Aave Grants Update and Renewal

Authors: @HelloShreyas and @0xbilll

Overview

Aave Grants DAO has awarded 38 teams a total of $1.2m worth of AAVE since its inception in May 2021. This post outlines the progress Aave Grants DAO has made and proposes expanding the budget and scope of the program. Read the original proposal here.

We propose a budget of $2m a quarter to fund more projects that benefit Aave. We are also working on expanding the grants team, decentralizing decision making, and providing more post-grants support. Please respond to this post if you’re interested in being a grant reviewer!

Mission

AGD’s mission is to build a thriving ecosystem of contributors for Aave. We provide grants to projects, ideas, and events that benefit Aave and its ecosystem. We hope to be at the forefront of ecosystem development at Aave. Ensuring a constant influx of talented builders is critical to Aave’s growth.

Background and Progress

AIP 17 established Aave Grants DAO on May 4, 2021 with the goal of funding ideas and builders in the Aave ecosystem. The two quarter pilot program had a grants budget of $1 million and an operating budget of $250,000 per quarter. The pilot program has awarded $1.17m to 38 grant recipients and made the initial steps to put the grants process and the protocol in the hands of the community.

Besides providing $ support to grantees, we have also provided post-grant support where possible. This includes support with marketing, strategic advice, introductions to auditors, introductions to Aave genesis team developers, and AMAs with the Aave community.

We have led content for Aave DAO, including 17 issues of Aave News, 5 community calls, and 5 AMAs with grantees and the Aave community. We have also funded hackathons including ETHGlobal and Gitcoin’s hackathons.

Grants Awarded

Grants have been awarded to developers building to benefit the Aave ecosystem in a range of areas, including:

  • Protecting users - Cono Finance by Gelato Network, Aave Liquidation Notifier by Steven Li
  • Onboarding and attracting new users - Aave quests on Rabbithole, 2001 DeFi developing a mobile app for Aave, Blockchain Education Network enabling any student to participate in Aave governance
  • Increasing liquidity - Symphony Finance’s yield generating limit orders, and Sacred Finance’s privacy preserving DeFi protocol
  • Analyzing the protocol - a growth dashboard by Omni Analytics, community enabled analytics program by Flipside Crypto
  • Improving oversight and transparency - Safeguard by Tally

See a full list of grants awarded and amounts funded here and open RFPs here.

Particular success stories include:

  • Gelato launched Cono Finance which protects Aave users’ positions from liquidation
  • Scott Sunarto integrated token streaming with Sabiler to easily stream tokens to contributors
  • Symphony Finance launched their yield generating limit order product on Polygon in September and so far has executed over $4 million of order volume
  • Rabbithole helped onboard new users - their Aave quest was completed by 2,000 users in under 12 hours
  • Omni Analytics has built a detailed Aave-owned growth and analytics dashboard

People

The original proposal included 1 lead and 7 reviewers. Over the program the team brought on a designer, operations lead, and community manager.

  • Lead. Shreyas leads the grants committee. He has grown the team, overseen the distribution of grants, and will lead initiatives to begin the decentralization of the DAO.
  • Review Committee. The Review Committee is currently made up of:
    • Maggie Love - W3BCLOUD and SheFi
    • Corbin Page - ConsenSys Codefi
    • Calvin Chu - Independent
    • Aleks Larsen - Blockchain Capital
    • Imran Khan - DeFi Alliance
    • (Note that Nick Cannon (Gauntlet) and Jose Maria Macedo (Delphi Digital) have decided to step down from the grants committee due to time constraints. We really appreciate their contributions.)
  • Designer. Laura Sinisterra has created a brand identity, designed a logo, and produced content assets including POAPs and community flyers.
  • 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 four community calls and four community 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

Expanded Proposal

Moving forward we propose renewing Aave Grants DAO with an increased grants budget of $2 million and an operations budget of $2 million per quarter. With the increased budget we will increase the number of larger community grants, fund non-developer grants including sponsorship and community events, and work to decentralize the grants process.

We propose keeping the current structure and makeup of the team (team lead, seven reviewers, designer, operations lead, and community manager) with the flexibility to add one or two more people based on need and as ad hoc tasks or events happen.

We will continue to have both rapid grants and community grants as outlined in the original proposal.

  • Rapid grants: <$100k
    • Simple process to apply for a grant to AGD
  • Community grants: >$100k
    • Applicants post a proposal on Aave’s governance forum and Snapshot vote as a temperature check from the community
    • Based on feedback and discussion, the committee can decide to approve these grants

The increased budget will allow us to fund more community grants. For any larger grant, we will continue to solicit community feedback through a Snapshot vote as was the case with 2001 DeFi’s proposal to build an Aave mobile app.

We will also increase the scope of ideas funded to include sponsorship and community events, as so far we have only focused on developer grants. These will be with the goal of growing Aave’s brand in the ecosystem.

Decentralizing Grants

We would like to explore ways to decentralize the grants process by moving some grant decision-making power to grantees and active community members, such as active governance contributors and community call attendees.

Besides decentralizing Aave grants, we have also worked towards establishing a Developers DAO and a Risk DAO, focused on protocol development and risk assessment of the protocol, respectively.

Request for Feedback

We welcome and look forward to hearing feedback on our proposal and ideas you would like to see implemented within Aave Grants.

Finally, Nick and Jose will be stepping down from the Review Committee once a suitable replacement is found. They have both been valuable members who we thank for their contributions. If you are interested in filling out two spots on the grants committee, please reply to this thread with some basic information, including:

  • Describe your involvement in the Aave ecosystem
  • What skills/experience do you bring to the committee?
  • Can you commit ~5 hours a week?
5 Likes

Hi, I’m Kakashi, core dev at Symphony Finance. I think this is a great proposal. The grants really helped us in the early days. Apart from the funds, the grants team helped us out with marketing and intros. It’d be great if this continues and the grants DAO keeps supporting new and old projects. I would also like to see some support from Aave’s core team as well.

2 Likes

Hi, Luis (@gitpusha) here from Gelato. :icecream: :icecream: :icecream:

I support this proposal as I think the first wave of Aave grants proved to be very successful in fostering developer engagement on the Aave protocol.

Speaking for Gelato the grant helped us build the smart contracts, tests, and Gelato bot plugin to bring to many Aave users the first Automated Health Factor Management tool available on Polygon and Mainnet via cono.finance. Furthermore, we were able to hire auditors to ensure code safety standards were high.

The open smart contract and Gelato Network integration we built using the Aave grant money is now also available on the InstaDapp platform, so that now InstaDapp users can also activate their liquidation protections both on mainnet and Polygon.

2 Likes

Hello! I’m Alexis from JellyFi :octopus:

We received a grant in May and this has been very helpful for two reasons:

  1. It helped us move forward with the legal registration of the entity, SAFT edition, KYC process etc. It was a huge help as at this time we had no money and having the possibility to move forward on those subjects helped us raise faster.
  2. This point is a bit more speculative but I believe it helped us raise faster. The Aave Grants DAO and the Aave ecosystem have a great reputation and just receiving this stamp of approval in itself is already valuable.

This proposal is helping the ecosystem grow way more than we think and even small grants can prove to have tremendous positive effects. I’m looking forward to see what the next set of grantees will be building to help the Aave and DeFi ecosystem reach new heights!

2 Likes

@HelloShreyas - thanks for this comprehensive update and overview.

Aave Grants has benefitted multiple orgs, such as our own, and has the potential to encourage greater development in the ecosystem and product improvements for the Aave protocol.

For this reason, I would be interested in filling one of the two departures on the grants committee.

My involvement in Aave:

  • Governance Contributor at Flipside Crypto (a grant recipient, bringing CEA to Aave)
  • New User of The Month in Aave Forum (October 2021)
  • Active Voter in the AAVE Governance (flipsidecrypto.eth)
  • Personal user of the Aave Protocol and fully crypto native

My skills/experience:

  • DeFi Research @ Proxima Capital, a cryptocurrency market-making and arbitrage firm
  • Protocol Specialist @ Flipside Crypto, data analytics and BI for blockchains
  • Social Media @ Voyager Digital, a large cryptocurrency brokerage with $5B AUM

These past and present experiences has given me a range of knowledge, from a centralized brokerage to a Web3 analytics platform. I am skilled in Marketing, Market Research, and Governance, with exprience in community management, on and off-chain voting, financial analysis, and risk review. This diverse knowledge has helped DAOs identify new opportunities in the space, current product gaps or limitations, and different use cases, from institutions to retail investors.

I share a unique understanding of how Aave can boost TVL, on-ramp more daily users, and cement itself as a luminary in the space.

Can you commit ~5 hours a week?

  • Yes

I welcome any feedback from the community and look forward to growing Aave Grants DAO.

5 Likes

This is great - thanks for your thoughtful response! Will message you to schedule a call.

2 Likes

Hello all,

I’m Eric from the Omni Analytics team. I wanted to briefly comment on how the Aave Grants DAO afforded us a fantastic opportunity and how appreciative we are. We received a grant to develop an Analytics portal and growth dashboard for Aave. We believe this not only helped the community see the tremendous growth of the platform, but it also gave us an opportunity to hone our skills, particularly in SQL queries, and to work with the Covalent API to help build out an R-based interface for analyzing Aave growth.

We’ve received some great feedback on it. Working directly with the team, we also identified the sources of some data anomalies that were only visible after the dashboards were created. This allowed the core Aave team to gain insights, and provides a platform for the future, where unexpected spikes in volume can be traced to specific events that occurred during various timeframes.

Lastly, we had a fantastic experience working with the team, and we believe there’s a lot more that can be done to expand on this work. This Aave Grants DAO made it all possible and we would love to see them continue to support new and old projects alike.

For those who haven’t seen our work, we have a thread up where we’ve provided development updates and screenshots / links. You can see that here.

1 Like