PGF specs


Public goods are non-excludable non-rivalrous items which provide benefits of some sort to their users. Examples include languages, open-source software, research, designs, Earth's atmosphere, and art (conceptually - a physical painting is excludable and rivalrous, but the painting as-such is not). Namada's software stack, supporting research, and ecosystem tooling are all public goods, as are the information ecosystem and education which provide for the technology to be used safety, the hardware designs and software stacks (e.g. instruction set, OS, programming language) on which it runs, and the atmosphere and biodiverse environment which renders its operation possible. Without these things, Namada could not exist, and without their continued sustenance it will not continue to. Public goods, by their nature as non-excludable and non-rivalrous, are mis-modeled by economic systems (such as payment-for-goods) built upon the assumption of scarcity, and are usually either under-funded (relative to their public benefit) or funded in ways which require artificial scarcity and thus a public loss. For this reason, it is in the interest of Namada to help out, where possible, in funding the public goods upon which its existence depends in ways which do not require the introduction of artificial scarcity, balancing the costs of available resources and operational complexity.

Design precedent

There is a lot of existing research into public-goods funding to which justice cannot be done here. Most mechanisms fall into two categories: need-based and results-based, where need-based allocation schemes attempt to pay for particular public goods on the basis of cost-of-resources, and results-based allocation schemes attempt to pay (often retroactively) for particular public goods on the basis of expected or assessed benefits to a community and thus create incentives for the production of public goods providing substantial benefits (for a longer exposition on retroactive PGF, see here, although the idea is not new). Additional constraints to consider include the cost-of-time of governance structures (which renders e.g. direct democracy on all funding proposals very inefficient), the necessity of predictable funding in order to make long-term organisational decision-making, the propensity for bike-shedding and damage to the information commons in large-scale public debate (especially without an identity layer or Sybil resistance), and the engineering costs of implementations.

Funding categories

Note that the following is social consensus, precedent which can be set at genesis and ratified by governance but does not require any protocol changes.

Categories of public-goods funding

Namada groups public goods into four categories, with earmarked pools of funding:

  • Technical research Technical research covers funding for technical research topics related to Namada and Namada, such as cryptography, distributed systems, programming language theory, and human-computer interface design, both inside and outside the academy. Possible funding forms could include PhD sponsorships, independent researcher grants, institutional funding, funding for experimental resources (e.g. compute resources for benchmarking), funding for prizes (e.g. theoretical cryptography optimisations), and similar.
  • Engineering Engineering covers funding for engineering projects related to Namada and Namada, including libraries, optimisations, tooling, alternative interfaces, alternative implementations, integrations, etc. Possible funding forms could include independent developer grants, institutional funding, funding for bug bounties, funding for prizes (e.g. practical performance optimisations), and similar.
  • Social research, art, and philosophy Social research, art, and philosophy covers funding for artistic expression, philosophical investigation, and social/community research (not marketing) exploring the relationship between humans and technology. Possible funding forms could include independent artist grants, institutional funding, funding for specific research resources (e.g. travel expenses to a location to conduct a case study), and similar.
  • External public goods External public goods covers funding for public goods explicitly external to the Namada and Namada ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, independent journalism, direct cash transfers, legal advocacy, etc. Possible funding forms could include direct purchase of tokenised assets such as carbon credits, direct cash transfers (e.g. GiveDirectly), institutional funding (e.g. Wikileaks), and similar.

Funding amounts

In Namada, up to 10% inflation per annum of the NAM token is directed to this public goods mechanism. The further division of these funds is entirely up to the discretion of the elected PGF council.

Namada encourages the public goods council to adopt a default social consensus of an equal split between categories, meaning 1.25% per annum inflation for each category (e.g. 1.25% for technical research continuous funding, 1.25% for technical research retroactive PGF). If no qualified recipients are available, funds may be redirected or burnt.

The Namada PGF council is also granted a 5% income as a reward for conducting PGF activities (5% * 10% = 0.05% of total inflation). This will be a governance parameter subject to change.

Voting for the Council

Constructing the council

All valid PGF councils will be established multisignature account addresses. These must be created by the intdended parties that wish to create a council. The council will therefore have the discretion to decide what threshold will be required for their multisig (i.e the "k" in the "k out of n").

Proposing Candidacy

The council will be responsible to publish this address to voters and express their desired spending_cap.

The --spending-cap argument is an Amount, which indicates the maximum amount of NAM available to the PGF council that the PGF council is able to spend during their term. If the spending cap is greater than the total balance available to the council, the council will be able to spend up to the full amount of NAM allocated to them (i.e the spending cap can not increase their allowance).

A council consisting of the same members should also be able to propose multiple spending caps (with the same multisig address). These will be voted on as separate councils and votes counted separately.

Proposing candidacy as a PGF council is something that is done at any time. This simply signals to the rest of governance that a given established multisignature account address is willing to be voted on during a PGF council election in the future.

Candidacy proposals last a default of 30 epochs. There is no limit to the number of times a council can be proposed for candidacy. This helps ensure that no PGF council is elected that does not intend to become one.

The structure of the candidacy proposal should be

fn main() {
  Map< epoch: Epoch, (council: Council, attestation: Url)>

Initiating the vote

Before a new PGF council can be elected, a governance proposal that suggests a new PGF council must pass. This vote is handled by the governancea proposal type PgfProposal.

The the struct of PgfProposal is constructed as follows, and is explained in more detail in the governance specs

fn main() {
struct PgfProposal{
  id: u64
  content: Vec<u8>,
  author: Address,
  r#type: PGFCouncil,
  votingStartEpoch: Epoch,
  votingEndEpoch: Epoch,
  graceEpoch: Epoch,

The above proposal type exists in order to determine whether a new PGF council will be elected. In order for a new PGF council to be elected (and hence halting the previous council's power), of validating power must vote on the PgfProposal and more than half of the votes must be in favor. If more than half of the votes are against no council is elected and the previous council's ability to spend funds (if applicable) is revoked. Approval voting is employed in order to elect the new PGF council, whilst the PgfProposal is active. In other words, voters may vote for multiple PGF councils, and the council & spending cap pair with the greatest proportion of votes will be elected.

See the example below for more detail, as it may serve as the best medium for explaining the mechanism.

Voting on the council

After the PgfProposal has been submitted, and once the council has been constructed and broadcast, the council address can be voted on by governance particpants. All voting must occur between votingStartEpoch and votingEndEpoch.

The vote for a set of PGF council addresses will be constructed as follows.

Each participant submits a vote through governance:

fn main() {
struct OnChainVote {
    id: u64,
    voter: Address,
    yay: proposalVote,

In turn, the proposal vote will include the structure:

fn main() {
HashSet<(address: Address, spending_cap: Amount)>

The structure contains all the counsils voted, where each cousil is specified as a pair Address (the enstablished address of the multisig account) and Amount (spending cap).

These votes will then be used in order to vote for various PGF councils. Multiple councils can be voted on through a vector as represented above.

Dealing with ties

In the rare occurance of a tie, the council with the lower spending_cap will win the tiebreak.

In the case of equal tiebreaks, the addresses with lower alphabetical order will be chosen. This is very arbitrary due to the expected low frequency.

Electing the council

Once the elected council has been decided upon, the established address corresponding to the multisig is added to the PGF internal address, and the spending_cap variable is stored. The variable amount_spent is also reset from the previous council, which is a variable in storage meant to track the spending of the active PGF council.


The below example hopefully demonstrates the mechanism more clearly.


The governance set consists of Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dave, and Elsa. Each member has 20% voting power.

The current PGF council consits of Dave and Elsa.

  • At epoch 42, Alice proposes the PgfProposal with the following struct:

fn main() {
struct PgfProposal{
  id: 2
  content: Vec<32,54,01,24,13,37>, // (Just the byte representation of the content (description) of the proposal)
  author: 0xalice,
  r#type: PGFCouncil,
  votingStartEpoch: Epoch(45),
  votingEndEpoch: Epoch(54),
  graceEpoch: Epoch(57),
  • At epoch 47, after seeing this proposal go live, Bob and Charlie decide to put themselves forward as a PGF council. They construct a multisig with address 0xBobCharlieMultisig and broadcast it on Namada using the CLI. They set their spending_cap to 1_000_000. (They could have done this before the proposal went live as well).

  • At epoch 48, Elsa broadcasts a multisig PGF council address which includes herself and her sister. They set their spending_cap: 500_000, meaning they restrict themselves to spending 500,000 NAM.

  • At epoch 49, Alice submits the vote:

fn main() {
struct OnChainVote {
    id: 2,
    voter: 0xalice,
    yay: proposalVote,

Whereby the proposalVote includes

fn main() {
HashSet<(address: 0xBobCharlieMultisig, spending_cap: 1_000_000)>
  • At epoch 49, Bob submits an identical transaction.

  • At epoch 50, Dave votes Nay on the proposal.

  • At epoch 51, Elsa votes Yay but on the Councils (address: 0xElsaAndSisterMultisig, spending_cap: 1_000_000) AND (address: 0xBobCharlieMultisig, spending_cap: 1_000_000).

  • At epoch 54, the voting period ends and the votes are tallied. Since 80% > 33% of the voting power voted on this proposal (everyone except Charlie), the intitial condition is passed and the Proposal is active. Further, because out of the total votes, most were Yay, (75% > 50% threshold), a new council will be elected. The council that received the most votes, in this case 0xBobCharlieMultisig is elected the new PGF council. The Council (address: 0xElsaAndSisterMultisig, spending_cap: 50) actually received 0 votes because Elsa's vote included the wrong spending_cap.

  • At epoch 57, Bob and Charlie have the effective power to carry out Public Goods Funding transactions. `


Once elected and instantiated, members of the PGF council will then unilaterally be able to propose and sign transactions for this purpose. The PGF council multisig will have an "allowance" to spend up to the PGF internal address's balance multiplied by the spending_cap variable. Consensus on these transactions, in addition to motivation behind them will be handled off-chain, and should be recorded for the purposes of the "End of Term Summary".

PGF council transactions

The PGF council members will be responsible for collecting signatures offline. One member will then be responsinble for submitting a transaction containing at least out of the signatures.

The collecting member of the council will then be responsible for submitting this tx through the multisig. The multisig will only accept the tx if this is true.

The PGF council should be able to make both retroactive and continuous public funding transactions. Retroactive public funding transactions should be straightforward and implement no additional logic to a normal transfer.

However, for continuous PGF (cPGF), the council should be able to submit a one time transaction which indicates the recipient addresses that should be eligble for receiveing cPGF.

The following data is attached to the PGF transaction and will allow the council to decide which projects will be continously funded. Each tuple represent the address and the respective amount of NAM that the recipient will receive every epoch.

fn main() {
struct cPgfRecipients {
    recipients: HashSet<(Address, u64)>

The mechanism for these transfers will be implemented in, which will send the addresses their respective amounts each end-of-epoch. Further, the following transactions:

  • add (recipient, amount) to cPgfRecipients (inserts the pair into the hashset above)
  • remove recipient from cPgfRecipients (removes the address and corresponding amount pair from the hashset above) should be added in order to ease the management of cPGF recipients.

fn main() {
impl addRecipient for cPgfRecipients

impl remRecipient for cPgfRecipients

End of Term Summary

At the end of each term, the council is encouraged to submit a "summary" which describes the funding decisions the councils have made and their reasoning for these decisions. This summary will act as an assessment of the council and will be the primary document on the basis of which governance should decide whether to re-elect the council.


Governance adds 1 internal address:

PGF internal address

The internal address VP will hold the allowance the 10% inflation of NAM. This will be added in addition to what was unspent by the previous council. It is important to note that it is this internal address which holds the funds, rather than the PGF council multisig.

The council should be able to burn funds (up to their spending cap), but this hopefully should not require additional functionality beyond what currently exists.

Further, the VP should contain the parameter that dictates the number of epochs a candidacy is valid for once it has been broadcast and before it needs to be renewed.

VP checks

The VP must check that the council does not exceed its spending cap.

The VP must also check that the any spending is only done by a the correctly elected PGF council multisig address.


Storage keys

Each recipient will be listed under this storage space (for cPGF)

  • /PGFAddress/cPGF_recipients/Address = Amount
  • /PGFAddress/spending_cap = Amount
  • /PGFAddress/spent_amount = Amount
  • /PGFAddress/candidacy_length = u8
  • /PGFAddress/council_candidates/candidate_address/spending_cap = (epoch, url)
  • /PGFAddress/active_council/address = Address


fn main() {
struct Council {
    address: Address,
    spending_cap: Amount,
    spent_amount: Amount,