Decentralizing Aragon’s development II: Minimum Viable Foundation

Decentralizing Aragon’s development II: Minimum Viable Foundation

Reducing the Aragon Foundation to its minimum in order to decentralize the governance and development of the project

We have previously shared our plans to transform the Aragon project to a community governed project. As described in the decentralizing Aragon's development post, reducing the Foundation to its minimum is a key step in reaching that goal and decoupling the project from the foundational team working on it, and to level the playground for other teams to jump into the core development of the project.

In the open source world, the legal structure of a foundation has helped communities manage and govern their projects while maintaining the ethos of such open source software development communities: freedom, pluralism and independence. In the case of Aragon, the non-profit organization based in Estonia has been the entity that oversees the development and has the leadership over the project. But this entity is just a placeholder. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, run by smart contracts, are a new and attractive way to manage and govern community-run projects. We couldn't run Aragon as a DAO from the beginning since we needed to build the tools to create, manage and govern those new types of organizations.

Now that we have released Aragon Core v0.5, the most powerful way to create and manage any type of decentralized organizations, the work on the Aragon DAO has begun. The end goal is for the Aragon Network to have the control (over funds and development) and to take control of the direction of the project. We envision a future where ideas, not centralized teams, are funded. The Aragon Network will be governed by the token holders. The Foundation will be maintained but its power over the project will gradually be reduced. To accomplish this, we have defined multiple forms which the Foundation will take in the future.

Foundation v0.1

Right now, the Foundation controls:

Foundation v1.0 (2018)

This will be a Swiss entity. It will have power over:

  • Assets: It will still retain them, except for grants given to other teams.
  • Trademark: It will enforce a correct use of the trademark so that it benefits the project.
  • Intellectual Property: Although everything is open source, it will have the power to change the licenses as required, if such is needed.
  • Repositories, website, socials, community chat.
  • Nest: We can implement signaling in the Survey App so that the ANT holders can approve allocations for the Nest program.

Foundation v2.0

Still the same Swiss entity, but will:

  • Slowly commence the transition of assets to the Aragon Network.

This can be done by either sending assets to the Network (preferred), or

Allowing the Network to create transactions and have power over the funds, but keeping veto power to the Foundation so that it can stop transactions that would put the Foundation itself in jeopardy, from a legal standpoint.

  • Continue executing trademark enforcement.
  • Continue owning IP.
  • Continue owning repos, website, socials, community chat and Nest, but let the Network decide who runs them and how.

Foundation v3.0

Still the same Swiss entity, but will:

  • Own assets needed to run, nothing more.
  • Intellectual Property: Stop owning it and transfer it to the Network, if possible, or back to the repo contributors. This needs some legal research.
  • Transition as much stuff as possible to the Network.

For example, repos could be maintained by a decentralized Git aragonOS app, and social media profiles on decentralized networks (such as AKASHA) would be managed by the Network too.

Next steps

Foundation v1.0 is close to being a reality after a lot of legal work. While onboarding new teams to work on the essential Aragon infrastructure, we will learn a lot about how they want the Foundation to behave, and we will improve this plan based on the feedback from them and the community.