Budgeting for the Swim Teams and a Grant System

Hey Swimmers (one of these monikers is going to stick…),

TLDR: The Swim Team is trying to develop a budget and grant program. Check out this Google doc. Give us comments on how to make it better.



Now that the Swim Teams are beginning to come into their own and there’s a few initiatives developing, it was brought up that the Swim Teams should consider developing a Grants System to fund initiatives that don’t require governance (impact the protocol). Stuff like website design, dapps, sponsor hackathons, etc.

A handful of us have pulled together a Google doc that’s broken into three sections.

  1. A bit of level setting what were trying to do and table of contents
  2. Where this is all coming from, 2 sources
    a. The starting point was a post in discord from Brendan, copied to the doc for ease of reference.
    b. We borrowed heavily from the Uniswap grants proposal (copied and have begun altering it to fit PoolTogether)
  3. Out initial drafting of ideas, again heavily borrowed from Uniswap’s grant proposal where we’ve started to amend and edited it.

This is all well and good, but it’s still pretty closed off from everyone unless you’re dialed into Swim Meets or hyper-active on discord. So we wanted to bring it here, for everyone to see and get community input (that doesn’t scroll away into the ethers of discord).

Let us all know your thoughts. If you want to jump into the document and comment/edit shoot a DM with your email to DM or any of those that listed in Section 3 as a contributor so we can add you. Hate google and don’t want to be part of their stalkerverse, shoot me a DM and we can work on a way to get the documents verbiage to you (note: I’ll still use a gmail account to send you stuff if it’s through email).

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Appreciate the work that has been put into developing this initiative. For the purpose of discussion I would like to pick one specific item where I strongly disagree: remuneration.

Paying for time instead of contribution appears problematic to me. Without question the time effort for coordination and coaching is significant, but the risk of paying POOL without any results is large. Even worse, the treasury pays POOL for tracking progress on KPIs (reporting for leader/coaches also takes time) in such a scenario.

I dont want to play devils advocate and actually do believe in positive outcomes and contributions and therefore would strongly recommend to switch from a time to a success-based reward distribution. This can easily be achieved through proposal budgets as included in the PTIP process. All involved parties including developers, idea generators as well as community members acting as coaches, helping to facilitate the project, can very well be reimbursed. I would rather like to see a very generous payout for specific projects that get implemented than a single POOL token being paid for administration. And the proposal is talking about 5,850 POOL per quarter for administration whilst all initiatives that will actually drive community / protocol growth would need to be paid on top.

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Thanks Gabor, this is one of the key items that needs community input. Remuneration, I believe, was a straight transform from the Uniswap grant process. Issuing a portion of the budget allocated to the Swim Teams on a success-based reward system seems like a good alternative. It also promotes creating impactful items for the protocol.

Regarding the PTIP process, we were looking for this system to be a more agile than the PTIP process - when considering items that do not require a governance vote. But we can certainly borrow that methodology.

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As stated in discord I am copy-pasting my initial response to this document & comments that helped spur further discussion here.

Although I agree an actual Swim Meet team with a budget is a beneficial thing for our community some of these parameters and funding especially seem excessive for a very broadly defined set of responsibilities.
You can see my short comments under “Taco Mule” in the document.
Main points include:
6 month term for team members This should be cut in half at a minimum. Otherwise we might have non performing team members that can coast for an extended period. 3 months will allow for a quicker review process

Already selected team members There should instead be a nomination/election period, likely through discord in which we announce these positions, define their roles & responsibilities . Then we have a run off vote From the community or even pool together inc. What I see on this document is a pre-selection, not very governance like

Payment to team members Will there be any form of time logging? Either formal or informal? Or will this just be a weekly check they receive for being on the team? Will things like simply being present in community calls be considered paid time?

$100 USD per hour (5 POOL) compensation This seems extremely excessive and would come out of the protocol reserve. I understand this is crypto and somewhat high level concepts & understanding is necessary to be successful but why not cut this in half or more, then have a performance review in which the community decides whether or not to increase the budget? (hence the 3 month term suggestion)

$36k USD per month for this team See above point. This is how much it would cost with current metrics for a single month for 5 team members.
[(30hrs * 1 lifeguard)+(15hrs * 4 coaches)] * 13 weeks in a quarter * 5 POOL = 5,850 POOL With the suggested 6 month time frame this would be $216,000 from the reserve.

“After the first epoch (xxxx is this correct xxx 2 fiscal quarters) the burden of proof will be on PSMT to show empirical evidence that the program is worth continuing in its existing form and will submit to governance to renew treasury funding.”

These variables need to be defined ahead of time before. Otherwise it will be hard to compare what has been organic growth & protocol success vs what the team actually accomplished. Things such as TVL might not be a good parameter if pods being released boost it without any needed influence by this team.

In short you can’t point to the protocols natural success to use it as this teams performance review. Overall I believe having a budget for community growth & ways to further promote pool togethers protocol is important, but it should be done in a more efficient manner. The protocol is already primed by how it’s built & designed to be successful, especially with the existing Pool Together Inc. team members.

Perhaps more of a project by project basis budget makes more sense here instead of a salary

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I agree with @gabor. I do not think hourly pay is the best route. How do you log time? Where do you log time? How do we verify any work was actually done?

there should be some framework that defines what appropriate pay is for certain actions. How much does the person who came up with an idea get? How much do the people who manage the project get? How much do the people that actually develop and implement the new feature or strategy get?

Personally I think the developers should get a far larger share. That is the most high level labor intensive work that will be done.

I do believe that there needs to be some incentive for non developers. Without that community engagement will most likely fall off.

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I agree that the developer should get the larger chunk of the POOL as most of the effort is on their part.

Informational Disclosure regarding the developer/manager/idea split, for the Retro-Airdrop it’s only got a developer/manager. Developer: Oso, Manager: Me, currently, if it passes, we’re splitting the POOL ~70/30. Providing a little context to bring into the discussion, but it may be a little goldilocks, I don’t know if I did it too high, too low, just right?

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As stated above I think the project specific payout should be really generous and also reward non-devs who nevertheless bring in valuable input and come up with creative ideas. Paying generous rewards will also attract people outside of the community and increase the base layer of contributors.

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Over the course of the past three days, I had written approximately 8 pages to respond to several of the posts above to get some of my ideas down in writing. I looked at it and said… yeah, no one is going to read that. So, in an attempt at brevity (which often escapes me), I was able to boil down my 0.000000341 BTC ($0.02USD) to the following.

Regarding remuneration:

It is very altruistic but naive to think that all of us can sustainably contribute any more than an hour or two a week to the protocol purely out of our own passion for the protocol and for the growth of the POOL token. Based on what is currently being defined in the proposed Swim Meet grant structure (lifeguard and coaches), we cannot expect any community leader to participate at the level required of them for a reward when only a KPI is met. This lifeguard and these coaches would have to actually develop the KPIs for others to complete the tasks. Let’s call “remuneration” exactly what it needs to be called - A PAYCHECK. Why not implement a system where those who are not whales or crypto elites can participate? Isn’t that what crypto is about - inclusion? No other mainstream industry would expect to reap the fruits of several teams worth of labor without paying for it. In addition, this is not a charity (although I hope for us to set one up some day through this program). Outside of those directly related to PoolTogether Inc, no Swim Team leaders have time-locked assets waiting for them. Their efforts should be justly compensated as their services are rendered. Paying the Swim Team leaders what their hourly wages would be worth would still be vastly cheaper than outsourcing this endeavor to an actual company. The value of the Swim Team’s efforts is geared towards improving the overall worth of the protocol.

If we want crypto and platforms like PoolTogether to become mainstream worldwide, we will need to start drawing on some of the talent pools available that work in both crypto and fiat spheres. How do you get people to lend their experience and support to the community without some type of guaranteed compensation when they could very well have two kids, a car, insurance and a mortgage to pay for? Just because “it’s always been this way in crypto”, doesn’t make it right.

Regarding $100/hr for the “lifeguard” and “coach” positions:

Lastly, good leadership is not something a good leader will give for free. I’m not sure $100 is enough for the lifeguard position and $100 may be too much for the coach positions. These still need to be defined. I have committed to 90 days (through the end of June 2021) of my passion, time and effort to help grow this community because of the airdrop and the potential for the community. This is only because I have the ability to be creative with my time. I have been part of companies, advisory boards, non-profits and community programs. I’ve never been part of a “community protocol”. Take a look at the evidence referenced in the document on www.pooltogether.com/about as an example. This PoolTogether community building project is a really cool thought experiment for me. I have not wavered, continue to enjoy interacting with such a diverse and passionate group, and highly value the people I’ve met, relationships made and the things that I continue to learn. cough/clears throat Even if the PoolTogether Pantheon decides not to crown me Chancellor… In the event of my coronation, please ensure the crown is large enough for my inflated head. At the end of this really cool 90 day experiment, we will see where our efforts have taken us and where I belong.

Regarding KPIs:

KPIs don’t make themselves - people do. Personally, I love KPIs but I’m not interested in working only for KPIs that someone else may (or may not) spend the time making for me for free on a daily/weekly basis. So many projects struggle to get their communities to organize until they actually compensate people for their time. Leighton is a perfect example of an outstanding community organizer, who is properly compensated in multiple ways - not just on performance or KPIs.

Building a community:

I think we can all agree that the ultimate goal is to create a community that is easy to manage, fully accountable and not inflated with bureaucracy (only KPIs but also people). From my experience, the PoolTogether community proposal based on a model that has been implemented as recently as 90 days ago (i.e. Uniswap) should be that way. I could go on-and-on about the reviewers are not compensated - they are - and significantly by the crypto companies that they represent. With all due respect to all of the leaders of the other crypto communities, we are trying to build a community from existing community members - not with whales and the existing crypto elites. If I’m wrong, let me know.

I love the passion and the candor of everyone. Keep these ideas flowing. Let’s see how this document flushes out over the coming weeks.

“PoolTogether wasn’t built in one day.” -@Taliskye

I am neither a crypto whale or crypto rich, but I am PoolTogether passionate! -@ChrisCrypto

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Alright, I could write a very long reply too but I’ll try to keep my feedback very short.

  • Overall, I like the direction and I’m generally supportive
  • I would try to simplify the focus to get started. I wouldn’t have subject area coaches, instead just make this a “Grants Committee” and more generic grants team.
  • I’d diversify the grants team beyond just community members. Community members are a key voice but we also should try to get subject area experts outside of / or affiliated with our community. I also agree with @AndyKaufman there should be community input on who these people are
  • I’d simplify the role of the coaches and lifeguards. People who are receiving grants should not feel like they are being managed by coaches and lifeguards. If they are getting a grant it it is presumed they are highly competent and self motivated. The main purpose of the committee should be to review applications, disburse funding, and communicate outcomes
  • I think running a great grants committee will be a lot of work. I’m all for compensating the lifeguards and / or coaches. What the compensation should look like would be more clear if we can agree on scope and purpose

I think that’s it. Huge thanks for @chriscrypto @Taliskye and any others who made this happen! Looking forward to hearing more from Ken on Friday!

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I finally got a chance to review the Google doc above. Great work everyone!

Some thoughts:

  • I wouldn’t impose structure on the budget at first (i.e. 2500 to each team). Just have one pool of funds, so that instead of forcing expenditure in certain areas it allows grant disbursals to go where they are needed most. If one vertical, such as marketing, needs a lot of resources then it can receive more grants.
  • Denominating the lead’s compensation in POOL is problematic. I would recommend denominating their compensation in USD and paying out at the spot price of POOL periodically. The lead compensation could be paid out by the multisig twice a month. 30 hours / week at $100 seems fair to me.

Those are the main points that come to mind. I’m not too concerned about the internal beaurocracy of the Swim Meet, but I think it’ll be interesting to see how performance indicators are handled. It will be useful to measure how effective grants are!

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It’s been a while since I posted on this forum - but glad to see this effort be driven from the community! Think this is super important to keep PT sustainable and help craft the creation of a pool of community talent that can keep helping PT on the development front, but also think about understanding the benefits of providing funding to something that may not have immediately visible/tangible benefits. I’m also adding a couple of points that I’d discussed with @Leighton, @Brendan and Ken from the EF for what might look to be something to consider as part of the motivation to have a broader mandate/generic committee.

Motivation

Pooltogether has made a huge leap in enabling and empowering the community to own and govern the protocol and its parameters. It is evident that the community has displayed a lot of energy and enthusiasm with regards to proposing some nifty ideas to make Pooltogether more appealing, interesting and applicable for a larger class of users - and it is imperative that as stewards of the protocol, we should strive to making some of these tangible. As with UGP, the idea is to reward early ideas and talent with incentives, bounties and technical support - and ultimately act as a catalyst towards seeding a much more syncretic Pooltogether - and support teams working on critical ideas to expand Pooltogheter’s functionality and scope.

Program scope

Note that this could start as a pilot program aimed at addressing some of the low-hanging fruit, in the form of addressing three areas:

i) funding core development - addressing implementation around technical updates and optimization, security audits, and assisting with data-driven designs and decision-making

ii) funding for community-driven ideas - could enable the creation and implementation of new designs and innovations driven from community needs and ideas that could progressively seek to expand goodwill, engagement and utilization of Pooltogether

iii) funding for ideas that could strengthen Pooltogether’s ecosystem proposition - it is important for Pooltogether to focus on driving integrations and BD efforts that could stand to enhance the liquidity and utilization of Pooltogether’s no-loss primitives in other protocols - and this category would seek to address work being done on these aspects

Note that in all of this, the program’s purview would extend only to those projects which could materially and directly benefit/impact Pooltogether’s overall accessibility, engagement and ecosystem focus - and this would not be applicable to those outside the same. We would like the program to have a broad enough mandate that it could choose to provide milestone-based funding and additionally provide for partial disbursement/provisional grants to enable potential grantees to work on their proposals.

What would be extremely helpful to get the community’s feedback on is creating benchmarks that could be used to track the efficacy and efficiency of the program - and do so in a manner that is suitably transparent. A starting point for such metrics could include:

  • Number of projects reviewed and funded (will just be tracking this as per Ken’s point)
  • Additional customer engagement/ease of usage (lowered gas, simpler interfaces, increased onboarding numbers, more pools)
  • Increase in number of applications (over a longer time span)
  • Project engagement over time with PT protocol
  • Additional integrations for Pooltogether

A few examples of specific ideas grants could fund

  • Development of new prize strategies with different winner selection mechanisms or ways of distributing the prize
  • Development of integrations with new yield sources
  • Development of new web or mobile application interfaces to access the protocol
  • Development of a referral incentive program

Structure

With that in mind, a proposed framework for funding ecosystem development could work directly from the POOL treasury - which would hold 58% of the supply of tokens post liquidity mining incentives.

Would be up to the community to provide feedback on the starting amount ($250k or so?) towards the initial program over the course of two quarters (with the capability to extend this as decided by community votes) - which would represent 9-11k POOL tokens towards this activity; if there is a need for more, we could certainly bring up another wave of applications forward. This % is inline with some of the allocations across the board (for Uniswap, Synthetix and Index)

Comps:

  • YFI: Treasury committee to distribute rewards, with ideas around a rotating committee. Monthly payroll and bounty payments (adhoc payments in yUSD)
  • Synthetix: Treasury committee in the form of a grantsDAO, assessing additional proposals in the form of SIP’s
  • Maker: Extended Sourcecred trial for additional incentivization around participation in forums
  • IndexCoop: Monthly allocation of 1000-3000 native tokens (worth $15k at time of proposal) for bounties, product and biz dev work along with governance discussions
  • PowerIndex: Additional grants to external community participants in order to include usage of other protocol assets/thought leadership and get that reflected in index management (1% of supply)
  • Uniswap: Uniswap Grants program for $750k per quarter

Note: Any additional funding could work in conjunction with other public goods funding mechanisms in place for our ecosystem + the community would be able to vote on an extension towards the same.

Assuming the successful launch of this program, applications are intended to be rolling admits, with the application process ending up on three weeks prior to the closing date of 6 months for this program.

Any thoughts on the same would be highly appreciated! Would be helpful to see how we can build up additional development resources that could easily complement some of the great ideas being floated in the community!

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I have been thinking about the swim team budget. If we are going to emulate other protocols that have a committee then we need to decide before introducing a PTIP who the committee members will be. We also need to decide who the lead will be and how many reviewers there will be. I have heard suggestions of a nomination format. How do we define that process?

I would propose that we start taking nominations and whoever has the most nominations is in. And keep going down the line until the spots are filled. If we get down to ties then we can have a snapshot vote. Where and how would nominations be tracked? How long is the nomination period? How do we ensure we get an appropriate amount of community input on the nominations? How do we ensure we get nominees who have the technical knowledge to asses grant applications?

A key question to ask is are PoolTogether inc members interested in being, or eligible to be nominated?

if we tried to take applications and then let the community vote in some way, that could get complicated and slow the process down.

As I said in the beginning though we need to fill these roles before introducing an actual PTIP. I can’t imagine the community passing a PTIP like this without knowing who would hold keys to a multisig.

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I have also kept thinking about the journey we have taken on the grants program / swim meets. Starting from scratch, trying to reinvent the wheel, I experienced it as a stimulating process. That said other protocols have in the meantime established good precedents that we can use for orientation.

Therefore I am inclined to support a periodical, permanent role in form of a grants program leader who together with reviewers is dedicating a majority of their resources to the assessment of grants applications.

I agree with your thoughts on committee composition. To my mind, it should comprise all i) PT Inc member(s), ii) PT community members but also iii) members of other communities who can bring outside-in perspectives and broaden the network. The majority of reviewers should have technical knowledge but I wouldn’t make this a mandatory requirement. First, devs could nowadays work 48 hours per day on exciting projects anyhow and the supply of this group of people is limited. Second, diversity in the reviewer would help gather different perspectives and ideas. Last, the reviewer role to my mind is also a great opportunity to step up for people in the crypto community who have not been able to collect badges for being core team members at several successful projects already.

The committee should in any case be voted upon and everyone is able to nominate suitable candidates. Perhaps opening up a separate thread for this would help maintaining an overview.

I think before nominating people we first need to come up with the exact scope of each of the roles.
You can’t post a job before writing its job description.

Anyone should be able to apply for the roles and explain why they are the most qualified person for it.

how do we find those people outside the community? I know I personally have no connections in the space. perhaps a tweet from the PoolTogether Twitter to announce that we are looking for grants committee members? Perhaps we could reach out to some of the protocols we have partnered with so far: Compound, AAVE, Dharma, Yearn, Sushi, etc.

I do think that a few spots should be reserved for PT community members. They are the ones that are here day in and day out supporting the protocol along with PoolTogether Inc.

@Torgin i dont know if you can come up with an exact scope. the primary duties will be reviewing grants, actually issuing funds, communicating progress on projects to the community, evaluating the success of swim team funded projects either objectively or subjectively depending on the project. I am sure that other random duties will be performed as with every job. i think the four duties i just mentioned are the core. i dont believe any of the other protocol’s grants committee proposals provided much detail past that.