This is the initial letter sent by the DAO members to the Particle team. It represents the entire history of comments circulating in the Particle forum since the outset of this project and is supported with comments from the larger community. While not exhaustive, it helps capture the sentiment the broad community has vocalized since the beginning of this project.
To the Particle Foundation and Particle LLC. Board of Directors:
The Particle Team has defined its mission as “[the acquisition of] some of the most important trophy masterpieces in the world and to put them in the hands of the wider community” with a vision to “leverage blockchain and NFTs to radically change the way people own, collect, experience, and ultimately enjoy art.” It is important to note that the title of Particle’s white paper starts with the goal of “Democratizing Ownership of Fine Art Masterpieces” as do many of the public statements and podcasts that brought this community together.
The Community has stated, time and again, that they were drawn to the Particle project by Particle’s vision, its mission, the quality of the first acquisition, the cornerstone artist, and the credentials of the leadership team.
In a world where decentralized, cryptographic edge-solutions are rapidly coming to market, it is clear that the social contract between suppliers and customers is redrawing the lines of many existing business and societal norms. Crypto-assets represent more, in-practice, than access; they represent security, trust, reduced friction, and self-sovereignty. The right to exist because you exist, with your proofs built in. Rights don’t need to be granted, they can be built; through protocols, networks, and applications. Trust does not need to be centrally certified, it can be cryptographically secured.
We have observed that these revolutionary constructs have been interpreted differently by the Particle team and by the Community. This is common in our transition from web2 to web3 which represents a rewriting of many existing social contracts. Particle’s ideas have been executed in many of the “old world frameworks” with one-sided partiality, a top-down leadership flow, and profit-center mechanics. The rules and terms protect the business with little regard for the rights and best-interests of the artists or the community. It is yet to be seen if this is intentional or by accident, but it has certainly caused confusion, disappointment, frustration, lack of confidence, and ultimately a loss of value in the assets that were purchased. In the past few months, Particle has managed to neglect the best interest of your two most important assets, the Community and the Artist, and in so doing have damaged the credibility and good-faith of the brand.
The foundation of this letter is based on the belief that:
- Ownership is not a subjective term and should be used to describe only its intended purpose
- Building trust in a trust-less system relies on access, communication, and transparency
- An ecosystem is built on a set of natural rules, an environment in which to interact, and a community of participants
- Appreciating value comes from the appreciating fulfillment of needs or desires and is supported by utility, function, elegance, stability, scarcity, assets, and design
- Thoughtful ideas require thoughtful planning, innovation requires agility, and current failures present opportunities for future success
Thus, we have attempted to provide a rough compilation of core concerns voiced by the Particle Community so that it is abundantly clear why we have come together to parlay. It is as much frustration in execution as it is belief in the vision that has brought this group together. It is ironic that the cornerstone piece, “Love is in the Air” by Banksy has come to represent our Community’s struggle against authority, subversion, propaganda, and profiteering in much the same way as the Artist’s intended message. While most of Us have come to believe that the intent of the Founders was well-intentioned, intent is nothing without follow-through.
Our first concern is that the current structure provides a limited and potentially harmful lack of defined rights to the Particle Community in the way of protection, ownership, security, governance, transparency, asset backing, and trust. This is the soul, the protocol, and the underlying value of the project and what should drive value for any representative NFT. While we appreciate speculation and the buzz surrounding so many projects today, we believe that lasting NFT projects of the future require more than hyperbole to build intrinsic value.
The second concern is around the inclusion and stewardship of the art. We believe that to support Art we must also support the Artist. To connect with Art we must connect with the Artist. When creating a collection, exposing it, or otherwise leveraging intellectual property, the creator should benefit, be considered, and ideally be included in that process from the beginning. We should be participating in the art market as partners, not wielding it solely for profit or gain.
The third concern is the lack of transparency. From this vantage point, there appears to be a lack of business resources, fiscal planning, fiduciary structure, and value proposition included in the launch of this product. While this may not be the case, line of sight is critical to keeping people engaged, interested, and excited.
This Community deserves first-look advantage, a stake in the entire ecosystem, and the ability to actively participate in both the Art and the future of this project directly. This is a nascent environment, full of smart and driven individuals. If we don’t find the drive to act quickly, someone else will. If there is one good thing that has come out of this project it is that the Community feels empowered to stand up and formally express itself. At this point, what else do we have to lose?
We feel evangelized to act on our own behalf by organizing our thoughts, resources, and minds toward a common vision. We believe that this project has the potential for change. We believe in the vision the Particle Team has presented. Now we must find out if everyone has the drive to push together to regain the momentum and passion with which this project started.
At this point, Particle holds all the keys, own all the locks, and have closed all the doors. You have neglected the Community in pursuit of your goals and many of us feel lied to and deceived. Without the Community, the halls will surely remain empty, the brand will be worthless, and the dream will be over. All that will be left will be a peaceful public protest and the antithesis of the vision that brought us here: a locked up Fine Art Masterpiece, far from public view, and owned by no one.
The Foundation, the Particle Corporation, and the Community must support each other equally. The nature of that relationship must be codified in canon with the Community at the center.
Thank you for your taking the time to hear these points and for your openness to constructive solutions.