AIP-358: Ape Assembly Restructuring For Independence

To me - as someone who owns businesses, manages teams around the world etc. - the issues with DAO can be attributed to these simple issues:

  1. The voting system. It sux. It’s inequitable. It’s inefficient. It’s lopsided.
  2. The AIP process. It’s slow. It’s inefficient. It’s arduous.
  3. The DAO leadership structure. It needs to be better streamlined in terms of voting, funding, tasking

Primarily, the underlying issue is that most people don’t want it to be a grants body - though that was supposedly (wink-wink) the whole reason for its existence. That said, if voters - especially influential whales like MachiBigBrother - don’t want it to be a grants body, but rather a corporate entity that brings in revenue while taking steps to boost the price of the token, that ultimately determines the direction of the DAO, the type of AIPs that pass etc. In the end, builders simply aren’t going to bother to come here. This is why I am advocating for a separate DAO (in this AIP) which serves that purpose as that not only seeks to generate revenue, but it also helps to preserve the treasury. It’s a win-win for both sides of the equation. You’re not likely to generate revenue by not spending money. And the amount of money spent is directly related to the revenue generating opportunities. Spend peanuts, and you get back grains.

In yesterday’s ApeComms Spaces (I invite everyone to listen to it) I asked Machi - point blank - what direction he wanted to see the DAO go in. And right there and then, he flat-out repeated what he’s always stated and which is the general consensus with those who are primarily focused on the value of the token. For as much aggro as he gets, he has been pretty consistent in this regard. He wants to make money. He wants the DAO to make money. He believes the DAO is run inefficiently, spends too much money for a startup (which it is btw) etc. He doesn’t want it to be a grants body.

When I first came to this DAO some months ago, I started making a lot of noise about stuff like this. You can read my posts and see that I have been patently consistent. I kept on saying that if people are pretending that the DAO is totally a grants body, that it’s the same Web3 nonsense whereby everyone yells about transparency even as they run away from anything resembling KYC, accountability etc. - all the things that lead to prosperity and growth. Nobody believes that this DAO is going to survive, let alone prosper, if people aren’t on the same page as to what the DAO is and what direction it should take.

I mean, even as a startup, it’s directly headed for a catastrophic failure because nobody wants to buck the status quo. And most don’t want to speak up and speak out because they fear reprisals, being kicked out of the cool kids club etc. And it’s that silent majority who turn out the vote - even though the voting turnout is still small when compared to the number of token holders who are in de facto members of the DAO.

Right now, the GwG and the SC are working behind the scenes towards additional decentralization by forming off-shore entities etc. Literally none of that - none of it - is going to yield any tangle results for how the DAO operates because at the end of the day, no matter how many entities there are, no matter how many teams there are, unless the DAO splinters into a grants body on one side and a for-profit body on another, it’s going to die - even as the [heavily shorted] token continues its slide to zero.

Below is what I said in a July 8th post. I invite you all to read that whole thread.

"For a community like this, gaming is the only way forward to bring utility to the coin.

The issue I see is that other leading tokens give grants to gamedevs to build on their platform, use their tokens etc. Even so, those grants are minimal, and aren’t attracting mainstream devs. Aside from the Web3 risks associated with doing a game. Also, micro grants aren’t ever going to yield meaningful games because good games take a lot of time and cost millions to make. If the game sucks, the token will just continue to slide.

Look at the Yuga games. Do you think that they would ever be successful in Web2? Why would they be successful in Web3? The smaller Web3 audience is why. I mean, right now the entry price to play HV-MTL is about $1K. Think about that. How has that helped the coin value? And that’s a game made for cheap. Otherside isn’t a game - yet. If their target is correct, it won’t be for several more years. At least.

*I have spent months reading this forum before joining. I have some ideas. However, coming from Web2 and being the n00b around here, I don’t want to ruffle any feathers by voicing them."

***I too am baffled tbh. Over the weekend, I wrote a script that analyzed the AIPs. It was surprising to me that the failure rate was so high. Even for really good proposals. Some great ones like AIP-209, barely passed. The only conclusion that I came up with, besides the obvious, is that some bag holders would rather not spend $Ape because they’re concerned that those tokens will ofc get dumped in order to raise the funds to complete the project.

$Ape value will continue to depress because the token currently has very little utility; and even Yuga’s best efforts aren’t doing much to move the needle.

I don’t understand this - at all.***

I joined the DAO back on June 29th. On that date, $APE was $2.23. On July 8th it was $1.99. Today it’s hovering around $1.1

Despite the on-going macro conditions during which various companies - including game companies - have seen major layoffs, yesterday it was Yuga’s turn. As awful as it is to see people be out of work, the Yuga story wouldn’t have been anything special due it being par for the course of business - were it not for specific statements made by Daniel Alegre. Decrypt has a good story about this. Do read it. Daniel said:

Alongside these wins, there have been a few rocky rollouts, particularly in our gaming execution, because we learned along the way that we weren’t optimized to build and manage everything in-house, nor should we be.”

She said it best:

…apparently hoping that people ignorant to the past year of disaster across the NFT industry might be willing to attribute Yuga Labs’ struggles to macroeconomic forces and not the implosion of the crypto - and particularly NFT - world.

I will say this again. Every game that Yuga put out has thus far been a disappointing failure. This isn’t news; the data is public. When I wrote here in our DAO that as a games dev the writing was on the wall and that the Yuga games simply weren’t moving the needle and that by any Web2 metric they were dismal failures, I was met with much criticism because in Web3 most people have their heads in the clouds and only want to hear feel good news.

Here in the DAO, we’re divided as to what direction we need to go in. And so, the DAO is like a deer caught in headlights. We can’t fund meaningful initiatives because we can’t spend money. We can’t spend money because most would rather not spend money.

And then, right on cue, in yesterday’s ApeComms session while discussing these issues, Machi - again - indicated that perhaps, like the global industry, the DAO needed to downsize the team, cut costs etc. He specifically said to cut the SC from 5 to maybe 3. Here’s the thing. The DAO startup currently has 12 core team members who are being paid $162,165 per month, $1.945,980 per year. That’s aside from the $75K per month being paid to WebSlingers. Yet, amid that, AIP-239 decided to add another 9 people (via 3 new working groups) to the team at a cost of probably $8K per month - each. As I’ve said before, I have no problem with the team salaries and that it’s not their fault. The DAO was setup this way and they’re just - again - going with the status quo. An AIP to revise those salaries was summarily shot down (you can read my synopsis) and a new one, AIP-337, is currently in admin review.

All of the above amounts to one single thesis: money going out and no money coming in.

And even though the DAO isn’t setup to generate let alone receive revenue, the community has different ideas on how to engage the public in promoting the DAO etc. Some believe that IRL events are the way (announcer: “no, they’re not”) to do that and to “go back to the BAYC roots”. These people are forgetting the fact that if we’re currently facing failure, how does going back to the roots change the outcome? IRL events - like marketing, promos etc - have their purpose - but they are not and never have been the litmus test that drives adoption of anything. At all. Ever. If you have 1000 people interested in your product, what makes you think holding a convention is going to attract even those 1000 people?

The talk of having our own blockchain, ApeChain, also came up - again. As did the drive to have products use the $APE token. Again, people are forgetting that none of these things will change the inevitable outcome that is failure. What’s going to set apart ApeChain from the myriad of chains already out there and on which dApps are built? What’s going to make ours so special? Even with all the benefits of going to an L2, how does that improve our current situation? Is having our own chain going to somehow attract builders to the chain, let alone the token? lol. No.

There is a reason that over 90% of the Web3 dApps are games. You absolutely cannot ignore this metric. You can go on your favorite search engine and find hundreds of posts, articles and research studies about this very metric. So, why is it a surprise that, just like in Web2, games are the fastest growing metric in Web3? It’s just math. Why is it a surprise that, like most, Yuga decided to pivot to making games?

Back in Jun 14, Jonah (who was also on yesterday’s ApeComms session) came here asking for $20M to create a games publisher in the DAO. While I would have voted for it with some caveats that I would want to see in the draft, he abandoned the idea and it was subsequently withdrawn. Then yesterday he [flippantly] said that he went out and got $250K from another DAO.

Following that, on Jul 22, another team proposed a similar $20M idea. After much drama, that one too was seemingly abandoned.

Amid all this, the general community at large has, like Yuga, decided to place all their collective eggs in the Otherside “metaverse” basket. Even with every single indication and trend alluding to its impending failure. In fact, here is what I stated back on Aug 30th.

"What makes you think that Otherside will succeed where others have ultimately failed thus far?

You know that it’s not about the tech, right? UnrealEngine /w integrated SpatialOS based tech from Improbable isn’t going to somehow create a Metaverse dynamic - in any form.

Every single game - every single one - that used that tech has failed. Even the studio that Improbable bought, made and released a game with. There currently isn’t a single game in operation or dev that uses that tech.

The main defining factor of Otherside is going to be the experience - not the tech (which has its own on-going problems). And to compete in that arena, it has to be an experience that either meets or surpasses the likes of Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite and even Core (by MantiCore) . And in addition to that, it has to have a low barrier of entry, which, going by HVY:MTL and Wreck League, is probably not what they’re going to do.

Either way, none of these environments are the Metaverse. And never will be. There’s a reason that Meta has thus far lost over $40 Billion in chasing that pipedream."

Then last month, out of nowhere, Yuga abandoned the Improbable tech (M2) which it used as the backend for Otherside. Then invested in a new tech made by Hadean.

Who saw that coming? I did. And I said so. I have been doing this for so long that nothing surprises me any more.

When I came here, I made my goals clear and transparent. I wanted to help the DAO community grow beyond its bubble by making games.

And so it was that on Aug 2nd, against my better judgement, knowing the inevitable outcome, I put up a $5M multi-year game AIP which I was absolutely confident would have made a difference. And once again, the people here who know about DAO funding more than I do, said it would never pass due to the amount and the DAO’s resistance towards funding games - of any kind. So, I reduced it to $2M, and finally to a simple marketing + promo $500K spend. The result? The community still killed it. Even if Machi had voted (he abstained) for it, the AIP would still have failed. Look at those margins.

And now some people, including Machi, are saying that us builders should keep trying even if we failed before. Why would anyone want to do that? How would the outcome change? It’s not like investments whereby you can go through 100 investors who say no, but end up with the 1 that says yes. Here, it doesn’t work that way because you’re literally pitching to the same people. You rarely find startups going back to the same investors and getting a yes after being rejected. It rarely happens. And even when it does, the end result is usually the same - unless there’s a material change in the deck that made the investor change their mind. Here, we’re not pitching to publishers, distributors, investors who are usually less than a handful of people making the decisions. We’re pitching to a polarizing community of people who - literally - have very little or zero knowledge which would govern a sound and plausible decision - regardless of the outcome. I personally would welcome a “no” from a wise man, than a “yes” from an ignorant person. And I have been through the gauntlet of both of those sides.

Machi, one of the DAO’s largest wallets and most influential DAO members, also feels that games are too high risk. Yes - they are. But that hasn’t stopped people from making them. Each time you put money into something and expect a financial return, you’re taking a risk. Even that older game which I am still going to release, is a high risk regardless of its previous successes that made me buy it. But regardless of that fact, it’s still a social environment and a game that simply doesn’t exist in Web3 at this point - and most likely never will given how expensive and risky such games are to make.

If we don’t embrace games and gaming, the DAO isn’t going to prosper. It’s that simple. Yuga can’t save it - and we certainly can’t save Yuga. And so, no, we’re not going to pick up any slack left by Yuga’s shortcomings, let alone fill any void. And just like all gaming risks, there’s no indication that Otherside will be a success where Yuga has thus far failed. Assuming that Yuga actually finishes it.

And lest we forget, this AIP aside, the Metaverse Working Group isn’t likely to be up and running until some point in Q1/24. Assuming it actually gets a budget passed. And then what?

ps. The DAO gave $480K to AIP-209 and thus far nobody actually cares about what happened to it.

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