Proposal for internal re-organisation

Below is a proposal drafted jointly by myself and @0xGallego:

Nation3 is currently structured in an entirely open way, with contributors across the community carrying the load of development. Contributors and guilds (mostly) pick up and document tasks on Dework, and are compensated either through bounties or via Coordinape’s peer-to-peer allocation mechanism. The first project guild kicked off the work on the Court, and is underway with the delivery.

This approach was intended to be an experiment, and in my view it it is proving to be inefficient, while getting things done fast is critical at this stage of Nation3 development. Some of the things that are proving tricky include:

  • over-reliance on part-time contributors whose time commitment may b dependent on their day job and other commitments. That inevitably means the time-to-delivery is slowed
  • difficulty of coordination: sync ups even inside small project guilds look difficult to organise when contributors all have varying time commitments and day jobs
  • the peer-to-peer rating on Coordinape is largely arbitrary since there is no easy way to track what an individual was working on (Coordinape seems to mix all recent and historical work and reviews)
  • we’ve seen that frequently people forget to allocate on Coordinape, or allocate based on perception of what the individual typically spends time on, versus what was actually done
  • probably most importantly, as the scale of development grows and so do the budgets, the securing of sending such magnitude of funds to a single Guild will become a problem, when the Guild has access to direct the funds at their discretion (even when the Court is implemented, it would be unfeasible to have individuals in the Meta Guild stake higher amounts in the Agreement with the DAO, than the budget they are operating)

Below are some thoughts on how the organisation could function in a more efficient way.

We believe that the ‘shipping’ of products and services shouldn’t be reliant solely on part-time community contributors: it should be driven by fully committed & tightly structured team(s) — but anyone from the community should be free to pick up tasks to ship things faster / better — and get paid for it.

Structured Guilds

To truly own and be responsible for shipping products and services and therefore ensure things get done fast, we advocate for the creation of structured guilds of fully committed members that operate on a different basis than open guilds of contributors (e.g. Developers Guild).

To understand their structure and purpose, let’s look at an example of what could be the first structured guild: the Solar Guild (more guilds with their own names, KPIs and budgets can replicate the same approach in the future).

The Solar Guild would:

  • advance the mission of the DAO as set out in the manifesto;
  • operate as an agile, fast-moving ‘startup’ within the DAO, being responsible for the shipping of products and services that advance the mission of the DAO;
  • seek approval from the DAO on their direction and KPIs (e.g. which users to target, which services to prioritise, etc.), while maintaining autonomy in internal decision-making (avoiding bottlenecks of all-DAO decision making on things like tools / frameworks to use on the everyday operations);
  • hire the best possible talent based on the needs dictated by the DAO-approved KPIs, having autonomy over the hiring process, to build a tightly structured team of fully-committed long-term members;
  • perform work in exchange for approved funding from the DAO;
  • report KPI progress to the DAO;
  • be overseen from the DAO to ensure checks and balances. For example to unlock funds conditioned to team-wide KPI achievements;

It’s important to re-emphasise that this wouldn’t mean one central team: more than one structured guild can and should exist in parallel. Each guild can choose itself a name (like Solar Guild), and be responsible for the scope of work it proposed and got approved by the DAO. Any contributor can choose what they’d like to work on from the Nation3 tech tree or beyond, get the DAO approval, and assemble a guild to work on it.

The important distinction with the current ‘project guilds’ model is that they are much longer term than just a project: building a full-time team of rockstar talent is very difficult for short-term projects, but is much easier when you have a longer-term vision. Think of these full-time guilds each as an approach to making the DAO’s mission a reality — and there can even be competing approaches.

The Meta Guild and the Guardian Guild

The current Meta Guild is a mix between finance / ops such as closed multisig responsibilities, open community coordination, organisational feedback, setting out the vision, as well as internal processes.

This mix is not very sustainable in the long term, since it requires very different levels of commitment: being a multisig member, or in other words having power over funds that will be much larger in the future, requires much more accountability and financial commitment (stake) than proposing enhancements to the organisation’s processes and operations.

Being trusted by the DAO to provide oversight and ensure checks and balances across the full organization also requires a large stake and time commitment, and should rely on a highly selective membership process.

I would therefore propose to segregate the responsibilities of the current Meta Guild and the proposed new Guardian Guild.

The Guardian Guild should be the most prestigious, highly selective and responsible guild that keeps the entire organisation in check, ensuring that all underlying teams, guilds, projects, and services work as mandated by the DAO. Should anything go rogue or should anyone misbehave, the Guardian Guild would bring them to Court.

In terms of their own incorruptibility, the Guardian Guild members would hold the highest $NATION stake in their Agreement with the DAO. The DAO will be the ultimate authority in the position to slash their stake and replace the members of the Guardian Guild, should they misbehave. Moreover, in the structure we are proposing (more on the implementation) the Guardian Guild only can operate funds as previously agreed, without the ability of allocating the funds to anything not agreed by the DAO before.

Naturally, to remain independent and maintain transparency, no other Guild member should be able to simultaneously be part of the Guardian Guild.

The role of the Guardian Guild will include:

  • overseeing every agreement between the DAO and its sub-entities; Court Guild, Structured Guilds and other Guilds or individual contributors. Operating the flow of funds as described on their respective agreements. For example, halting or unlocking funds based on performance. Or even, disputing the agreement in the case of a breach.
  • coordinating with the structured guilds the documentation & fair pricing of all non-blocking tasks on Dework, making them available to open Guilds of individual contributors.
  • reporting status and signalling actions to the DAO when required. For example, proposing boosts to outperforming guilds or contributors, sanctions or funding cuts against misbehaving guilds or contributors or simply proposing actions to take to move forward with the mission of the DAO.

For now, the Meta guild could continue to focus efforts on all other activities it currently undertakes, but it’s possible that those activities would fall better under the combination of, for example, community and developers guilds.

Other Guilds

Anyone from the community can apply to be part of structured, full-time guilds like the Solar Guild, apply to be part of the Guardian Guild with its corresponding stake, or freely contribute to open guilds of contributors as and when they choose to.

The beauty of open guilds is their ability to improve and enhance things, without having to own the whole product lifecycle — something that would be very unrealistic to expect of occasional or flexible contributors. Open guilds can also work on any non-blocking tasks from the Solar Guild (or other similar guilds) roadmaps — on a Dework bounty basis.

An example would be the following: as the Solar Guild is working on the delivery of the Court and its go-to-market, any community contributor from the Marketing Guild could propose campaign initiatives or slogan headlines. The important difference is that if the Marketing Guild comes up with a great strategy, it’s an added bonus, an enhancement; but if no one had the time to propose anything, the Solar Guild has the pre-allocated resources to get it done, as it’s their responsibility.

The implementation: Nation3 Agreements and the Court

With the introduction of Nation3 Court we will provide the DAO with a new crypto native tool for human coordination, alignment and accountability: Agreements.

Nation3 Court Agreements allow us to govern economic relationships between non-trusted parties by granting arbitration power to a common trusted entity, the Nation3 DAO.

Agreements in the basis are arbitrable escrow contracts governed by human readable terms. These agreements can shape very different use-cases, from collateral deposits, memberships, liquidation-free debts to complex capital flow structures.

The DAO will elect a court of jurors, with a considerable stake in play, that would be responsible for arbitrating any disputes in the agreements.

Under normal circumstances the agreements would work as any other smart contract, with clear and fixed programatic procedures. But, if a dispute is raised then the DAO, through the court of jurors, would be the one with the power to arbitrate and settle any agreement.

This will allow us to decentralize the flow of funds to the different guilds / contributors working towards the DAO goals. Instead of having a single flow of funds for all operations governed by a small set of signer as depicted below.


Simplified schema of the current setup

We propose a new structure with standardised procedures to govern relationships and funds between all sub-entities of the DAO. We will setup arbitrated escrows, in the form of agreements, between the DAO and all the sub-entities with financial & responsibilities relationships.

Simplified diagram of the proposed setup

For most of the relationships we propose using a trust-like structure where the DAO deposit the funds, the benefactors enter the agreement (with or without a collateral) and the Guardian Guild oversees the agreement as trustee.

For example, if a guild reaches a funding agreement with the DAO conditioned to a set of KPIs, we will create an agreement with the guild as benefactor of the funds and the Guardian Guild as trustee. While the funded guild complies with the agreed KPIs the guardians will unlock funds or perform payments as agreed. But, if the guild under or over perform the Guardian Guild would be able to adjust the funds flow. On the other hand, if the funded guild or the DAO considers that the guardians are not managing the funds as agreed the can always dispute the agreement to the Court.

The guardians have no incentive to misbehave in their duty as they have their own agreement with the DAO where they can be slashed.

This architecture would not only be able to govern the direct relationship between contributors and the DAO but also between managers / coordinators and contributors inside a guild. For example, to regulate hirings inside a guild or the provision of services between different contributors or guilds.

Thoughts and opinions welcome as always!

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I like a lot this setup: it embraces the best of tight-knit teams and of open organizations, while imposing important checks and balances fitting within what’s possible with Nation3 Court.

In terms of Guardian Guild elections, I’m guessing there would be elections at some point in time? 1y? 4y? We would also have to establish a maximum term for members, if any (it might be meaningless since anons can apply, so we might want to consider not implementing it).

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Very good point about elections - indeed anonymity makes it difficult to enforce limits on terms. I think it’s still valuable to make the term time-boxed though: even if the same member re-applies in the next elections, at least the rest of the public has an equal chance of getting elected that time.

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