I’m excited to share the “Establish the Balancer Grants DAO and coordinate the next wave of Balancer Community Grants” to improve resources allocation and grants inside the Balancer ecosystem.
This draft has been established in close collaboration with @Zeb, Nick (baller), Solarcurve (baller), and the wider Balancer ecosystem. Final input is highly appreciated; please use this forum thread or leave comments directly in the G docs: Establish the Balancer Grants DAO and coordinate the next wave of Balancer Community Grants - Google Docs
This proposal aims to establish Balancer Grants DAO, an independent community-owned grants program for the Balancer ecosystem. The program aims to accelerate the development of the BAL ecosystem while optimizing contributor rewards in the Balancer ecosystem. The requested budget for the first cycle (3 months) is 25,000 BAL, 80% of which will be allocated to grantees, as visualized in the breakdown below. A learnings and review document will be created at the end of the cycle, and any unspent resources will be sent back to the BAL treasury.
The initial Balancer Grants team has already worked together for the past 4 weeks to create the basic grant framework and community channels - check it out here: https://balancer.community/
Grants and contributor rewards are important mechanisms for coordinating resources and developing ecosystems. Multiple large blockchain projects and DAOs have dedicated grant programs with varying success. Balancer hosted and ran its own grants through grants wave 1 and wave 2. The grants have attracted various resources and developers to the Balancer ecosystem but have recently slowed down.
The grants program has been hampered in its growth due to the over-reliance on the foundation team. This has meant there has been a lack of resources, tooling, and support for existing grantees. Additionally, the resource constraint has meant slow turnaround and suboptimal user experience for those who may join the ecosystem.
This is a part of the Balancer ecosystem that deserves more attention and with the right planning it can start to shine.
The grants committee has researched over 15 blockchain grants programs to get a clear overview of what an effective program looks like. We will combine multiple aspects of successful programs with original ideas from the grants committee and valuable feedback from the Balancer Labs team and community.
We propose a rework of the current grants program by establishing the Balancer Grants DAO, a community-operated grants DAO dedicated to developing the Balancer Ecosystem.
The grant program provides support and funding ($5K - USD 75K, paid in BAL) to projects committed to supporting Balancer Protocol in achieving its mission to become the number one source of liquidity for DeFi. This program is made for groups and individuals that aspire to run a project that builds on the Balancer Protocol or supports the development of the Balancer ecosystem.
The Balancer Grants DAO will initially be operated by the Grants Committee, a group of diverse and experienced Balancer contributors. More details on the Grants Committee can be found further in this proposal.
The Balancer Grants DAO will coordinate BAL grants independently, creating positive value for the Balancer ecosystem without adding extra workload to the Balancer Labs team.
Because the Balancer Grants DAO will have its own dedicated team and support network, it will provide guidance and support to Balancer contributors and grantees alike.
The Balancer Grants DAO will also bring Balancer.community - an independent community page - back to life. Balancer.community can be leveraged to amplify Balancer messaging and to improve community coordination. Finally, Balancer Grants will establish its own communication channels and content, providing relevant content about all aspects of the Balancer Ecosystem.
To start the content creation, medium articles will be written, and accompanying social media attention will be given to the grantees throughout the grant process.
Establishing a well-aligned yet autonomous unit within the Balancer Ecosystem aligns with Balancer’s Decentralization and Ecosystem strategy. Having multiple entities co-develop the Balancer ecosystem creates value-add opportunities and allows the separate entities to specialize further.
By giving out grants to diligently chosen projects after careful evaluation and communications between the applicants and the dedicated Grants DAO Committee, the chances of successful grantees increases. The Grants DAO will mentor these projects, which will keep these projects close to the Balancer Ecosystem, even after the grant is finalized. We are building an ecosystem here. Not just giving some money away.
How the Grant review process will look
At Balancer, we want our applicants to feel heard and supported, not only financially. That is why we want this process to be as clear as possible. During the evaluation, the Grant Committee looks at the reasonable viability of the applications and does due diligence on the team. The evaluation process takes about 2 weeks.
If the application is successful, the team will be contacted, further steps will be discussed, and they will be connected with a mentor for regular calls to keep up to date and provide support. It is expected that this is reciprocated by grantees through operational transparency, high developer velocity, active repositories and frequent communications towards us.
### Grant Milestone Review
Balancer Grants will work with milestone based payouts. These milestones are clear and reasonable targets based on the communication between the grantees and the Grant Committee.
Grantees are encouraged to map their deliverables and timeline. We have provided a GANNT style template that grantees can use here: Project GANNT
Rewards Grants are awarded in BAL tokens, based on predefined installments. Such installments are subject to a payment schedule to ensure that predefined milestones are achieved, and the first milestone can be prepaid. If a Grant application is larger than 75K USD, the project will have to be split into multiple Grant applications. The grants can be priced in either USD or BAL value, to be selected by the grantee at the start of the grant. If a grantee decides to price their reward in USD, 50% of the grant’s value will be converted from BAL to a stable asset to reduce market risk for the Balancer Grants DAO.
The Balancer Grants Committee controls payments and assesses milestone reports from grantees before follow-on payments. The Balancer Grants Committee may decide not distribute all follow-up payments for projects that do not hit their deliverables.
Risks Analysis and Mitigation
- How does the Balancer Grant DAO ensure that grants contribute meaningfully?
To ensure that the Balancer Grants are allocated in line with the needs of the Balancer Ecosystem, an Ecosystem Assessment form has been created by the Balancer Grants DAO and sent to 10 active contributors of the Balancer ecosystem operating in different areas to get a full picture of the current needs of the ecosystem. The results will be summarized by the Balancer Grants DAO and discussed during a to be organized open workshop.
- What happens if there are not sufficient quality grant applications?
All leftover grant funds get sent back to the BAL treasury in low participation or not enough quality applications.
- What if grants apply but do not deliver?
Although this is a common issue within all grant systems, we can mitigate this risk by providing mentoring and support. This will be one of the defining aspects of our approach—something that is often overlooked. Additionally, payments are always based on Milestones, limiting the potential resources lost when a grantee cannot deliver.
If approved, the Grants Committee multi-sig (currently 3 out of 4) will be funded with 25K BAL. The resources will be further divided across different multi-sigs controlled by the same group.
All transactions will be recorded in a Sheet and summarized at the end of the Grants Cycle.
Balancer Grants Composition
The Grants Committee consists of dedicated Balancer contributors with strong analytical and support backgrounds.
- Zeb Lelie: Senior Crypto-asset researcher - Grants Lead
- Luuk Weber - Baller
- Nick Tong - Baller
- Solarcurve - Baller
*** Open position: If you feel called to fill this spot, please let us know. Ideally, someone with a strong technical background.**
The Grants Committee will work closely with Balancer Labs, Ballers, Fire Eyes, and Kolektivo Labs 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. A crucial area that has been largely overlooked.
Grants Application and Review
The current WIP Grants Application and Review process can be found here.
This budget contains all costs for the full operations of the Balancer Grants DAO for the period August 1st till October 31st.
At the end of this cycle (October 31st), any unspent resources will be sent back to the Balancer Treasury. A new proposal for the next cycle will be submitted at the end of this cycle.
|Name||Amount in BAL||Description|
|Q3 Grants||20,000||To be rewarded to grantees based on milestones following the full Grants review process. For sub $5k contributions a light review process will be utilized.|
|4 Committee Members||200 x 4 x 3 months =2,400 BAL||Commit to supporting & reviewing up to 10 hours a week and mentoring up to 5 hours a week|
|1 Grant Lead||500 x 3 months =1,500 BAL||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, and leading the post grants report.|
|Other Program Expenses||1100 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, media, PR, research, legal or any other specialized functions outside the skillset of the committee.|
Research and team formation started in July
Interviews with key ecosystem members and partners to identify ecosystem needs in early August
Finalize Grant Flow and webpage before mid-August
Open grants registration in mid-August
Provide ongoing support to Grantees from mid-August until the end of October
Finalize the first Balancer Grants wave by publishing the Grants Review report at the end of October