This proposal addresses the need to fund more initiatives in the community, with a focus on empowering participants across protocol engineering, community development, and more. We would like to receive feedback from the community about this proposal.
Venus has an 8-figure treasury which is available to fund growth and community initiatives, part of which can be used to fund grants. Currently, there is no standardized process for the community to allocate from the treasury to fund proposals in a reliable and repeatable manner.
To ensure the community’s agenda is made visible, transparent and actionable for funding development of our ecosystem, while organizing these activities in a decentralized manner, a community-led grants program is proposed, “Venus Grants Program”. The goal of the program is to develop and grow the Venus ecosystem in a scalable fashion. Many ideas for improving the Venus protocol are generated across various channels, so Venus Grants Program aims to provide a bridge between those ideas and resources to execute them.
To ensure the program is administered in a decentralized manner that aligns to the community’s interests, a committee that oversees grant funding decisions is proposed. The committee’s charter is to review and disburse grant funding efficiently and in a manner that supports the community’s interests and develops our ecosystem.
The approach to this proposal has been informed by grants programs at other blue chip DeFi projects which have grants programs that are approved and funded. It is proposed to run a pilot program over two quarters with a max budget of $1M and a operating budget of $100k. The operating budget will be used for administrative costs to set up the program and staff it with a lead, reviewers and legal counsel.
There will be two types of grants that the grants committee can approve:
- Accelerated grants: <$100k
- Simplified application process
- Grant decision within 10 days
- Ecosystem grants: $100k-$600k
- Applicants post a proposal on Venus’s governance forum
- Based on feedback and discussion, the committee can decide to approve these grants
Contributors can also seek grants over $600k but they will not go through committee. They should be posted on Venus’s governance forum and approved through an on-chain community-wide vote.
Expenses should be priced in USD terms at the beginning of each quarter. Reviewers will ensure that unspent funds are returned to the Venus Treasury at the conclusion of the pilot. If the program is underfunded because Venus’s token price falls significantly, the committee may request the underfunded amount from governance. After running the pilot for 180 days, the community can vote to continue, modify, or discontinue the program.
Applications will be reviewed and funded on a rolling basis. Each quarter marks a funding round for the purposes of documenting and tracking approved and funded grants, the results of which are made available to the community at the conclusion of each round. Documentation of results will be made available to the community at the end of each round, at which point we will solicit feedback from the community. The idea is to start with a rough MVP and evolve through community feedback. We expect to learn a lot about how to do this right in the first 2 quarters and anticipate making changes to the grants program over time through subsequent proposals.
A committee of 5 members is proposed with 1 lead and 4 reviewers. The lead will be function as the program manager and ensure not only that it operates to the community’s satisfaction but that the program thrives and achieves its goals and fulfills its success metrics. The lead will therefore dedicate substantial time to this program.
Reviewers will also be accountable for the program reaching its goals and objectives, while ingesting and evaluating grant applications. Reviews will ensure all members are acting in good faith, and will operate a 4 of 7 multisig to disburse funds to awardees. Any excess funds will be returned to the Venus Treasury.
The Program Lead and committee members are appointed on a biquarterly basis. Once that period concludes, their appointments can be renewed by governance vote following discussion on the Venus community forum.
Members may be replaced during the pilot program, for example, if they find they are not able to dedicate sufficient time to the program. The aim is to be as transparent as possible and utilize the Venus community forum for a feedback loop if there are any changes to the committee during the program.
We’ve had some initial discussions with people who have expressed interest in helping with slots open for 5 reviewers in addition to a lead). If you are interested in being a reviewer, please reply to this thread with your interest with some basic info on yourself, including:
- Describe your involvement in the Venus ecosystem
- What skills/experience do you bring to the committee?
- Can you commit ~5 hours a week?
We would love to have more members on board committed to growing the Venus ecosystem.
This proposal requests a starting budget of $1M to distribute grants and an operating budget of $100k over 6 months to pay administrative costs, staff the program and compensate supporting contributors like reviewers. This will be funded by the Venus Treasury.
Rewards for the lead are approved by the reviewers and disbursed at the end of every month (i.e., if the program begins on 2/20/22, the lead will be paid on 3/20/22, and the again on 4/20/22 and 5/20/22 based on hours worked). Rewards to reviewers will also be made monthly based on hours contributed.
Any changes to the VGP including renewal of the program at the end of 2 quarters, total quarterly budget and committee rewards will require full quorum.
Rewards proposed are in line with other grants programs - $100/hr equivalent in XVS or a stable for a maximum of 40 hrs/week. This compensation will be allocated to the VGP multisig from the Venus Treasury as part of the proposed funding for this program.
The time commitment for the reviewers is likely to be far lower. The compensation for reviewers will be $100/hr equivalent for a maximum of 5 hrs/week.
To help inform the types of grants which are most likely to get funded, we highlight the following target areas:
- Protocol development (including core Venus protocol development, development of higher layer protocols which use the Venus protocol)
- Applications and integrations (front-ends and other applications that use the Venus protocol)
- Developer tooling
- Community (marketing, educational, content)
- Committees, sub-committees, and DAOs that serve the Venus ecosystem
- Code audits
- Events and hackathons
We will evaluate the success of the program against the following criteria:
Quantity of grant applications received quarter-over-quarter
Quantity of successful applications made/funded
Growth in community engagement (e.g. increased activity on forums, Discord, etc.)
Growth in Venus pools driven by applications funded via grants (e.g. increased TVL, borrow activity, and unique addresses due to apps funded by grants)
Improved sentiment within the community
Growth for the Venus protocol’s brand through share of voice
Timeline / Process
There will be two 3-month rounds of grants with applications accepted on a rolling basis and any grants disbursed during a given 3-month period becoming part of that round. Round 1 will begin from the date of this proposal being approved, with Round 2 of the grants program beginning 90 days after.
Once the proposal is approved by the community, VGP immediately begin accepting applications. For each proposal, the grants committee determines how funding is disbursed on an individual basis (upfront, milestones based) so that incentives are among the interests of the community and XVS holders.
At the end of each round, the Program lead is responsible for sharing out all the grant recipients along with amounts and descriptions to the community. The end of the Round 2 marks the end of the pilot phase of the program, at which point the community will determine based on the results whether or not to continue funding VGP as it is, to make changes and renew funding, or to abandon the program.
Most grants will have 1-2 milestones and recipients will receive about half the grant upfront and half on the completion of a milestone. For more complex projects or larger grants, there may be several milestones and payments could be split across these milestones. VGP will get progress updates from teams and assess the completion of these milestones in case a project needs to pivot or to protect VGP if a project is unsuccessful.
The grants will be focused on projects working to improve the Venus protocol and ecosystem. However, a small portion of the budget (~10%) may be allocated to address improvements with broader scope (e.g. cross-chain or ecosystem infrastructure).
If VGP has distributed all grants but has more promising projects to fund, it can propose increasing the budget to governance. However, it is entirely up to the Venus community to vote on whether to increase the budget.
If feedback is positive, the VGP will move to a governance proposal and if ratified, will begin accepting applications for grants on a rolling basis shortly after its approval.
It is the ambition of this proposal to seed a successful pilot that will see this program scale with more capital so that it becomes the primary vehicle of funding around the Venus ecosystem.
As XVS holders we are committed to the success of the protocol and the Venus Grants Program and welcome continuous feedback for this new experiment. In the future, we can consider new ways of bringing the grants program to the community should our collective learnings call for it. Thank you in advance for your comments and questions.