Things are evolving fast at GitcoinDAO and our impact is growing. You love to see it.
Gitcoin has a long history by crypto standards - having been around since 2017. Gitcoin Grants has been around since Jan 2019 and has run 12 rounds so far. GitcoinDAO has been around since May 2021. As we go through the Build/Measure/Learn Loop every Quarter, we learn more about our environment, ourselves, and how to accomplish our mission & live by our values. Every Grants Round I learn something new (sometimes the hard way ).
One thing that I’m continually sensing & internalizing over time is that my role has evolved as Gitcoin Holdings (the legal entity that launched the DAO) has evolved & as the DAO has grown.
My role on May 24th 2021 was to be CEO/Founder of Gitcoin. After May 25 2021, as the DAO began to take shape and Gitcoin Holdings “parent”ed the DAO for the first few months, a separation occurred - I remained CEO/Founder of Gitcoin Holdings, but only a participant in the DAO.
In all sincerity, I have always imagined that I’d ultimately be but one stakeholder of the DAO – with no root access. There are contradictions in this,
- I’ve wanted to do so as soon as possible, but also not until it is responsible to do so.
- Gitcoin Grants is still run on the centralized platform I foolishly built centralized in 2017-2020. Whereas the DAO intends to build a completely decentralized Grants experience.
Im a big believer that part of the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings, and so I am trying to embrace this change. In navigating this specific case, I seek to “build in public” - which is why you might see my research notes appear on gov.gitcoin.co (or wacky ideas on twitter) - to share this context.
In this case - As I’ve studied how GitcoinDAO builds legitimacy and how that legitimacy is distributed to actors who act on behalf of the DAO, and as the DAO has gone through its own growth, the following thought is starting to crystalize: GitcoinDAO was created by Gitcoin Holdings, but it is not Gitcoin Holdings – in seeking decentralization of governance, computation, development, and economics - we should seek to separate the two as much as possible.
As soon as I accept this extremely inconvenient truth, it starts to force several other hard downstream implications & questions:
I of course remain completely committed to GitcoinDAO & it’s mission, but in what ways does tactical retreat from being involved in operations/decision making of the DAO serve the greater strategic direction of the DAO? How can I (and the others at Gitcoin Holdings) begin to separate ourselves from the DAO, such that we create space that allows the next generation of Leaders to emerge within & around GitcoinDAO?
How can we do so in such a way that if they fail, we are there to pick them up & reorient things? I can’t help but have the parent in me when I ask “How can we give them the psychological safety to try & experiment & learn, but also not make them complacent?”
How can we do these things without entrenching those new leaders over the long term? How do we create a culture where we always seek to decentralize power? Where we always seek to hire someone smarter than us & empower them to be the next generation of leadership in a beautiful decentralized fractal of growth & impact.
How can we do so in such a way that is otherwise responsible to our stakeholders?
What are the biggest areas of centralization debt & how can we pay them down as quickly & responsibly as possible? Of course there is the centralized platform, but what else?
I do not have answers to these questions yet, but I would like to find them. C G Jung once said “To ask the right question is already half of the solution of a problem.”
Two bits of context I might add:
- Some of these questions are extremely hard not only professionally (there is no playbook for this) but personally. It is not an overstatement to say that Gitcoin’s mission has been my a large part of my waking life since 2017, and I must admit that Gitcoin is a big part of my identity - The last time I left a project I cofounded & scaled to millions of users I got extremely emo about it, and I’m trying not to do the same this time. TLDR - this transition is hard for me!
- I’m not going anywhere. I love this mission & this DAO - and I’ll be here (in the role of Founder, but without wearing any CEO hat) as much as the DAO needs me.
Open to thoughts, either reply publicly below or DM me to share privately.