Establishing Comprehensive Legal Support for the Polkadot Ecosystem

Establishing Comprehensive Legal Support
for the Polkadot Ecosystem

Executive Summary

We would like to significantly strengthen the Polkadot ecosystem from a legal and regulatory perspective by submitting a proposal that will essentially support Polkadot and its community. It is crucial that Polkadot ecosystem facilitators (such as Parity/W3F), developers, startups and all other participants who want to move Polkadot forward receive professional, fast, uncomplicated and customized legal support. We want to ensure this through a single point of contact. The services are provided with a Swiss law firm. This ensures that everyone can benefit from the advantages and that correspondence is additionally protected by attorney-client privilege. Standardized documents and forms are made available to everyone in the Polkadot ecosystem on request. The aim is to cover all relevant and important areas of law for the Polkadot ecosystem. Where necessary, e.g. for special areas of law or international/foreign law, local specialists are called in. Transparency on the cost side is ensured through detailed invoices issued on a time and material basis at a particularly favorable rate, in combination with locked DOT to align incentives with the overall ecosystem.

Status Quo & Opportunity

The Polkadot ecosystem, while a leader in technology, faces a significant challenge in driving project and user adoption due to disparities between its rapid technical advancements and the underserved business needs of new projects. The major hurdles include high entry barriers, particularly in legal and setup costs, which can range from $100,000 to $200,000. Projects struggle with accessing competent legal support, further compounded by the lack of clarity in the web3 legal environment. This creates a daunting landscape for startups, with complex and often prohibitive legal requirements.

Conversely, there’s a substantial opportunity for Polkadot to enhance its value proposition by providing top-tier legal support, leveraging its regulatory recognition, like the SEC’s classification of DOT as software. Simplifying legal compliance and go-live stages for projects will make Polkadot more attractive to developers and entrepreneurs. This includes assisting in jurisdiction selection, providing out-of-the-box incorporation setups (like foundation establishment in Switzerland), and equipping projects with legal templates such as NDAs and SAFTs. These efforts aim to streamline legal processes, reduce reliance on expensive legal consultations, and support projects in tailoring these resources to their specific needs. Additionally, the initiative extends to specialized legal support in areas like contract law and supervisory law, connecting projects with expert advice and assistance. This integrated approach seeks to address the legal hurdles in the rapidly evolving domain, promoting a more accessible and supportive environment for startups in the Polkadot ecosystem.

Product Offering: Legal Services for the Polkadot Ecosystem

Our product offering is designed to meet the legal needs of the Polkadot ecosystem comprehensively, and we’ll serve as the primary contact together with the law firm. It includes comprehensive legal advice in Switzerland and beyond, through access to an international network of lawyers. We offer contract template preparation, including standard contracts for ecosystem builders, with continuous updates based on feedback. Additionally, we provide guidance on legal structure setup in Switzerland and offshore, catering to both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Post-launch, our focus will be on creating essential legal templates like NDAs, SAFT agreements, and employment contracts, prioritizing further requests based on ecosystem demand. We’ll establish a knowledge base offering legal guidance on various topics and advocacy on regulatory issues relevant to Polkadot. Our services extend to intellectual property advisory, including all aspects of IP protection and strategy implementation, and comprehensive advice on data protection and technology-related legal issues.

Moreover, we offer litigation and alternative dispute resolution services, providing legal advice, representation in disputes, and mediation services. This approach aims to negotiate and settle disputes to the client’s and the Polkadot ecosystem’s long-term benefit. Our offerings are tailored to support the unique challenges and opportunities within the Polkadot ecosystem, aiming to provide seamless and effective legal solutions.

Time Allocation for Ecosystem Projects

  • Services will be exclusively available to projects with a direct connection to Polkadot.

  • Category Core: Direct supporters of the Polkadot protocol (e.g., Parity, W3F).

  • Category Protocol Builders: Projects building directly on Polkadot (e.g., parachains).

  • Category Ecosystem Builders: Projects developing products within the ecosystem (e.g., dapps, wallets).

Time Allocation Rules Among Eligible Projects

A maximum number of hours per project per month will be establied, with potential for adjustments based on specific needs and priorities. All work performed will be documented.

Project Leadership

The leadership of this initiative will be under the guidance of Gianni Porpiglia, Co-Founder of Amforc. With over two decades of experience in the financial services area and recognition on the Legal 500 General Counsel Powerlist Switzerland in 2015, 2018 and 2023, Gianni brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to lead this initiative. His involvement assures a high standard of legal support, aligning with the overall vision of fostering a legally sound and growth-conducive environment within the Polkadot ecosystem. Gianni has been working as General Counsel for almost 20 years and has been running his own law firm for over 15 years. He is registered with the Schwyz Bar Registry and admitted to practice in all Switzerland. He holds a master’s degree of the university of Bern and a master’s degree of UC Berkeley, CA. Gianni is also one of the co-authors of the Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) in the renowned “Basler Kommentar” series.

Budget

The budgeting approach for providing legal support to the Polkadot ecosystem is designed to be efficient, transparent, and adaptable to the evolving needs of the community. Key aspects of the budget include:

  1. No Upfront Payment Required
  • The infrastructure for legal support is already established with a proven track record, incorporated in Switzerland. This setup allows us to forgo any upfront payment, easing the initial financial burden.
  1. End-of-Month Retroactive Payments:
  • Payments will be made at the end of each month for the work delivered. This ensures that the initiative is paid only for the services it has delivered.

  • A commitment to transparency is central to our billing process. We will provide a detailed breakdown of services at hourly levels, along with clear, predefined rates. This approach ensures clarity and fairness in billing.

  1. Allocation of Funds:
    The budget will be allocated across several key areas to ensure comprehensive legal support and paid out based on delivered hours on a monthly basis:
    • Direct Legal Support: Funds allocated retrospectively cover the costs of direct legal services provided by our team, including consultations, contract drafting, and specific legal advice.

    • Outsourced Legal Support: Recognizing the need for specialized legal expertise in certain areas, a portion of the budget will be set aside for outsourcing to external legal professionals when necessary.

    • Generation of Reusable Templates: A significant part of our offering includes the creation of legal templates specifically adapted for the Polkadot ecosystem. Funds will be allocated for the development and continuous updating of these templates.

    • Administrative Costs: To ensure smooth operation and coordination of legal services, a portion of the budget will cover administrative expenses related to managing and facilitating these services.

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