[EP13][Executable] Support the Protocol Guild Pilot

Let’s just discuss it here! @AvsA posted this earlier, and I don’t want to see it buried:

I believe the current proposal is 200k vesting for 1 year. And @AvsA’s reduces that to 100k.

The “after that we will reconsider” part sounds like it’s something extra that doesn’t need to be codified into this proposal. It’ll just be handled in a separate proposal a year from now, is that right?

So really what we want to nail down here is what should this initial grant be for: 100k ENS or 200k ENS?

I’m personally for 200k.

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100k ENS for me is a good start. We may be seeing a downturn in the market and any surplus is a good idea.


I guess I’ll create a poll on this to see what everyone here thinks!

What amount do you want the initial PG Pilot grant to be for:

  • 100k ENS vesting for 1 year
  • 200k ENS vesting for 1 year

0 voters

If this makes it to a Snapshot vote then I suppose we could make it ranked-choice as well, right?

This will depend on whether PG is on board with 100k ENS but it is a great idea!

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The governance process is set out in the Governance Docs. The Temp Check section states:

Temperature checks are informal and optional; it’s up to you to use the feedback to decide if you want to proceed further with your proposal.

There is no requirement to incorporate feedback, or for the details of the temp check to be included in a draft proposal.

This is up to the party making the proposal.


I see no reason not to just do this so we don’t spend too much time debating the amount! I’m pretty confident, personally, that if given a rank vote of 100k or 200k ENS, 200k will win out.

Funding core devs goes toward solving one of the largest vulnerabilities to Ethereum’s (and therefore, ENS’s) long-term success, and in my view there’s no more pure definition of a web3 public good than the Ethereum blockchain.

My argument for the largest amount we’re comfortable with (looks like 200k) is so public goods organizations get the signal that ENS DAO is serious about funding public goods, and we hear from more of them. It’s really important that these groups know we’re going to to do our best to give them as much as we can afford, and not have every proposal be filled with random accusations of “conflicts of interest” (like what?). :smiley:


I do not agree. ENS DAO Treasury is not a tap that anyone can magically open by saying ‘Public Goods’. The number of zeroes on the grant comes with equal exponents of accountability. I’d like to hear @AvsA’s thoughts on this. There must be a reason why 100k ENS was decided by the PG WG. Please let the stewards tell us how the number was decided before rushing to conclusions.


Sounds great to me — thanks for the well written explanation and reasoning!

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I’m in favor of this. Despite points raised against this, we’re only using 3.7% of the unclaimed airdrop.

These tokens would otherwise sit uncirculated in our treasury. We should be looking for ways to distribute our governance token to people who are value-aligned with the long-term health of ENS and Ethereum.

If this becomes a proxy payment, we can assess after the vesting period. In the mean time, I am assuming good faith.


I think that it is important to take at a few talking points here.

Personally, I believe that anyone that is working as a Ethereum Protocol Core Developer (EPCD) is very dedicated to working towards future progress of Ethereum as a whole. I might be bias, I might not. Based on this article that I have found that interviewed EPCDs at ETH Denver; I come to to the conclusion that finding a well-rounded extremely knowledgeable developer is hard to come by. That being said, the standard is set pretty high for what protocols are looking for in talent. Please don’t misconstrue this as me being dead set totally against empowering core contributors and growing ethereum.

So I am asking myself; If the standards are set high, which is a purposeful decision by the industry itself, why is retaining talent seem to be an issue?

The majority of core contributors have an lengthy history of contribution towards Ethereum, mainly GETH. It appears that everyone is very dedicated already. I’m not too sure how incentivizing retention through monetary donations from other protocols would influence people to stay in their position.

Would we see loss of talent if the PG didn’t exist or didn’t receive funds? I highly doubt.

Out of the 111 GitHub profiles listed in the PG’s membership list 12 profiles so very little to no contributions in the past 3-6 months or longer.

PG docs notes:

Design objective: Protocol Contributors must be active for 6 months before membership

Is this truly aligning incentives for people to work on core protocols? If this is true, is the PG actively telling talent that this is available for them if they become an active contributor to core protocols?

How much incentive is needed to retain those who are dedicated in the work because of what they believe?

In PGs docs it reads

As the Ethereum ecosystem continues to grow, competition for talented individuals will only increase. This isn’t to fault individuals for rationally weighting financial incentives, or protocols for leveraging the power of tokens - this is just the reality of our current context

IMO, if there is competition then that means talent will be retained.

We should look at the market situation right now as well as global events. There is turmoil all around the globe with war, food shortages and overall fear. This is a lot of money to donate. We don’t know the future and what the market will decide for themselves.

This first line in their proposal rationale is ‘How can we give core protocol contributors exposure to the broader success of the projects building on top of Ethereum?’

This can read one of two ways:
It suggest that profits of successful projects should go to core contributors
We should incentivize core contributors to actively participate in the projects that they are to receive funds from.

I think the second read seems to be a better fit. There can be upside in participation of projects. But how would just sending funds create exposure without a requirement for participation.

Also, who is to say that these individuals aren’t actively exposed already? Core devs are building the protocols–how would they not be exposed to upside benefits if they are the ones building it?

I know if I was a core developer and couldn’t be exposed to upside in profits–that would feel like a red flag to me. Don’t core devs have the the knowledge and tooling right at their hands to easily see where profits are being had? Processes like frontrunning or flash loan contracts are complex for junior solidity devs–they are not exactly easy tasks that everyone involved in Ethereum know how to do.

I found an interesting article about employment and wages earned and the particular emphasis on very high wages.


Core devs are all sought after by competitor L1s, many of which do not share the same values as Ethereum, but do have deep, VC-funded pockets. It’s absolutely the case that we haven’t lost all these core devs to much much higher compensation from these competitors because of their love for what Ethereum represents.

However, everyone is human, and we live in a world driven by financial costs. Ideals don’t pay for food and rent. The only way to reduce the risk of losing these devs is to make sure they are compensating competitively.

We also have to keep in mind that these people develop the core layer of a network that has created hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth for those of us building on top of it to benefit from. If you believe Ethereum will continue growing, that will grow into the trillions. I think it’s absolutely the case that the devs working on the bedrock of this new economy should become very rich by doing so.

We’re talking about an imperceptibly small sliver of the total wealth Ethereum has created to allow them to keep doing their important work, while also not having to second-guess whether their peers that took offers from centralized entities made the better decision in terms of life-happiness.

This is a very troublesome perspective, without grounding in reality. It sounds a lot like “artists will work for exposure, they just love doing art,” but in a world where artists command minimum 6-figure salaries. I challenge you to take a look at the amount of job openings available in tech, or in crypto alone, and what their advertised salary ranges are, before assuming people will continue to work for what is relatively “cheap”

Also consider many core devs are paid salaries by centralized organizations like the Ethereum Foundation. Putting something like Protocol Guild in place now helps defend the network from the possible loss or dysfunction of these groups, and puts the ownership and responsibility of funding the maintenance and development of the network squarely on the shoulders of the ones who benefit most from it: it’s users.


appreciate the support - what do you mean by proxy payment?

Is this truly aligning incentives for people to work on core protocols?

The Pilot is about finding out whether these core assumptions play out in the real world.

If this is true, is the PG actively telling talent that this is available for them if they become an active contributor to core protocols?

Given this is 1. a new project and 2. doesn’t have significant capital streaming to contributors, it can’t really be used as a recruitment tool for prospective contributors. It really isn’t even useful for existing contributors. Only when the Pilot has a material amount of funds vesting and we have time to learn and iterate will it be able to prove its utility over time.

Also, who is to say that these individuals aren’t actively exposed already? Core devs are building the protocols–how would they not be exposed to upside benefits if they are the ones building it?

To make a definition clear: developers of applications (which sometimes have tokens or recurring revenue) are not the same group as those working on the core Ethereum protocol.

Don’t core devs have the the knowledge and tooling right at their hands to easily see where profits are being had? Processes like frontrunning or flash loan contracts are complex for junior solidity devs–they are not exactly easy tasks that everyone involved in Ethereum know how to do.

If it were this simple, then yes, all core devs would be doing it. But you have a significant misunderstanding here: core devs are spending their time and attention focused on maintaining and evolving the core protocol, which happens at the expense of seeking out profit opportunities. Further, the ones you mention are related to DeFi and solidity, which are completely different domains from core development.

Outside of the “upside exposure” argument, I’ll also echo a part at the bottom of the original proposal: broadly, this project gives an open mechanism for the community (users, applications, protocols) to start funding core protocol development. This is a worthwhile pursuit even if we were to abandon the “upside exposure” and all funding came in stablecoins like DAI.


very well articulated!


Because the pay is low. Is this a real question?

Yes, the only people who stick around are those who are sufficiently altruistic that they will tolerate the below-market compensation. This is exactly what you would expect to see if you have high standards but don’t pay people enough.

“They could just go earn profit elsewhere, outside their role as core devs” is exactly what the PG sets out to fix.


There was concerns that this was a guised way to compensate by using $ENS to pay developers in lieu of USDC, which we should strive to avoid.

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So as an ENS delegate I was asked to chime in here.

The problem of funding protocol core development long-term is real. And core devs are underappreciated as far as compensation is concerned.

Funding core devs, is funding ethereum and its protocol development so this is something that is a no-brainer for anyone in the space, especially so for ENS which is a part of the ecosystem. A stronger ethereum is a stronger ENS.

Now there have been some concerns raised in the thread about funding our friends.

@daylon.eth mentioned:

The proposal is written by and for the people it stands to benefit, and their associates

As far as I know trent heads the PG as a way to fund core devs. It’s a bit of a stretch to call all core devs his associates, but in any case most proposals by outsiders to a DAO for funding tend to ask for funding for them and their team. I don’t see a problem here, especially considering the team he is asking funding for is basically all different teams working on the ethereum protocol.


I’m supportive of this proposal. Protocol Guild is a well-structured experiment in funding core Ethereum infrastructure, which is a critical need for our ecosystem. I am excited to see the results of the Pilot year.


I’m not trying to chop any one person(s) incentives, I’m putting talking points out for discussion. This is the perfect time to ask the difficult questions rather than the later.

So why is EF not supporting the demands for increased salaries? I think that a temporary support for core developers soon is a good thing and I’m all for it. At the same time, those who are responsible for writing proposals need to lay out a thorough just cause for VC funds and GitCoin grants etc, to direct funding to the core devs with utmost justification that funding application layer projects with a greater incentive of upside, may actually be hurting the entire crypto ecosystem at the core.

Would this be better if looked at after successful merge from PoW to PoS merge?

I would like to see part of tokens be donated to be retained by recipients to be used for participation / active voting within the governance(s).

It’s mostly because EF does not have ongoing revenue.

I remember that there was a proposal to direct part of the mining revenue to protocol dev funding like Zcash does for their foundation but I don’t think it received any consensus.

They may come up with other plan to make EF (or core protocol development) revenue generating in future, but I think it makes sense for already revenue generating protocols like ENS or other defi/ staking projects to start contributing the sustainability of the core protocol development as we depend on the outcome.