Alpress, building a self-governing organization
Alpress is composed of two components, the publication platform itself, and the SGO governing the platform.
The publication platform is implemented as an ENS+IPFS dWebsite, while the SGO is implemented as a DAO. These technical choices were made not out of “thirst” for decentralization per se, but because they are the only options available to implement a system like Alpress.
We briefly describe the functionality of the publication system, but mostly focus on the design of Alpress as an SGO.
Alpress is a work-in-progress project. The information written here is neither final nor complete. We use this article merely to describe the direction in which Alpress’s design follows.
Why we develope Alpress?
Before we dive into the Alpress nitty, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Why do this and what is the advantage over existing services?
So why? Freedom of speech is something we take for granted in the west, but the vast majority of netizens around the world live under a closed, censored, or limited internet and website accessibility.
Here is a short list of internet censorship and surveillance. Freedom of information is a human right, using a decentralized publication platform will ensure that it stays this way.
Alpress advantage over current platforms is in utilizing self-hosting features like ownership, privacy, and ‘social network’ discoverability, via a simple user process on a decentralized platform.
Alpress publication system
Alpress publication system is a decentralized website (dWebsite), implemented using ENS and IPFS technologies, but designed to feel like a traditional web 2.0 centralized platform. We will know we did a good job once Alpress UX is as comfortable as traditional centralized platforms.
The first version of Alpress will support the basic functions of a publication system:
- registering an author account (done with an Ethereum transaction),
- publishing, modifying, and removing articles,
- automatically generate authors page for readers.
Moderation will be done by the Alpress DAO itself, where the DAO defines moderation guidelines and appoints platform moderators.
One immediate result of implementing Alpress as an ENS+IPFS platforms is that authors can be not only private users, but also DAOs. In the latter case, the DAO would open an account controlled by its members, which would be able to publish official DAO publications. We like to think about it as “giving DAOs a mouth to talk with”.
Alpress is currently in an MVP stage. Below is a short video demonstrating Alpress functionality.
Alpress is operated in a decentralized, automatic way using dWebsites (alpress.eth) and smart contracts. Alpress has its own native ERC-20 token, ALP, used for payments in the system (name of token may change before launch).
Alpress DAO is the owner of the alpress.eth name, Alpress contracts and ALP ERC-20 contract making it de-facto the ower of Alpress itself.
But how are the members of Alpress DAO chosen to make it an SGO? How is it governed by its members or what is Alpress DAO tokenomy?
We answer these questions below. All of these choices were made such that the Alpress DAO would follow the SGO principles.
Memberificaiton, or who are Alpress DAO members?
One main goal of Alpress is to be owned and governed by its own users.
At the beginning, Alpress members will be its founders, early contributors, and investors. But given time, the identity of members should shift to a balanced mixture of authors, readers, and maintainers of Alpress.
The Alpress DAO will manage the list of Alpress members. There is not automation of membership; every member must be voted in by existing members. Similarly, members can be removed by existing members (or choose to leave on their own).
Alpress is an open organization, meaning anyone can join or leave.
Alpress is a democratic organization, each full member has one vote. However, it takes time (though not too long) for an entity, after joining as a member, to become a full member with an equal vote. During this period the entity’s vote may be counted as half a vote, third a vote, quarter of a vote, etc, based on how close the entity is to a full membership.
Every entity which is an active member long enough, should either become a full equal member or be removed as a member.
The Alpress membership process is not supposed to be hard, but also not supposed to be too easy. It is mostly supposed to take time so that by the point someone becomes a full member, other Alpress members would have a high level of trust in that member. That way it is difficult to execute a Sybill attack against Alpress (where one person tries to have more than one membership).
Membership will be given in stages, there are 16 membership ranks to go through before one becomes a full member. The process for a full member should take at least 16 months, though there may be exceptions with special approval of Alpress DAO members (by its governance process), especially in the first few months of Alpress existence.
Full members have full voting power, while members in lower ranks have voting power proportional to their rank. For example, a member at the first rank has 1/16th voting power, while a member at the 8th rank (out of 16) has 1/2 voting power.
The main way to move up the ranks is by gaining achievements. The list of achievements would include such things as “participated 3 times in a month in weekly calls” or “wrote 4 articles a month”.
The general idea of achievements is to create gamification of the membership process, which is why we chose to call it “memberification”.
Governance, or how do members make decisions?
Alpress governance is going to be flexible, where the members have full freedom to change the governance, with time, based on the community needs. Hence, what is described is the planned starting point of the governing process in Alpress.
There are two main ways Alpress decisions are being made. One is by community votings, the other is by appointed members.
Community voting will be done by holographic consensus. We do not plan promotion of proposals as we assume members should not spam the DAO with proposals.
However, many of the DAO decisions will be made by appointed roles. These roles will be given, using a proposal, by the community. Some of the roles may require a stake from the role holder to prevent abuse of position.
Examples of such roles are content moderators or Alpress blog writers.
Alpress finance is being managed by an internal token, ALP. It allows Alpress to manage its own finance, without dependency on outside entities.
ALP is used for payments in the system. Any payment in the system can be done without ALP, for example with ETH or DAI, but using ALP grants a 50% discount.
Paying with ALP practically burns the token.
ALP is created by an Alpress proposal. Specifically, Alpress contributors are being compensated by ALP tokens, while investors get ALP tokens to reflect the amount they invested.
The other way ALP tokens are created is by a bonded curve. Users who’d like to use the tokens to get a 50% discount in using the system, can buy them either from the curve or from Alpress members directly.
The curve will begin with a flat line and then would increase from some point with linear growth (the rate of growth may change before the project’s launch).
The goal of linear growth is to compensate potential buyers. A simple example is the following. If Alice buys M tokens while the supply is X, and these M tokens are enough to pay for one article when Alice bought them, then those M tokens will be able to pay for 2 articles when the supply is 2X.
ALP is an ERC-20 Token, where the token contract is owned by the DAO. We already distribute ALP tokens among contributors in Ethereum testnet, to keep track how many tokens each should get upon the Alpress DAO launch. See more information here, or Alpress testnet DAO.
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Thanks to Krzysztof Lewosz, Muhammed Tanrıkulu, Eylon Aviv, and Craig Sailor for participating in the preparation of this article.