Safe Grants Program: Wave 1 Retro

Safe Grants Program: Wave 1 Retro


It’s been an exciting past four months for the Safe Grants team. We launched our inaugural Wave of the Safe Grants Program. Completing Wave 1 of the Safe Grants Program has been an exciting milestone to achieve after the DAO’s vote on SEP# 6 which approved the formation of the Safe Grants Program. Our intent for this initiative was to grow a thriving community of builders through funding opportunities and to support the decentralised growth and sustainability of the Safe ecosystem. To help us achieve our goal for the program, the community elected 3 Grants Council Members in addition to the Safe team providing two Council Members for internal support. We also hired a Grants Lead to manage the program and cohort of 21 grantees. And now, please enjoy the retro itself.

Our Intention for the Wave 1 Retro

  • The purpose of this post is to provide a summary of the program and its accomplishments. We aim to create a channel to gather feedback on the program and gauge interest for a second wave of the grants program. If you have feedback or inputs, please leave a comment below.

Data Sources for the Wave 1 Retro

The data and information presented in this Retro was gathered from the following sources:

  • CharmVerse: our grants application and management platform
  • SEP #6 on the Safe Forum
  • Survey responses from the Wave 1 Application Survey taken by Wave 1 applicants
  • Updates and survey responses from our Wave 1 Grants Council Members
  • Updates and survey responses from our Wave 1 Grantees

In this retro, we provide a breakdown of the timeline for the Safe Grants Program, an in depth summary of the application metrics, key stats on funding per grants category as well as noteworthy highlights of some grantees accomplished during the program and closing out the report with wins and areas for improvements.

Wave 1 Timeline Recap

  • April, 12, 2023: SEP #6 Created
  • May 3, 2023: Voting begins for SEP #6
  • May 10, 2023: Voting ended. SEP #6 passed with 99.89% approval
  • May 25, 2023: Wave 1 Grants Council Elections open for applications
  • June 20, 2023: Grants Council Elections closed. DAO Voted on Grants Council Members
  • August 7-14, 2024: Grants Council Onboarding
  • Aug 16, 2023: Wave 1 applications open
  • September 6th, 2023: Wave 1 applications end
  • October 1, 2023: Wave 1 commenced
  • January 31, 2023: Wave 1 ended
  • February 12, 2024:

Wave 1 Program Summary

Grants Council Members

  • Safe Core Team Council Members
    • German Martinez - Safe DevEx Team
    • John Ennis - Safe Ecosystem Team
  • Safe Community Council Members
    • Adam Hurwitz - Product / Business Reviewer
    • Brett Sun - Technical Reviewer
    • Sachin Mittal - Wildcard Reviewer

Application Phase

120 proposals were received for this wave. Below is the breakdown by category:

  • Build: 60 Proposals
  • Growth: 37 Proposals
  • Govern: 11 Proposals
  • Research: 12 Proposals

Review Phase

Evaluation Rubric
Refer to the table below for the Wave 1 Grants Evaluation Rubric. This rubric was agreed upon by the Safe Grants Council Members.

Preliminary Review

  • All 120 proposals were given a Preliminary Review

Final Review

  • Acceptance rate: 17.5%
  • 39 proposals made it to Final Review
  • 21 proposals were accepted and funded

Total Number of Grants and Funding Amount per Category


Focus Areas for Wave 1 Cohort

Wave 1 Cohort

For a detailed list of the Wave 1 Cohort, please check out the Safe Blog post highlighting all of our stellar grantees.

Key Highlights

  • Sygnum:
    • Launch of Safe{RecoveryHub}, where Sygnum serves as one of the established third-party recovery providers.
    • Recovery can be set up on testnet (non-public)
    • Recovery can be executed on testnet
  • Acme:
    • #OneTap NFT Minting with Safe:
      • Shipped the industry’s easiest #OneTap experience in beta to signature mint NFTs using Safe.
    • Safe Deployment Success:
      • Enabled everyday users to deploy ~2k SAFEs and mint ~3k NFTs in our beta phase – #OneTap at a time.
    • Premier NFT Launch at Tech Conference:
      • Unveiled an exclusive Amazon Rainforest NFT Collection for GITEX Global, a major tech conference in the Middle East.
      • The NFT collection swiftly reached Polygon’s Top 40 (2,032 NFTs), deploying 1,362 Safes (25% of Daily New Safes on Polygon mainnet) and 16,250 UserOps.
    • Exclusive NFTs for Web3 Event:
      • Launched a premier NFT collection for attendees of Polygon Connect, India’s largest web3 event, in collaboration with Safe and Polygon.
    • #OneTap On-Chain Payments:
      • Introduced One API #OneTap P2P on-chain payments, in partnership with Transak.
      • Launched a Stripe-like API to request on-chain USDT payments via credit cards, simplifying transactions for everyone.
  • Candide:
    • Candide released AbstractionKit: The Reference SDK to build on Safe with ERC-4337. The library adds first-class support to the fully audited ERC-4337 Safe canonical module. It provides two distinct sets of methods to build with Safe, catering to both developers who prefer minimal abstraction and a high-level library approach:
      • The Essentials method provides a comprehensive set of functionalities with support for overrides, delivering a simplified and efficient approach.
      • The Advanced method provides intricate control and customization options, specifically tailored for developers seeking detailed configurations.
    • AbstractionKit comes equipped with a suite of infrastructure with Candide Atelier, including hosted Bundlers and a Paymaster API, ready for developers to use right out of the box. It features easy to use classes for both:
      • The Paymaster class interacts with Candide’s, taking the hassle out of gas management for users, providing the option to completely abstract gas concerns or allowing users to pay fees in different ERC-20s tokens such as stablecoins.
      • The Bundler class can be used with any provider, thanks to ERC-4337 standardization.
  • Wonder:
  • Nest:
    • All milestones successfully completed: Nest Wallet is now available as a Chrome browser extension, an iOS app and an Android app.

    • Premium integrated support for Safe wallets:

      • Create & import existing Safes across 8 different chains. Will auto-populate historical transaction and pending transactions
      • Initiate and approve Safe transactions safely and smoothly. Supports hardware signing (Ledger and Trezor)
      • Chrome extension allows users to connect their Safe with dApps natively on the web, by-passing the need for custom apps/integrations
      • Added new mobile features not available on Safe mobile app.
        • Managing Safe approver accounts in-app. This includes adding/removing signers and adjusting the threshold.
        • Transaction batching
      • We also allow users to use Safes and EOAs in the same app/extension
    • Counterfactual deployment of Safes:

      • Allow Safes (both existing and new) to be deployed under the same address to multiple chains
      • This is built-in directly into our app (both extension and mobile)
    • Free Safe creations (gas paid by Nest):

      • As part of our next step to promote more Safe usage, we are paying for a new user’s gas to deploy up to 5 free Safes (non-Eth)
      • Account creation is done using email, which is much friendlier to newer users
    • 2FA wallet:

      • Received great feedback from our users who created Safes through Nest Wallet and utilized both the Chrome extension and mobile app as separate signers
      • This creates the effect of 2FA/MFA on their wallet. They can initialize a transaction on the extension with the 1st signer and authenticate + execute it on mobile with the 2nd signer.
    • Transaction Simulation on Safe transactions:

      • Built into all Safe transactions on Nest Wallet, we allow users to see a simulation of all transactions even if they were initiated outside of Nest
    • Synced with Safe API and webhooks to receive incoming Safes transactions from all sources.

  • StableLab
    • Success Metrics:
      • Phase 1 Key Milestones
        • A content calendar with allocated resources for each content type was published
        • Two SafeDAO biweekly governance roundups released
        • One SafeDAO monthly governance digest was released.
        • Summaries of all governance and community calls within Month 1 were shared.
      • Phase 2 Key Milestones
        • Two SafeDAO biweekly governance roundups released
        • One SafeDAO monthly governance digest released
        • Summaries of all governance and community calls within Month 2 were shared.
      • Phase 3 Key Milestones
        • Two SafeDAO biweekly governance roundups released
        • Two SafeDAO monthly governance digests were released.
        • Summaries of all governance and community calls within Months 3 & 4 were shared.
        • SafeDAO Governance Handbook V1 creation has been initiated with plans for integration into SafeDAO’s existing systems
        • SafeDAO x StableLab Twitter Space, a workshop on Delegate Roles and Responsibilities was hosted.
      • Key Governance Metric: Up to 15% of SAFE available for voting are now voting consistently on SEPs, marking a 10% increase in vote participation since implementation of the program.

Program Operations

Since this was our first grants program, we know that inaugural launches come with growing pains and learnings. Throughout the program, we made it a priority to constantly gather feedback from applicants, our grantees and Council Members. The responses below come from multiple feedback surveys from grantees and Grants Council Members throughout the program. We want to celebrate what we did well and commit to improving the program for future waves.

:+1: What did we do well?

  • Provided grantees with ample support from the the Safe grants team and Safe Grants Council Members
  • Clear communication of weekly updates with what to expect from the program each month, and an open channel to relay feedback and improvements from grantees
  • Solid structure and organization of the program overall
  • Great job on providing ample information about the program and support on where to find answers
  • Elected a solid Grants Council for Wave 1. The overall sentiments for our Grants Council members were positive. Grantees felt supported and appreciated all of the work the Council Members did for them during Wave 1.

:raised_hands: What can we do differently for Wave 2?

Legal and Finance

  • Create a shorter, more user/crypto friendly grants agreement. If possible grantees suggested that we try to reduce the grants agreement to include only essentials. The agreement ended up being quite complex and restrictive. Grantees understood that this was built by our legal team and needed to cover all legal and regulatory bases, but there were some sections that seemed a bit excessive. We were told by grantees that other programs in Web 3 don’t have such extensive legal agreements.

  • Major roadblocks around finance and payout processes. Payouts took longer than normal due to unforeseen circumstances. We know now how to handle such processes and aim to streamline these for next time.

  • Optimize the processes around legal, compliance, and finance, if possible. Grantees suggested that we provide more accurate timelines on Legal and Finance procedures and reflect them in the Grants program timeline. Moving forward we will be sure to add time buffers to the program calendar to account for completion of KYC/KYB, finalizing the grants agreement, and planning payouts around more efficient verifications of milestones.


  • Add more opportunities to engage with other grantees and the Safe Builders ecosystem. Grantees told up that they’d like us to shrae more information about other projects and builders in the Safe ecosystem and help them find ways to collaborate. One example could entail hosting a bi-weekly demo day to showcase other projects as well as other opportunities where Grantees can connect and collaborate with one another.

  • Receive more feedback and support from the Safe’s technical team. Grantees vocalized that more active support and feedback from members of the Safe team could be added, especially as they’re building and testing out projects using the technical stack. Also, they hope for feedback on projects from the Safe team upon completion of the grant.

Grants Application Process

  • Make portions of the grant application private. During the grant application process, grantees raised that certain information should not be made public. Ideally, the application should have certain information public, then if a grantee makes it past the first round of evaluations, only then should they be asked to provide sensitive information such as funding details, product demos, and a deeper dive on team backgrounds.

  • More frequent updates on the Safe Forum during the application processes and increased feedback on proposals from the community. Moving forward, we will do our best to provide more frequent updates on the forum for applicants.

  • Make the evaluation notes public so that feedback can be easily shared after the decisions are made without adding extra work for the council. A major pain point for applicants was not receiving feedback on applications. Due to limited bandwidth of Council Members and time constraints, we were unable to provide quality feedback. Moving forward we hope to be able to do this. Automating the operations around the program can help free up bandwidth to dedicate more time to providing feedback.

Grants Program Operations

  • Provide a list of KYB documents well in advance so grantees know what to prepare in advance to avoid process delays. We now have an in depth list to share with grantees when onboarding to help streamline the processing of KYB/KYC from our partners at Synaps.

  • Improve grants communication channels. We received a lot of feedback noting that Telegram is a less than ideal comms channel and can get overwhelming where grantees have to mute every channel that’s not related to their project. It’d be ideal if we create private channels for Council Members and Grantees, but limit public channels to 1 or 2 for key announcements. We were also suggested to try Slack. This is something we plan to evaluate for future waves.

  • Improve the hand-off to another Grants Council Member when the assigned Council Member is out of office. A best practice to implement if an assigned Council Member is out of office would be to ensure that the substitute Council Member is briefed on the grantees’ needs and where they may need support in advance.

  • Avoid holding the Grants Programs over major holiday seasons. It was suggested that future Grants Programs are held away from holiday seasons. There is an impact on completion of procedures and productivity time for grantees if Council Members, Safe team members and Grantees are out of office.

What’s Next?

Now that Wave 1 is complete, we are seeking community feedback on the program. We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline coming for Q2 and Q3. In the meantime, the following will occur:

  • SafeDAO to vote on Wave 2 in Q2 2024
  • Wave 2 to launch. Right now we don’t have a confirmed date since SafeDAO still needs to vote on Wave 2 to take place. More details are to come after the vote.
  • Keep an eye out for updates on: Safe, Safe Governance Twitter and Safe on Farcaster

In the meantime, please check out other funding program from SafeDAO:


That’s all for now, dear Safe community members. We hope this retro has been informative and helped provide insights into our inaugural program. Huge thanks to our Council Members, Grantees, our Safe Team Members, our Grants Program partners: CharmVerse and Synaps, and most importantly our community members. If you have feedback, please drop us a note here in the comments section. Keep on building.