dYdX Grants Program - v1.5 Extension

All these tasks can be automated. Imagine a well designed governance platform which contributors (grantees) log into with their wallets, submit applications through, communications occur there, then grantors vote for approval, and finally grantors vote on completion, and everything you mentioned happens instantly and automatically. And then the contributor claims their payment from their governance dashboard just like we currently do with rewards.

Perhaps the fiat banking system part you mentioned won’t work but it would seem a bit backward to be doing that in a Web3 world.

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While I’d like to recognize the frustrations and subpar experiences with the current DGP led by Reverie, reported by @CipherLabs, @RealVovochka and various other members and grantees in Discord and Discourse, I agree with @Nascor on how we should approach this proposal that is possibly not perfect, and far from the ideal that the community members hoped for, but the feasible based on the current timeline, and most importantly improved one. Great to see community members come forward and contribute to the DGP!

While we keep having discussions around what the DPG should look like at its v2 stage, this proposal includes the existence of the Trustees which are separated from the Grantor role and the assigned responsibilities to the Trustees are the most requested ones to be addressed according to experiences and feedback from the community members in the past; the observer for the DGP. I think it’s critical for Reverie to keep involved in the DGP as the main Grantor with ample context and some positive feedback while the Trustees and Operator can improve the process, communication and transparency through the v1.5 phase and eventually we as the DAO can experiment a different format or multiple tests toward v2. Even so, if many of the community members object to the idea of having Reverie as a single Grantor, we may need to consider having the second Grantor for Strategic Initiatives, but the next question we should answer is who is qualified to do so. I’m relatively new to the platform, and not quite certain whether we can find one in time for the v1.5 extension term.

Regarding the disconnect between some of the members, entities (not sure how exactly we interpret what Antonio said “as a community member” but I assume dYdX Trading is satisfied with Reverie’s services) and others, I think we may need a dedicated session or something to discuss how the DAO improves the communication, governance process and grow as a mature DAO going forward. However, we better focus on how we settle the DGP v1.5 extension.

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We’ve been part of this community for two years and have contributed on multiple fronts while closely observing the frustrations and concerns that arise daily. Thus, we have a deep understanding of the changes needed. While your point about focusing on the v1.5 proposal is valid, it’s essential to address the challenges early to ensure we don’t face the same issues during the v2 proposal.

Typically, proposals are made only two weeks before the vote, leaving little time for necessary adjustments. To avoid this, we believe it’s prudent to discuss and suggest v2 changes now and actively start working towards them. Our team is willing to offer our expertise to help with this undertaking.

In the meantime, and to address v1.5, here are some immediate changes we believe are necessary:

  1. Add another Grantor to the Strategic Bucket for decentralised decision-making.
  2. Add an additional Grantor to the Community Initiatives Bucket to avoid undue influence.
  3. Open all three community bucket positions to all applicants for a fair selection process.
  4. Have Endorsed Delegates assess and vote on candidates, ensuring community involvement.
  5. Manage applications and communications via Discourse for transparency and feedback.
  6. Set a maximum seven-day time frame for deciding on applications.
  7. Ensure grants are paid within seven days of work completion or milestones.
  8. Update funding split to a minimum of 20/80 or potentially 30/70 for fairer distribution.
  9. Have the five grantors assume the trustee roles for efficiency.
  10. Compensate Community Initiatives grantors with an industry-standard amount of $5,000 - $7,000 and Strategic Bucket Grantors with $15,000 each.
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Hi @tane and @Nascor
I understand that voting on such proposals is merely a formality, and I realize that Reverie will be with us for another 6 months.
Therefore, in my first post, I wrote about the improvements that I would like to see

When analyzing the results of any project at its conclusion, it is necessary to understand what did not work and what can be improved. Reading Reverie’s post and the unquestionable support from Antonio might give the impression that the program works perfectly, but this is far from the truth. I also understand the support from @max-holloway and @chaoslabs , who collectively received 25% of all funds disbursed by the program.
I don’t want to go into detail about all these issues; @antonio is aware of them and if he is satisfied, there is no point in writing about it.

There were some improvements in transparency, dashboard, and other aspects. However, this was partly driven by the activity of the community, which exerted pressure on Reverie.

I won’t delve into Strategic Initiatives; let Reverie stay there and complete its infrastructure grants until V4 starts. The community has no details about selecting grantees in this part - scope of work and others. Everything is done through networking via Reverie. It will take time for someone new to understand this, time we do not have.

But I insist that those constructive changes, which were proposed by me and @CipherLabs , at least be taken into discussion.

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Pitching in here from Chorus One.
We have worked with the DGP and Reverie as a grantee, in the context of our research grant on validator-driven MEV. Our comprehensive analysis will be out in the next few days, and we expect that the community will find it valuable.

Throughout the process, we have found Reverie to be responsive and knowledgeable. In the initial stages, this reflected as clearly communicated and results-focused expectations. Later, Reverie became a valuable source of ecosystem contacts and effectively coordinated answers to a variety of practical questions (e.g. concerning the release).

Overall, we share Antonio’s impression that Reverie combines a sophisticated understanding of dYdX products with a high degree of engagement.
We enjoyed working with the team, and take away the impression that the grants program is run in a professional, pragmatic, and results-oriented manner.

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I believe that the proposed new structure and funding buckets make sense for a six month runtime. dYdX v4 is a massive undertaking that should see a major shift in funding allocation strategies as far as infrastructure, tooling, and integrations are concerned. It makes sense to extend DGP for a shorter runtime to allow sufficient time to assess the changing needs of the protocol.

Cosmos is a different beast from the Ethereum / L2 ecosystem, and moving forward I feel that it will be important to have contributors that are intimately familiar with Cosmos and Cosmos-specific infrastructure, tooling, and teams. For that reason, I’d like to submit myself for consideration for the open Grantor role. More info on me and my background:

Background

I’ve been involved in the Cosmos Ecosystem since 2020. I was an early community contributor to Osmosis (a decentralized exchange appchain in the Cosmos ecosystem), where I helped provide end-user and developer support for early Osmosis users and integrators. I was a cofounder of the Osmosis Support Lab, a community funded support team for Osmosis, often referenced as one of the most successful community-run support organizations in the Cosmos Ecosystem. Although I have since left the Support Lab, I continue to actively contribute to Osmosis as a writer for its blog, and as a member of the Osmosis Grants Program. I usually write content related to major chain upgrades like this one.

I have also made contributions in the areas of governance, business development, marketing, and strategy advising to other major chains in the ecosystem. Through these experiences I have contacts with most teams in the cosmos ecosystem, and would be able to leverage these contacts to proactively pursue teams that would be a good fit for outstanding RFPs.

I also have a deep understanding of financial markets by virtue of my experience with Osmosis (and as an active degen myself :sweat_smile:). I’ll be able to use this knowledge to identify areas where educational or community engagement resources may be lacking, and help approve grants that will fill those needs.

I’m hopeful that my knowledge of the Cosmos ecosystem and the unique opportunities and challenges that it faces will allow me to help foster grants that quickly address unexpected friction points with the dYdX v4 launch and GTM. I recently wrote a post here in the dYdX forums that should give an indication of my understanding of the ecosystem and my desire to see dYdX v4 flourish! You can find that forum post here: dYdX v4 - A Beginner's Guide to Cosmos

For more information, you can find me on twitter at https://twitter.com/RoboMcGobo

Why would you like to contribute to the DGP?

From the perspective of a Cosmos native, dYdX v4 is one of the most exciting developments in Cosmos history. The influx of activity that dYdX will bring to the ecosystem is unparalleled by any previous launch. I want to see this launch succeed and take an active role in helping grow dYdX and the Cosmos ecosystem together. As a trailblazer in the industry, dYdX v4’s success will inevitably mean a migration of other successful protocols to the appchain model. Fostering a smooth transition and a successful integration for that model with dYdX is, imo, the most important thing that the DGP should be doing as part of this v1.5 extension.

What should the DGP prioritize as part of this extension?

Per the above, the DGP should prioritize Infrastructure / code improvements, tooling, and educational resources that help make the v4 transition secure, seamless, and ultimately successful. Here are just a few examples of things I would like to see:

  1. Validator uptime, monitoring, signing, and alerting tools, similar to Tenderduty or Horcrux
  2. Educational resources on Cosmos, the Cosmos ecosystem, and IBC.
  3. Research papers on topics related to the v4 transition including security bootstrapping models and MEV mitigation strategies / threshold encryption.
  4. On-chain governance tooling
  5. MEV tooling
  6. Privacy tooling (encrypted mempools, shielded actions, etc) and research on whether any of these solutions are practical / desired for dYdX v4
  7. Account abstraction and overall UX improvement / abstraction (a major focus for dYdX contributors that could be aided by the community)
  8. dYdX v4 hackathons and other community events

I hope to help the DGP take an active role in bringing several of these items, and more, to dYdX. Thank you all for your consideration!

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Great to see your interest as a grantor for the DGP @RoboMcGobo. We suggest creating a separate forum topic for potential candidates to post their applications, making it easy for everyone to assess them in one place. Your experience in the Cosmos ecosystem is impressive!

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I’d say that’s the ultimate goal, to have such a governance platform. It seems like a product of its own though, not sure if you are implying that CipherLabs can build that. But if yes, I can’t think of any reasons why we and other protocols wouldn’t end up using it.

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We’re definitely interested in helping to design and build a governance platform like that, but we envision an in-house solution tailored specifically to dYdX’s needs.

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Hi @CipherLabs, thanks for sharing your feedback on this proposal. You bring up a few points which I’ll address below.

Centralized vs. decentralized structures
We’ve thought long and hard about more decentralized structures for the DGP. Today, we don’t believe a completely decentralized grants program is the best structure.

Decentralization comes at the expense of efficiency - there is no other way around it. The more people and stakeholders involved in a decision, the slower it takes to come to agreement. While decentralization is important for many reasons (resiliency, longevity, etc), we think efficiency is also critical, especially at this phase in dYdX v4’s life. Many of the largest initiatives outlined in this proposal (MEV, v4 infrastructure, validator tooling) require enormous amounts of coordination and communication between various parties involved. Without timely completion of these initiatives, it risks affecting v4, an outcome we’d like to avoid.

All this said, we think it’s critical that there are many perspectives within the DGP with decision making power. That is the motivation behind creating a separate “community initiatives” bucket with separate grantors with their own decision-making process. We see this is an optimal middle ground between a “centralized” and “decentralized” structure.

In this structure, Reverie is just one of many parties involved in the DGP’s decision-making process, along with trustees, the enforcer, the operator as well as the two other grantors. Reverie does not have unilateral control over any single part of the program. All grants under the “strategic initiatives” bucket are reviewed by Trustees. All grants under the “community initiatives” bucket are issued by separate grantors, and then reviewed by Trustees. All payments are done by the operator. The enforcer holds all other contributors accountable. The program is designed this way to ensure that many perspectives are heard and involved.

Payments
The payment issue you raise paints a rather incomplete picture. When we send payments in DYDX, we use the price at transaction time to value the amount sent. If that value ends up being below the amount due, we make the grantee whole in a follow-up payment. In this instance, you are referencing a fall in price after the transaction was completed.

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In the previous structure, Reverie also did not have complete control over the decision-making process. On paper…

But trustees where approving ALL reverie’s proposals and ALL funding for the community cauldron was coordinated with Reverie, despite the absence of this arrangement in trust organizational structure.

Should we simply trust that something will change? I propose the following alternative. We do not question Reverie’s role as a grantor in the strategic bucket, but the selection of two other grantors, as well as all trustees, should be made with the involvement of the community in a decentralized manner

Suggestion:

  1. Selection of two other grantors for community be open to selection by the community. Candidates apply for role and then go through interview process (who do you trust to do this? or should it be done through AMAs).
  2. Selection of all trustees be up to community vote.

What do you think @Derek ? Seems fair?

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This is the Imperator team, and we would like to provide feedback as a grantee and share our experience working with Reverie. Imperator is a company specializing in proof-of-stake and data services across various well-known Cosmos projects, and we were granted the opportunity to run the dYdX testnet indexer, a crucial component of the dYdX v4 architecture.

Our interaction with Reverie has been nothing short of exceptional. From the outset, Reverie demonstrated a high level of professionalism and dedication, making them one of the most competent grant teams we have ever worked with. In a matter of days after submitting our application, we received prompt feedback and were invited to discuss our plans via a call. This willingness to engage and understand our vision showcased Reverie’s commitment to maximizing value for dYdX and ensuring a well-prepared transition to v4. Throughout the entire process, Reverie’s support has been invaluable, allowing us to work closely with dYdX, comprehend the infrastructure, and build a robust system for running the indexer.

As a team with extensive knowledge of the Cosmos technology, we firmly believe that DGP v1.5 plays a crucial role in funding immediate priorities essential for the successful launch and transition to v4. The v4 introduces significant changes compared to v3, and our primary goal as part of the dYdX community is to ensure a seamless experience for current and future users of the dYdX chain.

Given the critical and historic nature of the moment for dYdX, we support the proposed six-month extension for DGP. This extension will provide the necessary time and resources to address key aspects of the project, paving the way for a smooth and enjoyable experience for all users of dYdX.

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Smart move to extend by six months ND restructuring to onboard two more contributors…
This is a massive project and as such,I believe allocating more time to ensure a smooth process is a right move in the right direction…
Kudos

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Appreciate the feedback and thoughts, @RealVovochka. I’ll share some responses below.

  1. Agree with you here. We invite members of the community to express their interest in joining as Trustee in this thread. We’ll organize an AMA next week for the applicants to share their backgrounds and interest, so the community can get to know them. The existing Trustees will decide on the finalists, and the community will vote on the new Trustees through the snapshot.

  2. Running the community bucket alone could be challenging for a single grantor. We think two Grantors will improve the overall experience and effectiveness for both grantees and the grantors. Community initiatives typically include smaller funding amounts. If we assume an average of $2,500 per grant, the bucket can issue roughly 80 grants. However, this 10% allocation is only a suggestion to Trustees. The future Trustees can reassess funding allocations based on how the program evolves.

  3. The best way to fund event attendance is an interesting question with lots of different opinions. In this instance, the grant involved an opportunity to speak at a conference and a stipend to incentivize attendance. The Grantees accepted the opportunity and funding amount. We understand that they are now unhappy with the amount, but that’s an issue that should have been addressed prior to accepting the grant. Moving forward, I would encourage the grantors in charge of community initiatives to explore a standardized process for funding event attendance. This would hopefully improve understanding and satisfaction for future grantees.

  4. Reverie is a team of five. We feel that the team is well equipped and experienced to manage this bucket. Adding additional grantors feels unnecessarily redundant given our track record and focus.

  5. Assigning a separate contributor to manage payments and financial reporting adds important controls to the DGP. With multiple grantors, it’s important that the DGP’s finances are managed by a separate contributor, instead of one or many grantors with conflicting priorities. We also think this can improve the overall efficiency of payments.

  6. The 90/10 allocation is meant as initial guidance for our future Trustees based on existing context. We expect infrastructure and research to play an important role these next few months. These grants typically require larger funding amounts. Community initiatives, on the other hand, average smaller amounts. The allocation has been set based on these funding needs. However, the Trustees will be free to reallocate funding based on program developments. If, for example, an exciting community initiative pops up - the Trustees can adjust to make sure it’s funded.

Hope these answers have been helpful!

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The moving target that is v4 plays a big part in our ability to move forward on certain engagements. Our work with Chaos Labs is one of them. I have included a page on our website to make sure the work to date is reported in full. We are now actively working on renewing and redefining the scope of our engagement to bring the most productive work possible to dYdX. We can expect much more to come as the new protocol opens up and the chain goes live.

Meanwhile, Chaos has been doing great work on community initiatives like the Parameter Recommendations. It’s awesome to see them continue to work on dYdX even outside of our immediate engagement.

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Appreciate your thoughts on centralised vs decentralised structures. However, I respectfully challenge your claim that efficiency is sacrificed in decentralisation. In fact, studies and industry shifts indicate the opposite.

Yes, decentralisation involves more stakeholders, but it doesn’t automatically mean slower decision-making. Instead, a well-structured council-centric system, embraced by 70% of our industry, shows how efficiency and cost-effectiveness can be realised through collective decision-making. Moreover, this approach mitigates single-point failures and ensures comprehensive accountability, leading to more prompt resolutions.

Reverie proposes to draw a salary of $37,500 per month, which is considerable. Transitioning to a decentralised model, therefore, presents a conflict of interest for you. This isn’t about doubting your dedication or integrity; rather, it’s about acknowledging that decentralisation would require sharing control and financial resources, which could be an uncomfortable shift.

We’ve seen applications lie unattended for weeks under the current setup. In a decentralised system, such delays would be minimised, if not eliminated, thanks to shared accountability. The community would notice inefficiencies and appropriate measures would be taken.

Furthermore, having a minimum of three grantors per bucket prevents a stalemate and minimises biases in decision-making. More hands on deck means more efficiency and fairness, as funding decisions would be based on merit rather than personal preference.

In sum, while decentralisation requires careful planning, it proves efficient, cost-effective, and beneficial in the long run. Hence, we should consider this transition to align with long-term goals and community interests.

The idea of a ‘community initiatives’ bucket, while a step forward, only addresses part of the issue. In this model, we’ll still need three grantors to avoid decision-making stalemates. Meanwhile, the Strategic Initiatives Bucket stays untouched, leaving Reverie with total control - a situation identical to the current one. Without Reverie’s approval, nothing progresses. For DGP v2, we recommend introducing three Strategic Initiatives Bucket grantors to truly decentralise decision-making.

It’s vital to note that Reverie controls all initial approvals, creating a single point of failure in the system. Despite the later involvement of other parties, which shouldn’t be necessary in an optimally designed system, the core approvals depend on one entity. If grantors were executing their roles correctly, a second round of approval from trustees wouldn’t be required - as this just isn’t efficient. The current setup is far from optimal. As the saying goes, even with lipstick, a pig is still a pig. To genuinely embrace decentralisation, we need a more balanced system.

The picture isn’t incomplete, but your explanation omits the lack of payment notification. If those notifications were sent as standard, we could avoid price fluctuation issues. Instead, we find ourselves repeatedly chasing for payment details. With an automated system, such issues wouldn’t surface for either party. It’s as simple as that.

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Regardless of Reverie’s competence, having a single decision-making entity can lead to issues such as potential bias and one-dimensional decision-making. We need a balanced approach for v2, with the addition of two more grantors, to ensure decentralisation and accountability, irrespective of who the grantors are. This point isn’t about competency but about the system’s structure.

While assigning a separate contributor to manage payments and financial reporting is a step forward, we should aim for a system that fully automates these processes for v2. A well-crafted governance platform in a web3 environment could handle these tasks seamlessly. We stand ready to assist in developing such a platform.

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Hey there all,

In the interest of diversified service providers, especially given the nature of conversations being held in this forum up to this point, Lemma Solutions is taking this opportunity to express our interest in serving as the Operator for this new structure.

TL:DR is that we’re a Cayman Islands DAO service provider who has been working with communities across the eco-system to improve transparency and decentralization alongside each Foundation/DAO and their representatives. The responsibilities outlined for the Operator role by Reverie are consistent with roles we undertake for other DAO programs, so we believe our skillsets would be well suited to serve the community in this way.

Happy to speak further on the needs within the Operator role and how we can best meet them.

~ Max @ Lemma Solutions

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It’s great to hear the community will get chances to see the applicants in the process and eventually the vote on the new Trustees will be done through Snapshot. The direction to having more transparency and communication between the core operation teams and the community is definitely appreciated.

It’s also great to hear that the allocation is adjustable upon needs. It’s a critical responsibility for Trustees to fulfill.

From my perspective, while Reverie is still going to be a SPOF controlling the initial approvals, having Trustees in the structure is one step forward for the DAO to make decisions in a more mature way. We can revisit how we can improve the currently-proposed structure by having early-on discussions before the v2 starts, like applying a council style structure as @CipherLabs and others suggested in the past or more Grantors (which can be promoted from the ones selected for Trustees in this v1.5 extension!) with/without Trustees, etc.

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Thanks @Reverie. As mentioned before, there is no doubt on Reverie’s ability in continuing to helm the Grants Programme given the importance of a stakeholder to understand what areas of focus are needed in this critical transition to v4. This is a great step forward on the progressive decentralization of Grants in a non disruptive manner over the next 6 months.

As a recipient of the dYdX Grants Programme, I’d like to nominate myself for the Trustee Role.

  • What’s your background? What previous work have you done?

I’ve been on dYdX over the past 1 year + and was the first and only ambassador on the Risk Analysis burrow. During this time apart from the risk weeklies, I’ve also coordinated the grant between dYdX and hummingbot to bring in maker volume. My 2 other grants were on:

  1. Trading Fee Optimization in collaboration with 0xclr
  2. dYdX LP Rewards Programme Review with the working paper published.
  3. Other forum posts include Bridging to v4: Assessing Token Bridges and Governance Transition to v4 : Supporting Endorsed Delegates to spearhead active community discussions.

Elsewhere, my research contributions at the moment are mainly in the field of MEV studies in the Ethereum ecosystem. And I believe my knowledge can help in the post v4 era in minimizing and suggesting economic designs in this area. As such, by being actively involved in the protocol and identifying areas of focus, my experience will empower me as a Trustee in assessing and approving grants, while balancing with the overall direction of the protocol

  • What should the DGP prioritize as part of this extension?
  1. Liquidity provisioning in v4 (vs v3) and improve altcoin activities, as alluded to in my paper
  2. Governance support for community stewards
  3. MEV design

I look forward to being a part of the DGP as a Trustee in this next phase of dYdX.

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