Announcing the Quality Phase for Filecoin Plus: Aligning on the Filecoin Plus Vision, Mission Statement and Roadmap

Apr 21, 2023

This post is also available on the Filecoin Plus Medium.

The Filecoin Plus program has been in operation for over 2 years now, and has recently crossed over 700PiB of data onboarded through verified deals, constituting approximately 5% of total network capacity! At this time, we have over 550 large dataset applications representing open datasets (e.g., NASA, NOAA, Brazil Data Cube), onramps for decentralized data onboarding (e.g., FilSwan, FileDrive, Estuary, Web3.Storage), and commercial & academic projects (e.g., Internet Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, CERN).

Last year at this time (April 2022) the footprint of verified deal data was hovering around 50PiB. Our primary focus of the past year was “Scale” - scaling up to support the increasing demand on the network and serving a wider range of use cases (i.e., private and encrypted data). Initiative areas included growing the notary community, improving tooling to decrease “clicks to DataCap”, launching E-Fil+, and decreasing time to DataCap metrics from weeks to days.

While these efforts successfully supported tremendous scale up, there were tradeoffs. Like any program, there will be multiple directions that must be prioritized to meet the overall objectives and goals. As Fil+ footprint on the network and its community grows, it is important that we all remain aligned on the strategic efforts. With all the changes in the network and the program over the last year, we’re taking this opportunity to refine and clarify the program’s vision and mission statement.

Vision: Fil+ scales utilization of the Filecoin network to store humanity’s information.

Mission: Incentivize data onboarding across use-cases with community governed trust mechanisms.

This captures the core of Fil+: supporting data onboarding and leveraging an open community for establishing trust. There have been a variety of discussions, sometimes in governance calls, or around specific project DataCap applications, about what exactly should receive DataCap and what should not. While the governance team’s role is not to be the sole arbiter of these decisions, we want to reiterate that all quality projects that are onboarding data and adding utility to the Filecoin network should be supported by the Filecoin Plus program to some extent. The specifics of how the program supports these use-cases and the extent of the diligence required, still falls on the notary community to help define.

That said, the program should support all client actors with quality data engaging in distributed onboarding. To help define and add some examples:

  • Client actors can be either data owners or preparers, who provide some form of “Know your Client” (KYC) information to earn social trust or prove long term network alignment
  • Quality data is all legal content that: the data owner wants to see on the network; is open and retrievable; or demonstrates proof of concept or utility of the network, such as efforts to improve onboarding
  • Distributed onboarding is generally defined as: multiple physical locations or multiple storage provider entities to serve client requirements

This is not a complete and exhaustive list nor definition of the types of applications eligible for Filecoin Plus support and DataCap. The Notary community, Fil+ Working Groups, and the broader community will continue to work together to further define and support new types of projects. Our intent at this time is to help clarify and add some structure as our notary community and footprint on the network grows.

We have been polling our community and tracking the conversations happening in Slack, governance calls, and across various GitHub discussions - both specific to Filecoin Plus repos and other Filecoin project spaces like FIPs. Recent feedback generally falls into these categories:

  • Abuse in the system needs to be minimized
  • Notaries need to be held accountable
  • Disputes need to be resolved in a timely manner and need consequences
  • Fil+ program needs to move quicker and more effectively institute change
  • System design needs to get better at supporting all use cases

This feedback, along with the vision and mission statement laid out above, is informing the governance team’s current prioritization and roadmap efforts. While there are still improvements to be made in growth and scaling up, the emphasis is now shifting from speed to quality. To mark this transition and label the changes being made as a result of it, we are officially launching the “Quality Phase” for the Fil+ program. We are proposing the following three top level goals for the program:

  1. 100% of valid types of clients have a path to getting DataCap
  2. 95% of new DataCap is allocated to quality data & use cases
  3. Public visibility into all key initiatives and goals

The Filecoin Plus Working Groups (including Trust & Transparency, E-Fil+) will be responsible for tracking towards these top-level goals of efficacy, abuse minimization, and visibility. We are continuing to see new types of projects, services, and use cases coming to the Filecoin network, and the launch of FVM is just one exciting example. The Fil+ program has supported DataCap distribution through different pathways based on the scale of need. Through “right-sized” solutions, new tooling, and refinements to processes, we can continue to rapidly and efficiently meet the diverse needs of clients. While we strive for that efficiency, we are also aware that abuse in the system must be minimized. The first critical step to reaching this goal will be aligning the community on standards, threat risks, and expectations.

Not everyone in the community will likely agree with everything, and the next few weeks are sure to bring some difficult conversations. This is an important step for us to take as a program, and we look forward to seeking better alignment within the community and the broader network. The vision, mission statement, and examples presented above should help. While the Filecoin Plus program has seen increased attendance and viewership of our bi-weekly Governance calls, that audience does not represent the entire community. To help align the greater Filecoin community on this Quality Phase for Filecoin Plus, the governance team is going to be increasing our comms and public metrics tracking.

To scope and organize our tactical work towards these three top-level goals, we are proposing the following objective initiatives:

  1. The program enables Filecoin’s Master Plan to onboard massive amounts of data to the network
  2. DataCap abuse in the system is minimized
  3. Notaries perform robust diligence commensurate with the DataCap granted
  4. Disputes and allegations of abuse are investigated with an emphasis on restorative justice
  5. Legitimate client use-cases have scoped pathways for attaining DataCap
  6. Governance model encourages rapid iteration and process improvement for diverse stakeholders

Our public roadmap has more details and timelines around the specific tactical projects, and we will also be updating this Medium publication space with more announcements over the coming months. Some of the key deliverables that we are excited to ship during this next phase include:

  • New KPI dashboard metrics, for tracking abuse and governance efficiency
  • Public dispute tracker with clear consequences for abuse cases
  • Improvements to Trust & Transparency tooling - including retrieval sampling on open data
  • Notary diligence tracking - enable notaries to more easily voice opinions on incoming DataCap applications in a way that can also be quantified
  • Standardization of client onboarding requirements, introducing KYC/KYB checks as mechanisms for new clients to earn trust, support increased automation
  • Moving from issues to pull requests in GitHub - to increase reliability and analytics
  • Investigating changes to system design - notary incentives, staking, trustless mechanisms

Each of these is tracked along with the intended timeline of their next milestone and the person you can ping to get more context on the roadmap linked above. Please let us know if you have any questions on this!

We’re excited to formalize several efforts and refocus priorities under the new Quality Phase and its initiatives. We look forward to keeping the broader Filecoin community engaged and updated - please “follow” this Medium space, join our public slack channel, and attend our community governance calls (Fil+ community calendar).