Proposal for a Sia Trust Fund

When the Sia Foundation was founded, it was funded through a SiaCoin block subsidy, including a large initial subsidy to bootstrap the foundation. At the outset, the Sia Foundation said they would burn unused funds, and recently, they announced they would make this burn. They have postponed the burn due to strong disagreement in the community.

I do not personally have a strong opinion on this. From my perspective, the Foundation is doing what they said they would do. However, I do not think burning unused funds is our only option. There is another option we can pursue, instead of burning or in combination with burning.

Large nonprofits and universities have endowments which work as trust funds for the organizations they support. What is crucial to the concept of the endowment is that it is a separate entity from the organization it supports. The endowment attracts large donations, the donations are invested, and then a portion is paid out to support the activities of the nonprofit. But because the endowment is a separate entity, with a separate board, there is necessarily a level of separation between the control of the funds and its use. This is to prevent the supported organization from spending the whole nest egg at once.

In the spirit of this, I propose a Sia Trust Fund, a multisig wallet that would hold unused Foundation funds. At the close of its accounting cycle, the Sia Foundation would determine how much SC it could afford to give up, and then sends some amount of that to the trust fund. Some amount could be burned as well; I have no strong opinion on this. Once funds are moved to the trust fund, they are (in practice at least) off the operating balance sheet of the Foundation. If the Sia Foundation had a fiscal emergency and needed emergency funding, it could make a request to the Trust Fund, entrusted to fiduciaries outside of the Sia Foundation. However, money does not otherwise leave the Trust Fund for any reason. This balance would effectively exist outside the circulating supply of SiaCoin.

There are two different ways of going about this. The approach that would be the most sound from a governance perspective would be a completely separate legal entity called the Sia Trust Fund. This entity would have its own board and its own accounts. However, the Sia Foundation could opt to operate the trust fund as just another one of its accounts, with an outside board appointed to oversee the fund. Assuming the keys of each wallet in the multisig are secure, this would be sufficiently separate from a technical level, so long as the Sia Foundation’s vote to release funds was not itself adequate without support from the Trust Fund. However, creating a separate legal entity would be the most robust from a governance perspective in addition to the technical perspective.

This to an extent follows my thinking. 40-50% burn, 25% taxes, 10-20% trust fund, then take the leftovers to trust fund or use for another purpose.

I honestly don’t get why there is so much discussion around this. The Sia Foundation has 4 years worth of funds already saved up and a continuous stream of funds coming in every ten minuets. There will be no financial emergency unless the coin price tanks incredibly hard for a long time to use up all of their cash reserves(and at that point the project is dead anyway so it doesn’t matter). So I don’t see any reason that a burn is a bad idea.