Transparency within the Dfinity Foundation

I am opening a thread to enquire about Dfinity’s plans for increasing transparency, something I believe is urgently needed.
If I Google ‘Ethereum Foundation board members’, the first link I see is this one:

It gives plenty of details about what I have searched for.
Similarly, Google ‘Cardano foundation board members’ and this pops up:

Google ‘Dfinity Foundation board members’ and you get nothing much. You learn a man called Gian Bochsler is a member of something called the Dfinity Foundation Council and he is also a founding partner of Origyn and a fund manager, but I can find little about the council otherwise. Who are the other members of this council? What are its duties and powers?
When I try to find what funds the Dfinity foundation owns and has allocated I hit another wall. In contrast, here’s a clear account of the Ethereum Foundation’s treasury: exactly what it holds in crypto and non-crypto assets and what it has allocated over the past months:

Is there an equivalent report for the Dfinity Foundation? Is there a plan to release one anytime soon? If not, why not?

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Here are details of the Web3 Foundation / PolkaDot’s Board:
https://web3.foundation/about/
These are all their grant recipients with the current state of the project:

Does Dfinity have anything equivalent? Is it in the works? When can we expect it to be available to the public.

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Community members have asked in the past what processes Dfinity uses to allocate resources, and received no answer. The sense many of us get is that Dominic Williams is a bit of a dictator, but Dfinity’s outreach heads have explicitly denied this.
I just looked at the reviews of Dfinity on glassdoor, and it was very concerning:

Aside from one troll whining about price movements, the other entries appear believable. All of them speak about the brilliant minds employed at Dfinity as one of its best attributes. And all of them without exception question the judgement, behaviour, priorities and management skills of Dominic Williams.
I previously wrote a rather intemperate post after Williams tweeted about People Parties and a documentary being a way to solve the Russia-Ukraine war. I was incensed by such a flippant and misguided take on such a serious issue, and went off track into an unconnected subject. But the glassdoor reviews have confirmed my sense that Dfinity might have the wrong person at the helm at the moment. More than one former employee complains that marketing and HR are given short shrift because Williams doesn’t understand their importance and treats them with near contempt.
There is no way for the community to affect anything within the Dfinity Foundation. I do hope, presuming the glassdoor reviews are accurate, some senior members of Dfinity will at some point stage an intervention to right the ship.

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I usually don’t trust Glassdoor’s reviews cause they can be easily fakes and considering how much ICP is hated its not far fetched to think a FUDer wrote them, but in this case I tend to believe some of them as they reflect the same stuff an ex Dfinity dev told me a few months ago: good vision, excellent team, bad management.

Now obviously this is very anecdotal and it might be the result of his own personal experience, but when combined with the reviews it creates a plausible idea of Dfinity’s internal issues.

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I don’t agree with some of the decisions that Dfinity makes. I do think that marketing is lacking, in the traditional sense. I have gotten definite feedback, for example, from @jwiegley , in this forum that he didn’t completely agree with the proposal 48623; but he felt compelled to carry it forward.

That all said, i do think that it is quite admirable for Dominic to carry through with his vision for IC despite all the negativity post launch. A year + since launch, i can see how IC really is an existential threat for some other crypto-coins. Perhaps the decision was taken to look forward to designing the best tech and let the work speak for itself.

The team consists of world-class cryptographers; who can easily find employment elsewhere. Yet most of them have chosen to stay at Dfinity. That counts for something.

As my old boss would say, software development is not a complete democracy.

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Absolutely, it counts for a lot. But do take a look at those reviews (sign-up needed) some are very detailed and all the credible sounding ones have exactly the same pattern. It might be that no former employee of Dfinity foundation has written reviews at all, and these are all fake fud-spreaders, but for each organisation reviewed one would have to assign a certain probability of a review being fake and for all of them to be fake seems unlikely. And all say the exact same thing.
And look at how we perceive the foundation’s work from the outside: Williams tweets about People Parties, and it’s made a huge priority within Dfinity. He writes a Medium post about maturity modulation and resources get directed towards what the community considers an ill-thought idea, which nevertheless passes thanks to Dfinity’s voting power. There is a consensus in the community that Dfinity’s marketing sucks and the reviews tell us why that may be so. The features described in the reviews match the features we see as outside observers, and the features we learn anecdotally from acquaintances.
Some transparency about decision-making could clear the air. Who is on the Foundation Council? What are their duties and powers? What is Dfinity’s road map to decentralization of its own functioning? What amount of non-crypto assets does the foundation hold?

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sorry, this passed due to DFinity’s voting power?

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Yes it did. They held the big guns back because they were unnecessary and used the bare minimum required, but look at how the vote went and it become obvious it was a co-ordinated insider vote. Community neurons, you will notice, voted against.

There were around 5 large yes votes and 5 large no votes (two of which have been confirmed as community neurons.)

Neither the DFinity Foundation or the ICA voted. Sorry I don’t follow your logic.

A number of large neurons belong to Dfinity insiders. They ensured the vote was in favour, the close calibration is pretty apparent and has happened in other instances as well. If the community neurons had the votes they have now, the Dfinity Foundation would have had to step in, which it certainly would have done. Essentially, the entire point of the exercise was to save Dfinity insiders from paying taxes on maturity, they didn’t even make a secret of it.
As for the vote, it is enough for me to note that on the forum thread and in community neuron votes opinion was stacked against the change, and yet it went through. If you want absolute proof that insiders tilted the vote, I cannot provide it, because there is little transparency around neurons, which is a good thing since most are private individuals. I will settle for more transparency from the foundation.

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I’m not sure you are making a very strong argument using this proposal 47820 as an example. The total voting power cast was 28.1% and DFINITY/ICA own 21.8% total voting power. If they would have voted, that amounts to 49.9% total voting power cast, which is consistent with the total voting power that is typically cast on a Governance proposal.

DFINITY has often held back from swaying the outcome of a Governance proposal when they generate the deliberation/proposal. So it is normal for them to intentionally let the community make the decision by not voting. People who are active in governance participation, especially on proposal topics they care about, have been known to vote manually instead of letting their Followee vote for them. I would not be surprised if people who normally follow DFINITY decided to vote manually because they suspected DFINITY would not vote on that proposal.

Hence, based on my understanding of voting patterns I would not be able to conclude that DFINITY chose to partially vote with some of their neurons. I just don’t think the data supports that hypothesis.

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@wpb , fair enough, since we have no data on who exactly voted, it is not a strong argument. But of all the issues I have raised in this thread, it is an almost irrelevant one. I continue to believe that insiders voted in favour and, had that been insufficient, Dfinity would have stepped in because the entire proposal was geared towards helping Dfinity insiders, any others who were helped was a side effect. BUt I can see why others may not have the same viewpoint.
The questions I am seeking answers to are:
Who is on the Dfinity Council?
What are its duties?
What is Gian Bochsler’s role in the Council and Foundation?
Where is the list of all grants provided by the Dfinity Foundation?
What does Dfinity’s 5 year and 10 year internal decentralization roadmap look like?
I have a few other questions, might put them out if these get answered.

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These seem like reasonable questions to be asking. I hope you are successful at getting answers.

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Although nobody has bothered to answer any of the questions I have posed regarding transparency within the Foundation, here is one more: which projects do Dfinity employees and specifically Dominic Williams have a stake in. It is clear that some projects like Open Chat have gained a lot of attention at the top while others have never been mentioned in any Dfinity communication. Recently, Williams tweeted about a Uniswap front end innovation, posted about it on the ICP reddit and also on the Ethereum reddit, where he spent a lot of time responding to various trolls. His interest in that project seems rather disproportionate, but maybe it was just the way he was feeling on the day. At any rate, the community ought to know whether Dfinity employees have stakes in any projects hosted on the IC, because there is a lot of potential for conflicts of interest there.
The earlier questions I asked were, to reiterate:
Who is on the Dfinity Council?
What are its duties?
What is Gian Bochsler’s role in the Council and Foundation?
Where is the list of all grants provided by the Dfinity Foundation?
What does Dfinity’s 5 year and 10 year internal decentralization roadmap look like?
What precisely are the Dfinity foundation’s fiat holdings?

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How many ICP Dfinity have to sell every month for?:
270 employees
Support all projects, grants?
Operation expenses?
All partys and dinners posted on internet?
How many ICPs rewards Dfinity (insiders and affiliates) are getting per month and how many are sold?
How many ICP are getting sold for these useless lawsuits?

Do they have a financial controller that really take care of the finance and make sure expenses are maximize for benefits?

Could that be the reason for the downward price pressure, and not raw inflation?

Of course, I do not expect any answer. This is why we need to have SEC or some other official to jump in and force those disclosures, just as any other public companies are doing. Dfinity have created a token with value sold to public. Should be treated as a public company to protect investors and developpers.
I became to that conclusion by experiencing Dfinity total lack of transparency. Now I understand the necessity of it.

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I am pretty sure Dfinity is paying staff mainly through its fiat holdings and not by selling spawned maturity. It would be insane to do the latter at current prices. But it would be good to know, as we do for the Ethereum foundation, what Dfinity’s fiat reserves are, so we have a good idea of how far it can continue to make payroll if prices stay low for years. This is information we know about any listed company, so I don’t understand why a non-profit is not disclosing it.
I think the best route now facing this stone wall is to make enquiries with Swiss authorities about what kind of disclosures are required by Swiss-registered non-profit foundations, maybe that will get somewhere.

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Hi there!

While I’m a huge advocate for transparency for all entities that hold decisional power, quite a few of your questions are answered by Swiss regulation regarding not for profit foundations. These entities are governed by a foundation council not a board of directors like for profit companies. The law requires that this council include a Swiss representative. The duties and powers of the council are very concrete and determined by the legislation and strictly supervised by the supervisory authority in Bern. In fact, not-for-profit foundation (especially those that deal with crypto) are the most scrutinised and rigidly audited types of entities you can set up. The only type of activities that a foundation can do are the ones that serve their purpose, as stated in the articles of incorporation. The council members are also public knowledge and you can even get a commercial registry extract for this organization here: ZefixWebApp

We’ve gone through the process of setting up the Open Internet Foundation, a swiss not for profit as well, that funds and supports distrikt and to be honest, the whole framework and supervisory scrutiny is REAL. It is also the reason why we trust these organizations more than for-profits. There is literally nothing else you can do with the funds that a foundation holds other than fulfil its purpose, as declared when it was incorporated.

I guess I just wanted to provide a bit on context and resources, hope it helps.

Also, I totally agree that a transparency report would be welcomed!

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I agree and I would add that all entities with decision-making powers should disclose this information, including named neurons. I’ve said this before, but it’s not a popular take. Nevertheless it would be a refreshing change. I mean, we ask our government decision-makers to disclose investments in order to prevent a conflict of interest…how is this different?

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@AndraGeorgescu , thanks a lot for your input. I do disagree a bit about many of my questions having been answered by Swiss regulations. Perhaps one question has been answered, which is about Gian Bochsler. One can surmise he doesn’t actually do anything, and is only there because Swiss regulations require a Swiss citizen on the council. One might also surmise that the Council doesn’t do anything, it is only there because Swiss law demands it. But it would be nice to get confirmation about these issues.
For the rest, is there a place you can point to where information about the finances of Swiss foundations is publicly available, the way it is about for-profit firms? That would be super helpful, because that is the information we lack about Dfinity.
I have no doubt Swiss regulators are excellent auditors and keep everything above board. They do also have a notorious reputation for maintaining secrecy, though. Swiss banks were thoroughly audited for decades. However, that didn’t help the cause of transparency at all, in fact they were for decades the go-to choice for the world’s kleptocrats.
But thanks again for the helpful pointers, I will definitely do my own research about getting information out of the hands of Swiss regulators. Would be so much easier if Dfinity just put it out there the way so many other blockchains do, wouldn’t it?

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What the council does, what are its powers and limitations is described in detail in the legislation and the info is easily found online. It’s nothing vague about it, the council is the decision-making body of the foundation and has both the right to engage the organization and the responsability of those decisions. The links I provided you with even show who has sole signatory powers and who has joint signatory powers on the dfinity council…

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