CityCoins Proposal: Community Management - Chris Castig

Date: May 11, 2022

Proposed by: Chris Castig

Background

Console.xyz — a crypto-native chat platform with DAO tooling — could greatly benefit the CityCoins cities of Miami, NYC and Austin. In this proposal, I outline various Console modules such as voting, bounties and a treasury as well as deliver a strategy for how to make the best use of these tools.

Before prescribing a solution, I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on a missing part of the CityCoins community management equation: research. Local citizens stand to gain the most from the CityCoins project. Yet, as a member and supporter of the project, it’s not inherently clear to me how the CityCoins funding will actually empower local citizens. Who specifically are we trying to empower? How? What is the core interaction we are providing local citizens?

I believe CityCoins can create a strategy to empower local citizens to have more power over how their city funds are allocated to help the city. In this proposal I share a plan for more clearly articulating the problem, aligning with local stakeholders, and a hypothesis on how to run better experiments using Console.xyz.

Motivation

The public is split on how well democracy is working [1]. Overwhelmingly people feel that representative democracy is not representative of their needs. In a system as large as a city, there exists millions of interconnections between all the citizens. A delay and misaligned incentives between citizens and their representatives presents a challenge for modern cities: a) Voting cycles of 2-4 years provide a feedback delay between citizens and their representatives. b) Motivated citizens who report improvements to the city don’t have clear options for accountability. c) Representatives are awash in information from their constituents.

My hypothesis, on behalf of CityCoins, is that by empowering local citizens with direct access to financial capital — as well as access to high-quality information, and an open platform through which they can self-organize —  that together we can run a series of iterative experiments that will help CityCoins reach its mission “to give communities the power to improve and program their cities.” In addition, the novel CityCoins token creates a financial market for cities whereby for the first time in history outside investors can now invest directly in the success of cities. We believe this combination of capital, and empowered citizens will help drive experiments that will pave the way for the future of cities.

Scope

Part 0: Setup & Press Release

Who is responsible for executing this proposal?

I propose CityCoins elect one responsible person to be the directly responsible individual (DRI) to lead the development of a Community Management Working Group (CMWG, roughly 3-5 people).

What’s the first step?

As a first step, I propose that the DRI write up a press release (from the future point-of-view of what a successful mission looks like). Once CityCoins has this document, I propose we take a consensus vote to align on the future vision of the project. If we don’t reach consensus, we should work together to re-draft, reiterate, and re-vote until there is consensus

Press release assignment: One year from now, what will the press release for CityCoins look like when published in the NyTimes? Imagine how we want CityCoins to be written about, imagine how we imagine our successes will be communicated to the world. Write a (fictional) press release imagining that future.

Example press release for CityCoins in 2024:

Headline: CityCoins is for the People

Date: January 17, 2024

  • Last night at City Hall, in downtown Brooklyn, over six-hundred New Yorkers came together to celebrate their year of local achievements. People-powered cities is the term being used to describe a rising trend in cities that are experimenting with empowering citizens directly with capital, and holding them accountable through community management platforms run by CityCoins.
  • 32 improvements to the city infrastructure (potholes, sidewalks, trees, roads). 48 new local businesses started. 14,000 books donated to public schools throughout Brooklyn.
  • Cities exist to create a group of citizens who will take responsibility for their community. Responsibility is what separates a citizen and a tourist. CityCoins gives local citizens the capital, responsibility, and accountability in order to create a directly impactful benefit on their city.

Part I: Stakeholder interviews (research):

In order for the CityCoins project to be successful, CityCoins needs to learn more about the citizens aim to empower. To that extent, I propose we interview 10 stakeholders over a period of 30 days in the city of Miami, NYC or Austin. The goal of the stakeholder interviews is to define our stakeholders, and document their needs.

Recommendations for potential CityCoins stakeholders:

  1. Community board members: Interview local citizens who are active in community boards in Miami, NYC or Austin. What problems are they trying to solve? Have they used technology to solve it in the past? How might they plug the CityCoins funds into their initiative? Do they own cryptocurrency? Would they use a “web wallet” or NFT?
  • Government representatives: How do they prioritize the needs of their citizens? How does information flow to them today? How might technology help? How might CityCoins help?
  • Citizen activists: What methods do they use to solve local problems? What gets in their way? How might they use the CityCoins fund? Would they be interested in chatting with other citizen activists?
  • Inactive activists: These are people who want to be involved, but are inactive for whatever reason.

Alternatively, we could consider Andre’s stakeholder model (if adopted by CityCoins)

  • Miami Stakeholders: MiamiChapters, MiamiDAOs, MIA holders, MiamiGovernment

In addition, a major assumption about Web3 has to be tested: “Will local citizens embrace Web3 technology coming into their cities?”

  • To current supporters of the CityCoins project, “Web3” represents the promise of decentralized power, sovereign identity, and shared ownership. But to locals of Miami, NYC, and Austin — it’s unclear that they will share that belief, or have the level of tech skills to participate.
  • Would local citizens use a “web wallet” or NFT? Are people willing to learn?
  • On suggestion (an alternative approach) piggybacking on Patrick’s plan for “panels” (aka. Local squads of 5 or more people) is to somehow design a real-world/on-chain hybrid delegation model. To be clear, I’m suggesting a Web2 technology for voting, and delegation, combined with a delegation model for assigning that to an tech literate representative who can commit those votes on-chain. (This is a half-idea, happy to chat in more detail).

Part II: Run experiments

Console.xyz is a chat platform, and decentralized tooling platform. Today, Console.xyz requires members to have access to the Hiro web wallet.

image

Caption: Preview of Console’s chat functionality

Strategies for how Console.xyz empowers CityCoinDAO:

  1. DAO vs. SubDAO: The parent organization (CityCoins DAO) can have it’s own Console instance (chat, voting, treasury, bounties, etc), meanwhile each city (Miami, NYC, Austin) can have it’s own Console instance. This separation essentially creates a DAO/SubDAO management model. Members involved in multiple Console instances may make use of Console’s “inbox” feature to receive aggregated notifications and updates across DAOs in one convenient feed.
  2. Token Verification: Membership in the MiamiCoin/NYCoin DAOs can be verified by holding MIA in their Hiro Walet.
  3. NFT Verification: A local NFT distributed to citizens could be established to grant access to Console. Note: a specific plan onboarding a local NFT has been omitted from this proposal, but happy to discuss separately.
  4. Chat: Verified chat allows CityCoin members to communicate directly with other members who they know have “skin in the game.”
  5. Bounties: Local citizens can request funding (either in a loan, or grant) with a plan to improve the city.
    1. Console members can upvote and comment on bounties.
    2. Console moderators can reward grantees with STX, or CityCoins.
  6. Voting: Vote on DAO governance issues
    1. Off-chain/on-chain: voting can be recorded either off-chain (with signatures, no cost to members) or on-chain (recorded into the blockchain, each member must pay gas to vote)
    2. Delegation: Members can delegate their voting power to other members.
  7. Events: The DAO and SubDAO can post events
  8. Audio: Members can hold audio-only events (like Twitter Spaces)

Inclusivity approach: Overcoming citizen’s barriers to Web3

The above features are possible with Console. Although let me take a minute to suggest a more inclusive alternative to how Console — alongside other Web2 solutions —  could help CityCoins achieve its mission more effectively.

Three things I believe:

  • The CityCoins project should prioritize inclusiveness in the voting process and grants.
  • Inclusiveness means: all registered citizens of the city of Miami (NYC, Austin, etc) should have a vote, and easy access to participate.
  • The broader problem with the Web3 movement is that crypto-tooling (e.g. web wallets, crypto) are a digital literacy barrier for many. Also, ownership of cryptocurrency (MIA, NYCoin) privileges those with capital, and excludes those who can’t afford to participate.

Therefore, a more inclusive way to run our experiments may include a hybrid Web2/Web3 approach. Imagine the following:

  • Console supports all of the features listed above for the CityCoins DAO (treasury, governance voting, verification, etc).
  • But we create a completely separate “Web2” website “MiamiGrants.io” to manage the grants.
  • At MiamiGrants.io, anyone can login and propose grants, bounties or vote on other bounties.
  • How will MiamiGrants.io verify local ID? Two proposals:
    • Credit card
      • Programmatically you can verify a credit card’s zip code with Stripe. You may have to charge someone $.01 and refund them $.01.
    • Postcard (sent on demand)
      • During registration at MiamiGrants.io, a citizen can submit their home address
      • CityCoins mails out 1 postcard mailer to that address with a “6 digit code” The citizen, after receiving the code, logs onto MiamiGrants.io confirming the code, thereby registering themselves for a 10-year period as local to Miami.

Note: Console’s beta is scheduled to go live August 1st, 2022. All of the features listed above may not be available on the date of launch. Coordination between Console and CityCoins is necessary to assure proper expectations and delivery dates are met.

Part III: Measure, learn and iterate

How do we measure success? How can one SubDAO knowledge share to influence other SubDAOs? How can we publish our learnings? Is our experiment meeting the stated CityCoinDAO goals? If not, how can we improve?

Non-Requirements:

The proposal does not address:

  • DAO formation: Legal structure of DAO formation
  • Funding, mining, etc.

Open Questions:

  1. How can we improve this proposal?
  2. How can we integrate it nicely with other proposals and ultimately reach some kind of consensus on approval?
  3. Who will be in charge of executing this proposal?
  4. Do the local cities have any requirements of Console.xyz, anything that might restrict us from using the platform? (ie. accessibility concerns, security concerns, etc).