[BIP-565] Fund OpCo Product team - April - Sept

Service Provider Name: Balancer OpCo (Product Team)

Core Contributor(s): Gareth, Alberto, Anastas & Pon

Adhere to [BIP-372] and the SP standards: YES

Balancer OpCo Limited (or the “Balancer OpCo”) is a wholly-owned operating subsidiary of the Balancer Foundation. It is an integral element of the Balancer Foundation corporate structure supporting the Balancer DAO. It serves two primary functions (1) Administrative and Operational; and (2) Product Development.

Since the passing of BIP-55 and its subsequent extension (BIP-351), Balancer OpCo has been an integral element of the DAO since July 2022. This proposal aims to extend the product development services for an additional 6 months (April 1, 2024 - September 30, 2024). As in the previous proposal, the administrative and operational elements provided by Balancer OpCo are submitted as a separate proposal.

Our primary roles include Frontend Team Lead (Gareth), Frontend Core Engineers (Anastas and Alberto), and Product Designer (Pon). We also contract Ansaf, a long-time community member and experienced frontend developer, on a part-time basis.

The proposal period has been reduced from 9 months to 6 months to align with other service providers. Balancer OpCo is requesting $373,290 and 15,711.56 BAL for 6 months of funding starting April 1, 2024 and ending September 30, 2024.

Balancer OpCo product team was previously funded (BIP-351) for 9 months from July 1, 2023, through to March 31, 2024.

Our high-level goals stated in the previous proposal are as follows:

  • Increase LP engagement and satisfaction.
  • Increase veBAL adoption and holder engagement.
  • Increase awareness and adoption of the Balancer protocol.

These goals have not changed and will continue to guide our focus as we build out v3 of the Balancer canonical app.

Before shifting focus to v3, our primary focus was to track and improve the general user/LP experience in the v2 app. The KPI we used to do that was the Transaction Flow Error Free Rate, which is fatal errors in transaction flows divided by the total number of successful transactions submitted through the UI. When we started tracking this in July 2023 we were at ~84%. A concentrated effort was made to fix all fixable bugs in those flows and by February 2024 we were able to improve that rate to ~95%. It’s possible with further concentrated effort we could improve that KPI by 1-2%, however, some portion of the remaining 5% are bugs and issues that can be very challenging to resolve, such as wallet errors and specific user network/device issues.

Although our focus was generally on improving UX and supporting growth opportunities in the v2 app, very early on in our previous funding period it became clear that we would need to shift focus to a new canonical web application that would support both Balancer v2 and v3 vaults. The reasons behind this are outlined in our November monthly update. In November 2023 we publicly put the v2 app into maintenance mode and shifted our focus to the v3 app.

Despite most of our focus being directed towards the v3 application, we have done our best to support growth opportunities in v2 as they arose. An example of this is quickly supporting LRT pools and making them easily findable. We recognise that opportunities for the Balancer ecosystem, like LRTs, are extremely important for the growth of the protocol and we will always do what we can to support marketing and partnership operations through improvements in the UI.

In September 2023, Tim who was responsible for our backend infrastructure moved on to a new opportunity. Tim had built our v2 API that still serves the v2 frontend application. For v3, we will be using the shared Beets/Balancer API which is managed by Franz at Beets. So we are not looking to hire a replacement and therefore our people costs for this funding cycle are lower.

Key Objectives and Success Metrics
Our key objective for this funding proposal is to launch the v3 web application. The primary motivation for building a v3 app is to build support from the ground up for both v2 and v3 vaults and make the app multi-network native, that is, users will be able to explore and interact with pools across all networks and vaults within the same app. This would have been extremely difficult to do well within the context of the v2 app. This objective also includes a complete rebranding of the Balancer UI/UX.

We have already made significant progress towards this objective and aim to launch a beta UI by mid-April 2024. Following the beta launch, we will complete support for the v3 vault and launch the UI to the general public alongside the launch of the v3 protocol. The current target for the v3 launch is the end of Q2, 2024.

Our secondary objective is to begin to deprecate the v2 application and its supporting infrastructure. The supporting infrastructure such as the v2 API contributes to our costs and the quicker we can deprecate it the quicker we can lower Balancer OpCo’s 3rd party software costs.

The success metrics for these objectives are clear, the protocol needs a UI that can support the v2 and v3 vaults, and the UI development should not delay the launch of the v3 protocol. However, our success metrics, besides launching the new app and v3 support, remain essentially the same as with v2. Our focus is on improving the experience and engagement for LPs and veBAL holders. We are already tracking some relevant KPIs (Transaction Flow Error Free Rate & NPS). We will continue to track and report these KPIs as we launch the v3 app.

In summary, Balancer OpCo’s product team is committed to building a market-leading DApp for the Balancer protocol and supporting growth opportunities through UI development as they arise. The product team are passionate about Balancer and committed to its long-term success.

Ongoing commitments
The Product Development team ensures Balancer has a high-quality UI/UX available everywhere that allows users to interact easily with the Balancer protocol. In addition, the UI serves as a branding tool where people can better understand what the Balancer Protocol allows. The team will:

  • Build, Improve and Optimize the canonical UI for interacting with Balancer
    • We aim to provide the best possible experience for users to provide liquidity, swap, lock veBAL, vote on gauges, and claim earnings using Balancer.
    • We will design, build and maintain the marketing pages for the Balancer protocol. The primary aim of these pages will be to inspire and help onboard potential partners into the ecosystem.
    • We ensure this UI works across all modern devices including desktop and mobile browsers.
    • We will continually optimize and improve this app so users have a great experience no matter how many features or how much data Balancer introduces in the future.
    • We will continually work on the stability and reliability of the UI by covering its critical functionality with unit, integration and eventually E2E (End to End) tests.
    • Whenever new features or improvements are made to the Balancer smart contracts we will implement the primary UI for users to interact with them on launch.
    • This also includes responsibility for all copywriting across the app.
  • Ecosystem design support
    • We will support broader ecosystem design initiatives. For example, we’ll collaborate with marketing on creative direction and occasional asset production.
  • Support the development and maintenance of the shared Beets/Balancer API
    • The Product Development team currently maintains the Balancer API at https://api.balancer.fi, which provides quick access to Balancer pool and token information, as well as a SOR interface that services such as CowSwap use to calculate the best trade routes through Balancer pools.
    • The existing API mentioned above will be deprecated in favour of the shared Beets/Balancer API at https://api-v3.balancer.fi.
    • Additional functionality will be added to the shared Beets/Balancer API to support a simpler UI layer for v3.
  • User support
    • We will monitor relevant channels in Discord, Slack and Github issues for any reported problems and aim to respond within 24 hours and fix the problem as soon as possible.
  • OpCo operations
    • Manage DNS for all Balancer DAO domains.
    • Manage user accounts/email addresses under those domains.
    • Manage 3rd party accounts, upgrades, renegotiations, etc. For example, RPC providers, AWS, and wallet check providers.

Github repositories that we are directly responsible for:

Github repositories we are not directly responsible for but contribute to:

The Product Development team is committed to transparency and openness in all our work. The majority of our day-to-day activities can be followed via the previously mentioned repositories. We are also committed to providing higher-level reporting on our work in the relevant calls and on the forum. Our reporting commitments will be as follows:

  • Weekly v3 roadmap call
    • Audience: Internal, engineering and ecosystem leadership.
    • Here we share status updates on our latest work and take note of any urgent requirements or future work for our team.
  • Monthly forum update
    • Audience: Public
    • A high-level written report of work done over the past 30 days, including how that work relates to our stated goals. We will also include reflections on challenges that may be standing in the way of progress on those goals.
    • Relevant metrics that the Product Development team’s work has a direct impact on.
  • Quarterly community call update (if applicable)
    • Audience: Public
    • A higher-level update on the work done over the last quarter and work planned for the next quarter, including KPIs and visual content if relevant. This update will also include reflections on the team and its performance and any changes to the overall direction described in this funding proposal or previous quarterly reports.

Length of Engagement & Budget
Balancer OpCo product team is requesting 6 months of funding starting April 1, 2024 and ending September 30, 2024.

We request a total budget of $373,290 for the full period. Note that Balancer OpCo holds enough funds to cover the requested funding. This was saved due to the reduction in spend achieved by OpCo and other Service Providers vs their original budgets in years 1 and 2. For that reason, no new funding is required from the DAO for this proposal. The table below shows the applicable expense categories by quarter.

Note that Non-People Costs are reduced in Q2 as we transfer some of those costs into the Balancer OpCo Admin & Ops supplementary proposal. These costs are for 3rd party services that are used throughout the ecosystem and are critical to the ongoing operation of the DAOs infrastructure. We are referring to these as “Protocol Infrastructure”.

A further breakdown of the Balancer OpCo Product Team costs is shown below:

In addition, the Balancer OpCo is requesting an allocation of 15,711.56 BAL for the 6 month period of the proposal that aligns with the grants included in staff employment packages. This BAL would be awarded as compensation to current team members on a 4-year vesting basis, with a 1-year cliff, starting from each employee’s initial employment date in the ecosystem.

Should any of these employees leave before the completion of the 2 quarter proposal period, any unvested BAL would not go to the departing employee and would be available to the OpCo for allocation as incentives to potential replacement staff.

Link to Service Provider Agreement (if going through the Balancer OpCo)
Not applicable given this entity is internal. The Product team will be directly accountable to the Balancer OpCo and the Balancer DAO community through the reporting process applicable to all Balancer SPs, primarily with reference to the objectives and KPIs noted above.



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