Joystream Handbook

Founding Members

The people who were here before the show got started.


Handcrafted Founding Member avatars
Joystream was under development for a very long time, with over 13 incentivsed testnets from 2019 to 2022. A key goal of that process was not only to mature the technology, tools and products, but also to attract, train and incentivse the community members who would direct and operate the DAO post-launch. The founding member program was a community development initiative devised to reach this goal, and through it we were able to build a highly aligne, well trained and passionate community of people who both could work together, had a shared mission and had the knowledge to be effective. You can read the history of the program below.
The basic idea of the program was to allow non-US community members to earn $JOY allocations through participating in the testnet across a variety of roles and activities. After reaching a certain level of involvement, they would be granted the status of a founding member, which with it also entailed receiving a hand crafted on-brand avatar and immutable recognition in the blockchain as being among an elite initial set of participants. Importantly, the founding member status was later taken to include anyone who has worked directly in association with Jsgenesis, and depending on the context the term Founding Member may or may not include such Jsgenesis persons, which may be a bit confusing.

Founding Members


  • 11/12/2018
    • The Joystream project was launched by Jsgenesis (Blog post), JSG was created from inception to focus on the coding and system elements of the platform, while the running of the platform was entrusted to users under the motto "We are building Joystream to set it free"
  • 21/12/2018-19/05/2020
    • Various testnets were launched over this time period (Mesopotamia, Sparta, Athens, Acropolis, Rome).
    • All incentives were directly paid in USD (XMR) for work performed on the network. This meant that none of the balances on the testnet were of much consequence.
  • 20/05/2020
    • Constantinople testnet was launched (Blog post). This for the first time created the concept of tJOY and a fiat pool allowing for testnet participants to be directly incentivized by tokens on the testnet and have their incentives be impacted by the DAO and community's decisions. The network was initially backed by a pool of $2500 USD that was managed by Jsgenesis (Blog Post).
      • As of early 2022, the fiat pool had increased from the intial $2500 USD to over $65,000 USD, paying out more than $93,000 USD in incentives to users.
    • The tJOY balances were exchangeable into USD by exchanging them for Monero and eventually Bitcoin Cash.
    • This release also introduced KPIs which were a set of goals for each council to work toward to gain more incentives (First KPI blog post).
      • As of early 2022, the potential weekly KPI rewards had increased from $200 USD to as much as $4800 USD.
  • 14/02/2021
    • The Founding Members program was launched. This program offered mainnet tokens to platform participants for the first time, in addition to the more immediate financial incentives available via the incentivized testnet. It was intended for this program to run up until mainnet launch of the project, however in early 2022 it was discontinued in favor of the new system.
      • Participating users were required to produce a document outlining their activity on the testnet which would be graded and given points, and unlike many programs within cryptocurrency projects, only gave actual allocations to those inducted as Founding Members (selected by JSG based upon the quality of their participation and contributions over time). You can access notes from each scoring period as well as a list of Founding Members.
      • Up until this point, no mainnet tokens were offered to users. Regardless of this, a few users had participated heavily beyond the immediate USD incentives by producing bots, scripts, documents, driving activity and growth as well contributing feedback, ideas and improvements to the platform. Jsgenesis selected 5 of the most valuable contributors as Initial Founding Members and gave them a generous allocation of mainnet tokens. This was explained further here.
      • None of the tokens given to community participants had any value attached. Jsgenesis had recieved investments from various firms however did not disclose any information regarding any valuation of the project.
  • 13/01/2022
    • Jsgenesis announced the discontinuation of the the points system for the Founding Members program.
      • All points were converted into token allocations and given a potential USD value based on the valuation of the project. A deadline of 26/01/2022 was also given for any final reports to be submitted. The KPI system was also going to be discontinued upon launch of the new incentives system.
      • The valuation of the project was made public for the first time giving users an opportunity to see for the first time the potential financial value of their contributions so far as well as the potential future rewards available by participating further.
      • Users who were not inducted as Founding Members also had all of their points converted into potential token allocations, however they would still be required to contribute more to obtain FM status from Jsgenesis.
  • 26/01/2022
    • The old Founding Member program officially came to an end.
    • With Olympia (the largest testnet release to date) and a new Founding Member program launching, it would also involve wiping some amount of content from the testnet.
      • Prior to this upgrade, the testnet, incentives, FM program, KPI system had come together around a nascent, dedicated community and managed to produce a truly staggering amount of activity--including more than 1,400+ on-chain proposals, 3,400+ on-chain memberships, 11,000+ on-chain forum posts, 90+ on-chain forum threads, on-chain elections involving more than $16,000 USD worth of stake, more than 85 workers concurrently working on-chain and being paid automatically by a DAO maintained by more than 50 validators. While also sustaining a storage and distribution network serving more than 5,500 video uploads managed by the DAO.