Protocol Guild

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"The Protocol Guild is ...

A collective of Ethereum contributors

working to boost the incentives around stewarding the core protocol

by maintaining an onchain registry of its membership

which allows ecosystem sponsors to directly fund the membership, their work, the public good."



  • a curation process which produces a list of eligible recipients

Protocol Guild uses “self-curation” by individual peers working on core development. This is somewhat contingent on a high-trust community of peer stewards, where the assumption is that high quality work will still be produced absent invasive oversight. This is also enabled through the perspective of a collective protocol emerging from the collaborative stewardship by many constituent parts, instead of something like a competitive RFP process.

  • a weighting mechanism applied to that list

Protocol Guild uses time-weighting instead of subjective peer ranking. While it’s true this prevents more granular measures of individual impact, using time-weighting sidesteps the contention that might come out of peer ranking, doesn’t require time to apply, and is objective and transparent to members.

  • Autonomous weighting & disbursement

The Guild has no treasury allocation process, at least in the traditional sense. Instead, it cedes that to an objective time-weighting and trustless vesting mechanism. The intentional tradeoff to foreclose this decision space from ourselves gives us lower governance overhead/ possible contention, at the cost of lower weighting granularity and less flexibility in funding disbursement.

  • The Ethereum protocol will still be evolving over the next 5-10 years. The Guild exists to fund and incentivize a stable pool of contributors over that period. Just as the Ethereum distributed system takes inputs from many actors to produce a unified global state, the production of the underlying software combines efforts from many contributors. There is no single entity which maintains and evolves the protocol in isolation. Protocol Guild reproduces the qualities inherent to the production of a software commons as a funding stream. With this tool, the ecosystem can now share the collective responsibility of funding core protocol stewardship. If you’re going to go through the trouble of bootstrapping a new institution and norms to fund it, it may be best to only do it for long term projects centered on the same domain, eg. ongoing workstreams with high trust between the collaborators. The Guild makes iterated social commitments (eg. quarterly membership updates) to continue curating, which builds trust with sponsors."