[Draft] [OBRA] Governance Alignment Research - Agora

This proposal is also posted in Phase 0 discussion: [Discussion] [OBRA] Governance Alignment Research - Agora

[Discussion] [OBRA] Governance Alignment Research - Agora


This initiative aims to deliver a governance roadmap whitepaper that can help drive alignment for SafeDAO.

We plan to accomplish this through (a) research of other governance models and best practices, (b) build out a potential governance roadmap and ultimately (c) map the status quo of SafeDAO against a potential governance roadmap.

This will require working alongside key stakeholders in the Safe Ecosystem and the governance lead. Taking in the inputs from the community, and broader ecosystem to drive consensus of what an ideal state of governance could look like for SafeDAO and facilitate conversations of how we may get there.

Through this exercise, we hope to answer questions like: “what does good governance look like?” or “what are good KPIs for governance?” and “where are we tracking on this roadmap towards a vibrant, decentralized ecosystem for SafeDAO?”

Aligned strategy:

[Strategy 5] Increase governance participation

Funding request:

Total: $12,000 USDC

Use of funds:

  • We see all of the funds for this project to be used for incentivizing participation from key stakeholders in the ecosystem. We see this as a long-term investment for the purpose of driving alignment in the Safe Ecosystem, and plan to use all the funds to achieve this goal. We (Charlie/Agora) will not be retaining any of the use of funds here.
  • We are allocating 25% of the budget to our analytics partner (updated: Curia, see below)
  • 25% of the budget to key stakeholders on conducting customer interviews and hosting workshops
  • 25% of the budget to an in-person workshop or event (either at a conference or separate venue, we will coordinate with Safe’s team appropriately)
  • Remaining 25% of the budget as a buffer for extra development or costs.

Funding format: Streamed with 4-weeks cliff. No upfront required.

Relation to budget: 8%

Success, Metrics & KPIs:

Impact on facilitation of governance process. Ultimately, we believe that this initiative will help create alignment and clarity of how to drive governance forward in the SAFE DAO.

This initiative can be deemed successful if this roadmap is validated by the governance lead and broader ecosystem to be adopted as a template going forward and to be built against.

Initiative description:

We will break down this initiative into four (4) sections as follows:

Section 1: Governance best practices from both onchain and offchain communities

  • Research and consolidate best practices around onchain governance from communities like Optimism to Lido to Uniswap and Aave. Investigate both specific activities like delegation as well as governance models in balancing multiple stakeholders’ best interests.
  • Pull examples and historical research from more traditional organizations ranging from governments to open-source communities that resemble a similar business model and ecosystem structure as Safe.
  • Combine the above with academic research, collaborating with folks from top universities and research organizations both in the realm of traditional political science, and voting behavior, as well as investigating novel concepts like Network States to produce a report around best practices.

Section 2: Status quo of SAFE DAO ecosystem & governance

  • We will conduct a breadth of customer interviews, based on key questions both qualitative and quantitatively that the community and top delegates may have, compile analysis around the current state-of-union of Safe DAO’s governance.
  • This analysis will range from answering questions around general voting behavior, to participation, as well as Safe-specific questions like the activeness of guardians as an example.
  • We will take analysis requests and inputs from both key stakeholders that we interview as well as the governance lead.

Section 3: Potential paths for SafeDAO

  • By combining Sections 1 and 2, we hope to lay out a framework and whitepaper that the DAO can rally behind. This section will involve multiple iterations of working with many folks in the DAO to establish alignment.
  • This would be an interactive process that involves the broader ecosystem. We will be posting inputs and suggestions: e.g. “What are 4 different models SafeDAO could develop?”. Based on community feedback, we will iterate and build out a framework that satisfies the relevant requirement and goals.
  • The goal here would be to outline the high level objectives of where SafeDAO is at today, what “success” could look like, and where SafeDAO can track towards.

Section 4: Roadmap for governance

  • Taking inspiration from other protocols’s roadmaps (e.g. Worldcoin’s tech tree), we hope to work closely with key stakeholders and the governance lead to help facilitate and build out an actionable roadmap for governance.
  • Success for this section would be to establish a common understanding of where we are, where we want to go, and how we map against the plan today. E.g. we should be able to answer the question: “Which step are we on?” and “Are we step 5 out of… 100 or 10?”
  • We want to work with the community to come up with a list of opportunities around governance, where we can invite and encourage community participation and builders into the Safe Ecosystem to contribute towards this roadmap.
  • Through this exercise, we also want to facilitate the dialogue between different stakeholders and address questions such as doubts and worries of folks in the ecosystem. Examples may include: “What’s the role of the foundation/DAO?”, and “Role of the Delegate”, or “What are our KPIs?”

Current status:

This will be new research and development work. However, this will primarily leverage the knowledge and insights that already exist in the DAO. We believe a lot of this work simply requires good facilitation and conversations to drive consensus and alignment within the DAO.

I believe the answer already lies within the DAO, it just requires work to put this all on paper and output a whitepaper that we can all rally behind.


The biggest risk with any sort of initiatives that’s around research or building frameworks is that this is only useful if we reach consensus and alignment. A framework in a vacuum is not useful. A whitepaper that nobody believes in will add no value.

Primary risk here is that if we are unable to get alignment from the key stakeholders, then this initiative will not drive the intended results for SafeDAO governance long-term. Thus, it’s possible that this document & exercise is not ultimately valuable for the community because we fail to align all the different stakeholders and parties involved.

We hope to mitigate this risk working closely with the governance lead throughout this entire process.

Timeline and milestones:

Estimated length of project: 60 days.

Timeline breakdown:

  • Week 1-2: Initial workshops, research, and goal setting
  • Week 2-6: Interviews, iterations, consensus building discussions
  • Week 6-8: Writing out the whitepaper and report, putting it all together, and host Q&A sessions (ie. Twitter spaces or public Discord calls)

Initiative lead:

Led by cfeng.eth from Agora, but would request close collaboration with the governance lead at SafeDAO.


This initiative will primarily be driven by Charlie Feng from Agora’s team.

Charlie Feng – LinkedIn

  • Now building Agora.
  • Prev. co-founder of Clearco ($2.5B fintech startup backed by Softbank, Founders Fund, Social Capital, deployed over $5B). Scaled from 0-$100M+ revenue, 600+ people in six years.
  • CFO/COO; built and ran a variety of teams at an executive capacity: Finance, BizOps, Analytics, Operations, Risk/Capital Markets, Growth/Product.

We plan to collaborate with other folks in the community for different parts of this process. Ranging from analytics, to research, to building out the roadmap. So while Charlie will be facilitating the process, a lot of the work will be derived from other folks in the community to whom we’ll include and credit in the report. This is definitely not a siloed research project, but rather a group workshop.

Update: Pretty excited to have @v3naru and Curia team help us out for Section 2. They do a ton of great work on analytics. Most people have probably already seen their Safe Analytics Dashboard

Really excited to collaborate with them on this! :pray:

Additional support/resources request:

For the success of this project, we would request support from the governance lead at SafeDAO (@Andre ) and potential introductions from the SAFE team to key stakeholders in the ecosystem so that we may interview and talk to them.

Implementation dependencies:

No dependencies.


Thank you for this request. Here is a potential resource which can accelerate section 1 of this proposal https://web3citizen.xyz/

While I generally agree with the need for such a roadmap, a significant buy-in is necessary from top tokenholders which are not really present in governance in order to implement these changes.

The DAO has so far failed to get the attention of these individuals/groups and I do not see any strategies in this request to address this issue. Hence I think it maybe worth delaying the implementation of this proposal till the split delegation function is implemented and active delegates have actual voting power to implement changes that this request would propose.

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Hi @zcf., first of all, thanks for bringing this initiative forward.

Please find below our feedback:

Feedback on Governance Alignment Research
We see significant value in doing comprehensive research on governance optimization to expand our understanding of the potential directions for SAFE governance. Esp. in the “benchmark-like”, objective perspective, we see big value. As discussed during the pitch call, I support the idea that a modular setup for your research is great, especially to keep it flexible to align with other initiatives as already some Strategy 5 initiatives have some component of research that can feed into your holistic approach.

The primary topics we envision for your research include:

  • Enhancing the onboarding process for SafeDAO, with a focus on external participants
  • Facilitating decision-making for delegates
  • Promoting collaboration between initiatives, not only within OBRA but also in the Grants program

Collaboration with Other OBRA Initiatives
Considering how the different Strategy 5 initiatives can collaborate, I see collaboration opportunity in research. While this initiative could provide the holistic layer and working along the research funnel from (1) best practices over (2) status quo to (3) potential paths and (4) roadmap, individual initiatives (e.g., Curia, StableLab, DAOplomats, ours) can feed into specific practically-oriented research parts.

Collaboration with the Contribution Efficiency System (OBRA Enabler Initiative)
We are eager to act as an information facilitator for all practical improvement suggestions related to OBRA, i.e., best practices, current status, and future directions. This will be informed by our interviews and the operation of the manual OBRA elements (onboarding, milestone setting, tracking, reporting), while you focus on overarching governance view. We’d be excited to working closely with you to enhance governance as a whole. Sent you a dm to discuss ideas further.

We are also keen to share our insights from actively participating in the Arbitrum/Uniswap ecosystem to support your research.

Looking forward to seeing this evolving!

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Thank you @zcf for this initiative!

As a delegate with sufficient voting power and I believe this proposal is ready to move to a vote.

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