Index Coop's Guiding Principles

Hey all,

Since launching in October the Index Coop community has done a fantastic job of spreading the word about what we do and building out a strong product, resulting in $32m Assets Under Vault. As we start to look at including new indices, voting on protocols held under vault and further educating the crypto community about our products, it’s important that we can all agree on a set of principles that drive our decision making.

Listed below are some that I’ve been working on with @Kiba and @setoshi, they are designed to kick-off the discussion, and it would be great to have feedback on what is missing or needs to change.

It’s broken down into three sections that represent how we think about Index Coop as a business, as a community, and on a personal basis. The plan is to add these to the handbook after gathering feedback, where they will act as a focal point that can always be referred back to. They make it clear what Index Coop is aiming to achieve and the values we should embody that will help us get there. Hopefully as a member of the Coop you will recognise and identify with some of them already.


  • Shared Goals - We aim to create a wide range of suitable indices by leveraging a diverse and knowledgeable community, for the benefit of both users, and the wider digital asset space. We believe in constructive contribution and working alongside others to achieve success together.

  • Innovation - Index Coop began as an idea to collectively create and manage digital asset indices and we aim to lead the development of future products that continue to advance the space.

  • Performance - Our goal is to offer index products that represent simplicity and peace of mind. Indices are designed to help minimise fees and hassle, while maximising the breadth of choice for digital asset holders.

  • Data Driven, Community Governed - It is important that our decisions are driven by the wealth of market data available within DeFi. Combining the depth of this data with a passionate community we can make informed decisions quickly with a chance for everyone to contribute. This is a powerful strategy that will help Index Coop remain competitive in a fast-moving sector.


  • Long-term thinking - We do things for the long-term benefit of the cooperative, our users, and the community. We strive not to make decisions for short-term benefits.

  • People > Profits - Making money is easy, doing the right thing is hard. Our mission is to help everyone in the world achieve financial freedom and optimising for our own wealth is in direct conflict with our mission.

  • Fairness - We believe in fairly compensating actors for their contributions, whether they be methodologists, marketers, developers, etc. We believe in charging competitive, fair fees for the services the Coop provides. When the Index Coop collaborates with 3rd parties, we seek win-win situations.

  • Empathy - Before speaking, we listen to all parties to really understand where they are coming from, their needs, their concerns, and fears. Through building common understanding, we are able to come up with solutions that address all concerns and work towards a shared goal.

  • Internal Motivation - We do things because we believe them to be right, find them worth pursuing in and of themselves, and help us become who we want to be. We are not driven by external factors like politics or appeasing investors.

  • Transparency - Our strength comes from the collective community, not from hiding information from one another. Of course, there are things that are sensitive (e.g. HR, Legal, etc.) which have to be kept secret, but we strive to work in the open and keep maximum information flow available to everyone in the community.


  • Communication - We talk to each other honestly, about ourselves and about work. We’re all humans and have all chosen to share our lives together. Come as your whole self and be willing to be vulnerable. This is how we communicate.

  • Autonomy - We operate on teams and roles instead of titles and hierarchy. We empower everyone to be a leader and start new initiatives. We take responsibility for our actions, clearly communicate our goals and plans with the Coop to be accountable, and act as the owners of Index Coop that we all are.

  • Self-Organization - Our teams are committed to building stronger bonds with other teams within the Coop and seek advice when our decisions affect others. We act as a single organism - sensing, responding, and acting to each other and the outside world. Making all roles, teams, and internal agreements explicit and transparent to the Coop is critical, it is documentation that allows us to operate more freely and efficiently in a distributed workplace.

  • Growth and Improvement - We value growing as individuals, as a cooperative, and as a broader community. We respectfully challenge each other and our assumption, constantly searching for new areas to grow, whatever “grow” might mean. We seek to constantly learn from mistakes by reflecting, reviewing, and making necessary changes. Mistakes are not something to blame or shame people for. We recognize our current plan can always be improved and that the world is dynamic and constantly changes - thus we collectively need to adapt and change too.

In the future I see these principles being built upon to create things like a voting philosophy for meta-governance, something Gauntlet already addressed as a Uniswap delegate, or to structure a commitment of methodologists for our index managers as mentioned here.


@setoshi @Kiba @DarkForestCapital

Thank you for working on this. It really is a fantastic starting point for the coops principles.

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@DarkForestCapital did these ever make it into in any form?

I’m trying to track down code of conduct & values (90% sure you worked on both) and am having a hard to finding the “final” versions.

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Yep the code of conduct is on the welcome page in the links halfway down, it links back to the discourse forum post. Would it be better to have a page on docs? Makes sense if we are going to use the gitbook as the onboarding portal effectively.

I haven’t uploaded these principles yet but this acts as a timely reminder to do it! Wanted to leave it a little while in case the community had specific feedback, but will create a section on gitbook for it.

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IMO it’d be great to have the Code of Conduct in the docs :+1:

you are spot on – this request from me is coming from the P.O.V. of using Gitbook as part of onboarding

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Everything here resonates! I was happy to find the handbook too, through this post.

How do new members typically find the Handbook? It would be helpful to bring this to the surface more, as an immediate orientation for new folks, and a persistent reminder for existing ones. I’m wondering about the possibility of a “Welcome” category on the home page of the forum, even if at the bottom. Maybe we could just embed this handbook within that section, to keep the work minimal. Similarly, might it make sense to include a link to the Handbook in the “About” page of, as a third box at the bottom where we link to discourse and the forum?

Really well done.


Good feedback thanks J.Z and welcome to the Index Coop community.

I’m tagging our resident organisational master @gdocter here. We are working on making our onboarding process better and trying to build out the handbook so it contains all the right info, but you’re right it needs to be easier for people to know it exists. Lets see if we can get the links added as you suggest.


great question, music to my ears @J.Z :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

i recently updated the Gitbook to make this more prominent: Our Guiding Principles - Index Coop Community Handbook

it sounds like you are suggesting this also be made more prominent here in the Forum. Am i understanding that right?

Love where your head is at.


Yes…without being too prescriptive, a prominent link to the handbook from within the forum area would be useful. Like a “Welcome” or “New Here?” Or “Start Here” link that takes new members to the handbook.

Having a handbook link on would also be helpful. I might even think about replacing both the discord and forum box/links at the bottom of “about” with just one box/link to the handbook, that says “Get Started” or “Join Us” although i suspect that might be an unpolular idea. Logic being … if they’re on the about page, and considering joining, let’s make sure they are oriented first.

To that end, maybe when members introduce new folks to index, we can send them to the handbook as their first stop, rather than straight to discord or the gov/forum. While it’s fun to dive right in, and create community, that small routing process would help them hit the ground running. Maybe a catchy url for the handbook would help with that.

Lastly, keeping copies of, and links to the guiding principles, in all corners of index-land (discord, forum, github, etc…) might help keep existing members in phase.

If there is any legwork i can do here, just holler!

There is a menu point docs directly pointing to the gitbook. But maybe your are right.
I am missing the news section in the menu on my mobile btw.

Thinking about the website got me referring back to this doc, @DarkForestCapital. It’s a great doc for sure.

One thing I’d add for the Business: with tokens and projects now being a real challenger to the joint stock Co and shares, our indices enable incredible ‘Access’ to investment themes, at an early stage of their evolution. This Access is pretty cool, in that in traditional markets high quality investments or themes are often hard to access until they go public, by which time a lot of the value accrual has already happened. Index Coop’s indices should aim to be the most efficient, intelligent way to non-expert investors to invest in a range of investment themes in crypto I feel. We’re democratizing access.

Thanks again.