Is PoolTogether another Bitconnect?

Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of PoolTogether. I feel it is important to say something if you see a big problem - and come with a solution.

TL;DR; (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

PoolTogether ideas for becoming a real organization:

  • There is nothing wrong with a central organization supporting a decentralized one.
  • Organization details and address information on the front page of the site
  • Proudly show the founders or at least the executives that represent the organization - someone is pulling the strings
  • Post paid job opportunities
  • Have contact information for getting support through traditional channels
  • Actual LinkedIn page
  • Clearly have third party audit agencies information on the front page - don’t bury it
  • Mirror what DyDx is doing (not what UNISwap, etc are doing)
  • Start embracing that the founders cannot do everything on their own (i.e. monitor Discord 24/7)
  • I’m here to help - not just complain


As a business owner and technology advocate, there is a significant problem with the mass adoption of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) - an entity that represents them. This post is not comprehensive by any means and is hopefully a start to even more growth for PoolTogether and the community.

If you do not know what Bitconnect was, please search about it. I hope by having it in the title, it ruffled some feathers. I don’t like the feeling either - that’s why I posted it. It’s what I feel when I go to Bitconnect was a massive ponzi scheme. The fact is: they did not have any contact information available on their website, no founders or executives were on the website, there was no LinkedIn profile, they had an address that were obviously bogus with no one in them, there was no phone number, no email, no support portal - but there were plenty of Discord and Telegram channels - and yet people are greedy and invested in them. These people who invested in them were outliers often men and in there 30s.

‘Overconfidence’: Why it’s mostly men under 30 trading bitcoin.
‘Overconfidence’: Why it’s mostly men under 30 trading bitcoin - MarketWatch

Virtually all of the successful DAOs (decentralized autonomous organization), DeFi Exchanges, etc have just a few people that are founders and pulling the strings to create these decentralized entities. All of them claim transparency and “this is achieved with a smart contract and that’s why we are safe.”

Has anyone actually read PoolTogether’s smart contract? I haven’t because I do not have the time and I do not want to put my neck out telling others “PoolTogether” is safe “because it has a smart contract.” That actually means nothing.

So how do you make the general public comfortable with a decentralized organization?

This is going to sound harsh, but quit pretending like PoolTogether is transparent. It is not transparent!

Quit perpetuating the “I’m a programmer and this is completely readable by you and me. It must be safe.”

This is just like every programmer I’ve ever spoken to who says: “It’s easy, just go into ‘vi’, move your cursor, type ‘i’ and start typing. Once you’re done, press ESC and type ‘:’ and type ‘wq’ and look - you’re done! It’s easy.”

STFU! Quit kidding yourself. Brain surgery is easy too just like programming is easy. Only those that practice and train for it can actually do it. You ultimate have to trust these people.

From my crude research, DyDx seems to be the only “legit” decentralized platform that actually has ‘chat’, that actually communicates who they are as an organization and shows job postings. They have a LinkedIn page, they look like a legit organization. Personally, I’m not a fan of their high barrier to entry (minimum 1 ETH), but they are very well put together.

Quit pretending that it is easy for everyone else to know that you’re transparent when you aren’t and let’s make PoolTogether a genuinely transparent organization. I think mimicking other transparent and communicative organizations is the sincerest and easiest way to provide additional validity to mass adoption of PoolTogether.

When is the last time you attended an Internet conference? Amazon doesn’t hire people at Internet conferences because they don’t exist. There is no cryptocurrency community - it is the elitists only.
Brendan, Dylan, Chuck, Leighton and all the other founders are not experts at everything. It’s ok to embrace people that are good at customer service, sales, marketing, operations, logistics, etc. Everyone needs to chip in at the beginning of something, but there is a point of diminishing returns.

I wish the crypto community would stop looking at itself as a crypto currency / blockchain community and focus on what they are good at - in this case PoolTogether is a “no loss lottery”. Culture is extremely important in every organization. The right people can play many different roles to a certain point.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m excited about what the future has to bring and it is my hope PoolTogether will be that use case to bring a legitimate real-world use case that the general public can embrace someday.

Much respect to all my fellow nerds out there! I hope my 0.000000438 BTC or 438 sats worth is helpful.

Be safe,


P.S. Please stop assuming that everyone knows what your acronym means - most people are not as smart as you. TL;DR.


I believe that most of these points are valid but they might be interpreted as coming from a biased viewpoint and that’s okay.

I agree that there are small & relatively easy steps the team can take to become more appealing to the public eye. I grabbed some of the points you mentioned and elaborated on them.

Organization details and address information on the front page of the site

I don’t find this necessary as most companies (especially digital entities) have no need for a physical address beyond a P.O. box. Are you asking that the team rent an office space?

Proudly show the founders or at least the executives that represent the organization - someone is pulling the strings

This would be easy to tie into the Linkedin company page and the founders listing themselves as employees.

Post paid job opportunities

Not as relevant, I think most job opportunities for this protocol arise from work on the protocol being rewarded in POOL which was mentioned in the team call today. (02/26/2021)

Have contact information for getting support through traditional channels might be a potential service but of course this will vary based on traditional ETH newbies vs protocol assistance

Actual LinkedIn page


Clearly have third party audit agencies information on the front page - don’t bury it

Agreed, audits aren’t always perfect though!

Mirror what DyDx is doing (not what UNISwap, etc are doing)

I have not looked into Dydx enough to comment appropriately.

Start embracing that the founders cannot do everything on their own (i.e. monitor Discord 24/7)

They sure are trying though!

I’m here to help - not just complain

Appreciated, I think these are some valid points to discuss!

But what’s P.S. stand for? J/K, I appreciate your spite against acronyms, it’s something I’m currently fighting in my job. I respect your position here, I think you came in a little hard and fast, but I don’t disagree at all.

I’ve become significantly more active since the POOL launch because there’s a transition of not just governance but organizational operations occurring. I agree there is a right and wrong way to approach all of this and the items you’ve identified should be taken into consideration. I do believe that outside of governance there should be a group of persons that are helping to improve the community and culture for items that wouldn’t necessarily need governance action:

  • Forum moderation and organization
  • Website design
  • Better conveyance of all the different sites (doc.pooltogether, gov.pooltogether, vote.pooltogether, the trello board, dune, etc.)
  • Some real introductory material of “how-to crypto”

I think there should be a team of persons to help steer and develop these and your points. As for now that may be community driven as PoolTogether isn’t profit generating (yet), but certainly could be paid positions when that occurs. There’s certainly more than enough activity community members that we (the community) should be able to wrangle some of us together to work this out.

1 Like

Well said. PoolTogether may not be generating profits yet, but where is that stated? For that matter, does it even need to be disclosed? A consideration is to set up the “Inc” (incorporated) as a non-profit. I’m not a big fan of that as the founders should definitely well compensated with equity. For transparency, “Incs” that are not public companies are not required to be transparent about their revenues as public companies are required to release revenue data. Therefore, “when do you know they’re not actually making a profit”?

Those are the types of considerations (including being able to read smart contracts) that often concern me. The challenge is balancing transparency.

Post Scriptum - I’m passionate about what I do. A “little hard and fast” is better than a “lot soft and slow” - which is the life of a lurker.

So who created pool together?

Excellent question, @Taylor. I’m not sure. I’m sure a couple of people did. An ‘about’ page with the history of PoolTogether would we awesome on the home page.

Perhaps others know?

1 Like

This is a great post to read! As someone who has been working on PoolTogether since the start it’s easy for me to make a lot of assumptions. I can totally see how someone could take a quick glance at the website and immediately dismiss it as a fraud.

To give some context and answer a couple of questions…

PoolTogether Inc is a US Based company that has been backed by the top venture capitalist in crypto (see under “protocol supported by” on the website: PoolTogether Inc currently has 6 full time employees all of which have the purple circle and “core team” tag on Discord. The PoolTogether Inc team originally built the PoolTogether protocol. Control of the protocol has now been decentralized with the issuance of the POOL token (details here: Introducing POOL. The POOL Token is live and control of… | by Leighton Cusack | PoolTogether | Feb, 2021 | Medium) so right now we are in a transition phase where the website reflects the protocol NOT the company (this is actually why job postings and other things like this were taken down). It’s likely that we may change the name of PoolTogether Inc to better reflect this and avoid confusion.

It might be helpful to think about Bitcoin, Bitcoin is a protocol. So you can interact with Bitcoin through or Paypal or Square Cash, etc. however, none of those companies actually control Bitcoin. In the same way, PoolTogether is a protocol, you can join prize pools through or or Gnosis Safe but the protocol itself lives on Ethereum and exists outside the control of those websites, companies, or people.

So at this point the future of the PoolTogether Protocol is truly in hands of the POOL token holders. Investors and employees of PoolTogether Inc are some of those token holders (again read the blog linked above for details).

PoolTogether Inc is going to still be around and is going to continue working on open source software and contributing to the community but as we are no longer solely in control of the protocol it does not make sense to make the website about us. It needs to be about the protocol.


@Leighton - thank you for the reply.

However, the six-person team from PoolTogether Inc is also the best candidate to draft, propose and implement future proposals based on the team’s experience. I cannot see why the community would not ever want to back the Inc. Perhaps there’s a separate dedicated website that is linked to it. Just some thoughts to help bring about a better understanding for those that do not understand what a decentralized entity is without some sort of central entity managing it. I get it though, the company is no longer managing it. The community is managing it. However, the community could fund the efforts that are implemented by the company.

Looking forward to the proposals coming through to help implement more adoption. I’m happy to participate with anyone that would like to help the community grow and put together solid proposals to support the community, but I am not in a position to drive being a delegate myself. This is why I have delegated my POOL.


Interesting topic.

I’m unsure whether the “about” page is the right place for this information though.

Wouldn’t it be more in the spirit of DeFi to create a Wikipedia page? (Being a cross-validated, “decentralized” source of information)

I am quite sure the protocol would meet the notability requirements by now and it might add a lot of credibility & awareness to be able to link the page, e.g. on the page about no-loss prize games.

let me add this video and ask a question

skip to 11:22
so can regulators tell PoolTogether devs to implement KYC
_ and the code update has to be passed to pool-token holders who will vote of course NO?

that would be awesome

With regards to the paid job opportunities:
I agree that they are important. However they don’t necessarily need to be jobs at Pooltogether Inc. They could, in my opinion, just as well be jobs paid directly by protocol governance (although this possibly throws up some accountability questions).

I think the main groups that need to be paid by governance are:

  1. Smart contract/web developers. These could be paid on a per-contract basis, through a grants program.
  2. Support staff. I think the “community advocates” are giving top-class technical support and user education over on Discord. There is someone around to help 24/7. These could be paid a monthly wage for committing to X hours of customer support per month.

The community advocates are doing their work for free so far.
This is not a good way to retain them in the long-run.
I can say for myself that over the last 4 months I’ve spent about 10 hours a week monitoring and responding to questions in the Discord.
I assume that number is similar for some of my fellow community advocates aswell.


@Torgin - regarding compensation, I sincerely agree with you. You guys should not work for free. IMHO, it would be best to have a “financial moderator” proposal voted on that could be allocate funds to an entity that can be responsible for the hiring of those kinds of resources.

Do we know anyone that is set up like a corporation to manage the PT operation, has spent the past two years building PoolTogether and needs the financial backing to actually hire employees and properly use POOL funds?

I wonder what such a proposal might look like?