Celebrating Progress: One Year into the Commons Stack Journey

Staging the Commons Stack Project with Iteration 0

Kris Decoodt
May 26, 2020 · 10 min read

Together with all of you we recently woke up in a brave new world, where we more than ever witness that a systemic and mindset change is needed to tackle complex issues. We have been tremendously inspired by our community that did not stop building for even a heartbeat. More than ever we believe in the importance of regenerative systems that empower communities and the open source toolkits to design them properly.

In Iteration 0 of the Commons Stack, our focus is on staging the cultural and technical initialization tools required to make complex systems succeed. After a quick summary of our overall vision, you will find a detailed run-through of the many projects we have launched or supported, and what is still in the pipeline.

We have been refining our strategy, growing our community, supporting community initiatives, contributing to research, … and a lot more is coming. The Commons Stack is nothing without its community, so first and foremost we would like to thank you, and invite you to continue to support our mission in any way you can.

The Commons Stack, Realigning Incentives to Support Public Goods

Our current economic paradigm incentivizes the exploitation of the environment and systemically undervalues open-source software, open research, and other altruistic efforts to address our collective needs. We want to help build a world where public goods are valued and protected by the communities that use them. To achieve our vision of creating an entirely new way to sustain public goods, we aim to evolve how we design and build cryptoeconomic systems.

The Commons Stack isn’t a platform, but rather a modular library of well-engineered components that can be used to align incentives around contributing to public goods. Our planned components, which all have a cultural and technical roadmap, will facilitate governance, incentivize work towards shared goals, provide accountability, and monitor the health of the Commons.

Our long term mission is to support communities in using holistic Token Engineering design to create circular, purpose-driven economies powered by continuous funding streams and transparent decision making.

Griff wows the crowd at EthCC with his power posing and novel incentive tools for funding public goods.

Refining the Strategy

Our goal is to start very ‘small’ with communities within our ecosystem that are willing to experiment with our technical and cultural components, but our long-term vision is to be able to support any future Commons: we hope to support regenerative economies around any cause, whether it is open-source software development, creating and managing self-sovereign identities or COVID response and research.

To make this a reality, we’ve been hard at work on refining our overall vision, mission, strategy, and constantly integrating feedback from the communities for whom we are building this. The fruit of this labor is turning into a whitepaper that we hope to publish later this year. This content will also transpire into articles, AMA sessions and website content. If you are interested in any particular aspects of our strategy, we invite you to join the discussion!

“The Commons Stack plans to create a Cyber-Physical Commons toolkit, that is capable of providing continuous funding to open source projects. We’ll deliver it over 5+ codebase iterations, focusing on one layer at a time, starting with the sustainable funding layer where we will design and construct a general purpose Augmented Bonding Curve. Anyone can fork, customize, and implement the modular components produced by the Commons Stack as we release them.

This toolkit addresses the primary scalability issues for DAO ecosystems, namely continuous funding, accountable escrow, real-time decision making, and impact measurement. After we have completed the fifth iteration, we will have a Commons codebase that will be easy for any community to customize, deploy and use.”

‘Medium-term Mission’ — excerpt from the Commons Stack whitepaper (work in progress)

Growing the Community

Next to this we have been presenting all over the world (live presentations in Berlin, Osaka, Denver, Paris, Barcelona, an AMA with the full team, interviews and podcasts, technical deep dives, and recently of course virtual conferences), constantly refining our strategy and messaging, based on our audience’s feedback.

We also published a number of articles, ranging from the importance of open engineering standards over an exploration of Cyber-Physical Commons ecosystems to component explainers and deep dives. You can find all of them under our Medium publication. Meanwhile we’ve been participating in the cultural build of what will one day be the Token Engineering Commons, we hope you will join them. Next to sustainable funding, introducing and integrating novel governance mechanisms are a key part of our mission, so we’ve been contributing heavily to the DGOV gatherings and calls, as well as collaborating with the Metagovernance project to expand the DAO dialogue.

We were strongly represented at the 3rd DGOV council in Berlin with Kris, Angela Kreitenweis from Token Engineering and our advisor Trent McConaghy

A thriving Ecosystem

We supported the open sourcing of BlockScience’s cadCAD, our token engineering foundation, which helps you design, test and validate complex systems through simulation. Their community has grown exponentially and many teams have been collaborating and integrating their research:

The Commons Simulator is a hands-on community project incorporating solarpunk art and storytelling to create a game where the player is a time traveler from the future tasked with inspiring the RadicalxChange community to create a Commons and prevent a dystopian future. The topic of this leap was chosen by the largest donor to the Commons Simulator Gitcoin Grant during CLR round 4, RadicalxChange community member Danibelle. The next leap (each level of the game is called a leap) has been chosen by Sebnem (the largest donor in CLR round 5) and will be the Token Engineering Commons.

The game simultaneously illustrates the power of cadCAD and how a Cyber-Physical Commons will work, allowing players to simulate building a range of successful Commons. To win the game, the players need to design a Commons that will create sustainable funding and social impact for the community. Once they’ve set their design parameters, the cadCAD backend simulates how this would play out. The highest scores win and they will be enshrined on our leaderboards. Contributors are actively rewarded, and you can join in on the project here.

One of the designs by Nyancatt for the Commons Simulator

Although we are still in the staging phase of the Commons Stack, this has not stopped people from diving into the designs of our four components and experimenting through various initiatives:

Augmented Bonding Curve ‘ABC’ (Iteration 1):

Giveth Proposal Engine ‘GPE’ (Iteration 2)

Conviction Voting ‘CV’ (Iteration 3)

Commons Dashboard ‘CD’ (Iteration 4)

  • Multiply Charity is using funds received through a successful Gitcoin Grant to create a dashboard for donors to donate directly to Kenyans in need and see the impact of their donation. This impact data will eventually be able to be fed into cadCAD models of the system for optimization, effectively creating a first prototype of our Commons Dashboard.
How a future Giveth might look with ABC and CV components integrated (by Max Semenchuk)

Next to this we’ve also been consulting on and contributing to a whole lot of related research within the space that directly or indirectly contributes to our mission, such as:

Supporting the Commons Stack

Our next, very tangible endeavor is to work with a community to help them launch an ‘MVP’ Commons, as a part of our Iteration 0. If you are a leader of a technically savvy and culturally aware community providing a public good, we would love to help you bootstrap your work with our tools. Reach out to us!

For us to continue pushing the development of economies around causes we need your support. We invite you to contribute to our mission in any way you can. You can contribute with time to any of the above projects by joining the community.

You can also contribute financially to Iteration 0, and this would be highly appreciated — with extra funds you are not only supporting us as a core team, but a wide network of contributors. And every DAI contributed is spent transparently on the Giveth DApp.

No matter how you want to contribute, the first step is to apply to become a member of our Trusted Seed, where you can indicate in which way(s) you can support.

Join us

Warm regards,

The Commons Stack

Commons Stack

Creating economic models for public goods