Exploring a 'Stacks Residence Program'

The Stacks Foundation is workshopping an extension of the grants program that would enable individuals (or small groups) to engage in longer term research and development projects supporting the Stacks ecosystem. We’ve been referring to it as the ‘Stacks Residence Program’ because it has some natural alignments with similar programs outside the world of crypto (e.g. Entrepreneurs in Residence, Developers in Residence), which should help people quickly understand the concept, while appealing to new talent pools.

The basic idea of the program is to provide participants—whom we’d refer to as “Residents”—with regular, reliable funding on a monthly basis, thus enabling them to ‘go full-time’ on Stacks. Much like the grants program, the Residence Program could operate on the basis of committee approval and require Residents to have a relatively clear notion of the work that they would intend to do.

A major motivation for developing this program was to enable more longer-term and open-ended research projects, experimentation, and otherwise. Whereas the grants program is ideal for builders creating tools or providing solutions that offer clearly scoped and immediate benefits and insights to the Stacks community, the Residence program caters to those looking to explore broader problems/unanswered questions. We imagine the program serving research needs, more ongoing governance-related projects, sustained improvements to ecosystem infrastructure, and more.

A good example might look like a Researcher in Residence that takes on a question or research project whose findings could advance the ecosystem. They might be tasked with testing Stacking-based membership models with a range of businesses in different industries to determine the best possible messaging for Stacking, what psychology is at play, and plenty more.

The Foundation team, in collaboration with the Stacks community, would work closely with Residents to set research milestones and outcomes, but we’d ultimately trust them to own, lead, and deliver value on their projects.

Benefits of this structure:

  • Increases number of people working on Stacks without increasing centralization
  • Opens up the possibility of working on Stacks to new talent pools (students, established professionals outside crypto)
  • Provides stability and autonomy to valuable contributors
  • More open-ended and longer-term projects can find their way to success
  • Payments are made on a regular cadence, so in the event the Resident is not working out, it can be ended early and the whole grant will have not been paid out in advance

Risks of this structure:

  • A more open-ended engagement could be harder to track and hold accountable. Certain projects by nature might not have a clear deliverable within the first month or more, so in theory, someone could abuse the position for some time before we realize good work is not happening

Possible requirements:

  • Must be a previous grantee that successfully delivered on a Milestone, this gives us the benefit of working with a known quantity, given this form of grant requires more trust given the less specific upfront definition
  • Bi-weekly check-ins/reporting with Stacks Foundation team, monthly with the grant committee and the community at-large to field feedback
  • Individuals must be subject matter experts

We’re planning to move forward with a test of this program during the quarter a noted in our Q3 OKRs, we’d love your feedback and ideas as we explore. Please feel free to drop them here or email them to [email protected]. Thanks!

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Thanks for the reminder today about this potential program, Jenny. How does a community member who is interested in the residence program get engaged with the Stacks Foundation? Is there an application or is the format the same as for the current grants? Really excited to hear more. Thanks for your work on this project.

Please let me understand this a little more clearly.
I, for one, work a job that leaves me a lot of free time. I would like to be involved in an endeavor that both forwards the adoption of crypto, and allows me to learn a great deal.
In my every-day interactions with crypto, I find a lot of problems and I am by no means a new-comer.
Even as small a thing as interacting with NFT’s is often not a straightforward process.
I actually feel that being interested but not as technically knowledgeable as some gives me an insight into what is lacking in terms of crypto adoption.
So, would these grants be a paid position? Or more like a funded internship?
Would there be lists of projects that need attention, or would it be necessary for an individual/group to identify an area of interest and provide a roadmap to solution?
Is there a timeframe for completion of individual projects, or just a showing of progress?
I’m interested.

Rick Spindler

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The idea of the residence program is to enable folks to work on Stacks full-time or very near so - so they would be provided with regular payments as long as they are a resident that is roughly commensurate to a salary. If you already have a job that is full-time, the grants program would be a better fit. Grants | Stacks Foundation.

There is not a list of work that we are dictating to residents, what they come in to work on would be decided on in the course of the application and aligned with their skillset. We also imagine putting out calls for Residents to fulfill specific needs within the ecosystem.

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Update: The Residence Program repo has been published! Here, you’ll find general FAQ as well as the application and nominations processes.

@JulietOberding @RickSpindler

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RFC: Stacks skunkworks (stealth mode)
One thought I had for both the Grants Program and the Residence Program is a stealth-mode for early stage(s) projects and/or research whereby participants still do the same fully disclosed work processes but disclosure early on is ONLY to the Stacks Foundation and not to the general public until some later date voted/agreed upon by Foundation and participant(s). So essentially non-disclosure outside Foundation during the stealth phase. The primary motive I think for stealth mode is for crypto-platform first-mover advantages. Thoughts? Does it make any sense? How could this be implemented given the need for transparency to Foundation? Would this be viewed badly by the broader Stacks community?