[SEP #8] Outcomes-based resource allocation framework (OBRA)

Thank you everyone for your detailed feedback and suggestions provided in the Phase 0 (Discussion) thread and in the governance calls. Below is the revised version of the resource allocation framework and an overview of the feedback.

To facilitate an effective collaboration and feedback process, we are again sharing the draft as a Google Doc where everyone can add their comments and suggestions.

A consolidated list of all feedback, along with responses if it was incorporated or not at this stage, can be found here.

A few notes on the most significant changes:

  • We clarified the scope of the resource allocation framework, specifying when it is applicable and when not.
    • For instance, it does not apply for allocations where there are already pre-defind allocation requirements and a maximum budget in place, e.g. the ecosystem/guardians allocation (see under Token in SafeDAO Governance Hub), Allocation B of SEP #5 or the joint treasury between SafeDAO and GnosisDAO. Therefore a streamlining through OBRA does not provide any additional benefits.
    • Only certain parts of OBRA apply with regard to rewards and incentives to an unspecified number of counterparties/beneficiaries, as budget requirements and payouts are primarily structured for working relationships.
  • Beyond the feedback raised during the discussion period, we also considered learnings from the current Safe Grants Program:
    • A few initiatives could not be funded as their project timeline expanded longer than Wave 1. In contrast, the resource allocation framework is able to accommodate projects with timelines that span beyond individual seasons.
    • Additionally, there were challenges funding projects with SaaS-like business model which require monthly or annual fees. The resource allocation framework would be able to accommodate this through the streamed payouts.
    • Finally, the incredible work of the council members show that there are various tasks involved when allocating funds. The tasks span between: reviewing applications, decision-making, administrative onboarding, milestone tracking, support and mentoring and facilitation of payouts. This reflects also concerns related to the administrative work surrounding OBRA. Generally, the goal is to minimize the administrative burden through clear processes and tooling. By default, SEF will support with administrative and operational duties. Additionally, OBRA allows to fund ecosystem teams as initiatives to help with administrative tasks as long as there is a corresponding strategies. However, unlike the Safe Grants Council the decision-making about funding of initiatives (streamlined through our governance framework) stays with the DAO until we run into limitations (see below also the considerations under Purpose & Background).

We also asked two particular questions during the discussion period:

  • Re budgets: We implemented a seasonal and a specific budget for strategies. The particular amount will be voted on in a separate Strategies and Budget SEP.
  • Re payout procedure and source of stablecoins: Initiatives approved before transferability will be funded in USDC. After transferability initiatives can also propose with SAFE rewards. SAFE rewards are now limited to completion instead of additionally for milestones. Once the valuation of the treasury becomes clearer we could extend it to reward milestones or reward impact. The stablecoins (i.e. USDC) for the initiatives could be provided by the Safe Ecosystem Foundation in exchange for Safe token at a later date. This would be voted on in a separate Stablecoin allocation SEP, which will be suggested as a first draft in Phase 0 later during this week for a vote in Sprint 2. This approach allows the acquisition of USDC for various seasons in advance and allows SafeDAO to start funding initiatives even before the Safe token becomes transferable.

Similar to the governance framework this resource allocation framework is not static, but is expected to change over time with changing needs. Through its dynamic structure it can evolve over time and we can find the best system for our ecosystem over time.


Title: Outcomes-based resource allocation framework (OBRA)

Authors: Peter @pet3rpan-1kx (1kx), @Andre, @Christoph , Justin @AccelXR-1kx (1kx)

Created: 2023-11-06

Abstract

The proposal intends to provide a structured use of resources to ensure the most efficient and useful utilization of SafeDAO’s assets.

Proposal types

State which proposal type this proposal belongs to.
SEP: Constitutional Proposals
SEP: Governance Proposals (vote possible in Sprint 1 as exception according to Sec. D.II. Governance framework)
Other SEPs


Proposal details

A. Scope of framework
B. Hierarchy of governance for resource allocation
I. Objective
II. Strategies
III. Initiatives
C. Submission and review cycle
I. Submission process
II. Review process
D. Voting thresholds
E. Compliance with relevant regulations
F. Soft launch
G. Changes to the governance framework
Annex 1: Vision and goals
Annex 2: Strategy proposal template
Annex 3: Initiative proposal template

A. Scope of framework

The Outcomes-Based Resource Allocation Model (OBRA) serves as a streamlined resource allocation framework for DAOs to allocate resources effectively. For this, OBRA introduces

  • Hierarchy: A hierarchical connection between vision, goals, strategies and initiatives (Sec. B.I)
  • Budget: Defines the introduction of a maximum budget per season and strategy (Sec. B.II.2 and 3)
  • Payout: Defines rules around how initiatives can be funded (Sec. B.III.2)
  • Process: Defines a clear submission and review cycle for strategies and initiatives (Sec. C)

The framework generally applies to any resource allocation from the SafeDAO treasury towards predefined counterparties, such as individuals or teams.

The framework only partially applies to resource allocations that lack a predefined counterparty, or involve a large number of beneficiaries, e.g. (retroactive) rewards and incentives. Such allocations are initiatives under OBRA and need to adhere to the hierarchy (Sec. B.I) and the process (Sec. C). However, the predefined budget requirements (Sec. B.II.2 and 3) and the payout terms (Section B.III.2) do not apply, which are structured for working relationships and not for rewards and incentives.

Not within scope of this framework is

  • the joint treasury between SafeDAO and GnosisDAO
  • User allocation B from SEP #5
  • Ecosystem allocation
  • resources provided to SafeDAO by other entities, such as other DAOs or the Safe Ecosystem Foundation, e.g. airdrops/rewards or Safe Grants Program.

These allocations follow their own allocation requirements and have a maximum budget, so that there is no benefit from further streamlining them.

Also, this resource allocation framework does not encompass treasury management activities, such as exchanging assets for other types of assets, like stablecoins. Such activities are considered outside of the scope because they involve asset exchanges rather than expenditure.

B. Hierarchy of governance for resource allocation

I. Objective

OBRA establishes a hierarchical relationship between vision, goals, strategies, and initiatives. By doing so, it ensures that each initiative aligns with the DAO’s overarching objectives. As a result, governance can concentrate on these core areas, hereby minimizing its focus area.

The vision is the overarching north star – the big picture of what the DAO aspires to become. Goals articulate the desired outcomes that align with this vision. Both vision and goals are stipulated in the SafeDAO constitution (see also Annex 1). Strategies provide the high-level approach and key metrics to achieve those goals. Initiatives are specific actions or projects undertaken in line with a strategy to achieve the goals.

All strategies must drive forward existing DAO goals. All initiatives must be driving forward existing DAO strategies. Generally, an initiative cannot receive funding unless it is tied to a pre-existing strategy, with the wildcard strategy (see Sec. B.II.3) being the exception.

Below is a visualization how vision, goals, strategies and initiatives relate to each other:

II. Strategies

1. General

Strategies outline the different approaches designed to achieve SafeDAO’s agreed-upon goals and vision, which are both codified in the constitution. Strategies provide the pathway to reach those goals, setting the direction rather than the destination and serving as the roadmap.

Examples:

  • Focus on building more third-party Safe modules to drive safe transaction volume, which would lead to more utility and thus greater TVL
  • Focus on institutional crypto adoption to drive TVL

There may be many valid strategies that the DAO can adopt to achieve its goals. SafeDAO should both carefully assess the validity of strategies while also focusing on experimenting and validating new strategies. The maturity of each strategy and progress being made on each front should determine the level of resources being allocated towards that particular strategy (see B.II.2 Budget).

2. Budget

SafeDAO operates on seasons (see governance framework). Seasons should be allocated an overall budget, and within each season, specific strategies are assigned their respective budgets. The seasonal budget can be a range and span beyond multiple seasons. This approach is adopted because the overall SafeDAO treasury valuation for the initial seasons will be unclear. As SafeDAO matures, there may be a decision to not pre-allocate budgets anymore, opting instead for a self-assessment approach by guardians, delegates and token holders. The budget will be determined by its own SEP and can be renewed or amended in the review sprint (see Sec. C.I.).

3. Wildcard strategy

One strategy may be a wildcard strategy. This strategy is distinct from the others in that it doesn’t follow a predefined path towards the DAO’s goals. Instead, it serves as a flexible and adaptable approach that can pivot based on changing circumstances, emerging opportunities, or innovative ideas. Due to its experimental and potentially riskier nature, it will be allocated a comparatively lower budget than other strategies. During review periods, it’s essential to evaluate whether initiatives under this wildcard strategy can give rise to future strategies.

The strategy proposal template is in Annex 2.

III. Initiatives

1. General

Initiatives are work proposals that are funded by SafeDAO. They are more traditionally thought of as more traditional ‘DAO proposals’. All initiatives must be driving forward existing DAO strategies.

The initiative proposal template is in Annex 3.

2. Payout procedures

Initiatives are being funded under the following operating procedures:

  • General: Initiatives are funded in USDC and may have a success reward for their completion in SAFE.
  • Payment terms: Initiatives are generally funded by streamed payments with a 4 weeks cliff period unless the sum of funds is < 10,000 USDC in which case payment may be made through a series of scheduled payments or as otherwise agreed upon. During the cliff period the payout can be terminated by the Safe Ecosystem Foundation in extreme cases, such as the project being inactive and not communicating.
  • Initial lump sum: If the requested funds are < 10,000 USDC, the proposer may request an initial lump sum to kickstart the initiative. The lump sum may not exceed more than 20% of the total funding requested for the project unless the project timeline requires less than 12 weeks to complete.
  • SAFE rewards: The SAFE success reward will be locked up for 1 year, followed by a 1 year linear unlock via vesting contract. The success reward will be transferred at the end of the respective season where the initiative was completed.
  • Transition period: Due to the current non-transferability of the Safe token, including SAFE rewards to proposals and subsequent transfers are only possible in the sprint after the token becomes transferable.

The following illustration provides a visualization:

Below is a table that outlines how funding amount and project timelines interact.

Funding amount Project duration Upfront lump sum Payment terms Notes
Small (< 10k USDC) Short (<12 weeks) Yes, negotiable Upon agreement Ideal for quick-turnaround projects needing immediate funding.
Small (< 10k USDC) Mid to long (≥12 weeks) Yes, up to 20% Upon agreement Provides initial support, with rest on agreed schedule
Mid to large (≥ 10k USDC) Short (<12 weeks) No Streamed with 4-weeks cliff Suitable mid- to large large projects with a short timeline
Mid to large (≥ 10k USDC) Mid to long (≥12 weeks) No Streamed with 4-weeks cliff Suitable for large projects and SaaS models

C. Submission and review cycle

I. Submission process

SafeDAO operates on seasons, each lasting 16 weeks. These seasons are divided into 4 sprints of 4 weeks in accordance with the governance framework.

  • The first 3 sprints are the work period and have an exclusively operational focus
  • The 4th sprint is a review period in which the funded initiatives and strategies of SafeDAO will be reviewed by SafeDAO. Initiatives will continue to operate during this period.
  • New initiatives can only be proposed during the work period and not during the review period.
  • Initiatives that are funded in the 3rd sprint will be subject to review in the next season.
  • New strategies must be proposed during the review period to be considered for approval.
  • Budget approval, amendment or renewal are proposed during the review period.
  • For Season 1, there will be a transition period allowing for the submission of strategies and budgets also throughout the work period and the submission of initiatives during the review period.

II. Review process

1. Review of initiatives

During the review period, all initiatives are required to share progress updates and are subject to review. They do not need to re-apply for funding if their pre-approved funding extends beyond the specific season. If SafeDAO terminates an initiative it has effect for the next sprint. The outstanding approved funding and SAFE rewards will be terminated and are returned to SafeDAO (all unspent funds and unvested tokens).

2. Review of strategies

SafeDAO will also review existing approved strategies and may also decide to remove approved strategies. The removal of a strategy does not automatically affect initiatives that have been funded under them. Initiatives need to be terminated separately.

The following illustration provides a visualization:

D. Voting thresholds

To encourage coordinated delegation parties to emerge in the process while discouraging low effort and signal participation, there is a quorum threshold to vote on the DAO’s strategies, initiatives, review cycles and budget. ​​Below are the minimum number of Safe tokens required to meet the quorum:

E. Compliance with relevant regulations

All strategies and initiatives under the resource allocation framework must adhere to the constitution, the Safe Ecosystem Foundation’s deed, its relevant regulations, including those concerning investment and funding, and, if applicable, meet KYC requirements. The Safe Ecosystem Foundation, as a steward of SafeDAO, will guide and assess ongoing compliance with these principles and take appropriate measures if these are not met.

F. Soft launch

For Season 1 and 2, the resource allocation framework will operate under a soft launch protocol. Recognizing the need for flexibility during the formative phase of SafeDAO, the Foundation retains the prerogative to deviate from the payout procedure laid out in B.III. Initiatives and C. Submission and review cycles if necessary to ensure an efficient resource allocation process. Any deviations will be communicated transparently and are subject to review in the review and governance amendment sprint. This exception is limited to Season 1 and is introduced to allow a smoother transition into the new resource allocation framework.

G. Changes to the governance framework

To implement the resource allocation, the wording of the governance framework needs to be changed in the following sections. Additions are in bold, removals strikethrough.

I. Addition of proposal types under C.II. Proposal types

II. Addition of D.II. Governance cycles

  1. Sprints 1-3

The proposals of the first 3 sprints shall address all proposal types except constitutional, and governance proposals, resource allocation strategy, initiative terminations and budget proposals (s. C.II. Proposal types). This design shall allow a focus on fostering the Safe ecosystem while avoiding distractions from governance -related, strategy and budget amendment proposals.

  1. Sprint 4: Review and governance amendment sprint

As a counterpart to the restriction of governance proposals during the first 3 sprints, the 4th sprint is dedicated to governance and resource allocation review and governance and strategy and budget proposals. During this time, no other proposals shall be submitted.

III. Addition of H. Annex 1: Season 1

Annex 1: Vision and goals

Vision: Establish smart accounts as the default means for web3 interactions

Goal 1: Foster a vibrant ecosystem
SafeDAO benefits from a vibrant ecosystem built on shared components and standards. SafeDAO supports and empowers new and existing projects integrating with the Safe Protocol or initiatives supporting the usage of Safe Protocol.

Goal 2: Resilience via decentralization
The Safe Ecosystem shall be independent from any single entity. The Safe Ecosystem components, including governance, should be decentralized and permissionless.

Goal 3: Tokenize value
SAFE should represent the value of the Safe Ecosystem. Mechanisms should be created to link the growth of the Safe Ecosystem to the growth in utility of SAFE.

Annex 2: Strategy proposal template

Changes to the proposal templates in Annex 2 and 3 don’t require the SEP process. The Safe Ecosystem Foundation holds the authority to make these modifications or delegate the responsibility to a group of guardians or other SafeDAO participants, ensuring alignment with the framework’s objectives.

  1. Which goals does the strategy look to drive progress in?
  2. Which metrics and KPIs could initiatives under this strategy be measured against?
  3. Outline the execution strategy or thesis
  4. What are some example initiatives that would fall under this strategy
  5. Detail around existing data or evidence to support this thesis
  6. Detail around any risks associated with this strategy
  7. If this strategy succeeds, what is the happy case?
  8. If this strategy fails, what would be some reasons?
  9. Assessment of the strategy’s maturity and if there is additional data that needs to be collected for the validation of this strategy
  10. What budget should this strategy be allocated for?

Annex 3: Initiative proposal template

  1. Which pre-approved strategy is this initiative driving forward?
  2. Which metrics and KPIs will the initiative be measured against?
  3. Who is the accountable initiative lead? (individual or organization)
  4. What is the initiative about?
  5. What risks does the initiative entail?
  6. Timeline/roadmap of milestones for the initiative
  7. What resources are being requested from SafeDAO in USDC?
  8. Are there any resources requested from the Safe Ecosystem Foundation?
  9. Are there any upfront funding this initiative needs at the beginning
  10. The requested SAFE success reward for completion of initiative (vested token bonus for completion of work)

Purpose and Background

Decentralized governance / DAOs established a vision for the possibility of decentralized, neutral public goods owned by the public. However, after 3+ years of live data emerging around decentralized networks, decentralized coordination is still a work in progress.

During this period, we, 1kx, a major contributor towards this proposal has supported, invested, and participated in over 40+ DAOs and incubated/launched many ourselves. Through our experience, the case for decentralized resource allocation has a long way to go with finding a long-term viable model, with most DAOs experiencing major coordination failures such as the following:

  • Unclear consensus and clarity on core DAO activities and product strategy, leading to excessive spending and misallocation of community resources to misaligned initiatives.
  • Lack of oversight, feedback loops, and accountability of community initiatives leading to overhiring and working groups with unreasonably high burn rates and low output efficiency.
  • Inadequate contributor quality curation and accountability leading to a high amount of incompetent, low context individuals gaining senior leadership positions, leading to a further degradation of the community’s operating standard and contributor value extraction at the cost of the entire community.
  • Lack of data driven of decision making processes that lead to the governance capture of the community to contributors who brute force governance via bureaucratic lobbying.
  • Bloating on the DAO’s decisional surface area to a point where collective governance contributors no longer have the adequate context to govern effectively, leading to over delegation and concentration of social capital to a few select voices who are time rich but not necessarily those creating real impact for the DAO.

Rather than trying to address these problems incrementally, 1kx looks to propose a surface area reduced model for the governance of SafeDAO’s resource allocation known as ‘outcome-based resource allocation’ (OBRA).

Effects and Impact Analysis

What are the effects of the proposal? What are the pros and cons? What are risks?

OBRA introduces processes to the resource allocation which require some administrative efforts. When strategies and initiatives are being submitted it needs to be assesses how the strategies drive goals forward and how the initiatives drive strategies forward. During the review process the existing initiatives need to give status updates and these need to be reviewed.
Once the first review cycle emerges, there will be an open question on how to properly incentivize the review of this work, as this becomes an operational burden on token holders and delegates. It can be expected for professional delegates to emerge as a result of such incentives.

Alternative Solutions

What alternative solutions have been considered? Why have they been discarded?

One alternative solution would be to not have a resource allocation in place. This would most probably lead to misallocation of community resources due to misaligned initiatives. Another alternative solution would be to rely on working groups that set their own goals and strategies or decide on initiatives. While OBRA does not rely on working groups, in future iterations certain strategies could fall under the domain of working groups if agreed upon.

Implementation

Does the implementation of the proposal require new code? How is the security of the code ensured? How is the implementation of the proposal carried out?

The implementation requires the introduction of a streaming tool, a process how to payout and the adoption of vesting contracts for the rewards in Safe token.

Own implementation possible
Own implementation but with funding (how much % to implementation)
Request for technical support through Safe matter experts:

  • Who is needed? Safe Ecosystem Foundation
  • Did you reach out? Yes
  • Is there a roadmap? Yes

Open Questions

Anything that needs to be cleared up before the community can make an informed decision?

N/A

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Adam Hurwitz, B3n (b3nnnp), jengajojo, Lindsey, links, Lior, LuukDAO, Lukas Schor, Nneoma, Steven, and Varit for their contributions and feedback.

Copyright

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

12 Likes

Really like the updates here @Andre. Awesome to see the feedback from calls being put into this next draft. Well done!

5 Likes

Thanks for progressing OBRA to all involved. I am also happy to see the comments we left during the calls implemented.

As a Safe Delegate with sufficient voting power - I believe this proposal is ready to move to a vote.

Eager to test OBRA in practice!

7 Likes

Thank you to everyone who contributed to shaping this resource allocation framework. The framework’s defined scope, governance hierarchy, submission and review processes, and compliance considerations are well thought out. The adjustments made to budgets and payout procedures, especially in response to community feedback, clearly demonstrate a commitment to the continuous evolution of SafeDAO’s governance practices.

As a Safe Delegate with suffient voting power - I believe this proposal is ready to move to a vote.

5 Likes

How many days remain this to move to snapshot

For all relevant dates, see also the :calendar: Governance calendar

3 Likes

In my opinion, this is great work has been done and it’s very interesting to see what happens when this starts to be applied.

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

2 Likes

Thanks to all involved in shaping this proposal. It has been great to see the various rounds of feedback integrated into this final iteration of the framework.

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

9 Likes

Thank you this is my first time commenting; I have no voting power, but trying to contribute from my 14+ year expertise around, and now building more things onchain.

Context of my comment: I am coming from start up background and scaling few global product myself. from operational point of view i love all things we plan here, its very well think-through. Only one strategic POV from me, project tend underestimate the prep-mode during week 1 or phase 1, where they carry over all burdens at the end of the phase. @Andre

Initial phasing:

My proposed phasing to tackle the problem:

The way forward on this during sprint 1, we divide into (i) 1 week prep (ii) 3 weeks normal heads down focus, at week 1 we can tell if all things will go at the way it should be, but we prep the projects to succeed and lead to the successful output for SafeDAO.

That all my feedback & thanks @adamhurwitz.eth for pushing me to take a look at this and contribute.

4 Likes

It’s excellent to have you here @golr! 🫱🏻‍🫲🏼

Is the the proposed 1 week for prep meant only for season 1 because it is the first time operating under this structure, or would this also be for future seasons too?

3 Likes

Hey, thanks for the comments! The deadline for signalling was on Monday, so afterwards reviews to the proposals should not happen anymore.

Newly funded initiatives will undergo an onboarding period, but projects that have been already onboarded can just proceed. I think there is no need to split it up in 1+3, it could be shorter or longer depending on the project. “Work period” essentially means, that projects can start their work and there is no DAO-wide review happening.

4 Likes
1 Like

:zap:Proposal uploaded to Snapshot

Title: [SEP #8] Outcomes-based resource allocation framework (OBRA)

Starts on: 15 Nov 2023, 23:14 UTC
Ends on: 27 Nov 2023, 23:14 UTC

Check out the proposal here

4 Likes

Okay, thanks, and yes thats clear. onboarding period will solve this all if we push it and make it clear here. lets monitor how things could be later, but pretty sure in the future if turns out we need to solve this part the 1+3 might be useful somehow. @Andre | appreciate it and go ahead, looking forward for the result post voting below

3 Likes

answered and clarified by @Andre as we move as well to voting! Thanks @adamhurwitz.eth appreciate it

2 Likes

:ballot_box: Voting for SEP #8 is open

Cast your vote here: Snapshot

4 Likes

Thank you to @pet3rpan-1kx for starting the OBRA discussion more than a year ago and working with the Safe community to refine and revise the model.

I’ve been following this discussion since late last year, and after reviewing the [SEP #8] Outcomes-based resource allocation framework (OBRA) proposal, I will be voting in favour of SEP #8 as Nexus Mutual DAO’s SAFE delegate.

5 Likes

Resource Allocation Framework [SEP #8] proposal has passed.

We reached over 4x the quorum at 46M votes with 99.98% voting to accept the new resource allocation framework. Thank you everyone who participated in Season 1 / Sprint 1!

3 Likes

Closing this thread as sprint 1 is over.

2 Likes