Silk Roads Proposal

Before jumping into the concept for the project, I want to share that this is offered with an open hand. In my experience in the Secret community, there isn’t a comparable precedent for a project like this. And although the feedback I’ve heard so far is positive, I understand it is possible that community will feel that a unique project of this magnitude is too much, too soon. That’s ok. I trust the voice of our community to discern whether or not this would be of high value.

Below is an outline for a community brand known as Silk Roads. The mission is to drive and document the story of SILK’s adoption.

In order to accomplish this, Silk Roads will execute on two primary strategies:

  1. Cultivate on-the ground partnerships with accelerators/incubators and VC’s in developing and/or economically vulnerable communities by:

a) Understanding how the utility of SILK can best serve the needs of entrepreneurs and their local communities
b) Creating resources that contextualize the benefit of SILK to these parties once relationship has been established
c) Providing community education, training, and coaching related to SILK and related applications for these stakeholders
d) Helping embed SILK in these local communities so that there are deep economic roots growing it’s daily utility

  1. Tell these stories through a professional-grade, full-length documentary released in Spring 2023 in addition to regular Medium posts and interaction with the Shade Protocol community

Please read the (Silk Roads Whitepaper - Google Docs) for additional research and thought surrounding these particular strategies.

Key Deliverables and Timeline

  • Bi-monthly Medium posts and project updates (beginning mid-July)
  • Community access to decks and tools created for partners (ongoing)
  • Full-length documentary (notes below)
  • Shareable film trailer in March ‘23
  • Shade Community premiere event in April-May ’23

Film Summary: What Money Wants (working title)

Our world is in the middle of an economic revolution as the technology of money is reimagined. Many believe we are experiencing a new separation of state and money just as we did with state and religion.

What Money Wants explores the two very different visions underneath Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC’s) and decentralized stablecoins — specifically SILK. The future hangs in the balance between these two ideologies.

See how thought leaders, protocol builders, and government officials are evaluating these two divergent paths and why it matters for all of us.

Witness the stories of local entrepreneurs across the globe who are managing their business with SILK and present its case for being the most stable asset on earth.

What does money want?.. It depends who built it. And in the end, there just might be choice for all of us to make about what is truly valuable and what we choose to call money.

Relevant Experience

  • Produced 14+ pieces of video and written content for Shade Protocol
  • 10 years in video production, 4 years freelance videographer and one year as Creative Director for a non-profit
  • 14 years as an Executive Coach with added experience in social impact consulting
  • 2x founder (both non-profit and small business)
  • 5x published author
  • Doctorate in communication skills and contextualization

Grant Ask (July 15, 2022 - April 15, 2023)

  • Production (including location travel and filming expenses) - $73,200
  • Post-Production - $10,500
  • Partnership Funding - $6,000

Grant Total = $89,700 (11,019 tokens @ 8.14/ea)


Maybe I can help tee up what is likely the key issue here to get conversation flowing - I understand it comes down to cost. Everyone would love to capture one of those first moments where a customer is actually paying a business in SILK - and then, even more, knowing the story of that business owner, their locale, and how SILK is serving them. All of that sounds good but the sticker shock for making that happen is real.

So as we evaluate whether or not this is a viable grant, there are two distinct layers to the question…

#1 - Is this the kind of work that we’d like to see happen with a grant? Does the long-term value for the protocol outweigh the short-term cost?

#2 - Is this a good rate for production cost? How does this budget fare compared to other similar projects?

The truth is, #2 doesn’t really matter though if we are a “no” on #1. I’d suggest that be answered first.

But just to touch briefly on #2, I know that many are probably not familiar with what typical production budgets look like so there’s not much context to go on. You can google around a bit but, any way you slice is this is pretty shoe string especially when you factor in that I’m planning on three film locations.

So… there’s the elephant in the forum and I’m happy to say it so we can talk about the value prop. Again, I want what the community wants and if the cost seems too high for Shade at this point in our lifecycle I am 100% ok with it.

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This is a really interesting idea Sean! I think a documentary would be neat, but I do have some concerns.

I don’t see how we’ll be able to get enough people to speak to SILKs value for their business in less than a year. Adoption takes years, and it’s going to take a while for people to really start using SILK.

Additionally, it sounds like you want to make the documentary about how actual businesses are using SILk, but any data we do have won’t be entirely valid because it wouldn’t gave stood the test of time. For example, one business saying they love silk one month after launch doesn’t cary much weight. It can’t because they’ve only been using it for a month. The real test is over years.

I realize the idea is to get more SILK adoption, but I feel like an April '23 deadline is way too soon to have good, concrete, credible data to present to people. Maybe I’m thinking about this wrong though?

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These are great concerns, thanks for jumping in on them. I’m wondering if the whitepaper might provide more clarity on the strategy here?.. Can you give that a look if you haven’t and let me know if it is enlightening?

TLDR - the key is these relationships I am working on with two small incubators. One based in SE Asia, the other focused on South America and Africa. My hope with the 6k partner funds is to offer seed money to 2-3 carefully chosen entrepreneurs in a limit of two locations/cities. They are incentivized to find a way to embed SILK/SilkPay into their business and I will provide the relationship to understand and tell their story, help them understand SILK and how it can live inside their business.

So the goal with this isn’t a mass blast on businesses. It’s a hyper focus on 2-3 carefully selected businesses, understanding how SILK fits (or doesn’t fit) into life in these more liminal economic environments, and then assimilating all that learning into a compelling story.

Does that make more sense? Sorry if I didn’t make that particularly clear in the prop.


I agree with this point. I think its too ambitious given the stage of growth for Silk. I think we need to at least reach a few hundred million SILK in circulation before something like this should be considered. In the meantime, our goal is educate users on why we have a basket, and secure integrations across different protocols and blockchains. This feels like putting the cart before the horse.

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I respect that Ranger and thanks for engaging with this prop. To roll with your analogy, I think the protocol has people working on training and strengthening the horse. I’m not suggesting we attach a cart. This prop is more like “let’s explore design options for a cart”. Let’s sit in a room with the people who stand the most to gain from the existence of SILK, let’s learn from them, and proactively, preemptively, uncover the unknown obstacles to mass adoption.

So if the cost is too ambitious, that is one thing. I can respect and appreciate the decision.

But if we are saying the project itself is too ambitious, personally, I don’t think we can dismiss the need for this kind of work. We have a talented community ready to add value to Shade in channels and pathways outside of “why basket” and “when Osmosis”. We 100% need people doing the work you are describing. But we also need people building maps for how SILK connects to IRL. Because the best tech in the world isn’t worth so much if we can’t figure out how to connect it to human lives. And I would suggest we start that grassroots work now.

While an interesting idea, I must object to the naming. The Silk Road is already well known as an infamous Dark Web criminal web site, taken down in 2013 (and again in 2014.) While this may less of an issue ten years later, I fear it may still raise certain emotions amongst those old enough to actually remember the original site, such as myself.

Of course, the silk road is also an old overland trade route between Europe and Asia.

Wikipedia has respectable articles on both.

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Yikes. Thank you for the heads up. Critical feedback.

I would oppose this proposal if it were to go to a vote thank you

Hey Sean!

Sorry about the delay.

I’m still admittedly skeptical about this. I just can’t see how this makes noticeable progress in a global way. Some vendors might start accepting it (only those who we work with directly and incentive to do so), but I just don’t think most will. Thus, most of the consumers won’t either. I also don’t think that locals in developing countries are really going to be the most eager to try something like this either. With how little some of them already have, I can’t see most of them being eager to try something so new and risky that could ruin them.

I just don’t see a viable path for success here. The ROI seems low to non-existent from an adoption perspective. Of course, that would all depend on what we consider ROI.

That being said, this is still a neat idea, and you obviously have put in a lot of time on this. I don’t want to belittle that at all, and I hope that I haven’t done so. These are just my thoughts on this proposal. It would still be awesome to have a professional documentary! Please let me know if you think I’m looking at this wrong.


Thanks @bigboy61. I think the way you have presented your concerns is in no way belittling. This is Shade’s culture at work as we give and receive feedback in ways that serve the protocol and honor each other :slight_smile:

The whitepaper was my best effort to make a case for this so if you read that and it wasn’t compelling then that is on me!

You’re definitely right that if this were to go through there aren’t any guarantees of mass adoption. That would be nice but its not a realistic goal.

The goal is to find the few who are willing to try something new and see what we can learn from them. Because the only alternative to the learning made possible by those relationships is moving forward with our pre-existing assumptions. I don’t want to say “no” for people. I want them to tell me “no”. I don’t want to guess about their obstacles to adoption, I want them to tell me what they are. I want to intentionally lab test them with people so that the protocol can move forward with more understanding about the real needs of people, barriers to entry, integration challenges, financial norms in emerging economies and… perhaps we do get some awesome SILK stories for all that trouble…

But it may be that this just isn’t the right time. That is kind of what I am sensing even from those who love the concept - maybe down the road a bit. We all have to discern what the most important work to focus on for Shade is right now and it may be that this isn’t it. Or maybe this evolves and becomes something more befitting of where we are in the life of Shade right now. Maybe I can kickstart some of this learning and research without the cameras rolling, without the VC partnerships, without the big ask budget… I will chew on that a bit.

Regardless, I am really grateful for the critical thought and engagement around this. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

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Gotcha. It makes sense now. The goal of this is not necessarily to grow adoption (it will to a very small degree), but moreso to find out if our theories are validated regarding Silk and it’s value proposition/use for people.

I actually think now would be a good time for this because it’s still extremely early and changing it is easier early on. Change is harder once we actually have adoption.

I guess the open question is how much we value this experiment. 70k is steep for sure, but I also know movie production is expensive. I’m curious to see how the broader community thinks about this.

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