7. Anticipated Concerns

While we can’t conceive of every scenario, we’ve tried to think critically about deficiencies when they’ve presented themselves. If you see a devious edge case, an organizational pitfall - please join the Stateful Works Discord to discuss, and hopefully add it here!

7.3 Culture / Big Questions

How long should the Protocol Guild exist?

  • It’s unclear when, but at some point it should probably cease to exist. It may end up no longer being an effective draw to retain talent, or may become corrupted or otherwise coopted, or may even become unnecessary if (when) the protocol completes its evolutionary course. However, members present in the lead up to that possible future should be attentive to the signs of negative outcomes. The inertia to maintain itself will be self-animating, an egregore harnessed by the mystic capabilities of core Ethereum development. Inasmuch, the egregore desires to continue living and will therefore recognize attempts to curtail its growth. Members would do well to remember that this has been the case from the beginning, and remind new cohorts of developers of this reality as they are onboarded.

Why hasn’t anyone built this before?

  • It’s unlikely that one project from the ecosystem would have the capacity to take responsibility for all the coordination efforts related to collecting and maintaining a list of contributors. If it did happen, the project would eventually find themselves with an immense amount of power as the gatekeeping curator.

  • The contacts did not exist until now (0xSplits).

  • Core devs are largely too focused on other things to coordinate such an effort

Broadly, how will this design fail?

  • If voluntaryism and donation-based funding does not scale sufficiently to the levels this mechanism needs in order to be effective.

  • If developers reject the responsibilities and pressures associated with self-governing an asset stream.

Will long-term vesting lead to stagnation in core development roles?

  • In the sense of gatekeeping/groupthink/capture, we sincerely hope not. There’s certainly a possibility that previously effective people may get stuck in a position if the incentive is significant enough. However, this is no different from any other job with performance requirements, crypto or otherwise. If someone is not performing adequately, they will be removed from their job and then from the list. If anything, the infusion of new perspectives as the set grows will be a healthy process.

  • With the conclusion of each vesting period, everyone starts at 0 again, having to convince other members (and more broadly, the public), that they are legitimate heirs to the Protocol Guild name and legacy. Competition for scarce political purchase means there will be alliances, intrigue, rebalances. Anyone can copy this blueprint and create their own competing versions. We anticipate that even the initial cohort now will unavoidably have its own political undercurrents! A blooming society actively evolves their systems to avoid settling into patterns too soon. So we should continue - see the approaching Leviathan peeking over the horizon, pull ourselves towards well considered implementations, norms, visions. Subtle frameworks like this interface between the social and the economic resources a group traffics in. They are dense confluences of swirling power - what we’re doing is preempting inevitability.