[SEP #17] [OBRA] Contribution Efficiency System (CES) - Areta

This proposal was previously posted in Phase 0 discussion: [Discussion] [OBRA] Contribution Efficiency System (CES) - Areta

It has been copied below for legibility. This post follows the “[Template] Initiative proposals” template found here.


The following adjustments have been made as a result of the discussion phase on and off the forum:

  • Added deliverable of an OBRA report at the end of Season 1 with focus on practical improvements of the program. I.e., broadening focus from enabling OBRA from day one to also include optimizing adjacent topics (e.g., view on budgeting).
  • Adjusted onboarding processes to emphasize focus on parties not familiar with the SAFE ecosystem and providing a bridge to high-quality builders/service providers.
  • Emphasize the working model as iterative explaining how building alongside OBRA will work.

Thanks to everyone who took the time for feedback on and off the forum. With these adjustments and insights coming out of Phase 1, we are confident that the CES can meet its ambition as an essential building block of OBRA :handshake:


Provide a brief summary of your initiative

This proposal introduces the Contribution Efficiency System (CES) to improve governance efficiency and decision-making for Safe token holders. The CES, initially an enabling tool for OBRA, focuses on transparency and accountability of initiatives. It streamlines OBRA onboarding, milestone setting, progress tracking, and outcome reporting to SafeDAO.

Our aim is to evolve from manual to automated processes, enhancing governance effectiveness in line with key performance indicators like reduced onboarding time as well as clear and effective processes in milestone setting, tracking and reporting.

Aligned strategy:

Provide a brief summary of your initiative

Strategy 5: Increase governance participation

Funding request:

What resources are being requested from SafeDAO in USDC?

50.000 USDC

Relation to budget:

State the requested funding as a percentage of the total initiative budget (e.g. if you ask for 50k for Strategy 1: 25%)


Metrics and KPIs:

Which metrics and KPIs will the initiative be measured against?

The KPIs for our initiative are currently under development and may be adjusted based on feedback from discussions. Find our starting point below:

  1. OBRA onboarding process takes under 15mins [Onboarding]
  2. Milestone setting process for OBRA initiatives is rated min. 8/10 in quality [Milestone setting]
  3. 90% of OBRA inititiatives give updates on time [Tracking]
  4. Delegates need less than 10min to understand updates [Reporting]
  5. OBRA Review Report is rated min. 8/10 in quality [OBRA Strategy]

Initiative description:

What is the initiative about?

Currently, SafeDAO faces the challenge of decision-making overload for delegates and guardians, who juggle multiple roles and lack time and attention. They often wear multiple hats (own projects, committee roles, multiple delegations) and face a scarcity of time and attention.

This is especially problematic within the information-heavy environment of SafeDAO and is expected to become larger with activity-fueling milestones like the upcoming first OBRA initiatives and a potential token transferability event. While OBRA lays down an excellent framework to enable external contributions, it also presents new needs for processes and capacity to manage these contributions.

Key issues include:

    1. Proposal and Decision-Making Overload: “Too many proposals of too many DAOs.”
    1. Information Overload at the Proposal Level: “Proposals are great, but take a lot of attention and effort to fully digest.”
    1. Lack of Standardized Information Flow: “I need (and want) to invest extra time in understanding necessary background information and conducting research for informed decision-making.”
    1. Curation Complexities: “I find it challenging to identify and participate in only the essential decisions for me.”
    1. No Clear Guidance / Barrier to Entry for Outside Contributors: “I find SafeDAO interesting, and would love to see if I can contribute, but don’t have the time to digest all the forum information / don’t know where to start.”

Without a solution, SafeDAO could face:

    1. Bloat of Decision-making: Decision-making becoming so bloated that governance contributors lose the necessary context for effective governance, leading to excessive delegation and concentration of influence in a few hands who may not create real impact.
    1. Ineffectiveness of Initiatives: The lack of clear onboarding processes can prevent initiatives from operating at their best. They may find themselves spending more time trying to figure out how to contribute, report, and comply with procedural requirements, instead of focusing on building and executing their core activities.
    1. Lack of Accountabilty for Initiatives: Without proper tracking and concise reporting mechanisms, initiatives might fail to deliver effectively, significantly reducing their impact on SafeDAO. This lack of oversight could foster a culture where the emphasis is more on securing grants or funding rather than being actively engaged. This phenomenon has been observed in numerous cases across the industry, where initiatives prioritize funding acquisition over active contribution and achievement.

As SafeDAO approaches a pivotal moment with the start of OBRA, advancement of milestone 5 (token utility), paving the way for potential token transferability, it’s vital to engage active parties and re-engage those who have become inactive due to the complexities mentioned. This engagement is fundamental to the governance of Safe DAO and pivotal for its future as activity will likely only increase.

This proposal aims to improve governance efficiency and decision-making for Safe token holders by developing a Contribution Efficiency System (CES).

Initially, the CES will serve as an enabling tool for OBRA, equipping it to meet transparency and accountability standards in its initiatives.

This will involve establishing key processes for OBRA initiatives to facilitate communication to SafeDAO and delegates, as well as their operational management. As an enabling initiative to OBRA, we aim to:

    1. Establish clear onboarding and milestone setting procedures and material for initiatives
    1. Implement effective progress tracking mechanisms
    1. Facilitate comprehensive reporting to SafeDAO and create an OBRA review report with tangible improvement recommendations.

This will enable informed decision-making regarding the impact and potential discontinuation of initiatives.

To bring the CES into effect, we propose a three-staged approach:

    1. Validation and Day-1 System Launch: Conduct further research and interviews to validate our identified enabler elements in OBRA, incl. best practices in onboarding, milestone setting, tracking, and reporting.
    1. System Improvement: Create a comprehensive system to set up enabler elements, incorporating feedback from token holders and initiatives. This involves developing key processes for onboarding, milestone setting, tracking, and reporting, incl. OBRA review report.
    1. Operational Implementation and Management: Implement the Contribution Efficiency System (CES), testing it with stakeholders and rolling it out. This includes the operational management of it for the first season.

We see the CES as a critical element of SafeDAO’s progress towards milestone 5, token utility, and potential transferability in the future. It’s vital to re-engage inactive token holders and enable active participants to take part in discussions that improve the governance quality level of SafeDAO vs. mere decision-making.

The urgency of addressing these challenges is underscored by lessons learned from other DAOs. Case studies, such as the Arbitrum Short-term Incentive Program , reveal the risks of decision-making overload due to outsourced participation programs. Similar challenges faced by Arbitrum DAO led to an overwhelming decision-making load, multiple initiatives attempting to fix the breaking points afterwards, and delegates being overwhelmed, leading to skewed decisions towards either the loudest or the most politically adept initiatives.

Our goal is to proactively address these issues, aiming to stabilize and strengthen SafeDAO’s governance system before it encounters similar challenges. We aim to work iteratively along the roll-out of OBRA, i.e., work with a day-1 solution of enabling elements (milestone setting, tracking, reporting), and iterate with learnings collected throughout the season. After the first OBRA season, we will not only have an optimized CES, but likewise be able to share tangible improvements for the core OBRA program not factored into the CES (e.g., budgeting, awareness across the space, etc.)

Current Status:

Does the offering (product/service) already exist or is the funding used to create it?

We have conducted primary research to determine the key breaking points in Safe Governance, and more specifically OBRA. We achieved this through our active involvement in governance, including co-authoring the latest OBRA proposals (Link , Link), shaping the last token transferability milestones (OBRA and Token Utility), and sharpening our thesis through 1-on1 interactions with many of the DAO’s delegates and guardians. This enabled us to gain valuable insights into the current state of governance and breaking points in outside contribution.


What risks does the initiative entail?

The primary risk of this initiative is that improper execution could add an additional layer of confusion rather than facilitate the intended outcomes. To mitigate this, we plan to (1) employ a structured and transparent approach that integrates insights from best practices in the space, and (2) ensure that the CES is launched only after thorough iteration with its actual users (token holders) and receiving a positive assessment as a significant improvement through a quality survey.

Timeline and milestones:

Provide a detailed timeline or roadmap, include key milestones

Timeline Focus USDC Deliverables
S2 Sprint 1 Phase 1: Validation & Day-1 Launch 7.500 DAO Contribution Efficiency Mapping
Delegate/Guardian/Initiatives Interviews
Hypothesis Testing
S2 Sprint 2-4 Phase 2: System Improvement 32.500 Onboarding and Milestone Setting Process (incl. communication, facilitation of information flows, information elements, esp. for outsiders)
Initiatives Progress Tracking Mechanisms (incl. tracking criteria, interaction channels, overview dashboard)
Reporting Standards (incl. reporting framework, output channels, communication)
Automation of System (incl. dashboards, automated information flows, streamlined communication)
S2 Sprint 4 Phase 3: Operational Implementation & Management 10.000 Qualitative Iteration of CES
Guided Roll-out with Selected Parties
Leading Token Holder Interaction Points
OBRA Improvement Report

Given the limited timeframe of the first OBRA season, we aim to work in an iterative manner and move from manual processes to automation with an ambition to complement OBRA capabilities already in the first session.

Initiative lead:

Who is the accountable initiative lead? (individual or organization)

The initiative will be led by a dedicated team from Areta . We are an ex-McKinsey/Blackstone team specializing in complex governance processes and strategic transactions and have had the privilege to work for some of the leading companies and DAOs in the crypto space.

Examples of our work include leading the first cross-ecosystem growth initiative for Uniswap and Arbitrum, the first acquisition of Coingecko, the sale of Solscan to Etherscan, and the strategic wind-down of Gro DAO.

We have been very actively involved in SafeDAO’s governance, including co-authoring and contributing to the latest OBRA proposals (Link , Link), shaping the last token transferability milestones (OBRA and Token Utility), had many interactions with Guardians on- and offline, and see ourselves as long-term supporters of the ecosystem.


How many individuals in total will be working on this initiative and what role do they have? Please provide a brief background of the team members, highlighting their relevant experience and expertise

We work in a team-based approach leading strategic projects across ecosystems. For the 4-month project duration, Areta has will staff a comprehensive team, including a part-time partner, manager, and additional associate/research resources. The budget ask for this set-up reflects a discounted rate to our normal pricing demonstrating our commitment to the SafeDAO ecosystem. Additionally, to minimize the risk for SafeDAO, there is an option to terminate the initiative at any point if Areta’s performance does not meet expectations.

The initiative will be led by me, Bernard, co-founder of Areta. I bring to the table my experience from leading the Uniswap-Arbitrum Ecosystem Program, active involvement across DAOs, and professional background from McKinsey. My primary focus will be on establishing well-structured processes and effective communication. Among our research resources is Fin, who has prior experience at Delphi Digital and supporting governance initiatives within Areta. Profiles of the rest of the team you can find here .

Additional support/resources:

Are there any resources (non-financial) requested from the Safe Ecosystem Foundation or the core contributors? (e.g. expertise or integration into Safe products)



Thank you everyone for the productive discussion in the Pitch call!

Sharing the overview slide below as a basis for further discussion and to summarize where our initiative sits.

Looking forward to final feedback and suggestions here, on TG @bmitte, or Twitter. Thank you for taking the time!


Hi @bernard,

This visual helps a lot. I see value in having CES support this OBRA season. Given it’s the first iteration, there is a lot to learn and improve, and I believe we can both operate this OBRA season and gather more learnings for follow-up seasons with CES than without.


As a delegate with sufficient voting power, I can confirm that this is ready to move to a vote.


I am a Safe delegate/Guardian with sufficient voting power and I believe this proposal is ready to move to a vote.


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

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

Great proposal @bernard! This Contribution Efficiency System will surely be beneficial in these early, experimental stages of OBRA and will hopefully equip the DAO with some useful learnings to apply in future initiatives.

As a delegate with sufficient voting power , I consider this proposal ready to move to a vote.

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


I agree with the defined goal of identifying opportunities and building processes to automate and make OBRA a better system. @bernard’s recent contributions and insights have been well thought out and added value to every discussion he’s been a part of.

To improve the likelihood of success in the voting process I would recommend focusing the proposal on the opportunities you’ve identified.

  • Season 1 report
  • Research interviews
  • etc.

Then, as specific opportunities arise during season 1 that add value to André and the DAO’s process more roles can potentially be established. 50,000 USD feels like a large investment in a well intentioned plan that is broad.

@StableLab is a great example of improving SafeDAO process as @Nneoma_StableLab identified specific opportunities in July for information to be more effectively shared through ongoing bi-weekly and monthly updates, events to discuss specific topics, and publishing the governance handbook. After they shared their detailed initiatives they proposed their plan to the Safe grants program. Now that the grants program has been a success StableLab is expanding their role in the OBRA proposal.

Timeline and milestones

It’d be useful to know what is specifically being built in addition to the Season 1 report and interviews, and estimate how the 50,000 USD would be allocated across the proposed projects/phases. StableLab and Gnosis Guild’s proposals have great examples of this format for this section.

Hi @adamhurwitz.eth, thanks a lot for your support and the kind words! Indeed it’s been a great journey working on improving SafeDAO altogether and I couldn’t be more excited about the progress.

I fundamentally agree with taking one step after another. We have started this process on the ground already with co-authoring the last OBRA proposals, researching comparable cases, iterating the proposal scope, and understanding where the current gaps are. The premise of this proposal involves us building on these insights and the gaps we’ve identified, without prior grant funding.

We’ve already narrowed our scope down to only the essential elements and have been frugal on this front. And thanks for the pointer re outlining! For additional clarity, we added an overview table to the proposal and set firm milestones for us to qualify for this funding. If you consider the hours required for these milestones, you will find that we have budgeted well below our normal hourly cost as we view this as a long-term contribution to the Safe ecosystem.

Thanks again for the time digesting and happy to discuss further on and off the forum :slight_smile:

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