Autark Monthly Update

Period: February 18 — March 22, 2019

Yalda Mousavinia
Mar 25 · 6 min read

Autark has a vision of equipping the Aragon ecosystem with tools that enable DAOs to collaborate more seamlessly — by building discussion tools that are integrated with voting, rich user profiles, and expanding governance models to support patronage dividends. We were recently awarded a grant of $390,000 via an Aragon Network Vote, and this article is our first monthly update and transparency report.

We are Hiring

We wanted to work together as a full-time team for a month to determine the role that would add the most value to our team, and that ended up being a Frontend Developer. If you are interested in joining us, please apply.

Development Updates

You can view our roadmap on aragon.org to understand the timeline for the initiatives we outlined in our Flock proposal.

Our primary focus in our first month has been the continued development of the Planning Suite MVP (including the Rewards app), and the initial research and specs for Rich User Profiles and Discussions.

That Planning Suite

That Planning Suite (TPS) is a suite of aragonOS apps that allow DAOs to curate issues, collectively budget, and design custom reward & bounty programs.

We began the development of the suite as part of the Nest program where the work was divided into five milestones. As mentioned in our Flock proposal, the plan was to roll up Milestones 4–5 into Flock. To provide some additional context, Milestones 1–3 included the following apps: Range Voting, Address Book, Allocations, and Projects. Milestones 4–5 includes the development of the Rewards app in addition to fine-tuning the entire suite — and these milestones have been one of our primary development efforts in our first five weeks as a Flock team.

For the Rewards app: we completed the smart contract work and the front-ends, and have began integrating the two.

As far as the “fine-tuning” of TPS, we have:

  • Implemented Cypress for end-to-end testing
  • Implemented the store to handle concurrent events
  • Integrated various aragon-ui components to make consistent with existing Aragon apps
  • Began the work to make TPS mobile-friendly / responsive
  • Addressed various code review comments from Aragon One from our previous milestone reviews

We are on track for deploying That Planning Suite to Rinkeby by mid-April.

Rich User Profiles and Discussions

We have been working closely with our partner, Open Work Labs, who has been leading the research of the storage solution for our Rich User Profiles and Contextual Discussions initiatives.

(This update below has been provided by Jonathan Schwartz of Open Work Labs)


Our goal is to support Aragon discussion and profile applications with production level storage solutions for off-chain data by August 2019. Initially, we researched OrbitDB and go-textile — two distributed database solutions built on IPFS — to see if we could use their technology. We’re extremely excited about the potential of both of these projects, however, using either to build a production grade browser application in five months would require a significant amount of work on DevOps and private key management.

Generally speaking, we see two viable options — either leverage other technologies built on Orbit or textile that assume most of the risk, or build an infrastructure today that’s designed to scale into a fully distributed system later. For profiles, we think that 3box, an Ethereum profile API built on Orbit, will be the best solution. Not only does this seem to have Aragon community support, but it’s easy to use and we’re very close with their founding team in case any unexpected obstacles arise.

So far, we’ve created a complete profile spec as well as a proof of concept application that scrapes profile data from LinkedIn, formats it according to linked data standards, and stores it in a 3box profile. Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s developer program rejected our request to use their full profile API, so we will not be integrating with them. Once message signing within Aragon is resolved, we can implement 3box in an Aragon app.

For discussions, we created a V1 spec for a traditional database that stores data on IPFS and resolves requests for content through hashes, not arbitrary IDs. This is in tune with what we proposed as the “short term” solution in our Flock proposal.

When the timing is right, we want to scale this system to use Textile or OrbitDB (or other distributed systems that emerge) and move to completely distributed storage. We’ve been in contact with the Textile Community Lead and CEO who have already started to work on supporting browser based applications.

A forum post with more information on both of these solutions will be provided by mid-April.


User Research

Aragon App Developers

We created a survey to understand the developer’s experience with creating Aragon apps and received five responses. We are in the process of writing a report for the forum which will synthesize the findings from the survey along with notes from a meeting that took place at the end of January at AraCon. The purpose of this report is to discuss our recommendations with the broader community which will lead toward a spec to enhance the aragonAPI and Forwarder, to deliver on our Cross Application User Experience initiative.

Since our report is still in progress, we are still accepting answers to our survey. If you have experience developing Aragon apps, please participate — it should take no longer than 5–10 mins.

Aragon Organizations

Besides my general management, product and UX work for our current Flock roadmap, I have been contributing to user research efforts by organizing and conducting interviews to better understand the needs of organizations that are interested in DAOs or interested in using Aragon.

If you want to participate in a 30 minute session, please fill out this short form. The interview will not require any live user testing, it’s purely me asking questions.

Based on collective research efforts with Aragon One and Aragon Black, the next priority will be to deduce higher-level roadmap recommendations that can provide strategic influence over the Nest program, the Flock program, and the Community Funding DAO.

Updates to Grant Terms

Entity

Since we still needed to sign a legal document with an entity (the Aragon Association), we incorporated an entity that is a Wyoming LLC.

Timeline

The start date in our initial proposal was set to February 4th. As our team was working on a Nest grant in parallel, it made more sense to start right after we finished Milestone 3 from Nest, which ended up being the week of February 18th, 2019. Based on this, the new grant period is February 18th — August 17th, 2019.

Payout

After talking to the Aragon Association, the preference was that we would be paid in two payouts and the currency would be in the preference of the Association (instead of DAI), since there wasn’t enough DAI liquidity.

We received half of what we requested ($195,000) paid out in ETH. Due to various complications with exchanges, liquidity, and volatility on the payout date (February 24th), we ended up having a $7,699 loss. The background regarding this loss will be described in a subsequent blog post.

Spending Report

Period: February 18 — March 22, 2019

Income

$195,000 (1,340 ETH)

Costs

  • Autark Payroll: 316.76 ETH ($43,666)
  • Open Work Labs: 71.53 ETH ($10,000)
  • Reimbursed Expenses (domain registration, LLC registration, gas): 365 DAI ($348)

Total Costs: $54,014

Balances

Expected Balance

= Income — Costs = $195,000 — $54,014

Expected Balance: $140,986

Actual Balances

DAI: $20,972 USD (21,194 DAI)

Fiat: $112,315 USD

Actual Balance: $133,287

Note that we have decided to hold the majority of our balance in fiat. It was difficult to acquire DAI due to market volatility on the payout date. It would have resulted in thousands more in losses if we attempted to exchange the entire ETH payout into DAI.

Market Losses

= Expected Balance — Actual Balance = $140,986 — $133,287

Total Loss: $7,699

Thanks to Kevin Siegler, Arthur Lunn, and aaiono

Yalda Mousavinia

Written by

Project lead @autarklabs. Co-founder @SpaceDecentral @spacecoopinc. Passionate about DAOs with humans at the forefront & opening up space for collaboration.

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