Note: Any critiques made in this thread are made as a founding member of the foundation, original core team member, and NCF committee member - not as part of or on behalf of nem ventures.
Recently on telegram, and on this forum, a couple members of the community have raised questions over the NCF, more specifically legacy project milestone payouts, transparency, governance and accountability. Ill try to cover concerns and questions raised in this thread and provide a better insight into what has been going on since the venture vote passed.
If there are any further questions that the community would like answered, regarding NCF legacy procedures, please post them in this thread. If the question pertains to anything regarding nem ventures or proposals/projects post September 7th, please forward those questions here.
One of the major issues with the NCF in the past, was that the committee intended for processing project milestones was very heavily occupied by foundation members. Although the foundation has always been “hands off”, i very much disagree with this statement in practice. The Committee of some 22-24 individuals comprised of, usually, at least 50% foundation members. Without management and removing inactive committee members, this group often swelled beyond 50% foundation members which then had to be rectified by removing more inactive members - there wasn’t a shortage of inactive members both foundation and community.
Inactivity was understandable on all fronts. I fought for resources to compensate committee members but the foundation provided none while still heavily promoting the fund as a means for free funding. There were foundation employees in place who promoted the fund, processed applications and got the projects to vote - but that’s where foundation support ended beyond some volunteers which wasn’t nearly enough. The NCF was heading towards a total lock up.
I started to consider ways in which the fund could be legitimized. Nem Ventures was born of the lack of support, lack of resources and a need for efficiency, oversight and accountability - not just sustainability.
So, what has been happening and why does the above matter?
In light of the foundation being hands off, and Nem Ventures needing to draw a clear line between legacy NCF processes and Nem Ventures processes, it was also necessary for Nem Ventures (mostly me as my co-founders are new to nem and i was involved in the NCF committee) to go hands off.
As a result, i stopped processing payments. I requested that the existing committee set up a multisig account to process milestones, but this didn’t work due to the lethargy present in the existing committee and the large ratio of foundation:community members. No one reviewed anything properly and the cosignatories suggested comprised of 4 foundation employees, one of which is a current council member, out of 5 signatories suggested. Interestingly, it also showed that the foundation was “hands off” - until payments stopped flowing.
At which point it was somehow ok to get hands on. So why was “hands off” the reason for not providing resources for us to fix the NCF and potentially legitimize it into a legal entity?
Understandably, and rightly, the current cosignatories rejected these cosignatories which lead me to form a new smaller committee, comprised of only community members, on behalf of the old committee.
I wont name names, as they are key holders of a new smaller but still large fund and I have always disagreed with naming those who are key holders of large funds for obvious reasons. However i can confirm that this new committee of 5 community members comprises of individuals with very strong expertise, especially nem technology, start ups, and a very large degree of longevity in nem.
These individuals have taken charge of processing the legacy proposals and milestones and to date have been doing a brilliant job despite many complications that have arisen because of past failings, miscommunications, etc. There have been some set backs, disagreements and so forth, but id be concerned if there wasn’t. It is really not an easy job, as a lot of milestones are vague, in some cases out of scope, difficult to verify, over valued, and generally rife with contentions. The new committee has done a great job in getting past these issues however and the payments you see going out are a result of quite a lot of hours of review, debates and ultimately answers and resolutions.
I wont comment on the specifics of each milestone that has been paid out - if one of the new committee wants to step in and give some insights into them, that is up to them. Generally i have not reviewed the milestones to the same depth as the committee so they are better positioned to speak on that. What i can do is say that some projects have produced good results and were processed quickly, others required a serious amount of time, effort and conditions to get to a point where a milestone could be paid out.
With regards to the funding of the new NCF committee, after they had set up a multisig account, 10m xem was transferred to them from the main NCF. This is largely short of the total required but for safety sake, a lesser amount was credited. It’s expected that should all projects be paid out for all milestones, this will run quite a bit short and need to be topped up. So expect to see another large-ish transaction(s) to move from the current NCF to the new smaller account that is distributing funds to projects.
In terms of accountability: the committee is, and always has been, controlled by a group of private individuals with no real obligation to continue the work, nor are there any contracts in place etc. So its very much a case of just needing to trust those running it. Without a legal entity, or a full fledged DAO, trust in the mgmt is required. Its just the nature of the NCF.
Transparency: The transactions are all on chain, with messages denoting the purpose of each transaction. If the new committee would like to start making updates each time a milestone is made, that is up to them. They have complete autonomy now and should own that autonomy going forward. It would probably be useful for those who want transparency to outline what exactly they want insights into. Transparency is turning into a bit of a buzz word lately but its a very broad term than can take a few different meanings with varying outputs depending on the context in which its used.
Governance: The new committee is self governing, and not influenced by the foundation any more. I as well as the ventures team are included in discussions relating to project although we do not generally get involved unless requested. There isn’t really much more i can say on that front.
So, since the formation of this new committee, the foundation doesn’t play a part on either NCF in any form, project milestones are being processed more efficiently and in a more timely manner, and payments have resumed. The number of milestones to process in this way are finite, so these payments should come to a close in future. How long this takes is dependent on the pace of milestone submissions.
If anyone has any more specific questions, feel free to post them here and ill try to answer them.