Announcing Octant

It’s here! After a very successful pre-launch event, comes the release of the Octant app.

We are really excited to introduce you all to Octant and invite you to take part in this thrilling initiative. If you voted in the Epoch Zero Snapshot poll, we also have a special thank-you waiting for you in the app, about which you can read more later in the post!

Octant, developed and funded by Golem Foundation as a new, practical use-case for GLM (an ERC-20 token, native to the Golem Network), is a platform designed to test various hypotheses around user control, community engagement, and participatory public goods funding. This real-life environment facilitates running various governance experiments and rewards active user participation with ETH.

How does Octant work?

To finance the platform, Golem Foundation stakes 100,000 ETH from its own treasury and allocates a predefined amount of its staking rewards to the Octant reward pool, creating a budget for experimentation. (Please note that not all our validators are online yet. We tested our solo-staking setup with a limited set of 64 validators and we are currently in the validator queue with over 3000 more of them. The expected deployment date is between September 1-4 2023. Octant’s FAQ provides you with instructions on how you can keep track of the status of our validators in real-time.)

Octant’s reward pool, fueled by returns from staking, will consist of two parts: User Rewards and Matched Rewards.

To participate in the distribution of Octant funds, users must lock at least 100 GLM with Octant for a 90-day epoch. The more GLM someone locks in, the more rewards they will earn, and the greater voting power they gain in token-weighted polls. Essentially, the rewards a user receives are directly proportional to the amount of GLM they lock. For example, locking in 1% of the total GLM supply means you receive 1% of the staking reward.

Please remember to only lock your funds using the official Octant web App, and make sure that you are sending funds to the following address: 0x879133Fd79b7F48CE1c368b0fCA9ea168eaF117c. Do not lock your GLM with any other address or any ENS! We will not be able to assist you with unlocking your tokens if you send your funds to the wrong address!

Octant’s GLM time-locking mechanism is non-custodial. The tokens locked into Octant by users are not pooled together with other users’ funds, and each user can unlock their tokens at any time. However, full participation in governance requires keeping your GLM locked for the entire epoch.

Once the epoch ends, users with valid lock-ins can either claim their User Rewards for themselves or donate their share of Octant rewards, partially or entirely, to eligible public goods projects. If they choose to donate part of their rewards, their contributions will be amplified from the Matched Rewards pool.

The Epoch One list of potential beneficiaries will initially include all the projects that received funding during Octant’s pre-launch Epoch Zero event. Before the first allocation window starts, we will add additional projects to the pool, taking into consideration the input of the Octant community.

We will describe the details of the submission and review process in a future post. In the meantime, if you are interested in this subject, please check the “Propose a project” section in the Octant docs, where we outline the eligibility criteria and the selection process.

What’s unique about Octant?

While on the surface Octant’s design might look simple and straightforward, we’ve introduced some important twists to its mechanics that make it much more engaging:

  • To be able to claim a part of the rewards from staking, Octant users will not only need to lock GLM with us but also be active during the allocation windows. They can either claim rewards for themselves, or donate them to eligible public goods causes; otherwise, their share of the rewards will go back to Octant and be used for restaking.

  • Similarly, for projects to be eligible for receiving community donations, they must pass a predefined threshold of community contributions. Rewards allocated to projects that don’t meet the funding threshold will return to Octant and be used for restaking.

These design choices turn Octant into a multiplayer game. Users will need to observe what other “players” are doing, keep an eye on how their favorite projects are faring, and react accordingly.

No allocation decision will be final until the Allocation window closes. Users can change their allocations as many times as they wish while the decision window is open and move their donations from project to project based on the popularity of their preferred choices with the rest of the community. (To enable this, all allocation decisions will happen off-chain, with no gas fees involved).

To attract donations, public goods projects included in the funding round will need to engage with the Octant community, promote their projects and missions, and actively contribute to the vibrant discussions.

This dynamic approach adds an interactive element to Octant, encouraging users to actively participate in the allocation process and creates an ecosystem of continuous engagement.

How does Epoch One differ from Octant’s subsequent epochs?

There are three important differences between Epoch One and the subsequent epochs in Octant, all designed to maximize the impact of Octant and create a dynamic and inclusive platform.

Firstly, we’re thrilled with the overwhelming interest Octant has received from the web3 community. To maintain this momentum, we’re planning to open the first allocation window earlier than the usual 90-day period after launch. The exact date will be determined based on the amount of GLM locked into Octant, our staking returns, and the expected User Rewards. Rest assured, we’ll provide advance notice of the opening date to keep you informed!

Secondly, to jumpstart the platform, Golem Foundation will turn over all of its staking rewards (minus the operational costs) collected during Epoch One to Octant, instead of following the usual formula for calculating the Total Rewards budget. This change will enable us to open the first allocation window earlier while still providing a significant budget for Octant.

Thirdly, we will calculate User Rewards differently. As a rule, to be eligible to receive User Rewards, you need to keep your GLM locked in Octant throughout the whole epoch (i.e., from the very first to the last day of the epoch). Since we are just launching Octant, and not all users will lock their GLM on the release day, we decided to calculate user rewards for the first epoch based on the time-weighted average of a user’s lock-in value. This way more people will be eligible to receive User Rewards and participate in the first Allocation window (if we followed the rule mentioned earlier, Octant users who locked their funds after the launch date would be able to claim User Rewards only after Epoch Two was over).

And, as a special bonus…

A special Epoch One Octant feature awaits all 656 people who voted in the Epoch Zero Snapshot poll. We appreciate your active engagement in our web3 public goods funding efforts, and we warmly welcome you to the Octant community with a special bonus. Connect the Octant app to the wallet address you used for voting in the Epoch Zero Snapshot poll, and claim 1000 GLM from the Golem Foundation! This feature will only be available until the end of Epoch One, so ensure you claim your GLM before the deadline.

We hope you will choose to lock these funds into Octant and, at the end of the epoch, consider donating at least part of the rewards to your favorite public goods projects. While Epoch Zero was a one-time-only event, Octant continues as an experiment in sustainable public goods funding, and your ongoing support plays a vital role in shaping its future and supporting the causes that matter to you the most.

Why are we building Octant?

Golem Foundation has been actively working on various projects that involve innovative technological and economic solutions, and require real-world testing in decentralized systems.

With Octant, our goal is to engage the existing GLM community, as well as anyone interested in joining, in a series of experiments aimed at finding sustainable funding models for public goods, increasing participation in governance, and improving polling methods to better reflect the values and goals of diverse communities.

The resulting empirical data will enable us, as well as outside researchers to explore and develop effective decentralized governance solutions that can be deployed at scale in different contexts, both within and outside the Web3 ecosystem.

Web3 is a vast and uncharted territory, providing fertile ground for experimentation, and we hope that Octant will help us navigate through it and lead us towards better governance.

Go deeper and stay up to date with Octant!

This announcement post only scratches the surface of what Octant is and what it can become in the future. For those of you who would like to delve deeper into Octant’s design, its relationship with Golem, our staking setup, etc., we’ve created a handy FAQ that covers most of the basics.

We also offer comprehensive documentation where you’ll find articles on Octant’s rationale, mechanism design, the math behind calculating User Rewards and Matched Rewards, and many other foundational issues.

If you still have more questions or would like to connect with the Octant team, please join our Discord server. Also, consider following us on Twitter and signing up for our Substack newsletter to get the latest updates on the project.

Lastly, please remain vigilant. Unfortunately, significant project launches in the crypto space often attract scammers and fraudulent individuals. Always use the official Octant app and trust only the information released on our official channels. We will not contact Octant users through Direct Messages with any special offers, there won’t be a “GLM-launch sale”, and there won’t be any release of an Octant “governance token”. If you are unsure whether the message you see regarding Octant is true, please always verify it with someone from the Octant Team on our official Discord server.

Thank you for being a part of our community! Enjoy the journey ahead with Octant!