[RFC][RGP-25] - Start the Radworks Seed Network (RSN) Org

[RFC][RGP-25] - Start the Radworks Seed Network (RSN) Org

Author: lftherios
Type: executable
Created: 2024-04-01
Status: active

Purpose

The purpose of this org is to provide seed node services that makes hosting and fetching content from Radicle simple & performant for any developer.

Annual Strategy & Quarterly Objectives

Q2 2024

  1. Hire and onboard new engineers
  2. Conduct and publish research on decentralised alternatives for content retrieval and assess their feasibility.
  3. Start a Tokenomics Working Group that will consult the team on mechanism design and pricing of developer services.

Q3 2024

  1. Launch a production-ready centralised seed node service providing storage for Radicle projects and bandwidth, that is available for both FIAT and cryptocurrency payments.

A centralised seed node service for Radicle refers to a web-based service or server that allows users to access and retrieve content from the Radicle network through a centralized point of access. An example from the IPFS ecosystem is Pinata.

  1. Hire new team lead to replace Ele
  2. Publicly release performance and adoption metrics for the centralised offering.
  3. Publicly release the design for the decentralized service.

Q4 2024

  1. Continue refining the centralised offering in terms of performance, features and pricing.
  2. Launch the first incentivised testnet for the decentralised service.

Organisational Structure

I (Ele) propose that I kickstart this team as Org Lead. The objective would be to swiftly onboard three senior engineers to commence work on this topic. This also includes identifying and hiring a future team lead (one of the three hires) who will eventually succeed me as Org Lead. I will remain in the assembly of the association and a signer on the multi-sig until at least the end of 2024 - and will work with the new Org Lead to draft the 2025 Org proposal.

With regards to the organisational structure I am planning to create a new Swiss Association (identical to what we’ve done with Public Goods Association for the Drips Org), with the following known and trusted Radworks contributors as members:

In addition, any income created in 2024 from the centralized service will be applied against any 2025 budget this Org requests from Radworks. In the scenario, that the income generated is higher than the proposed budget for 2025, we will discuss and vote here on the forum and the association members will implement the community’s decision.

The Org will license any code developed under a permissive FOSS license and make Better Internet Foundation owner of any future trademarks and domains.

Communication

Website: A new website will be set up.
Discord: A new Discord server will be established.
Radicle: A new Radicle repository will be created.
We will attend and present our work at all Radworks community calls.
We will share quarterly updates, as every other team.

Reasoning & Analysis

My primary rationale stems from the following observation:

Radicle’s gossip-based peer-to-peer network suffices adequately in terms of performance for individual / hobbyist users. However, when considering professional developers, performance & convenience become significantly more crucial. Thus, there’s a high likelihood of demand for self-hosted or third-party gateways.

This trend mirrors what has occurred with IPFS, Scuttlebutt, or any other peer-to-peer network that gained adoption.

Why Two Services

When it comes to this audience I believe that is wise to offer two services. The centralised offering should target convenience, while the decentralised offering should target a blend of censorship resistance and performance.

My thinking is this:

  • If you care about convenience: Radicle + 3rd party seed node > Radicle + decentralised network of seed nodes > Radicle’s gossip based network

  • If you care about censorship resistance for the content of your app: p2p gossip > Radicle + a decentralised network of seed nodes > Radicle + 3rd party seed node > db operated by a company

With regards to the decentralised offering that I describe above, my hypothesis is that there is a large number of well funded crypto related applications and protocols that care about censorship resistance but are looking for something more performant than p2p gossip and something more decentralised than relying on a single seed node (3rd party or self-hosted). I also believe this proposal enables us to manage risk appropriately, as the centralised service path is fairly trivial and will give us the opportunity to explore more innovative approaches for node coordination (the decentralised service) simultaneously.

Focus & Separation of Concerns

Establishing a dedicated team for seeds, allows the protocol team to focus on protocol development and serve all node operators impartially. The new team can concentrate on user-centric aspects such as UX, onboarding, community support, and customer service.

Try before you commit

As @yorgos wrote on the original discussion, it is a well established pattern for many open source projects to offer a hosted service as a quick way for end users to get acquainted with the project and try it for themselves before they decide to self-host and deal with the operational complexity of self-hosting.

End users are generally comfortable using such hosted services because:

  • they can reduce the investment / learning curve on this new piece of software, as they have less to learn (i.e. it is not just “more performant”, it is also “easier to use”),
  • they can find out if it is a good fit to their problem faster,
  • it is a nice way to support financially the maintainers/creators of the project,
  • there is no vendor lock-in, as they always have the option of self-hosting.

Equally, I think this will also help node operators in deciding whether they want to be involved with running Radicle nodes, because before deciding to offer / sell any service it is important to understand the service / features / advantages of whatever it is you’d be selling to your potential customers. Not having to self-host, to find that out, makes that path shorter.

Timing & Strategy

With Radicle 1.0 rc1 now live, imo we have to start considering new challenges and opportunities. Bootstrapping a new team is something that always takes a lot of time (at best weeks, more realistically months), so I think it’s wise to start now in order to have a service in the market in Q3.

As @yorgos wrote previously, with Radicle essentially not having hit general availability yet, moving forward with this initiative will essentially lay a much smoother onboarding path for new users, assuming this new org is more focused towards that.

In addition, there is currently no established node operators network, so there is essentially no established competition between different entities at this point in time. If this happened 6 months in the future, when some hosting companies might have started investing in “hosted Radicle” services for their customers, such a move might be seen competitive to those community members. Doing this now allows us to set a different stage so that doesn’t happen.

This new organisation can also contribute valuable work to the community by providing documentation, deployment scripts, and operational know-how for deploying Radicle in various environments, addressing the current lack of information and limited deployment options.

Finally, achieving the centralised offering is in my opinion well within reach, and I have a high level of confidence in our ability to swiftly deliver a great service. An initial centralised offering will provide the necessary resources and time to thoroughly investigate the demands and viability of the decentralised offering. While the decentralised option is more intricate and ambitious in nature, it strongly aligns with Radworks’ values and overarching goals. I also think that this is the most natural sustainability model for Radworks and I am excited for Radworks to move beyond its current form.

Reporting & Success Criteria

The main success criteria for 2024 should be to:

  1. build the 3-person team
  2. ship the v1 for the centralised RSN offering
  3. decide on direction and ship a first version of the decentralized service

Later in the year we will provide a lot more detailed metrics for each service with a focus on performance, user adoption and revenue.

Fund Management

DAO funds will be received on a 3:2 multisig (Safe) with association members as signers.

The RSN Org - also the “Grant Recipient” of Radworks, if this proposal is passed - hereby agrees to use the amount granted by Radworks in support of fulfilling the purpose outlined in the “Purpose” section above. The Grant Recipient understands and acknowledges that the awarded amount may be used only for this Purpose. Furthermore, any part of the grant that goes unused in the calendar year outlined in this proposal (for 2024) will either be returned to the Radworks Treasury (by March 2025) or rolled over into and applied towards the Org’s 2025 proposal and future grant from Radworks.

Timeline & Budget

I am requesting $469,916 to be paid fully in RAD. Using last 30 days’ average closing price based on Radworks USD Historical Data | CoinGecko that would mean 179357 RAD. Break-down below:

Total Budget $469,916
Marketing $40,726
Team Offsites $4,000
Accounting $7,678
Operational expenses $8,570
Contributors $408,942

Like the other Orgs in the Radworks ecosystem, the RSN Org will publish monthly financial reports on Radworks-granted funds spent and income created by the Org.

Proposal Code

The actual code will be added during the on-chain proposal.

Finally I would like to thank @yorgos @vanton @cloudhead and everyone else that participated in the conversations on the forum & Discord. This proposal started from a personal idea and was co-developed in the open based on all of your feedback. I would like to thank @ange for her guidance with regards to the operational side of this proposal.

2 Likes

Thanks for the proposal @lftherios! This idea has evolved quite a bit from the original Radicle Seed Node proposal discussed back in February. Great to finally see the updated version!

A few clarifying questions and suggestions below:

Scope of Tokenomics Working Group:
Could you specify the scope of the work you imagine being done in this Working Group? Are they meant to conceptualize tokenomics solutions specifically for the utilization of $RAD in relation to Radicle, or is their mandate to oversee tokenomics initiatives across the entire DAO? I ask as I know there was a ton of great work planned under the Strategy Committee encompassing tokenomics considerations, including how different options could impact various long-term sustainability frameworks for Radworks. It would be helpful to better understand what you imagine the scope of the Tokenomics Working Group proposed for the RSN Org being in order to compare it to the work being done/planned within the Strategy Committee.

Org Contributors / Association Membership:
To clarify, are the other individuals listed as members of the Association (@brandonhaslegs & @efstajas) also going to contribute to the work/objectives outlined above? Or is their involvement primarily linked to their membership in the Association you plan to establish?

Do you have any leads for new hires you are looking to have join in Q2 at the moment? If yes, can you say anything about them?

Suggestions for Clarity:

If steamlining/improving the onboarding experience to Radicle in these ways is a significant part of the role of the Org, this information might be useful to highlight more clearly/include in the “Purpose” section.

Please add a note clarifying the timeframe this funding is being requested for (e.g. “…which will fund this Org through December 2024”).

It might be helpful to the reader to explicitely list the high level objectives of what the Org would do in this section. From my understanding after reading through the proposal a few times, it will do the following:

  • Create, develop and maintain a centralized seed node service
  • Create, develop and maintain a decentrlaized seed node service
  • Start a Tokenomics Working Group

Is that correct?

Excited to get this proposal moving through governance again @lftherios !

Since the scope of the Org is more or less the same than the original proposal, I remain in support of moving forward with this proposal.

My main open question is similar to @shelb_ee’s. In your response to Defining a Strategy for Radworks - #4 by lftherios, you mentioned that you will be requesting funds as part of the upcoming RSN proposal to evaluate value propositions of the $RAD token.

Are the funds requested in this proposal also for bootstrapping the tokenomics working group and evaluating value propositions of the $RAD token? If so, can you provide some more details on the scope, objectives, and participants of the working group? If not, how do you plan on funding this working group?

I want to clarify that one of the Strategy Committee’s objectives for 2024 is to “Identify and validate a sustainability model for Radworks” (as stated in the 2024 Foundatoin Org proposal). I wanted to call myself out here after realizing that some of that work that is being planned under this objective isn’t public yet - which makes it hard for @lftherios to respond.

The main point I wanted to clarify with this question is to understand if the TWG he is proposing is going to focus on the RSN specifically or if their scope would expand to cover broader sustainabilty plans for Radworks more generally (which could possibly overlap or impact the sustainabilty work being done within the Strategy Committe).

1 Like

Thank you for the questions.

The Tokenomics Working Group will be exclusively focused on the goals of the RSN org.

With regards to TWG participants I will look for 2-3 individuals that bring experience in mechanism design and/or pricing of developer services.

This group will be given a mechanism that I am currently designing and will be asked to provide recommendations to a set of concrete questions. These questions are related to a) how to price certain services and b) how to configure certain parameters within the mechanism.

The output of the TWG will be a set of recommendations that will be shared publicly. The RSN org will decide if to implement them or not, as part of the first incentivized testnet.

Finally, it’s important to mention that this is one-off work and as a result is temporary. It is expected to be concluded before the first incentivized testnet and from that point on the team will iterate on the mechanism using live data/evidence.

The budget for the TWG will be covered by the funds requested.

:writing_hand: Proposal Review Notes & Recording :writing_hand:

Thanks to everyone who joined the Proposal Review call yesterday :seedling: :writing_hand:

:video_camera: Here is a link to the recording of the April Proposal Review. The presentation and discussion around this proposal starts at minute 10:30. See video description for detailed timestamps.

Below are a few notes and questions from the discussion related to this proposal:

Question: What are the target audiences for both the centralized and decentralized node services?

  • Centralized service: Developers who want to use Radicle infra but looking for convenience of not having to run their own nodes, devs who want to try Radicle out before committing to running a node
  • Decentralized service: Users/app developers who are a lot about ownership of data and censorship resistance. Potentially attractive for projects who want to decentralize their front-end, folks playing in the intersection of OS & AI space

Question: What happens if protocol stops working? How do you plan to work with the Radicle team to solve issues?

  • RSN will communicate with Radicle protocol team over Zulip
  • RSN will hopefully be able to support Radicle team with documentation and content development
  • Want to create a healthy environment for mutual collaboration, as well as encourage feedback from users to help solve problems

Question: Re RAD Utility: How do you think Radicle users (who are typically sensitive to crypto) or the open source ecosystem will perceive this added utility to the RAD token in relation to Radicle?

  • Reality is Radicle is a project that is funded with crypto via the Radworks treasury
  • Transparency: Unlike Github, all record of funding for Radicle are public - forever (onchain)
  • The Radicle protocol itself is not a blockchain protocol - any offering that would be tied to crypto or RAD would be optional - not required to access or use Radicle
  • For the crypto “sensitive” users, RSN can consider offering the ability to pay for the centralized service with fiat in addition to crypto

Question: What will be the setup of Association and the distinction between it and the team you are trying to hire?

  • The members of the Association are trusted members of the ecosystem, no expectations of members will conduct any work in the RSN
  • Re new hires: Have been asking around network, one interview next week - until funds are there no hiring can be confirmed

Question: What should RAD token holders expect in regards to the change in value proposition of the RAD token that a new utility model would have? How do you plan to have the community validate the utility model that the Tokenomics Working Group will be developing?

  • Tokenomics Working Group (TWG) will focus on the value proposition of RAD within the RSN, but recognizes it will have the following impacts on Radworks & its treasury:
    • There will be some form of value accrual towards the Radworks treasury: users will be paying for services, if this revenue overpasses the costs needed to cover the operations of the RSN, this could possibly go back to the treasury
    • Decentralized offering will have users paying the network (in stable coins) to access services
    • Will incentivize the holding of the RAD token by users of the network in order for them to access services
  • Thinking ahead: It would be helpful for the TWG to spec out how the community will be able to assess/evaluate the impact of the token utility model that would be proposed by the TWG. It would be helpful for the community and RAD holders to understand how this model will fit into the bigger picture of sustainability for Radworks.

Note for @lftherios: Things to update

  • Add description of Tokenomics Working Group and the scope of the work planned
  • Add new members of Association
  • Add a note clarifying the timeframe this funding is being requested for (e.g. “The budget being requested will fund the RSN Org through December 2024”).
  • It would be helpful to the reader to explicitly list the high level
    objectives of what the Org would do in the “Purpose” section. For example:
    • Create, develop and maintain a centralized seed node service
    • Create, develop and maintain a decentrlaized seed node service
    • Start a Tokenomics Working Group