RFC-XX: Hop Grants Committee Renewal and Redesign

Simple Summary

This proposal seeks to renew and redesign the Hop DAO Grants Program to enhance its effectiveness and community participation.

Motivation

The Hop DAO Grants Program began on January 10th 2023, with an initial transfer of 750,000 HOP tokens to the Grants Multi-Sig. At the time of writing this proposal, 738,390 HOP tokens remain in the Multi-Sig.

This proposal seeks to scale the Hop DAO Grants program by introducing key changes, such as opening up elections for the Grants Committee, introducing compensation for elected Committee Members, organizing regular Hop DAO Builders Call as a space to hold discussions with teams building on with and/or within the Hop ecosystem, and further categorizing grants for community clarity.

Specification

If this proposal passes, the following changes will be implemented in the Grants Program:

Annual Elections

Any member of the Hop DAO can become a member of the Hop DAO Grants Committee. To ensure this inclusivity, annual elections will be held to retain or replace existing Grants Committee members. The tenure for each Grant Committee will begin upon the execution of the On-Chain proposal, which transfers funds to the designated Grants Multi-Sig. For instance, the previous grants committee received 750k Hop on the 10th of January, 2023. The program is scheduled to sunset and renew after six months on July 10th. After one year, any committee member can initiate a forum thread to call for nominations.

Nominees will be required to share the following:

  • Who are they
  • An outline of their track record of reliability in previous similar roles
  • How they plan to contribute to the Hop DAO Grants Committee

This nomination thread shall run for one week, after which the election will be conducted on Snapshot using Weighted Voting. Upon conclusion of the election, the four highest-voted nominees will become Grants Committee Members.

Compensation for Grants Committee Members

We propose compensating each member with $500 a month, which will be paid twice a year, resulting in a total payment of $3,000 to each Committee member twice per year.

The annual cost for Grants Committee compensation will be $24,000 worth of HOP Tokens, paid entirely in HOP.

Biweekly Hop DAO Builders Call

To foster a core developer community aligned with the Hop Protocol Roadmap, we suggest conducting a biweekly Hop DAO Builders Call. These calls will encourage builders to create projects using the technology being developed by Authereum Labs. During these calls, Grants Committee members, community members, and developers will discuss potential features and partnerships and more detail about what is achievable.

Shane and Chris could also attend to provide coordination steps and offer insights. The aim of these calls is to serve as the Hop DAO’s Decentralized Research and Development Pipeline, where active discussions on Hop Technology will pave the way for an organic community research-to-grants funding pipeline.

Grant Categorization

To facilitate understanding and meet the needs of builders and teams, grants will be categorized. The following categories are proposed, but community suggestions for additional categories are welcome:

  • Cross-Chain Tooling & Infrastructure
  • Hop Protocol Research & Analytics
  • Community Innovation

How long will this program last?

The grants program will run for one year and will be subject to review for renewal.

Next Steps

Should the proposal be approved, the following sequence of events will occur:

  • Nomination Process
  • Elections
  • Grants Multi-Sig Handover
  • Transfer of annual budget for Grants Committee’s Compensation to the Grants Committee Multi-Sig.
  • Publication of guidelines for submitting a Grant Application by the Grants Committee
  • Scheduling of the first Hop DAO Builders Call.
1 Like

Thanks for highlighting the challenges with the current grants process @Kene_StableLab Given the fact that majority of the tokens haven’t been distributed yet, a redesign seems appropriate. I am personally not a fan of token-weighed voting for selecting members since the outcome is always a result of plutocracy. An alternative could be to drop SBTs to active members and contributors and run an election based on those inputs.

On the other hand, I do wonder if a traditional grants program will have any different results as compared to any other DAO grants program, especially since it only caters to convex decision making Additionally, all grants programs need rapid iteration in order to succeed.

Hence, I’d like to split the budget into 2 parts, where the first part can be allocated via convex decision making as you have listed but the iteration duration should be maximum 6 months long. The second part should be a concave decision done either via Quadratic Funding on Grants Stack or a side round in the formal Gitcoin rounds.

Finally, I’d like to request including the education and onboarding domain as a category in the convex decision making program.

1 Like

$500/month seems generous given the amount of proposals the DAO receives. Your number for disbursements doesn’t include those in process so it’s a bit misleading as well. I’m also massively skeptical that a weighted vote will lead to the best outcome for selecting technical members of the community suited for this role. I wonder if we wouldn’t want to specifically target/recruit people both within and outside of the DAO for this. I’m also not sure what purpose the grant categories serve and I’m unclear on what the renewed budget will be. Still 750K HOP? What if this cap is used up during a cycle, are we forced to wait for a new one?

With respect to the builders call, while I’m in favor of more technical support broadly and think that’s an important element missing from other projects, I think Hop currently does a good job of addressing these questions on existing community calls and in the dev Discord channel. I think it might be better to determine if there is a need for this first and create a separate proposal for it if so.

I think there’s a lot of seemingly reasonable moves here, but I question if a lot of them are solving real needs or just adding complications. I think the best thing we could do is keep the process really simple and only fix what’s broken. In my experience with the process I’ve only really noticed two issues. First, not all the signers are active. Compensation may help (and is separately justified and well deserved), but a framework for swapping out a committee member would be even better. Secondly, the per-project cap is too low for certain involved, technical projects.

I agree this program should absolutely be renewed, but I think this draft is incomplete and misses some of the key areas that need improvement.

4 Likes

I agree with a lot of what Max said in his above comment. I have been one of the more active signers in the Grant DAO AFAIK and I think $500/month is overly generous. The hourly commitment has been ~1hr/mo due to how few grant applications we received. I agree that the two main issues I’ve seen with the grant process to date are:

  1. Some signers are not active, which means payment disbursements take too long
  2. The max grant amount was too low

If someone wanted to apply for a grant that set up more marketing and education for Hop Developers, I would be all for it, but that feels out of scope for a lightweight community grants mechanism.

I’m also all for the program being renewed as well, since we have funded a couple of nice grants and came in way under the allocated budget with little to no overhead to the DAO, but I don’t see the need to add complexity. It seems like the best next steps for renewal of the program would be

  1. Increase the per project caps
  2. Reclaim the seats of non-active signers and replace them with other technical folks that will be more active in their role
1 Like

The below response reflects the views of L2BEAT’s governance team, composed of @kaereste and @Sinkas, and it’s based on the combined research, fact-checking and ideation of the two.

Following the recent Community Call, we’d like to bring the Grants Committee renewal discussion back to the delegates attention.

We agree that the Hop Grants Committee should be revived and renewed and we’d like to get involved with the process of not only reactivating the committee, but also attracting proposals for it to fund.

What we believe would help propel more proposals to the DAO, and hopefully more growth for Hop as a whole, would be a more direct approach when it comes to the direction or purpose of the projects applying for grants. The categorisation proposed by Kene is a step in the right direction.

Requests For Proposals (RFPs) could be a good approach, as they identify a specific thing we want to work toward and then invite the community to submit proposals on how to tackle it. However, RFPs come with a big overhead for the DAO as we need to identify a very specific thing, design an RFP that can clearly communicate the desired result in order to attract aligned proposals, and then assess each proposal not only on its own merit, but also based on how it helps with the identified issue.

As an alternative, we think that something similar to Intents and Missions from season 4 on Optimism would help attract proposals that help the DAO achieve its longer term goals and move in that direction with the help of the community. We can introduce a series of well thought-out and discussed intents and then

On occasion of this post, we’d like to take the opportunity and point out that there’s definitely room for improvement when it comes to content, awareness and education around Hop protocol. For example, a quick google search of “Hop Protocol Grants” yields no actionable results for a team looking to build something on top of Hop. There can be more communication and documentation around Hop DAO grants. On top of that, there could be more educational material around Hop, and introducing an intent, or a grants category around content and education could help to that end.

We’d love to help facilitate a discussion around renewing the Grants Committee as well as discuss the future of Hop with interested members of the community. Therefore, we’d like to extend an invitation to L2BEAT’s office hours for Hop, every Friday at 3pm UTC/11am EST. You can add L2BEAT’s Governance Calendar to get the respective link.

4 Likes

With the feedback from the last community call, the following proposed edits are proposed to be made to this proposal.

  • There shall be 5 Grants Committee members, with one uncompensated seat reserved for @cwhinfrey
  • Two Committee members shall be elected from within the Hop Community and will be compensated $250/month to be paid out in HOP tokens.
  • There shall be two external Committee Members who shall be compensated $500/month to be paid in HOP tokens. The external committee members will be recruited leveraging Authereum Labs resources.
  • There shall be no builders call
  • The funding cap per project should be increased by 50%
  • There shall be a process for removing inactive Committee Members.

@max-andrew @0xjack @jengajojo

3 Likes

I think on the whole this is taking good shape.

I’d just clarify a few things. I like the idea of recruiting external members and think increased budget for them could make sense. I don’t know if I think this should be a sole responsibility of Labs, though I’m sure there would be contribution to it regardless. I wonder if this could be a good fit for ambassadors actually.

Also I haven’t seen the need for a separate builders call yet and think this can be addressed by the Discord #dev channel and existing community calls. That said, I would definitely love to get to the point where it becomes necessary and will definitely advocate for one once we reach it.