Proposal “dash-incubator-2022-q3“ (Completed)Back

Title:Dash Incubator 2022 Q3
Monthly amount: 900 DASH (21801 USD)
Completed payments: 3 totaling in 2700 DASH (0 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2022-07-12 / 2022-10-10 (added on 2022-07-12)
Votes: 710 Yes / 92 No / 26 Abstain

Proposal description

Dash Incubator 2022 Q3

3-month funding proposal to the Dash Network

0 Summary

This proposal continues Dash Incubator's ongoing quarterly funding request as outlined in our proposal owner specification document.  We are requesting 900 DASH/month this quarter, which is higher than planned in our previous 2022 Q2 proposal.  See section 4 for budgetary rationale. 

I am including a background section this quarter due to some important recent developments that I think MNOs should be aware of.  A lot of relevant info is omitted for brevity's sake, but I'm happy to elaborate and answer questions in the comment section and other forums.  Despite the events of the past week (see below for context), this proposal contains no rule changes.  However, you may see one or more governance-related proposals next month to address some of these challenges separate from our main funding proposal.

1 Background

The Incubator has been in operation since Q1 of 2020.  Later that year, in Q4 of 2020, there was a large effort to formalize our operations, which included an initial draft of our formal Rules, as well as the Dash Incubator Proposal Owner document specifying the proposal owner (PO) role.  These documents formed the governing rules of the Incubator.  In Q2 of 2021 we released and adopted V2 of the rules, which introduced several changes.  These rules remain valid through today.

My participation in the Incubator dates back to Q2 of 2020.  I did a little development work early on, but shifted primarily to admin work in Q4 of 2020 when Andy Freer (proposal owner at the time) introduced that role into the Incubator.  The idea of admins was to give certain people the ability to approve tasks (thereby authorizing payments), which until then had been done exclusively by Andy (both the authorization and the payments).  In Q3 of 2021 I received a call from Andy asking if I would take over the PO role.  Eager to help with what I considered to be one of the most interesting organizations in Dash, and with some personal conditions, I accepted.  My first interaction with you MNOs was the 2021 Q3 proposal, which explained the transition.

When I accepted the new role I knew that there was a lot of work to do in order to make the Incubator a success - at least according to my personal standards.  That's not to say that the project was bad.  On the contrary, I considered it the best organization in Dash, or at least one that had the potential to become such.  I was drawn to the transparency, open participation, and fully Dash-based economy that it facilitated.  I knew, however, through experience of seeing up close how things operated, that the Incubator model had some flaws.  I won't go into detail about them here and now, but there were (and still are) several.

In Q4 of 2021 I wrote the first draft of an internal proposal titled Dash Incubator Strategist Role.  This was an internal proposal / request for comment (RFC) to add a new unified strategist role in the Incubator - admins could opt into being strategists and the PO would become the lead strategist.  The proposal's recommended updates were the first steps aimed at addressing the fundamental issues I saw in the Incubator (see the proposal / RFC text for details).  They also aimed at improving decentralization in Dash's overall labor force (from our superblock funding), which is currently very centralized.

Note that the link above points to a saved copy from Google Doc's version history.  I didn't see an obvious way to link directly to a specific version of the original document (which contains the entire history, including the current version).  The contents of the linked version copy and original draft submitted for the initial admin review are identical.  The copied document is named "Dash Incubator Strategist Role - Pre-compromise Draft" because it came from the name I gave to the version.  It references "Pre-compromise" because we later embarked a long discussion about the merits of the proposal, resulting in document edits along the way.  

Due to admin gridlock about specification and implementation details, the strategist proposal has still not been implemented.  A minority of admins fundamentally disagree with having one person acting as a single point of contact with MNOs, and having a distinct role in the Incubator.  This disagreement has led to a second "DashIncubator" proposal being submitted this quarter (which has since been "withdrawn"), and also an ongoing vote and discussion to replace the Incubator PO (me) with Sam Kirby.  Although the vote / discussion is still active it's looking like it has settled down to keeping me as PO.  If the vote changes in Sam's favor I will submit a proposal next month detailing why I think MNOs should veto that decision.  If the vote remains as is (keeping me as PO) I will make sure we see progress in the direction that I feel is necessary. 

2 Updates

2.1 General

Figure 1 below shows rewards distributed this past quarter.  The purchasing power of DASH dropped by 50-60% since last quarter, leading to increased rewards.  We also added several new devs and projects, which contributed as well.  In addition to monthly rewards paid since the Incubator inception, Figure 1 also shows monthly averages for 2022 Q1 (405 DASH/month) and 2022 Q2 (602 DASH/month), as well as our current funding request (900 DASH/month).
Figure 1a - Reward Rates over Time

The main blue bar series in the figure above shows each month's actual rewards.  The series is getting a bit crammed and is probably more detail than is necessary.  Starting next quarter we will retire this figure and instead use the figure below, which shows average monthly rewards spent over each quarter.  To transition your thinking, notice that in the figure above each of the two dotted lines (405 DASH and 602 DASH) show the quarter's average monthly rates.  These correspond directly to the red bar series in the figure below.  The dashed "current request" line (900 DASH) in the figure above corresponds to the blue bar chart series in the figure below.
Figure 1b - Reward and Request Rates over Time

Despite the challenges last quarter with priority #1, we did make some progress.  We decided that we will introduce the Strategist role as discussed above, and several admins indicated willingness to take on the role (listed in descending order of Q2 rewards approved by admin):

  • @samkirby22
  • @riongull
  • @cloudwheels 
  • @spectaprod
  • @dashameter
Though nothing has been made official though an update to our rules, we also pursued plans regarding a governance / strategic committee comprised of these members.  I don't consider governance through committee to be ideal for optimizing Incubator's service to Dash, but I was considering it as a potential compromise with other admins who prefer it.  These plans needs to be re-evaluated in light of the recent events mentioned above.  More on that in the Roadmap section.

In future proposals we will break down spending by strategist-approved projects.  Strategists are not officially part of our rules yet, but to give a flavor of what this will look like, figure 1c shows Incubator rewards approved by admins who have indicated interest in becoming strategists.
Figure 1c - Rewards Approved by Strategist

2.2 Bounties

Our priorities from Q2 were:

1. Incubator internal improvements (GitHub migration, Incubator restructuring, etc)
2. Platform QA and Dash Core Contributions
3. Demos for Incubator’s DashPay browser tooling (our all-time highest rewarded project)
4. Demos for additional Incubator projects
5. Onboarding new developers and starting new, high value proposition bounties

Our #1 Q2 priority was discussed above and will be expounded upon below in the Roadmap.  This has been top priority for 6 months now.  The silver lining on the unfortunate continuation of Dash Platform instability is that it continues to give us time to make these important internal improvements before we need to scale.

Our #2 Q2 priority was our continued commitment to help Dash Core Group make progress so that our dependent projects can get unblocked.  This included three separate bounties (Dash Core Contributions, Platform QA, and Platform Issues Bounty).  In line with priority, in Q1 our highest rewarded bounty was Platform Issues.

Our #3 Q2 priority was to get a demo of the DashPay browser extension.  As stated in past proposals, this is dependent on Platform which is still unstable, preventing us from accomplishing this.

Our #4 Q2 priority was additional Incubator demos.   Because Platform on testnet was unusable for most of quarter we were not able to do any demos of apps building on Dash Platform.  However, we do have a very nice demo of the Crowdnode CLI built by AJ.

Our #5 Q2 priority consisted of onboarding new developers and starting new high value projects.  Between the challenges with testnet and those related to priority 1, we couldn't focus much on this.  However, we did start both the Honeypot project and the Crowdnode tooling (CLI and SDK) project, both of which I consider high value.  

In total, in Q2 the incubator distributed 1806 DASH in rewards (up ~49% from Q1) to 36 different projects.  Figure 2 below shows the breakdown of all rewarded projects (we are now showing them all, rather than just the top 10 as in previous proposals).  Note that the proposal submission fee is included in order to fully account for all Dash spent.
Figure 2 - Rewards Paid by Project - 2022 Q2

Figure 3 below shows this data broken down by approving admin (some of whom have expressed interest in becoming strategists).
Figure 3 - Rewards Paid by Admin - 2022 Q2

The full set of projects can be viewed on our public Dash Incubator App Trello board.  Our Dash Incubator Accounting Google spreadsheet shows all funds received as well as a detailed list of rewards paid with their corresponding deliverables.

3 Roadmap

3.1 Priorities

Our priorities for this coming quarter (Q3) are mostly the same as last quarter:

1. Incubator internal improvements (Incubator restructuring, GitHub migration, etc.)
2. Dash Core Assistance (Platform QA, Platform Issues, and Dash Core Contributions)
3. Demos for Incubator Projects (especially DashPay and other highly rewarded projects) 
4. New projects with high value proposition

Priority #1 is going to be the most difficult, for reasons stated above.  Incubator admins are at an impasse to some degree.  I know what I, personally, would do to move the Incubator forward, but we admins are trying to work together to find mutually agreeable compromises.  At some point the discussions fail to make progress, particularly when fundamental disagreements exist (over topics like decentralization, for example).  In these situations what is to be done?

I think the best way forward will be try once again to negotiate internally for 2-3 weeks.  These conversations should be more productive now that personal opinions have been expressed clearly and openly.  The goal will be to adopt official rule changes that all admins accept.  Acceptance will mean that no admin explicitly rejects the changes, and that changes are merged into our rule codebase on GitHub.  The deadline for these changes will be August 5, 2022. 

If we cannot accomplish this internally, we will raise separate governance-related questions (requesting no more than 5 DASH to cover proposal fees) in network-wide superblock proposals to resolve them.  Such proposals must be submitted and populated with the questions at hand at least 2 weeks before the voting deadline to give MNOs enough time to make their final, authoritative decisions.  The normal passing criteria (10% supermajority) will apply in order to be considered valid.  Any Incubator admin can submit these governance proposals (not just the PO), and they will be considered valid if passed.

It's possible that the best future for the Incubator, for everyone involved, might be to have two distinct organizations, each retaining the transparent reporting that sets the Incubator apart, but having different leadership structures and members.  This could improve decentralization in Dash overall, and lead to higher overall value due to competition.  To be clear, this proposal is not suggesting that.  It's just one option that may arise if admin negotiations fail.

3.2 Schedule

This proposal continues our typical 3-month funding proposal cadence.  As mentioned above, there may be additional governance proposals submitted this quarter.  The schedule is as follows:

July 19 - Day this proposal was populated with full description
July 24 - Voting deadline for this quarter's funding proposal (this proposal)
July 26 - Voting on PO replacement ends
August 5 - Deadline for internal rule updates (as discussed above)
August 10 - Deadline to submit network-wide governance proposals for August cycle
September 9 - Deadline to submit network-wide governance proposals for September cycle
October 9 - Deadline to submit next funding proposal

Figure 4 in the next section shows the Incubator’s historical and current proposal submissions.

4 Request

We are requesting 900 DASH/month for 3 months.

In previous proposals we've stated our intention to target 10-20% of Dash’s budget.  At 900 DASH/month our share of the budget increases from 12.1% to 19.6%, as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 4 - Incubator Schedule and Budget Requests (source)

We are increasing our request to 900 DASH/month this quarter due to the following:

  • The purchasing power of DASH has fallen by over 50% since last quarter.
  • Our reward rate was 892 DASH last month and is expected to be over 900 DASH this month.
  • Dash Core Group has let some staff go, and we have agreed to let them continue some work through the Incubator.
  • When platform becomes stable on testnet we'll need funds to facilitate testing and building.
On top of the above, and as noted in the past, a healthy buffer makes it easier to attract top-talent developers, which the Incubator needs.  As it stands, we are projected to start eating into our budget this quarter.  900 DASH/month won't be enough to cover our reward rate this quarter if our trends continue, and our trends will likely continue if admin spending is not restrained (through the strategist budget model I've proposed, for example). 

There are too many unknowns to accurately project what our request for next quarter will be.

5 Terms

All operations of the Incubator funded by this proposal are subject to our current Rules.  This proposal forms a part of our Network Contract with Dash.  Our rules are always subject to and defer to MNO voting.  This proposal retains our existing rules, but as mentioned, we may require separate MNO voting to confirm future rules updates.

6 Closing

Thank you, masternode voters, for your support!  Apologies for the late update this quarter; I had several issues to navigate, and I appreciate your patience with that.  As always, I'm very excited about this quarter and what we will accomplish.



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Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

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0 points,1 year ago
Can we get some insight into the Admin dismissals since this vote?
2 points,1 year ago
Thank you for this very detailed budget proposal update, you have my support for 900 dash / 3 months and i sincerely hope you Dash Incubator admins can find middle ground somewhere and come to an agreement / compromise, with regards to future changes for the Dash Incubator.

If not, i will await the decision proposal(s).
3 points,1 year ago
You're welcome, and thank you for your understanding and support.

Note: I'm still battling with bbcode image tags. I can't seem to get my images to be fixed width without also constraining the height (which I don't want to have to do because that messes with the aspect ratio)
1 point,1 year ago
Everything showed up fine at my side / browser, i just had to refresh the site to load the images.
0 points,1 year ago
I am voting No until order is restored in the Incubator, this is not an indictment of the PO, but if there are troublemakers causing problems, I would like to see the PO apply their executive powers and clean house, Thank you.
1 point,1 year ago
What a mess
1 point,1 year ago
What part(s) specifically?
2 points,1 year ago
''There is an ongoing vote and discussion regarding the potential appointment of a new Incubator proposal owner, which affects the content of this proposal.

I will update this proposal description when there is more clarity around that vote. ''

The voting period on the potential appointment of a new Incubator proposal owner is now planned to take two weeks. The voting period on this budget proposal ends over 8 days.

Any idea how to proceed further with this budget proposal and the proposal text that needs updating in order to vote on it ?
2 points,1 year ago
Proposal text now updated. I think that should answer your question here. Thanks again.
-2 points,1 year ago
Too much of the budget to remove from treasury control. This incubator business was supposed to be for smaller proposals. No x16.
4 points,1 year ago
Please check the proposal text (particularly section "4 Request") for the request rationale. Also see the tables that show the number and size of projects we're supporting. I'm happy to discuss your concerns more. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I would like to somehow help MNOs retain finer-grained control without having to spend all the time required to evaluate each of our projects in detail. I've broken down rewards by both project and by approving admin. I hope this helps.
2 points,1 year ago
Voting NO on this one, I need to see results, I need to know that there is more value coming out than we put in.

Wen Thorchain?
Wen Secret bridge?
Wen REN wrap?

What have you done for me lately?
6 points,1 year ago
I understand your concerns about results. I share these concerns, which is why I've been trying to address this very issue in the Incubator for 9 months. There is a long story related to this, which I will probably share on at least, and possibly on this proposal as well.

Regarding those specific projects:
- Thorchain - The primary admin on this project is Ash. It was recently delayed for several weeks with Thorchain devs waiting on us, but it's being worked on again now and is high priority.
- Secret Bridge - The primary admin on this project is Sam Kirby. The project page is here: No work other than the initial concept has been done as far as I know. It hasn't been a priority. Feel free to contact Sam about it.
- Ren - The Ren devs did not prioritize the Dash integration, and the time period the Incubator set to wait expired. The funds exchanged to a USD stable coin (required by Ren) for the Integration have since been exchanged back to Dash and are part of our general fund now, as prescribed in the original proposal. This was all explained on the Ren project board: The project is archived, with no plans to resurrect it for now.

Every DASH the Incubator has spent is accounted for on our open Accounting spreadsheet. I have organized this spending in some more useful ways, which I plan to present as part of this proposal. See the temporary proposal description about timing.

Thanks for your comment!
1 point,1 year ago
Where is Andy Freer?
Did not he usually submit the incubator proposals?
3 points,1 year ago
Hello Junior87,
Andy is still around on Discord, but hasn't been the Incubator proposal owner for about a year now. Please see the link qwizzie posted (thanks, qwizzie). That document is the best explanation and link resource. Cheers.
2 points,1 year ago
If i remember correctly Andy needed a break from Dash and put Rion in charge of the Dash Incubator. With 'in charge' i mean raising funding for the Dash Incubator and some other tasks as well, i imagine (supervising Dash Incubator on a higher level ?).
2 points,1 year ago
See :