First time poster. Disclaimers for full transparency: I (twitter) work at Metagov, a governance research non-profit, and kicked off the State of Web3 grants report that Mashal and I are running and that’s supported by Gitcoin and Rich Brown, a private backer. Don’t have any direct involvement in Aave, ADG, or related companies. I have applied, unsuccessfully, for some research grants and will try again the future.
Also, as part of the research for the report, we did interview @0xbilll to represent ADG and we interviewed someone from the Questbook team who ran Compound’s CGP 2.0.
Jumping in with some points of comparison. In terms of the reviewers being elected, I see two points coming up, though the main focus is on the latter:
- Does letting the community elect reviewers = decentralizing ADG more?
- Will doing so be beneficial for ADG?
1) Community Voting and Decentralization
On the surface, it would seem so. To decentralize, as per the Cambridge dictionary (the paragon of web3 knowledge…) = “to move the control of an organization or government from a single place to several smaller ones.” However, it can be argued that this view of decentralization is actually distracting from that fact that a) not everyone will vote and b) the loudest voices / most popular individuals might be liklier to win purely due to social dynamics. Don’t want to dwell on this as this is more interesting from an ideological or intellectual perspective, but doesn’t necessarily speak to positive results.
2) Will Community Voting on Reviewers Yield Positive Results.
The boring answer is, it depends. From what I’ve seen on the Compound forums (pitch, update), it seems to have gone well in CGP 2.0 ran by Questbook. I haven’t talked to anyone in the Compound community directly, so can’t speak in detail, just reflecting back what I’m reading.
To the points that @fig and MarcZeller brought up about new software needing to solve a problem, it clearly did for CGP - they didn’t have a program or existing grants software stack so the option of those coming together and being managed externally was a benefit. From what I last read, CGP 2.0 is wrapping up and is one of three proposals being explored for CGP 3.0 - one from Questbook, one from AlphaGrowth, one from Alastor and web3 studios.
Correction: It seems as though AlphaGrowth is actually pivoting more towards of a general growth focus and it may just be Questbook proposing to run 3.0.
If there’s a desire to try and decentralize the election process, one option is to directly allow the community to vote, though some of those concerns were brought up.
Another option (and apologies if Aave has something like this outside of ADG and I’m just showing my ignorance) is to try to build some community committees who have shown expertise in specific areas (e.g. dapps, infrastructure, dev tooling, community, MEV, whatever). Those committees can be tapped for things such as electing reviewers (or at the very least suggesting to the program lead), providing an additional layer of review for appropriately sized projects (or maybe even manage small budgets in their domain), or helping to craft RFPs alongside the current set of reviewers. Or a whole bunch of other options depending on how some would structure it.
It is also important to call out what the likes of EF, and Solana Foundation, and Uni Foundation do. Namely, they hire the teams they see fit with mandates to execute budgets, and those grants teams are expected to assemble the best review team they can. We don’t have enough data to try and claim what works better and what doesn’t and focusing on whether or not they’re decentralized is a different conversation altogether (back to #1 and should be separated from the conversation of what can provide tangible benefits).
At the end of the day, there is no single ‘right answer’ here. Given that Aave is more established, has a good reputation, and manages a reasonable budget, it is understandable to not want to change quickly if there isn’t a burning problem to solve. Change can be incremental, which can avoid missteps and unintended negative consequences. Aave is also on the more open / interactive with community side, which presents an interesting tension if there is a strong push to allow community voting (assuming it stays a binary yes / no, which hopefully if this does go to vote, at least one other option for ‘plan an experiment within some set time frame’ or something else to add more nuance).
Excited to see how this plays out. Apologies if I’m commenting on something y’all have moved on from but seemed like an interesting topic so wanted to jump in. Thanks for being an active community with interesting discussions!