[TEMP CHECK] Aave Events & Sponsorship Grant 2024

Summary

Aave Labs is pleased to announce an event grant proposal. This proposal includes participation in key ecosystem initiatives at EthCC, Devcon, and ETHGlobal among other events.

Goals: helping to reinforce Aave Protocol’s unique and positive culture, share technical knowledge, and attract new community members. These initiatives are aimed at helping to continue the expansion of the DeFi ecosystem by showcasing Aave Protocol’s core values.

Background

Aave Protocol has consistently been at the forefront of DeFi innovation with pioneering features. With a strong emphasis on security, usability, and composability, Aave has amassed a vibrant and engaged community of developers, users, contributors, and stakeholders.

Although the Aave Protocol has emerged as a leader within DeFi, the sector at large is still in its nascent stages. To nurture the expansion of the communities, it’s important to stay engaged and visible. For the events proposal from the DAO for 2024, Aave Labs wants to concentrate on proposing fewer but higher-quality events to maximize impact. To achieve this, we would like to aim for high production standards for EthCC, Devcon, hackathons, rAAVEs and smaller events to ensure the highest possible standards and effectiveness of each event.

Overview

Aave Labs is requesting a grant for $850,000 paid in GHO for events for the remainder of 2024:

  1. Hackathons & Bounties: We want to encourage developers to build on Aave Protocol, as well as GHO. These hackathons not only provide a platform for the Aave community to connect with talented developers in both web3 and web2, and to remain visible and competitive in a growing industry, but also lead to the creation of innovative DeFi projects that enhance the Aave ecosystem. We propose to sponsor three ETHGlobal hackathons in Q3 and Q4.

  2. Side Events: Hosting side events alongside major conferences is an opportunity to increase community awareness, foster connections, and share technical knowledge and industry insights. Typically featuring panels, workshops, and discussions led by industry experts, side events are designed to strengthen awareness of Aave and GHO technology among strategic audiences, reach new target audiences, and ensure Aave and GHO remain top-of-mind within and outside the community. Crucially, side events are where Aave is able to show commitment to inclusivity and diversity in the web3 ecosystem by tapping into new communities and audiences, such as SheFi, which is educating cohorts of +1000 women and includes Aave in the curriculum.

  3. Merch: Aave Labs seeks to create highly coveted Aave and GHO branded merchandise to distribute at events, as part of community engagement and awareness-building efforts as well as to proliferate the ghost. Aave Labs will continue to push for the use of sustainable materials and creation of merch people actually wear, use, and love.

  4. Continuation of GHO Pass: We are proposing the second iteration of the GHO Pass, an initiative aimed at demonstrating the technological capabilities and user value of the GHO technology. Last year, the first iteration of GHO Pass was launched as an initiative aimed at fostering greater GHO adoption. This experimental initiative generated 30,000 GHO to the DAO treasury, and an increase in GHO holders by ~40%. This year’s iteration of GHO Pass is planning to offer early access to rAAVE tickets, drink credits, exclusive merchandise, and other perks, with all revenue generated funneled to the Aave DAO.

  5. rAAVE: To celebrate the community’s welcoming culture, we plan to host two more editions of the flagship rAAVE event. Throughout the past years rAAVE has positioned itself to be the most sought after event in the ecosystem. They foster community spirit and create memorable experiences. We will integrate the GHO Pass for ticketing logistics and manage press relations and social media to maximize awareness and inclusion. This year’s events will be hosted at ETHCC in Brussels and Devcon in Bangkok. To mitigate some costs for rAAVE, we are planning to potentially obtain co-sponsorship with current or potentially new partners for the Aave ecosystem. Due to the event’s high visibility, it is crucial that if co-sponsorship is obtained, the selected partners are aligned with the Aave Community and this is conducted in a balanced manner.

  6. Open Finance Day Brussels: In partnership with Chainlink, Uniswap, and Aptos we would host an Open DeFi Day for talks, networking, and light bites during EthCC week. Talks will include members of those communities, Aave Labs, and Aave DAO community members.

Activations Overview:

Name Date Details
rAAVE July & Nov TBD During the weeks of EthCC & Devcon. rAAVE brings the community together, helping to strengthen Aave’s culture and differentiate Aave’s ecosystem. The plan is to host two rAAVEs during the course of this proposal.
Open Finance Day July 9 In partnership with Chainlink, Uniswap, and Aptos we would host an Open DeFi Day for talks, networking, and light bites during EthCC week. Talks will include members of those communities, Aave Labs, and Aave DAO community members.
ETHGlobal hackathons 2024 Sponsorship of four ETHGlobal hackathons, focusing on quality developers.
Devcon Nov 12 -15 This will be the event of the year in the Ethereum community. Hosted by the Ethereum Foundation, this event will be one of the most attended web3 events of 2024.
Side Events Q4 Side events currently being considered include: SheFi Summit (Brussels, Singapore, Bangkok), DeFi Security Summit by Certora during Devcon, Stable Summit Brussels. Funds from any side events that are not confirmed will be rolled over to the next potential side event.

The majority of the grant will be used to create an impactful presence during Devcon, ETHGlobal hackathons and rAAVE. These events are pivotal to help drive developers to build and utilize GHO within the wider community. Devcon week will be the marquee event of the year.

After covering the aforementioned main sponsorships, any remaining budget will be directed towards side events related to the security of DeFi and smart contract technology. Any excess funds from this grant will be rolled over to be used for events during Q1 2025.

The proposed budget is in line with previous spending for similar events and covers four major events and side events, including Devcon – one of the most important events of the year for the Ethereum community. A recap on last year’s events was posted to governance last December, here.

Aave Labs shall cover all travel expenses for its team members, and this proposal does not request any funds for these expenses, or include any compensation for Aave Labs’ work.

Next Steps

● Get community feedback on TEMP CHECK

● Snapshot vote

● If Snapshot is successful, then move to AIP

Conclusion

We believe that the proposed one-off budget allocation of $850,000 paid in GHO for activations and events for the remainder of 2024 will not only help enrich the Aave Protocol ecosystem, but will foster innovation, inclusivity, and recognition.

We look forward to the DAO’s support for this proposal for these events during 2024.

4 Likes

Thank you for this TEMP CHECK.

But I will vote NAY on this one.

For the following reasons:

Last year AaveLabs asked for 550k as seen here [TEMP CHECK] Aave Events & Sponsorship Budget
From these 550k, 250k surplus was being used in 2024.

Now AaveLabs is asking again for a whopping 850k (62,5% more than last year), for the same events when compared to last years proposal (see the link above).
That results in a total of 1.1m$

Whats the rationale behind needed 62.5% more than last year?
Why should be DAO be paying for this?
Whats the benefit for the DAO?
From what I know some DAO member were invited to rAAVE, but thats it, am I right?
Maybe others can confirm.

If costs for all these events got so expensive, could you provide a list of last years events and this years events and show in a table the costs for each? Avara should be able to provide this (or AaveLabs) as both need to have an accounting department responsible to book these things obviously for tax departments and other authorities.

While I agree that some events might be useful, most of them haven’t had any kind of impact on AAVE or the DAO.

For example rAAVE may be fun and people connect it with Aave it doesn’t end up in additional revenue for the DAO.
Also SheFi is a great initiative, but hasn’t had any impact on the DAO.

13 Likes

We oppose this proposal for the following two reasons:

  1. From a cost-effectiveness perspective, spending $1.1 million on events and sponsorships is not a wise decision.

  2. The breakdown of costs for each event and sponsorship is unclear, and there is a lack of sufficient accountability.

4 Likes

Sponsoring ETHGlobal hackathons result in an attempt to improve the universe AAVE is built on, while scouting talent, new tech and ideas. How could you see this as no value for the DAO?

Clearer cost breakdown should be provided upon further escalation of this proposal.

1 Like

While we see the value of this proposal, there needs to be more effort in breaking down this budget and justifying the increase in the grant request.

While the DAO may have the funds to meet this demand, we should strive to develop a culture of financial prudence.

6 Likes

Thank you for the time given to review our proposal. Please find answers to your questions below:

  1. What’s the reason behind the grant budget increase?
  • The proposed budget is in line with previous spending for similar events. The increase can be explained by this proposal being for events over the span of 2 quarters (Q3 and Q4 2024), whereas the last grant budget was proposed for a singular quarter (Q4 2023). Simply put, this proposal includes more events, for example, two rAAVEs (instead of one), there are three ETHGlobal hackathons (instead of mainly smaller side events), a new Devcon sponsorship (Devconnect did not have sponsorships), and side events.
  • There would be higher-quality events, forming part of an inaugural series aimed at maximizing impact. This approach requires greater costs in each event to ensure higher production standards and effectiveness.
  • There are more events organized by other DeFi projects / communities. It takes more effort and more events to stand out.
  1. Rationale for the DAO funding?
  • The events are designed to community engagement and attract new community members and developers: Hackathons and bounties encourage developers to build on Aave Protocol and GHO, leading to the creation of innovative DeFi projects that enhance the ecosystem. Aave community events and rAAVE gatherings foster community spirit, strengthen connections, and showcase Aave Protocol’s core values as reflected by the DAO’s priorities.
  • Proposal represents a small portion of the DAO’s revenue, and a fraction of what traditional organizations spend on similar activities. Even if the DAO would seek to spend x5 the amount of this proposal it would not have an outsized spending on community building.
  • Cohorts like SheFi include thousands of people who are actively learning about DeFi and blockchain. The Aave Protocol has been part of their initial learning journey since 2019. Moreover, the ecosystem should have people from various backgrounds, regardless of their gender, orientation and geographical location.
  • We believe the DAO should aim to consistently translate brand awareness and marketing efforts into tangible benefits for the DAO, which is a gradual process. For example, the GHO Pass initiative generated 30,000 GHO for the Aave DAO treasury, and during the sale, the number of GHO token holders rose, from 666 to 913, marking a 37% increase. GHO Pass will be featured in upcoming rAAVEs, and we have more innovative initiative ideas for the DAO’s consideration that we think will further benefit the DAO directly.
  • Events are not meant to pursue revenue generation.
  1. rAAVEs
  • rAAVE have been the most sought-after parties at major crypto events and put the AAVE front and center.
  • We want the community to join the events. DAO delegates and other ecosystem members have been welcomed and present at all the rAAVEs (we have seen them on the dance floor ;))
  • The rAAVEs are not meant to generate direct revenue to the DAO.
  1. Why doesn’t Aave Labs disclose in detail the spending on each event?
  • We will not be able to provide more than a top-line budget, because event sponsorships are often confidential as a requirement from the event organizers, and we want to keep the methodology of organizing these events a community advantage. Publicizing the exact details will make them easily replicable.
5 Likes

EthCC, Devcon, and ETHGlobal are big events in the space and AAVE being a trending DeFi giant would benefit from sponsorships. The good thing is the AAVE DAO is cash positive and can support this proposal. (Perhaps not blockchain related but) Even traditional giants like Uber and Amazon in early years were spending more on brand recognition and customer acquisition rather than focusing on positive cashflow.

I think it will be a good move by DAO to grant the amount and follow up on value creation from this spending in 6 months time.

1 Like

I agree that the proposed events & sponsorship are meaningful for the Aave Ecosystem, but the costs are too high. Personally, I recommend reducing the number of ETHGlobal participations from four to two and decreasing the sponsorship costs for each event.

1 Like

There is not even a rough estimation per event, especially side events like SheFi summits.
rAAVE isn’t under NDA its up to Avara or its marketing manager/event manager to publish what the money is being spent on. If no numbers then what is it needed for?

  • DJ?
  • Security?
  • Drinks? etc.

You are saying you want to keep the methodology a community adavantage?
How can it be an advantage for us if we don’t know anything about it?
And even If some numbers would be shared I don’t think its could be easily recplicated.

I would like to quote Stani here when he is talking about Aave protocol forks.
“You can fork a protocol, but you cannot fork a community”

In other words, knowing numbers and trying to copy rAAVE doesn’t end up in people hosting something similiar and having all people leave rAAVE, right?

5 Likes

As someone who has dealt with event sponsorships for 10+ years, they are not often confidential b/c they are general requests to the sponsors for tier levels.
If the AAVE DAO is paying then the docs should be disclosed for accounting purposes.

I would ask as well that KPIs be put around the events to determine if it’s good for the DAO. Are there expectations of returns and what should those returns look like? Broader adoption, onboarding users, deeper partnerships, etc.

5 Likes

I appreciate your questions about event funding. However, I respectfully disagree that SheFi hasn’t had any impact on the DAO.

As the founder of SheFi and someone who has previously played a role in the Aave DAO, I would like to highlight some key points that demonstrate the significant impact our events and community initiatives have on the blockchain and DeFi ecosystems:

  1. Educational Impact: SheFi has educated over 4,100+ women from 90+ countries on DeFi, including Aave protocol and the DAO since launching publicly in 2020. We’ve extended our reach to reputable institutions like Fidelity Investments (2 year teaching partnership), Google, Oxford Business School, Consensys for employee onboarding and United Talent Agency, effectively broadening our audience and influence as a trusted brand for DeFi and Web3 education.
  2. Inclusivity and Diversity: Our focus is on bringing new participants to blockchain technology who have been historically excluded from both the blockchain and traditional finance ecosystems. These are real human users, not airdrop farmers with multiple wallets. It takes attending 1 major ETH conference to notice the lack of women and events run and led by people that look like them.
  3. Event Success: Since the launch of SheFi Summit in 2023, we’ve hosted three major events with a total of 1,290 attendees. Our upcoming SheFi Summit in Brussels has already sold 573 tickets. These events play a crucial role in attracting new, diverse, and non-male participants to DeFi ecosystems. Participants get to see people that look like them building and using protocols, strengthening trust.
  4. Community Building: Events are a powerful tool for community growth. They provide a platform for introducing people to projects. At SheFi we foster engagement through interactive onchain quests, and allow attendees to connect with the real humans and stories behind these protocols. This face-to-face interaction is invaluable in building a loyal and engaged community. We’re not just talking, we are onboarding people to Web3 and doing onchain activities.
  5. Learning Through Experience: Not everyone in crypto is a 24/7 degen who consumes information solely through online channels. Many people learn and engage much better through real-world experiences. Our events offer a tangible and engaging way for people to connect with and understand DeFi.
  6. Role in Aave DAO: Having previously been involved in the Aave DAO, I understand the importance of setting new standards for the community. Initiatives like rAAVE have demonstrated our commitment to innovating what community looks like and who gets to participate in community intiatives. Supporting SheFi aligns with these values by continuing to push for inclusivity and education within the DeFi space.
  7. Trust and Safety in Crypto: The crypto space is often marred by scams and illegitimate brands that tarnish trust and safety. At SheFi, we are dedicated to bringing only high-trust protocols to our courses and events, including Aave. This focus on trustworthiness significantly increases brand trust among entirely new audiences, fostering a safer and more reliable ecosystem.
  8. Impact of Branding: According to multiple studies, strong branding is essential for the success of companies:
  • Consistent brand presentation across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%​ (Influencer Marketing Hub)​.
  • Trust and authenticity are crucial, with 86% of consumers valuing authenticity when deciding which brands to support​ (Influencer Marketing Hub)​.
  • It takes 5-7 brand impressions for consumers to remember a brand, highlighting the importance of repeated exposure through various channels, including events​ (WebsiteBuilder.org)​.

In 2024, women represent about 29% of crypto owners, up from 18% the previous year. This translates to approximately 121.8 million women involved in cryptocurrency globally. This demographic is crucial for the growth and diversification of the crypto community, and initiatives like SheFi are instrumental in increasing female participation.

Supporting SheFi events is not just a financial investment but a strategic move to foster a more inclusive, diverse, and engaged DeFi community. These events are instrumental in attracting new users who bring fresh perspectives and long-term value to Aave and the broader blockchain ecosystem. The work we’ve done within Aave and the standards we’ve set through initiatives like rAAVE highlight the importance of these efforts.

Thank you for considering these points. I am confident that continued support for SheFi events will yield substantial benefits for Aave and its DAO.

5 Likes

So no impact specifically on the Aave DAO? Because I have been in the DAO since 2020 and active in general since the inception of EthLend.
I was reading your post but didn’t see the part where SheFi has played a role in the DAO.

I have seen that you have been a reviewer for the Aave grants DAO (differrent to the Aave DAO) in 2021 for about a year, am I right? Because then focus switched to SheFi and W3BCLOUD, correct?

So, while all your points are great towards SheFi and sounds its like a major success, I don’t see the net value the Aave DAO has had since inception. The only personal impact you had was being active in the Aave grants DAO.

Could you point to that work? Again, I haven’t seen anyhting, maybe I just missed it within the last 5 years.

In my opinion, SheFi should be applying for a grant instead of being included in this proposal. It makes more sense, if there aren’t enough funds from SheFi by their own.
But I would also like to hear voices from other DAO member.

3 Likes

Thank you for your comments on the proposed event and grant budget. I wanted to introduce myself, I’m Paris, Head of Ecosystems at Avara, and in this context, Aave Labs. I’m writing to you to share my personal experience working with the community.

My journey with the Aave brand began before my official role, dating back to Fall 2021 with the rAAVE in Lisbon under the amazing lights at Estufa Fria’s botanical garden, which significantly elevated rAAVE’s recognition. Those familiar with my work know my obsession with detail—I believe that the best brand activations hinge on meticulous attention to detail.

In Winter 2021, Noah Farrar, Aave Labs’ designer and illustrator, and I began collaborating creatively. Our first project was the “Ice Ice Aave” sweatshirt, followed by the rAAVE shirt resembling a Finnish snowglobe (as many know, Aave means ghost in Finnish). Since then, Noah and I have been collaborating deeply on these details, creating Ronnie, who the Aave community has embraced wholeheartedly. Our goal was simple: create beautiful Aave brand moments raising awareness at hackathons and conferences, embrace and honor local heritage, and create truly amazing merch that the Aave community and builders would love, after long conference nights of hacking away on Aave’s tech stack.

A few of our highlights:

We took Ronnie to new heights in ETH Amsterdam, where we introduced hackers to the “Devs Do Something” tee, with Ronnie wearing the beloved Vitalik cat bag, and the EthAmsterdam tee where Ronnie spent time in a wooden shoe in the canals of Amsterdam. And of course, our rAAVE Amsterdam, where degens and regens united around music and we heard the “rAAVE! rAAVE!” chant for the first time.

I’ve been running the rAAVE social accounts since that time, giving Ronnie a voice, making our community laugh, creating poems and art, dancing, and hunting down the beloved rAAVE tickets. With POAPs on wristbands, a drink menu where every ingredient and cocktail is DeFi and Aave community branded, we continued our creative journey. At ETH Latam in Buenos Aires, Ronnie wore a Messi jersey and drank mate. At ETH Mexico City, Ronnie turned into Frida Kahlo, and at ETH Berlin, Ronnie played at HÖR and celebrated the Merge with “Geisterbier’’ (translation, ghost beer) in leather gear. Through these events, Ronnie has emerged as an icon in the crypto community. What other DAO has a beloved mascot who writes poetry?

Next stop was EthCC 2022, Ronnie sat in “Cafe de Aave” reading Rekt, and on Paris’ Love Lock Bridge, with little easter eggs on the “La Vie en Ghost” tote, and hinting at the upcoming GHO stablecoin launch, the bridge with a locket scripted with “Peg.” If you look back on most of the merch, there have always been hidden easter eggs, a specialty of Aave merch. At this Paris rAAVE, the light-up Ronnie was introduced, created by light artist Tansen. As a result of all the popularity around the event, rAAVE got a shoutout on CNBC as the hottest ticket for degens and of course. That same year, we created handmade Aave beaded bracelets and branded bags and tees for DevCon Bogota. To win tickets, rAAVErs made dance tracks that sampled the CNBC clip from EthCC, wrote poems, and created artwork. Most importantly, we had top security and safe cabs outside, making sure attendees returned home safely. No detail unnoticed, or left un-thought. rAAVE Bogota was incredibly special and Aave’s rAAVE was featured in The Economist.

In 2023, Noah and I wanted to do something new that would keep the DeFi community engaged and guessing what Aave would do next. We did creative research to identify the right hook and gave Ronnie a new spin. This resulted in “collegiate Ronnie,” with a foam finger and the highly sought after “Mile-High Defi” tracksuit debut. All of these events and brand moments were made possible by the Aave Grants DAO.

Aave community building has sought to honor, celebrate and respect cultures from around the world. In preparation for Tokyo, a new market, we conducted in depth research on old-school anime and Japanese illustrations, quadruple checking Japanese language, and created Aave merch to bring the Aave brand to life while connecting it firmly and thoughtfully to Japanese culture. In Lisbon, Aave branding paid homage to Lisbon’s blue tiles, and incorporated Lisbon’s graffiti culture. With the DAO’s support, Aave hosted a beach rAAVE, where friends of Aave tie dyed and spray painted stencils of the Aave ghost on Aave hoodies. . In Istanbul, Ronnie moonlighted as your favorite doner kebab stand and introduced GHO Passport, a new way for community members to become educated about GHO and secure rAAVE tickets, skip the queue, and get exclusive Aave merch. The GHO pass was a huge success, generating buzz and each drop sold out in minutes.

As I look back on these initiatives, each one required incredible detail. I remember countless sleepless nights staying up with Noah working on every detail of execution, after loads and loads of unpublished drafts, “what if we do this or that,” endless research and planning. For example, understanding that sustainability is valued by Aave existing and prospective users, we identified sustainable materials and suppliers, ensuring high-quality, sustainable manufacturing, so that Aave merch doesn’t end up in landfills. The focus has been to bring the Aave brand to life and create authentic connections that foster loyalty and differentiate Aave. Additionally, we paid particular attention to the Aave booths, which have always been extremely popular, generating crowds and large lines for Aave’s special merch.

In an effort to promote inclusion and engage with users on an authentic level, we have proactively worked on behalf of the DAO with organizations such as SheFi that bring diverse groups into the Aave fold and who are made to feel part of Aave’s future and core value of financial freedom. To raise the bar even further, we have created Open Finance Day where we’ve planned educational talks, and rAAVE Brussels, the first all-female DJ lineup.

You may think, all of this for a ghost? If we’re trying to change the future of finance and remain at the top of our industry, we need to have a strong brand and presence on top of Aave’s technology. In a world where code is open source, brand and community are everything. In my humble opinion, Aave is living proof of that. When we see builders wearing merch from the years behind us, stopping by our booths (and waiting in line) to say hello, playing games and minting GHO passes to come to our events, and partnering with us for new initiatives, we know we’re on the right track. Build and they may come, but nurture, and they will stay.

With this background, which I hope imparts our work, I wanted to provide several key points to clarify the grant budget:

  1. Community Building & Raising Awareness is a commitment that produces long-term benefits for the DAO, creating unique positioning for Aave Protocol and GHO within the DeFi landscape. It is not achieved via one-off events or inconsistent efforts. Well-executed outreach and education must be applied consistently, at a regular cadence and when successful – meaning it inspires awareness, engagement and loyalty – one needs to double down, not abandon successful programs. It’s important to reinforce that all the proposed events, sponsorships and rAAVES have been carefully thought through to produce maximum impact (reach the community/ecosystem, as well as new audiences and geographies) and most importantly, to build awareness over time.

  2. rAAVE is a special gathering that has galvanized the DeFi community and allowed Aave to stand out as a welcoming community, while raising brand awareness and differentiating Aave and now, GHO. There have been many studies that show that by being authentic, relevant, unique and differentiated, brands attract loyal users. The proposal is to produce two rAAVES for Q3-Q4 in strategic locations (EthCC and Devcon) with strategic audiences and build on the DAO’s investment in this initiative. Not to mention, we have partners always wanting to be a part of it.

  3. New Aave branded events that showcase Aave, GHO and the ecosystem uniquely. The proposal supports the creation of several new Aave-branded events at strategic conferences and locations, where messaging and format come together to deliver high impact. Topics and speakers are selected that are of particular interest to the Aave community. These new events require a production budget and much additional work on the part of community building because Aave Labs is producing them – from renting the venue, to security, to catering, speaker costs and onsite branding. It costs more to produce Aave events but as you can see from other DAOs that support their own events, these initiatives position, elevate and focus attention. By spending on Aave ecosystem events, the DAO is reinforcing Aave initiatives and priorities.

  4. Additionally, this budget has zero administrative, travel, etc. costs from Aave Labs. This program is administered gratis to the DAO. All expenditures are direct costs for specified activities only. The team behind this proposal work diligently and tirelessly on every detail of this plan – geographic breakdown, target audience, sustainable merch, security, positioning, communication, design, research, programming, etc.-- and have carefully considered every dollar of this proposed spend. .

Community building and events that the DAO has supported, differentiate Aave raised the bar for the whole DeFi ecosystem, and got Aave more mainstream through big media coverage. It’s important to highlight that community building and raising awareness is a long-term project that contributes to the overall success of Aave and GHO. In today’s highly competitive DeFi landscape, standing out is key to the DAO’s ongoing success and growth. Sharing a breakdown of costs means sharing how Aave markets itself – a breakdown competitors would love to duplicate.

5 Likes

From what I observe, one of the main concerns from the DAO and community is whether this grant will be used soley for “AAVE Events & Sponsorships” or for Lens or in tadem for Lens and/or other Avara projects.

Another item I observe from the comments which requires clarificaiton is whether 100% of SheFi summit expenses will be sponsored under the proposal?

What is meant by majority of the grant? A percentage can be shared at the very least with the DAO.

Agree with SaucyBlock and @EzR3aL here.

There’s no doubt that Aave events can bring value to the brand and by extension the DAO, however this is expensive (especially given the $500k from just September last year) and there is not enough breakdown/accountability around spending.

As @Kene_StableLab mentioned, the DAO may have a lot of revenue right now, but we have seen how quickly things can change in this market and financial prudence is a worthwhile endeavour. DAOs can quickly develop a culture of extravagant spending with low accountability.

Furthermore, if this proposal were to pass, it’d be helpful to have post-event reports presented to the DAO indicating how much was spent for various things (without sharing sources etc) along with some type of impact report demonstrating the implied value of said event. I’m aware these existed before, but they could be more substantive with better breakdowns on cost and impact.

I also agree that it’s important that these funds are exclusively used for Aave and GHO related events.

Thanks for the proposal and discussion in the comments - interested to see where this ends up!

5 Likes

We request the disclosure of the budget breakdown regarding the following two points:

  1. The total cost for two rAAVE.
  2. The sponsorship costs for each event other than rAAVE.
2 Likes

Yes, I was on the AAVE Grants DAO. Are you saying funding projects in the AAVE ecosystem has 0 connection to impacting AAVE DAO?

That’s not what I said. I was asking what’s the connection between Shefi and Aave. And what kind of projects have been building on top of Aave?

You can see my questions in my previous post above. If you have any further questions let me know. Happy to answer

4 Likes

The ACI does not support this proposal. We echo previous delegate sentiment and feedback.

Avara as an entity is set to receive $12M this year, which is already a very large premium compared to actual costs. We’re fine with this because a company should be able to make fair profits, and we consider V4 as a sound investment for the DAO. However, this event and sponsorship budget is unnecessary and does not provide enough upside for the DAO or the protocol.

As there’s been a lot in this thread, here are some general points:

  1. The ACI strongly supports the credible neutrality ethos. A protocol should be permissionless and provide the same yield or debt cost regardless of any off-chain factors, which is what we built. The ACI also prefer to lead by example than by virtue signaling.

  2. Maybe due to my swiss origins, we’re strong supporters of the “aggressive neutrality” doctrine at the social layer. The DAO should remain neutral on all political, social, or “current-thing” issues. We take an aggressive “keep us out of this” stance on these topics and refuse to give a penny to any “cause”. We’re not on any side but the side of decentralized finance. that’s a doctrine token holders delegating to us highly align with.

  3. Regarding the Grants DAO, one of the first things the ACI did after forming was to advocate cutting unnecessary spending in our DAO’s budget. The DAO allowed people without vested interests in its success to spend millions of dollars for an upside that was hard to grasp. Simple game theory shows it’s never optimal to allow someone to spend other people’s money when that person has no real downside if the project fails. Since this cut, the Aave TVL is x4 and protocol went from slightly below breakeven to near 100m annual revenue.

  4. The DAO treasury is not a free buffet. Every dollar there is the result of service providers’ hard work and should be earmarked to either increase growth with visible results or be returned to AAVE stakers and users via safety modules and growth initiatives such as Merit.

  5. Hackathons & Bounties: We haven’t seen any interesting projects gain traction in the Aave ecosystem from hackathons or bounties in recent years. The ecosystem and protocol are more mature now, and synergies are found in more complex use cases that can’t be built over a weekend.

  6. Continuation of GHO Pass: GHO Pass is similar to a hackathon project. We built a similar experience with the ACI (https://wallet.aavechan.com) to showcase account abstraction and GHO payments, resulting in about 100 T-shirts sold in GHO to the community. It took an afternoon to build and while commendable, it’s not really a significant innovation or value-add that justifies substantial funding. These types of projects, while fun and demonstrative, don’t typically drive meaningful adoption or protocol growth.

  7. rAAVE: While rAAVE events make the Aave brand shine, they’re a bull market luxury that may not provide significant upside to our actual audience. These events are known to be “anti-networking,” where business discussions are discouraged. And while some speak all day about “inclusivity”, every year, The ACI uses its small ticket allocation to allow actual Aave partners and significant users who were kept off the invite list to attend in favor of more “cool” people that don’t have a penny in Aave.

Regarding claims of confidentiality preventing the sharing of numbers, this is Gaslighting, we’re the ecosystem of auditability and transparency.

For legal reasons I can’t share the actual Avara invoices, but It’s perfectly legal to share my own invoices and request quotes from exact same partners about same products.

In this spirit, Here’s our own quote we made for an order exactly similar to Avara merchandise for Devconnect in October 2023 from the exact same factory (note that both Lens & Aave products seem mixed in their order):

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Sponsorship decks for events are easily obtainable. As an example, for ETHcc, Aave Labs is not a sponsor; only Family, another product from Avara, is at the “WAGMI” tier. ACI is a sponsor at the same tier. Here’s our own invoice for €12,000:

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We’re happy to share all quotes for merch & sponsor relative to Aave DAO’s activities.

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General comment around events

Having done events for the community since 2017 (past 8 years), events helped place the lesser known ETHLend at the center of the Ethereum community and propelled increased exposure to the Aave brand across the whole web3 space and beyond.

Events are quite clearly a strategic way to increase brand awareness through various activations from hackathons (i.e. ETHGlobal), educational initiatives (i.e. SheFi) and rAAVEs, including merch. It’s clear that every team or DAO that understands the value of market share seeks to protect and expand it with various initiatives and events. It’s a no brainer.

Today, there is a lot of competition on events, especially during the busy weeks of EthCC and DevCon, where the existing Ethereum (and beyond) community and newcomers to the space gather. Most of the smartest teams (inc. DAOs) have understood these types of events as a prime opportunity to strengthen awareness and reach, and even ensure visibility to newcomers from developers, users, partners and institutions.

Some of these event activations by other project teams are quite poorly organized; the merch is done poorly (mainly because teams are trying to save costs, lack of know-how and experience, or want to maximize their quantity over quality). These kinds of events won’t gain long-lasting brand retention and the merch is most likely used only once.

We see countless posts on social media, where Aave merch from events years ago (gifted at rAAVE or hackathons) is still being used. Even ACI employees wear Aave merch. The reason is simply, we’ve been able to produce apparel that is high-quality and well-designed (fully in-house) unless there has been a shortage of suppliers (where in DevConnect everyone had to use the same supplier in Istanbul as recommended by EthGlobal). This is how Ronnie, the Aave ghost (which @marczeller favoured in the Aave Visual Identity discussion), was born from rAAVEs by in-house design.

This can be attributed to strong execution that is a result of the learnings and know-how we have obtained that we have passed to the next activation and of course, being sufficiently funded by the DAO to produce strong activations. Great execution also includes understanding strategically (based on previous learnings) which events have a high potential (for example, a small sponsorship at EthCC won’t take the brand far and in fact, it can even be counterintuitive to see Aave as a brand next to smaller brands; hence its far more productive to create higher ROI with side events such as rAAVE and Open Finance Day, that everyone wants to come to.

The most counterproductive argument I’ve seen so far is that an event should equal a BD deal or additional TVL. It’s not how brands work, and it is also the reason why people who think this way usually fail on brand awareness. Similarly, thinking that rAAVEs or any activation is so-called ”bull market luxury” is faulty. Brand work is an on-going activation and the more there is competition, the more efforts are needed for brading to stand out. Also, I bet more people will be talking about rAAVEs than some sort of small booth activation directly at the EthCC.

When events have had value for the past 8 years, and given how much there is built upon the brand and especially the new Aave Visual identity accepted by the Aave DAO, it makes sense to continue building the brand and stay in competition with other smart teams out there. Not only the DAO needs to stay in competition, but actually double down given people go after the brand new thing. There is a reason why big brands do huge rebranding every once in a while. We already see a lot of brand competition from Morpho and also Maker in connection with their brand updates. We should expect them to double down on events and in fact, the Spark hackathon booth was 20 meters away from Aave’s during DevConnect Istanbul.

Accountability

Each event or activation that I’ve been part of has had full accountability, ensuring maximum ROI including negotiating all costs and tracking. After 8 years of events, the accountability practices are upholding high standards. Sharing breakdown of event costs would definitely allow any competition to understand event costs strategy (direct data for all DeFi projects that compete on mindshare, and especially those protocols mentioned above). However, given we are operating in a DAO-environment, a headline breakdown per city on events might be helpful for the DAO even if it leaks to competition.

Regarding the comment around Aave and Lens, the proposal is about Aave events exclusively. This has nothing to do with Lens. We have never spent Aave funds on any work on Lens or any other product.

Budget

From what I see there is not a general objection to events as an activation. It’s more of a question of budget for the rest of the year. Not doing any events, having limited budget, cutting corners on design, quality, and audience would stagnate the Aave brand work done so far. Let’s be smart about what we need to do to move forward, not how we kneecap ourselves. The events budget is simply a spectrum of reach. Lower budget would mean fewer events and/or smaller events for the rest of the year. However, I do not recommend that for Aave. As – the leading brand in the whole space, Aave should do more than the bare minimum in a highly competitive brand landscape. However it’s up to the DAO to decide on the final budget.

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