[DRC] dYdX Ecosystem Development Program (fka dYdX Grants Program)

Hi there,

As Imperator, having directly benefited from the dYdX Grants Program for our work on the dYdX Indexer, we’ve experienced firsthand the significant positive impact such support can have on innovation and development within the dYdX ecosystem.

We fully endorse the transition to the DEP and are excited about its potential to further empower contributors like us.
We think that this program is crucial for fostering growth, collaboration, and the continuous improvement of the dYdX platform. We look forward to seeing the DEP drive the ecosystem forward and are eager to continue contributing to its success

Hey RV! I appreciate your candid feedback on the community initiatives funding bucket from the last cycle of the DGP.

I think this comment may come from an assumption on the goals of the community initiatives category that is possibly too narrow. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds as though you feel that the goal of the community initiatives bucket is to source all of our grant applications from dYdX’s existing community. In this last cycle, we took a more hollistic approach that was focused on community growth and onboarding more traders, infra providers, validators, and DAO participants to dYdX (all of whom, imo make up dYdX’s community)

This aligns more closely with the original text of the DGP Renewal Proposal, which was:

I’d like to double-click on a few of these funding targets and objectives and point to a few successes the community initiatives funding category had not just in funding individual grants, but in actively helping to foster growth of the community.

Tooling and Technical Resources

Validator Tools: This was a grant to the Silk Nodes team to bring their Validator tools discord bot and alerting suite to dYdX. This is a valuable resource that exists in many Cosmos chain communities due to its ability to provide a single point of reference for alerting validators of governance proposals, chain upgrades, and node downtime. Within a few days of integration of the tool into the dYdX discord, nearly half of the validators had integrated their node information into the alerting suite.

Not only that, but the Silk Nodes team has since become a valuable contributor in dYdX’s community of node operators, making themselves available for support on a frequent basis and offering advice to two dYdX validators who were tombstoned on how to improve the quality of their infrastructure and prevent similar issues from occurring again.

Promotional and Educational Content

Here again, we aimed to fund initiatives that were targeted at raising awareness of the dYdX Protocol’s transition to v4 and encouraging traders to migrate to the new platform. We did this by helping to supplement the efforts of the dYdX foundation and other stakeholders to market the new chain and fund educational content. A few examples:

  • We funded stakingrewards.com to integrate dYdX into their dashboard, which highlights the unique yield opportunity generated by staking DYDX and expands dYdX’s reach to millions of users that may have previously been unaware of the migration to v4. As part of this grant, educational content has been produced that shows users how to stake their DYDX tokens (this has been a pain point for people new to Cosmos that are unfamiliar with the staking flows).

  • We funded PANews and Four Pillars to create educational content and research reports in Chinese and Korean, respectively. These are two of dYdX’s largest potential community growth areas.

  • We’ve issued RFPs for content in German and Dutch to help grow dYdX’s reach in additional markets that have been identified as being strong opportunities for growth. As a heads up, we’re currently in the final stages of approving a grant for a significant content and education push in the German market thanks to these RFPs! You should expect to see this grant as part of our next approval batch.

Events and Workshops

Admittedly, we struggled in this category, though I assure you it was not for lack of trying :sweat_smile:

  • We launched RFPs for our community champions initiative back in November, in which we hoped to send one or more community members to live events to represent dYdX and meet contributors. We did not receive any quality applications for this RFP.

  • Despite having an open RFP for general event sponsorship since August, DGP has not received many quality applications for events. The ones that we did receive, we evaluated as having a high likelihood of being wasteful or non-impactful spends, and chose to be conservative with the community’s resources. Others were either too expensive or required input from other teams that didn’t have the resources to participate (as an example of this, we received a few high-quality hackathon applications, but were not able to allocate engineering resources to judging submissions + the impact of these initiatives will likely be higher in 3-6 months when the dYdX chain has matured a bit).

Existing Community Member Initiatives

That’s not to say that we didn’t fund existing community members and their work. Retention of valuable contributors is, imo, also an extremely valuable goal.

We funded both the dYdX Merch Program and 0xCLR to continue the work that they had been doing previously. Ensuring that valuable initiatives that the community has enjoyed in the past continue to be worked on.

All of this being said, no program is perfect, and we had our fair share of difficulties, but I do feel that the community initiatives funding category has made an impact on the growth of the community.

Moving forward, we’re hoping to level this up by increasing the quality of contributors we’re able to work with, as increased durational and funding requirements will let us pursue longer term partnerships with content providers. We hope to also continue to work closely with dYdX’s rapidly growing community of validator and infrastructure providers to push forward additional initiatives that make the infra experience better on dYdX.

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@RoboMcGobo , the challenge of community development is indeed complex. Those who have been part of the community for not just a couple of months, but much longer, understand all these intricacies.

Yes, you mention 0xCLR and Merch, and I believe these are excellent initiatives. However, these are extensions, specifically for well-funded members who have continued to be active part of the community largely because they received funding. This isn’t a criticism of these individuals; it is how it should be for a wide array of participants.

Throughout the existence of the grant program, there has evolved a detrimental practice of fostering Reverie’s community and network.

There was once an excellent Ambassador Program initiative which was halted by the vote of one of the preferred research partners.

All this has led to a situation where activity on the forum is practically non-existent. Many active community members have simply moved on to other projects where their knowledge and engagement yield better results.


I will not spend time now on commenting on each grant; I am not a paid auditor.

I have already written my opinion on stakingrewards.
I will simply show one screenshot.


(Source)

This platform offers a staking button solely to validators who have paid $15,000 annually for their verification program. I am in communication with a large number of validators, and the feedback regarding such a system is overwhelmingly negative.

It is unclear how there could be talk of millions of stakers brought in by this platform when their video tutorial on how to stake on dYdX was viewed by only 126 people in a week.

I shall remain of the opinion that the development of the community should be undertaken by others.

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Have you considered funding anything for the users of dYdX, aka Traders? It seems like you are focused on 1% of the users here. If you guys want to grow the platform you need to fund things that traders need. I don’t see anything being funded that’s actually helpful or useful for them.

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Hi everyone!

Abra here. I wanted to take a moment to drop by this thread, not to discuss my endorsement of the program – which should be obvious from my agreement to continue as a trustee – but also to say thank you to all who engage with the program as grantors, applicants, or community members. Also thank you to those of you ( @RealVovochka @CipherLabs ) who have taken this opportunity to provide feedback about the program.

I wasn’t part of the previous iteration before v1.5, but I felt that the last 6 months were fruitful for the protocol and community. As a fiduciary of the community (though not as the executive or operational arm of the program) I’m open to hearing ways that we can continue to improve – being mindful of the trade-offs inherent in each decision that is made. From where I sit, my experience working with the grantors has been very positive. The grants have been well-vetted, with clear strategic themes woven between each proposal.

It is a tough balance between process-openness and speed. I hope that in the same way that v1.5 was (or seemed to me – open for feedback) an improvement over v1, the DEP will mark another meaningful step forward in the evolution of the dYdX ecosystem and furtherance of the mission of the protocol and its community.

I will be keeping an eye on this thread and am happy to provide comments or additional context as needed.

Hi Govmos,

Thank you for raising these questions, sharing some responses below:

<While salary structures in regular companies often follow a Pareto distribution across the workforce (80% of salaries going to 20% of employees, and vice versa), this example surpasses that inherent asymmetry.>

Overall, the intention of the budget is to align the compensation structure with expected workload and contribution. Salaries for part-time positions (e.g. enforcer, operator, trustee) are smaller than those working full-time for the protocol (e.g. grantors).

<If one person is handling such a significant workload, why not consider adding another person to assist?>

As mentioned in the “Operational Details” section of the proposal, Reverie is contributing as a single entity, but there are three individual contributors within Reverie who are working on dYdX. On top of Reverie, Robo and Mackay will also be contributing as grantors. If the program requires additional contributions, Trustees can decide to bring additional folks on. Overall, the increased scope of v4 requires a larger commitment from the Grantors on both the “strategic” and “community” buckets.

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Hi everyone,

Thank you all for the comments and feedback on our proposal. We’re excited to share that the proposal will be going live later today. We have prepared a formal DIP as a summary of the proposed changes. We’d also like to share an update on the amount of DYDX requested and the TWAP calculation method.

  • A 7-day TWAP price was calculated using CoinGecko, which came out to be: $3.11 / DYDX
  • Using this price, the DEP is requesting 3,858,500 DYDX ($12M rounded to the nearest hundred DYDX) from the community treasury.

Please accept my apologies for being fastidious, but could this team of full-time professionals properly fill out the proposal when requesting $12 million? This is, after all, a serious matter.

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I appreciate the critical question raised by @Govmos regarding the current proposal. It’s imperative that such concerns are thoroughly addressed before proceeding with any voting process. Rushing to a vote without resolving these significant issues undermines the transparency and diligence necessary for our community’s decision-making.

Having been a part of this program, as a contributor, for over two years, I must highlight some observations regarding the operational efficiency and resource allocation within the program. Notably, my experience suggests that Carl from Reverie appears to be the primary contributor, with minimal visible involvement from other team members. This raises questions about the workload distribution and the justification for the proposed compensation.

Regarding the application review process, the current rate of handling approximately one application per day, with an average decision time of eight weeks per application, is strikingly inefficient. In a more effectively managed operation, I would expect such processes to be concluded within a much shorter timeframe, ideally within 48 hours to a week, allowing for necessary discussions with applicants.

The compensation of $70,000 per month for what seems to be part-time engagement is highly disproportionate, especially when compared to the funding constraints faced by other crucial aspects of the program, such as the inability to secure $40,000 for a trading journal on v4 – a key feature for our trading community. This discrepancy in resource allocation raises serious concerns about our priorities and the value we are delivering to our community.

Realistically, for the amount currently allocated to a single individual, we could employ a full-time team of five, enhancing both efficiency and output. This view is not just mine but echoes the sentiments of many in our community, based on numerous discussions I’ve had over the past two years.

In conclusion, we must reevaluate our approach to ensure fair and efficient use of our community’s resources. It’s time we align our actions with the community’s expectations and needs.

Thank you for considering these points, and I look forward to a constructive discussion on how we can move forward more effectively.

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Thank you for providing these details, it seems like we missed that information in our reading. This invalidates our previous claims and therefore we will remove them from the discussion to avoid any unnecessary confusion. With three individuals involved all the ratios fall back down to conventional distributions. In consequence, we will vote YES to this proposal.

It’s very misleading @Govmos - only Carl from Reverie does any work with grants at dYdX. In two years I think I have seen the other two guys attend one community call and respond to some negative feedback on Discord. That’s about it.

There’s a significant likelihood, in my opinion, that the vast majority of applicants, possibly over 98% (excluding major entities linked with Reverie), haven’t had any interaction with these other two individuals. Unfortunately, due to the private nature of the operation and lack of transparency in communication, the community is left in the dark regarding their contributions and performance relative to their compensation. This lack of visibility is quite telling about the situation.

As mentioned in our initial message, we clearly lack relevant context or experience with the grants team to dare to pass judgment on this particular situation. You have your own point of view, and other participants have expressed theirs in the forum as well.

We believe it would be inappropriate for us to position ourselves in this debate outside of the inconsistencies that we initially identified in the salary distribution. Since these concerns have been addressed by @ecosytem_dev_program, bringing to light that Reverie was a team of three people and not just one, our concerns no longer apply. This concludes our role in this specific topic; we had a math ratio issue, which is no longer relevant. Regarding your own concerns, we hope someone here will consider them and shed light on some of the uncertainties you’ve raised.

Since v4 launch, Reverie’s commitment has increased compared to previous expectations for the v1.5 renewal. Carl is the main contributor (and fwiw puts in ungodly hours from my experience), but already in the current iteration other Reverie members are spending significant time on - sometimes potentially less visible - parts of the program, including e.g. recruiting grantees, stakeholder management (Trading, Foundation, Grantees), and managing service providers (incl. e.g. trustees such as me), etc. This proposal seeks to compensate the Reverie team for this increased scope, which should continue as v4 continues to gain traction.

Felix, it’s apparent that the core issue with such inquiries can be effectively addressed through transparent reporting. Otherwise, we are dealing with a black box scenario where insiders claim everything is in excellent order, and relentless work is being done.
However, as far as the community can perceive, there are no tangible changes. There has never been any disclosure of how much the grant program is supposed to pay out for current grants in the form of financial statements. It seems an operator was hired who could potentially generate such reports. Yet, externally, there have been no modifications to the program. I would recommend looking into the reporting practices of the dydx ops subDAO. While not perfect, they are on an entirely different level compared to DGP.

Nothing is visible @FelixLts, this is a problem as the community has no way of assessing these things. We pointed this out in the previous 1.5 vote. But it was ignored. Dealing with the team there is extremely slow; what should take days is taking months, and even single responses can take over a week, often requiring follow-ups to get a response. The claim of ungodly working hours doesn’t seem to be reflected in these response times. This is also evident from the constant inquiries about grant applications in the Discord channel, showing that things are not being managed efficiently.

Thank you @ecosytem_dev_program for the proposal.

We, at Tané, voted Yes on the on-chain proposal.

While we see some improvements to be done by the newly formed EDP team especially on the transparent reporting, we support the program to continuously support the dYdX ecosystem.

The biggest issue is see with these funding requests is that no-one even talks about exclusivity.

I mean, we have so many people on these programs who work for a couple of them at the same time. How can we expect them to do a proper full workweek (or at least a decent amount of hours) when they are allowed to work at many projects at the same time?

Just for reference, go check the OGP on Osmosis. You’ll find overlap in names and similar comments as found here with respect to Reverie.

For me this is a pure sign the crypto-space is still a wild-west and there are parties profitting from the simple lack of rules which we already have (for a large part) in the “real” world. These rules are in existence not because it is fun to have them, but to make sure work is being done and delivered.

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Hey, why deleting? It was a good constructive post

The community is silent because they’re afraid that criticizing the system will lose them funding, especially since those not aligned with Reverie hardly stand a chance. This situation shows we need a new program, but any attempt at change is quickly stopped, indicating Reverie has too much influence, which goes against the idea of being open and fair.

Everyone who’s been here for years knows that although we aim for decentralization, in reality, the operations are tightly controlled by a small group. They prefer to keep it within their circle, leaving no room for outsiders to make a difference. This setup contradicts the goal of decentralization and calls for a significant change.

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Some key points to consider. These were pointed out by another member and later removed but I am reposting the important points as they are valid.

  • Positive comments about Reverie in this forum come from people who receive compensation from them, like trustees, advisors, or contributors.

  • Saying thank you to the community after raising funds is a basic but essential act of gratitude.

  • Managing multiple grants programs creates a situation where people are only working part-time, even though they’re paid for full-time. This also impacts their focus and the quality of their work.

  • A venture capital firm’s involvement in managing a grant program should raise serious concerns about conflicts of interest and gatekeeping, which have been continually pointed out but overlooked.

  • Adding competition to the current grants program would bring in fresh perspectives and diversity. However, there’s a hesitation to do this, possibly because of existing personal relationships that prioritize mutual benefits over creating a genuinely decentralized platform with diverse input.

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