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#1988 Proposal: OpenGov Incubator Fund, an on-chain development programme for governance delegates covering research, development and creative experimentation

Proposal: OpenGov Incubator Fund, an on-chain development programme for governance delegates covering research, development and creative experimentation

Note: the following is a draft and will be updated and amended based on feedback and as the initiative evolves.


A shokunin style anonymous time delayed proxy organisation created on the Kabocha parachain, dedicated to funding, supporting and advancing OpenGov (Gov2) experimentation with the purpose of developing a new generation of fluid and effective on-chain organisations and creative collectives, that can steward the next generation of Kusama development, adoption and awareness, whilst maintaining tight collaboration, knowledge sharing and values alignment.

"Web3 Foundation / Substrate builders programme for OpenGov orgs and delegates..."


Substrate's on-chain governance is both a technical marvel and a fiendishly complex system that requires the development of a whole new field of expertise, talent development and onboarding processes.

Put simply, its something that can only be learned through active participation and engagement across wildly different and emergent domains.

OpenGov (previously Gov2) is the key to unlocking the latent potential of the polkadot protocol - and represents the clearest and most obvious differentiator within the wider crypto ecosystem.

It has been said that Polkadot is the biggest bet yet on multi-chain maximalism, but it is also unquestionably the biggest bet yet on the power to change and the ability to direct - to coordinate not just on-chain orgs, but a whole armada of chains… with the arrival of parathreads able to spin up and down, we also have another dimension of change to think about - transitory projects,

For the multi-chain vision of relays, parachains and XCM to succeed, it demands active and sustained creative collaboration across chains, communities and contributors, in a manner that is far harder to coordinate that anything yet attempted in any other ecosystem.

And what is more, it needs to ensure this coordination ensures primacy of the founding aims of Web3 - of the mission over the market cap…

This is DotSama’s greatest strength, and weakness…

If Bitcoin is a slab of rock, and Ethereum a giant container ship changing direction once every few years, then DotSama aims to be…


The opportunity is obvious and yet there are a relatively small group of individuals and on-chain organisations that specialised experience in the development, proposing and managing of treasury funded proposals - and basic on-chain orgs (multisigs) in Gov1.

Historically there has been a lack of innovative proposals within Kusama to merit its 'chaotic' credentials and it has been hard to onboard new teams through existing governance systems, which has led to a lack of on-chain innovation that pushes the possibilities of the network and its ecosystem.

With the arrival of OpenGov, there is an even smaller group who are now attempting to get their heads around the next generation of the governance system - its tools, variables, tracks, origins, capabilities and limitations.

This recent advice given by Rob H to potential gov delegates in Polkahaus:

The best thing in the build up for Polkadot's OpenGov is for people with opinions on Treasury funding to start to put together budgets and spending plans for areas they are interested in and knowledgeable about. One of the main benefits of OpenGov is to move away from a reactive council model populated by people who don't really know that much about treasury management.

Governance delegation is clearly central to kickstarting and scaling OpenGov, yet even the most experienced and knowledgable teams are scratching their heads as to how this new system can be utilised, designed and interpreted - across every layer of the stack, let alone expecting newcomers who have yet to experience Gov1 to get their heads around origins, tracks and a whole heap of new variables.

We see this as a problem and an opportunity we can address together by seeing OpenGov as a bold new design space, and a blank sheet of paper in a manner similar to the arrival of mining or validating, except this time with the incredible opportunity to leverage DotSama's untapped resources to organise and scale a new generation of creative contributors, rather than just maintain network security.

By better coordinating the treasuries of DotSama we can address the primary issue faced by Bitcoin and Ethereum - namely overspend on security compared to R&D, something that Vitailk outlines here in his post: The most important scarce resource is legitimacy.

When we see OpenGov as blank slate governance, it is obvious there is a lot of work to do... and plenty of open questions.

  • What are the variables of OpenGov - what do we optimise and for what outcome?
  • What are the origins and the tracks - again, what are they for and how can we best utilse them?
  • Do we expect specialist on-chain organisations dedicated to each origin or track?
  • Might we have some group pitching some vision or project that requires a lot of tipping - for say a creative project that has 1000 very small proposals that together manifest a larger outcome?
  • Do we think on-chain orgs will be fluid across orgins and tracks… flexing the needs of incubated projects to match the opengov system?
  • How do we faciliate creative collaboration between teams focused on OpenGov?
  • What does value accrual look like in this new system - is it all grants or can there be other ideas that seek to align parachains and on-chain orgs?
  • How do KSM (and DOT) holders discover who to delegate their votes to?
  • Does each gov delegate create their own proposition that is they aggregated into some shared UX/UI?
  • How do we create coherent user experiences that bring alive the outcomes of OpenGov?
  • How do we share the developments and (mis)adventures of gov delegates - what they learn, what they fund, what they build?
  • What does this user journey look like for wallets / voters / proposers / investors / newbies?
  • What creative projects can we use to drive end user participation in governance?

The big question is do we expect this will happen organically? Or is there an opportunity to learn the lessons of Gov1 and to to give it a push through a more fluid, accessible and scalable operational approach than the council?

Solution - OpenGov Incubator Fund

An agile on-chain organisation using the shokunin model, populated with an emerging collective of members aiming to become governance delegates within DotSama.

This initiator OpenOrg would be funded by Kusama and later Polkadot and be razor focused on driving experimentation, awareness and adoption of OpenGov.

Tools, services, structures, processes, creative projects, apps, UX/UI, events, experiences, education, entertainment...

A shokunin org uses time delayed proxies to create an 'optimistic' form of governance in that, any member of the proxy can queue a transaction which then executes unless others organise to stop it. We ultimately believe experienced teams know what is best to spend their time on and should be trusted to execute - with the assembled members providing oversight of their peers - knowing that they need to spend limited resources wisely.

Each member would also be aiming to evolve their own specific OpenGov delegation proposition and so each would benefit from the support of a wider group - each attempting to address challenges with understandind and making best use of the new governance system.

Over time, the fluid and emergent structures can naturally evolve and scale to becoming a waterfall of connected but independent DotSama orgs that can collectively push the project forward - solving DotSama's key challenges of adoption and awareness using our own tools to do it.


By structuring the system through shokunin style orgs, we can onboard aligned groups and collaborate closely, we also aim to create events and experiences dedicated to fostering creative collaboration.

We operate three community focused locations in London, France and Brazil that we have bootstrapped using funding from on-chain contribution over the past few years, with the aim of connecting crypto to real world needs.


In a bounty like manner, this initiative is designed to kickstart gov delegates, tooling and services for expanding the utility of OpenGov - so it is less focused on specific projects, and more about bringing talent together under a shared direction.

Teams can join and be funded with the aim of developing into independent but connected on-chain organisations that KSM (and later DOT) holders can delegate their votes to.

These shokunin addresses can also solicit external support from aligned investors, organisations and patrons.

The approach would aim for sustainability for gov delegates - rather than a blank cheque, the point of bootstrapping on-chain orgs has to be a path to active participation, onboarding of contributors and real revenues.

We expect that we can bootstrap both internal economies - gov delegates / on-chain orgs that offer services to other orgs, and also use this unique knowledge and access to novel resources to onboard external partners - including creators with large followings wishing to turn their followers into contributors or large corporates who will invest R&D funding into experiments that can better align their own resources with that of emerging talent, projects and teams.


Quoting from Jam's original (and inspiring) shokunin post.

Be excellent to one another and do good for the long term, you can and should do anything you believe will be beneficial to the goals of the network; inform and act, but permission is unneccessary, as long as you do things that wouldn't require forgiveness; any success is everyone's collective responsibility.

Funding request

**£1m in KSM to cover 12 months of R&D. **

The OpenGov Incubator Fund is itself designed to become an OpenGov delegate (meta) within the Treasury track, which would mean the funding would continue as long as people continue delegating meaning there would be no need to top up and the approach would become fluid.

There has also been the suggestion from Tom-stakingplus, the author of the Infrastructure Builders Programme that we could also consider an alternative route to the (paraphrasing):

Instead of constantly draining the treasury, we stake an amount and use the proceeds of staking to fund the program into the future. It should be possible to do this from a treasury proxy account through existing pallets. If we stake directly from the treasury and change the reward destination to the OpenGov proxy it wouldn't even be a spend proposal from gov2 perspective.

Funding address

A time delayed proxy on the Kusama/Kabocha blockchain TBD

Funding oversight

Decent Partners core team will maintain a multisig that also acts as oversight.

We aim to enable Kusama governance to have time delayed permissions for emergency oversight through the collectives pallet.

In time as more orgs contribute to the programme, we can further manage the oversight.


There will be quarterly reports covering activites, funding and learning.

We will be documenting the process through film-making and interviews, bringing the experiment to life in entertaining ways.

Long term incentive alignment

Over the longer term we also aim to contribute KAB as collateral to back the proposition through the ParaNotes model, further aligning the incentives between relay, parachain and on-chain org.

We believe this approach can operate as a companion / alternative to the current approach of crowd-loans to securing slots.

This approach can also lead towards the development of an OpenGov parachain incubator programme, completing the full development lifecyle purely through on-chain governance, funding and contribution - further expanding Polkadot's credentials when it comes to claims of sufficient decentralisation.

Kickstarting team

We Decent Partners (DP) will kickstart the venture and onboard other interested groups (shokunin, chaosDAO, PolkaHaus, WagMedia etc) who have assembled talent, experience and are aligned with the core values of Web3.

DP are a UK based company and on-chain organisation primarily located on the Edgeware blockchain, where we have been organising, structuring and funding proposals for the past 3 years as council member, contributor and the developer of the Network Services model of on-chain talent development, coordination and management.

We kickstarted the creation of a Kusama parachain created entirely from on-chain funding grants through Edgeware's treasury system, bootstrapping a network and learning every facet of the process from the ground up.

We are now developing a novel form of on-chain identity system on Kabocha called Seeds) for grass roots on-chain organisations and future governance delegates within DotSama.

Selected posts:

Prior to that we contributed to Decred's onchain governance system, resulting in this outline of our experience. Note many of the issues in Substrate governance are replicated in other on-chain governed systems.

We bring together deep experience that covers blockchain, substrate development, on-chain governance, community development, media production and distribution, fund management, grant-making, impact reporting, brand partnerships, compliance and regulation.

Our core team:


This proposal is itself a fluid and evolving document - we are in discussion with members of Shokunin, ChaosDAO, PolkaHaus, Nova, RMRK and a number of parachain teams who may well become partners of the initiative. The current maximum members of a proxy is 32 members, but this can be extended via linking further proxies.



We are beginning this experiment with a request to Kusama, but we aim to have both Edgeware and Kabocha running and experimenting with OpenGov and these two networks will also become contributors to the overall initiative, contributing experience, talent and blockspace.

We hope just as the Substrate builder's programme is chain / team agnostic, so the OpenGov Incubator Fund can expand its funding sources and network partners as OpenGov becomes more standardised across the ecosystem.

External parties

We have a number of creative teams, startups and companies keen to experiment with on-chain governance and collaborative creation that will be introduced over time.

Auto Fabrica - design studio and emerging collective

Kinterrella - magnetic energy storage enabling decentralised off-grid energy production.

Maia Pictures - drama and comedy production company

Phantom Land - an independent, digitally-led creative agency headquartered in London, with a second studio PHQ based in Auckland.

Vacuum Labs - engineering, design, product development, and data science services for the fintech industry.