Shade's Culture


I would argue that there are a few Web 3.0 protocols that are great and some are still even around based on their community & decentralization. We see that with Ethereum, Bitcoin, Terra, MakerDAO, etc. One thing these communities strayed away from, which may be different from the SN community, is paying their community members.

Instead, what we saw was committed and passionate users of each community who wanted to help out where they can. The issue is this - how do we continue to drive demand for being a community member, while also promoting and acknowledging high-level community members?

Shade Protocol should hold the highest standards all around. Proving that you are an experienced, skilled, and highly committed contributor should be rewarded greatly. This is true to the development of the protocol, but should also remain true to the community.

On the flip side, I think that average community members should not be paid to engage with Shade Protocol. To me this goes back to the Secret Agent’s program on SN where in many ways ‘customers’ are being paid to promote and use a product. This isn’t the most effective way to bring in community members and keep them around.

Shade Protocol itself is a financial system that will allow others to do more with their money than ever before, and that should be the best financial incentive to attract community members. For individuals who get the vision, proven their commitment, proven their skills, and want to contribute passionately should be the ones who are rewarded.

:sparkles:Right now we have the opportunity to set the culture for Shade Protocol and what it means to be a community member. :sparkles:

I believe that we should work to follow some cultural principals:

  1. SHD is scarce and valuable
  2. Earning SHD should not be easy
  3. Community members should ALL be acknowledged
  4. High-level contributors should be easily distinguished
  5. High-level contributors should be rewarded highly
  6. Protocol decision making should be held to the highest standards
  7. We should always question assumptions

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this topic as I think it is extremely important to the success and adoption of Shade Protocol and digital ecosystems to come!

Original thread can be found here.


Appreciate this. Everyone has their own unique way of adding value. A distinct energy that they can add to the mix of this community. And if they can articulate that value AND the community simultaneously resonates with that value for the future of the protocol… let’s empower that energy.


First off, I’d like to say I really appreciate @FatherFlash putting together this post and clearly articulating many of the thoughts I know I’ve had myself.

In my opinion a community and its culture are only as strong as the foundation it was built on so I think setting clear and concise cultural principles / cornerstones is a great way to create that foundation. By providing specific cultural principles it will help unify the message we communicate as a community and should help others easily identify what makes Shade different from other protocols (from both a community and product standpoint).

I also believe that having a set of cultural principles will help attract and retain quality contributors who are passionate about Shade and the vision because they can clearly see whether or not they align with the community and its culture right from the start. Having a sense of belonging and unified community vision, in my eyes, will keep people active and contributing.

Anecdotally, I know I felt a sense of attachment to the SN community right away because we shared a common ethos in that privacy is a human right. Because I shared in that core ethos I wanted to contribute to the community and be a part of what they were building and didn’t need financial incentivization to do so. By clearly laying out these principles it should deter fringe contributors who don’t share the vision from joining the community and should attract those who do share a common vision and believe in the core principles we set.

I think this is an excellent perspective. It is important that ALL community members and contributors feel empowered and embraced but I don’t think ALL contributors need to be financially compensated or incentivized for completing trivial or non-value added missions / tasks. We should continue to reward those who have demonstrated a high level of commitment, passion and conviction to the Shade ethos and overall vision. But primarily I think we should focus on rewarding those who are driving value back to the protocol, whether that be qualitative or quantitative value, as the overall goal when providing incentives should be to ultimately return that value back to the protocol in some form.

I have no issues w/ the principles you have suggested and just want to emphasize the importance of “always question assumptions”. Although I think it is important to have a unified vision for the protocol and community, it should never become an echo chamber. Rather, community members should feel they are in a place where they can engage in quality discourse where people feel empowered to speak freely and be critical of ideas without fear of being ridiculed or judged.

With all that said, nice work @FatherFlash and I am interested to hear if the community has any additional principles they think should be added?


Great points, really like it. I totally agree with you both guys, only high-level contributors should be rewarded. We should support and empower those who are highly committed and passionate about Shade. Other than that, I truly believe we shouldn’t establish a reward/incentive culture.


I’d love for us to host a livestreamed call to work through some other interesting trade-offs of community:

  • Delivery of truth <--------------------> Emphasis on truth
    (sometimes brutal delivery of truth is more important than how it is delivered, but where is the line?)

  • Everyone is an expert <--------------------> Qualified expert
    (How much weight do we give to subject matter experts?)

  • Open platform <--------------------> Exclusive platform
    (Should everyone have an open medium of communication when problem solving with Shade Protocol? What level of emphasis is put on completely open mediums for quality discussions?)

  • SHD is worth present value <--------------------> SHD is worth future value
    (Should we valuate in terms of present value only, or is there a concept that SHD could be overvalued or undervalued? Role of stablecoins?)

  • Time invested <--------------------> Wealth invested
    Is there a bias towards time invested or wealth invested?

  • How is reputation built out within the Shade Protocol community?

  • How is opinions of minority handled?

  • How is opinions of the majority handled?

  • How are leaders held accountable during discussion/debate/research?

  • How are leaders honored during discussion/debate/research?

  • How are community members held accountable during discussion/debate/research?

  • How are community members honored during discussion/debate/research?

  • Stance on “FUD” - what is it as a cultural value and how is it handled?

  • Cult of personality - how can this be avoided?

Just some of my thoughts :slight_smile:

-Carter Woetzel


As far as the OP, I agree with the cultural principles. For me, #2, #6, and #7 are the most important.

#2 because “earning SHD” is, to me, a simple matter of money. If we wouldn’t give someone money out of our pockets to do something, then we shouldn’t reward that same activity with SHD either. Equity is one of the most valuable currencies of a growing business, and being given a stake in a business is the most effective way to ultimately incentivize committed contribution, especially when those rewards are vested.

#6 because high standards are just better. Web3 is wrought with hilariously pathetic business operations. Simply having high standards is a zero-cost way of differentiating ourselves. The world will continue pointing and laughing at the crypto space until we show the same level of professionalism that the world has come to expect from leaders in finance.

#7 because nobody is infallible. While expertise is one of our most valuable assets as a growing business (getting to this later), a good idea can come from a junior engineer and a bad idea can come from a decorated PHD CTO who has successfully exited four start-ups. Everything should be questioned, and nobody is above defending their ideas. I’d go as far as saying ideas that haven’t been rigorously defended should be outright discarded.

On some of Carter’s points…

  • Delivery of truth <-----------------o—> Emphasis on truth
    Running a business, especially a finance business, is cold hearted. Tact and respect is expected, but people are going to have to hear things they don’t like to hear, and as part of having high standards, I believe we need to be willing to accept that.

  • Everyone is an expert <------------------o–> Qualified expert
    As I said above nobody is above defending themselves and everyone makes mistakes, but also… if you’ve ever browed Reddit or something and observed people talking in the comments about something you’re an expert in, you’ll understand how little people actually understand about complex topics, and how confidently they will defend misinformed views or outright incorrect statements. Good ideas can come from everywhere, but I think the simple fact is that synthesis of information toward an actionable idea is only possible for qualified experts. IMO this manifests as qualified experts being voted as representatives, and they will then be trusted to delegate to others as they see fit (trusting their expertise to identify worthy delegates) and to present ideas in a digestible way to the community. The community is free to then criticize. I believe the reason this works is that it requires a lot of domain specific knowledge to create a good idea from nothing but even someone with approximate knowledge can recognize errors in an idea.

  • Open platform <----------o----------> Exclusive platform
    Torn on this. As Shade grows it will necessarily have to become more exclusive because “equal input from everyone” will never happen, and gridlock will worsen as more and more people are allowed to share decision making power, but at this stage having an open dialogue is valuable if for no other reason than to allow everyone to “build a name for themselves” so that they may be identified as those qualified experts we will eventually need to trust to run things.

  • SHD is worth present value <--------------------o> SHD is worth future value
    SHD is worth basically nothing right now, but it should be treated like more valuable than gold. Once we give it out, we don’t get it back, and every SHD we give out dilutes (and therefore hurts) every other holder. If we give SHD, we should expect great contribution in return. This is also a self-selecting process - people who are only after a quick buck will scoff at a few thousand SHD being given for a grant, but people who are believers see an opportunity to entrench themselves in the community, identify themselves as a valuable contributor, and get rewarded significantly for doing so, and so we will naturally attract the most committed individuals. That said, I think it’s also important to reward people who provide exceptional value to be rewarded very generously, since “unicorn” contributors are one in a million and the most valuable asset to any business or community, and if we’re lucky enough to come across such a person we shouldn’t let them go.

  • Time invested <---------------o-----> Wealth invested
    Kinda feels bad to put more emphasis on wealth but let’s face it, the single most impactful thing someone can do and single largest commitment someone can express toward a business is a significant capital investment. It has the greatest impact on the growth of the business, and it has the greatest exposure of risk to the investor. Someone who’s really rich and buys a lot of SHD probably shouldn’t have the loudest voice when it comes to things like risk assessment and portfolio management simply because they have the most SHD… but we should probably at least pay extra attention to their voice. It’s a fine line though, because with significant wealth investment also comes ridiculous short term focus, which is why it’s not only about wealth investment.


I’d be extremely interested in joining this conversation, as these are some very interesting thoughts to ponder. I will always encourage open and honest discussion about community engagement and how to incentivize meaningful contributions from new and veteran members within this space.

There are obvious trade-offs between:

  • highly decentralized decision making and efficiency

  • inclusion and exclusivity

  • controlling narratives internally and transparency

  • Funding early contributors heavily and lack of funding available for future contributors (considering long term funding runway)

*Appealing to authority and objectivity (although higher noise to signal ratio)

Within the Shade Protocol community, we should strive for a culture of collaboration, objectivity, security, stability, and sustainability, all while grounded in a shared common ethos (privacy is a human right)


Lots of different types of people need lots of different types of leadership :frog:


I’ll make the first pass at how I think this looks and try to provide some rationale as to what my thinking behind it is.

  • Delivery of truth <---------------x----> Emphasis on truth
    Brutal truth doesn’t mean being insulting, but rather delivering the full truth even if it will hurt people - naturally, with people’s funds at risk, we deserve to be honest to all parties

  • Everyone is an expert <------------------x> Qualified expert
    Shade as a protocol offers a diverse suite of applications to users. Without significant expertise, it should not look to add significant risk in any of its applications that could result in harming the wider suite. This means we should leverage people of expertise when it comes to iterating on applications to increase the potential benefit without creating significant marginal risk.

  • Open platform <----------x---------> Exclusive platform
    There should be an open forum for all to communicate their ideas - however as SHD grows, I imagine creating time for all opinions becomes difficult and that people within smaller groups will see their voices heard more. The option here is to ensure that some people keep an eye out on open forums to invite relevant people to smaller groups for specific primitives.

  • SHD is worth present value <------x-------------> SHD is worth future value
    The “real value” of SHD should be considered when earning SHD, however - rates cannot be determined purely on the “real value” as the future value cannot feed people. This should be used in decision making whether funding a product now at a significantly lower value is wise or whether funding should be made in line with growth in the value of SHD.

  • Time invested <-x------------------> Wealth invested
    I have nothing to say here except for time invested. Time invested in growing SHD is significantly more valuable than wealth invested and I see little reason why someone who is better funded should be treated better because they bought more SHD.

  • Delivery of truth <---------------x----> Emphasis on truth
    This has been said above, but we should be here to build. Focusing on delivering the best results requires tough conversations, but they should be respectful
  • Everyone is an expert <-------------x-----> Qualified expert
    This is a financial protocol which requires some level of understanding, but good ideas come from everywhere
  • Open platform <-----------------x–> Exclusive platform
    We should have conversations in the open like this so people can follow along, but any voice conversations should be invite only. This is where Spartans should come into play as a way to be in the conversation. People who have shown commitment to the project should be able to voice their opinions
  • SHD is worth present value <-----------------x–> SHD is worth future value
    When it comes to paying builders it will be based off present value. People need to eat. When it comes to proposals I believe we should look at a fair future value of what it is worth. We need to find people ideologically bought in and this can be a hurdle to show that
  • Time invested <---------------x----> Wealth invested
    This is a financial project. Time invested is nice, but we need everyone to be invested as a first hurdle before time is considered. Lets ensure everyone is pot committed and have a book value to tie them to the project in a meaningful way

Could make an argument that 6 and 7 are the bedrock of everything else… studied leading decentralized movements in one of my degree programs almost a decade ago when I had no idea what blockchain was. (still remember the book “starfish and the spider” for anyone who wants to dig into centralized systems vs decentralized… fun read)

It is much more challenging to lead a decentralized movement because you give up control on everything except for one thing — DNA.

Flash’s initial post here was basically “let’s talk DNA”. The keys to DNA in a decentralized movement are it has to be simple, relatable, and carried by every single community member. Because every single community member literally owns the protocol, that means they have to be able to embody what matters most for Shade.

So once that DNA is clear to initial movement leaders, then the next step is transfer pathways. People can’t be what they can’t see so where are we all coming together to “see” this DNA?

And I think protocol decision making is a critical starting place. I’ll throw out the idea of some kind of social agreement. It’s no secret that psudeoanonymity and internet comments cause many to dehumanize others.

During a recent governance decision in another project, I was publicly called a “shitty person”.

But with a social agreement in place for decision-making and leadership discussions, any community member could just say, “naw, bro… you don’t get to say that to another human being. Why don’t you step away and come back when you are ready to participate helpfully and help us work on solutions.”

Imagine if anyone participating in a leadership decision had prior agreement to play by very basic, human social rules.

If this sounds of interest, I would be happy to draft something for the community to iterate on.

  • Delivery of truth <-----------------x—> Emphasis on truth
    This has already been discussed, but I’d like to bring another point regarding many cases of a community misinterpreting the truth because its given in such a processed and vague way to avoid being harsh.

  • Open platform <--------x------------> Exclusive platform
    Most discussions should be kept transparent and open for community involvement. But there are time/data sensitive discussions that will need to be more limited in terms of community interaction.

  • Time invested <----------x----------> Wealth invested
    Time and wealth are equally important for a project to grow. No point in a project having massive wealth without having people investing their time into building the many components that makes a project succeed.


Something that really, really annoys me about other communities is their constant battle of perceived “FUD.” Any negative opinions are immediately greeted with people shouting “FUD” and people trying to silence the person. This not only applies to the community leaders but to the community as a whole. No one should be calling people FUDders or the like. This not only looks bad, but it’s bad for the protocol. We need to NOT do this as it ruins the culture and makes a toxic community.


I would have one suggestion in terms of forming the shade culture.

We could create some kind of „code of conduct“ document in written form that will be available to the public and by every shade warrior that should embody it and act as an idol in front of others. This could contain terms that if you become a shade warrior you also agree to living by this code of conduct and sharing that vibe within the community and socials (no, this will not give a reward, its a general requirement to be part of the gang)

This document could contain points like (just examples):

  • Founders, team leads, shade warriors and community members should discourage shade tokenholders from being negative towards other projects.

  • Negative and false Fud should be addressed in every case by stating the truth & facts but always in a civil and polite form.

  • content created by community members related to shade are always honest, facts are right and the shilling is only to an extend that still contains seriosity.

  • a member that is not going by this code of conduct needs to be educated/informed what we are all about and why this makes sense.

  • every warrior is aware of the vision and mission of shade and can share it with others as he/she fully stands behind it.

And so on…:v::sunglasses:


yeah, agree. sadly the latest atom proposal is a prime example exactly for that :frowning:

One important aspect that I think has been slightly overlooked here is Opacity<———> Transparency

I think the open/exclusive measure is more of a community interaction indicator, but we should discuss transparency/opacity on a more fundamental cultural level.

Transparency is a fundamental aspect of blockchain technology and is a core principle mentioned in the Shade whitepaper. What I take this to mean in relation to the protocol is general transparency of decision-making, for Shade community members to be able to see how and why decisions are made. Transparency builds trust and accountability (trade offs ~ ?) but opacity is also a form of protection (trade offs ~ trust & accountability).

For example,
Should the Shade community have transparency on the Singaporean incorporated company ‘Shade Protocol’?
Shareholders, Directors, Management/Employees etc.
How much control does the company (and by extension it’s investors) have over the trajectory of Shade protocol and which products are chosen to be built? Given that the community is generally expected to promote and push the growth of the protocol (and community members generally have a financial stake in Shade protocol by owning SHD), this is probably something worth knowing so that the community doesn’t inadvertently promote a ponzi or other questionable activity. It also helps to undermine any cult of personality as the community would know where the power within the community really lies.

How can the Shade DAO/community prove that it is decentralised?
This is maybe a more technical thing, but as Snip20s are private, it could be impossible to transparently demonstrate that the DAO is in fact a DAO, and not DINO.

I would point out that decision making has not been all that transparent up to this point, decisions get made and the community is notified after the fact. Explanations of decisions are made on a fairly ad hoc basis.

Note that transparency and decentralisation are not the same things, decentralisation is not needed as a prerequisite for transparency. It’s not something that needs to be postponed ‘until further decentralisation’. A culture of transparency could be established by publishing a full list of all Shade employees, contractors and team members. A culture of transparency could be fomented by the release of memos of internal Shade core team meetings. Etc

I think there should be a culture of ‘Shade protocol as a public good’, and therefore the people in charge should carry out their responsibilities in a transparent (minimum, for internal community) and public (for the external community, ie. the other 99.99% of the world) manner.

And I just want to reiterate that decentralisation is not needed as a prerequisite for transparency.


Definitely agree that transparency and decentralization are distinct. It is valuable to think about how to cultivate a culture of visibility and transparency now even in the beginning stages of decentralization.

It makes complete sense to me though that the core team wasn’t offering some protocol decisions to the community. When you have builders with a vision, there are some things that are negotiable and open to feedback, and some things that aren’t. And that’s ok.

It feels like once primitives are launched the core team is committed to releasing all this into the community’s hands. I believe that and it’s pretty evident in the governance portion of the whitepaper.

Appreciate your points though as it is such a fine balance though between builders making decisions and building with speed AND being malleable with flexible decisions by seeking the community voice. Decentralized leadership has to know when either is appropriate because feedback on everything is a recipe for never completing anything.


The only point I was going to write about for Culture was exactly this point that @bigboy61 has told. So true.

Echoe chamber is the worst thing that could happen to every project. We want to handle it by not falling into that psychological trap and that will only can be accomplished with open eyes, open ears, open mind

Not all who point out vulnerabilities of a product are trolls or haters


Hello I’d like to know if this discussion has taken place?
I may sound like a broken record but once again I mention the importance of TRUST. It should be at the center of discussion and a guideline for the growth of the protocol.
Firstly trust one another to give the best effort in what you team members do as the lack of will eventually reflect on others.
This also allows for decision making to be handled easier as the community doesn’t need to be involved in everything because they trust you.
Then comes trust of the users. This is particularly important when in comes to a stable as it is the trust that gives it value to any currency. And is the most essential factor when it comes to people’s personal finances.
Crypto is a sector where it is hard to gain but once you earn it and maintain that you can achieve the most beautiful things.

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I am bookmarking this to respond when i have a good solid amount of time to really digest and articulate.

Setting the foundations of our culture is very important. And i think while the market is struggling over all, setting a solid precedent and example can be most impacting.

I will add one thing, i encourage that we focus on core ethos. And foundation building only. Leave out any single event items completely.
For example, let’s not waste time on discussing that one thing, from that one time or this one decision that we didn’t like.
Let’s cover. How we conduct ourselves in day to day, governance, and business centric issues in general and as a whole.