Late last year we announced an exciting step for DigiByte; the DigiByte Foundation (DF). The response we received from the community was heartwarming and very encouraging. With that we, as the presumptive Board - consisting of Hans Koning (chair), Rudy Bouwman (vice-chair & secretary) and Rutger Krijnen (treasurer) – started to lay out a plan, and work on the foundation; no pun intended! That entails producing a fair bit of documentation, which is preceded by some research, soul searching, asking input here and there, and of course debate. Things like the Articles of Association (AoA) are all necessary but sometimes boring documents needed in order to get started. To paraphrase Maria Kondo, this didn’t always spark a lot of joy... So, after a few weeks of “working under the hood” we now feel we are ready to face you, the DigiByte community, and ask for your feedback and your support. As said, although we have produced a fair bit of documents (which we are happy to share with you), we feel it is perhaps more important to simply say what this foundation is all about. What will the foundation do, and is there a need for a foundation? How will the foundation be structured, and who is part of it? And of course, most important, how do you, the community, get involved, and get heard? Do I have a vote in things? Rather than sharing that via the more official documents, we feel it is better to lay out this path in more digestible bits.
1. What does the DigiByte Foundation want, and why?
The goal of the DigiByte Foundation is to promote and support the DigiByte Blockchain and its users, to stimulate the development and worldwide adoption of the DigiByte blockchain and the principles of decentralization in general. Development of DGB technology is a core focus point. In our opinion this is essential to further establish and maintain a sustainable decentralized world. We arrive at this from an underlying and unwavering belief that decentralization is unstoppable.
DigiByte Foundation’s vision is to empower the community, and to decentralize the world. That means we want to facilitate and support all of DigiByte’s community and be a pilot for the blockchain community at large. Doing so makes DigiByte a catalyst in creating decentralized solutions that can be applied in the social, political and economical landscapes. The core values the DigiByte Foundation - and anyone who supports it - subscribes to are: decentralization, inclusiveness, permissionless, integrity, transparency – openness, consensus, thought leadership. Once the foundation has garnered some funds, the foundation will in conjunction with the DigiByte community, not only initiate and promote projects and community initiatives, but also promote the DigiByte ecosystem and further development by supporting the developers, business developers and marketers, with a focus on outreach, awareness, education, adoption.
But, why a foundation? Can this goal not be achieved otherwise? Well, first of all, because of the not for profit aspect, this foundation is inherently not self-serving, but instead serves a community goal. Ordinary business-structures suggest a for-profit goal. This goes against what we feel is important, namely trust. A foundation can help to bring that trust. Additionally, cryptocurrency organizations are helping their currencies to flourish, but want the currency to exist independently. This can be done by providing support in terms of development, research, education, and marketing but without directly benefiting from the cryptocurrency; decentralized and independent. This makes a foundation one of the driving forces behind developments. And then there is a principled reason, namely that the concept of decentralization entails removing the power of authority from the hands of a few and distributing it uniformly among the community. The foundation helps securing that key principle of blockchain, where everyone in DigiByte so wholeheartedly subscribes to.
The reason why the Foundation is being set up now, and not earlier, is that we see ourselves at crossroads. Firstly we see a tipping point looming for adoption and adaptation of blockchain technology. As we see DigiByte as a pure representative of blockchain principles, we feel this is now also our time to “step to the plate”. Additionally, we have seen and see an increased number of concepts and technologies we feel are contrary to the blockchain principles, and are purely (or more) monetary driven. DigiByte is not, and never will be. We also feel there is momentum building that separates the true decentralized projects from the lesser one’s we currently see in the market, and the Foundation can help to establish and protect that difference.
2. How will the DigiByte Foundation be structured?
The foundation will be a nonprofit vehicle, where the legal form will be a Dutch "Stichting*" (Foundation). The Netherlands has a long standing history with foundations dating back hundreds of years. That has resulted in one of the best legal frameworks to protect foundations.
* = In the US a “Stichting” is called a Public Foundation or Community Foundation. Purely for convenience purposes, we will use the term Foundation. Attached a link as to what a “Stichting” is and does; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stichting
The DigiByte Foundation will - like the rest of DigiByte - be a volunteer managed organization that operates in a nonprofit way. Board members et cetera do not get any remuneration or payment. These are all intentionally unpaid roles. Therefore aspects like accountability, trustworthiness, honesty, and openness to all stakeholders is seen as essential.
A foundation in the Netherlands is serving a community in achieving its non for profit goal (a common good) but is not allowed to have members. That seems odd, but is specifically intended to keep a foundation independent (decentralized) and unwaveringly focused on its goals. The board acts independently in its decision making, but can ask advice from stakeholders they deem important. Needless to say, for us that is you, the community. For all decisions we take, we can ask you - the community - first, how you feel about that specific issue. So, although the board takes the decisions (centralized), arriving at that decision goes via the community (decentralized). Please refer to the section “How can the community be heard?” for more details.
Although the tentative Board comes from within the DigiByte community, they are no more or less part of the DigiByte community than anyone else. The Foundation is by no means a centralized extension of DigiByte; on the contrary, that would go against anything we all wholeheartedly believe in.
As a Foundation we believe we can help mobilize and empower the DigiByte community, and work for and with them to achieve just that. We do not claim to represent all people who own or use DigiByte, we simply want to be there for them, and invite them to join us in helping to achieve that. In comparison, the Heart Foundation does not exclusively represent only people suffering from heart problems, it also advocates for those who might develop heart problems one day, their families etc.
|Hans Koning||Chair||Twitter: @hanskoning|
|Rudy Bouwman||Secretary & Vice-Chair||Twitter: @RudyBouwman|
|Rutger Krijnen||Treasurer||Twitter: @justgoodstuff11|
3. How can the community be heard (voting principles)?
It is important to remember that the Foundation serves two purposes, and two purposes only; promote decentralization and empower the DigiByte community and the DigiByte blockchain. That means the DF revolves around you, the community. A great way to facilitate engagement is to “tie in” the community to an even more intense level of involvement in DigiByte, say in the form of becoming a donor. Becoming a donor would be available for everyone (inclusiveness).
The donors will be invited to provide input, ideation and will get a vote on Board proposals. In that sense it is more or less comparable (ironically a very centralized example) to how legislation works. A government (the Board) can propose legislation, but Parliament (the donors) has the ultimate vote. The role for the Board in that sense is to check, secure and safeguard the principles of the DF as to be set out in the AoA.
If the DF has proposals, it will ask advice from stakeholders. That means that the donors can vote on these proposals. This results in a recommendation for the board on that specific proposal. It is almost as if all donors collectively are a virtual Advisory Board. All the board then has to do is to check if the proposal is compliant with the law, the AoA, and the necessary resources and the proposal will be passed. Additionally, the community can propose certain initiatives and projects, and the board can then ask the community which specific project the community prefers to pursue. That means the community cannot only vote on things, they can also set the agenda.
As far as the mechanics of the voting, well, this will be really interesting. The DF will need to act on the leading edge of blockchain technology and community participation. Almost like the Star Trek crew, we boldly go where no one has gone before.
It is important to distinguish between mechanism and structure. The mechanism is based on the principles of decentralization; those principles are not up for debate. The structure is, simply said, an operational translation of that mechanism (the blockchain principles). This can be compared with the principle of democracy. There are two types (structures) of democracy, direct and representative. Both serve the one principle of democracy. In this example, the DigiByte Foundation wants to emulate a direct democracy, where the community directly deliberates and decides. In a representative democracy the people elect representatives to deliberate and decide on legislature for instance in Parliament. Although that is democratic, it is decentralized.
That also means this proposed structure is not set in stone, and will most likely undergo a few tweaks and improvements; we will all need to learn as we go along. That might sound vague and not very promising, but we feel we can and want to rely on you, the community, to help together build a structure that lasts
We propose the voting to be based on DigiAssets, and could be structured as follows:
• Every Foundation Donor – upon becoming a donor - receives 1 Foundation Donor Asset.
• Each time the board calls for a vote, the DigiByte Foundation voting platform creates a unique one time Voting Asset for each donor.
• These Voting Assets will automatically be sent to all holders of a Foundation Donor Asset. • The Voting Assets will be sent to the address of that specific donor.
• This means the donor has now a one-time Voting Asset in their wallet, only to be used for that specific vote.
• If a donor for one odd reason does not vote, that specific asset will expire; donors cannot hoard Voting Assets (votes).
• If there are 3 choices, then there are 3 possible addresses to send the voting Asset to.
• The address that receives the most voting assets determines the winning advice for the DigiByte Foundation.
• The board will – once it has learned from the results – check if there is no conflict (legal, AoA etc) with this specific choice.
• In the next board meeting the board will then confirm the results by deciding accordingly.
Let’s give an example. The board receives an application from Satoshi Nakamoto to become a member for the Advisory Board. After reviewing the application, the board puts it to vote. This would give 3 choices; option A for yes, option B for no, and a blank vote would be option C. The three choices are represented by specific address, so an address for option A, one for B and one for C. The donor can send the one time voting asset to the address of that donor’s preference. Like in an “ordinary” vote, the choice that receives the most votes of all casted votes wins; “winner takes all principle”.
As this voting is in the blockchain, this also means the voting process is fully transparent. At any given point in time one can see how many voting assets have been issued, how many votes have been cast already, and how many votes per choice have been made. That latter is particularly interesting, as this might influence people or sway them in a certain direction. We feel however, this is a necessary part of having transparent governance in place, not to mention we believe the DigiByte community can make up their own mind.
4. What would we like you to do (become donor)?
We do plan to open up to as many donors as possible. We feel there is a massive support for DigiByte and its unwavering stance for true decentralization. Mobilizing that “voice” means we can represent as many from the DigiByte community as possible. Simply said, we want you to become a donor of the DigiByte Foundation.
When becoming a donor, you should know what sets the DigiByte Foundation apart. Numerous blockchain and cryptocurrency projects have set up a Foundation, so will the DigiByte Foundation be any different? Yes, we do believe so for a few reasons. Firstly, the Foundation is not an extension of DigiByte; it is not a centralized representation of DigiByte. This is also represented in the deliberate choice not to include DigiByte Founding members in the Foundation’s Board. DigiByte’s founder Jared Tate fully understands, and endorses that. For the Foundation to be independent - decentralized - he cannot and will not be part of the Foundation. Secondly, the Foundation will ultimately be run by its donors. The Board is merely the voice of DigiByte Foundations’ donors.
Unfortunately the DF would require some sort of funding, so becoming a donor would require a small annual contribution. We do not want this to be a hurdle, so expect this to be relatively low, say a few hundred DGB (let’s say a couple of dollars per year). The great benefit would be that the Foundation would be funded to off-set its cost for incorporation, and it could – depending on number of members and sponsors gained – sponsor some activities that are in line with the Foundation’s strategy from day one. Again, let us reiterate that Board members et cetera do not get paid. All roles in the foundation are all intentionally unpaid roles. Your and sponsor’s contribution will be used to community projects and operational costs only. By law 90% of all proceeds must be allocated to support the Foundation’s goals.
Apart from the community to become donor, we also want to open the foundation up to sponsorships and corporate partnerships. We would like to engage in meaningful cooperation and partnerships with business entities in the DigiByte community, who subscribe to our views. This value adding relationship will help the DigiByte Foundation achieve its goals. Apart from establishing an intrinsic connection, the program is aimed to generate funding for the DigiByte Foundation, to sponsor community programs and activities. Those activities can be – subject to no conflict with DigiByte Foundation goals - aligned with sponsor’s goals and objectives.
On a final note: What we are very, very much aware of is that we, as the DigiByte community, are embarking on a "Brave New World". That also means we most likely will not get it right straight from the go, much as we would like to. That is not something to be ashamed of; being complacent and thinking “this will do it” is.
In other words, the first year for sure will be a bumpy road at times, and will face us with questions we either haven’t thought of yet, or have no immediate answers to. That is not a sign that we as a community fail, or there is no place for a foundation. Suggesting that everything is known upfront and works out exactly as expected will be an unjust reality; we all need to be able and willing to adjust accordingly.
We feel – like you – passionate, committed and driven, and know that as long as we all stick to our core principles, we will find a way to make this work and show the rest of the world what decentralization in action is, and should be. This is by no means meant as a platitude, but “United we stand, divided we fall” also holds a lot of truth for DigiByte and its community.
Remember: no matter bear or bull, naysayers or critics, we will never stop building on this great DigiByte blockchain, its awareness, adoption and ecosystem. For we have strong vision and boundless passion, a clear intent and a community filled with action!
We look very much forward to write history with you and hope and expect you are taking this unknown leap forward with us. Are you in too?
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