[BIP-517] Fund Balancer Grants for Q1 2024

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Balancer Grants DAO Service Provider Proposal Q1 2024


With V3 due for launch in early 2024, the grants program will return to full funding targeting new integrations with Balancer’s new and improved tech. This quarter’s focus will be to find, fund and launch projects with Balancer V3 ahead of its launch in Q2 and help boost wide adoption.

The grants committee has completed a historic assessment of the grants awarded since its inception in August 2021. This proposal is created on the basis of the findings and recommendations of this report.

  • Funding duration 3 months from Jan 1st to March 31st, 2024.
  • Funding for new grantees - 50k BAL
  • Separate budget for “Moonshot projects” (research topics, novel projects that are interesting but use case is unknown. Described more below ) - 15k BAL
  • Funding categories identified in Program Recap
  • Attract more projects to build on V3
  • Reinstate Committee Lead to $8k USDC/month and allowance for 1 of each committee comp tier.
  • End long running grants (RealEstate Exchange, GammaSwap and Yearn) recovering funds for future projects

With the recovery of funds from stale grants and an increase in BAL price, no BAL is required for funding period. Funding is requested to top up the grants treasury to:

  1. 64,671 BAL available for new grantees, 50k general, 15k moonshot (no additional BAL required)
  2. 45,300 USDC for committee/support. (35,300 USDC required)
  3. 0.5 ETH for gas

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:

  • Developing a monthly report detailing key objective progress which is posted to the Balancer Forum and Medium
  • Attending and presenting during the Baller weekly meeting (mandatory attendance by at least 1 representative)

Domain of Operation

After 10 waves of funding and a recap over the last quarter, this proposal seeks to continue the grants program as per BIP-350 with increased funding to support the release of Balancer’s V3. The program will continue to offer up to $100K USD in BAL tokens per grant 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.

Following on from the quarter of reflections and subsequent report and recommendations, the grants program will be focused on:

  1. Continue to mentor and deliver with existing grantees

The program currently has 10 live grantees building assorted integrations, novel use cases for Balancer pools, tooling, analytics and educational resources. These projects total ~$290k 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 projects dedicated to increasing adoption of Balancer V3

With Balancer V3 launching in early Q2 2024, grants will play a significant role in incentivising projects to:

  • Integrate Balancer V3.
  • Create educational content, tooling and docs to lower barriers to entry for teams building on V3
  • Create new use cases with Balancer custom pools
  • Bounties for highly active community members providing dev support, incentivising integrations for analytics sites etc

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

  1. Set aside funding for research and moonshot projects

Separate the funding budget to include a portion of grants that are interesting but may not have a fully formed adoption plan. These are likely to be lower cost with no audit budget and could include:

  • Novel research topics or custom pools from teams that may not intend to turn it into a protocol
  • Research optimisation topics for existing infrastructure

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

  1. Funding categories

Across these avenues of focus, categories to direct funding are:

Category Why / Why not
Analytics Continuously improving analytics and encouraging existing projects to include Balancer drives volume to the protocol. Clear value.
Custom Pool Types Custom pool types have the highest potential value to Balancer but are risky. These projects create new use cases and showcase Balancer technology.
Education / Tooling Very important to make Balancer more user/dev friendly and drive adoption of building and investing in the platform.
Research Research has been generally avoided after early failed proposals. Recommendation is to revisit funding research as optimizations or new use cases may prove valuable. Risky with low likelihood of payout but high potential payout.
Swap Aggregators Swap aggregators create more revenue streams. Strategic grants may be considered.
Wrappers / Infrastructure Can lower barriers to entry for other projects looking to integrate with Balancer and provide additional revenue streams
Yield Aggregators* Only with a direct value calculation. There are generally sufficient incentives for yield aggregators. With no yield bearing assets, this is not worth funding. If the aggregator has the potential to bring high volume and TVL of yield bearing assets, then a value calculation can be made.

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. This quarter (Q4 2023) has been spent assessing the grants to date, outcomes can be found in the report discussed earlier for a deep dive into the programs performance to date. This report can be read here, some data from this is shown below.

Total application submissions and approvals:

Statistics for grant spending to date (since inception in August 2021):

Length of Engagement and Budget breakdown

This budget contains all costs for the full operations of the Balancer Grants SP for the period January 1st to March 31st, 2024. Unallocated resources will be kept to offset the next budget request if successful. 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 committee.

Tiers are:

Committee Lead - $8,000 USD paid in USDC - mentor and provide support/coordination for all grantee teams, 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 further developing 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 further developing grants program.

Expense Amount in BAL/USD Description
Q1 Grants 64,671 BAL ($244k USD @ $3.75 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. This will be split with 50k BAL to regular grants and 15k BAL to “Moonshot” projects as described above.
1 Grants lead + 4 committee members 43,800 USDC The Grants Lead 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. Committee as per tiers. Allowance for one of each contributor Tier per month.
Other Program Expenses 1500 USDC 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 or any other specialized functions outside the skillset of the committee
Gas Fees 0.5 ETH For grantee payments
Uncommitted Treasury 64,671 BAL & 10,000 USDC
Total request for Q1 35,300 USDC + 0.5 ETH

Funds to Transfer: 35,300 USDC + 0.5 ETH

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 ~3.6M BAL. Funding Balancer Grants for Q1 is at a cost of 1.77% of the treasury’s BAL holdings (this is assuming all 65k BAL is spent on grantees), which annualizes to ~7.09%. The Treasury currently holds ~4.34M in USDC. Funding the USDC portion would cost ~1.04% of the treasury’s USDC, which annualizes to ~4.18%.

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 ~ 126,419 BAL + 17,000 USDC

Committed ~ 60,959 BAL + 7,000 USDC (@$3.75 USD/BAL)

Uncommitted treasury ~64,671 BAL + 10,000 USDC


Thank you @burns and the Grants committee for this proposal. Excited to see what will the universe bring our way next year, coming V3.

I’ve noticed you’ve been asking for BAL to fund expenses, such as “committee members salaries” (5,280 BAL) and “other program expenses” (500 BAL). Since Q2’23 we’ve been shifting to pay liquid funds in USDC. Would you consider making the change? That gives us a better overview of the DAO’s financial health, and avoids selling pressure for BAL, keeping the token in our Treasury at these low rates.

The grants committee has no issue with all payments in USDC while BAL price is low. Proposal has been updated to reflect these changes.