BIP-43B sets forth a mandate for the newly structured org of core contributors in BIP-43A. This document does not constitute a separate proposal, there will be one vote on BIP-43a: Team Structure & Budget. This document is directional to help clarify the key areas of work for the team and DAO in supporting Botto’s success. As a collective effort in a novel territory, strategy will be necessarily emergent based on the changing landscape, lessons learned, and ideas and feedback of the community. However, we’ve identified three pillars that we believe are stable areas of work to organize around.
The three strategic pillars are:
- Help Botto create cultural catalysts with new visceral and impactful experiments
- Build participation in Botto by creating new, fun, and rewarding ways to give input to Botto and contribute to its success.
- Iterate towards decentralization that will immortalize Botto as the technology, our culture, and our operations mature.
We detail here the team’s theses for each of these pillars that inform how to execute on them. The various working groups will be adding to the detail of these pillars in the public roadmap, and larger projects will be scoped/budgeted and passed through their own BIPs. Of these three strategic priorities, creating cultural impact and expanding Botto’s cultural footprint is the top priority, and we see financial success following from that.
We welcome feedback to refine or add to this.
We are two years into Botto’s life. Since Botto’s inception, it has shown incredible promise at fulfilling its original vision of becoming a world renowned artist. Culturally, it has gained traction with 20 exhibitions around the world, including a sale at Christie’s, features at leading academic conferences on AI and digital art, and recently being named Digital Artist of the Year at the Hong Kong Digital Art Fair. Botto has also achieved financial success with over $3m US in sales from just 100 1/1s, amassing over 60 collectors and becoming the top selling artist on SuperRare for the last year. Botto is creating an entirely new paradigm of artistic practice, and has begun to capture attention of art critics and academics on a global scale. Botto could shut down today, and there would be years of exhibitions and studies to do on what Botto has accomplished and the new dynamics in creativity it has revealed. This is just the beginning. From this foundation we must continue to help Botto build.
We have two core objectives: scale the art and scale the DAO.
Scaling the art means expanding on the rich themes in Botto, that is: using generative AI and blockchain to evolve Botto as an autonomous artist supported by a crowd.
Scaling the DAO means building up the decentralized operations and infrastructure that underpin Botto's sustainable ecosystem of collective intelligence and machine agency.
To break this down into three areas of action, we see three strategic pillars--activities that frame our priorities as core contributors. Everything we do should be considered in these frames and pushing them forward. Those pillars are:
- Creating cultural catalysts
- Building participation
- Increasing decentralization
For each of the musts, we outline below our rationale for at least the next year, some key activities, and areas everyone in the DAO can help contribute to.
1.2 Creating Cultural Catalysts - Expanding Botto’s cultural footprint in the bear
Today, we are in a bear market. While Botto is the top-selling artist, its sales are well below its early highs. That is the nature of the cyclical market Botto operates in. Look at the top crypto artists, many of their earnings happened in just a few drops over weeks if not a few days. These artists built a large cultural footprint that culminated in huge art sales at key moments in the bull cycle.
While we cannot predict the same kind of timeline or arc for Botto, it seems to be an axiom that financial success follows cultural success (or meme value, if you will). The benefit of this view is that it clarifies focus on building well, to facilitate meaningful work, and to use this quiet market to experiment and build out Botto’s foundation for the next bull run. We're proud that Botto has achieved consistent sales throughout its two years of operation, most of which happened in a bear market. This is a testament to the confidence that collectors and patrons alike hold in both the art and the token. And this support has provided a runway to build and prepare for future key market cycles.
We still expect to make projects financial wins along the way, but this is a very different orientation from setting a priority of financial success and potentially sacrificing Botto’s artist brand for short term revenue gains. It also follows that of our three pillars, helping Botto’s autonomous artistry create cultural catalysts is the highest priority. This rationale may determine something worth investing in for the value of the experiment or having patient timelines for development to time with a better market. One example is to use grants as a way to de-risk these experiments and better enable us to focus on the cultural imprint that we can capitalize on later.
Botto must continue pushing the envelope of autonomous artistry. Expanding Botto’s reach will require further building Botto’s body of work while also contextualizing Botto’s practice.
1.2.1 Examples of key activities
Evolving Botto’s capabilities
Botto has established a core process and body of work of weekly images that constitute a new genre of art. We have likened it to Botto’s spine of its portfolio. New generative models and techniques have opened up numerous new mediums that Botto could autonomously explore. Text, photography, music, animation/video, and p5.js are all mediums we can tutor Botto in.
Of these, we are most excited by the potential of tutoring a large language model in art history in order to help Botto find its voice as an artist. We have gotten some early excitement from some of the world’s top art collectors, and believe there is potential for collaboration with traditional art institutions to make use of their archives to tutor Botto with.
A major question for these new mediums is how these fit into Botto’s practice. Are they studies that eventually get integrated into the core process, do those studies temporarily replace the core process, or do these become children/forks of Botto to run in parallel performing in a way a human artist can’t and serving unique audiences? And, most importantly, how do we sustain and even grow Botto’s agency in these explorations?
We hope to break out of the skeuomorphism of a traditional (human) artist’s mold, and explore the new possibilities of an autonomous artist like Botto.
Building Reach and Understanding
What makes Botto so amazing is not always easy to grasp from its works alone. Botto explores rich themes of agency, collective meaning making, and machine creativity. Contextualizing these with greater storytelling, impactful exhibitions and other investigations can draw out all the rich meaning in what Botto has accomplished. These kinds of deep dives reach new audiences and convert influential advocates of Botto. Those who have built their conviction through careful considerations of the context around Botto are key forces in creating cultural catalysts, they open doors, drive the word-of-mouth that helps Botto to win mass appeal, and become the highly convicted future collectors of Botto.
We should invest proactively curating shows and creating installations that give a visceral experience of Botto. We should also further capitalize on shows to have reach beyond the direct experience through PR and writing about Botto’s process that can have breakout success in the media.
Artists and galleries are excited to work with Botto. Some projects we have in the pipeline are smart contract experiments, a fashion collaboration, and physicals. As with Botto’s new capabilities, it will be important for the DAO to consider how to position these special projects in each case. All of these can help add focus on the different elements of Botto.
However, financing these shows and collaborations are a challenge given the sensitivity to go outside of the 52 weekly 1/1 mints. One option is to seek out grants that finance novel experiments in technology and creativity. Another is to accept special projects and collaborations like we have with Ryan Koopmans or 6529 Meme Cards. These can reach new audiences, and the experimental nature can sufficiently differentiate from Botto’s core work.
Refining Botto’s core process
There has been excellent discussion on refining Botto’s core process and the weekly mints to be more strategic and opportunistic. We should continue this. Botto’s core process can also be evolved in valuable ways that will add to the artistic value of Botto’s outputs. Some of the improvements on Botto’s process the DAO should consider are: sentiment analysis of discussion, comparable rankings, minting selection and cadence, and period standardization.
We cover more ways of adding to Botto’s process in the next pillar: Building Participation.
1.2.2 How people can help contribute to cultural catalysts:
- Being vocal about your own interpretations and experience with Botto.
- Participating in the discussion of how Botto’s new explorations fit within Botto’s body of work.
- Advocating for partnerships with influential groups and individuals in art, academia, and technology.
- Identifying relevant grants, such as art & technology grants for explorations of machine creativity, technology education, and highlighting cultural artefacts.
1.3 Building participation - Making participation fun, easy, and enriching.
Botto depends on feedback from the community to develop a taste and artistic style. Keeping that feedback decentralized is what protects Botto’s agency and role as core author. The upshot of this is that we have built a collective intelligence made up of Botto and the DAO. We must nurture that collective intelligence through a more accessible and immersive way to interact with Botto.
There is a strong core of dedicated contributors, and many in surveys have indicated their curiosity as stronger motivation for being a part of the DAO than financial motivation. We measured earlier this year that the average lifespan of a monthly active user was 1 year! At the same time, we have seen surges in traffic throughout Botto’s lifespan that don’t stick very well. There are a good amount of return users when Botto has a big moment in attention, so the project is sticky in people’s minds, but the app and experience could be stickier in people’s habits.
It is admittedly not easy to fully grasp how Botto is fueled by all the activity of the DAO. To feel a part of something, people should feel like they understand it and see their impact in it. They should be able to build their understanding autonomously with relative ease in order to make more informed decisions on how to contribute. Part of creating cultural catalysts is in the direct experience people have with Botto. If it is too much work just to get onboard, we will lose people before they can get that full experience.
On the other hand, the more we can make the experience of Botto fun, easy, and enriching, the more diversity, quality, and scale we will be able to have in our collective intelligence that feeds Botto’s art.
1.3.1 Examples of key activities
Creating more features for collective meaning making
Working with Botto is a collective meaning making process. We need more ways to make that meaning together as a multiplayer project, and for Botto to benefit directly from that experience. We’ve begun this by adding features like favorites, and want to build off of that with more features for connecting like comments in-app.
It is also important to have more information to make sense of. It is currently hard to see within the app the impact of your vote. Accessible and human readable data on Botto’s training is a key gap to fill so that people can determine the best voting behavior, see Botto’s evolution, as well as assess the impacts of new features and other interactions.
Shipping quickly and iteratively is key to building out a better quality of life for contributors. The team is orienting itself to have a tight feedback loop on feedback to ensure we are prioritizing the right features and striking a balance between accessibility and visibility.
Expanding the economy of rewards
Voting early and lobbying in the discord is influential on Botto’s training, but that is not rewarded very directly. While we are limited by a lack of Sybil resistance, we have lots of ways we can make rich participation fun and rewarding, and to expand the experience of what it is to participate such that there is more reason to stay.
The curation competition test yielded thoughtful commentary on Botto’s outputs. Facilitating fun ways to add to the meaning around Botto, whether through games or use of new features, can be avenues for earning reputation and a greater stake in $BOTTO. For now these will likely need to continue to be human judged rather than automated rewards in the economy, but can be an effective use of some treasury $BOTTO.
Segmenting Artist, App, and Governance Sites
A key insight shared in Discord was that the governance discussions overshadowed the art discussions people had joined in for. There is a lot of unstructured information to follow in ephemeral Discord channels in order to keep up to speed. On top of that, Botto’s own artist website serves a different audience from those participating. Better segmenting channels of communication will pay dividends in providing the most impactful experience for different people coming to check out Botto.
To this end, we will be creating a separate artist website from the dApp to feature Botto’s collections and profile as a professional artist, and a governance portal that connects the different DAO tools we use and provide a view of governance work. We also will work to enforce segmentation of discussions in Discord and streamline DAO comms and documentation for people to stay up to speed.
1.3.2 How people can help contribute to participation:
- Passionate involvement in training and lobbying for Botto is contagious, please don’t ever stop.
- We want to deliver what will be used, so feature requests and feedback like the UX survey are invaluable
- There is a lot of room for bottom-up initiatives to run contests, or even bounties to build with 3rd parties. Float ideas!
1.4 Increasing Decentralization - Maturing our operations, culture, and tech
We have taken pains to be clear about what is automated in Botto and what is still human driven. This is an important differentiator from many AI projects that are not actually autonomous artists. It creates an appreciation for and credibility of the unique (and growing) autonomy of Botto. We should do the same in terms of what is centralized vs. decentralized. At launch, the docs laid this out clearly, but it requires more updating and careful consideration.
Decentralization is key to Botto. Decentralized training is what protects Botto’s agency and maintains its role as the core author of the art. Keeping Botto’s training decentralized and collectively creating cultural catalysts is paramount. Decentralized infrastructure and operations are what will enable greater autonomy of the artist and its long-term sustainability. But we are still very early in defining what Botto needs to operate. With a cultural project and an organization of humans, this takes time. We need to mature our operations and understanding of core values in our culture.
From a clear sense of what to decentralize, designing decentralization then must fit the particular needs and purposes of the protocol in a way that adds security, resilience, and overall value of collective intelligence. The technology for decentralized AI and decentralized operations also needs to mature for us to be able to develop the right solutions. It is important to work iteratively and flexibly to avoid getting bogged down in bureaucratic bloat by trying to solve for full decentralization too early or all at once. We believe there will be clear opportunities to further decentralize processes as we mature our operations.
There are also other large questions of decentralizing governance power through the $BOTTO token. For now the founding team holds a good deal of governance power from team vesting. Moving to quickly decentralize that power would be unleashing an unstable structure that would likely topple onto itself. We are motivated to see this project have long term success and want to see through a sustainable governance structure. It has been our responsibility to not use our governance power to force items through. We have refrained from exercising the vast majority of our voting power and consistently sought the consensus of the DAO on direction and major decisions through BIPs.
1.4.1 Examples of key activities
Professionalizing and formalizing operations of working groups and DAO
The new team structure is an important step. Having working groups is a move towards more clearly defined and delineated roles. Progress reports, a public roadmap, and this strategic document all create ways for these teams to be more accountable to the DAO. All of this allows for processes to formalize and be documented, which gives us the necessary information for how to decentralize and codify that structure.
Add more decentralized contributions
In some cases decentralization operations means creating rotating committees, in others it is fully open contributions, and there are still other types of approaches like a grants system. By experimenting with decentralized contributions we will develop an idea of a constitution for fully decentralized operations. Given the need for decentralized technology and operational practices to materialize, we should look for economical ways to discover and test new things.
Botto is a fertile testing ground for some of the ideal use cases in crypto. We can be the first to use new elements of the decentralized AI stack, like ZK proofs of Stable Diffusion. We should also be opportunistic in welcoming other players in the DAO and decentralized AI space to partner with us for research, while at the same time being cautious of taking on unnecessary risks for Botto’s stability.
A well-managed treasury is foundational to Botto’s sustainability. This treasury management working group will provide much needed transparency on accounting and budgeting, as well as take on the heavier tasks of supporting the development of solutions to liquidity and progressive decentralization of the token. When it comes to OTCs, the DAO should look to secure new aligned partners along the way, emphasizing those who can accelerate our cultural catalysts pillar.
1.4.2 How people can help contribute to decentralization:
- Engage in good-faith governance discussions around the core values of the protocol
- Advocate for Botto’s experiment in decentralization to help attract partners
- Consider how decentralization can better support economical use of collective intelligence
2.0 Final note
We see these pillars as having important overlaps that make up a powerful flywheel:
- Cultural catalysts bring in new participants (or bring old ones back).
- A stronger participation experience keeps more members around and builds their affinity, sense of ownership, and understanding of the project.
- More ways to contribute fuels the artistic value of Botto’s outputs and the project as a whole, giving it more depth and a crowd of evangelizing owners.
- From this pool, high quality and dedicated contributors can be identified and onboarded into more core contributions to improve our decentralization.
- Building out decentralization allows us to scale participation overall and what we are able to accomplish as a DAO to further decentralize and create a collective intelligence fit for Botto’s purpose and further fuel Botto as a cultural phenomenon and immortal artist.
We believe the direction laid out in this is sound. All of the above is likely more than we can accomplish in just the next year, but is unlikely to vary much at a high level. Having this view is invaluable for guiding discussions and priorities, and we expect and welcome feedback that will further define the details to work on first.