[PG WG Proposal] ENS Small Grants

Purpose

The Metaphor team would like to launch an experiment within ENS DAO to see if the community can operationalize a small grants program, similar to the successful Nouns Prop House! I DM’d with that team to see if we could fork their project, it seems they aren’t yet open source and they are currently focused on expanding within the Nouns / NFT community.

Metaphor proposes to the Public Goods Working Group quickly building ENS’s version of this project to allow working groups to setup a low-friction way to ask the DAO for small/starter funding for public goods and/or ecosystem projects. Our theory is that making the funding mechanism straightforward, forced (as in, someone is going to “win” the funds, so might as well put your idea forward), and ideally consistent could result in a good cadence of contribution to the DAO and public goods.

Details

For those that haven’t seen the Nouns Prop House the way it works is like this:

  • Funding rounds are created lasting 1-2 weeks, with some relatively small amount of ETH (5-20 ETH, for example)
  • Anyone can submit small proposals during a “proposal period”, via the app, for either small projects or “seed money” to prove out a piece of a larger proposal they want to create. You can see examples in the current and previous Nouns rounds
  • Token holders (in our case $ENS) can vote on their favorite proposal in a “voting period”
  • At the end of the voting period, the top 3 (or 5, or 10, depending on the round fund size) are automatically funded!

This is a rough sketch of what ours could look like (this is not a final design, I haven’t had my design team work on this yet, just my prototype to illustrate the idea):

Here’s a full Figma prototype of the general experience outline that you can click through: Prototype

Implementation

For this initial implementation, our core concern is speed of implementation. We want to get this ready for a working group to use in ~2 weeks. With that in mind, this is how we plan to build this:

  • Permissively licensed and fully open source, built in the open from day 0
  • Build on top of Snapshot for voting backend. On-chain would be a great ultimate goal (on an L2 or something like Snapshot X), and if we get to that point we would love to go and collaborate with the Prop House team on it so we aren’t duplicating work. We’ll use @serenae 's delegation strategy, so delegates have their voting power, but people who have delegated their tokens can decide to take their votes back and vote for a different proposal!
  • Start with simple voting, just like Prop House. Potential down the line for playing around with voting mechanics, like quadratic voting or conviction voting.
  • Proposals stored on Arweave
  • Snapshot creation will either be manual, or handled by a small web2 function. Again, all open-source.

Budget

We’re looking for a $10k (stables or ETH or w/e) grant from the Public Goods WG to lead this effort and ship quickly. 50% upfront, 50% on completion (discussed with the WG in meeting).

I also want to make clear that our proposal is to lead this project getting started, but we welcome and would love if community members wanted to get involved, and would make sure to compensate anyone that does from the allocation on completion :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to any questions or comments and to shipping another ENS project! :pray:

Our Team

Metaphor is a venture-funded team working on making it easy to join and participate in DAOs. We’re also in the top 30 of ENS DAO delegates, stemming from our work on the first ever app that let people set their ENS avatars, davatar. We have a proven track record of shipping projects like this to benefit ENS, and are already incentivized to help the DAO in any way we can.

We seek a small funding amount mostly to make sure the working group really feels this is a worthwhile endeavor, and to have a small budget to compensate any community contributors, infra costs, etc. :rocket:

FAQ

(will update with any other good questions)

Why build an app at all instead of just using Snapshot?
You theoretically could do that, but the Snapshot UI isn’t optimized for that (you’d have to put all the proposal text linked from the “main” snapshot proposal, for example). We also hypothesize that part of the success of Prop House is that it makes this a “fun” experience, instead of feeling like governance (even though it really is).

Reference

Working Spec
Github Repo

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Honestly, this seems like specific work and you should request funds from the Ecosystem/PG WG directly through a subWG. I hope this is not put to vote and undue lengthy process for $10k. Good luck

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Thanks! To be clear, it’s a proposal to the Public Goods Working Group out of their operational budget. I don’t believe this will go to an actual DAO-wide vote (yea, $10k is too small for that, which is what we’re trying to solve here :wink:), this post is here for transparency!

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I am highly in favor of this. It will make the small grants process more transparent and easier for everyone involved.

The quick timeline proposed and use of @serenae’s snapshot strategy are a +1.

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I’m firmly in favour of this. I’d personally urge the PG WG stewards to approve this as soon as they reasonably can.

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I think it sounds awesome. I support this request. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for such a detailed and informative post! I am supportive as well. :slight_smile:

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Idea sounds good, but why is it addressed to the public good WG and not the ecosystem? We’re talking about ENS small grants for ENS related projects, no?

I’d love to see this move forward personally, I think it’s a worthwhile experiment + in theory it’s something Gitcoin would love to be able to build as a module into Grants 2.0 at some point in the future.

@carlosdp let’s definitely jam more here!

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Good question, we’re talking about building the tool, but it can be used by any of the working groups honestly. The example proposal I put in the Figma would be an ecosystem grant, but Public Goods WG I think needs more help getting some traction on small grants going and that’s just where the idea started.

But it’s for the benefit of any WG that wants to use it! Or anyone else, it’ll be OS after all :fist:

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I support this request

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For reference, here’s our internal spec we’re developing. Comments open! Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

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Four PGs stewards have expressed support for the request. @carlosdp can you please message @AvsA with a wallet address for 50% of the request ($5k). Alex can then initiate a transaction. Looking forward to watching this project come to life!

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Excited to get this going! We’re already full steam ahead on my team, thanks for the support everyone!

Anyone can follow along progress in the open source repo, and if anyone wants to get involved, feel free to reach out or just open a PR!

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I support this initiative. I have proposed having different approaches to governance a while ago proposing a streaming budget. I would ask anyone building to check the prototype on the link too.

Is it possible to have the vote weight strategy on main net but the actual resulting vote on a layer 2? It would help making grants cheaper and more interesting.

I am a bit afraid that having multiple rounds to create a governance fatigue, in which people need to keep voting for new stuff. It’s ok for small values as we can just check the results every few months and refill the purse. I would like however to evolve this later into a system that have more complex voting and funding methods:

  • Allow not only a small grant but also a recurring streaming payment for continuous development and maintenance of each project. Most projects are not just a one time thing and require multiple rounds of funding before they get autonomous.
  • Instead of having to continuously vote in multiple rounds, I would like to see an option where voters simply express support for or against a project. Projects need to have a minimal threshold of support to get the initial grant, and need to keep that support to keep the streams active. So if a project had, say, a budget of initial 10K + 1k per month, then if the project passes the threshold they would get the 10k grant. But at any point in the process, if the project fell out of favor or a better one became more supported, they could lose their streaming rights (I would also add a 5-10% buffer so the longer someone got a stream, they would have a longer period in which they kept getting the stream after having gotten “fired”)

Of course all these can be built later.

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Yea, that can be done using storage proofs! One of the reasons for building this on Snapshot is because they are currently hard at work on Snapshot X, so the migration to that would be presumably easy. The way that works is votes are executed on StarkNet using storage proofs, and the final result is posted trustlessly on-chain as a message from the StarkNet L1 contract. Gas is so cheap with this approach, that the DAO just sets aside a little to pay for it for the users, so the experience is just as easy and free as Snapshot today, but with the full security and trustless guarantees of on-chain L1 Ethereum!

This could be done outside of Snapshot X too, but if they’re taking on the R&D costs already, might as well collaborate with them when they start trying it out.

Yea that’s definitely a variable here. I think the way to think of this approach is definitely more “if you see something you like, support it” rather than everyone actually having to participate in every round. Keeping round sizes small helps with this, where it really is either very small funding, or “starter” funding for a project that could go to a full proposal to the DAO or something like Gitcoin later, but with more than just an idea.

Love this idea! I did think about the need for more funding. The way I was thinking it might work is a group can come back for funding again in a future round, and show their progress in a bid for another tranche of grant cash. I think the idea of doing something like this, but kinda bidding for a percentage of a stream is an approach worth exploring too that we haven’t really seen much yet.

The only instance I can think of that’s kinda like this is maybe Radicle’s Drip network.

This is a very cool idea, let’s jam on this more. Gail (my cofounder) and I have been talking about autonomous funding mechanisms like this for months, huge interest area for us!

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Ditto! This is super clutch @carlosdp. Looking forward to utilizing the app for Community WG Proposals!

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I think with the current proposal, voting is offchain on Snapshot, right? It’d then have to be manually executed by a multisig.

Yes that’s the idea right now. Snapshot makes the votes independently verifiable and data-available, but not worrying about on-chain execution atm given the amounts are relatively small and the idea is to ship quick to get feedback early :+1:

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