Aave Case Study: Building Trust in Decentralised Finance (DeFi)

Dear Aave folks!

My name is Dr. Paul Dylan-Ennis (@polarpunklabs). I’m a Lecturer at the University College Dublin and with my colleague Mariia Ermolova we have completed Aave Case Study: Building Trust in Decentralised Finance (DeFi).

The case study is designed to be used in a traditional University setting and is part of the Level3: Web3 Educational Case Studies repository of open source case studies. The case study is offered with a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence. This means the copy should retain the attribution to the creators, cannot be used commercially and if you make changes you cannot distribute the modified version. This is essentially to stop paywall publishers re-using the content.

The case study was funded by the Aave Grants DAO.

The case study will be first used, unless someone beats me to it, in my Ethereum Ecosystem module at the University College Dublin next year.

If anyone has any ideas about how to improve the case study feel free to DM me on Twitter (@polarpunklabs) or open an Issue on GitHub. Please do keep in mind the case study is for relatively beginners. Almost certainly it could be much more detailed and much more complex, but in a classroom this can be less helpful than you might imagine.

Finally, the project received a $5,000 grant, but I only ended up using $1750 for a research assistant. This means there is $3250 left. I am happy to return it to the DAO to be used in other grants. Do let me know how to do this. Alternatively I can put it to good use in the classroom.

Thanks again everyone!



Hello o/

Great work on the case study and on your willingness to teach the next generation 'bout those subjects.

However, I have a few note from reading your work:

  • while teaching about the DAO service providers might be a bit out of scope for your target audiance, I feel that the separation between the Aave Companies and the Aave DAO merits a bit more explanation than a single line at the end of a paragraph especially if your are to make a whole paragraph about the Lens protocol.

  • I know it’s a fictional exercise, but would the DAO really pay for a talk on lens ? (this one is just hair-splitting)

  • I believe I have spotted a few typos and missing negation in my reading session (unless the exercise is really to part from aave’s reputation).

  • Lastly, by reading your worry on the licensing, wouldn’t the cc-by-nc-sa license still solve them while being bit more in the opensource and giant standing on giant science ethos ? or maybe it’s just not how it work in your fields ? (that’s just my free software extremist fiber speaking, you can also ignore this one)

Hoping for your lecture success,

edit1: formatting issue

Thanks @Alice !

  • Where would I find more information about the Companies and DAO distinction or can someone here help? I tried to look it up but couldn’t find much.
  • EthDenver is a free event, so they are not paying.
  • I will check again for typos next week once I get more feedback.
  • Unfortunately its exactly an industry problem. Predatory journals/collections would rewrite it and put possibly corrupted versions behind paywalls. Instead, the flexibility here is focused on the educator, who will likely add their own spin, assessments, questions, etc. Basically the forking here happens in the classroom. I am an open source contributor to ethereum.org myself, so this was something I mused on quite a bit.
    Thank you!

U welcome ^^

  • I’m not the best person to answer as I’m quite new and can only tell 'bout hearsay collected from OG talk in conference or podcast, but since the ones that could answer are busy with CRV, here is a short explanation:

    • The Aave Company (specified original each time mentioned later) made ETHlend and later the aave protocol
    • The protocol became independant from the Company by becoming a DAO governed by $AAVE token holder
    • The protocol makes money which goes into the DAO treasury, so the DAO can pay peoples and companies to directly work on the protocol, they are called service providers.
    • The original Aave Company is one of them IIRC and some service providers are made up of ex employe at the original aave company who went their own path (BGDLabs and Aave-chan Initiative).
    • The original aave company made the Lens protocol on their own, as such the aave DAO have no claim on it
  • In the last pages when presenting the exercise you mention that the students are parts of a subgroup working for the DAO, as highlighted before the DAO have no claim on Lens, hence my previous question about wether a dao subgroup would be financed to talk about Lens ^^

  • Stay strong ! o/

  • Seems fair, I’ve worked in academia, so I can perfectly understand your point of view ^^

Best regards

edit: typos and formating
edit 2: correction of aave timeline after asking OG 'bout it. thanks @MarcZeller

This is extremely helpful. I will update the document next week to include this information!

Hi @polarpunklabs, thanks for sharing an update on the forum and your work on the educational modules. I’m excited to see the updated version once it’s live. Happy to answer any questions as well - I sent you a dm on Twitter. In addition to what @Alice highlighted, one thing that may help in understanding the relationship between service providers and the Aave DAO is the below illustration from Flipside’s recent proposal.

Aave DAO Ecosystem

In terms of your question on remaining funds, you are welcome to keep them if they will make a difference in pushing the grant and your other work in the space forward. If you want to return the remainder though, you can simply send it back to the multisig address you originally received the grant from.

1 Like

I asked for proof-reading on my short explanation of the Aave timeline, and turns out I was wrong about some points:

  • the term “aave companies” is only used to talk about the companies mades by the aave founder and not the aave service providers
  • there is only two service providers made up of ex-employe, BGDLabs and the Aave-chan Initiative (aci).

My previous post has already been updated to reflect this.

This is extremely helpful. I wonder whether this image might also go into the main Aave docs for future researchers. It gives a really clear sense of contributors.
I will find a use for the funds in the classroom, e.g. to demo things I normally just have to show on a slide!

Thanks Alice. I will update accordingly!