I think governance design and strategic roadmap will be one of the most important things we do.
Thus, I’m weighing in as an early Kong cash supporter and researcher in the area of DAO ethnography – specifically DAO vulnerabilities and resilience. I publish and practice on this around RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, Metagov, and R&D engineering firm BlockScience.
Governance design depends on what the objective of the DAO is, and how it wants to go about achieving that objective (epistemology and cultural norms).
The goal of KONG Land is to manufacture, export, and catalyse the use of, opensource hardware microchips.
The political philosophy of how to go about this could vary (see difference community governance designs here).
So how do we go about pursuing our objective, whilst continuously adapting to manage vulnerabilities but staying true to the vision of an actually decentralised, autonomous, organisation?
Essential to the launch of a DAO is token distribution (which we’ve addressed) and capital allocation. we don’t want these to be co-opted through slow, reactive, progressive decentralisation (e.g. MakerDAO – pioneering project but went from “DAO”, to registered Foundation, and then back to a DAO. Tough for contributors…).
- I think transparent governance, that aligns with the KONG manifesto, and has accountability measures is possible to addresses the questions of treasury management and public goods spending.
1Hive does this very cleverly through a mix of human and automated components. They have a constitution, dynamic allocation of resources (based on conviction voting), and a decentralised court (Celeste). So far, this model has worked for their community, who have the goal of building decentralised software. This is something to consider for KONG treasury management.
This model has now been extrapolated in the “Gardens” framework, for governance proposal making, voting, and accountability. I very much like the model of constitution + proposal + commitment or conviction voting + celeste (decentralised court) as a continuous governance loop of treasury allocations. There’s a list of projects utilising this framework via the hyperlink.
- What the diagram here is referring to is organisation structure. So, what we’re really talking about is org structure, specifically, operations (the business functions).
From my research across numerous DAOs, those with a technical function (e.g. chip manufacturing) operate via subsidiarity, so they can scale operations in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Subsidiarity (in the way that I understand it) comes from economist Elinor Ostrom’s principles about how to collectively govern common pool resources. Some d-gov communities have caught onto this (e.g. Commons Stack has advocated for it for a while).
Ostrom refers to “nested enterprises” as a principle that recognises that long-enduring, complex resource systems are usually organised into many tiers of nested organisations that together perform provisioning, monitoring, enforcement, conflict resolution and governance activities.
Subsidiarity is the principle that decision-making rights each be assigned to the lowest level of a governance arrangement at which they can be exercised competently. Subsidiarity organizes according to organizational functions, rather than specific actors in a system (I have researched this approach in GitcoinDAO here). The goal of this is to not lose capabilities if people can no longer contribute to a role, to maintain the ability to perform core functions and adapt for resilience.
Thus, working groups are autonomous in operations, but accountable to report back to the broader DAO or they will not be funded next month (monthly not quarterly budget requests to start? Seems a reasonable timespan) when they make another budget request.
Structure with purpose:
The working groups have been set out in the above diagrams.
The Senate’s objective is strategic direction of KONG Land, and will be critical in this initial phase, and ongoing. Having historical core contributors here makes sense for now, as they have the experience with the project, strategic insights and leadership thus far, and governance is a lot of work…not necessarily a casual side engagement. We also want accountability (e.g. you may create a balance of power between Senate and treasury, or Senate could manage treasury but have an expiry date for re-election. A model for further investigation of this is Synthetix DAO and their “Spartan Council”).
Some of the working groups seem a bit traditional. Could we organise according to core functions? (e.g. “ecosystem growth” instead of “marketing” and “BD”).
The problem with core working groups is they can collude to seek rent from the treasury aka. increase budget requests every month, and threaten to walk off the job if treasury does not comply so the DAO loses developers, communications, etc…
To address this risk, I propose core group contributors also have a base wage, based on their level of experience (a meritocracy). This works in other decentralisation focused DAOs e.g. DYDX and Synthetix, and will help reduce continual wage request increases in budget allocations, as long as there is a cap or reasonable justification for the number of contributors, accountable recruitment based on experience, peer accountability for the work done, and regular reporting before each budget request cycle. Someone / a remuneration committee would need to run the numbers on what the market will accept and what is sustainable to set salary brackets.
Once (1) governance processes (proposal making, voting, accountability) are sorted, budget cycles, and core organisation functions (working groups) are determined, we can establish a clear recruitment process (CTZN + immigrant) and onboard individual contributors straight away to get things done (i.e. X person is great at X. Hire them for X wage on the scale of experience).
Kong Senate is then strategically responsible for building organisational capacity via developing out the core working group operational functions over time in conjunction with individual contributors (eg. Ecosystem growth is responsible for xyz). this is imperative to not losing organisational capabilities over time.
This analysis leaves us with:
Governance signalling process for whole-of-DAO accountability (via Gardens framework?).
Senate (clearly defined scope and review points on if necessary or not. You always want strategic direction but this could be core team now + a council of community members, + elections at some point)
Operational functions in working groups (e.g community management (hiring and immigration), ecosystem growth (external comms, subDAO engagement, etc), manufacturing.
Working groups have people on base salaries, according to their level of experience (via an application for work). Need to think about how to limit working groups from having heaps of people in them on salaries. Need to think about accountability if work is not performed.
Note: this is a response to the initial diagram