[BIP-450] Fund Balancer Grants Q4 2023

PR with Payload


Continue grants SP with existing 12 grantees but with a reduced funding request for new grantees and committee members. 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.
  • Committee Lead reduce by $1.5k to $7k USDC/month
  • New committee member tiers due to current market conditions and grants slow-down:
    • Tier 1 Contributor - $600 USD paid in BAL - contribute to weekly grants meeting, grantee support and on-going assessments
    • Tier 2 Contributor - $1,200 USD paid in BAL - As per Tier 1 plus follow up calls for grant applications, mentor at least 1 grantee.
    • Tier 3 Contributor - $1,800 USD paid in BAL as per Tier 1 plus mentor 2-4 low assistance grantees or 1-2 high assistance grantees
    • Tier 4 Contributor - $3,000 USD paid in BAL - as per Tier 1 plus mentor 5+ low assistance grantees or 3+ high assistance grantees.
  • Cancel final Fjord tranche ($66.6k USD in BAL) due to change in ownership and use to fund new grants.

With the cancellation of Fjord’s final tranche payment and a significant fall in BAL price, funding is requested to top up the treasury (currently 28,130 BAL uncommitted) to

  1. 35,000 BAL for future grantees
  2. 4,700 BAL + 21,000 USDC for committee/support.

As always, we welcome comments and recommendations from the community on how to better develop the Balancer grants program.

Service Provider Name: Balancer Grants

Leader(s): Burns, with committee members John Grant, Mike B, Steve0xp and Zen Dragon.

Pledge to abide by the DAO’s Code of Conduct 1 (or link to your own): Yes

Pledge to abide by the Accountability Guidelines: Yes

In accordance with the Balancer DAO Accountability Guidelines. This will include the Grant’s Committee:

  • Holding an open community call quarterly
  • Developing a monthly report detailing key objective progress which is posted to the Balancer Forum
  • Attending and presenting during the Baller weekly meeting (mandatory attendance by a least 1 representative)

Domain of Operation

The current Balancer Grants team, operating under the previous snapshot proposal passed on Jul 10, 2023, has successfully delivered 9 waves of funding and mentoring to bring quality teams into the Balancer ecosystem. This proposal seeks to continue the grants program as per BIP-350 with reduced funding due to fewer expected applications (extrapolated from recent slow down of good quality applications) and associated management. The program offers up to $100K USD in BAL tokens to projects supporting the Balancer Protocol’s mission to become a leading DeFi liquidity source, catering to both short-term and one-off projects, as an alternative to the Foundation SP model’s focus on long-term and higher-cost engagements.

The Balancer Grants DAO Service Provider will be operated by the Grants Committee, a group of diverse and experienced Balancer contributors. More details on the Grants Committee are below.

With this planned slowdown and with the goal to revamp the grants program, we will be focusing on:

  1. Continue to mentor and deliver with 12 existing grantees

The program currently has 12 live grantees building assorted integrations, novel use cases for Balancer pools, tooling, analytics and educational resources. These projects total ~$300k of committed funds yet to be paid for outstanding milestones. These can be reviewed on our Finalized and Live Grants Notion Page.

Deliverables: On-going support, monthly reports, coordination between Balancer entities.

  1. Fund new, interesting, high impact/low cost projects

With the 35k BAL requested, we will continue to accept grant proposal for new and interesting tech or tooling to grow the Balancer ecosystem. We aim to fund the following (non-exhaustive list):

  • Tooling, calculators, educational resources or documentation improvements
  • Interesting and promising new projects building on Balancer. This will not include yield aggregators, we are determining the requirement and use of a universal adaptor to reduce complexity and dev costs for these teams.
  • Bounties for highly active community members providing dev support, incentivising integrations for analytics sites etc
  • Other high impact, low cost projects for the protocol/ecosystem

Deliverables: Live Grant assessment sheet, monthly reports, weekly meetings

  1. Acceptance criteria and performance review of past grantees

With the program having run since 2021, we want to take this opportunity to look back on the grants awarded to date and assess what has created the most value to the Balancer Ecosystem. This review is to inform changes to the acceptance criteria we use to judge projects as well as direct our focus to valuable concepts for funding. This reporting will require a budget for analytics.

Deliverables: Revised grant assessment criteria, report detailing grant performance to date

  1. Aligning grants to Balancer’s latest roadmap

Coming into 2024, we want to create a unified roadmap for the Balancer ecosystem that the grants program can use as a guide for funding new projects. While we will stay open to new and novel ideas, it is important to have a known focus that we can communicate to teams for them to tailor applications towards.

Deliverables: Grant program outlook for 2024 presented in funding proposal at the end of Q4.

  1. Plan 2024 including a re-look at hackathons and IRL events.

Part of the grants revamp will look at funding hackathons and having a presence at IRL events through 2024. These events have the potential to bring in more teams and crowdsource novel use cases for the Balancer tech stack.

Deliverables: Budget allocation and schedule for impactful IRL events, assessment of known hackathons and criteria/goals for sponsorship.

Grants Committee

The Grants Committee consists of dedicated Balancer contributors with strong analytical and support backgrounds. The committee remains an equal democracy with no person having a greater authority on what is approved or not. We rely on individuals’ expertise in different areas to help make informed decisions.

Burns - Committee Coordination Lead

John Grant - Committee Member/Mentor

Steve0xp - Committee Member/Mentor

Zen Dragon- Committee Member/Mentor

MikeB - Committee Member/Mentor

The committee has the ability to onboard/offboard members as individual circumstances change throughout the quarter between funding proposals. Given the authority to approve and distribute grant funding, the committee can also self manage members within the approved budget.

The Grants Committee will continue to work closely with Balancer Labs, Ecosystem SPs and Ballers to amplify and support grantees.

By having a dedicated and diverse group of committee members and proactively working together with other ecosystem partners, Balancer Grants are set out to be one of the most effective grants programs in DeFi.

Previous Performance

The committee has shown that only quality projects will be approved for funding after rigorous assessment. This is evident in the committed spend from the previous quarters. We value BAL above all and will not approve projects simply to meet our allocated budget but on the merits of the project.

Managing between 11-18 live grantees providing cross-functional support between BLabs, Maxis, Marketing, 3 Rocks and grantees.
Ve8020 Launchpad

Custom pool how-to educational resource (scaffold-balancer-v2)

Creation of Balancer tools-hub, expanding Balancer docs and SDK including a LLM assistance bot
Funded pool simulators and WIP historical pool APR dashboard

Championed co-funding arrangements with Aura Grants (Notional and Sturdy)
Two TWAMM implementations, one in Beta (longswap.xyz) and a second live (Cron Finance)
Notional Finance adding >$3m TVL from $70k grant. More pools to be launched with Aura co-funding

Funding custom managed pools controller development with novel use cases. (Kassandra, Autonolas)

Bringing Yearn’s yBAL into Balancer ecosystem
Funding development of analytics site Defilytica
Expanding Balancer docs and SDK including a LLM assistance bot in training/testing
Dedication to transparent approvals process and reporting
Recovered Funds from stale grantees to redistribute to new projects.

Maintain Notion RFP page. Always open for new ideas. And live grant application assessment table for transparency in decision making…

Length of Engagement and Budget breakdown

This budget contains all costs for the full operations of the Balancer Grants DAO for the period October 1st, 2023 until December 31st, 2023. Unallocated resources will be kept to offset the next quarter budget request if successful.

Compensation has been reviewed in light of the revised grants mission as per below. Due to the inconsistent nature of grants and the associated workload, grants team members will self-assess their level of contribution against defined Tiers each month to determine their compensation which is reviewed by the grants lead and committee.

Tiers are:

Committee Lead - $7,000 USD paid in USDC - mentor and provide support/coordination for all grantee teams, significant administration of grants docs, RFP development, prepare and present monthly reports/community calls, wave round up, grantee announcements, budget preparation and SP proposals, .

Tier 1 Contributor - $600 USD paid in BAL - contribute to weekly grants meeting, grantee support and on-going assessments

Tier 2 Contributor - $1,200 USD paid in BAL - As per Tier 1 plus follow up calls for grant applications, mentor at least 1 grantee, RFP development/future grants program planning,.

Tier 3 Contributor - $1,800 USD paid in BAL as per Tier 1 plus mentor 2-4 low assistance grantees or 1-2 high assistance grantees or medium involvement developing 2023 grants program.

Tier 4 Contributor - $3,000 USD paid in BAL - as per Tier 1 Contributor plus mentor 5+ low assistance grantees or 3+ high assistance grantees or high involvement developing 2023 grants program.

Expense Amount in BAL/USD Description
Q4 Grants 35,000 BAL ($105k USD @ $3.00 USD/BAL) To be rewarded to grantees based on milestones following the full Grants review process. For sub $5k USD contributions a light review process will be utilized. Includes buffer for current approved grants in $USD to be paid in BAL.
1 Grants lead $7k x 3 months = $21k USDC The Grants Lead Role takes ownership of the establishment and operations of the Balancer Grant processes. The lead is responsible for coordinating with Committee Members, scheduling and hosting meetings, maintaining Medium and Notion pages and leading the post grants report.
4 committee members $ 900 USD average x 4 x 3 months @ $3.00 USD/BAL = 4,200 BAL As per tiers. Allowance for 2 x Tier 1, 1 x Tier 2 and 1 x Tier 3 contributors per month.
Other Program Expenses 500 BAL Any other program expenses that may be required for the smooth execution of the grants program. This may include (but is not limited to) to design, analytics, media, PR, research, legal, gas fees or any other specialized functions outside the skillset of the committee
Uncommitted Treasury 28,130 BAL
Total request for quarter 11,570 BAL & 21,000 USDC

Funds to Transfer: 11,570 BAL & 21,000 USDC

The Grants Committee multi-sig (currently 3 out of 5) will continue to operate with the remaining funds in the Grants treasury (0xE2c91f3409Ad6d8cE3a2E2eb330790398CB23597) carried over and approved to be delegated to the grantees.

Impact on the Treasury: The Treasury currently holds ~3.8M BAL. Funding Balancer Grants for Q4 is at a cost of 0.3% of the treasury’s BAL holdings, which annualizes to ~1.22% (although this is a lower funding rate than usual). The Treasury currently holds ~4.5M in USDC. Funding the USDC portion would cost around 0.46% of the treasury’s USDC, which annualizes to ~1.83% (again, lower quarterly cost).

All transactions will be recorded in a Sheet maintained by the committee and on chain.

ETH Address to Receive Funds

Grants Treasury - 0xE2c91f3409Ad6d8cE3a2E2eb330790398CB23597

Current Treasury Balance ~ 124,069 BAL + 18,500 UDC

Committed ~ 95,939 BAL + 18,500 USDC (@$3.00 USD/BAL)

Uncommitted treasury ~28,130 BAL + 0 USDC