An Update on the NDC Funding and Support for Grassroots Projects – NEAR Protocol

An Update on the NDC Funding and Support for Grassroots Projects

August 18, 2023

Executive Summary

  • The Foundation has set the future of funding for the NDC based on significant milestones post V1 Governance
  • The launch of the Grassroots Support Initiative where projects in need of funding or support can engage directly with the NEAR Foundation to discuss options in the interim of direct support from the NDC 
  • If you are looking for support, you can schedule time with the team here

One of the central tenets of Web3 is decentralisation. Decentralisation is central to creating an open web because it underpins an ecosystem’s anti-fragility, sustainability, scalability, and censorship resistance (amongst other important characteristics). A core part of a decentralised ecosystem is a robust self-governance infrastructure that empowers users and the community.

Decentralisation is something that has guided the Foundation as a northstar, but as in all emerging fields sometimes the path toward that goal can be winding, complicated, and messy. That’s why we thought it would be important to take a moment to discuss the place of the NDC on that journey, the steps ahead, and how we can help the community get the support it needs along the way. 

Back in August 2022, the Community Working Group was formed by a collection of prominent NEAR community nodes with the purpose of establishing a new framework and implementation plan for ecosystem self-governance infrastructure and an associated treasury that could help ensure the ecosystem would continue on its path to decentralisation while giving everyone the chance to have their voice heard. This is how and why the NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) was formed. 

As the champion supporting the creation of decentralised governance infrastructure, the NDC plays an important role in the future of the NEAR ecosystem. Decentralised governance infrastructure will enable the community to vote (using an on-chain mechanism) on the allocation of funds, help ensure that decisions are made in a fair and representative manner, and further decentralise the NEAR ecosystem, something that is important both philosophically and practically for the healthy development of any Web3 ecosystem.

So far, the NDC has already successfully launched the NDC Community Treasury, the IAMHuman voting initiative and V0 Governance, all major milestones for the ecosystem and vital pieces of governance infrastructure.

Funding for the NDC

Understanding the important role that the NDC can play in the future of the ecosystem, the NEAR Foundation is fully committed to its long term success. Of the Foundation’s treasury, a substantial portion has been earmarked for community initiatives like the NDC, which the Foundation intends to advance to the NDC Community Treasury over time as the ecosystem’s governance infrastructure matures.

In order to further support the mission of the NDC as they continue to make progress, the Foundation is announcing today that it will provide an advance to the NDC Community Treasury in the region of 15M NEAR, subject to the successful completion of the V1 Governance elections. The criteria for this initial treasury advance will include (a) all V1 Governance elected positions being filled; and (b) the implementation by the community of a standardized funding request framework as a benchmark for responsible work moving forward.

After this initial advance, the Foundation is also reiterating its commitment to further treasury advances (up to 100M NEAR). These further advances will be based on careful work with the community to set out specific criteria for milestones that will ensure funds are deployed responsibly and in a way that helps achieve the long-term goals of the wider ecosystem. 

Once V1 Governance is live, the community will be able to create success metrics for the NDC and vote on them as a collective with the support of the Foundation and other ecosystem nodes. 

The Foundation is also aware that, as a result of various delays with the launch of V1 Governance, the NDC Community Treasury is close to reaching the original USD1.5m V0 Governance budget cap contained in the NDC Community Treasury trust instrument. To ensure the community can continue to move forwards to the critical goal of V1 Governance launch, the Foundation will support the NDC Community Treasury by providing an additional USD400k buffer above that original budget cap.

The NDC nominations for all 3 houses in V1 Governance are currently live until September 7th, with elections then kicking off on September 8th and running until September 22nd. We would encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved in this critical ecosystem milestone, and playing a role in steering the ecosystem forwards, to nominate themselves.

Support for grassroots projects

As part of the Foundation’s commitment to decentralisation and ensuring the voice of the community is heard, the Foundation announced in November 2022 that in most instances it would stop providing capital to the ecosystem through grants and instead have the NDC gradually take over that responsibility. While the Foundation understands that grants are a vital resource for grassroots projects to build and grow, we believed it was important to support moving them to a more decentralised model.  

However, since the timeline to implement V1 Governance has taken longer than anticipated, we recognise that ecosystem funding has been more limited, which has put significant pressure on builders in the ecosystem. Concerns around funding have been a major topic of discussion in the community over the last few weeks, and the Foundation appreciates that the community has rallied together to surface these issues in an open and constructive way. This feedback has helped the Foundation understand that it should have moved more quickly to provide interim support. 

To help address this issue, and to better support grassroots projects who are in need of support while the NDC continues to ramp up, the Foundation is launching a grassroots support initiative for any project in the ecosystem that is currently in need of urgent support. The Ecosystem Relations team is leading on the initiative from the Foundation and they have set up an open calendar for community members to connect directly with them to discuss how the Foundation can best support. 

Projects will be able to ask for emergency support, either financial or otherwise, by booking time with the team. This initiative will remain in place until NDC funding options become more readily available. While the Foundation will not be able to fund every request, we are committed to carefully reviewing every one we receive and prioritizing them based on immediate need and how well they line up with the goals of the broader ecosystem. 

You can book time with the Ecosystem Relations Team here.

Grassroots projects and the community are the lifeblood of the NEAR ecosystem and the Foundation is committed to ensuring projects have the resources they need as we continue to create a thriving, decentralised ecosystem together.

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