ICF Harming Gaia Competitiveness

  1. the icf, per their own admission, is severely delinquent in updating delegations.

  2. Planning for Gaia is done on a closed discord server. Even validators and large code contributors cannot participate in planning for Gaia.

I do not know if Ignite still owns atoms. If they do, they’re likely delinquent on item number one here. To the best of my knowledge, they do not control or make policy on the planning for Gaia.

The reality is that no one knows except participants in that discord server.

Jacob’s Analogy: terminated
ICF Delinquencies: exist

the solutions are really quite simple but I know for sure there’s a swath of incumbents who may be opposed to addressing them.

At this stage, it is not unreasonable to wonder about:

  • are delegations actually based on votes?
  • should new and highly participatory validators look to chains other than the cosmos hub?
  • should I steer top new validating talent away from the cosmos hub?
  • what are the relationships between non-participatory incumbents and the icf or its members / directors?
  • Should the community look past Gaia for hub-like properties in a blockchain?

Surely the ICF currently has very significant delegations to non-participatory incumbents.

Surely, this harms the quality of Gaia’s validator set and disincentivizes highly participatory new validators.

Surely, the solution to this is not even remotely difficult.

Surely, this has been discussed at great length, and both issues have been recognized as serious by the Interchain Foundation.

Surely, no action has been taken.


We all want the Cosmos hub to be highly competitive, but the ICF continues to take actions that seem to harm the competitiveness of the cosmos hub. (I am not talking about prop 69, prop 69 was in my opinion made in good faith, and sparked a great deal of thought and consideration on my part)

As a validator with delegations on the cosmos hub from atom stakeholders, I feel obligated to point out that the opportunity to recruit technical talent via the validator set is being completely missed on the cosmos hub. I think that missing opportunities to recruit technical talent can cause harm to the value of the atom and the speed of evolution in cosmos and / or harm Gaia’s role as a hub in cosmos.

Furthermore, the delinquency can cause harmful doubts-- for example, if I knew that any validator could fully participate in planning conversations, and that the interchain foundation used their stake to onboard highly participatory validators, then I’d have no reason for concern about @lexa’s request to stop using the phrasing which shall not be named, and no reason for concern that ICF delegations may be based on compliance with the ICF agenda for the cosmos hub.

So, if we’re all assuming good-faith here, I would like to once again urge the interchain foundation to update their delegations and ensure that all:

  • validators
  • code contributors
  • infrastructure proviers

… can meaningfully participate in conversations about Gaia’s development. By commit count, I am the 5th largest contributor to Gaia (code contribution should not be measured solely by commit count, others have done much more than me, and probably some of them have fewer commits on Gaia than I do and that is fine) and I do not have a way to access the discord server where Gaia’s development is planned.

I may (once again) be dinged by some employee or grantee of the ICF for mentioning this stuff, or be told that these conversations are better held in private forums, but these issues are really very persistent, and the solutions seem quite simple to me.

Or, is there an argument that today’s validator set is maximally competitive?

Please note that this is not a discussion of Prop 69, which I personally think did serve to make Gaia more competitive in the long run, even if just by sparking high quality discussion of important issues.

If you feel that these are important issues, please consider delegating to Notional’s validator on the Cosmos Hub, and advocating to ICF members that planning occur in the open, and delegations be routinely updated.

should I freak out and sell all my atoms?

no. This can be addressed through advocacy, I think.

Does this mean that the icf is terrible at everything they do?

No. The icf is terrible at the two items that I hope to get addressed:

  • delegating its atoms in a way that reflects the current reality of the network
  • ensuring proper transparency around cosmos hub development

Some Questions

  • Should ICF delegate to validators who have never voted?

They do.

  • Should ICF delegate to a provider of white-label services to validators in cosmos?

They do.

  • Should ICF delegate to validators who have been jailed?

They do.

  • What is pe4x72?

A validator the icf delegates to with no known public record.

  • Should validators fear retaliation by the icf?

Notional does.

Prove notional wrong please

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Hey, completely agree we need to prioritise this. Mentioned this on twitter and in dms, ICF needs to sort out its Authz configuration. Working on that now. After that there will be more flexibility, but a functional policy is still a ways off. Unfortunately this is going to happen slower than you or I like but it is being worked on.

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I am back to software work now, and all I ask is no further excursions of this type. Our whole team asks this.

“drive by pull request”

I’m confident Billy’d seen this post above, chose to do as he did.

It isn’t right, I guess that is why over and over he chided me for not keeping conversations restricted to DM’s instead of global-facing mediums like this and twitter.

If you feel that these are important issues, please consider delegating to Notional’s validator on the Cosmos Hub

Just to be clear, there are many more forms of retaliation then financial, and harming developer on boarding, is direct harm to the entire cosmos ecosystem

Using my newly invented tiny COC design, we are able to set a clear expectation of kindness towards one another and clearly state the person responsible for the enforcement of that standard and the scope of one’s life during which that standard is shot. This is fair and this actually protects contributors.

On the other hand is the contributors covenant:


Both documents share the exact same intention, setting an environment of kindness and mutual growth and inclusivity, and I wish to assure everyone, those are values that I share. However, the contributor covenant suffers very seriously from scoping issues. Most likely I violate it several times a day, not because I am being unkind, but instead because it is extremely easy to violate and does not specify it’s interpreter.

I am proposing my tiny COC as a preventative measure, this won’t be the last hotly debated political issues and I deeply deeply resent the enormous waste of time caused by the various threats to my career made by the cosmos hub lead.

If in the course of our professional work, Billy needs to speak with me I request that it be in a public forum like this one or Twitter. I do not make drive by pull requests. (Although actually sometimes I spend a lot of time on a single PR, and then I apply that all across the cosmos ecosystem because I think that’s helpful and I mean I yeah you can treat contributors worse you could but you would need to get pretty inventive)

Sam given everything that’s occurred, I’m going to go ahead and say that my hunch was almost certainly corrected that I have been suffering various forms of retaliation for a very long time now. At the very least since proposal 69 and in my opinion most likely much longer.

please note well this is not an ad-hominem attack on anyone. Sometimes in the course of human events, we must discuss “sensitive” issues. Due to the continued inaction – or even continued lack of even an attempt to formulate a plan in a public facing manner involving dialogue – I am once again raising this issue.

February 10, 2022 catdotfish said to me in the cosmos hub governance telegram chat:

Catdotfish, [Feb 10, 2022 at 7:48:26 PM]:
There is work being done about this from the actual Interchain so there is no need to start an investigation process :3 I’m sure you have enough important tasks without adding this to your plate

I also have to say that ICF people worked an insane amount of hours 7/7 in the past year so what is read as lack of transparency is just actual lack of time to dedicate to this. I’m sure that they know that this is important and they will start providing more timely updates asap.

Following up with Sam Hart privately shortly thereafter he had very heartening things to say.

Publicly and privately, the ICF has always said heartening things and they’ve complained about the difficulty of makng 50+ multisig transactions, and I get it. That’s a pain.

Here’s moonboy’s work that elicited that response from catdotfish.

Seems like well-intentioned accountabilty work to me. Few spots with allcaps and maybe not enough clinical precision with wording but oh well.

And here’s what I actually fear retaliation on – contributing both to gnolang and to cosmos at once. I feel like it makes both sides uncomfortable and please if it does, just let me know. And to the icf, concerning the issue of delegations – the silence – concerning any kind of a clear plan or the development of a delegations policy – is deafening.

The delegations – if any came my way-- would basically be a signaling mechanism – the icf giving myself and the 15 people working at + 15 affiliates involved in other ways at Notional – some actual recognition from ICF. Thus far we’ve gotten “drive by pull requests” and inaccurate reviews of our code from the Hub’s maintainer. With that said, the community around Gaia has shown strong approval of our work.

I’m going to try and get some signal to this forum post, because I am inviting both cosmos and gno and any project I work with to just ask me not to. Then I won’t.

I interpreted drive by pull requests that way, and I believe I was right to do so. If the maintainer of the hub was interested in my contributions, my attitude would change. So another thing to note is that wouldn’t take much more than recognition and decency to allow me to contribute to the hub again, and to our delegators, I am sorry; I tried to do for gaia what I do for every chain but the repo maintainers seem to actively loathe my contributions to the degree of making numerous inaccurate reviews while referring to them as drive by pull requests.

There’s been total silence on all of this.

Hi I just wanted to drop in with a quick update, Here is a document listing interchain foundation delegates who sell 100% of atoms earned for over a year

I find it incredibly interesting that instead of an apology and recognition, I continue to be criticized as a loose cannon and rude by individuals who are paid directly or indirectly by the interchain foundation. In fact, I don’t think anybody else has questioned this information.

Hypha coop which is paid to run this forum

Says I’ve violated their trust

this is the anthropomorphization regulation board

Lesson: caint trust icf grantees, since they know the rules

The doc has an edit history. The chat has a history.

I’m quite sure he mentioned coauthoring. What he did… is insert risk minimizing statements that criticized me; criticizing me is risk minimization for icf folks as I’m persona non grata since I mention the actual blockers to interchain security and atom value accrual.

before I had suspicions and now I know.

I’m not gonna remove his edit rights though.

O and I didn’t need to insinuate anything, now did I?

Since I spoke fact only.

Huh he is funded by the ICF too.