Proposal to include cycle_dao & ICDevs as default follow-target neurons to the NNS

I do not have any affiliation with them no.

I said unfortunately because I would like to make it easier for new stakeholders to be made aware of organizations that are working to improve the IC.

But you are right it is also fortunate in the way you described.

Just curious, for posterity, have you seen @skilesare response to your concerns?

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It sounds like you disagree with default follow choices to begin with. Just to be clear, the word “default” is a bit misleading. New neurons arent going to automatically follow ICDevs. Rather, they will be presented in the NNS app as an option.

The situation we are currently in is that most neurons follow Dfinity. If we want to change that, presenting different follow options in the UI seems most effective.

If you think that no follow choices should be in the UI, then people will just remain following Dfinity, IMO.

If you expect ICP holders to not be lazy and evaluate and vote on every proposal, you should go study voter participation in other DAOs. TLDR: the vast majority of holders want to delegate their vote rather than vote on everything. IMO, delegated votes are better than low voter participation.

The fact that you have a discord where you are dictating how people should vote suggests you are in favor of people delegating their votes/following.


In our opinion nobody should have to deal with arbitrary terms and conditions when trying to better the world through open source development.

Developers who use the MIT license (like ICDevs) aren’t doing it because they like terms and conditions. They are doing it to protect their code from being used in closed-source software. If you like open source, then you should be in favor of licenses that legally require open source use. If you publish code without any license, there is nothing to encourage people to keep derivative works open source.

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Villa is 100% correct here. The inclusion of such base features in this library is a bit silly and not conducive to a base library that would be broadly useful.

To explain how it got there and my motivations, we need to take a bit of a trip through time. Let’s go back to August. There are basically 3 app on the IC(DSCVR, OpenChat, and the NNS). There is almost no reference motoko. I’m trying to figure out how I could leverage what I’ve learned from a DFINITY grant into working full-time on the IC. I don’t have any 700,000 ICP Neurons paying out $5.2 million dollars a year so I’m stuck thinking about things like paying actual rent and figuring out how to do that as an IC developer.

I was also attending a good bit of conversations around the legality of NFTs and how to reconcile those with US securities laws. Some of the advice that I’d run across pointed toward the idea of blockchain-based services being accessed via distribution licenses as opposed to tokens. Staked Tokens == Distribution Licences which have a plethora of case law in the US. It seemed that NFTs might benefit from that treatment a well.

I started thinking that with cycles you could abstract away the company part of SaaS companies and just give the power to developers to directly get paid for their work without having to raise money and give away a bunch of ownership. So the ideas for the license came together but I needed a library to actually try to implement it with. I started just pulling a bunch of things that I’d built in motoko together and slapped a name on it. In retrospect I should have picked a much more robust “application”, but I didn’t have any of those lying around and I wanted to get something out there to start the discussion.

If you want to know more about my personal feelings about rent seeking behavior I’ve published way more on the subject than any person probably wants to read in my now 5 year old book(that needs to be updated in the most desperate way with ZK info that solves the privacy concerns inherent in the scheme I was proposing at that time): ECR. Neutralization of Economic Rent · GitBook

I’ll just add that ICDevs has no intention of publishing any code that we fund under anything other than a standard Apache, GPL, or MIT license. If we end up offering bounties on applications that are funded by cycle share-based applications we will submit those proposals to the Developer Advisory Committee before we do so.


Thank you for bringing up your concerns with ICDevs. You have sparked a valid and necessary discussion and I definitely respect your right to lobby for your position. As mentioned by @LightningLad91, I am curious how you would respond to the feedback that @skilesare has provided about ICDevs. Their path forward seems fair from my perspective, but you understand what’s at stake better than myself and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. I think @talkingant also makes some valid points in this discussion about the licenses, so I’m also interested in further response to those ideas.

One part that caught me by surprise on this proposal for ICDevs is that it was announced in mid December and there were no concerns expressed by anyone prior to seeing so many large neurons vote against it. I’m glad it has brought forth this discussion, but I’m curious why you and others waited to voice concern? Did you simply not know about the proposal until it was live? Or did you feel like an effective conversation could not be held until the proposal was live?

My hope is that the differences can be worked out on this topic. I do see ICDevs actively engaging the IC community on a variety of topics that resonate with the community in a positive way. I’m curious if you are engaged with the community in a similar way or would like to become engaged. It’s possible I’m not familiar with your group, but if you don’t mind I would like to learn more.


A couple of points on this:

  1. Again, the ARAMAKME stuff is not an “ICDevs license”. It isn’t in a state where anyone should use it without significant community discussion and at least one lawyer weighing in.

  2. I’m confused about your stance toward open-source licenses in this statement. Are they a hindrance or are they widely available? My experience is that you generally want to have SOME license. Just putting NO LICENSE will dissuade anyone who has to answer to shareholders, investors, etc from using your code because of a lack of predictability. The MIT is super permissive and short, the GNU is opinionated but they both put restrictions on code and its uses even if to just disown liability.

And this begs a couple of questions that I think are relevant:

  1. Do you feel that all the licenses that should exist already exist?
  2. Do you feel that the existing licenses cover new possibilities enabled by the IC that didn’t exist before?

If the answer to either is “NO” then shouldn’t we be having a conversation about it? That is all ICDevs currently wants to do is to figure out what the hell to do with this pattern even if it is to declare it an anti-pattern. Further:

  1. Does the existence of code that the ICDevs Executive Director wrote before ICDevs launched disqualify the entire organization from doing good in the IC ecosystem and being able to be measured in governing the IC?
  2. We’ve changed the license and proclaimed that you are correct about base libraries. Is there some other penance we need to go through here, or can we move on and make sure that the best decisions are made about new licenses that take into account IC functionality? I don’t want Meta or Google driving this conversation.

Full disclosure here: I am a member of ICDevs. @villa-straylight your points are noted. Here’s a bigger picture in my eyes.

I was floored with seeing the capabilities to send micropayment on content through IC(ok, converting one type to another). Also I am really impressed with the depth of research done by @skilesare on how to make NFTs pass the hewey test. This is true innovation.

I do think we should be having conversations about this innovation so that it can benefit the IC community at large.

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Do you mind if I ask who you represent? I only ask because you keep saying “our” or “we” and I’m curious to know more. If you’d rather not share then I understand. Thanks.

My focus is simply on the code of the IC, I couldn’t give a damn about licensing.

Then why are you voting against ICDevs for one member’s past work on licensing, rather than on how they would govern the code of the IC?

Do you understand how open source licenses like MIT or Apache (which IC uses) protect developers from legal trolls?

What you’re doing with the ICDevs neuron is akin to getting in early to lobby the government about a whole new industry.

Isn’t this exactly what you are doing with your own neuron/discord group?

Being an IC developer and struggling to pay rent seems a bit of a stretch.

Do you understand that the IC is new, and there aren’t that many companies hiring yet? Furthermore, if every new IC dev has to go work for someone else, we will attract less devs and have less innovation, compared to other blockchain ecosystems that don’t have authoritarian governors like you.

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I don’t think this helps. I understand the frustration but Villa has a right to vote and clearly has the trust of some number of stakeholders in his/her Discord group. Villa has already said that their position could change in the future. A lot of us wanted to know why these votes against the proposal were happening and Villa was willing to speak up. This is all part of governance.

@villa-straylight FWIW i just wish you’d interact with @skilesare. It seems like he is more than willing to hear you out and work together.


I’m 100% with you “in the long run”. I’ve been spending the last 4 years talking to fortune 500 companies trying to explain DFINITY and the IC(while painfully waiting for release) and I’ve learned a lot about what CTOs will and won’t endure inside their organizations. If we ever want them to take the IC seriously it has to come with legal protections, clear guidelines, and limited volatility. They have to know who owns what or it won’t come in the corporate doors. Now I’d imagine that you and I probably agree that in the long run we need very different kinds of organizations than corporations, but if we want them to take the poison pill that leads to their transformation we have to work within the reality of those contexts. So if you want to build an NFT wonderland on the IC where everything is digital and de novo you can get away without licenses and not care about them. If we want to use the IC for building roads, planning new medicines, reducing operational costs of service providers, building factories, and discovering new science we are absolutely going to need to care about licenses.

Yes! A super interesting question for the IC to grapple with. The Mario thing bore this out and we should talk about it. There will be a software licensing complaint against someone on the IC in the future. How will we handle it! I don’t know but the NNS has the power to take that canister off line. Should we do that? We have a massive post elsewhere on the forum to talk about that so I don’t think we need to rehash it here, but I think you place more emphasis on the now irrelevant claim that I was trying to distribute base libraries with ransom code than on the fact that it is important that we have institutions talking about this and planning for the future.

Do you consider developers to be middlemen? They are building the code that runs the digital widgets. Shouldn’t the value of their code accrue to the authors of the code? Do we expect them to build for us and fade into the west? My feeble first attempt at this new kind of license was to find a way to eliminate the VC and corporate infrastructure that I view as the middlemen of building software today. Current OpenSource culture is an amazing countercultural movement against the Microsoft/Oracle/SAP IP hoarding of the 80s and 90s. OpenSource had to be radical because it was fighting against a behemoth and it required that strategy. Does the culture change when value runs through the code? When we have new inventions that empower developers? It is a discussion to have.

Let them eat cake. I think we live in different worlds then. I’m happy to take this off-line. The evidence points to a single anonymous individual or a couple of anonymous connected individuals working together to vote against the proposal to the tune of ~20M votes.

The reality of the math is that in the next 2 days one of the 32 300,000 ICP neurons that voted against the proposal will make enough in maturity to donate to ICDevs to procure 6 seats(a majority) on the Developer Advisory Board that has the directive to drive our agenda and could recommend that we delete the offending license from the internet.

Further, if the individuals are that concerned about rent-seeking we’ll be happy to accept the dedication of just one of those neurons so we can take the rent paid to it and distribute it to developers building on the IC and require them to only use the most open and pervasive licenses.


Your stated goal with voting against ICDevs was to restrict the ways developers could fund themselves (such as the license a member of ICDevs previously wrote). ICDevs have clarified they are not intending to vote in any way with regard to that license, but you still hold it against them. Thus, you are trying to using your wealth and power to restrict how developers fundraise on the IC. That is antithetical to the libertarian ethos of crypto.


Your first reply that explained your vote said:

We believe that this is contrary to the whole point of the IC and will vote against ICDevs until the middleware ransom code is removed and an alternative funding mechanism (perhaps none at all) is found.

Nowhere did you mention trust. Now you are moving the goalpost.

If it is trust that is the issue, can you explain why you don’t trust them and offer them a path to gain your trust?

Also once again I have no affiliation with ICDevs or it’s members. I do not know them in real life. I am judging them solely based on their activity in the community.

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This, I think, is a fair critique.

The trust factor that you alluded to in one of the previous posts is, then, directly attributable to the fact that you feel that ICDevs is getting too much recognition for too less of innovation.

I wish that we had known about this opinion from before. But better late than never. Thanks for voicing your opinion.

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I’m going to have to stand up for my Developer advisory board here. @quint has written probably >50% of the useful user generated motoko code in existence and @lastmjs’s contributions with porting databases to the IC and building a JavaScript cdk are by far some of the most significant innovations I’ve seen to date. Our other members have been active in discussion and development that continue to enable the IC to do new things. These are the people that ICDevs board has enabled to drive our budget agenda and direct the voting power of our neuron. If these folks aren’t clearing your bar then it would be helpful if you could further define where that bar for innovation is.

This statement is a significant misrepresentation of our work so far. We have not repackaged any rust code. We have not even released a rust library. None of the bounties that have been completed contain any rent-seeking code. Our bounty sizes are restricted by the donations we receive. Many of our devs who have applied see these as significant incentives for the work and an amazing opportunity to learn while getting paid. Finally, we have no licensing plan for code produced from our bounties except the most permissive open source licenses(likely MIT). In instances where we have a funded bounty or community requested bounty that requires work in software with a more restrictive license we will ask for the blessing of the Developer Advisory Board before doing so.

As far as trustworthiness and transparency goes, we’ve done everything up to and including submitting ourselves to the inspection of the US government as a 501c3 charity with public bylaws, clear formation documents, and a commitment to public discourse(our developer board discussion channel is public readable). We will keep working to advance the mission in our by laws and you will have no issue with our Dedication to the cause. Our efficacy is only limited by the donations we receive.

I’d gladly invite you and your confidants to match this transparency or it makes a conversation more difficult.


@quint has written probably >50% of the useful user generated motoko code in existence and @lastmjs’s contributions with porting databases to the IC and building a JavaScript cdk are by far some of the most significant innovations I’ve seen to date.’

Have no reason to take issue with that, but perhaps that is part of the ‘issue’. My feels are that the ‘powers that be’ want community members to develop a larger ecosystem to support beginning and intermediate developers b4 they deem same to have made a contribution that evokes trust?

If it is just a small tribe that wants a big say based on the fact that they currently have the technical ‘knowledge’ …I do understand why that might not be trusted. Nothing personal. Seems fairly pratical.

Why aren’t there numerous educational resources to learn Motoko/Candid? If there had been an early investment towards that the coin would probably be several times more valued. If a group dedicated themselves to developing this and it brought a general audience into the ecosystem my feels are that this group would probably receive the ‘political’ support of the ‘powers that be’.

I own a domain, Would be happy to contribute that to the community to build an -like platform and maybe the folks that make the most worthwhile contributions could use that as a platform to gain trust.

Just sayin’.

I have no axe to grind nor dragon to slay and no ego to serve, but I do believe in the promise of the Internet Computer to empower individuals.

For folks that have never started their own company or made the money they want to in this world I understand that pro bono work for the greater good might generate skepticism. Am sure there will be plenty of fame and fortune to go around eventually. I just want to bring a 1000 …10,000 fresh faces through the door from all walks of life by making this more accessible.

Would also think that this would serve your desire to be recognized and rewarded with support from the ‘powers that be’.

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This is an interesting question! Work on motoko continued at a good club behind a bit of a curtain right up until May when the IC launched. I know I had a bit of an expectation of more robust base libraries being available. It is still really hard to do some basic things in motoko. It was part of the drive to create an org like ICDevs.

That is a great domain name! We have a open bounty to add content to User @efe is currently assigned to the bounty but there is no reason anyone can’t create a pull request with some tutorials beyond the basic scope in the bounty: Bounty 1 - Basic Tutorial and Site

If it is just a small tribe that wants a big say based on the fact that they currently have the technical ‘knowledge’ …I do bunderstand why that might not be trusted. Nothing personal. Seems fairly pratical.

It seems a bit of a chicken or egg problem. In a young community who gets the trust and how do you build it? On the IC, today it seems that is right place right time + disposable income. You have to start somewhere, but to claim that the “trust” up and down the line on the NNS is based on something but financial ability + luck would be a hard case to make. That is the trustless nature of the system. The community can trust that these folks behind the curtain have the systems best interests at heart because they are locked up for 8 years. It doesn’t mean they are right or will make the right choice and the liquid democracy component is there to diffuse some of that responsibility responsibly by delegating votes to experts. I’d argue that one of the axis of expertise that people would want available to them is technical expertise.

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“We” as in the seed bros chilling in the discord? You have such a massive amount of voting power and use it to reject a motion proposal citing - we don’t like money flow to centralized authority and their rent-seeking behavior.

Seems like this “discord” group is a more centralized component of ICP that has massive voting power. Let me ask you How ICMPN and CycleDAO are more decentralized entities than IC Devs? Not seeking rent? that’s the only parameter?

ps: I have no affiliation with any of them, it was exactly this situation I was predicting about and It happened.


I doubt if cultural issues were at the heart of the ‘no’ votes by villa-straylight’s group of whales, but since the American focus of IC Devs was mentioned at one point, I am placing on record my own feeling of uneasiness with regard to IC Devs as opposed to CycleDAO. When I look at the CycleDAO website, I see a group fairly diverse in nationality, who have boosted the ICP ecosystem as individuals and have come together to help it as a collective. When I do the same for IC Devs, I see a website filled with requests for donations, donations, donations, and a meagre list of bounties handed out. It doesn’t convey the feeling of an organisation that has done much for the ecosystem. This kind of website for a non-profit might be something that Americans are used to and consider appropriate, but it did put me off considerably. If the response is that IC Devs hasn’t done much yet but has great plans for the future, I think it is appropriate to wait till a few of those plans fructify before giving it such substantial voting power.