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News/Polkadot Faces Backlash Over Marketing Expenses and Racist Allegations

Polkadot Faces Backlash Over Marketing Expenses and Racist Allegations

Van Thanh Le

Jul 3 2024

3 weeks ago3 minutes read
Cubic robot sprinting on polkadot racetrack through surreal crypto-jungle

Polkadot’s Treasury Spending Raises Eyebrows

Polkadot's treasury spent $87 million worth of DOT in the first half of 2024, with a substantial $36 million dedicated to marketing and outreach. The treasury revenue decreased from 414,291 DOT to 171,696 DOT between the second half of 2023 and the first half of 2024. This leaves $245 million in the treasury, estimated to last for two years at the current spending rate, according to CoinDesk. However, later clarifications stated that Polkadot's treasury is constantly replenished by DOT inflation, ensuring it won't run out of funds in the near future.  

The significant jump from $25 million in the second half of 2023 to $87 million this year raises questions about the sustainability of these funds. The treasury is replenished through DOT token inflation, transaction fees, slashing, and staking. 

treasury report.png
Source: Polkadot report

Marketing and outreach expenses included $10 million on ads and sponsorships. Notable deals included $6.8 million with a prestigious soccer club, $1.9 million sponsoring race car driver Conor Daly, $1.3 million for an e-sports partnership with HEROIC, and $4.9 million on influencers and agencies like EVOX, Lunar Strategy, Chainwire, and Unchained. 

Source: Polkadot report

Additionally, $4 million was spent on digital advertising. Events accounted for $7.9 million, with $4.5 million allocated to conferences and side events such as Polkadot Decoded China. 

However, there has been criticism over the high spending with low returns. Examples of ineffective investments include $1 million on the DED meme coin, which failed, and $53,000 on an animated CoinGecko logo. Monthly operational expenses are $250,000, with claims of spending $300,000 monthly on some influencers.

Venture capitalist Adam Cochran criticized Polkadot's marketing spending as was claiming he hasn't seen any ads from them. 

Ecosystem Allegations and Financial Scrutiny

Claims from Asian project leaders highlight issues within Polkadot's ecosystem. Victor Ji, Manta Network Co-Founder, described it as “highly toxic” for Asian projects. Ji faced initial support but later experienced distancing and challenges in obtaining grants, citing complex politics and exclusive cliques. 

Harold Yu, DIN Founder, echoed Ji’s sentiments, noting the burdensome grant application processes and disparities between Asian and Western projects in securing grants. This has led to frustration and a sense of unfairness among Asian project leaders, with some recommending a transition to ecosystems like SolanaEthereum, and Bitcoin.

Polkadot leadership has responded to these claims. CEO Fabian Gompf disputed the notion of treasury funds depleting within two years, emphasizing the continuous inflow of funds through DOT inflation and a decentralized decision-making process for treasury spending. He assured that the foundation has a five-year runway without selling a single DOT. Gompf acknowledged overspending on low ROI activities and encouraged community voting for changes. 

Ben McMahon, Ecosystem Lead at Hydration, highlighted the treasury’s continuous replenishment from token inflation, explaining the allocation of funds to marketing, liquidity campaigns, DeFi infrastructure, audits, and security initiatives. Spending decisions are made through on-chain voting. 

Giotto de Filippi, Chief Memer of DED, described the treasury as self-sustaining, with inflation split between network security and treasury funds, stressing token holder voting in spending decisions. 

Filippo Franchini, Technical Educator at Web3 Foundation, assured the network’s operational continuity even if the treasury were depleted, mentioning diversification efforts into stablecoins and potential fixed inflation allocation to the treasury.

Currently, DOT trades at $6.13, showing a 4.3% recovery in the last seven days but is down 89% from its all-time high of $55 in November 2021. The community's reaction includes significant criticism and debate over marketing expenses and financial management, with calls for more prudent financial strategies and support for diverse projects.


Polkadot’s significant treasury spending has sparked debate and criticism within the community. Concerns over financial management and allegations of discrimination highlight the need for more transparent and equitable practices. As DOT's market value fluctuates, the community calls for prudent strategies and better support for diverse projects.


1. How much did Polkadot's treasury spend in the first half of 2024?

Polkadot's treasury spent $87 million worth of DOT in the first half of 2024.

2. What were some major marketing and outreach expenses?

Major expenses included $6.8 million for a soccer club sponsorship, $1.9 million for sponsoring race car driver Conor Daly, $1.3 million for an e-sports partnership, and $4.9 million on influencers.

3. What criticisms have been raised about Polkadot's spending?

Criticisms include high spending with low returns, ineffective investments like $1 million on the DED meme coin, and allegations of misuse of funds and ecosystem discrimination.

4. What is Polkadot leadership's response to the spending controversy?

Polkadot leadership emphasizes continuous fund replenishment through DOT inflation, decentralized spending decisions, and a five-year runway without selling DOT. They acknowledge some overspending and encourage community voting for changes.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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