Request for Comment - University Initiatives

Hey all,

After great success with the “Request for Comment” topic started by @RoboMcGobo, we wanted to share an idea for a potential RFP centered around unlocking untapped talent pools; in this we want to facilitate two areas of impact, both IRL events and research.

We are proposing the idea of a University Initiatives RFP that will tap into talent at Universities around the world, bringing not only a unique set of skills, but also cultivating new community contributors for long term engagement.

I encourage everyone to express their thoughts, feedback, and ideas! We’re excited to test this out and see what kinds of success it can bring. The ultimate goal here is to have the community propose and shape RFPs.

Here it is… :slight_smile:

dYdX Community Grants RFP: University Initiatives


The University Initiatives program is designed to forge partnerships with blockchain clubs globally. We intend to collaborate with these clubs to organize events, conduct research, and encourage active community engagement. Our goal is to cultivate a new generation of skilled experts, researchers, traders, and contributors to the dYdX ecosystem.

Scope of Work

We are inviting student blockchain clubs and groups to submit proposals centered around the following potential initiatives:

  1. Events:
  • Talent exposure events introducing prospective candidates to the dYdX team.
  • Hackathons with a focus on tangible improvements to the dYdX chain and V4 initiatives.
  • Trading competitions to attract talented traders to dYdX and equip them with platform-specific skills.
  • Workshops and talks featuring the dYdX team to raise awareness about dYdX and integrate students into our community.
  1. Research:
  • Governance research, involving the exploration of community metrics and the formulation of strategies to enhance community engagement and governance outcomes.
  • Analytical research, applying mathematical and analytical rigor to evaluate dYdX protocol and community, with the aim of heightening customer satisfaction and optimizing community operations.

Funding Range

  • Small events and initiatives: $500
  • Extensive research and experienced clubs: Up to $5,000

Application Criteria

  • Prior Body of Work: Applicants should demonstrate a history of high-quality, impactful work in blockchain and related fields.

  • Event & Initiative Relevance: Proposed activities should be directly related to the dYdX ecosystem and V4 initiatives.

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If you take the university out of the equation, the idea looks great. I can’t understand why it’s only universities.
I think events like this can be organized by anyone, not just students.

I know that you are linked to student blockchain organization but keep in mind dydx need not only builders and researchers but users. Nobody from US student blockchain clubs can use dydx


Hi guys,

Wholly & entirely against this personally.

Why would we ever restrict pivotal research to just University Clubs?

Secondly, most of these ‘Blockchain University Clubs’ are US-Based, hence with this you’ll be cutting out the entirety of the non-US Talent Pool.

The RFPs outlined are what we need - they were suggested by various members and have been suggested for over a year now.

However, this restriction to clubs is wholly restrictive & goes against a major principle of decentralisation which is inclusivity & an open-door policy for contributors.

Personally not in favour of this implementation.

I’m all for in-person events and knowledge disbursement & accrual - however this is not the way guys.

You should really start looking at what projects like Arbitrum & Gitcoin are doing re. Grants - a lot can be implemented here to get actual good data-driven results without restricting it to a class of persons and prejudicing non-University club community members.

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Thanks for your comments so far – I can see that this isn’t favored, but I will do my best to answer the concerns the best that I can!

  1. I think some of the RFP ideas mentioned here certainly can be done outside of an academic context, and it’s a good point that we shouldn’t restrict such initiatives, we can certainly adjust this.

  2. The point of tapping into universities is that there are many students passionate about DeFi/trading all over the world, and dYdX has the opportunity to make itself available in those very communities which are passionate about such things (not only research, but onboarding new users) but maybe haven’t yet found their DeFi community yet.

  3. Yes, this is an important consideration. The fact is that many students at Universities in the US are not just Americans, and they have the opportunity to get exposed to dYdX and bring this back to their country, and furthermore, I do think excluding the US could be a mistake because there can still be valuable contributions from the US market in other realms, agreed this ins’t priority geographically.

I feel these are highly valid points – apologies if there was a lack of clarity around this, but the idea is not to restrict University clubs to pivotal research for dYdX; the DGP has almost solely funded research outside of Universities, so here we want to simply open up the opportunity to students in addition, not take the opportunity from others.

  1. US based v.s Global: I will posit that more than roughly half of University blockchain clubs lay outside of the US – and heavily in places such as India, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, and throughout Latin America.

I did a quick Google for blockchain clubs and found this list, there are plently in the US, but also many outside.

Arbitrum and Gitcoin are great examples – if you want to share more ideas you like from them that would be great! I did notice that Arbitrum is doing a University only program here. Again, the idea is not to restrict funding to Universities, as this would only be a small RFP initiative, but simply to give them an opportunity to uniquely contribute. In no way would this alter the core decentralization of the program, nor would it restrict other contributors from getting in.

In conclusion, I really appreciate the honest feedback, and i’m not drawing any disagreement with the points contributed. In no way do we want to create a program that threatens the integrity of the community here, and I hope my responses provided clarity. Happy to keep this going and would like to learn more about how we can shape some of these ideas to represent more potential contributors.

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Appreciate the reply @mgg !

The underlying point from my end here is that I personally do not think that we should disburse funds re. Research just for the sake of funding research.

This is in no way shape or form taking anything away from the knowledge-pool available in these blockchain clubs (don’t get me wrong) - however, I do feel that they should apply and get screened in a level playing field with all other applicants.

Governance is an ambiguous topic as is (for RFPs this should be sectioned and sub-sectioned so that we always get high-value research initiatives). I fear that just by giving a 5K cap to research initiatives for these Clubs, we’d be disbursing funds just for the sake of disbursement.

Personally, I am yet to see the effect of any of these smaller + higher frequency grant disbursements (community cauldron for ex. - no tangible value-add has manifested itself).

My take is the following: you guys know your stuff (this is not up for debate), implement a model that will serve to spearhead innovation & solve tangible issues & hurdles that the project will and is facing (there are quite a bit from a governance perspective) - the results will come (I am sure). This applies especially from a governance perspective.

Keep in mind that every community member voices comments in line with the principles he hones re. The industry. In my case, decentralisation & an open-door policy for knowledge-sharing are the main ones (hence my comment will reflect these principles).

In my opinion, we should focus in setting up a research group to tackle certain RFPs when others can be tackled by individuals. Let’s face, no one single person will have all the answers. - group of persons with different backgrounds & industry experience though might.

Thanks again for your reply - keep up the great work!

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I’m thrilled to see the proposal for the dYdX Community Grants RFP: University Initiatives. This initiative seems like a fantastic opportunity to tap into the diverse talent pools within university blockchain clubs globally.

The dual focus on both in-person events and research aligns perfectly with our goal of not only attracting new contributors but also nurturing a community that can contribute meaningfully to the dYdX ecosystem in the long term.

The outlined scope of work, including talent exposure events, hackathons, and analytical research, showcases a comprehensive approach to engaging with university blockchain clubs. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on governance research, as understanding and enhancing community engagement and governance outcomes are vital for the sustained growth of any ecosystem.

The funding range also appears well-considered, providing support for a variety of initiatives, from smaller events to extensive research by experienced clubs.

I encourage all community members to share their thoughts and ideas to further refine and strengthen this proposal. Let’s collectively shape the future of dYdX by actively participating in initiatives like these.

Lastly, considering the importance of fostering talent, I wonder if there’s an opportunity to incorporate an element related to ATTESTATION OF DEGREES within the University Initiatives. Ensuring a transparent and recognized validation of academic achievements could add an extra layer of credibility to the talents cultivated through this program.

Looking forward to witnessing the positive impact this initiative will undoubtedly bring to the dYdX community.

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Hey @northboy thanks for the feedback! I think this is a very just method of diligence, though for current students who don’t have complete degrees, we will verify that they have an active “.edu” address.