Services for crypto-native Organizations
Protocol Labs is an open-source R&D lab that aims to radically improve the internet through building protocols, tools, and services. We’ve already launched many successful projects: Filecoin, IPFS, Drand, libp2p, Coinlist, and more.
Along the way, we have realized that some of the hardest challenges that companies face are of a non-technical nature. For many companies, creating the infrastructure that can support a world-class, fully distributed team is the biggest challenge. This includes global employment, decentralized work coordination, and identity management.
We’re excited to see a wave of new teams that are creating new coordination mechanisms, leveraging cryptography, smart contracts, and novel incentive structures for decentralized, autonomous team collaboration. We envision a world in which “crypto-native” teams can lean on these services, leaving them free to focus on the core technical issues they set out to solve.
That’s why we are putting out a Request for Startups, inviting new and current companies to seek support from the Protocol Labs Network and join the crypto-native revolution.
This is the first of a series of Requests for Startups from Protocol Labs.
Table of Contents:
- RFS list
- Global Employment Platform for Crypto-Native Organizations
- Decentralized work coordination tooling: Milestone and Bounty platform
- Tools for Governance
- Identity and Permission Management for Crypto-Native Orgs
- Corporate Services for Decentralized Organizations (and DAOs)
- Web3 Training Programs
- Credentialing and Level Assessment for Decentralized Organizations
- Workspaces Designed for Teams Without a Main HQ
- Blockchain NetOps as a Service
- Have a great idea that’s not on this list?
# RFS list
# Global Employment Platform for Crypto-Native Organizations
By definition, global workforces are global. Maintaining compliance becomes more complex as your team expands to new countries. At the same time, crypto is rapidly changing how teams work. Moving from a centralized to a decentralized model, groups can organize in new ways and more quickly than ever before. Each of these groups now face the fast-growing hurdles of operating decentralized workforces. For more information read the Gitcoin DAO report (opens new window).
We want to see the creation of a platform and/or service that can manage employment for individuals so they can focus on contributing to one or many teams within a network. This platform should enable crypto-native organizations to compensate employees with a mix of fiat and crypto currencies.
Additionally, in this new paradigm, individuals may no longer expect to work for a single organization over a long period of time. Instead, they may contribute to multiple projects at once. That means it no longer makes sense for individuals to have long standing agreements with a single entity, which would limit their ability to contribute to multiple projects.
We seek companies that aim to support the evolution of a global workforce, by creating a platform with the elasticity to meet the needs of the geo-diverse teams that are most common in Crypto-Native (Web3/Blockchain) organizations.
In short, we seek to:
- Make employment easy for the new teams and startups in our network
- Enable contributors to deliver value to a multitude of projects and teams over time, without being trapped in a single team/project and then having to offboard/onboard to a new company (think of what employment in an Open Source world needs to look like)
- Ensure that everyone can be employed in a legally-compliant way (taxes, contributions, benefits)
This platform should be:
- Capable of supporting thousands of different projects and separate teams
- Capable of supporting tens of thousands of employees
- Geographically diverse (worldwide)
# Decentralized work coordination tooling: Milestone and Bounty platform
Within most organizations there are mechanisms to enable top-down control over the problem-solving process, enabling a self-consistent and well-planned path to a solution. As organizations grow, top-down control typically becomes burdened with bureaucracy.
We believe that communities or networks of organizations can progress at the same scale as large organizations, but with lower overheads. However, decentralized coordination requires permissionless and decentralized tools for setting, aligning against, and tracking goals. Such a tool should also facilitate payment between organizations to support interdependencies.
A platform in which any participant in an ecosystem can:
- Propose goals that would advance the community
- Comment on proposed goals
- View current goals (including causal dependencies and sorting by metrics)
- Demonstrate (or link to) progress against goals
- Pledge payment to teams completing one of the current goals
A platform might also:
- Feature a reputation system that scores contributors and bounty payers, tracking their follow-through rates
- Facilitate direct payment to teams that complete key goals
- Leverage cryptocurrencies for payments
- Leverage Escrow payments to guarantee bounty funds
# Tools for Governance
Decentralized organizations need to make decisions just like any organization does. But, in making decisions, how can they remain inclusive of all stakeholders, when members may be hours away from each other and have wildly different interests?
Many decentralized projects use token voting (similar to shareholder voting in a corporation) but, as Vitalik suggests (opens new window), we need other mechanisms as well.
- Multiple Governance structures (democracy, elected democracy, token voting, delegated voting, and new forms of decision making)
- Great tooling and UX, enabling everyone to contribute
- Bookkeeping software that documents the background behind each decision, enabling its validity to be evaluated if the context changes in future.
# Identity and Permission Management for Crypto-Native Orgs
Crypto-native orgs need a decentralized way to define and relate individuals, teams, roles, policies, resources, and permissions. At the heart of this challenge is identity management.
The tools that serve this function in web2 orgs are built for a traditional business entity with a top-down governance model. Crypto-native organizations need to manage relationships and responsibilities without a centralized identity management system or top-down governance.
We want to combine elements of identity management and traditional organizational policy into a simple, extensible, self-managed framework to serve crypto-native organizations.
- The cornerstone of the system is the ability to create a portable DID (opens new window) based entity
- The ability of an entity to act as the custodian of a crypto wallet
- Ability to associate an entity with external identities
- The ability of an entity to represent multiple other entities—an entity can represent a group or team:
- Ability to define permissions for an entity—permissions define what the entity can or cannot do, who can act on behalf of the * entity, and under what circumstances:
- Ability to define security contexts, and security context oracles
- Ability to define a services interface for vendor entities*
# Corporate Services for Decentralized Organizations (and DAOs)
Setting up an organization shouldn’t be complicated. Countries leading the digital transformation enable you to set up traditional companies in under an hour and there are services that make running them easy. We want to see the creation of such corporate services for DAOs.
We seek new services to bridge the gap between crypto-native and traditional infrastructure, enabling fully compliant orgs to be set up conveniently and easily, ideally in a one-stop shop.
- All the technical tools and advice to spin up a DAO
- Entity formation, tax/business filings, finance solutions
# Web3 Training Programs
The need for talent is one of the greatest (if not the largest) factors preventing Web3 adoption and maturity from reaching peak velocity. Despite a wealth of opportunities, there are simply too few people to grab them. It’s not even low-hanging fruit—the fruit is already in the basket but there’s nobody to pick it up!
We seek innovative Web3 Training Programs that can accelerate the onboarding process. We need to upskill and reskill talent to make it Web3 ready and meet the existing needs of projects and organizations.
- Intensive training programs to accelerate the adoption of Web3 and increase the talent pool
- Organizations delivering training need to be able to adapt quickly—the Web3 space is new and ever-evolving and there is a great need for talent across many areas
- A focus on specific areas of expertise (e.g. engineering, legal, operations, etc.), technologies (e.g., decentralized storage, ZKSnarks, etc.), or target audiences (e.g., web2 developers, college students, etc.).
- DAO Intensive Training Program for Business Law Hackers
# Credentialing and Level Assessment for Decentralized Organizations
People within any organization have a large spectrum of skill levels. Typically, large tech companies deal with this by instituting career-track leveling systems through which progress is tracked, but crypto-native organizations tend to be a lot smaller and more numerous. People working in and moving across crypto orgs need a reliable way to communicate their skill levels.
- A platform that develops and maintains level standards, capturing the nuance of specialization areas and different levels, enabling people to communicate their skills to crypto-native orgs.
- Decentralized level assessment to help people communicate their skills, even when individuals contribute to multiple teams within short periods of time.
# Workspaces Designed for Teams Without a Main HQ
Working from the same location can be a major productivity booster for any team. For teams in a crypto ecosystem, colocation can be essential to get high-throughput decision making. This is one of the reasons why historically PL has historically organized so many hack-weeks, research-intensive weeks, conferences, workshops, and other events.
Putting these events together requires a significant effort to answer the same set of questions in every city: What spaces are available? What are the amenities? Can we get a team to record the talks to share with the ecosystem? Is delicious and healthy food available? The list goes on…
With the rise of decentralized teams, there’s also a need for the creation of hubs for those teams to meet in. We need to think beyond the co-working space, to spaces that teams and cross-orgs are able to collaborate in for days, weeks, or months.
- Accept payments and booking through crypto
- Fully serviced options (food, office equipment)
- Video teams ready to record, edit and publish to share the results from the time together with the rest of the ecosystem
- Accommodation for teams that need to travel to the destination
# Blockchain NetOps as a Service
Developing a “node running culture” is vital for the continuous maintenance of the decentralization of most crypto/DLT/Decentralized platforms. However, this process is not always trivial—multiple teams may need to invest significant time and resources to figure out how to run their own nodes and infrastructure.
Some SaaS companies can run nodes in the cloud for them, but there isn’t a fully-backed solution for orgs that want to deploy infrastructure themselves, but need help setting it up and maintaining it.
We seek companies that:
- Provide “Blockchain project node running” as a service on-prem and in cloud
- Offer infrastructure deployment/setting up of operations
- Provide continuous support and maintenance of said infrastructure
- Are focused on improving the status quo of tooling to run nodes
- Have stellar monitoring solutions for deployed infrastructure
# Have a great idea that’s not on this list?
Got a great idea or a business that supports crypto-native organizations but don’t see it listed here? Please apply to one of our many funding opportunities, we would love to hear from you.
Is your startup already solving this problem or are you starting a new company to own it? Please review the opportunities below:
# Opportunities by Stage:
- Early stage / Ideation: If you’re in the earliest stages of thinking about an idea, participate in one of our hackathons (opens new window)! Participants of our past events have gone on to grow their hackathon submissions into the next generation of winning Web3 ventures We look forward to welcoming the next generation of builders to our upcoming hackathons. Visit events.filecoin.io (opens new window) to learn more and to sign up for our mailing list.
- PoC/MVP: If you’re past the idea stage and are starting to build a product/idea, apply for one of our grant programs (opens new window) to take the next step.
- Startup: If you’ve turned your idea or project into a company which you are pursuing full-time, please apply to one of our accelerator partners: Filecoin Launchpad (opens new window) (powered by Tachyon), Filecoin Frontier Accelerator (opens new window) (powered by LongHash), Filecoin Base Camp Accelerator (opens new window) (powered by Outlier Ventures), or Filecoin Techstars Accelerator (opens new window). Or, feel free to share your vision with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.