Balancer Grants September 2022 Update

The Balancer Grants subDAO is grateful to see another eventful quarter unfold for our DAO and grants endeavors. the September 2022 update will correspond not only to the month of September, but the previous quarter as a whole. Q3 2022 for the grants committee and long time Balancer community members corresponds to Wave 5 of the Balancer Grants program. We welcome all readers on the forum to follow our medium page. The Balancer Grants committee historically posts monthly updates, individual grantee announcements, and wave updates there.

Results, Learnings and Next Steps

The Balancer Grants subDAO program was established in August 2021 after a community discussion which then evolved into a Service Provider beginning this wave. The vote to bring in the first quarter as an SP can be found on Balancer’s governance forum here and subsequent snapshot vote here. This wave ran from July-September 2022 and had 100k BAL of uncommitted funds in the treasury for new grants.

How has the Grants subDAO been doing the last months, and where do we see ourselves go? Let’s find out below!

Learnings

As a community-led grants program, we want to be transparent about our learnings. We believe they can bring the community forward and help build out a bigger Balancer ecosystem. If you are more interested in the results of this grants round, its grantees and the numbers associated with it, then you can skip towards the Grant Achievements section.

Looking back at Wave 5 and its goals

In the previous Wave 4 Final Report, we saw there had been in increase in grant applications with the market shifting bearish, making capital less easy to come by. This wave has been no different with 66 applications assessed by the team. We had noticed that some of the grant applications were lacking justification or not aligned with the Balancer grants mission so a grant application guide was developed and made available to potential applicants. This can be viewed here.

We have moved our focus away from education and marketing sponsorships, leaving that to the Orb marketing team and focused more on funding projects building dapps and creating SDKs/tooling/documentation to assist further building on Balancer to expand the ecosystem of users and developers alike. The idea being to create a sustainable feedback loop to grow Balancer across DeFi.

Wave 5 Learnings

Treasury — There have been a few past discussions through the history of the Grants program about the risk of holding BAL in the Grants Treasury and approving grants in USD in the event of a market turn down. With many grants running over a few months, the risk continues to build as a significant amount of milestone payments were committed but outstanding in USD amounts. The uncommitted BAL in the treasury had been significantly reduced in Wave 4 with a declining BAL price so we implemented approving grants in an agreed BAL amount. This combined with an increase in BAL price has the grants treasury in a very healthy state, and we have adequate holdings for Q4’s proposal without additional funding from the Balancer DAO treasury.

We touched on the risks of of implementing this strategy in the last end of Wave report (too low USD/BAL — grantee does not deliver, too high — grantee is paid handsomely, undervaluing BAL with higher but budgeted cost to treasury). Yet we have not run into a situation where a grant has gone stale due to a drop in BAL price. We will see how this plays out as the price of BAL stabilizes but we maintain having a predictable spend and de-risk draining the grants treasury through payment commitments is the better way to operate.

Communication — To address requests from the community for more transparency in our decision making and grant progress, we have implemented the following this wave:

Grant Achievements

After receiving 66 applications, 9 projects have been approved for grants for a total of $237,400. This total value is up 43% from Wave 4 and we hope to keep funding promising projects next quarter to continue expanding the ecosystem.

This wave, we have funded new projects building infrastructure, developing strategies on existing & new dapps and creating SDKs/tooling/documentation to assist further building on Balancer to expand the ecosystem of users and developers alike. The goal is to create a sustainable feedback loop to grow Balancer across DeFi.

This focus will continue into the next wave of grants to be assessed by the committee.

Grantee Updates — Building

The program is proud to present our grantees and their updates in alphabetic order:

Together with BAL Grants, Atlantis World is gearing up to launch the Balancer clubhouse with video/voice chat perfect for community events, trade & invest app integration with onboarding quests, and in-game Snapshot governance! Stay tuned to hear more about the upcoming launch plans in November!

Boot Finance has begun diving into building their custom pool implementation on the Balancer v2 repository. Over the time since their approval they have began their building process and defined a plan of attack to deliver their remaining milestones.

Where is Boot Finance right now?

  • Boot has in-house reproduced the Balancer monorepo with a stub prototype customswap skeleton.
  • They have in-house reproduced balancer UI for testing deployment of the customswap prototype.
  • They are working on the customswap algorithms to replace the prototype stub.
  • Getting the existing scripted test suite to pass.

What is Boot Finance doing next?

  • Deploying the stub version on Goerli, privately, to finalize a production pipeline for the capability to iteratively deliver to community for testing.
  • Extending the scripted test suite with customswap specific tests.
  • ETA mid-October first community release.

During the next several months we expect the synergies between the Balancer and Boot teams to increase as the integration comes to fruition.

  • Cosme Fulanito

The team believes everyone deserves to be part of this incredible ecosystem, so we seek to lift the language barrier. To achieve this, Cosme translates all the relevant content published from Balancer, which ranges from news, announcements, articles, and reports to even videos, supported in part by this grant. We also create educational content, memes and do trivia with giveaways to drive engagement. Additionally and not less important, Balancer has a dedicated channel in Spanish on our Discord, where Cosme addresses all community concerns.

I am very excited about the Spanish-speaking community and want to see it grow. — Cosme Fulanito

Ithil empowers DeFi users to run complex strategies in a single click, using their own and/or borrowed funds on a variety of external protocols. This grant is to create a strategy based on Balancer and Aura. During the last month, Ithil has mainly focused on developing two key areas.
— Integration: creating the smart contracts to provide single-sided liquidity to any Balancer pool and correctly quote the position on-chain.
— User Interface: drawing a custom UI for the Balancer strategy and exploring new ways to make LPing easy as a breeze. A working demo will be available in the next few weeks.

Javier is working closely with our technical mentor John Grant (jguk) to expand our SDK. They have been working on getting the pool deployment functionality and initial join finalized. In the last month, Javier had a few setbacks making it not possible to get the proposed work done on schedule. Currently Javier and company are looking to finalizing the grant work soon.

Multifarm was awarded a grant from Balancer to build an in-depth custom analytics dashboard in order for the Balancer community to be able to transparently visualize all of the stats and activities around veBAL. Users will be able to see the bribes, pool emissions & trading fees and much more in detail and take better informed decisions around their investments (some teasers can be seen here). From the team:

“We are pleased to say that we have successfully concluded the first 2 phases of our development in timeline and to the satisfaction of the core team, namely UX Design & Frontend Development and we are currently working on the last phase: Backend Development. We aim to support Balancer in achieving it’s long term vision and hope the community enjoys the work we are doing. Looking forward to see the Dashboard live!”

Nicolas has been busy over the past few months gaining a more in depth understanding of the moving pieces required to deliver the alternative front end. Some key milestones he has reached over the span of Wave 5 can be seen below:

  • Creation of an html model of the project: http://balancer-ui.mywire.org. The general template of the site and the portfolio screen are finalized to date. The screens are responsive, and available in 2 themes (light / dark).
  • Analysis of the source code of the main Balancer frontend in order to determine what data is displayed (where it comes from, how to retrieve it). These data are mainly taken from Balancer subgraphs.
  • Implementation of queries on the subgraph, and addition of these queries in a Balancer SDK fork: GitHub - nma100/balancer-sdk at pool-shares
  • Realization of the “skeleton” of the new frontend. The base is available: Layout, navigation menu, wallet connection. https://balancer-minimal-ui-whve.vercel.app

In the upcoming months, the implementation of the screens continues : Portfolio, Invest and Trade. The realization of the first milestone (Portfolio screen) takes time because the whole structure of the site is to be realized. It was necessary to learn new technologies, such as GraphQL, which also took time. However, the project is progressing without major difficulty.

Notional Finance was announced as the final grant approved for Wave 5 with leveraged vaults to offer code collateralized lending. Leveraged vaults allow users to borrow cash at a fixed rate from Notional and deposit it into a whitelisted smart contract executing a specific yield strategy. The innovation? All the assets in the smart contract act as liquidatable collateral for their debt, allowing users to get highly leveraged exposure to the strategy. If the strategy returns exceed the interest rate to borrow, using leveraged vaults will be highly profitable.

Notional is targeting a launch in late Q3 and will go live with an initial set of three leveraged vaults that aim to offer high, sustainable returns with low risk.

RealEstate Exchange has finished all the features and UI work, and is preparing for the launch of managed pools in order to integrate tokenized real estate assets into a dynamic custom architecture. In the last month they have gotten confirmation from the first property developer that they want to issue and list a property on their exchange. The property is in Australia, and we can see many following in the foreseeable future

Over the last 3 months, they have tripled their Twitter followers to 1250, and grown our Telegram community by 6 times. On Medium and Hackernoon 9 hours were spent reading our content about the compliance, financials, and technical aspects of bringing real estate on the blockchain.

If you want to be a part of this, start your journey by visiting our LinkTree: RealEstate.Exchange | Twitter | Linktree

  • Tracer DAO / Mycelium (Grants 1&2)

With some delays to this grant with TracerDAO’s transition to Mycelium and parallel projects, the grant is aiming to be picked up next month to continue building out the ERC4626 compliant Balancer LP token vault. This vault takes in Balancer LP tokens and compounds rewards in the native token. This will enable us to settle derivative markets in BLP tokens. Once this is ready and deployed, they will be working on the UI to enable Balancer / Tracer users to deploy markets using these ERC4626 wrappers.

Autonolas has a full specification and design of the project ready. They are in the implementation phase. The project is divided into two Finite State Machines (FSMs), the first one being the Fear and Greed Oracle FSM and the second one the Pool Manager FSM. Last week the team finished with the implementation and the tests for the Oracle, and this week they are implementing the Pool Manager FSM, along with the tests.

Verified has been working with Balancer to develop custom pools for issuing and trading regulation compliant security tokens. Verified is awaiting review of the SOR and integration of the primary and secondary issue pools. These pools that allow issuing of new tokenized securities and secondary trading of already issued tokenized securities are fully implemented and enable KYC’ed investors in these pools to receive regulation compliant securities and assets that underlie the tokens. As soon as the integration is done and the pools launched on mainnet, the first issue of USD 7.5 million will open on the primary issuing pool.

Xeonus’ previous grant encompassed deploying the current Balancer Analytics webpage, which has become a staple in the DAO’s understanding of liquidity pool profitability for LP’s and protocol revenue. The current state of the site requires a refactoring of the subgraph in order to allow relevant data to continue to be pulled in to display for analysis. Xeonus has proposed to take on this task, as well as upgrade the front end to support the ever changing scope of Balancer pools. His work on this necessary overhaul will begin in the month of October, with the goal of completion being December. Balancer Analytics will undergo a full make over from backend to front end during this grant making the site as “future proof” as possible.

XS Finance is building out Time Weight Asset Market Manager (TWAMM) functionality for Balancer. The goal of TWAMM functionality is to execute large trades over a period of time in a way that reduces slippage and gas cost for the party executing a swap. The team is putting final touches to their web app, which will allow users to place and manage long term swaps using our TWAMM pools. They are also doing a last round of testing + gas optimizations and getting a security audit.

The Beta is coming very soon, which we can’t wait to share with the community. Interested users can go to longswap.xyz to sign up for updates and be the first ones to know when we launch.

Finalized Grants This Wave

We have had a number of grants that have successfully reached all their milestones this wave. They are discussed below.

Cron Finance is developing TWAMM on top of Balancer via custom pools. They successfully prototyped TWAMM specific virtual order features and have started the gas optimization work. For the next steps they are focused on leveraging advanced Vault features, in-depth numerical analysis, and completing security reviews before their beta release in the upcoming months. You can learn more about their progress on their twitter: https://twitter.com/0x70626a. Balancer Grants is currently in discussion with Cron Finance about the second stage and ultimate launch of their TWAMM functionality.

After Cron opened their codebase to select partners last month, they got a lot of great feedback that helped significantly improve their code and protocol design. A special thanks to the Balancer integrations team for their guidance with Vault nuances.

Cron also met with a great group of market makers (s/o Cumberland, Genesis, CMS, Wintermute, LedgerPrime) to understand their perspectives and discuss how they can leverage TWAMM. Read their most recent update here.

The grant was awarded to Nethermind to develop and implement Forta bots for security and real-time monitoring on Balancer smart contracts. Nethermind has delivered the 9 bots aligned with their grant timeline and updated the bots upon receipt of feedback from the Balancer DAO upon deployment. The deliverables were excellent and exactly what was promised by the Nethermind team in their application. These were easily deployed through the Forta app on Polygon and provide alerts directly to a dedicated, public Discord channel monitored by the community and Balancer DAO.

Read Forta’s post regarding the grant here.

Stefan began this grant in May with the goal to add full Balancer V2 support to Delphereum. Delphereum is a web3 implementation for the Delphi programming language that allows for development of native dapps. To date, the Vault is almost entirely implemented, including batch swaps and events. He has developed an app for macOS and Windows that demonstrates the progress which can be viewed here: Release v1.0.5 · svanas/balancer · GitHub.

In August, Stefan wrapped up the demo app, wrote a medium.com article, and published it on ethereum.org to finish out the grant. Read more here: Ethereum for Delphi developers | ethereum.org

  • mkflow and the Balancer Newsletter

mkflow is a long time contributor to the Balancer DAO and this grant was to continue producing the Balancer Report weekly through August. The report is sent out weekly to subscribers and provides a detailed overview of the Balancer ecosystem that week including network TVLs, LP revenues, major news and governance votes. You can subscribe to this report or read recent publications here. With the publication of 5 newsletters this grant has been successfully delivered. The publication has been taken over by Baller Cosme Fulatino and continues to provide relevant, up to date information to the community.

Grants Program Expenses

*at time of writing BAL @ $5.50USD

The grants committee had been sent 101,500 BAL from the Balancer Treasury for Wave 5 after a successful snapshot vote to fund for Q3. This was after the Grants Treasury took a significant hit at the end of Q2 with BAL @ $4.50 with commitments to pay outstanding grant milestones which were priced in USD at a time where BAL was $10–15. The market recovered through Q3 and with our grantees successfully meeting milestones, we have been able to pay out a significant portion of our USD valued commitments. We approved 43,570 BAL for new projects and have finished with ~110,000 BAL in the treasury uncommitted to grants to roll over into Q4/Wave 6.

Next Wave…

With BalancerDAO having moved to a Service Provider structure for Q3 onwards, we have published our proposal to the Balancer Forum for Q4 budget approval which was passed via a snapshot vote. We are approved to distribute the ~110k BAL uncommitted in the Grants Treasury to continue to fund more and more projects that will expand the Balancer ecosystem.

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Has your team heard of questbook? It is currently used by Polygon, Aave and a couple of others.

The grants team could solely use their tool to simplify your workflow in grant distribution for milestones. Here is a good explanation of how it will be employed in Compound, but ignore the delegated domain allocators aspect.

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