The Balancer Grants program was established in August 2021 after a community discussion before evolving into a Service Provider beginning Wave 5 which we have continued on to now complete Wave 9. This Wave ran from July through to the end of September 2023 with BAL to be allocated to new grantees proposed on Balancer’s governance forum and approved through a subsequent snapshot vote.
We approved 4 grants across 3 teams for a total of 23,137 BAL out of the 55k approved. We don’t seek to spend the full allocation if the teams applying do not warrant funding, we are more focused on the quality of the projects and their value to Balancer.
How has the Grants SP been doing the last months, and where do we see ourselves going? Let’s find out below!
Our focus for grants has shifted slightly from previous waves concentrating on projects (in no particular order) that:
- Make Balancer easier for future teams to build on by improving dev documentation, SDKs etc
- Expand to more ecosystems
- Leveraging the flexibility of Balancer’s AMM infrastructure to build out new custom pools implementations
This wave, we saw a similar theme from Wave 8 with the projects building new implementations of the Balancer tech stack were a combination of unlikely to gain momentum, still in infancy/hiring core team, too niche for others to adapt and/or not aligned with Balancer’s missions. We instead have funded some tooling, analytics and a renewed scaffold-balancer to assist builders. Read more about these below.
We have built a central hub for the tools that the community creates through grants or otherwise which lives at docs.balancer.fi/tools to make them more accessible for all.
We have added to our RFPs but we will always be open to new and unique ideas of how to improve and expand on Balancer’s flexible tech.
After receiving 71 applications, we approved 4 grants across 3 teams for a total of 23,137 BAL. Our spending was over small grants with spending close to 50% of our allocated budget due to a significant BAL price drop.
- Bleu — Wave 9
Bleu was approved to continue building 2 more tooling/analytics project. An extension to their pool simulator to include Gyro and Xave pools and a simple historic pool APR app including research into how to extend this for all sources of including swaps and yield.
Pool simulators give easy access to teams wanting to compare pool types for how best to setup parameters across various pool math. The simulators make difficult maths easy to play around with and allow more projects to launch pools.
Historic pool APRs seem to be lacking in DeFi. This grant is to build an app that can display these across Balancer pools beginning with the most simple form and researching a method to include swaps and yield.
- Protofire — Wave 9
Protofire has started the ve8020 Launchpad project in late August and we are very excited to be able to contribute to the adoption of Balancer’s innovative governance tool. We onboarded a solid team of engineers from our DAO that are already carrying out the first milestone.
Our first goal is to have a complete design, implementation and deployment of smart contracts and subgraphs. For that we are going through design sessions and validation with multiple members of the team, as well as analysis of the solutions proposed by the community.
In parallel, Protofire has started a campaign to create a pipeline of projects willing to adopt the ve8020 governance model. By accessing https://www.ve8020.xyz/ core teams of web3 projects can sign up to get updates about the launchpad and schedule one-on-one sessions with our co-founder if they want to be convinced of the benefits of this innovation.
- Buidl Guidl — Wave 9
The team at Balancer Grants SP has been working with BuidlGuidl to scope up the expansion of scaffold-balancer (a custom fork of scaffold-eth) as a comprehensive education resource/how-to guide to assist developers in creating Balancer custom pools.
The intention of this guide is to simplify this process and be an educational resource for developers, ultimately lowering this barrier to entry.
BuidlGuidl is a proven development hub that has produced the original scaffold-eth through their gated, crowd-sourcing talent model. The target audience for this guide is exactly who these devs that Buidl Guidl attracts. So while this is a variation from the standard Balancer Grants funding model, we believe we will get a superior and more aligned result through the Guidl creating this guide. Anyone who is interested in helping build this can get in contact with the BuidlGuidl directly @ https://buidlguidl.com/.
- Bleu — Wave 8/9
The team has successfully integrated Gyroscope pools into the Pools Simulator (https://balancer-tools.bleu.fi/poolsimulator), broadening its scope for comparing various pool types. Upcoming updates will include full integration with Xave Finance pools, which will mark the end of the project.
A new Historical Pool APR (Balancer - Historical APR) application has been launched and is now live, ready to collect user feedback. The app currently features APR data sourced from veBAL emissions and swap fees. Plans for future development include the addition of yield and reward APR.
The program is proud to present our grantees and their updates in alphabetic order:
- Dynamo — Wave 6
Our ERC-4626 vault has been audited and is ready for deployment. We’re in the final stages of development regarding the FE (hardhat putting up a fight). With boosted pools out of the picture we’re pivoting to a different pool mechanic in cooperation with Balancer, more on this later.
- GammaSwap — Wave 7
“We underwent an implementations audit in March to adapt the Balancer weighted pools (80/20) to our factory contracts. Subsequently, we initiated a trading competition on testnet, which led to a realization that some refinements were needed in our approach.
After the competition, we refactored our contracts to optimize for the most common use cases, necessitating the execution of additional mathematical calculations on-chain. We have successfully resolved and implemented this for a 50/50 pool in our current contracts but yet to do so for Balancer.”
With this information we’re discussing how to remove blockers to complete this grant and bring GammaSwap to Balancer.
- Ithil — Wave 5
Ithil’s Balancer integration is taking more time than expected with a possible external attack vector identified so it has been postponed and planned for completion by the end of October.
Research is done and product is finished. Work is currently intesting and we look forward to presenting to GoodDollar next week. After presenting to good dollar and updating any changes, we will present to the balancer community.
- Notional Finance — Wave 5
Notional’s development of Balancer leveraged vault strategies has been delayed by the recent vulnerability in Balancer boosted pools. This has required us to rewrite our strategy to focus on the Composable stable pools. That rewrite is now done and will soon go to audit. Once that is ready, we will launch several Balancer leveraged vault strategies on Arbitrum first, and then Mainnet.
- Protofire — Wave 9
During the last month Protofire has worked on the ve8020 Launchpad project, focused on the base layer of the feature. We have presented an architecture design document and delivered the smart contracts implementation and necessary changes, along with the initial subgraphs, therefore completing the Milestone 1.
Since last week, our team has been working on the Documentation, veToken Page UI and SDK, as agreed for Milestone 2 scope, that we shall deliver still this month.
In parallel we are engaging in conversations with protocols willing to be first users of the launchpad, and also want to contribute with feedback and ideas for desired features.
- RealEstate.Exchange — Wave 3
We are still working towards the launch in the US in Q4 and primarily concentrated on getting the DID scheme to work with Polygon and Fractal.
- Yearn Finance — Wave 7
All grant work is complete and we are in discussion with the Yearn team to ensure their yBAL is officially launched at an optimum time for success. Watch this space!
- Xave Finance — Wave 7
Given how the recent vulnerability affected the boosted pools (bb-a-usd), the Xave team has decided with the Grants team that we will address the last comments of Peckshield on the FXMetaPool. We will then update this page FXMetaPool - Xave Finance on our docs with a fresh deployment that we can demo to the Grants team to mark this grant as completed.
Discussions are ongoing to potentially refractor the FXMetaPool to work with some sort of multiple token stableswap pool instead of a boosted pool (subject to final discussions and/or feature scoping in the next week or so)
- Xeonus & Zen Dragon — Wave 8
We have been making progress on the governance map part of our grant. @Z_Dragon put together the most complete documentation of all relevant contracts to date. We made an interactive map and table. We have to do some final touches and hopefully ship that module soon. After that we will focus on the permissions map. In regards to analytics, there are some APR bugs in the new API that , then I can finish my parts. As a sneak peak, here are some screens of our gov map progress:
The grants treasury was significantly deplete with a falling BAL price which which we were cognizant of through the end of this quarter. Our spend was kept low with our usual focus on quality and value but extra cautious to remain positive.
We were below budget for committee payments with most grantees being somewhat self sufficient requiring minimal assistance coordination, allowing committee members to take smaller roles where necessary. We also came in below our budget for design and subscriptions using some remaining funds for creating merch for ETHmilan where a few Ballers will be after the Balancer onsite.
As a service provider to the BalancerDAO, we have published our proposal to the Balancer Forum for Q4 budget approval awaiting a snapshot vote to begin next week. Our request to top up the treasury (currently 28,130 BAL uncommitted) for 35k BAL to future grantees and 4,700 BAL + 21,000 USDC for committee/support.
If approved, we will use the existing BAL to continue the grants SP with existing 12 grantees but with a reduced funding request for new grantees and committee members with a shifted focus on:
- Funding for new grantees and buffer for existing grantee payments - 35k BAL
- Move to research focus and slow down for a revamp of grants program for 2024
- Performance review of past grantees and assessment of current approval criteria
- Mapping grants to Balancers latest roadmap
- Define Grants Program plan for 2024 including a re-look at hackathons and IRL events.
As always, we welcome comments and recommendations from the community on how to better develop the Balancer grants program.
If you are interested in supporting the development of the Balancer Ecosystem or want to build on top of the Balancer Protocol, this is your chance! Get started by filling in the Grants Application form. You can also check out our RFP page for inspiration! We also have an application guide for what we’re looking for in a grant submission here.