[TEMP CHECK] Aave Chan Initiative 6-Month Budget Proposal


The Aave Chan Initiative (ACI) is a delegate platform dedicated to actively participating in Aave governance and contributing to the protocol’s success. As the Aave ecosystem matures, it is essential to have diverse and independent delegate platforms to drive the protocol forward.

To continue our efforts and effectively serve the Aave community, we are seeking a 6-month budget allocation. This budget will support our ongoing initiatives and enable us to expand our team and resources for maximum impact.

ACI’s current & future areas of focus

  1. Governance and AIP Development
    • Active participation in Aave governance discussions & votes
    • Developing and submitting snapshot votes & AIPs
    • Engaging with the community on forum discussions
    • Collaborating with other delegates and stakeholders
  2. Treasury Efficiency and Management
    • Collaborate with DAO service contributors, such as Llama, to enhance Aave DAO treasury management.
    • Support initiatives and actively participate in efforts to improve treasury efficiency, led by Llama and other contributors.
    • Drive the adoption of strategic investments, diversification, and risk mitigation in treasury allocation.
    • Establish a cost-conscious culture and ensure responsible spending from the treasury for the benefit of the Aave protocol and its users.
  3. Protocol and Ecosystem Development
    • Support the onboarding of new stablecoins, strategic assets, and LSDs
    • Explore synergies with other DeFi platforms (e.g., Curve, Balancer, Arrakis)
    • Promote the use of yield-bearing assets and LP tokens as collateral
    • Participate in discussions around GHO and Safety Module improvements and advocate for “Real Yield” revenue for the Safety module paid in GHO
    • Support the expansion of Aave markets in “new Frontiers” networks
  4. Research and Analysis
    • Conduct in-depth research on DeFi trends and developments
    • Provide insights and recommendations to the Aave community
    • Analyze the performance and impact of Aave governance decisions
    • Assess new risk mitigation strategies and techniques
  5. Team Expansion and Operations
    • Grow the ACI team to support the Aave ecosystem better
    • Cover operational expenses, including tools, subscriptions, and infrastructure
    • Foster a collaborative environment for continuous learning and improvement
    • Start a “Meta-Governance” focus for ACI. While the ACI can be considered “Aave-Maximalist,” there’s a lot of potential for having an active presence in other DeFi DAOs and representing Aave-DAO interest there, compared to other “professional” delegates, the laser-focus of ACI on Aave DAO interest will allow to have a voice focused on Aave synergies with other actors of the ecosystem.
  6. Independence & Transparency
    • While the ACI grew to become the largest Aave DAO delegate platform, we are proud that our voting power originates from hundreds of individuals from the community that decided to trust the ACI with their voting and proposal power.
    • To the best of our knowledge, the ACI voting & proposal power is not linked to any specific entity, Investment firm, or third-party protocol, allowing the ACI to remain 100% independent & focus on the benefit of the Aave protocol.
    • The ACI firmly declined any form of third-party compensation for creating proposals & publishing AIPs as it would be against our independence ethos. The ACI works for the Aave DAO solely & uniquely.
    • The ACI created & self-imposed mandatory disclosure on every proposal and will continue to support a transparency culture within the Aave DAO.

Previous Work

Here are some notable achievements and contributions made by the Aave Chan Initiative:

  • Governance Coordination: The ACI actively supported governance participation & coordination; since the Launch of the ACI, exactly ZERO AIPs have failed to meet a 320k AAVE vote participation, while it was unfortunately common in 2022.
  • AIPs: The ACI presented and created numerous AIPs that have successfully been implemented to improve the Aave protocol. Since the Launch of the ACI, The AAVE DAO is now the most Active major DeFI DAO in the ecosystem. Q1 2023 was the most active quarter in terms of governance ever for Aave.

  • Governance improvement: The ACI is actively involved in improving governance efficiency by providing the community with new frameworks, templates, fast-tracks & shortcuts to make Aave as efficient as possible.
  • Delegators & contributor coordination: The ACI actively worked with and supported other DAO delegates, contributors, community members & third-party actors by providing feedback on their proposals, technical support when needed, and doing numerous “co-authorship” synergies with other DAO actors.

Requested Budget

We are requesting a total budget of $250,000 for 6 months period to support our initiatives, team expansion, and operations. This budget will help us:

  • Sustainably continue our current work
  • Cover operational expenses, including tools, subscriptions, and infrastructure required to support our work
  • Grow the ACI team, allowing us to better serve the Aave community and expand our areas of focus. While the “One-Man Army” meme is fun, the current workload and ambitions for the future are not compatible with a single-person operation
  • Establish an active presence in other DeFi DAOs, representing Aave-DAO interests and exploring synergies with other actors in the ecosystem

By securing this budget, the Aave Chan Initiative will be in a sustainable position to continue to provide value to the Aave ecosystem.

Next Steps

If the TEMP CHECK is successful and the community supports our proposal, we will move forward with a formal ARFC submission detailing the proposal’s specifics such as technical implementation of the proposal.
We commit to maintaining transparency throughout the process and regularly updating the community on our progress.

Thank you for considering our proposal. We appreciate your support and look forward to working together to drive the success of the Aave protocol.


This is an exciting proposal! The conversation surrounding compensating work within DAO governance is past due. Additionally, I think that @MarcZeller 's work in the Aave DAO is clearly on display on most proposed ideas, active frameworks, etc. This work has greatly contributed to the operational efficiency of the Aave DAO, and I believe it is well worth investing in going forward.

This is an extremely valuable initiative! Given the collaborative nature of the space, and the DAO’s historical willingness to collaborate (e.g., Balancer Token Swap), it is important that a steward of the Aave DAO take the opportunity to contribute externally and back the value behind these collaborations. I believe this approach will emphasize the underlying value of collaborating with the Aave DAO and could pay dividends long term. I also believe that the ACI is the perfect representative to do so.


bonjour @MarcZeller

let’s cut the slight exaggeration // “from hundreds of individuals from the community…”

this number is 92

who is we you mention? it seems to be just you Marc as ACI.

your work as a delegate has been impressive, efficient, and effective.

i’d warn the community of embracing a contributor style funding for large delegates. when Marc receives this funding, it will encourage others to do so becoming quite expensive.

instead, I’d encourage Marc to pursue a framework which rewards him and other delegates at the same time. many folks like @lbsblockchain, @BlockchainAtColumbia spend gas without protest.

Marc deserves funding.

just not in isolation

cautiously, watching.


Hello fren,

for Aave, there’s also StkAAVE holders that support the initiative making the total number higher, and we thank them all for their trust.

As said in the proposal, the budget is designed to have talent join me for the ACI adventure, I’m confident we can increase both frequency & quality of contribution supercharged with a lean and talented team.

This is legitimate concern, we are also on the side of being cost conscious for the DAO, the budget requested, even annualized, if accepted, would make the ACI the smallest service provider cost of the Aave DAO. We want to create a culture of efficiency in the Aave DAO


It has been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with Marc and the ACI over the past few months. Since its formation, the ACI has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and a commitment to transparency by developing proposals professionally and collaborating with external partners and other DAO contributors.

Marc’s expertise in the Aave ecosystem and broader DeFi space has been immensely valuable in community discussions. The ACI has been actively engaging with the community, weighing in on important decisions and voting on various proposals.

Given the extensive scope of work ahead and plans to build a dedicated team, I firmly support this proposal and am confident that this relationship with Marc and the ACI will benefit the Aave community over the long term.


I’m glad @MarcZeller is starting this subject.

Feels like a contributor proposal but also seems to broach the idea of delegate compensation.

It’s been a long-time coming and the need for compensation has been highlighted by Marc’s sheer volume of contributions, votes, and improvement proposals.

This topic has been discussed by many, with teams like ourselves, @PennBlockchain, @lbsblockchain and others iterating on draft proposals to re-coupe gas and justify the investment in Aave.

As an individual contributor, like Marc, it is difficult to engage in Governance without pay.
We’ve advocated for paying DAO contributors as a team before, writing articles such as the following.

I’ll summarize a few reasons which seem relevant

  • no benefits or health insurance; pay is fickle and can change at a moment’s notice; contributors are taking significant risks committing to a DAO vs. a traditional organization.

  • no pay stubs; difficult to sign a lease or secure a loan

  • more pay equals higher quality participants → attracts more talent from Web2 industries; money is persuasive

My two recommendations for this proposal:

1. Let’s not look at compensation in isolation, let’s work on something for all

2. Let’s better align payment levels with industry comps

For compensation, this feels a bit rich. At a quick look, $250k seems reasonable, but this scaled over a 1-year engagement quickly equates to $500,000 a year.

MakerDAO has recently proposed its new delegate structure: MIP101: The Maker Constitution

Rune, a co-founder, outlines the ideal level of compensation for the top delegates as 285.7 MKR; maintaining an “income equivalent to an average full-time global upper management position.”

Let’s compare by using today’s price of MKR:

Screen Shot 2023-03-20 at 3.43.09 PM

A quick analysis shows this proposal is 2.5x the levels of the top MakerDAO delegates.

Marc’s passion is deserving of compensation. Let’s prioritize cost consciousness and build towards a model which is scalable and avoids the risk of ballooning contributor budgets.


Thanks for starting these discussions around delegate compensation. This is a topic that as @fig mentioned, we have discussed in detail extensively. From our side, we have dedicated an immense amount of resources to Aave over these almost two years and is where many of our members first got introduced to the world of governance!

We would like to once again echo @fig’s comments here regarding working on something for all with regards to this budget proposal. There can be certain requirements set in place that if reached, qualifies you for delegate compensation. Pay would be prorated based on how much delegation you receive and can be scaled up or down depending on the scope of the program. We’d also like feedback from @fig @lbsblockchain @Michigan_Blockchain @WintermuteGovernance @blockchainatcolumbia @lucasvo @Kene_StableLab and any other delegates who’ve spent considerable time here! :slight_smile:

Very thought provoking post @fig.

Reading this, it certainly would be more encouraging becoming a delegate within the Aave ecosystem. A scheme like this would entice contributors within service providers to become recognised delegates in there own right. This happens to be something I am pondering myself. I am particularly keen, out of self interest, to see how this aspect of the conversation evolves.

I would caution comparing ACI to a delegate platform similar to those within the Maker ecosystem. Being a delegate at Maker DAO does not mean shipping protocol upgrades like it can do at Aave. I believe a voting delegate is primarily a decision maker. Whereas a developer focused team has the potential to offer a lot more to the Aave ecosystem. I think ACI drifts towards being valued more as developer team delivering protocol upgrades, plus delegation platform, plus business development.


Hello, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the discussion so far. It’s a true value-add and proof of maturity that a proposal can create meaningful debate.

Also, [TEMP CHECK] is designed to be a moment at the start of the governance process when people should feel invited to openly discuss proposals and their overall impact. In contrast, ARFCs are more focused on economics, risk, and technical implementation discussions.

However, I think terminology leads to confusion with this proposal. All blame should be on me with my Introduction section.

In the Aave DAO, we currently have 15 declared delegate platforms, and two of them are a bit different in nature because they are hybrid, both a delegate platform and a candidate or approved by DAO to be a service provider: @Llamaxyz & ACI.

The current proposal at the [TEMP CHECK] stage is not a proposal to allow a budget for a delegate platform. It’s a proposal to allow a budget for a service provider.

There’s a fundamental difference, in my humble opinion, between being an active delegate, voting and discussing in the forum, and being an active service provider that will initiate new proposals, write them, code them, and implement them among a variety of other services.

To be crystal clear on this point, the ACI requested budget to be a delegate platform is $0. Not because we don’t think there’s intrinsic value in these contributions, but because we know that the current economics of the Aave DAO would not allow a sustainable way to fund delegates, and because that’s an important topic that should be discussed on a separate occasion.

We do understand that the hybrid nature of ACI, being both a delegate platform and a service provider, can be confusing, but I hope this makes things clearer from our point of view.

We do agree that currently being an Aave DAO delegate is a volunteer & “selfless” act, and as ACI, we understand that while we’re thankful for the 15 entities willing to do this work for little to no return, it’s not sustainable nor attractive.

The Aave community should definitely collaborate to find fair compensation models for both delegate platforms and service providers. However, we believe this discussion should be done separately from the current service provider application proposal.

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Just would like to throw some numbers in here for full transparency since the topics of gas reimbursements were brought up.

Most University clubs receiving governance delegations from Venture Capitalist firms are likely compensated ~$500 a month per delegation in ‘gas reimbursements’. While this does cover gas (and a whole lot of it), imo this isn’t fully fair compensation for the time sunk on AAVE governance, especially for multi-person organizations. I have no opinion of if AAVE should compensate delegates, but thought this number was relevant to disclose publicly on this forum.

I’m pulling this information from my experience leading Berkeley’s team (which is also active in AAVE governance), I’m no longer there, so can’t verify if this was necessarily true for our AAVE delegations. I can also only speculate on the contracts other Uni clubs have with VCs, and cannot speak to their compensation directly. This is only my understanding of how these relationships are typically structured.

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Wanted to chime in here on two points:

  • @devenmatthews following up with regards to the $500/month. As far as I am aware, and I would say with pretty high certainty that most of the delegates on Aave do NOT receive any expenses refund from any of their Aave delegates, particularly the larger fund allotments.
  • @MarcZeller thanks for clarifying the distinguishment between Service Provider and Delegate Compensation. So taking out all of the governance and delegate communication and participation pieces of this temperature check, the request is essentially for $x to continue to help drafting AIPs which has currently been volunteer work?

Late to this thread, but wanted to express Gauntlet’s support for ACI’s proposal to expand their impact within Aave. It’s been great to have Marc’s active participation in risk-related discussions like asset listings along with his help in improving governance coordination and promoting community best practices. He’s proven to be a great steward of Aave.


This proposal has our full support.

Marc/ACI as a ‘delegate’ has shown unwavering output with the diversity and number of proposals that have successfully passed Aave governance. The formal transition from a delegate to a service provider within the DAO is very organic and welcoming.

The outlined scope fits nicely with the pending launch of GHO which we believe will become a significant focus point for the DAO, so having ACI actively covering this area (mostly on the collateral side) will be of great benefit.

I think we all have our work cut out for us if ACI hires another Marc :upside_down_face:

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In my longtime experience working with Aave, Marc has been one of the protocol’s most dedicated, passionate, and outspoken supporters. The opportunity for the Aave Chan Initiative to expand its scope marks an exciting new chapter for growing the protocol from a true community-driven standpoint that represents the core values of crypto and DeFi. I’m particularly excited to see their focus on researching and developing new assets, products, networks, and more to bring Aave to the next level, and I look forward to how we can help them on their mission. Overall, I am confident this proposal will significantly benefit Aave by enabling Marc and the ACI to scale up its operations and continue to set a high standard as a contributor to the DAO. Both Marc and ACI have my full support.


I want to express my full support for the Aave Chan Initiative (ACI) Proposal. Having worked with Marc for nearly four years, I’ve seen his dedication and expertise in action, making a significant impact on Aave’s growth. Marc’s extensive experience in web3 spans building, farming, educating, and investing has contributed to his incredible network and deep understanding of the space.

The ACI Proposal aims to expand the team, resources, and focus areas, further enhancing Aave’s governance and growth. Marc’s ability to stay on top of DeFi trends and engage with innovative projects has always amazed me. This initiative will solidify Aave’s presence in other DeFi DAOs, ensuring continued success.


I recently met with @MarcZeller to discuss his plans as a service provider with ACI. I am confident that Marc’s experience on the AAVE team and relentless focus on execution and efficiency will be a positive for the DAO. There are too many service providers being over-paid in this industry (vs market rates) because of politics and/or lack of initiative and “tough decisions” being taken by delegates. Having someone who is incentivised to point this out and hold people accountable is something we (Avantgarde Finance) are very much in favour of.

I’d like to propose two suggestions

  1. Outlining some high level OKR’s that the community can judge success/failure of ACI at six months. I think the suggested renumeration is very reasonable but basing it off some key success metrics might help the doubters become more comfortable with the proposal.
  2. I’d like to add to see added to the scope that when making proposals and considering service providers, ACI are researching and pointing out known conflicts of interest as and when they arise. This is a big problem in DAO governance today and it can help better inform delegates in the voting process.
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