Balancer Grants DAO Wave 2

This draft has been created by the committee of the Balancer Grants DAO. See its previous proposal for establishing this committee here.

Summary
This proposal aims to fund the next cycle (Nov 1st - January 31st) of Balancer Grants DAO. The upcoming program will further accelerate the development of the Balancer ecosystem by improving coordination around Grants, RFPs and Ventures.

The requested budget for this next cycle (3 months) is 51,000 BAL. Similar to the first Balancer Grants DAO proposal, a learnings and review end report will be created at the end of the cycle, and any unspent resources will be sent back to the BAL treasury.

The Balancer Grants committee has already worked together during the first 3 month’s cycle. To maintain continuity and support for the grants that are still running, and the applicants that have applied, we want to have the proposal for the next cycle up and ready on time. The first round has been a success and shows the need and the potential for a bigger Balancer Ecosystem. To get a better idea of what has been done, check out our monthly reports on the Balancer Community Notion. An end report for cycle 1 is being finalized and will be published at the end of the current cycle, which is running until the 31st of October.

From the beginning we have looked at this first round as a time of learning and iterating, building on what works and leaving behind what is useless. With this in mind, the committee requested a lower amount than is often given to grant programs within the crypto space. Now that the committee and the Balancer community is aware of these learning points, the following rounds will no doubt go even smoother than this round already went.

Impact

Looking back on the first cycle, we can say with confidence that the program has been a success.The program has been able to pull in multiple promising and established DeFi projects into the Balancer Ecosystem. To build long term relationships and grow Balancer’s TVL were the main objectives, and the program is clearly delivering. We as a committee have identified multiple opportunities when it comes to ecosystem building and want to act upon these in the next cycle.

Establishing well-aligned yet autonomous units within the Balancer Ecosystem aligns with Balancer’s Decentralization and Ecosystem strategy. Having multiple entities co-develop the Balancer ecosystem creates value-add opportunities and allows the separate entities to specialize further.

PROPOSAL

We propose some small changes to the current setup of the grants program, and advocate to further the decentralization of the BalancerDAO. We believe this can be done through multiple committees, initially funded by the Balancer Grants DAO. We understand that this is a slow and long process, so this will be a learning experience where we want to plant the seeds for the future.

The grant program provides support and funding ($5K - USD $75K, paid in BAL) to projects committed to supporting Balancer Protocol in achieving its mission to become the number one source of liquidity for DeFi. This program is made for groups and individuals that aspire to run a project that builds on the Balancer Protocol or supports the development of the Balancer ecosystem.

The RFP (bounty) program provides rewards for completion of key tasks identified by the Balancer community. It’s the easiest way for anyone to contribute to the Balancer ecosystem. RFPs can be either technical or non-technical and vary in reward size depending on the required skill set and time needed to complete.

The venture program aims to expand the Balancer ecosystem and further align incentives with ecosystem partners through partnership agreements, token swaps and DAO2DAO ventures. We propose to start this off with a Venture Lead role who will be actively building out these types of deals and structures. With the actual outcomes going to the forum and being voted upon by the community. To support this opportunity, it needs some firepower and a dedicated role plus support can bring that.

The end-goal of the complete program is to attract and retain talent and resources to the Balancer ecosystem.

Changes to the Grant Program structure
Most of the standing structures have proven to work well. Our grantees have overwhelmingly expressed their support in feeling heard and supported. To make sure we can keep this up, we propose some minor changes in the grant program layout.

The current grant cycle is three months, and we think this is a good time frame when it comes to iterations on the program itself and making tweaks for the ecosystem. However, it is clear that most grants run longer than 3 months (especially in this tech world, things always take longer than you planned it to be). To have the best of both worlds, we will maintain three month grant cycles, but let grantees have deliverables spaced out over up to two cycles. If applicants have longer projects in mind, then it has to be divided over multiple grants. This has been done with some of our grantees already, and has worked well so far.

The application form will be open each first two months of a cycle, with the third month dedicated to finalizing grants. This way we free up time for the committee to support grantees in their final part of the grant.

This way, the grant committee can keep iterating at a fast speed (introducing new aspects, building more within the ecosystem) and give our grantees reasonable timeframes with the support they need.

Specification

If approved, the Grants Committee multi-sig will be funded with 51,000 BAL.

All transactions will once again be recorded in a sheet and summarized at the end of the Grants Cycle.

Budget breakdown
This budget contains all costs for the full operations of the Balancer Grants DAO for the period November 1st till January 31st.

At the end of this cycle (January 31st), any unspent resources will be sent back to the Balancer Treasury or spillover to the next proposal if approved by the Balancer DAO. A new proposal for the next cycle will be submitted at the end of this cycle.

Category Amount in BAL Description
Grants 32,500 BAL To be rewarded to grantees based on milestones following the full Grants review process. For sub $5k contributions a light review process will be utilized.
RFPs 10,000 BAL To be rewarded after receiving and reviewing proof of completion.
Team 7500 BAL 1 program lead (1500), 1 RFP bounties lead (900), 1 venture lead (900), 1 marketing member (900), 4 review committee members (600 x 4 = 2400). Ad hoc budget of 900 BAL
Other Expenses 1000 BAL Any other program expenses that may be required for the smooth execution of the program. This may include (but is not limited to) gas fees, design, media, PR, research, legal or any other specialized functions outside the skillset of the committee.

Treasury Management
In the initial grants wave the Grants DAO identified the need for active treasury management. The majority of the Grantees needed some or the entire amount of the Grant to be denominated in USD because of fixed expenses such as Audits and Operating Costs. Additionally, due to the volatility of BAL, the Grants DAO had some hardships with resource planning at the end of the cycle, making it hard to know if we could accept another Grantee or not.

To solve this challenge, the Grants DAO will actively manage up to 50% of the assets governed by it in Wave 2 in an attempt to dampen volatility and enhance stakeholder alignment.

Current Committee Members
Grant Lead: @Zeb
RFP Lead: jguk
Venture Lead: @LuukDAO
Committee Members: @DavisRamsey, @tongnk, @ZeKraken and Kei.

Open Role

Marketing/Bizdev Member: Individual that supports with amplifying the messages of the Grants DAO to Media and Partners.

Proposal Timeline
:hammer_and_wrench: Expand the current Committee with 3 members in October
:hammer_and_wrench: Second round of Interviews with key ecosystem members and partners to identify ecosystem needs in late October
:hammer_and_wrench: Update Balancer Grants DAO / Community Page

:hourglass: Open new grants registration in early November

:hourglass: Open RFP Bounty Board in early November

:hourglass: Finalize and launch Ventures process in mid November

:hourglass: Provide ongoing support to Grantees from early November through end of January

:hourglass: Finalize the second Balancer Grants wave by publishing the Grants Review report at the end of January

A thank you to @Fernando, @bakamoto20 and Alan for feedback.

8 Likes

I have a good feeling about the second wave of the Grants DAO. We learned and did a lot in the first three months and managed to achieve what we set out to do. Scaling it further up now is the logical next step. Every iteration we will become more distributed and effective.

If any Ballers/Community members are interested to get involved in the Grants DAO - please reach out to any of the current Grants members!

5 Likes

Thanks for this proposal! You have done an amazing job with wave 1 and I’m sure will keep it up now.

Love the changes suggested and the team expansion to help scale.

4 Likes

Chiming in with my support. I’ve really enjoyed working with the rest of the grants team but this is one of those things where the work never ends really. We’re lucky to have Zeb, luuk, tongnk, and Kei - they all bring a lot of experience to the table and really care about the outcomes.

I also encourage anyone from the community/ballers that is interested to take this opportunity to join up.

3 Likes

Thanks for those kind words man! It has been a real pleasure working with you as well :pray:
Looking forward to expend and work even more closely with even more Balancer community members :fist:

3 Likes

Just want to chime in with my full support also. I have been very impressed by the quality of the grant projects that have been onboarded, the grant team’s management of the program to date and all the new ideas brought forward.

I think the proposed expansion of the grants program makes sense and v. excited to see what comes next!

2 Likes

Thank you for the work you did as the grants committee. I am really looking forward to round 2.

About the proposal:

RFPs
Very in favor of having a bounty program. I see it as important to have this as accessible as possible. With such programs people can “learn how to DAO” without being intimidated by high expectations. However we might run the risk of introducing a lot of operations overhead. Ideally we see RFPs being suggested by non “core-contributors” as a measure of how accessible the current iteration is.

Grant cycle deliverables

To have the best of both worlds, we will maintain three month grant cycles, but let grantees have deliverables spaced out over up to two cycles.

Due to the nature of these developments, I think every Round End report should also reflect on deliverables from the earlier rounds for transparency reasons.

Venture arm
I really like the venture arm idea. We want to buy growth of the balancer protocol. So additional ideas supporting this have my support. I would appreciate a bit more clarity on the difference between giving grants and operations of a venture arm.

Treasury management

Additionally, due to the volatility of BAL, the Grants DAO had some hardships with resource planning at the end of the cycle, making it hard to know if we could accept another Grantee or not.

Are there already best practices we can learn from how other protocols handle these scenarios? They are industry wide aspects and probably every grants dao is thinking about this.

2 Likes

Thanks for the engagement and suggestions @Mkflow27

Yeah have been working on the Round End report for quite some time now, full of learnings, updates and numbers. Aiming to release it asap when the round is finished.

@LuukDAO and @tongnk can chime in here, since it is their brainchild, but the difference imo is that grants often are smaller sums of money (however, we do want to built towards a more substaintial ‘package’ deal for our grants, more on that in the end report).
The Venture Lead however can go beyond small sums and build out long term partnerships, DAO2DAO opportunities. Plenty of our grantees are in it for the long run, and some, after having a good call with them, were just using the grant program to begin stronger alignments. Some didn’t need money for instance. We think there is a lot to win here, plus that this is bigger than 3-6 month grants. We want to experiment by having someone from the community work on this, and if it is successful, we could think about expanding it to a working group, etc.

From recent reports and research and just anacdotal experience, I can say that there is no 1 answer that has been widely adopted by all. Diversification and active management are quickly gaining ground.

I’d echo the comments of others that posted here that the first wave was a success. I look forward to seeing what the projects teams from the first wave deliver over the next few months.

It is clear to keep the momentum going the grants team should be fully staffed, especially with a larger agenda. For this reason I would like to volunteer for the role of a grant reviewer, if there are no objections of course.

I’m currently a Baller in the discord community and I’m focused on helping Balancer wherever I can. I believe I could provide a slightly different opinion on potential grantees during the review process. My belief is that many differing views on a topic will typically lead to the best outcome.

4 Likes