worry about that happening if they continue down the path of like we want to get the most granular level of impact. Obviously there's a middle ground. This is an episode of caveats. There's a middle ground. People shouldn't just show up and expect to get funding for work that they can't justify. But I do worry if you try to get too granular and the weird degenerate incentives that'll emerge. I think that's maybe something to be very, very cautious about.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, no, yeah, I mean I also applied to their, to their grant funding, just because it's sort of like, oh, I would love some money for things that I've done, but the metrics that they put in there is like. Or they ask you like what are the metrics that you measure yourself?

Speaker 2:

And I, it's like I was like, okay, I guess views, listens downloads Right, and now you're incentivized to like, pump up your, your view numbers and like now, do I need to, like, make a really shitty, like you know? I want to see you start a YouTube channel where you have to open your mouth.

Speaker 1:

I need to do. Start the, the, the, the the thumbnail.

Speaker 2:

The thumbnail.

Speaker 1:

Like I'm on the thumbnail yeah.

Speaker 2:

Or at least that your podcast episodes have to have like a sensationalist title. Yeah, it can't be descriptive and it kind of.

Speaker 1:

it kind of sucks being being a content creator quote, unquote that often, sometimes what is listened to or what is viewed on my channel are just things that like, oh, the title that I came up was like kind of more catchy this time, even though I thought like maybe the interview that I had previously, which didn't have a catchy title, was way more interesting.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Or way more important or something like that. Yeah, so I take, I definitely take your point and, yeah, I also find I mean just to keep in mind that optimism is VC funded Right, and that is something to keep in mind as to, like you know, the context of all this and protocol is not, of course. And so the last thing I want to touch upon, just because we were part of this research that other internet did and I interviewed our friend Tara, who was one of the research researchers for this but I want to talk a bit about solidarity primitives, and I love shilling this because it's a, it's a concept that that I kind of like created and made up and I was like is this? I hope this is like this makes sense, but I found that it is like an interesting way to kind of bridge the gap between, like I don't know the crypto, the guy who only understands the world through crypto, and like a real and kind of like, I guess like my politics in a certain respect.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so, like, solidarity primitives for people who don't know are just basically taking the idea of financial primitives in the DeFi space of basically money, legos, or taking saying that these financial products and financial mechanisms are instantiated in code via smart contracts, but taking that idea and instead, rather than trying to do it as something for simply finance, as like financial speculation often is the case, but for creating solidarity between individuals and organizations, that is instantiated again through code. But it's not just it's not just a code thing, because I think solidarity is still is still like a soft thing. It's you can't quantify the solidarity that you have for something else and someone else. It really depends on, of course, what you're able to provide and what the other person is able to receive. But yeah, so I thought it was interesting to see Protocol Guild take up this concept a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and this is sort of going a little bit back to what I mentioned about legibility and kind of in the way that Ethereum wouldn't be interesting as a privately operated corporation chain the Protocol Guild is a way for all of these self-interested individuals to group together in a way that increases their legibility to significant funding mechanisms or increases their, like, metaphysical weight in the space of things. It's like it's a representation of the collective work. Again, no single individual, no single organization or company is responsible for this stewardship, and Protocol Guild is a way of sort of crystallizing the power or the relationships that actually enable that to happen. And yeah, and solidarity is a great way to describe it if you want to think of it as a union for a core Protocol contributors or a UBI, a consistent income stream. But this wouldn't be possible otherwise. It wouldn't be. You wouldn't be able to do something like this if you split everybody up into different groups. This is uniquely enabled by the fact that everyone is coming together and saying look, we produce this body of software which is then used. People run it and produce the distributed system that is Ethereum. But we all do this collectively. It's not anyone going off on their own and being a genius. This is something that requires the input of so many different people. Solidarity is a great lens to view it through, and I hope more people can.

Speaker 2:

I would love to see more versions of Protocol Guild. I do acknowledge that it's maybe very tailored to the core Protocol space, but I would love for there to be ways for different pits of the community to band together and represent themselves, set up an eligibility framework that's hopefully explicit, and then you can just have membership and then funding can flow through it. So, for example, one thing that comes to mind is the developer tooling layer. Smart contract languages like Solidarity, and Viper libraries that developers use, like ethers. These things are all basically operating at the same level of the stack, but they're all in a sense competing for funding from these same mechanisms. But all the developers still use these tools to produce smart contracts. It's an important integral part of what they're doing. So it would be really cool to start to see more people use something like this as a primitive, and I know other people have these great visions of what happens when we start to interlink different organizations together. You can have mutual aid, exchange of value. I don't know exactly what it would look like. But if there was something else, like Protocol Guild adjacent to it or some dependency funding, you can start to see this network of value flows between organizations that are logically encapsulated by their eligibility framework, but they're adjacent to each other and recognize that they can start to mutually support the work that these other people are doing. I know there's other work that exists, like Coordinate is another tool that people use to coordinate on-chain work. Things like this already exist and Protocol Guild is also building on existing work, things like Open Grants. This is from years ago. At this point, I think, 2019. Even so, these aren't new things, but it will be interesting to start to see exchanges between similar mechanisms or people starting to see okay, we can fund each other, we can surface ourselves to larger mechanisms, and that's one of the you talked about.

Speaker 2:

Ethereum doesn't have on-chain governance. Another big difference from systems that have on-chain governance is that it also doesn't have block reward funding that goes to. There's no percent of the block reward, which typically goes to the actors who are involved in consensus, like progressing the chain forward, making blocks. They get paid a certain amount of ETH in this case, but in Ethereum it's unique and that doesn't go to the Ethereum Foundation. There's no reward to pay for stewardship and I think One small reason why that's the case is because there hasn't been any credible mechanism to actually accept it.

Speaker 2:

It was like what would that look like? How would it be governed? And we're a long way from actually getting there and and finding mechanisms, and maybe we never actually have Infrotocall funding and it's all like this altruistic opt-in. Maybe that's good as a way to prevent capture. Long-term, I'm definitely I would err on the side of caution instead of, you know, cementing this permanent technocracy into ruling this, this, this system. But I think there's still a lot to experiment and Figure out as we start to or not as we start to, but as we continue to build out these, these systems and how they're stewarded.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So there is no kind of like Protocolized funding of things in the Ethereum ecosystem, hence why protocol guild is important. You know, there was a point whenever the Ethereum Foundation almost ran out of money, I think a few years ago. So there's also a need, a need for resilience to have, or other organizations besides. Yeah, that is that is exactly to do this types of funding, and if there was a kind of like attempt at putting on chain governance, it would potentially solidify certain things that maybe don't make sense in the long term, because Ethereum is, you can say potentially, is still early, I don't know, but we do see. Like, I mean, there's Dash and Tezos, which does have these on-chain stuff, and while they're interesting, they're not nearly as big as as Ethereum, and Ethereum is. I think to some extent it is a bit of a technocracy just because of the oh for sure, yeah, the knowledge needed to understand things is quite high, even though it is public.

Speaker 2:

So it is like it does tow this like weird line of Things that doesn't fit yeah, for a counter example, if people are familiar with cosmos, they have on-chain governance, and I think a big frustration of the community is that there's this clash between the Technocracy, or, like the people who are running the code and saying like, okay, we could, we could move the protocol in this direction, and then you have the token holders right, the DJs.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like the people who see it, they see it as a financialized vehicle and sometimes, often, all more often than not, like there's, there's a difference of opinion, and I think that's where a lot of the angst in the cosmos community comes from is it's really hard to come to consensus when you have these different parties. So Ethereum was Maybe lucky, maybe had foresight, but we are fortunate that we don't have to deal with People purely looking for financial return and making decisions about like is censorship resistance like censorship resistance? Can you imagine pitching that to a VC company? Like we're gonna make it easy for people who? We're gonna make a network infrastructure that that allows anybody to send transactions regardless of their political or Social, sexual orientation? Like this is not a monetizable thing. And so when you start to introduce these weird financial incentives, like it, yeah, like, like we said, there's a clash of values, and it's hard to bridge between those two without constantly having just like the same Painful discussions about where they, where they diverge.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. But so what we see is that there is a sense of solidarity within the Ethereum community at least those who are building Core, for those who are building core infrastructure, and that is kind of like a a very necessary and needed thing for the long term for Ethereum to continue yeah, I Think it's important and I'm gonna keep working on this mechanism as long as it seems to provide value to the membership.

Speaker 2:

We did it like a. We did a poll, a very simple poll of like did you think the pilot was helpful? Did it inspire you to continue working on a Ethereum core protocol into the future? And I mean maybe, maybe, obvious, but like people were happy to.

Speaker 2:

I loved receiving money from my work receiving funding for this was good and protocol guild as a mechanism was useful. So as long as that's still the case, we're gonna keep experimenting and iterating on the mechanism and trying to scale it up larger and Will maybe check back in in a year and we can see what happened in the past year and whether it's still useful as a solidarity primitive to bringing people together and allowing them to support each other in this, this Stewardship of the digital Ethereum Commons.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, cool. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Trent, is there any last words? You want to leave the audience with or plugs? People should check out protocol guild check out protocol guild.

Speaker 2:

I'd love for you to DM me and say, hey, this doesn't seem like it will work long term, or here's this issue.

Speaker 1:

Send him hate mail Please do?

Speaker 2:

Maybe not hate mail, but criticism, constructive criticism mail, because this, yeah, at a certain point you become so embedded within it it's hard to see With fresh eyes, and so I'm sensitive to that and would love to have other people looking at it and giving me critique, or even just spreading the word. If you think there's a funding source we should be aware of and help us get connected with, I'd love that. Yeah, and nothing really else to plug cool. Go support Josh on patreon and Join the bread chain. I'll do your pitches for you. Yeah, yeah, solidarity primitive. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, thank you.

Understanding Ethereum's Governance Structures
Ethereum as a Digital Commons
Polycentrism and Funding in Ethereum
Cultural Artifacts and Funding via Protocols
ETFs and Public Goods Funding in Ethereum
Protocol Guild