[BIP-191] Funding Proposal for Messari Reporting 2023

Service Provider Name & Overview: Messari

Leader(s): Jack Purdy, John_TV_Locke, Traver Normandi

Pledge to abide by the DAO’s Code of Conduct (or link to your own): Yes

Pledge to abide by the Accountability Guidelines: Yes

Domains of Operation: Research, Reporting, Data Analytics, Growth


We are proposing Messari becomes a core Service Provider focused on research and reporting for the DAO, renewing the previous contract for 25% less while expanding it to include more advanced data tooling and governance reporting. This is done through Messari’s Protocol Services, which is separate from Messari Enterprise, the entirety of our work is funded through project grants enabling us to make it all publicly available.

Messari Protocol Services believes in the power and importance of transparency and education in DeFi. Protocols enable permissionless networks, and DAOs manage the parameters and designs of the protocol and related token. Both users and members of the DAO benefit from deep data research and communication. Messari PS hires and trains analysts to become a productive member of DAO communities and experts in the protocols they cover, enabling them to help surface key data and events to the largest distribution of crypto users, investors, and builders available. DeFi, and crypto in general, requires unbiased third parties to work with communities to surface transparent, detailed, and digestible information about the protocol and DAO. Messari PS is the leading provider for that solution.

For an update from our prior proposal, as a company Messari has 3x our headcount with a team of over 150 after raising a Series B led by Brevan Howard Digital. We’ve used that to significantly scale our research, data science, and engineering resources to build out our quarterly reporting and research capabilities. This has enabled us to bring all of our research in-house so we can have dedicated sector-specific analysts assigned to each protocol to cover them each quarter and continue to build up expertise.

We have become core subgraph developers for The Graph and are building out open-source data infrastructure that feeds into our quarterly reports and live data dashboards.

Lastly, we have been working extensively on growing our distribution and have signed deals to redistribute quarterly reports with Bloomberg, S&P Global, and Refinitiv three of the largest tradfi research platforms in the world.

Existing Work:

Quarterly reports

Data Analytics and Infrastructure


Other Contributions:

  • First veBAL value statement
  • veBAL unlock schedule
  • Featured pool analyses
  • 3rd party qualitative analysis on major DAO debates and decisions and protocol changes
  • Multiple engagements in the forum
  • Participating in monthly SP calls
  • Participating in Governance Twitter spaces

Note: Everything listed above is freely accessible

Proposal Breakdown:

Quarterly Reporting

We will produce 4 quarterly reports following the same cadence released shortly after the end of the fiscal quarter. These will break down major KPIs and fundamental metrics such as:

  • Aggregate stats - protocol revenue, veBAL distribution, BL incentives, operating margins
  • Dex metrics - trading volume, liquidity, new pools
  • LP metrics - LP fees, annualized yield

We will look at these from both the macro level and on a more granular level from individual pool level data and network deployments. The data will come from the publicly available subgraphs and Dune dashboards we’ve built.

Data Analytics

We’ve already released freely available data dashboards showing many of the metrics included in the quarterly reports. We plan to extend this by building an advanced LP analytics page showing:

  • Pool rankings based on
    • Liquidity, trading volume, revenue, capital efficiency, revenue/$ of TVL
  • Profitability calculator
    • Pool returns split out by swap fees and reward emissions
  • Backtesting of different LP positions
  • Simulating future returns
  • Help user in finding best pools based on their LP profile
    • Shortlist pools to LP on based on LP profile and preferences
    • Track performance of LP positions over time
    • Compare across different deployments and different pools

Governance Analysis

  • A Bi-Annual Governance Report
    • Messari will create bi-annual reports to analyze key governance KPIs and metrics and a detailed look into governance structure, process, dynamics, and analysis. (ex: Optimism)
    • Details include:
      • Introduction
        • Balancer Structure and Process Updates.
      • Quantitative Analysis
        • veBAL Distribution.
        • Power Dynamics (Voter blocs, whales, voter history, etc.)
        • Proposal Analysis (Proposal history, success rate, participation metrics, categorization, etc.).
      • Qualitative Analysis
        • Governance Design
          • Structure/Process Analysis.
          • Quorum Analysis.
          • Exploration of governance opportunities.
        • Proposal Analysis
          • Highlight of contentious proposals or noteworthy governance events.
      • Conclusion
  • Retainer for a Balancer Governor Note
    • A 1500-3000 word proposal-specific analysis designed to educate stakeholders on the impacts of important DAO proposals.

Key Objectives & Success Metrics:

  1. Surfacing on-chain metrics and protocol developments

Crypto has a glaring lack of sufficient long-form research and analytics. While there are various analytics dashboards, blog posts, and messaging channels to distill information, it is still cumbersome to have a strong understanding of the on-chain activity and important protocol-level developments. This creates a high barrier to making informed decisions as a stakeholder, leading to a misallocation of resources, both time and money, since there are investors, developers, and users that are not acting with the full breadth of knowledge at their disposal.

These services will inform various stakeholders through recurring, data-driven research from trusted, independent analysts. The actionable insights generated from these reports will better educate these stakeholders on the economic, financial, and social health of Balancer.

  1. Growth

Not only are we creating these reports but we’re ensuring they get sent out to a wide audience that can consume them. This is done through Messari’s channels of 300,000 crypto-natives, which reach most of the active builders and investors in the industry as well as through our distribution through some of the largest traditional research platforms in the world:

Bloomberg Terminal: 325,000 users

S&P Global Capital IQ: 12,000 enterprises

Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters): 40,000 enterprises and 400,000 users

This goes a long way to further professionalize Balancer to the vast majority of major funds, banks, financial service companies, and large corporations in the world that will better grasp the magnitude of economic activity generated by the protocol. There are trillions of dollars in AUM represented by these platforms so even a small percentage of users consuming this information and acting on it can drive meaningful activity to the protocol.

*A note on success metrics. Given the nature of this proposal, it can be difficult to directly attribute benefits. For example, you can have institutional players consuming reports on Bloomberg and using that as a key part of their diligence to allocate capital however its not possible to say $x of liquidity or investment came in as a result of Messari Research. While we know this is happening anecdotally we can’t tangibly measure it.

Length of Engagement & Budget:

edit: We propose the base quarterlies option for the current cycle:

$80k total
a. 4 Quarterly reports
b. at least one tweet on each quarterly report
c. AMA with the DAO on SP calls about quarterly take-aways and inspo for new analysis

Payment can be made in stablecoins or BAL based on market price at time of payment (in which case there will be a 5% premium to account for additional costs of accepting native tokens)

In both cases the funds will go towards:

  • Research - Our analysts spend several weeks each report along with an extensive internal editing and review process by the broader team.
  • Data Science and Engineering - Each report will have its own dedicated data science and engineering resources tasked with providing all the relevant raw data.
  • Distribution - We have several members of the team working on distribution for these reports across all of Messari’s channels along with the third-party partners.

ETH Address to Receive Funds: messari.eth


John & Messari, thank you for the details and background on the relationship between your team, Balancer, and the greater defi ecosystem. My main feedback revolves around price vs. impact. Due to the fact that the DAO voters decided to sell a chunk of BAL from our treasury and shift the revenue share towards the DAO to cover the cost structure, every expenditure should be scrutinized in my eyes.

Long story short, I feel Messari does great work, and Balancer should pursue being legitimized by high quality financial reporting. Competitors and similar caliber projects use Messari, but I am not convinced the value add of the options is worth 200k, or 100k plus a potential 5% upcharge due to paying in BAL for the service. I would feel much more comfortable with a lower price tag on this, because ultimately I think the service is valuable. I may hold an unpopular opinion on this, but I would like a better unpacking of the intangible effects Messari has on Balancer, especially if price is inflexible.


I agree with @ZenDragon’s take on this, in the current environment. This information is handy to have, it’s good for trend analysis, to show if things are going in the right direction or not. However the DAO is not a traditional company and therefore there is no requirement to file financials. In the current market I think voters should be weighing costs against the benefits for spends. Xeonus’s analytics site also has a number of handy queries, where you can see some of the more important information for the protocol. This is not at all to say Messari doesn’t do good work, I’m just not seeing the full benefits of this reporting right now.


Hi, John, I have a few questions that are more for my own curiosity than anything else. So I see in your Series B, Messari raised 35M. What’s the reasoning behind Messari asking for additional grants from projects when it seems to be remarkably well-funded already, and who makes the decision that this is the appropriate approach to be taken?

In addition, Mesarri provides similar “State of X” reports for Bitcoin, Solana, BNB, etc. So Messari goes through each coin’s governance forum and requests a grant each year? If not, why the differing treatment between coins?

Finally, you mention that this program is funded through grants. Balancer actually has a separate application process for grant applications.


Hey guys. As the person who has been tracking the DAO and treasury each quarter, I FULLY appreciate the budget situation and honestly think it is good practice to keep such scrutiny, even in good times!

Starting from the end @Franklin: Yes we go through a funding process for all the open/free quarterlies except Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are done by our Enterprise team. Some others we cover behind a paywall for the time being, hopefully to be funded soon. As you likely know, the base layer (L1) often have innovation labs/teams backing them who are interested in funding third party research and reporting. For other DAOs, we go through the voting or grants process. We had spoken with @ZenDragon and team about going through grants but given the longer term nature and larger price tag they felt they wanted to focus on funding teams that would build on top of Balancer rather than an SP.

On funding: we have analysts, data scientists, editors, graphic designers, that contribute to the product, then marketing teams, ops, and of course legal all on top of that. It would be very difficult to bootstrap such a business at 100k/year for reporting. Messari of course has other businesses as well. We think over time we can add value to DAOs and build a sustainable model that enables us to provide curated, detailed reporting and analytics across a wide spectrum of DAOs at an attractive price.

I will leave to @jpurd17 how strict the $100k line is or how we can work something out to continue to provide a service here.

@zekraken and @ZenDragon mentioned the “intangible” effects or “full benefits” and beside some priority on things Messari builds like subgraphs, Governor coverage, and other research (BAL-veBAL price relation model coming soon that would not have been done without regular quarterly coverage), one I would add is that as we build our data suite and tools (typically prioritized and enabled by our quarterly reporting), we are beginning to be a more active outsourced research arm for DAOs. For example: the recent vote to migrate pools included a move from using Aave V2 for Boosted Pools to using Euler. There are pros and cons to both options, and we have analysts who cover these protocols. We could provide a balanced view for the DAO of benefits like higher rates on Euler because they incentivize borrowing, which drives up lending rates, but also being a larger share of supply, also quantifying those as in the images attached. In fairness, this has not been standard operating procedure for Messari in the past so I understand your query for a better understanding of the value. But you mentioned benefits, these are all things PS members benefit from.


Adding on here, @Franklin on the funding component, Messari, Inc. raised money to scale 150+ FTEs and build out a data analytics/research business. This is comprised of 2 separate units – Messari Enterprise which is monetized like a normal SaaS platform through subscriptions and then Protocol Services (PS) where everything we build from the underlying subgraphs to the completed reports are publicly available. We need to receive funding from the protocol otherwise this PS unit will have to shut down as it would just burn money into perpetuity.

As to whether or not this is “worth it” I think it comes down to a traditional cost/benefit analysis. Like any capital expenditure you need to think of this probabilistically – does the likelihood of the potential value-accretive outcomes outweigh the cost?

The measurable ROI would come from additional $ coming in. This would be a result of more eyeballs consuming institutional grade research which leads to more interest providing liquidity, trading, and investing in Balancer. The institutions are coming meme has been around for years but we’re speaking to this audience on a regular basis and it’s clear that we’re past the let’s get smart on crypto phase and closer to how can we meaningfully participate. These tradfi channels have reach on orders of magnitude larger than Messari or any crypto platform for that matter. Especially in terms of $ allocated by those users. These DAO quarterlies that they can read alongside their sell-side reports are playing a key role in increasing awareness as well as any diligence process.

Now add on the intangibles from governance advisory, tooling, data infrastructure, etc. that will help the DAO make better strategic decisions and you get the aggregate benefit of working with Messari.

On the cost side (sticking with Option 2 here as the starting point for this discussion) $100k is a lot of money but for perspective it’s only 0.3% of the DAOs treasury and that’s after enduring one of the most apocalyptic market environments in crypto’s history. Going forward it would likely be significantly less. We’d also be open to making quarterly payments so the actual $BAL spend would likely be less than that 0.3% once it’s all paid.

From our experience and what we’re trying to make the case for is that this ROI ends up being more than $100k for the protocols we work with. While it’s hard to unequivocally prove this given the nature of this type of service, I don’t think it’s hard to see a world in which that’s the case. We’ll let everyone assign their own weightings to the probability of that, but I hope this articulates where we’re coming from on the proposal and associated pricing.


Wow, thank you, @jpurd17 and @John_TV_Locke, for your answers. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything so comprehensive. You guys cleared up all my questions. I’ll pass on your responses to the Aura delegates.


I’d be happy to support this funding proposal. Messari has done a great job at narrating Balancer and providing valuable insights to the DAO. Their work for Balancer has been great, especially @tnorm Governor Notes. Even though we want to limit costs, I see this as worthwhile.

Undecided on whether to go for option 1 or 2 yet, but learning more to option 1.


Thank you @John_TV_Locke for bringing the proposal to the forum. I understand the grants committee position, so it makes sense to go through governance.

Messari has shown us great product and deliverables, no doubt the reports are great. Also, I’m an advocate for transparency, so it would be a loss not having those anymore. That is the tangible part. However, the ask seems too high on current market conditions for Balancer.

As a service provider, we would expect more than just the report itself, then. “Euler vs. Aave” is a great example. So, the Messari team would also be engaging with our ecosystem and interacting with other major participants (BLabs, Maxis, Orb etc.) pushing the protocol forward with Messari’s “analysts, data scientists, editors, graphic designers, that contribute to the product, then marketing teams, ops, and of course legal”.

It seems like there is a team of well-qualified professionals working behind the scenes, so ideally we would like current ecosystem participants to engage before committing Treasury funds — acknowledging we have been constantly improving communications across the board. If there’s a need for this service, then it would make sense to reassess.

Long story short: 1) the report is quite expensive for current market conditions, so hopefully it will get better, as this great product would be missed; 2) the intangibles would require support data that other participants in the ecosystem need them, before committing stablecoins from the Treasury.

1 Like

would LOVE to hear from stakeholders about this. Thank you for asking the question, @Danko8383

When Messari first posted their proposal I was rather skeptical. However, their deliverables and on point quality made me a believer and I have to say - although the price point is VERY steep - the reports you created were first class. Not only nicely presented but also going into the fine nuances of what is happening in the protocol.

Nevertheless, with the current market situation (although looking a bit brighter) and our current USDC “burn rate” I am afraid this is just quite frankly too expensive for us right now. We are struggling as is to fund Orb and other SPs.

We have the OTC deal on the table, we increased the allocation to the DAO to 35% of fees, so we all need to think hard if this price tag is justified and if this is how veBAL holders want to spend our money.

A final concern: so far the data has always been aggregated through Defillama and your own subgraphs / Dune Dashboards AFAIK. However, we all know that price information from subgraphs is not accurate (e.g. TVL, token price etc). How would you address that in the future?


Yes, occasionally there are wrong prices typically from DEXs that we deal with through QA. It’s usually only one or two tokens at a time. Our engineering and subgraph team are working on a solution, I reached out to them for details and will share with you when they get back to me.

Alright team, we are going to amend the proposal to $80k for the 4 quarterly reports and commit to continuing to grow our presence in the forum/DAO in the external third-party research capacity I mentioned above.

We know these are tough market conditions and appreciate the kind words everyone has shared about the work we have done. Hopefully this is a strong value for the DAO and we will continue to build on it to help Balancer win. It’s a first class team and product and deserves first class service.


I think $80k for the quarterly reports is worthwhile. I’m confident it gets Balancer in front of a lot more eyeballs than we’d be able to do without them. Yes times are relatively tough in terms of stables in the treasury but myself and many others are working tirelessly to ensure that changes. I look at this as a bet on our future - if we do really well the next 6-12 months we want people to see that and these reports help accomplish that.

I’ll be voting in favor but regardless of the outcome I’ve been impressed with with the job you all have done over the last year.


Would you be willing to add ‘one tweet per quarterly report’ to option 2 to sweeten the deal?

80k USD seems reasonable.

1 Like

Thanks, brother. I’ll notify the delegates, let them know we chatted, and we’ll see how the dice falls on this one.

I like how you think!

This is great. Approving the SP status comes with a set of accountability rules set in [BIP-01] for the DAO framework, including monthly meetings with other SPs, monthly updates on the forum and quarterly community calls. Personally, I’d love to see Messari co-hosting AMAs on the quarterly report. We can engage further with your marketing team through Orb and the community efforts, so we can MEV this deal.

We have done Twitter posts I think 3/4 quarterlies. Happy to make it 4/4 for these ones.

@Danko8383 Also added the AMA calls. Can present some key findings and debates. Would be terrific to have a specific event with stakeholders to discuss what they find interesting/useful and help answer questions.


Per request we move forward with voting on this proposal in this week’s cycle: https://snapshot.org/#/balancer.eth/proposal/0x23962dcbdecf5c4e4f7a05f15d747fe47dd7be177d2c2614110c1f0ff116974f