The Radicle ecosystem has an ambitious goal: to create the infrastructure for a free and open internet. To protect and further this mission over time, Radicle has been transitioning decision-making to its community of developers, users, token holders, investors, and founders.
Planning this transition prompted an important question: would a one-token-one-vote governance system advance or erode Radicle’s core mission? Without protections (e.g., voting mechanisms, more distributed voting participation, checks-and-balances, etc.) would the financial interests of token holders ultimately lead to decisions that threaten its founding mission?
To pre-empt this risk, Radicle asked Apiary to support in designing a governance system that would ensure the successful stewardship of its mission over time.
Designing governance beyond the norm
As many DAOs have found, moving beyond the norm of a one-token-one-vote system is complex. In all decisions, and especially those that change the underlying dynamics of power, there are technical, legal, and social complexities to be considered. To avoid this complexity, we often jump to solutions without all the relevant information about the community in hand.
To build an effective governance system, we must first ask:
Answering these questions is essential to building an effective governance system, and to designing its most foundational element: who has power to influence or direct change?
To answer these questions for Radicle, we completed a comprehensive qualitative analysis of the community. Over three months, we analyzed all existing documentation and historical decision-making processes. We also conducted more than 20 formal and informal interviews with community members representing the ecosystem’s core stakeholder groups.
The output of our analysis is an Insights & Recommendations Report which presents the information gathered along with a series of recommendations for the DAO’s governance, culture, and future.
Recommendations & next steps
The research revealed several insights into the community: its stakeholder demographics, culture, self-perception, challenges, and opportunities for improved success.
Two insights in particular catalyzed immediate action from the Radicle team:
To address these issues, we have been working with the founders, core team, and community to define and communicate Radicle’s purpose. Once defined, this purpose will serve as the foundation for iterating on and advancing the ecosystem’s governance system.
Sign up for Apiary’s newsletter to stay in the know as our work with Radicle progresses.