Catching up here and first off, thanks @David_Dyor for flagging this.
Our “should not have a token” is a nebulous policy - and, for what it’s worth, is actually nowhere explicitly within the application flow - and I appreciate the opportunity for us to get more explicit and offer clearer guidelines to the community.
My initial reaction to the situation is that we will have to set objective guidance, and I don’t think some of the current proposed solutions lend themselves to that.
Everything in Web3 moves extremely quickly, and what was originally conceived as a governance token can very quickly turn into an extremely valuable tradable asset. As a result, I disagree with intent at token creation being the right yes/no barometer. And, even if it were, assessment of the team’s intent at time of token creation is highly subjective and extremely difficult to discern.
This suggestion is clearer and more explicit, but IMO, this is still far too inclusive. There are projects with governance tokens that have billions in market cap and certainly do not meet the ethos of Gitcoin grants, based on their stage. I do not think governance tokens as an arbitrary cutoff makes sense for that reason.
I don’t think the existence of a token alone should preclude a project from being part of Gitcoin Grants; as you suggest, @David_Dyor, the landscape has evolved and many, many early-stage projects that I believe the community would deem eligible for grants do have small token experiments. That said, we have to draw the line somewhere.
A couple suggestions, perhaps, to get the ball rolling:
What if we allowed governance tokens that have not yet crossed a certain market cap? E.g., market cap has never been above $20M
I also still believe that VC funding is a material, measurable event that often greatly shifts a project’s priorities. I am in favour of keeping something like the $500K VC funding threshold (I would perhaps up that amount, but would love to hear what the community thinks).
TLDR: I’d propose we work towards some combination of objective metrics like the above two. These will, inevitably, be somewhat arbitrary - and we’ll likely need to experiment and adjust - but in order to scale this program and our approval process, we need to get explicit and start somewhere.