Aave Grants DAO Update and Renewal

Co-authored with @0xbilll

Overview

After two successful quarters of Aave Grants DAO, we are looking to renew the program for the next two quarters by providing $6 million dollars in AAVE ($3 million per quarter). See our initial proposal from May 2021 and our renewal proposal from November 2021. We are looking to add an events coordinator, marketing manager, and three reviewers to Aave Grants DAO. Please apply here if you are interested!

Mission

Aave Grants DAO is a community-led grants program, focused on growing a thriving ecosystem of contributors within Aave through funding ideas, projects and events that benefit the ecosystem. We aim to drive development on top of Aave and ensure a constant influx of talented builders to maintain Aave’s long term growth. We help build culture and community around the Aave ecosystem that in turn attracts the best contributors.

Background and Progress

This is the third proposal for AGD. The initial proposal launched Aave Grants with $1m of funding over two quarters, from May to October 2021. The renewal proposal was executed at the end of December 2021 and funded AGD for an additional 3 months with $2 million of funding.

With the decentralization of the protocol, Aave Company no longer funds events and sponsorships. This has resulted in an increase in the amount of funding requested as AGD has stepped in to fill that role, and takes on funding more Aave events and sponsorships.

Since the last proposal, our spending has been as follows:

  • $328,200 for grants, primarily funding applications and integrations on Aave
  • $100,000 for xSushi bounty to support security researchers who helped with the incident
  • $634,000 for events, primarily major crypto events and hackathons to build the developer ecosystem
  • $263,000 for raave
  • The remaining difference from the total $2 million received was back paid for expenses and grants owed from 2021, used to cover operational costs, and realized losses due to the AAVE price decline between when the funds were originally received and the payments executed.

See a full list of grants and events funded on our website. We distribute grants based on completion of milestones. For larger grants, we typically have three payment tranches: an upfront payment, a payment on completion of the first milestone, and a payment on the completion of the project. We follow up with projects where needed to check on their progress.

Success Stories

Since December we have awarded 32 developer focused grants.

This includes:

  • Questbook who is building a Decentralized Grant Orchestration Tool to streamline the entire application, shortlisting, and ops processes leading to more active community engagement & quality projects receiving funding.
  • Minke has built a slick mobile wallet that leverages aUSDC on Polygon for their “savings” functionality and includes Aave in top billing of their marketing.
  • HAL has developed useful notification bots for Aave users and governance participants. These include notifications for health factor changes and governance proposals.
  • Forta Protocol’s Launchpad Program where developers were rewarded to write, test and submit completed agents to help monitor and secure the protocol.
  • Our biggest event engagement of the quarter was at ETHDenver, where we:
    • Hosted a booth to engage with attendees and hand out swag
    • Led multiple workshops on V3 and awarded $25k in bounties to 6 teams between the IRL and virtual hackathon
    • Cohosted the Bleeding Edge Mini Summit with Alliance DAO which was a full day of speakers talking about the future of Web3 including the future of L2s, NFTs, Lending, and Gaming. It also feature Aave Grant recipients, including: Manlio from Hal.xyz, Julian from Cred Protocol, and Kevin from Boardroom
    • Kicked off the weekend by co-hosting the grand reception, Let it Snow, with Polygon, Coinbase, Sushi and Decentraland
  • After Aave Arc launched we sponsored the Blockworks Newsletter over 3 months to promote the market to an institutional audience and drive sign ups. In total, Aave Arc was featured in 18 issues and attracted a total of 3,691 cumulative clicks to apply with Fireblocks and 982,910 impressions.


Kain from Synthetix on a panel at the Bleeding Edge Mini Summit discussing Building with L2s along with Imran from Alliance, Sandeep from Polygon, Ed from Arbitrum, and Louis from Starkware.

People

The original proposal included 1 lead and 7 reviewers. Over the program the team brought on a designer, operations lead, and community manager. Since our last update, we have added three new reviewers (all from previous grant recipients!). As two reviewers stepped down (outlined in our last proposal), AGD now has a total of 8 reviewers including the lead.

  • Lead. Shreyas leads the grants committee. He has grown the team, overseen the distribution of grants, and makes sure Aave Grants DAO meets the strategic needs of Aave DAO.
  • Review committee. The Review Committee is made up of:
    • Corbin Page - Paymagic, ex-ConsenSys
    • Calvin Chu - Impossible Finance
    • Aleks Larsen - Blockchain Capital
    • Imran Khan - DeFi Alliance
    • Francis Gowen - Flipside Crypto
    • Kakashi - Symphony Finance
    • Lawrence Mosley - Omni Analytics
  • Designer. Laura Sinisterra has created a brand identity, designed a logo, and produced content assets including POAPs and branding for Bleeding Edge.
  • Operations lead. Neil Shroff has streamlined the application process, manages payments, KYC, and other administrative tasks.
  • Community manager. Bill produces a weekly newsletter (Aave News), maintains the Twitter account, coordinates external Aave events, and coordinates other community initiatives, including community calls and ecosystem AMAs.

Compensation

  • Lead: $150 an hour with a 30 hour/week cap
  • Review committee: $150 an hour with a 10 hour/week cap
  • Designer: one-off based on specific design engagements
  • Operations lead: $3.5k/month
  • Community manager: $6k/month

Maggie Love will be stepping out of her role as a reviewer due to other commitments. We thank Maggie for her contributions to Aave Grants DAO.

Recruitment

We are looking to add five more people to Aave Grants DAO: event coordinator, marketing manager, and three reviewers.

  • Events Coordinator:
    • Manage global events, including crypto and institutional events
    • Coordinate with event organizers, Aave core team, and the community
    • Market events and Aave’s involvement across online forums
    • Represent Aave Grants DAO at events across the world
    • This is a full-time role
  • Marketing Manager
    • Management of digital marketing spend and relationships with partners
    • Optimize performance of marketing spend across channels for the various Aave protocol products
    • This is a full-time role
  • Reviewer
    • Review grant applications, primarily developer grants
    • Judge applications, interview candidates, and fill out feedback forms
    • Present progress to the Aave community
    • Involves 2-10 hours of work per week

Metrics

  • Number of grants given out:
    • May-Aug 2021: 12
    • Sept-Nov 2021: 19
    • Dec 2021-Apr 2022: 32
    • Note that this does not include grants for hackathons, events, and sponsorships
  • Growth in community engagement since our last renewal proposal (December 2021):
    • Substack subscribers: 770 → 1511 (+96%)
    • Twitter followers: 5317 → 6930 (+30%)
    • Telegram members: 654 → 595 (-10%)

We have received and given out an increasing number of grants over time. Most of the applications received and funded were in the “applications and integrations” category. This was due to primarily funding developer grants, however, over time we have been funding more events and community projects. Shoutout to Lawrence from Omni Analytics for creating the charts below.

Proposed Budget

Proposed Budget (2 Quarters)
Outstanding Owed to Grants $55,000
Expected Grants to Award $3,000,000
Grants Total Budgeted Cost $3,055,000
Outstanding Owed to Events $273,000
Event Sponsorships and Bounties including rAAVEs (see list for details) $1,395,500
Digital Marketing $750,000
Sponsorships Total Budgeted Cost $2,418,500
Compensation $267,000
Other costs (tooling, operations, gas reimbursements) $20,000
Event production costs (SWAG, printing, production) $60,000
Operations Total Budgeted Cost $347,000
Total Proposed AGD Budget $5,820,500

Events & Sponsorships

Providing funding to event and digital marketing sponsorships to promote the Aave protocol has become a key focus and source of funds for AGD. We have built on the hard work and relationships that Aave Companies has developed in the ecosystem to maintain the visibility of the Aave protocol at events and sponsorships.

Post COVID, events will strategically grow in importance for the Aave ecosystem. Having a strong presence at key industry touchpoints, as well as ensuring that our events are conducted to the highest professional standard and differentiated is of critical importance. It is our direct line into our diverse community which includesg industry professionals, influencers and builders. Events have a direct impact on Aave products and our mission is for events to continue to drive the adoption of Aave products. Other DeFi protocols such as Maker are strategically prioritizing events and we must continue to maintain our competitive position. rAAVEs in particular have been an important pillar and brand strength for driving Aave’s community,

Additionally, events are a way for us to increase our reach by partnering with other relevant protocols for cross promotion to their communities.

This budget includes event sponsorship but also costs for side events with partners, hacker houses etc.

Event Calendar

Below is a list of events we have identified for Aave to sponsor in Q2 and Q3.

Event Date Location
ETH Amsterdam April 22–24 Amsterdam
rAAVE April 24 Amsterdam
HackMoney May Online
Permissionless May 17–19 Palm Beach
Consensus June 9–12 Austin
ETH CC July 19–21 Paris
Paris rAAVE TBD Paris
ETHMexicoCity August 19–21 Mexico City
Mexico City rAAVE TBD Mexico City
ETHOnline September Online
ETH Barcelona September Barcelona

Next Steps

  • Get input from community
  • Move to a Snapshot vote
  • If positive temperature check, move to AIP
10 Likes

Disclaimer: I am currently a reviewer for Aave Grants DAO.

@HelloShreyas thank you for your leadership and for this renewal proposal. It has been a pleasure working with AGD and seeing early-stage DeFi innovations, especially those which can benefit Aave.

It is my personal opinion for the need for a Grants renewal. Not only does this make Aave competitive in the grants ecosystem, but it also develops early-stage connections and products to further grow Aave.

We are being inundated with requests and ideas - which could better the future of Web3 - sitting in the queue. Since joining, I have been particularly impressed by this volume and range of projects.

We have seen a myriad of applications - from education, improved UI/UX and branding, to novel P2E, and wallet infrastructure. If anyone has questions, feel free to reach out to me or others!

3 Likes

@HelloShreyas as a recipient of a grant from AAVE Grants DAO for Sacred Finance, this program has been instrumental especially in the beginning to give teams access to dev, increase brand trust, and the coffee funds (most importantly) required to build a successful project.

Innovation really comes from risk and uncertainty and AAVE Grants DAO’s investment in grassroots projects that have the possibility of failure is exciting… which is why I would be thrilled to interview as a reviewer for the AAVE Grants DAO on incoming projects that support the growth and development of the AAVE community. I previously won an AAVE bounty in an ETH hackathon, wrote grants for 4 years on behalf of small-med agricultural businesses, and really appreciate what AAVE Grants DAO is bringing to crypto. Hope to hear from you guys.

ps. The KPIs, metrics, and graphs provided in this update are fantastic!

4 Likes

Whilst I have followed the AAVE Grants DAO, we are not an awarded recipient, so have no “skin in the game” so to speak. Yet I am here. I think the metrics and power of the community built from that is important.

The AAVE grants programme represents the essence of web3 and for someone who has been exploring the space, has cemented AAVE as a beacon and trust marker for the industry. Further to this, for me, the grants represent all that is great about blockchain, crypto and web3.

This community is all about supporting for the long term development of both public goods alongside a healthy, vibrant group of protocols, builders and sense of community.

In supporting a tonne of projects, communities and initatives to do just that, then when those projects become a success (or the ones that do), they in turn promote AAVE but also support the community too. I think that’s incredibly, incredibly powerful.

Whilst AAVE can, I hope to see them continue to support multiple wins and community rather than centralised power law gains or the old way of thinking.

3 Likes

Aave Grants DAO is a huge part of the growth and success of the Aave Ecosystem, helping seed new projects and experiments helping solidify Aave’s role as a key building block in the Web3 ecosystem. The events it has organized has attracted an incredible amount of developer talent and attention and is critical to attracting the next generation of talent to build on Aave.

Strongly in favor!

Disclosure: Former grants recipient.

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@ShreyashK congrats to the entire GrantsDAO team for a fantastic Q1 especially on the events, paid marketing and community building side! This continues to be crucial for building the Aave protocol brand and ecosystem with so many different key stakeholders from institutional to web3 natives. Its been great seeing your success from the sidelines and look to your Q2 and Q3 roadmap coming to life!

Disclosure: Aave Companies - Head of Growth

5 Likes

I’d like to nominate @AndrewA (Protocol Analyst at Coinbase) to be a Reviewer. As a prior reviewer myself and DAO participant/community member through my work at Gauntlet, I believe Andrew’s knowledge of DeFi and governance will be a valuable addition to the review committee.

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Thanks for the nomination @inkyamze !

I’d be happy to contribute as a Reviewer (if you’ll have me), and can answer any questions. As mentioned, I currently work at Coinbase where I help set Coinbase Cloud’s protocol roadmap, which includes engaging in a fair amount of governance for the protocols we support. Before that, I contributed in various formats: completing analytics bounties on Flipside, leading governance on smaller projects, advising protocols on their mechanisms, etc…

DeFi is what first excited me about this space. I really enjoy adding back to the ecosystem where I can. Thanks for your consideration.

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@HelloShreyas,

Really excited to see the growth of the DAO and the proposal/ metrics are really coming along as the program grows and expands.

I have been watching AAVE grow since 2019. Have participated in the growth and development of DAOs from developing contributor programs to coordinape circles and have interviewed founders and global leaders on their businesses. I might be interested in supporting the community as a reviewer to support the grass roots growth of DeFi through AAVE.

Very excited about the update and renewal.

1 Like

I’d like to apply to be a reviewer! I used to be a statistician, currently work as a solidity developer for Aavegotchi, and I’ve basically been an AAVE simp ever since I found it. Pretty much half of what I know about solidity is thanks to the AAVE github. I implemented and tested the first cross-chain governance proposal for AAVE on Polygon, and consider myself to have pretty good knowledge on how AAVE works and how AAVE fits into the overall market.

Regardless of how my self nomination goes, I’m excited to see how AAVE will support outside builders to continue being the dominant and secure force in being a base layer of yield and leverage. Stani’s role as CEO of Twitter may be temporary, but AAVE IS FOREVER!

4 Likes

I’d like to nominate @0xbilll to be a Reviewer. 0xBill has been an incredible member of the Aave Grants DAO team and has represented the Aave at DAO at several of the last major developer conferences. They are already a public face for our organization that potential grant recipients come to in order to figure out how to best navigate the process, and has been on the ground speaking with developers and seeing the early work they produce at events like ETH Denver and ETH Amsterdam. Lastly, as the author of the Weekly Governance and Protocol Performance update, they have intimate knowledge of the state of Aave’s finances and direction, and can apply it to grant decisions. I believe 0xBill’s knowledge and prior experience will make them a valuable addition to review committee and enable them to better serve the Aave DAO as a whole.

4 Likes

Having watched @0xbilll over the last few months, he’s been an integral part to the Aave GrantsDAO team. I would like to +1 @oneski22’s nomination.

@0xbilll has been a leading charge on producing developer focused events such as ETH Denver and Amsterdam which have been a core funnel for sourcing teams building on Aave (and subsequent grants). The Aave GrantsDAO newsletter update is also a comprehensive resource for the Aave community. I believe that this new role would allow him to continue to extend his existing scope and knowledge to strategically strengthen the DAO’s relationship with builders.

4 Likes

Hey y’all, I’m new around here but have been and Aave user and fan for a long time. I’ve been deeply involved at the Index Coop core level, helping shape the direction of the Coop leadership, and I bring with me a uniquely qualified perspective. @HelloShreyas I’m excited to self nominate for the role of Reviewer. My experience positions me to add value that will drive continued success for the DAO.

The Aave Grants DAO is central to the future of the grand experiment of web3 we all believe in, as we empower builders to do what they do best. It would be my deep honor to contribute.

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Thanks for all the great work @HelloShreyas @0xbilll and to the other members of the AGD for all the fabulous work! I’d like to nominate myself to be a reviewer. :-> Hope that is allowed.

I’m Jonathan, Cofounder of LonesomeShark. We were born out of EthGlobal last year. We were one of the finalists and won Aave 2nd prize. We help borrowers minimise liquidation risk by using Aave flash loans and automation. We applied twice for grants, didn’t get it, but I’m a born optimist so will be trying again soon.

I’m the communications guy at LonesomeShark. I love people. We’re actively fundraising at the moment. I get to speak with investors and potential partners in the Ethereum ecosystem.

I’ve been working in tech for the past 17 years. My background is Math and Computer Science. I’ve built two startups and a nonprofit. I love to write. I have started an entrepreneur blog and currently write about DeFi on Substack. Giving feedback and filling out feedback forms is my jam. I know Substack is Web2 but that was before I found out about Mirror.xyz.

I started my crypto journey in 2019. I love flash loans. I love DeFi. My primary motivation for wanting to work for AGD is to build some credibility, reputation, and make contributions.

Thanks for the consideration.

1 Like

Thanks for everyone’s feedback! The proposal is now live so please vote :) As mentioned in this post, the one update to the original proposal is that $3m of the $6m payment will be done in stablecoins. Stablecoins are useful to pay for events and sponsorships. The stablecoin portion will be in aUSDC, which will be retained in the treasury so Aave DAO accrues the interest. However, Aave Grants will be granted approval to transfer $3m of aUSDC from the treasury and redeem for USDC as needed to fund expenses.

1 Like

Hey all, I’d like to self nominate as a reviewer on the committee.

Previously I was a developer on the Aave genesis team (I’ve been on a 1 year sabbatical from the ecosystem), which included among other things representing Aave at a number of events and helping to onboard developers/teams. I also ran the original centralised Aave ecosystems grants program :slight_smile: and wrote the v1 and v2 documentation.

I think I’d be a good fit as a reviewer as I’m technical, have previous experience reviewing applications, and know the Aave ecosystem and codebase well.

3 Likes