The Path to Increasing Decentralization within Radicle

:sunflower: An overview of the current and future structure of the Radicle project

From its inception, Radicle was envisioned as a new kind of open-source project — one built, governed, and financed on the internet. Throughout the last year, the team has been deploying the technical, economic, and social foundations necessary to achieve this vision.

The launch of RAD, the native governance token of the network, was a very important step towards the technical & economic decentralization of Radicle. Control of the project’s smart contracts was decentralized among the Radicle community and the Radicle Treasury was established. Holding over 50% of RAD token supply, the Radicle Treasury is publicly managed and governed on-chain as a decentralized organization, enabling Radicle token holders to coordinate around its deployment and distribution. In practice, the Radicle Treasury will fund the maintenance, development, and growth of the Radicle network and its participants in perpetuity.

Startup → Community

With these technical & economic foundations in place, the Network is now positioned to create healthy and sustainable social foundations for Radicle maintainers, contributors, and community members.

Up until now, core development for the Radicle project has been coordinated via Monadic, a venture-funded company created to make decentralized code collaboration a reality. Today, Monadic is being dissolved and all core teams will now be supported by the Radicle Foundation, a Swiss non-profit entity created to support the decentralization of the Radicle network.

The Radicle Foundation raised $12M from an initial private token sale. In addition to this, it controls 5% of RAD token supply and the Radicle trademarks. Its purpose is to deploy its allocated capital to support the maintenance & core development of the Radicle stack and other resilient, non-extractive peer-to-peer technologies. The Foundation board will coordinate project-wide strategy and objectives that will be used to intentionally allocate capital towards development that will positively impact the project.

The Foundation’s Strategy & Objectives will be published yearly, alongside the objectives of each core team.

Transitioning to the DAO

While the Radicle Foundation will coordinate and fund core maintainers & contributors for now, ultimately all project development will be funded via the Radicle Treasury, aka the Radicle DAO. Therefore, the prime directive of the Foundation is to support the development and growth of collective community infrastructure that can be employed to further decentralize the project.

The reason being: building Radicle within the traditional paradigm, as for example a SaaS or open-core company, would force users to remain in a customer/corporation relationship, leaving them vulnerable to eventual extraction. If Radicle is to be a resilient collaboration infrastructure that truly respects user freedoms, it needs to be developed with trust-minimization in mind, be accessible to anyone in the world, all while remaining adaptive and competitive in a market with well-funded mega-corporations. The only way out of this pattern is to build free and open source networks that are self-sustaining and community-run.

“OSS is best understood neither as primarily a technical development or social process perspective, but instead as an inherent network of interacting socio­technical processes, where its technical and social processes are intertwined, co­dependent, co­evolving, and thus inseparable in performance”

— Chris Jensen and Walt Scacchi, “Governance in Open Source Software Development Projects: A Comparative MultiLevel Analysis”

Open source communities have already proven to be ripe arenas for community governance and coordination. Employing crypto-tooling to improve the systems that came before will enable a new paradigm for developing, maintaining, and sustaining free and open source software. The Radicle project’s mission is to steward this new vision of open-source by continuously iterating on how to best implement the project’s core values of trust-minimization, non-extraction, and peer-to-peer.

Authority and influence will continue to be distributed within the project; meanwhile, the Radicle Foundation will take part in developing the social infrastructure necessary to support healthy & effective community governance. A critical first priority will be to empower a group of community contributors to activate governance of the Radicle Treasury, with the goal of developing sustainable processes for deploying the Radicle Treasury funds to support project development and the Radicle ecosystem.

14 Likes

This looks like a hopeful plan to continue walking the decentralized walk :muscle:

It’s fantastic Radicle is doing this at these early stages in its development. In my experience, the longer a project waits to decentralize, the harder it becomes to do so.

How will the community contributors be selected, e.g. will there be an application process?

1 Like