Ajna Governance Operations Support Grant Proposal

Ajna Governance Operations Support Grant Proposal

Summary

Following community feedback, StableLab seeks funding for Governance Operations and Research to support the growth and accountability of the Ajna Protocol. This initiative emphasizes an objective and data-driven evaluation of grant proposals.

As compensation for our 6-month effort, we are requesting 900,000 $AJNA tokens. These tokens will not be sold for at least 1 year from the date it’s received in the following ETH address: 0x9c489E4efba90A67299C1097a8628e233C33BB7B

Request

Receiving Address: eth: 0x9c489E4efba90A67299C1097a8628e233C33BB7B

AJNA Amount: 900,000

(AJNA received will not be sold for 1 year)

About StableLab

Applicant Name: StableLab, PTE. LTD. | Doo Wan Nam

Email: hello@stablelab.xyz

StableLab is a firm building governance products and solutions for decentralized protocols. We contribute to over 25 protocols and ecosystems with exceptional diligence and participation metrics. Notable partners include Arbitrum, Optimism, Aave, Uniswap, 1inch, Balancer, Lido, and MakerDAO.

StableLab has participated in every poll on every proposal for all the ecosystems we cover and provides explanations on every vote as long as we are active there. We participate in the entire governance process, from initial discussions, proposal creation, and feedback rounds to on- or off-chain polls.

In addition to ensuring well-informed decisions, we also take the initiative to author proposals whenever possible. Our primary focus is on growth opportunities while minimizing unnecessary expenses.

We were among the foremost delegates responsible for the recent Arbitrum Short-Term Incentives Program (STIP). We’re a leading contributor and delegate in Aave, SafeDAO, and Uniswap, deeply integrated into Optimism and MakerDAO governance. In addition, we’re working with 1Inch to design their governance framework, spearhead major initiatives in Uniswap, and are vital members of SafeDAO grants operations and more.

Notable achievements:

  • DAI collateral onboarding, Jet protocol - October 2022
  • Compound Grants Program 2.0 with Questbook - December 2022
  • HOP Ambassador - March to October 2023
  • AAVE Governance Process Improvements - March 2023
  • MakerDAO Growth AVC with Flipside - April to July 2023
  • Uniswap Accountability Committee - April 2023
  • AAVE Orbit Program Participant - May 2023, ongoing
  • SafeDAO Grants Program - September 2023
  • Arbitrum STIP - September 2023

Grant proposal information

1. Governance Operations and Research Scope

StableLab will provide the following services to Ajna Protocol:

  • Governance Research and Reports
    • Assessment of Selected Grants Proposal
      • Objective and data-driven assessment of grant proposals
      • Confirm or challenge the assertions made by potential grantees using case studies and/or data analytics
    • Research Report that includes:
      • Lessons from successful grants from DAOs
      • Relevant governance research

2. What will that do for Ajna

As Ajna faces an increasing number of grant proposals, it becomes vital for the community to grasp the potential outcomes of funding these initiatives. Therefore, StableLab will offer an objective and data-backed assessment of selected grant proposals. This will empower the community to make informed decisions, selecting proposals that focus on growth and security.

3. How will this project be a source of growth or success for Ajna? Please include a step-by-step summary of how you imagine the completed project will affect Ajna.

To foster growth and success for Ajna, prioritizing high-quality grant proposals selected based on impact and thorough assessment is crucial. StableLab’s evaluations can assist AJNA holders in evaluating such applications more efficiently.

4. What is/are the objective(s)?

The objectives of the proposed governance operations and research include:

  • Attracting and onboarding high-quality applicants
  • Cultivating a positive and data-driven atmosphere conducive to great decisions
  • Ensuring research is of the highest quality

5. What is/are the deliverable(s)?

Our deliverables include:

  • Objective and data-driven assessment of selected grant proposals
  • Case studies for the DAO to study published on the forum

6. What is the timeline for completing the deliverables?

The delivery spans 6 months and commences two weeks post-ratification of our proposal.

7. What level of support do you anticipate needing through the duration of the project?

We will collaborate with grant applicants to gather additional details about their applications.

8. How often will progress reports be published to the forum?

  • Grant application evaluations will occur upon each application submission.
  • Grant case studies will be shared before the service term’s conclusion.

9. What are the estimated costs associated with the full completion of this project?

$79,000 = ~ 900,000 assuming $AJNA at 0.088 USD

All costs will be allocated to fund StableLab expenses to deliver services that meet the community’s satisfaction. The community can discontinue the process at the end of the term by not voting to renew the service. StableLab bears full responsibility for procuring any necessary resources to fulfill its obligations under this grant.

Additional conditions:

  • Should StableLab apply to any other future grants, we will offer reduced rates if we can account for shared resources in their fulfillment.

10. If applicable, How will the project be maintained after completion of the grant?

After the 6-month mark, we will re-apply for another 6 months of governance operations, if possible, and if community sentiment permits. Should we not be re-elected, we will finish our documentation duties and hand over all relevant accounts to the appropriate community members.

Additional Information

11. How will you handle a delay in your project timeline?

Should delays occur, we will inform the community via forum posts and conduct public post-mortems to improve our processes.

12. How will you handle a scenario where the project can’t be completed due to insufficient funding or other factors?

If StableLab is unable to complete the project due to insufficient funding or other factors, we will transfer responsibilities to a willing community member. Should no member step up, we will gracefully wind down operations and return any remaining funds to the treasury.

13. How will you handle a scenario where the project is completed but significantly under budget?

In the event of completing the project significantly under budget, we will pursue the following options:

  • Seek re-election for our services and request additional funding for the upcoming half-year.
  • If the re-election is unsuccessful, we will discontinue our services.

If we exceed the budget, the following steps will be taken:

  • Renewal of our services and carrying over any remaining funds to the next half-year.
  • Should the service renewal not succeed, any excess amount will be refunded to the treasury.
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We want to thank @Davidutro for his feedback and also helping with the format

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I thought Ajna was meant to be governance-less. So wouldn’t this be more like grant operational and community support?

Suggestion: protocol vibes officer(s)

Hi thank you for your comment. While it’s true that Ajna is meant to be governance-less, but governance is larger than simply voting including how the discussion is taking place and documentations are conducted

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I haven’t had enough time to deeply analyze the proposal, so my feedback is more general and might apply to other grant applicants as well. In general I applaud anyone who wishes to take on initiatives in an early project, especially ones that can help cultivate and onboard a larger community.

First of all, a concern I have is the potential conflict of interest with StableLab. As the largest Ajna delegate, will you abstain from voting on proposals regarding your own funding? I think delegates applying for grants is a general area the Ajna community needs to consider.

Furthermore, denominating Ajna in dollars doesn’t make sense currently in my opinion due to the low liquidity in the markets. Therefore, I believe the token amounts I’ve seen in grants applications in general so far, are too high when you consider the total amount of Ajna allocated to the grants program. Grantees should consider what success for the Ajna token would look like. Personally, I think Ajna can potentially reach $0.50 or even $1.00 USD over time (NFA). Consequently, I believe grant amounts should somewhat reflect a fair future valuation rather than today’s illiquid market, to incentivize grantees to hold and help increase the token’s value.
If grant applicants truly desire a USD amount, I think it would be better for the grants program to gradually accumulate some USDC or DAI by carefully and slowly selling Ajna in the market, and use those funds for grants. However, in my opinion, this approach defeats the purpose as grantees should ideally be aligned with the project’s success.

If the community decides to use a dollar denomination for Ajna, it should be based on a trailing average multiplied by a “potential price growth” buffer, rather than the spot price. This way, grantees would be aligned with the token’s success and be incentivized to hold instead of selling. Furthermore, if the community agrees on these amounts (400k Ajna), I think grantees should receive Ajna through a vesting smart contract. This would align them with the project’s success and prevent them from simply dumping the tokens. In that case, I would be more open to granting larger amounts. These vesting contracts can be easily deployed similar to a multisig wallet.

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Thank you for your comment. I read it over the week.

As David explained, in the proposal itself, it can’t be in dollar amount anyway. It has to be in token amount. The reason for having it as USD amount for benchmark was to ironically avoid potentially issue of Ajna going up a lot from the time we submit the application. Because if that happens, surely, the proposal won’t be seem as fair as the budget requested is much higher.

Thank you for the idea and that would be an excellent governance operations idea to explore once the grant is approved to draft policies and etc.

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Thanks Doo & Stablelab for putting this together. Below are my initial thoughts and some stuff I already shared in private but wanted to reshare here.

Initial Thoughts

  1. I also have quarterly reporting in my Admin & BD Grant Proposal. If we both get approved, I would like to partner on this so we don’t fragment content.
  2. I don’t like the idea of a biweekly governance meeting. It’s too static and low value of a concept. I suggest a more dynamic meeting setup that tailors to a few key groups.
    One is to serve proposers with published drafts during the screening stage. This is a critical time for these people to refine and get feedback on their asks. We could make a weekly call during the screening stage to have some office hours with active/large delegates.
    Two is to serve tokenholders/new delegates. Answer questions, communicate about the current state of various grants, etc.
    Three is to serve existing grantees with active grants. I imagine they will need to problem-solve and seek feedback around misc issues, which delegates should be willing to help with.
    A generic governance call to update people on the state of things and to field questions is unattractive to me. Those functions are already taken care of by the quarterly reports, the available trackers, and the FAQs. Consider doing a suite of call types to serve the three groups above.
  3. We should consider Twitter spaces for the meetings we do. Those have an added marketing/PR benefit due to the greater exposure of the call to potential newcomers and other interested parties.
  4. Maybe the research you guys can do could be related to ongoing or completed grants and their effectiveness or performance.

Questions

  1. What is “relevant governance research” / “Governance research and reports”? I would like more concrete details. What is the purpose of the governance research and reports? Perhaps we can better define this component and say it should be a single grant program-related report that tries to surface best practices. I think it could be beneficial to learn from other grant programs.

  2. What participants are we trying to onboard? Good potential grantees? or do you mean more delegates/token holders?

Other

Cost Analysis & Closing Thoughts

What does 40k get Ajna?
12 bi weekly calls
2 quarterly reports
UnknownX Grant case studies

In my view, this seems a little…light. I don’t think the above is worth 40k. Unless a better case can be made that 40k is a reasonable ask and provides that amount of value or more, I recommend that Stablelab expand or better develop the scope of this proposal. At the moment I am not sold.

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Thanks for your feedback and questions. Those are indeed important governance related questions to consider, and we are excited to explore them together. And appreciate the suggestions. Some details will be changed once live to respond to feedback during the process. Similar to how we imagine the work you will be doing will also adjust based on feedback while performing. As being flexible is key to ensure effectiveness.

Grant program-related report indeed would be an interesting proposal.

I don’t see them as mutually exclusive, and we can serve such groups together.

We both agree that having good governance operation and research are important. And with recent StableLab’s successful initiatives at Uniswap and many other protocols, which we saw led to rapid growth and more vibrant community, we are confident that we both can bring value greater than our budgets.

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We are in the process of editing the proposal but after feedback, we will implement 1 year of no sell when we receive the grant amount, and also in terms of under budget, we won’t ask for additional amount to be filled in case If the re-election of the service fails.

We will be also focusing more data tracking and analysis in governance front.

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Glad to see the proposal on-chain!

I saw one key change that I need to understand more clearly. Instead of targeting 40k USD, the grant amount is now ~80k USD. Almost double what was originally proposed.

My interpretation of this change is that since you are not selling for 1 year, this increase is to compensate Stablelab for the price risk. I think that is acceptable and a good strategic move to avoid impacting the market while AJNA liquidity is low. However, I would appreciate clarity on one detail. It says in your proposal

What is the USD cost of 6 months of services? Is it still $40,000 as previously stated? If so, does that mean if the 900,000 AJNA is worth the current ~$80,000 by next year the Ajna Protocol will receive 1 year of service with no additional grants?


I’m glad we don’t have planned governance calls anymore. I support your decision to cut those out.

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Actually the reason why the price is higher is mainly because the work that needs to be done is via data analysis which requires more resource and cost to do it.

That would be 80k per 6 months

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Wow! That’s very expensive. I hope they produce the value required to make this a good spend of resources.

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If 80k can be used to grow the protocol by millions, we believe it’s a worthy cause.

while we are confident, the community can also decide not to renew it at the end of the cycle if they don’t believe the results were delivered.

Hello @Doo_StableLab,

You are the largest AJNA delegate with 84m AJNA backing you (29% of the voting power).

Obviously, it would be a conflict of interest if you were to vote in favor of your own proposal, as you’d be unilaterally handing yourself the grant amount as well as the associated delegate voting comp.

Will you commit to abstaining from voting on your proposal?

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Hi Chris,

Thank you for your comment. And we agree with you that would be considered a conflict of interest and would breach the goodwill the delegators entrusted us with.

Therefore, StableLab won’t vote for our grant proposals. However, we can imagine there might be delegates who end up voting for their own proposals. If this is indeed the case, we will use our voting power against them. We’re announcing this here to help create a fair and unbiased vote to discover what the Ajna community wants.

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Thank you!

Yes, it should be expected that the less principled will vote for their own proposals. There’s nothing we can do about that in this setting other than disincentivize it socially.

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Thank you for all the support, as committed, we won’t sell our Ajna token till April 10th of 2025. We will also work on tracking the selected works of the grants that have been approved

We will be contacting grantees to discuss metrics we can track for transparency and accountability

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