Distribution of Ownership Workstream

Introducing the Distribution of Ownership Workstream

As part of transitioning Radicle’s core work to the DAO, this workstream is responsible for developing a plan for distributing “ownership” (read $RAD) of the Radicle network. The goal of the workstream is to help the RadicleDAO design & implement dynamic strategies for distributing native token rewards among network stakeholders, including contributors, users, and ecosystem partners. See more in the The Next Phase of the RadicleDAO post.

Workstream Contributors

The Core Contributors are @abbey, @ange, and @lftherios.

What is “Ownership”?

“There is a growing movement—emerging from the blockchain and cryptocurrency world—to build new internet services that combine the power of modern, centralized services with the community-led ethos of the original internet. We should embrace it.” — Blockchain Can Wrest the Internet From Corporations’ Grasp

Crypto-primitives like DAOs and tokens possess unique programmable capabilities that enable redesigning ways to “incentivize individuals and groups to participate in, maintain, and build services.” [1]. For example, the token voting governance model pioneered by Compound, is a perfect example of how crypto-primitives can be used to implement a sybil-resistant means of community ownership & governance over a protocol (e.g. one token = one vote = X$). These primitives provide a foundation for a truly “open” open-source world, not one bound by arbitrary walls. As a result, powerful cryptonetworks can be constructured to be community-owned and operated.

These cryptonetworks “aim for an ownership-control structure that is analogous to cooperative enterprises, where stakeholders are generally the consumers or suppliers of the cooperative’s product or service.” [2]. They have the potential to unlock a new paradigm of collaboration that challenges the extractive modes of platform capitalism that have grown to control the Internet. And the appeal of community-owned and operated cryptonetworks especially resonates with the ethos of open-source software.

Since Radicle aims to be resilient open-source collaboration infrastructure that truly respects user freedoms, it needs to be developed with trust-minimization in mind, and be accessible to anyone in the world, while remaining adaptive and competitive in a market with well-funded mega-corporations. Since Radicle’s beginnings, it’s been clear that the only way out of this pattern is to build free and open source networks that are self-sustaining, community-owned, and community-operated.

Why is distribution of ownership important?

As Pat Rawson writes in his Ownership in Cryptonetworks piece, there is a tension emerging between two possible “crypto-powered” futures:

  • DAO ownership becomes in large part subsumed and instrumentalized by centralized financial institutions and transnational corporations. DAOs accomplish little in the way of advancing a self-sovereign, fiscally and politically decentralized control network. Ideas like DAO-governed commons become meaningless over time as DAOs ultimately congeal into speculatory investment vehicles (profits, of course, measured in fiat).

  • DAOs endogeneously structure a self-sovereign, crypto-institutional control network of their own, generally aiming for separation or mitigation from centralized organizations. They pursue a topology advantageous to scaling a core of collaborative governance entities, like crypto-institutional commons. It could be argued that the forkability intrinsic to open-source software resists instrumentalization (while on the other hand, barriers to secession may actually help stabilize complex control networks).

Pat argues that to realize the second future, ownership must be intentionally and actively distributed as “skin-in-the-game” to network participants with more specialized objectives for continued contributions.

To truly realize Radicle’s vision of becoming a self-sustaining, community-owned and operated network for code collaboration, Radicle must be built into the second future: designing the RadicleDAO as a self-sovereign crypto-institutional control network of its own. Taking an active approach to ownership distribution is a necessary step in that direction.

Where we begin

As outlined in the Next Phase of the RadicleDAO, three types of network participants have been identified as those that the DAO should distribute ownership to. The guiding questions are expanded on below:

Guiding Questions:

  • Contributors: How can token rewards be used to attract, retain, and incentivize Radicle contributors & squads?

    • What is the approach for defining an initial strategy for distribution that re-balances the power among current contributors AND can scale with the DAO. Ultimately, should the strategy be DAO controlled? Or contributor controlled?
  • Users: What does it mean to go “beyond the airdrop” and intentionally allocate tokens to users to support adoption & growth?

    • How does one incentivize usage of the Radicle stack with the token? Is this something the token should do?
    • Is there more utility that can be introduced in the network with the token?
  • Ecosystem Partners: How can DAO2DAO collaborations (e.g. token swaps) and resilient ecosystem partnerships be supported with token distributions?

    • What is the strategy for token grants and swaps (e.g. GTC x RAD swap)? Should the RadicleDAO take a proactive partnership strategy or a passive one?


After kicking off this discussion with @lftherios and @ange, we came to an agreement that implementing a strategy for incentivizing current contributors via the DAO is priority. As we transition to the DAO, it’s important that all of Radicle’s contributors can participate actively in the governance of the RadicleDAO. We want to approach contributor incentivization so that Radicle remains competitive when it comes to talent acquistion and retention. We also want every contributor to have a certain minimum of tokens, to ensure a more equal & democratic distribution of ownership.

Once we’ve rebalanced stakeholdership with our current network of contributors, we believe it would be best to start putting some more serious research into the best way to empower our own “control network” with token rewards via mechanisms like token swaps.

  • Phase 0: Design and propose a strategy to the DAO for incentivizing current contributors
  • Phase 1: Research & coordinate a strategy for distributing ownership to ecosystem partners (e.g. token swaps)
  • Phase 2: Help the DAO develop a strategy for distributing ownership to future contributors
  • Phase 3: Once product matures, start experimenting with different forms of user incentivization via the DAO.

:exclamation: While the number of tokens currently defines a participants’ voting power, introducing a new means of distributing influence within Radicle’s governance system that’s based on a non-financialized governance primitive will be critical. This is the focus of the work of the Distribution of Influence workstream.

Next Steps


To kickoff the workstream, workstream contributors will begin to work on our first objective: Design and propose a strategy for incentivizing current contributors (Phase 0).

Month 1: Research

  • Workshop an inital set of design criteria for Radicle contributors (e.g. total amounts, baselines, vesting) using insights from current contributors and other DAO-driven contributor incentivization strategies.

Month 2: Proposal Development & Governance

  • Decide on implementation (e.g. streaming vs. cliff)
  • Draft proposal and start moving it through Governance process

Month 3: Execution

  • Execute proposal, iron out kinks, and make sure everything is working!

Once this proposal makes its way through governance, we will move our focus to Phase 1. Specific objectives will follow.

:seedling: No action is required from the community right now, we will be sourcing explicit feedback once we’ve drafted and shared our initial proposal. From there, we — Radicle contributors — will co-develop this proposal and move it through governance. Feel free to use this post as a place to share any questions, comments, or concerns on the approach :v:


Thanks for the great post! Not sure if you have thought about using contribution tracking & aggregating tools to help measure contributions? They usually collect meta data such as how many votes folks participate it, forum contributions, Discord interactions etc. I have a slight issue with these tools as they mainly focus on quantitative metrics (incentive to game) rather than qualitative metrics. Qualitative metrics/value of contributions are, however, still very hard to measure…

I nonetheless wanted to add a few potentially helpful tooling options from my research that we could possibly use to measure and track contributor contributions. These metrics could possibly be used to determine distributions of ownership.

Station - empower DAOs and Web3 communities to activate their members to participate and contribute, tracks contributions and allocate resources based on the value created
Karma - aggregates all your DAO activity and helps you showcase your contributions and build up reputation
Praise - Contributor rewards system - try to capture value metrics beyond quantity

Messari also has a nice collection of other contributor tracking tools on their governance tooling page.

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Very thoughtful post, @abbey. Is there any update on where this work stands as we navigate the transition to the DAO?

Hey @sean ! I can try to take a stab at this. I would say we are still working on Phase 1 & 2. Phase 0 was fulfilled with the [Phase 0] Transition to the DAO proposal.

Regarding Phase 1 - The Radicle // Gitcoin Public Good Proposal was passed last August to initiate a token swap between both parties. I believe a broader and long-term strategy for distributing ownership amongst ecosystem parterres still needs to be discussed. This will partially tie into a developing treasury management strategy that will take priority in Q2 2023.

Regarding Phase 2 - Creating a more formal, inclusive membership & reputation mechanism will also be a priority in Q2. This will tie in work we have done with Otterspace, and may also mean exploring other tools such as those listed in my comment above. Apiary’s current work and analysis will also be very helpful in guiding how reputation can and should best be measured (what metrics mean the most to our community, how to capture quality contributions over just quantity, etc.). This mechanism can then be a reference point for future distributing ownership to DAO contributors.

Phase 3 will probably be something we revisit later this year as we monitor product development of Radicle & Drips, although I believe these teams along with Radicle Grants have already started considering ways to distribute $RAD to users or grantees.

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