Hi all, I’m submitting the following because I completely understanding the argument of “Too much complaining, not enough proposing of alternatives or revisions.”
I would also like to make clear that I do not think any of the issues I will raise here were created out of malicious intent. Far too often I think it’s easy for perspectives to be misaligned, and for people who hold different positions in a larger system (i.e. cosmos) to see things differently when it comes to how to best do things and accomplish shared goals. This does not mean anyone involved doesn’t have the best intentions in mind.
That being said, the following is a revised version of the recent proposal for funding of a Cosmos Hub grants program. This is how I, as a community member first and foremost, would have liked to see something like this brought to the public discussion in future.
I will blockquote (the format this text is in) my own changes and input throughout, and will denote my comments with a & bold text, and revisions with “…”
Again, I thank those in involved for getting the ball rolling on something important like this, just as i admire the community who have called it out in its current form.
Lastly, please note this is not a formal proposal in it’s current state. There are probably flaws in the system outlined here that I havn’t considered yet. Primarily, this is just a blend of something i would potentially like to propose, my comments on the original, and a revision of the original done in a way that I and many others in the community would have found far more favorable.
We are excited to share with you the Cosmos Hub Grant program. You’ll find below the full proposal. We look forward to engaging with you and hearing your feedback.
- Purpose of CHGP
- Reviewer Committee
- Oversight & Accountability Committee
- Program Operations
- Funding and Budget
- KPIs, Operations, & Transparency Reporting
There is currently on the Cosmos Hub a tremendous creative energy, bolstered by more than 94 proposals since 2019 network genesis, and most recently culminating in proposal 88 which increases the community pool tax from 2-10% in order to fund future enhancements to the Hub. After one year, the community pool will hold an additional 4.2 M ATOM.
With a properly funded community pool, we believe it is the right time to initiate the creation of a grant program to serve community contributors and builders around the Hub.
The newly formed program will foster community’s engagement in a structured and strategic way while reducing the load of small to medium funding proposals on public governance.
With multiple initiatives happening on the Cosmos Hub such as Interchain Security (ICS), the Hub more than ever needs to provide funding to support a wide range of cosmonaut builders and contributors…
How can you not have major details about your ask up front in the summary, such as the amount being requested? If you fear sticker shock, then maybe reconsider your asked amount.
…We are asking for 721,000 ATOM, which equates to about $8,761,400 at the time of writing, this amount will cover both grant issuance, as well as salaries, setup costs, and other costs pertaining the running of the CHGP. This amount will be moved to a vesting smart contract, controlled by Hub governance that dispenses payment for team members and upkeep costs on an automated basis, and funds for grants upon successful vote in the review committees multi-sig.
The community, however, will retain ultimate control of these funds, and may revoke any ATOM in the vesting contract and return it to the community pool at any time. This will be a built in function, and will include an automatic, 30 day delayed dispersal of 1 months pay to all 8 members of the committee to act as severance pay.
Similarly, the community controls which signers are on the multi-sig at a chain-level, and so, have the ability to remove individual people who they do not feel are working in the ecosystems best interest. Severance pay would be identical to the model outlined above.
Additionally, they community retains similar control over the signers on the oversight committee.
2. PURPOSE OF THE COSMOS HUB GRANT PROGRAM
The main purpose of the CHGP is to support the long term sustainability of the Hub and its token, ATOM, through the funding of small to medium size projects that aim to improve Cosmos Hub’s core technology, products and ecosystem.
With CHGP, we seek to boost community participation and unlock its collective intelligence by encouraging individual and team-based initiatives. Grants will be assigned ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 ATOM per proposal…
…with additional community oversight for grants above _0,000 ATOM. We would love feedback on what number the community would feel safe with for this threshold. 10k? 25k? 50k? We are also open to feedback on if this threshold & grant range should even be measured in ATOM at all, as opposed to USD value at the time of agreement.
This program will focus on open source code and ecosystem initiatives that create value for ATOM holders.
It would be good to either detail what you mean by “focus” on, and if it’s expanded on later, then make sure to state that. Is it exclusively for Open Source stuff? If not what is the criteria? And what defines an “ecosystem” initiative? There is certainly an argument for leaving this intentionally vague for flexibility, as you don’t want to box yourselves in, but make sure to get ahead of it and state that if so.
An area where a Grant Program can have a long lasting impact is through the gathering and publishing of thematic areas for future value-added projects. By gathering and publishing ideas from across the community, the CHGP website can be a place where builders learn about ideas for value-added project proposals with community interest already voiced.
3. THE REVIEWER COMMITTEE
For this section, I will leave comments on this version, and below, you can see my full revised re-write.
We envision a group of 7 people that will figure on the Reviewer Committee in charge of allocating grants. These 7 people will each play a functional role on the team, with the goal of creating a high-performance team, and also will steward the Multisig ensuring accountability in the approval of grants. A simple majority of the Reviewer Committee voting in favor of a proposal will be required to approve grants:
- Full Time Program Managers (2) - to lead, structure, and sit as Reviewer Committee members
- One Part Time Technical Lead (1) - to augment the Reviewer Committee with Technical Analysis capability if/as needed
- Four Part Time Proposal Reviewers (4) - Cosmos Hub validators to participate in voting on grant proposals
Something feels off about this setup. I am by no means an expert on how these things should be setup, and I don’t claim to be, but it’s unclear A. if the full time program managers have as much say/input as the part time proposal reviewers into the actual grant applications, or if their roles are more focused on running the program on the internal business side of things. And B. that a technical lead isn’t necessary, as technical expertise should be baked into the core review committee. I’ll elaborate on this more soon.
This composition with 7 team members in this specialized format blending leadership, operational, and decision making roles has a few main advantages:
- it can deliver strong alignment with the ATOM community,
- In incorporates strong technical capabilities,
- it is geared towards “doing work” with in-built operational capacity,
- It involves four well-known ATOM validators, including one with experience in the Osmosis Grant Program.
While there very much so is something to be said for aligning of incentives, conflicts of interest are also a thing, and so pre-selecting 4 “well known” atom validators feels off-putting.
3. THE REVIEWER COMMITTEE
…We envision a group of 8 people that will serve on the Reviewer Committee in charge of allocating grants & running the program. These 8 people will each play a functional role on the team, with the goal of creating a high-performance team, with 6 of them stewarding the Multisig and ensuring accountability in the approval of grants. A simple majority of these 6 Reviewer Committee members voting in favor of a proposal will be required to approve grants.
We are also open allowing all 8 to serve on the multi-sig, but would love the communities feedback on if the 6:2 man-structure provides better distinction for responsibilities, oversight, and lessened conflict-of-interest potential.
We want to go with an even number like 6 (or 8) so that in the case of there being an especially contentions decision to be made and voted on, we can then turn that vote over to the community through on-chain governance. This helps to reinforce our purpose of streamlining and overhauling the process of funding projects through the community pool, while maintaining a level of community control and input at the highest level.
- Full Time Program Managers (2) - to lead, structure, and sit as Reviewer Committee members. This is a full-time position and Managers are expected to make this their primary focus and hold no other major roles or paid positions within Cosmos for the duration of their serving on the Committee.
- Four Part-Time Proposal Reviewers (6) - to assess grant proposals as they come and communicate with applying parties to find the best outcome for all parties.
The Full Time Program Managers will oversee and organize the Reviewers, as well as maintain and continuously strive to improve the CHGP website and other avenues of outreach, marketing, & business development.
4. THE OVERSIGHT & ACCOUNTABILITY COMMITTEE…
This entire part is absurd in my opinion. It’s almost insulting to have an oversight committee that is ALSO pre-chosen AND once again, includes no names that the general community is familiar with. What’s more, for the two positions not yet filled, you couldn’t even use phrasing more open than, “recruiting underway”? That is the PERFECT opportunity to put “Looking for input” or “Looking to fill with community members.”
…In addition to the community being in control of the funds through governance of the vesting contract, we also propose a 6-signer multisig, comprised of at least 4 major community members.
- The ability to override and revoke the final months severance pay within the first 30 days before it is paid out. This is to safeguard against exceptionally egregious actions that do not warrant any severance pay. They cannot initiate termination of employees, nor revocation of funds to the community pool on their own.
- The ability to PAUSE almost any function of the CHGP for a 30-day period. This includes both grant-issuance, as well as salaries. They are not able to pause automatic dispersal of pay for things like website hosting and general upkeep of the CHGP program. If this function is used, it is then put on a “cooldown” of 60 days.
We find this creates a good balance between the committee and the community, and creates a system where the oversight committee has the ability to act much quicker than community governance, while ensuring the weight of the decisions under their control is far less than that of governance.
…We are looking for input, applications and suggestions for the CHGP’s 6 core reviewers. Of these 6, we feel strongly that:
- At least 2 should possess the ability to evaluate projects on their technical merit, meaning they should have strong development backgrounds.
- At least 2 of which should be active and well known members of the community on platforms like Twitter, Discord, Telegram & Reddit.
- And at least 2 of which should have business or finance backgrounds with experience in either similar grants programs (including ones outside of Web3,) or other investment/startup/VC based roles.
- Program Manager: Youssef Amrani . Core contributor Cosmos Hub, Economic Committee of IST stablecoin, previously community analyst at Messari. To lead program structuring, strategy & outreach
- Program Manager: Better Future (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-o-05853/ ). Previously ran Ripple Accelerator. 20 years in software, incubators, accelerators and seed investing; Stanford Ph.D. To lead program structuring & team processes.
- Reviewer: [Looking to fill]
- Reviewer: [Looking to fill]
- Reviewer: [Looking to fill]
- Reviewer: [Looking to fill]
- Reviewer: [Looking to fill]
- Reviewer: [Looking to fill]
We have some candidates in mind that we feel would fit this role perfectly, and which we’d like to pitch to the community. These include:
- Luke Saunders , Chief Technology Officer at Delphi Digital (Labs). Incubated projects like Astroport & Mars Protocol on Terra.
- Mikey L , Business Development at Cosmostation (currently also Multisig on Osmosis Grant Program)
- Dilan Asatekin , Imperator founder also acting as Lead Data Engineer at Osmosis
- Reena Shtedle , Founding team, Head of Business Development and DevRel at Citadel One
- Xavier Meegan , Chief Investment Officer at Chorus One
The Reviewer Committee will be supported by a Program Coordinator, Ben Davis , who brings 15 years of digital marketing experience and will assist with website, marketing, community and program processes.
There needs to be more info on what Ben’s role would be, what his compensation would be, etc. It would also be nice to know how he came to be being put forward for this position. What are his pre-existing relationships within Cosmos?
…B. Oversight Committee
We are looking for community elections to fill the 6 oversight committee roles.
3._____community member _____
4._____community member _____
5._____community member _____
6._____community member _____
6. PROGRAM OPERATIONS
Prior to issuing grants, there are many action items that need to be completed by the Program Managers. Here are a few of the bigger items:
- Set-up of legal structure
- Establish team workflows
- Build the website & social media presence
- Start to gather thematic areas as inspiration for prospective grantees
Once the Grant Program is up & running and ready to issue grants, the responsibilities of the operational team will be as follow:
- Outbound communication to attract applicants, including media & public speaking
- Q&A Calls w/ prospective Applicants
- Maintenance of website, social media, and proposal intake system
- Review and due diligence of proposals from Applicants
- Sharing of proposal materials and analysis with Reviewer Committee
- Hosting final presentation from short-listed Applicants
- Voting with Reviewer Committee on each proposal…
… if they are ultimately included in the multi-sig.
- Onboarding, mentoring, and pay-out of funds to accepted Applicants
- Notifications with feedback to unsuccessful Applicants
- Work with Oversight Committee to prepare KPIs & requested information
7. FUNDING AND BUDGET
A. Funding request: 721,000 ATOM
Funding the most promising initiatives can unlock the spontaneity and collective intelligence of the Hub community while delivering an intentional and strategic roadmap for the Hub.
Kick-starting open source software initiatives will make the Cosmos Hub self-sustainable in the long term and create value for ATOM holders.
The CHGP program will provide Open Grants covering a wide array of initiatives: content creation, tooling, infra, analytics, governance, research, etc. The program grant-making priority will be on high-quality projects and teams that can create value for the ATOM community.
Given the current size of the community pool (1.7M ATOM as of 01/12/2023), we suggest starting with a budget of 721,000 ATOM (approx. $7.21M at $10 ATOM last month approximate average price). 721,000 ATOM represents roughly 2 months of the replenishment rate into the Community Pool (from Prop 88 tax increase).
After removing the 721,000 requested ATOM to fund the GHGP, the Community Pool will hold a balance of approximately 989,000M ATOM, with an additional 343,000 ATOM from new inflation tax being added every month.
At the end of the 9 month period and assuming the same spending rate as the previous 6 months, the Community Pool should hold 989,000 + (343,000 x 9 mo.) - 322,500 = 3.753 M ATOM or $37.5M at average ATOM price for last month.
Note: 322,500 ATOM represent 9 months of spending at the rate of the last 6 months of spending.
For reference, the Osmosis Grants Program (OGP) was initially funded with 1.5 M OSMO, worth approximately 10.5 M $ at the time. The Cosmos Hub, with an order of magnitude (8X) larger ecosystem than Osmosis, is requesting approximately 1/3 less for the pilot grant program.
|Budgeted Area||Total in USD|
|One-time legal structure set up fee||$52,500|
|Headcount for Reviewer Committee which includes:||$407,250|
|* Two (2) full-time Program Managers|
|* One Part Time Technical Lead|
|* Four (4) part-time Community Review Panel Participants|
|* One part-time Program Coordinator|
|Headcount for Oversight Committee which includes:||$140,000|
|* Three (3) part-time members|
|Due Diligence Expense||$30,000|
|Operational Expenses which include:||$80,000|
|* Website: Creation, hosting, maintenance, basic SEO|
|* Ops: software licenses; human and/or virtual assistant for additional support|
|* Outreach: marketing, promotion and education|
Im not able to redo this in the way I would like to see it, as only you guys know these numbers. But get more granular. Specifically, put a distinct, separate line for each level of pay within the headcount. You don’t need to list the pay of each individual reviewer if they are all the same, but something like the following would be nice:
|Budgeted Area||Total in USD||Number of Roles|
|Headcount for Salaries:|
|* Two (2) full-time Program Managers||X||2|
|* Six (6) part-time Community Review Panel Participants||Y||6|
|* One part-time Program Coordinator (Ben)||Z||1|
|* Six (6) part-time oversight committee members||A||6|
Additionally, please elaborate on what “Due diligence” means, and apply the same granular breakdown as the above to the operational expenses. It is perfectly fine to say the numbers are not exact, but it helps us get a sense of how much of this money is going one place relative to another.
…The estimated all-in USD total will be recalculated and put here at the time of the proposal going on chain.
If there is an unspent amount, it will be either kept in the CHGP program multisig for the second mandate or returned to the community pool if the CHGP program is discontinued.
Legal setup is a one-time activity and is budgeted to include structure set-up, filing fees, registered office fees, mandatory secretary/supervisor and director fee.
Budget Design Benchmark
In the case of Osmosis Grant Program, the OSMO community recruited a third-party service provider to design and run the program. This Osmosis program costs were $100,000 for upfront setup and 76,000 USD per month for ongoing functions.
For comparison purposes:
|Cosmos Hub||$52.5k||$73k||9 months||$6.5M||$7.2M|
With the CHGP proposal, we’re suggesting a team drawn from within Cosmos Hub community, to design the program and actively run it, as opposed to simply delegating the work to a third-party service provider that wouldn’t be fully aligned with the ATOM community. We are also adding an Oversight Committee function, which the Osmosis program does not provide. Even with a larger number of community contributors on payroll and the addition of the Oversight function, the CHGP budget is still lower.
8. KPIs, OPERATIONS & TRANSPARENCY REPORTING
A report will be monthly published by the Oversight Committee that includes:
- Operational updates
- Funding activity
- Grantee update
- URL to CHGP on-chain wallets
- Verification of on-chain transactions
The report will be submitted to the Community at large so that a flow of recent and up to date information about the status and progress of the program is always available.
KPIs will include:
- Number of applicants
- Number of grants vs total applicants
- Number of completed projects vs assigned grants
- Any other KPI the Oversight Committee deems valuable in communicating information about the program to the community
Here are the different steps we envision for the implementation and bootstrapping of the CHGP:
- Months 0-2: set up the organization, create the program & workflows, setup website and proposal intake system, and build-up social media presence
- Months 2-9: CHGP in full steam, proposals are coming in, being reviewed, and being funded, and most of the budget is assigned to grants
- End of Month 9: Oversight committee to produce CHGP end of mandate report
- Following CHGP end of mandate report, the community can either (a) Maintain confidence in the team behind the CHGP and renew the mandate, or (b) Terminate the program. (in which case unspent funds are returned to the community pool)
Come talk to us between January 13, 2023 and January 20, 2023:
Community members who would like to meet via a 30 minutes video call to discuss the proposal, can schedule us here:
Calendly Better Future
Calendly Bendy One
We will take calls for the first week after the proposal goes live, and we will make ourselves available on a first-come first-served to engage with the Community.
By voting YES, you indicate support for funding the Cosmos Hub Grant Program that will be managed by a multisig committee of 7 members.
By voting NO, you do not support this proposal in its current form and refuse to fund the Cosmos Hub Grant Program.
By voting ABSTAIN, you formally decline to vote either for or against the proposal but want to contribute to the quorum.
By voting NOWITHVETO, you express that you consider this proposal malicious or harmful and would like to see depositors penalized by revocation of the deposit, which contributes towards an automatic ⅓ veto threshold.
The one thing I won’t include here, as I don’t feel its within the scope of my purposes in posting this, but that I would love and expect to see (if this were a formal proposal) details about how exactly the vesting smart contract would work, including how much would be automatically dispensed for upkeep vs salaries, and just info in general about the various parameters.