Public Goods Funding: Request For Comment

Polygon Forum PGF RFC

GM, Polygon fam!! My name is Justice, and I work on the governance team at Polygon Labs. :handshake:

I’m increasingly questioning the model and messaging surrounding public goods and public goods funding. I have a sneaking suspicion that, as an industry, we adopted an idea that’s not entirely coherent in a blockchain context, but questioning it feels a bit sacrosanct.

I need your help and would like your perspective. What’s the current vibe on Web3 public goods and public goods funding? Does it make sense? Does it work? Does it scale? Is it the future?

Understanding

How well do you understand the idea of Web3 public goods and public goods funding?

1 = Not at all
5 =Very well

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Coherence

Does the idea make sense to you?

1 = Not at all
5 = Absolutely

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Importance

How important is the public goods concept to Web3?

1 = Not at all
5 = Utmost importance

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Mechanisms

What are good ways to distribute public goods funding?

  • Direct grants
  • QF
  • Retroactive
  • Other
0 voters

Efficacy

How effective are our current public goods funding strategies?

1 = Not effective at all
5 = Very effective

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Collusion

Are the current public goods funding methods suffering from collusion?

1 = None at all
5 = Definitely

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Contributions

How much do you personally contribute to public goods funding?

  • None
  • 10
  • 50
  • 100
  • 500
  • 1000+
0 voters

Incentives

Should tokens be given to donors?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe
0 voters

The Future

Are our current methods of PGF suitable for the next 1-2 years? Scaling vs completely revamping?

1 = It’s terrible! - we need to rethink everything
5 = It works great! - we just need to scale our approach

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Impact

How well are we measuring the positive impact of public goods funding?

1 = None at all
2 = Fantastic

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
0 voters

Open Ended Questions

  • Are there any types of projects that should be excluded from public goods funding?
  • What’s your motivation for donating to public goods if you do?
  • Can you name any other interesting funding mechanisms?
  • What is really working or not working in public goods funding?
  • What are the downsides of the currently dominant approach?
  • What do you think about giving tokens in exchange for funding public goods?

2 Likes

Q. Are there any types of projects that should be excluded from public goods funding?
A. Yes and now. No project excluded categorically but lets not call them public goods.

Q. What’s your motivation for donating to public goods if you do?
A. I used to donate but I don’t see the incentive now.

Q. Can you name any other interesting funding mechanisms?
A. Tokenization :wink:

Q. What is really working or not working in public goods funding?
A. None of it is working.

Q. What are the downsides of the currently dominant approach?
A. It eliminates naturally aligned incentives and replaces them with blind speculation and virtue signaling.

Q. What do you think about giving tokens in exchange for funding public goods?
A. I am for this 100% but this would rightly translated PGF to venture funding.

Q. Are there any types of projects that should be excluded from public goods funding?
A. Those projects that are not a public good.

Q. What’s your motivation for donating to public goods if you do?
A. I did it to support projects I believed provided a huge amount of benefit to the space but had little to no opportunity to generate revenue because if the nature of what they were building.

Q. Can you name any other interesting funding mechanisms?
A.

Q. What is really working or not working in public goods funding?
A. We are good at spraying money into the ecosystem but not directing it properly for maximum and sustainable impact.

Q. What are the downsides of the currently dominant approach?
A. It eliminates naturally aligned incentives and replaces them with blind speculation and virtue signaling. It drives bad unsustainable behaviour. ← quoted from Justice!

Q. What do you think about giving tokens in exchange for funding public goods?
A. I am open to the idea. Thus far it hasn’t worked in our industry as there is no innate value associated with that token. Thus it’s more ponzinonmics.

Q. Are there any types of projects that should be excluded from public goods funding?
A. Gaming projects are not public goods, nor all NFT projects done for-profit.

Q. What’s your motivation for donating to public goods if you do?
A. Helping new projects that show immense potential, essentially helping Polygon attain its purpose with this grant!

Q. Can you name any other interesting funding mechanisms?

A. Imagine we’re in the heart of an enchanted forest, where the trees whisper about innovation and growth. Here, we’re about to embark on a magical journey of grant-giving, with our treasure chest split into four whimsical glades: The Grove of Social Impact, The Arcade of Gaming, The Forge of Chain Infrastructure, and The Enchanted Clearing of Miscellaneous Marvels.

For each mystical realm, we shall summon (dedicated council composed of members who are specifically recruited for the duration of the grant round) a council of wise forest denizens, each a sage in their own right, chosen for their profound wisdom and intimate dance with the rhythms of their domain. These aren’t your ordinary critters, mind you, but guardians of insight, plucked from the canopy and roots for the season of granting.

Now, the cardinal rule in this forest is the ancient creed of fairness, a principle as old as the gnarled oaks. Our council members, be they wise old owls, impartial badgers, or just deer, must wear the cloak of fairness, their judgments as balanced as the ecosystems they dwell in. They must be as dispassionate as the stones, as fair as the dawn, and as unbiased as the river’s flow, ensuring their wisdom nourishes the most promising seedlings without prejudice.

In this way, our forest thrives, nurturing projects that promise to sprinkle a little more magic into the Polygon woods, ensuring the canopy grows ever higher, and the roots ever deeper, in the most harmonious and laughter-filled way possible.

Q. What is really working or not working in public goods funding?
A. Really nothing worked during the BUIDL on Polygon grant, Public Goods projects did not receive ANY focus, in fact, quite the opposite.

Q. What are the downsides of the currently dominant approach?
A. The currently dominant approach to grant rounds, while well-intentioned, has unfortunately sown seeds of discontent within the ecosystem. Picture this scenario as a once harmonious forest where the trees have begun to grow too close, their branches entangling, leading to a struggle for sunlight—a metaphor for the competitive tension that has emerged.

One of the most glaring issues is the shadow of collusion that has crept in like a thick fog, obscuring transparency and fairness. This has allowed certain projects to intertwine their roots and branches in unsavory ways, effectively monopolizing the nourishing sunlight (or funding) that was meant to be shared among the forest’s diverse flora.

This tangled growth has led to frustration and disillusionment among many of the forest’s inhabitants. Some of the vibrant projects, once hopeful saplings, are now considering transplanting themselves to different soils, where the sun shines more equitably and the rain of opportunity falls more fairly. They seek new ecosystems where their leaves can unfurl without fear of being overshadowed by the unfair advantage of others.

The bias inherent in this approach, whether real or perceived, acts like invasive species that choke out the native growth, stifling diversity and innovation. This not only hampers the vibrancy and health of the ecosystem but also undermines the very purpose of the grant round—to foster a rich, diverse, and flourishing community where every project, big or small, has the chance to grow tall and strong.

In essence, the current approach has inadvertently nurtured a forest where not all trees are given an equal chance to reach the canopy, casting long shadows over the undergrowth and compelling some to seek light in different landscapes.

Q. What do you think about giving tokens in exchange for funding public goods?
A. No. Perhaps a soulbound NFT that symbolizes participation, nothing else.

Please don’t forget - the website for Polygon Grants CLEARLY states that these grants are for Web3 Start-ups! Yet, majority of funds in round 1 are going to established projects…

Thanks for allowing us to provide feedback.

I think the funding process could greatly be improved, jokerace really didn’t work, we all agreed on that but sadly, Giveth wasnt much better. Being buried i middle of 220 projects getting no visibility and proper consideration even though you are a registered company, with a working MVP on Polygon etc only the few already known and already well supported projects got most of the funding since it was based on popularity. New project by definition aren’t known yet so they have no chance in such type of rounds.
I would rather see Village put up a commintee, take time to look into each project, at least those that have did put the time in a MVP, WHITEPAPER etc and then select x of them, promote them, fund them properly, instead of 200 projects where 190 get just enough to buy a coffee to their team :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thought it would be useful to get out of the analogy space, and post this as well:

Q. Can you name any other interesting funding mechanisms?
The optimal approach to conducting a grant session entails distinct funding rounds for new and existing projects, which can be executed concurrently. It is recommended to categorize the projects into four distinct groups: Social Impact, Gaming, Chain Infrastructure, and Miscellaneous. For each category, it is advised to appoint a dedicated council composed of members who are specifically recruited for the duration of the grant round. These individuals should possess a deep understanding of the potential contributions projects can make to the Polygon ecosystem and should be selected for their expertise in the relevant category. The overarching principle guiding the selection and evaluation process should be grounded in impartiality and fairness. The council members must embody the values of being dispassionate, fair, impartial, just, objective, and unbiased, ensuring that their assessments are made without favoritism towards any party. This approach will foster a transparent and equitable funding environment that aligns with the community’s expectations and promotes the most beneficial projects for the Polygon ecosystem.

Q: Are there any types of projects that should be excluded from public goods funding?
A: Things that have no public using them :smiley: Honestly, the public goods have become a catch-all meme. We need a diversity of funding mechanisms depending on the maturity of projects and their monetization viability. It is 2021 when “becoming a DAO” was the silver bullet

Q: What’s your motivation for donating to public goods if you do?
A: I support friends and/or projects that create value for me but I get to use for free

Q: Can you name any other interesting funding mechanisms?
A: venture funding, token distribution

Q: What is really working or not working in public goods funding?
A: Its tough to quantify impact which is often the reason not even to bother measuring or resolving to soft metrics like “culture”, “vibes”, “values”, etc.

Q: What are the downsides of the currently dominant approach?
A: It is a bit of a popularity contest on the project side, and on the voter side, it turns in a bit of a status game

Q: What do you think about giving tokens in exchange for funding public goods?
A: If by “funding” you mean voting on a RPGF round or QF round, more likely to pervert the incentives. If you mean proportional to money donated - this could be something interesting but again it introduces an additional financial dimension. Would it be a different class token, will my donation buy the token at a discount or a premium. Quite risky, probably will stay out of layerign that complexity

1 Like