On Jan 11, 2022, the dYdX Grants Program (“dYdX Grants”) officially opened its doors to applications. This was after positive feedback in the forum and a successful proposal vote. The goal for the program was simple: grow dYdX’s contributor base through community-driven grants.
The program was launched with 752,000 DYDX from the community treasury. The program is managed by eight industry leaders and Reverie (acting as the Grants lead).
As a reminder, our goal for the first iteration of the program was to answer the following question for each grant: “will this grant benefit the dYdX protocol and/or its community?”
If the answer is “yes,” the application was strongly considered using other assessments like: practicability, impact, and affordability. This simple but effective criteria allowed the program to filter grants applications quickly and effectively, while ensuring quality.
Since launching, dYdX Grants received 254 applications and approved 62 grants, which comes out to roughly $2.1M in DYDX. Approved grants are diverse, but generally fall in the following categories: Trading Tools, Analytics/Dashboards, Marketing/Growth, Community/Governance, and Third Party Integrations.
Grantees range from individual community participants expanding their open source work portfolio to larger companies forming partnerships with dYdX. You can find all Approved Grants and Grantees here.
It’s important for us to be transparent with the community. To that end, we’d like to share more data on grants below.
The number of grants applications continues to increase, month over month. (Note: we don’t expect application growth to continue at the historical pace).
Across the eleven rounds of grants, we committed to +$2M in funding. (An average of ~$200k per round).
Grants were provided to a wide range of categories. That said, there was a significant focus on Tooling, Education and Community focused grants in these first rounds. Going forward, we want to put more emphasis on Security and Research to help strengthen the protocol.
While all of the approved grants provide value to dYdX, we’d like to highlight a few grants that we’re especially proud of. We’ll outline Completed and In progress grants to show both existing impact and future deliverables to come.
Max Holloway published a research paper to revise the trading rewards formula. The paper received much attention from community members and dYdX internally, potentially saving dYdX millions of dollars. The vote was passed and changes implemented this epoch.
Chaos Labs developed a powerful CLI tool for interacting with dYdX through the API. The tool makes it easier to trade on dYdX programmatically.
ETHGlobal, Blockcrunch Podcast, The Defiant, and Messari Sponsorships
We sponsored a number of popular events, podcasts, newsletters and reports to keep pushing the dYdX brand name forward. These marketing and sponsorship grants are intended to grow dYdX’s brand awareness resulting in user growth.
Marketing strategies do not always require third-parties or large sponsorships. This twitter account is a great example of a community driven effort to promote dYdX through social media. Simple tools like this can make a big impact.
Grants In Progress
Rabbithole helps projects gain users by running “quests” that encourage people to try the protocol. With this grant, Rabbithole will bring new users to dYdX.
Secure smart contracts are critical; when contracts are highly secure, users are more likely to deposit significant funds into the protocol. Forta and Nethermind improve the security of dYdX, protect users, and encourage more people to trade on the exchange.
While DGP lives under dYdX’s brand, we believe it’s important that people know DGP is a wholly independent and separate entity from dYdX Trading and dYdX Foundation. To clarify that point in the market, we contracted a top design agency to create a unique brand identity and website for DGP.
Most notably, dYdX Grants went through a legal restructuring to be implemented as a Guernsey Purpose Trust. dYdX is the first Grants program to adopt this structure. The legal wrapper provided by this Trust helps protect all parties involved (Trustees and Enforcer) while giving full control of the Trust and assets to DYDX tokenholders. It will also help us interact with third party providers and sign service agreements by having an entity structure. All these benefits make this a groundbreaking move for the program, one that will undoubtedly become adopted by many future programs.
A major hiccup was the delay in processing transactions due to the legal restructuring outlined above. As a result, the start and continuation of some grants were postponed pending distribution of initial funding amounts. The affected grants generally had startup costs or other funding requirements to start working.
With the number of grants growing, we will be focusing more attention on target deadlines and milestones being met. Now that the initial funding commitments have been delivered, the team is actively checking in with Grantees to monitor progress and ensure timely completions. Stay up to date with completed grants here.
Nonetheless, we’ve been excited to see the majority of grantees hard at work, with a few Grantees already completing their final milestones. As we continue to see grants launch and hit their milestones, we expect the community to experience the real impact of this program. A number of the high impact Grants take time to really come into effect, with 3-4 months completion milestones and user adoption growing over time.
Marketing + Communications
Finally, we also feel that more work can be done around the marketing and community building of dYdX Grants. The team has mostly focused on application processing and internal procedures, leaving out some of the external building pieces. To help improve this, we look forward to the launch of our new dYdX Grants website, ongoing Grants marketing efforts, and regular AMA updates with the community.
As we continue to grow, we can start to ask a different question: “how do we use dYdX Grants to grow dYdX into a high-functioning DAO?”
The goal for Grants will evolve from short-term, immediate benefits to longer-term scaling of the DAO through the building of community Working Groups. A Working Group acts as a core unit to the protocol focusing on a specific component or function with a qualified lead acting alongside additional community members. These groups will enable the DAO and protocol to scale, and allow for a contributor driven organization fully governed by the dYdX community.
We’ll be sharing more updates in the next few weeks. Let us know if you want to be a part of this mission!