Announcing Regen Foundation’s first cohort of enDAOment Participants

The Regen Foundation ensures that the broader Regen Network is a community-owned and governed infrastructure. We do this through the stewarding of Community Staking DAOs (csDAO). We are excited to announce Regen Foundation’s first-ever enDAOment cohort in now live. It’s an exciting moment for both the greater Regen Network and ReFi community, but before we introduce this cohort’s participants, let’s first discuss how we select enDAOment participants.

Our goal at Regen Foundation is to amplify historically marginalized communities addressing sociocultural issues in ecology, economics, and tech and the more than human world within Regen Network and Regen Ledger community decision-making. In doing so, we work to ensure partnerships that foreground equity and inclusion in network evolution and governance are prioritized through active dialogue around our values and prioritization criteria outlined below.

Prioritization Criteria

  • Mission Alignment – Aligned with our values of equity, regenerative economics, bioregionalism, and community-based governance
  • Representation in ReFi Space – Prioritize communities disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis such as land stewards, bioregions of high vulnerability such as “Global South”, experience legacies of racism, sexism, & colonialism
  • Contributions to Public Good of Ecosystem – Contribute essential perspectives and tooling to support subsequent participants such as scientific expertise, regenerative land or water practices, engineering, education, translation, activism, legal, and design
  • History of Applied Regeneration – Established track record of 1-2 projects delivered successfully in their field of expertise
  • Mature Process and Knowledge Base – Organizations work to make process and knowledge, open-source, or foreground accessibility with clear internal democratic procedures and high internal accountability
  • Established Practices of Governance – Established track record of involving the community in governance with the capacity to mediate internal or external conflict and/or align with a code of conduct
  • Digital Maturity – Ability to designate a “fellow” who is the primary digital bridge to partner with validators, onboard onto the Cosmos system, and participate meaningfully in on-chain governance
  • Capacity to Co-Create with Readiness and Optimism – Willing to work with incomplete models and designs and co-shape them while working together, bringing energy to others who work with them needed to sustain momentum

Our Approach

For this first cohort, our approach focused on 3 primary bioregions which reflect the diverse practices and systems of knowledge of regenerators: Indian Subcontinent, Colombia (northern region of South America more generally), Salmon Nation (north California into Pacific Northwest). In doing so, we sought a mix of both practice-based and bioregionally based groups. Some Community Staking DAO’s are both! By balancing placed-based communities with approach and skill-based communities, we hope to maximize the constructive support and perspectives communities bring to one another.

This being our first cohort, our prioritization also included the ability for these groups to be good mentors to future enDAOment participants. Because of this, we considered how the communities show up, engage, and support the broader Regen Network in thought and action. Lastly, we hoped for a diversity of familiarity with regeneration, technology, and Web3 principles to better understand the needs and challenges of place-based communities in becoming DAOs.

Meet the enDAOment Cohort

North East Network – India

NEN was founded in 1995, as a broad platform for building linkages among organizations and individuals, to add diversity to the women’s movement by highlighting women’s issues in India’s Northeast Region (NER). NEN strongly believes that both women-centered and youth-centered collective action can bring about or contribute positively to societal change. NEN uses a transdisciplinary, multiple-lens approach to problem-solving in its four thematic areas – gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women (VAW), governance and state accountability, natural resource management, and sustainable livelihood. NEN works with and maintains close ties to indigenous communities in NER.

Earth Regenerators – Colombia

A community of 3800 people working in two primary areas of focus: the cultivation of social support for individuals as they make the transition from extractive economies into regenerative livelihoods and the enactment of the design pathway for regenerating Earth. Earth Regenerators use the prosocial process to develop the psychological and social capacities to guide personal and collective transformation. They are prototyping bioregional regenerative economies on 500,000 hectares of tropical dry forest in Barichara, Colombia.

ANEI – Colombia, New York, US

Ethos is a team of coffee sector and supply chain experts specializing in value chain design, partnership building, and research.

Grameena Vikas Kendram (GVK Society) – India

GVK Society’s mission is to build regenerative and circular agricultural supply chains that optimize value for small and marginal farmers. GVK society aspires to convert 1,500,000 acres of degenerative farms into resilient and thriving regenerative landscapes. They currently work directly with 13,000 farmer families in more than 650 villages in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, South India. GVK strongly focuses on women empowerment, carbon sequestration, improving soil water-holding capacity, elimination of harmful agrochemicals and GMOs, biodiversity conservation, and community resilience at all levels.

Terran Collective – California, US

The purpose of Terran Collective is to amplify cooperation among people regenerating our communities and our planet, in service to creating a world that works for all. Our work is creating systems and tools that increase participation, build trust, and distribute responsibilities & accountability out towards the edges, where real change is happening. We see our land, our resources, and our communities as a commons, and we work to grow the understanding that stewarding these shared resources is a shared responsibility.

Kulshan Carbon Trust – Washington, US

KCT’s goal is to build alliances so that people can work together to draw down carbon in ways that regenerate the land and build prosperous communities. Our mission is to conserve and sequester carbon through collaborative natural climate solutions in our service territory. At the heart of the concept is a network of non-profit organizations called carbon conservation trusts (or carbon trusts) that acquire and secure non-possessory property interests in carbon. KCT is currently demonstrating “proof of concept” for its carbon conservation trust model by implementing within the Regen Network a Biochar eco-credit methodology.

SmartAgronomics – Germany

SmartAgro works with governments, academia, and the private sector to reverse climate change with regenerative farming. Working on Cambodian and German soil regeneration projects using MRV.

Rooting Regenerative Finance

Over the next few months, we’re looking forward to kicking off our peer-to-peer communication and engagement within the cohort. Our short-term goal is to bring all members of the enDAOment cohort to a minimum viable capacity in setting up DAO logistics and familiarity with the Regen Registry program guide. To advocate and incorporate a diverse cohort of regenerative practitioners brings about many complex and exciting challenges. We look forward to developing and coordinating the enDAOment program with you all. Our diversity of regenerative perspectives is our strength. With the voices, knowledge, and practices of land stewards, Regen Network stays grounded.

Valuechains hold the key to unlocking the potential of Regenerative Finance

Rice farmers in Hanoi, Vietnam

We humans are collectively creating a reality that none of us individually want: climate crisis, mass extinction, and climax inequality are all rooted in a web of patterns shaping our interactions which can be summarised as “globalised capitalism”. A new set of stories is needed to replace this dysfunctional system. And fast. One of these stories speaks of an alternative operating system for human life on earth, using decentralised databases and exchanges channeling value flows ignored and excluded by financial accounting. Its protagonists, such as members of the Regen Network, invite us to relate to the more-than-human-world by designing more-than-money-markets. Regen Network focuses on payments for ecosystem services, but similar interventions can be imagined for other aspects of life we value that are externalised by the market, such as art, culture, wisdom, care work, etc.

Current Status of Regen Network

So we made a blockchain. And proved that it works for large farmers and large corporations. Now the question is: does it work for “the 99%”? Or more specifically the 80% of ecologically sensitive areas on the planet stewarded by indigenous people? And the 80% of agricultural land stewards that are smallholder farmers?

The premise of fixing market failure by more markets is counterintuitive, to say the least. This could easily become another Ponzi scheme, a speculative bubble benefiting the already privileged elite with the largest ecological footprints – and thus making matters worse (by providing a false sense of security and postponing behaviour change). But it could also become a platform for people and the planet to retake control over the algorithms that shape our economy. What’s it gonna be: top or flop?

Ways Forward

The answer is: we won’t know until we start implementing minimum viable versions and iterate from there. Because there are too many variables to assume success or failure. We often hear tech innovators describe their predicament as “flying an aeroplane while building it”. But in this case, we’re not even sure if what we’re building is a plane, a spaceship, or a donkey cart. 

  • On the one hand, we are a technology project operating in the payment for ecosystem services market and see similar projects moving very fast to quickly capture commercial opportunities, so maybe we are a Registry – like Verra or Gold Standard, but then for claims beyond just carbon. 
  • On the other hand, we are a community project, serving anyone who wants to get involved with shaping the future of the Regen Ledger and the ecosystem data stored on it, so maybe we are a Wikipedia, but then for ecological data.
  • Or… we could be a combination of the two with a few more identities… 

As Dave Snowden explains in his management framework (see Cynefin): when operating in unexplored territory the appropriate approach is to probe then sense and respond, allowing the path forward to reveal itself. Or, as Fritjof Capra recommends: to design for emergence. What does that look like in the case of Regen Network? I see two key ingredients:

  1. One key to a meaningful probe-sense-response process is to have critical stakeholders in our calls, chat windows, and zoom rooms who understand the implications of our tech deployment for real-world communities and landscapes and care enough about the opportunities to address the risks. Starry-eyed believers won’t expose our blind spots, and cynical naysayers won’t have the patience to prevent chucking the baby out with the bathwater. 
  2. A second key is for these critical thinkers to have access to testing grounds, where
  • Field-based requirements (ie, problems to address with new tools) can be signaled and aggregated to gather critical mass (some pilots require overheads that are too much for a small scale project to bear);
  • End-users can be involved in the design of the tools and processes, so that they have a higher chance of actually being used (eg: which functions require internet access? what kind of devices can the software run on, what language is required, etc?)
  • Teams testing similar tools and designs can learn from each other, keeping up morale and avoiding wasting time on duplication;
  • Promising experiments smoothly find their way to implementation so that the cycle of invention>testing>praxis can be completed allowing teams to move to the next challenge. (this implies integration between LABs, pilots, testnet, and mainnet realms)

The Valuechain Proposition

Disclaimer: I am deeply biased about working with value chains because my background is in organic fairtrade food and fibres. And yet I genuinely believe there is a strong case for bringing the worlds of web3 / crypto and agri-based supply chain development / ethical sourcing together.

Products that move from producers (growers harvesting crops) to consumers, through the hands of processors, traders, and designers, have the potential to bring people together across cultures, religions, and political beliefs. In these relationships, the two key ingredients mentioned above come together to create ideal conditions for collective learning.

Both coffee drinkers and cultivators identify with coffee. Both fashion designers and workers in sewing factories can relate to cotton fabric with a passion. If these material flows are such an important part of the lives of millions of people across the planet, why are we not organising ourselves along the lines of valuechain communities? Such social constellations would be natural multi-stakeholder platforms convening people from different backgrounds, each with complementary expertise and perspectives. I would even go so far as to predict that such alliances are going to be crucial to responding to the increasingly complex challenges our industries will face in the future.

But how does this help Regen Network find out if it has a role to play in the lives of indigenous and smallholder farmers and their soils, crops, livestock, and landscapes? The answer is again two-pronged: Stories and Relationships.

Stories

A ledger (decentralised or otherwise) is basically a logbook. A journal with references we tap into when we need to make sense of our world. In the evolution of Data, we arrived at a point where we realise cold numbers are not enough. As Nora Bateson has been explaining, we need Warm Data (see her LAB).

If we want to know whether we are making the web of life better or worse, we can ask the ledger questions such as “How is the forest doing?” “How healthy is the soil?” “What does the fox say?” (sorry, another disclaimer: I’m a Ylvis fan). Now, who better to ask for such updates than the people living on and with the land (or ocean)? This has a co-benefit that it will pull us Western, urban thinking intellectuals out of our screen-mediated mirror cages and confront us with local ecological knowledge systems. Boom!

Relationships

Apart from certain indigenous communities who live in self-selected isolation, everyone is exposed to markets. That means they are inter bioregional relationships. Buyer-supplier ones, competipeer ones, inspector-licensee ones. Etc. As humans, we all want pretty much the same, but as I said in the introduction we’re not creating a world we want because we’re stuck in outdated patterns propagated by unsustainable value systems and goals. A regenerative economy requires relations that go beyond superficial transactions and commodity exchanges. How?

  • The Regen Registry offers a platform to co-create standards specific to each chain (we call them ecocredits, but you can tokenize to your heart’s content once you get the hang of it, including localised mutual credit systems such as the ones promoted by Grassroots Economics in Kenya or social currencies as promoted by Cambiatus in Costa Rica).
  • Community staking DAO’s allow groups who trade together to form and govern a shared treasury and use this to align incentives with shared dreams. The web2 version of this would be a coop of coops such as Justa Trama in Brasil. Web3 makes this accessible for any group anywhere in the world.
  • Both the warm data and the DAO structure can be ways to include the more-than-human world in human decision making, such as explored by USA-Canada cross border watershed governance groups.

These relationships will shape the stories and are, in turn, informed by them. Let’s look at an example:

A cooperative of indigenous farmers in Colombia who have been custodians of a sacred mountain landscape for generations is also exporting container loads of coffee to the USA. Their wilderness stewarding so far did not feature in the commercial conversation about the coffee, though it is an integral part of the farmers’ approach to growing the beans.

In the USA, busy urbanites craving a sense of connection with the planet are watching Netflix documentaries like My Octopus Teacher but don’t realise that actually their morning espresso already puts them directly in connection with one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

What if the act of buying this coffee would not just be a superficial transaction but a multi-layered exchange of deeply meaningful values? What if the brand who is in between the grower and the drinker would act not as a hoarder of surplus but as a facilitator and catalyst for more direct relationships between the nose and tail ends of the value chain?

In Western urban markets saturated with commodified stuff, authentic relationships are one of the few avenues for growth. In rural areas, respect and dignity are what is needed to keep stewards from migrating to slums and forsaking local wisdom.

Valuechains offer a rare opportunity to cover that famous last mile to reach smallholder stewards and invite them to bring in the grounded voices that the web3 platforms such as Regen Network need in order to keep them on track. The value exchanges already happening are a perfect playground for creative ideas.

With What In Mind?

In this early phase of learning about ecological impact beyond carbon, verification beyond remote sensing, and all the many shapes and colours of true biodiversity, it makes sense to focus on stewards who have one foot in the market and one foot in the wilderness.

But to ensure our learning at this stage serves the next generations of the market as well as non-market-based solutions, we need to adopt an open-source approach and culture, which means:

Copyleft, not Copyright. We are experimenting and learning on behalf of Life on Earth -our results and models belong to Nobody in Particular (kind of obvious if we realise that the problems we are solving don’t belong to anyone -so why would the solutions?)

Interoperable. One of the words in the web3 lexicon that brings discipline to the practice, where we see all our creations as pieces of a larger puzzle (the opposite of laptop or phone companies making sure their customers can’t use their friend’s charging cables!)

Breadcrumbs. Leaving a trail of error logs and bug fixes, cumulative insights, and realisations, so our successors can easily catch up (this reminds me of professional chess players who document their games for new entrants in the sport -like an institutional memory of the fraternity)

Join Us

This was a brief explanation of the rationale behind coupling Regen Network to valuechain projects. If you like to be a part of this journey in any way, please write to me at gijs@regen.foundation. I look forward to learning together!

Join the conversation, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin!

Updates to EnDAOment Criteria

Ferns in New Mexico, shot by the author

A lot has changed since we first published the Regen Network Whitepaper in October of 2017! DAOs have taken off as a mechanism of blockchain governance, and numerous tools and conventions have been developed.

We’re ready to launch our first two Community Staking DAOs on Regen Ledger—with Commons Stack and OpenTEAM.

Following the “built-in-public” ethic, we’d like to revisit the original enDAOment criteria and have an opportunity to reflect on what has shifted in the past few years.

Here’s what we had written in the whitepaper:

5.5 Community Staking Pools

30 million $REGEN will be placed in the Community Staking Pool at genesis block, split between no less than three constituency groups.

Criteria for a constituency DAO formation (taking over keys):

  • Signed by no less than 10 addresses that are verified by Regen Foundation and the Validator Set
  • KYC/AML: Organization in good standing in approved legal jurisdiction of incorporation (list pending)
  • Ratify a statement of fiduciary responsibility for ecosystem health clause in corporate bylaws of organization of signer.
  • Exclusive use of network through DAO Agreement: The organization must sign a legal document stating that they do not and will not personally hold or manage any $REGEN for any reason (e.g. that they will restrict their interactions with the network through the DAO that they belong to and manage). Note: if this is discovered to not be true, this organization will be removed from the constituency governance DAO by vote of the DAO.
  • Drafting and adoption of DAO operating agreements
  • Legal reflection of DAO operating structure: DAO must be incorporated in appropriate legal jurisdiction and have contracts with Regen Foundation outlining the appropriate responsibilities and rights.

Like any staked entity on the network, a DAO can both be slashed and will earn block rewards and fees and can vote on what to do with those fees ensures that this community is deeply aligned with the shared value generation of the network.

Before these DAOs have come online, the Foundation will steward these token pools by delegations to approved validators. The approval process of these validators will follow a strict selection process which will prioritize:

  • Security and competency of operation (no delegations will be allowed to operators running purely cloud-based set ups)
  • Rating of support of bootstrapping the network (performance in test nets and longevity of testnet participation)
  • Distribution of stake to ensure diversification security

All of this stake will be validated as close to genesis as possible. Redeligation will occur for security and any actions deemed abusive to the community (such as fee gouging). Until which point the DAOs are formed, Regen Foundation will abstain from voting tokens reserved for future constituency DAOs (promise of no overrides). 

What does the process look like now?

Each new DAO signs a “Grant Responsibility Expenditure Agreement.” This agreement was originally drafted before we planned on using it for the enDAOment process. Token grants used in the formation of DAOs are rather unusual, in that they’re permanent endowments. This document was originally written like a normal grant agreement—assuming funds would be received, spent down, and the grant would be concluded. The agreement has been updated to take into account the permanent nature of these grants. Given this direction, we’ve renamed the part of the document that articulates the purpose of the grant as the “charter.” This term better articulates the weight of DAO formation.

To look at an example, Common Stack’s charter outlines the Foundation’s grant for the following purpose:

for Stewarding the Community Staking DAO, Ambassadorship (e. g. curation, research collaboration, events and speaking opportunities, AMAs, content creation), Strategic Advisory Support (e. g. case studies from the Token Engineering Commons launch, community staking DAOs incubation with the Trusted Seed and/or Donor Advised Funds, explore synergies in crypto-philanthropy and using Giveth), and support the launch of multiple DAOs/Commons deployments within Regen Network via advisory support and community cross-collaboration, communications, events, and promotion.

The grant document has also been updated with various disclosures. As these token grants are permanently locked, Regen Foundation does not have the ability to rescind grants. That said, if a DAO shifted to malicious activity, etc. Regen Foundation or another community member could bring about an on-chain referendum for token holders to consider whether or not that DAOs funds should be confiscated (just as any blockchain can do, such as during the infamous hack of “the DAO” on Ethereum in 2016). Additionally, as outlined in the grant agreement, recipients commit to publicly publishing financials and updates, so that the larger community is aware of their contributions and status.

One of the legal requirements we’ve realized in the DAO formation process is that, as these are technically grants, we need a non-profit fiscal sponsor on the receiving end (although this non-profit can be a pass-through entity). In the cases of our first two DAOs, there is an affiliated non-profit. With future DAOs, we will likely encounter scenarios where we need to recruit non-profit community members to serve as fiscal sponsors to receive a DAO grant, and foresee this as a place we need to grow additional network capacity.

We’ve also learned that incremental token grants complexify DAO administration, as, in the current codebase, locked wallets can only receive an initial transfer of locked tokens. Each additional grant requires a fresh wallet with no transaction history. There may be work arounds—such as future upgrades to the codebase, or a DAO simply having multiple REGEN wallets.

On the pattern level, we’ve realized that there are at least two meta types of DAOs: bioregional (organized around a geographic location, such as the Amazon) and guild (focused on an arena, such as remote sensing). We’re still exploring the implications of these distinctions. As our Board Director, Kei Kreutler, pointed out on her recent interview with Epicenter, the one thing that she’s confident DAOs will be in the future is multi-chain, and we anticipate both bioregional and guild DAOs integrating other aims and communities (Commons Stack is a good example of this, in that their DAO already lives on xDai/Gnosis Chain, so this REGEN grant will bring them into the Cosmos SDK space).

We had imagined a set of selection criteria in October 2021, and set their “expiry date” for February 2022. So now is the time for review and design of the next generation of metrics.

Are you interested in participating in co-evolving these criteria, and the way in which DAOs enter and move through the enDAOment pipeline? Please join our bi-weekly governance calls at noon Eastern on Wednesdays. Reach out to us on Discord or Twitter to be added to the calendar invite.

Whom Does Regen Foundation Serve?

A photo taken in 2015 at WIRRED by the author
Oral edition of the blog post, read by the author

Our team is currently going through a branding process led by better world blockchain marketing agency, LOA Labs. The following is the result of a reflective writing process on the vision of Regen Foundation. Vision speaks to the image of the world we aspire to co-create, and whom we serve. In the spirit of open-source process and community cooperation, reflections and comments are appreciated.

The envisioned future that Regen Foundation aims to co-create

In the broadest sense of the term, agriculture has become the single largest contributor to ecological regeneration across the planet. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) have surpassed biological product revenue as the dominant mode of agricultural income. Land stewards—from smallholder cacao growers in Ecuador, to ranchers in Australia, to indigenous nations of the Taiga—have been able to flip commodity/PES markets on their heads, so that they set the prices of their products and receive a living wage for their work. Land stewards have organized within their communities to develop true bioregional commons, and have invested in common infrastructure that contributes both to local self-sufficiency, as well as the ability to participate in high-value global markets.

Millions of scientists, Web3 engineers, and artists everywhere are receiving livelihood support for their contributions to a myriad of ever-evolving EcoCredit methodologies, dApps, and cultural content built on Regen Ledger and within the surrounding community. Along the way, scientists, land stewards, software developers, cultural creators, and consumers become ever more intimately aware of the animistic life force of their places. They come to recognize how, through their own lived experience, they’re able to feel shifts in the livingness of the world around them and understand its connections with their actions.

Indigenous nations have become the most powerful political actors globally. They steward the largest contiguous blocks of land of any nation, and their political sway has surpassed that of former global powerhouses such as the US, China, Russia, India, and the European Union. This has resulted in a meteoric efflorescence of biodiversity hotspots, reversing the decades-long Holocene Extinction. Indigenous peoples have been able to restore the lifeways of their ancestors in a way that brings their lives deeper meaning, enhances their autonomy and agency in the global theater, and serves as a touchstone of inspiration and wisdom for all peoples of the world.

The Rights of Nature movement has had sweeping legislative victories across the globe. Whereas formerly multinational corporations were the most powerful individual actors—rivers, glaciers, forests, and other natural entities have taken the helm. Along the way, people have recognized their peership with non-human beings. Humans have re-established treaties and accords with Salmon Nation, Beaver Nation, Panther Nation, Redwood Nation, Coral Nation, and countless other keystone species both legally and culturally. No longer are humans in the lonely position of the only sentient beings on Earth; they’re surrounded by the boundless wellspring of clear-sightedness brought by the more-than-human elders that have been awaiting our remembrance.

Maturing Autonomy: Separation Between the Founding Legal Entities of Regen Network

TL;DR: Regen Network Development, Inc. and Regen Foundation no longer have crossover in personnel.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Since our inception, Regen Network has been committed to decentralization. Today marks an inflection point on this path. I have resigned from the Board of Directors at Regen Network Development, Inc. (“RND”) and Gregory Landua, CEO at RND, has resigned as a Board Director from Regen Foundation. Regen Foundation directors, officers, etc. don’t own any shares in RND. Gregory and I were the only personnel who crossed over between entities, and now each entity is autonomous from the other. I will continue to serve in my post as President of the Board of Regen Foundation for the time being.

Even during the period where we did have Board crossover, Regen Foundation has taken precautions to ensure an arm’s length relationship between entities. Regen Foundation’s Conflict-of-Interest Policy and our Token Ownership & Trading Policy can be found via the links.

This moment marks a milestone in the maturation of the ecosystem. A year ago I left my staff post at RND and wrote a retrospective on the previous three years. Looking back over the year since, we’ve launched mainnet, passed a governance proposal  to expand the validator set to 75 nodes, the Foundation has hired its founding Executive Director, and we’re poised to launch our inaugural Community Staking DAO with Commons Stack. I can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds for both Regen Foundation and the Regen Network ecosystem as a whole!

Welcoming New Validators into the Expanded Set

Upgrading the Community Staking DAO Allocation Delegation Strategy

TL;DR—After opening up the question to community input, Regen Foundation will be expanding its delegation policy for the next 10mm REGEN delegated to include the 25 new validators in the set.

A pretty nature photo I shot in Wales in 2011. Hopefully it leaves you more inclined to click on this post!

On August 8th, Regen Ledger’s validator set was increased from 50 to 75, via governance vote #3. In anticipation of this move, we at Regen Foundation published a three-month retrospective on our Community Staking DAO delegation strategy, and opened up a forum discussion for how we might upgrade this strategy in light of the expanded validator set.

Regen Foundation is working to distribute 30+mm REGEN (~28% of the current token supply, held in this wallet) to Community Staking DAOs. In the interim, the Foundation is delegating a portion of these tokens.

On the other side of an AMA and forum discussion, there’s a clear consensus that Regen Foundation should expand its delegations strategy for this pool to validators 6 through 75 in the rankings (from the previous 6 through 50)—”Option 2″ from the forum discussion. This will take effect during our September and October delegations (5mm REGEN each).

Currently allocations are determined by placing in the rankings (essentially a bell curve) and equalizing for commission (down to 3%). There is an interest in factoring in other metrics, such as reputation, or contributions to the Regen Network ecosystem—but it is also clear that these metrics will not be mature enough for these two rounds of delegations, and will rather be rolled into subsequent redelegations later on.

Thank you for your comments and contributions to make this upgrade possible! We look forward to building with you!

Three Month Update: Community Staking DAO Delegations

TL/DR: Regen Foundation will delay its August 5mm c-REGEN delegation from the Community Staking DAO allocation in order to allow adequate time for community governance to upgrade the delegation strategy in light of the expanded validator set.

The vibe I’m going for in our community governance discourse. Photo by Valiant Made on Unsplash

Project Update

To recap: Regen Ledger, a Cosmos-based blockchain for ecological contracts, launched mainnet on April 15th of this year. Regen Foundation is responsible for distributing approximately 30% of the token supply to community stakeholders supporting our mission of ecological regeneration—such as farmers, researchers, engineers, indigenous nations, and rights of nature projects. (As an aside, we’re actively hiring for a Program Officer for the enDAOment process, as well as a Governance Lead.) In the interim, as we get these DAOs up and going, the Foundation is responsible for managing this pool in the best interest of the network. After a community process, we determined that approximately 83% of this allocation should be staked, and staked in a fashion to optimize for stake decentralization (both for the sake of security, as well as validator economics), while also still allowing new validators to make it into the set.

Over the past three month, we’ve successfully delegated just shy of 15mm c-REGEN across forty-six of the fifty validators in the active set (excluding the top validators so as not to contribute to stake centralization). You can see an analysis of token distribution with and without these delegations here. Although the Foundation can’t directly reduce stake centralization amongst the top few validators when measured as a percent of the total token supply (aside from refraining from delegating, which we’ve done), we have successfully decentralized stake as calculated as a percentage of stake tokens. Our biggest impact has been in the fees that validators in the bottom three quarters of the set are receiving—on average, our delegations have doubled commission revenues for these validators. Additionally, these delegations have resulted in a reordering of the validator set by voting power in favor of validators with lower commission.

Solicitation of Public Comment

Voting is currently underway for an expansion of the validator set from 50 to 75 validators, with a strong likelihood that this resolution will pass tomorrow.

How should the Foundation upgrade its CSDAO Delegation policy to accommodate this expanded validator set? There has already been discussion on this topic on various forums (Discord, Twitter, and the Regen Forum primarily). There’s isn’t yet community consensus.

There are three most likely pathways:

  • Option 1—Regen Foundation keeps its delegation policy as is, and doesn’t delegate to the new validators. Those arguing in favor of this pathway have pointed out that all of our initial 50 validators have been with Regen Network since before $REGEN was worth anything, and have proven themselves as committed community members. We will know less about many of the incoming validators.
  • Option 2—Regen Foundation expands its delegation policy to include the new validators in the set. Advocates of this pathway have argued that it would be unfair for the Foundation not to include these new validators in its delegation strategy. A more extreme version of this pathway would be to do some relegation to compensate for the fact that new validators have been left out of the first three rounds of delegations.
  • Option 3—the sky is the limit! We could integrate new factors into our algorithm, or incentivize specific community or network contributions (IBC relayers, additional block explorer support, methodology development, etc.). One caveat here is that, if the proposal entails significant engineering work to accomplish, it would further delay the delegation schedule past September resumption.

Schedule and Avenues for Engagement

You can find a Regen Forum discussion for this topic here. If you have comments or suggestions, this would be the first place I suggest you add them!

We will be hosting an AMA on Regen’s Discord (tentatively scheduled for 11:00am Eastern on Thursday the 19th).

Public comment will close on August 31st, Regen Foundation will integrate public input, and we’ll announce our new delegation strategy during the first weeks of September.

When to Vote?

Regen Ledger has begun the process of its first two network governance proposals. The first proposal concerns REGEN transfers (transfers within Regen Ledger). The second proposal concerns IBC transfers (transfers between Cosmos-based chains). At this inflection point in network maturity, it is worth reflecting on the culture and process whereby the Foundation should and might engage. In our Treasury Management Policy, we’ve established different approaches for voting for the two pools we steward. For our 5mm REGEN endowment, we’ve stated in section 1(d)(i):

“Regen Foundation will vote in alignment with its charitable cause, at its discretion.”

For the 30mm REGEN Community Staking pool we steward, we’ve stated in section 2(d)(i):

“Regen Foundation will not actively vote with these tokens.”

Now to turn to the issue at hand. The Foundation won’t vote with its 30mm REGEN pool, as this would exert undue influence. For our 5mm endowment, we’ve decided to refrain from voting. We are doing this for two reasons:

Firstly, through our delegation policy, and by the nature of the delegated Proof-of-Stake architecture, we’re relying on validators to meaningfully engage in these issues.

Secondly, these votes are about the fundamentals of the system architecture, and are not particularly controversial. They also don’t have a lot to do with the Foundation’s domains. The Foundation will serve as a voice for underrepresented stakeholders when needed. Staying aligned with this, the Foundation does intend to weigh in on some governance issues, but we feel it is more appropriate to abstain when the Foundation’s mission and competencies don’t directly relate to the issue at hand.

In conclusion, as a founding member of the Regen Network community attending to a specific facet of the broader ecosystem, the Foundation would like to be discerning in when we do and don’t vote our tokens.

Attending to Stake Distribution and Validator Economics

Regen Foundation’s Delegation Strategy for the 30mm Community Staking DAO Allocation

Context

Leading up to the April 15th Mainnet Launch of Regen Ledger, we at Regen Foundation published our delegation strategy for the Foundation’s 5mm REGEN.

Regen Foundation also stewards 30mm REGEN in an allocation focused on our Community Stake architecture. We’re working as quickly as we can to distribute this “cREGEN” (community REGEN—permanently locked) through the enDAOment process. In the meantime though, we need to develop a strategy for how we steward these tokens.

Process

On April 28th, I posted a proposal regarding delegation strategy of this allocation for public comment on the Regen Forum. On April 29th, I presented the basics during the Regen Network Community Developer Call. And then on May 4th, our Board Directors Gregory Landua and Kei Kreutler along with myself hosted office hours on the topic on the Regen Network Discord server. Public comment closed on the May 11th.

Policy

The Foundation plans to delegate 5mm cREGEN per month until 5mm cREGEN remain in this pool. The remainder will be used for Community Staking DAOs that we’re launching this year. If the pace of enDAOment (Community Staking DAO initialization) is moving along more quickly than that, the Foundation may not stake the full 25mm, as more would be going directly to DAOs.

Stake will be delegated across the most of the active validator set.

There are two metrics that we will be using at first to determine delegation:

  • Rankings (by stake)
  • Commission rate

We use rankings to create a bell curve for stake distribution across the set. Chris Remus, a founder of Chainflow, has commented on the general trend in PoS networks for stake to centralize amongst just a handful of validators at the top of the rankings. Chainflow is also backing this approach in the Regen ecosystem with a Delegation Program. Stake centralization is inversely correlated with network security. To compensate for this, the Foundation will reduce its allocations to top validators.

On the other end of the spectrum, network security is also affected by the dynamism of the validator set. For this reason, we also taper delegation weight as we approach the end of the active validator set, so that new validators have a better chance of being able to break into the set.

We equalize for commission rate (down to 3%)—a validator with a higher rate gets less stake than a validator with a lower rate, to equalize for their revenues from this stake.

The weighting by ranking utilized during this first round of delegations will be as follows:

  • Rank 1-5: no delegation
  • Rank 6-10: 0.25 weight
  • Rank. 11-15: 0.5 weight
  • Rank 16-35: weight of 1
  • Rank 36-40: 0.5 weight
  • Rank 41-45: 0.25 weight
  • Rank 46-50: 0.125 weight

Findings

Community members had a number of great questions and contributions to the policy:

  • Regen Ledger is focused on ecological regeneration. What are the ways that validators might contribute to this aim at the application level, and is there some way of systematically tracking these contributions? One corollary is the praise and CSTK score in the Commons Stack community.
  • In the future, the Foundation might consider a validator security audit, similar to what Celo performed?
  • There was discussion around a minimum commission correction. Originally I had proposed 1% (as some validators charge 0%). After community dialogue, this has been moved up to 3%. One factor to hold in mind here is that even if we’re compensating for validator take, larger delegations still result in higher governance weight.
  • Foundation policy on delegating to exchanges, once exchanges start running nodes (this may be solved simply through the commission adjustment)
  • If and when the validator set is expanded, this policy will be adjusted accordingly

Rollout

Sometime during the month of May, Regen Foundation will stake 5mm cREGEN according to this policy. We will continue to upgrade and iterate as we delegate and re-delegate in future months.

Other Foundation Delegations

At mainnet launch, the Foundation delegated its 5mm endowment across 25 validators. Due to some moniker alterations between testnets and mainnet, some validators didn’t make it onto this list. Some founders in Regen Network decided to address this issue by redelegating a portion of their own REGEN to these nodes. The Foundation is not going to relegate any of this pool at the moment, but will at some point in the future.

Announcing Launch of Regen Foundation.

Revathi Kollegala Photo
Revathi Kollegala Photo

Regen Foundation Hires Founding Executive Director – Revathi Kollegala

 The Regen Network ecosystem is maturing, recently marked by the launch of mainnet. Watch the replay of the launch party here if you weren’t able to tune into this historic event. The genesis of Regen Ledger also heralds the operational launch of Regen Foundation. Regen Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, is a sister organization of Regen Network Development, Inc. (developer of Regen Ledger), and is committed to cultivate and grow a diverse community of stakeholders to build tools in service to regeneration. 

 Regen Foundation Board President Will Szal: 

Regen Foundation’s first order of business will be to implement and iterate on our Community Staking DAOs architecture—a Proof-of-Stake variant that extends network governance to community members such as land stewards, landscapes, scientists, and developers. Between our Founding Executive Director, Revathi, and our Board—spanning the OpenTEAM, Gnosis, and Buckminster Fuller Institute communities—we’re off to a strong start.

Our Vision – The Three Pillars

1. Scientific Research and Inquiry

The Foundation aims to facilitate and nurture an open and collaborative process that supports the science needed for the Regen Network to produce scientifically robust, context specific protocols for the verification of ecological outcomes worldwide.

We are committed to open source and  believe that helping develop open and shared protocols are a key driver for the acceleration of planetary regeneration and a re-establishment of a healthy commons.

2. Education and Capacity Building

Regen Foundation also aims to enable the global agricultural and technological communities to learn, understand, and co-create the educational network needed to make ecological agriculture accessible and make a larger climate impact. We aim to help the agricultural community have easy access to scientifically validated practices and processes leading to robust environmental resilience. 

3. Technological Tools for the Commons

Regen Foundation helps facilitate and nurture the socio-technological infrastructure to ensure the future of Regen Network and Regen Ledger are decentralized and democratic. We envision convening the open source community and coordinating work on critical  elements of decentralized governance and computing in the domain of ecological regeneration.

Inclusive Governance via Community Staking DAOs

Over the first year, the Foundation will be helping create DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) communities to lend a voice and secure a seat at the table for those that may be underrepresented in the ecological agricultural system. This includes but not limited to stakeholders such as land stewards, passionate altruistic developers, landscapes and scientists.  Read more about the vision of the community staking DAOs here. We’re aware that this plays a significant role in keeping the Regen Network ecosystem aligned with its ecological and democratic values. We’re also aware of the contribution in bringing community-led governance to the larger proof-of-stake ecosystem. 

Welcome Revathi Kollegala

Revathi Sharma Kollegala, Regen Foundation’s  founding Executive Director, is excited to bring the vision of community-staking DAOs to life. Growing up and currently living in India, she is passionate about bridging the digital divide to empower the Global South to benefit from the decentralized ledger technologies and the Regen Network ecosystem. As a P2P/Commons researcher and an ethical data strategist, she is excited to bring  her expertise in governance and help build the Regen Network ecosystem to be a living community-led inclusive system.

Contact Us

Over the next few months, we will be working diligently to design and launch the community-staking DAOs. Stay tuned for more details and in the meantime, contact us or join us on the Regen Foundation channel at the Discord server.