PoolTogether

Pooltogether grants program renewal

Summary:

The PoolGrants program was created through PTIP-14.

We are now nearing the end of the first quarter of PoolGrants, which was a roaring success! We have received a total of 55 applications and funded 19 of them. We strongly encourage you to check out the grants we funded in the first and second month. We’ve also already got a couple more in the pipe. PTIP-14 laid out the creation of the PoolGrants program with a two quarter pilot program, but only included the funding for the first quarter. We will soon create a PTIP to fund the second.

First quarter review:

As stated in the original PTIP-14, one of our main goals was to fund ideas submitted by the PoolTogether protocol’s community, or other Web 3.0 community members looking to collaborate with PoolTogether. The focus was to empower a wider network of community developers and contributors and to increase adoption of the PoolTogether protocol.
We feel we have accomplished this well and hope to continue expanding PoolTogether awareness and utility to the community.

PoolGrants has also proven useful as a more nimble arm of governance, for example when things go wrong with PTIPs. The pPOOL drip to the Sushi pool was supposed to happen through PTIP-27, but due to a technicality, it didn’t. PoolGrants was able to move quickly and fill the gap without a 10 day governance delay. Later, the long-term fix could be bundled in with other PTIPs, avoiding any additional voting overhead. The “Coordinape for community contributors” initiative is another good example of PoolGrants acting as an extension of governance to keep overheads low.

Quarter 1 of PoolGrants is running from 5/19/2021 to 8/18/2021 and Quarter 2 will be from 8/19/2021 to 11/18/2021.

Quarter 1 started out with a budget of 27k POOL worth $500k USD at the time. However, the spot price for POOL dropped significantly after the original budget allocation and we worked with a smaller overall budget. Moving forward, we want to split our budget 50/50 between POOL and USDC.

This 50/50 allocation will allow for more flexibility when funding applications. Those that would sell their POOL immediately to cover expenses will receive USDC, while those that want to hodl will receive POOL. This should mean that there is no sell pressure on POOL from grants. One example of where this will come in handy is the Llama DAO Tokenomics research grant.

So far, in quarter 1 we have funded grants to the amount of $202.7k and have spent $34.2k on committee wages and admin costs. Any funds left over from the first quarter will roll over to the second.

The multisig wallet currently holds about $172.5k with the spot of POOL @ $14.07. We have $65k committed to open grant milestones that have not been paid out and expect wages and admin costs to be about $16k at the end of this month, leaving us with $91.5k in POOL that will roll over. So for the second quarter we are applying for $158.5k in POOL and $250k in USDC in additional funding, to bring us back to a total of $500k as outlined in PTIP-14. Any amount left over at the end of the second quarter will again be rolled over to the third quarter’s funding, or returned to the treasury if the program is not continued.

Transparency

As we are funded by Pooltogether governance, it is important to us that we are transparent about what we are doing. You can find our transparency resources ranging from funded projects and updates to RFPs and member timesheets below. If there is anything you would like to see improved in this area, please let us know.

Medium Articles & Updates
Request for Proposals
Funded Projects
Committee Time Tracking

Committee Members

The current PoolGrants committee members are:

Co-Lead: @Torgin
Co-Lead: @blakeburrito

Reviewers:
@McOso
@gabor
@Praneeth
@AndyKaufman

PoolTogether Inc. Technical Lead:
@Brendan

We are happy with our current team. However, Praneeth is often occupied with other obligations. Whenever he does chime in, his feedback is very valuable, so we would like to keep him on.
Still, we would like to have four reviewers that have the time to be active. As such, we want to add an additional reviewer role to the committee for the coming quarter. We think it is reasonable to add a fifth reviewer without removing Praneeth, as Praneeth has only logged a total of 7 hours over the last 3 months.

For the extra reviewer role, we would like to suggest @Taliskye. He has shown fantastic engagement in the PT discord over the last months and was one of the original drafters of what turned into the PoolGrants program. We think he would be a great fit. Please vote in the poll at the end of the post to let us know if you approve of @Taliskye as an additional reviewer.

Should the PoolGrants program be continued at the end of the pilot program, all committee positions will be up for open applications from anyone in the community at that time, as they were when the committee was formed.

Aside from adding an additional reviewer, the committee members will stay the same.

Budget:

The budget will remain the same as outlined in PTIP-14.

The budget for the quarter is capped at $500k with a maximum of $100k of that accounting for the operating budget.

The compensation will continue to be $100/hr for all roles.
Hours are still capped at 40 hrs/week split among the two leads and 6hrs/week per reviewer.

Feedback:

Please let us know how you think we have been doing so far.
Is there anything we could be doing differently or better?
Are you hoping to see more grants of a specific type?
What specific RFP (request for proposal) could we create?
What comments or suggestions do you have for us?

This is a discussion post. When we move to PTIP, the specification will be:
Transfer $158’500 worth of POOL from treasury to PoolGrants multisig.
Transfer 250’000 USDC from treasury to PoolGrants multisig.

Do you support adding @Taliskye as an additional reviewer?

  • Yes, Taliskye would be awesome
  • No, someone else should be added
  • No, there should not be an additional reviewer

0 voters

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Glad to see USDC as part of the grants budget as it is important to protect the price of POOL. @Taliskye will be an amazing addition to POOL grants.

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Disclaimer:
This wasn’t fun to write and it won’t be fun to read but I have to say something that’s made me uncomfortable for some time in PoolGrants.

I do not feel comfortable having @blakeburrito continue as a team lead on the grants committee. I believe there is some shared sentiment to a degree but I do not wish to speak for others.

Blake has done a lot of work for PoolGrants and I am not going to discredit that. However the main points that have bothered me and have raised red flags early on for me are:

  • Hours logged on notion page do not seem to match work/participation activity on our discord (PoolGrants)
  • Hours left blank at increments of 2,3,5 or more and then filled in 1-2 weeks later
  • Lack of communication on project follow ups
  • Missed weekly meetings without a prior notice on several occasions
  • Seemingly inefficient use of time when working
  • I did not feel confident signing our hour payouts and will not for next week either

Take a look at ALL our committee members hours yourselves please, as well as blakes in particular here
(picture below is this month)

I have raised these concerns often and there have been some slight improvements on time logging but the activity still does not match the hours logged in my opinion. When raised the first few times on hours and accountability blake preferred to brush off the topic and move onto other matters, or simply not be present to discuss these problems. One of the main red flags to me was when we created a time tracking policy to try and get a standard (yet only had to create & enforce due to him) Please read the comments on that article to see they date back to 06/24/21

There was almost a form of arbitration being used where Blake insisted repeatedly that any change to policy would require a 6 of 6 majority agreement to be made official. It does not make any sense as the multisig to move funds of large amounts is based on a 4 of 6 trust. Having 6 of 6 be required would allow any individual to block progress on an idea or process they do not personally agree with… This also hindered having accountability as we didn’t have an “official policy” in place to enforce.

Some of these concerns were voiced in a call to have blake step down from a lead position to allow another member to attempt it during our pilot program (not myself, I am not interested in being a lead currently) but continue to be a reviewer. This was brushed off as well.

@blakeburrito

I strongly believe in a merit based incentive program which crypto is trying to achieve. To me the amount of work presented does not match the involvement it should require. Please do not take this as a personal attack. I posted this on my own behalf and I’m sure other members might not enjoy the problems this post might create either :sweat_smile:

Besides this I am in favor of all other parts of this PTIP :eyes:

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I’m not sure that I agree with presenting this publicly. I do not feel that it portrays the protocol in a positive light to the public. I feel like this is something that should be handled internally amongst committee members and PT Inc. If the committee decides to go in a different direction, then I understand making that announcement. However, this feels more like an attack on someone’s integrity. I would like to hear both sides of the story before making an assessment.

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I would agree with a need for a second (and likely third, from the rest of the committee) side. I also agree this might not the perfect medium, but take no issue with hard issues being presented and defended openly.

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I second Louis’ take. Sometimes hard conversations need to be had openly. It would also be helpful to hear all sides to have the full conversation.

It would be great to see the grants committee try to resolve this on their own first.

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I like the open conversation and the timesheets for payouts and accountability. While I do agree there are vast differences between them, I don’t think we, as outsiders, can really decide anything based on those since it may just be a result of different work methods (we can neither confirm nor deny how the time tracking was done after the fact). We would really need to hear all viepoints of all involved parties.

In any case, I’m inclined to agree with @Brendan that this is something that should be worked out internally.

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@Torgin Regarding your question for split POOL / USDC funding, I have a (multi-part) question. Was there either an indication of grant applicants that they’d rather be payed in USDC or did you see a lot of immediate sells after paying out a grant? Furthermore, I also wonder if, given the option of being payed out in USDC or POOL, people would choose either in a 50/50 fashion. Could it be better to give everyone half of their grant in POOL and half in USDC?

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We could pretty easily check to see who received grants and are still holding their POOL vs. selling it. That would be a very interesting stat to look at!

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Thank for writing this up @Torgin! I think you have done a fantastic job leading the grants committee and the grants committee overall has been a huge success! I also truly believe it will only get better.

I think the comments @AndyKaufman brought up are super important. I do though also agree with others that this should ideally be handled by the grants committee with input from the broader governance if it is needed. Andy, thank you for bringing up a hard conversation! @blakeburrito I also want to say regardless of what you all decide moving forward, very thankful for your contributions.

Outside of that, just a couple other comments from me:

  • I think the grant to @DeFi.Donut was very successful! Overall, I’d love to see more grants around marketing and education. Partnering with already qualified content creators (such as @DeFi.Donut and also Bankless) makes a lot of sense to me. Perhaps this could also be expanded to include grants that go out for specific marketing campaigns, etc.

  • I’m also really excited about the Orange Wallet integration. I haven’t had a chance to try it on iOS yet but I know Wallet integrations are important. However, I do think it would be worth considering in the future instead of paying for the wallet integration, perhaps the grant could be focused on using funds to promote the wallet integration. So maybe if we didn’t give Orange Wallet $11,000 but instead we committed to launching a campaign with Orange Wallet once the integration was done and give away $11,000 to new users who try PoolTogether through Orange Wallet.

  • The grants for smallfish.win and the knowledge base seemed a bit high to me given the relative simplicity of the project.

  • Overall, I am curious about the status of some of these projects (PEY.CASH, OzKar YouTube Video, Discord management reserach). I think having that data would enable us all to give better feedback!

  • I’m glad you are all saying “no” a lot! I think saying “no” is hard but it’s also one of the most important functions for a grants committee.

Those are my comments! Again, I’m super thankful for the grant’s committee and I look forward to fully supporting the next phase!

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Thank you @leighton. Appreciate all the feedback as well!!
I really like the idea you mentioned re: OrangeWallet. If that grant was lacking one thing imo it was awareness and the approach suggested would remedy that.

As far as concerns raised by @AndyKaufman, I too expect that our committee will be able to resolve any & all issues put before it–including this one! We’ve been discussing further since, and moving forward all committee members’ views will be sought, valued, debated, etc. on a more regular basis.
This may seem conspicuous in its absence of a full-throated defense to the assertions made against myself and that’s certainly true. I’m willing to discuss this question with anyone looking for answers from me on it though-100%. I just don’t agree this is the “forum” for such a discussion. I was invoked and needed to respond.

Please do feel free to dm me directly if you’d like to chat further.
Discord blakeburrito#1313
Twitter @blakeburrito
blakeburrito1@gmail.com

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Let me give my perspective.
First of all, I agree with everything @AndyKaufman has laid out.
I also get the impression that Blake’s hours logged don’t match the output we get to see from him. This may be due to actually working inefficiently or due to not effectively communicating the value he is bringing. Blake has hit his cap of 80hrs per month in both months that have been paid out, meaning his wages alone have been approximately equal to the other 5 committee members combined. I don’t think he has done half the productive work of the committee.

We have been having internal discussions on these issues for 2 months now. What I have taken away as the root cause is a difference in approach. I will do my best to represent the two approaches objectively. I obviously cannot speak for Blake, so I will share my perception of his opinions.
The differences can be split into 2 parts:

How to interpret our mandate and hour caps.

I think we should aim to have a process that is as efficient as possible, maximizing the value we get out of every hour worked. If I can get something done 90% as well in half the time, that’s a big win. It is not the goal to reach the cap of hours every week, that’s just an option in case there is an extraordinary week with more going on than usual.

Blake aims to maximize the total output by utilizing all available resources. If something can be done better by spending more time on it and there are still hours left in the budget, then they should be utilized. The goal is to hit the maximum cap of hours. Otherwise, there is wasted potential to “be even better”.

Trust and transparency

I think that trust should be continually earned through transparency. The trust of other committee members as well as the trust of the community. The most simple form of this is being diligent when tracking hours worked and giving descriptions that can help a third party recreate what was done. When communicating with applicants, the outcomes should be summarized so that other committee members can be kept up to date.

Blake thinks that trust should be implicit in being chosen to be on the grants committee. It was earned through past contributions, before being elected. It shouldn’t be necessary to share or prove the work you are doing, as long as it gets done. Time tracking could be done by just including the Date and Hours, with no description. It is assumed something useful was done with the time. “Clock in, clock out. Like every job ever”.

I think that both approaches can be valid. Considering Pooltogether is a DAO and how early we are in the project, I prefer the first.

While our internal discussions over the last months have led to a good understanding of the differences, they have not led to a resolution. So at this point, I think getting input from the wider community would be valuable.

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Yes, I know there are people that immediately sold their POOL upon receiving it, as the grant was used to cover operational expenses.
Some grantees have asked for split payment, partly POOL and partly stablecoins.
Bankless DAO insisted on payment for their Ad campaign to be in DAI, so in that case we liquidated POOL on the market for DAI, then sent it to them.

It would definitely be interesting to do some investigation of which grantees have held their POOL vs liquidating it. It could also be considered if we want to have the base case for grants to necessitate a part being in POOL with some sort of vesting agreement that stops people from liquidating immediately. That may or may not come with adverse effects and increased complexity.

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Thanks for the great Feedback @leighton!
On the specific projects you asked about:

PEY.CASH is currently in the implementation phase. Shouldn’t be too long until completion.

Ozkar deposited into the USDC and DAI pods when he received the grant and is continuosly filming the video as time goes on. The idea is to release the video once one of those pods has won. The DAI pod currently has a 4.5% chance of winning per week, so in expectation it should take 22 weeks to win.

The Other Internet Discord management research has been delayed as their first project analyzing Uniswap took longer than expected. They will be presenting their Uniswap findings this week and then kick off working on Pooltogether.

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It would actually be pretty easy to create options and have a portion of the grants budget be allocated that way. It could even mean the grant recipient will end up making a little more if we reach certain milestones by the redemption date.

Edit: Every quarter we could mint new options with 1 year expiry from end of quarter.

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My input on your last point would be; totally fine that prior work = trust earned and A. gets you elected and B. gives you some benefit of the doubt.

My concern would be the slippery slope to the equivalent of “career government officials” that don’t have the same accountability as elected officials. If existing committee members are up for regular re-election, my point is moot – just calling out that the “enough data per entry so someone could reasonably reconstruct what was done” threshold seems good for most folks. Whether that’s on a timecard or in weekly accomplishments/snippets doesn’t matter much to me.

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Thank you for all your input on this Lou. All committee roles will be open for all at the end of our first run here.
PTIP-14 gives direction not for just that, but also changes to committee administration (hours for each role, number of members, etc.) which will govern the next iteration of this program too.

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thanks Leighton! happy to hear the community is enjoying the work I’ve put in. Can’t wait to continue our partnership!

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sweet write up @Torgin - I’m pumped that I was a part of the first grants round.

Excited to keep working with PT!

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I agree the grants program has been a huge success considering it is so nascent! Some great work has come of it and its been awesome to watch the process evolve. I’ll be happy to vote in support of the committee to move forward with a fresh funding round. And Taliskye is plugged in enough to the protocol and ecosystem as a whole to be a valuable addition to inform what governance needs.

For only being the first few months of the committee, you have all done a stellar job in establishing a workflow and promoting some real work getting done and the compensation for it. I understand there will inevitably be some teething problems with quantifying the value of individual outputs, but hopefully you guys can work that out. The hourly timesheets are somewhat useful, but dont paint a full picture of an individuals contribution in relation to their peers. And the perceived value of that contribution could be somewhat subjective too.

Maybe more work can be done on setting out deliverables / targets / KPIs at the end of a period? I really dont know what those would be though.

That being said, members of the grants committee are to be expected to constantly justify their roles and elevated status imho. Preferably against some quantifiable outputs or performance indicator. Of which a ‘timesheet’ is only one part.

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