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Creating a Winnable Game | BanklessDAO Weekly Rollup
Catch Up With What Happened This Week in BanklessDAO
Dear Bankless Nation 🏴,
Welcome to Season 6 at BanklessDAO! In spite of — or perhaps because of — a tumultuous week in crypto, the BanklessDAO community turned out in force to kick off Season 6 in style. More than 2,000 listeners joined the hot vibes of the Twitter Spaces event, which ran for nearly two hours.
Ryan and David dropped some Bankless HQ alpha, as usual, but that was only the beginning of the excitement. Listening to the each of our accomplished speakers set the scene for Season 6 success in the various guilds and projects was inspiring. The real-time chat in the cc-chatter channel in Discord was on point, affectionate, and once again demonstrated our strong community values and shared vision for a decentralized financial future.
Also at the kick off event, Bankless Academy launched a new NFT collection which celebrates the launch of a brand new lesson covering the BanklessDAO Constitution. Bankless Publishing debuted the term ‘BANK-Per-View’ in relation to a new website where we will experiment with token-gated access to a range of top-quality articles, and Fight Club announced a new way to earn membership.
In this week’s editorial written by former Grants Committee Lead, links, you can read about the changes he implemented to Grants Committee processes during Season 4 and 5, with the intention to create a winnable game for projects seeking funding via the BanklessDAO treasury. As a community, we want our contributors and our web3-outreach projects to blossom, a sentiment echoed by David Hoffman as he closed out the Twitter Spaces with some thoughts about the synergies between HQ and the DAO.
It’s certainly never boring in blockchain. If you’ve been slammed by this week’s events, whether literally or figuratively, take the time you need but know that the bDAO community is here to support your growth and success. May the DAO’s Season 6 be a season of plenty.
Creating a Winnable Game
The BanklessDAO Grants Committee is one of the most central and visible groups in the DAO, and it’s also one of the least understood.
During my time as the Grants Committee Lead in Season 4 and 5, I presided over some of the biggest ever changes to our grants processes. These changes resulted in a 5.8M BANK savings/deferral in S4, increased accountability via recorded project KPIs in S4 and S5, and strong guidance for Guilds/Departments in S6. By all accounts, these changes have been successful, but I often hear feedback from contributors who understand “the rules” but don’t understand “the reasons”.
Those reasons are important. If we all understand them, we can not only ensure that our DAO’s grants process is strong, but also improve upon it every season.
Rules Are So Web2
Around 16 months ago, BanklessDAO voted on a specification which instantiated a Grants Committee. This committee had a very tight scope: mid-season funding. Seasonal project, guild, and even contributor rewards were meant to be disbursed by separate bodies. In fact, these rules continue to exist into Season 5, but the reality on the ground is that the Grants Committee is responsible for disbursing all BanklessDAO funding.
Those aren’t the only rules that were ignored. For instance, projects are responsible for reporting on KPIs every two weeks at the community call, but there is nothing compelling them to do so. The result was that most projects didn’t report on KPIs, if they even reported anything at all. This was the environment at BanklessDAO at the end of Season 3. DAO members were clamouring for increased accountability.
This highlights a key insight: rules without enforcement aren’t worth the blocks on which they are minted. Writing down rules and hoping individuals follow them doesn’t lead to a post-scarcity nirvana, it leads to people breaking rules (often without realizing it). For rules to work, you need a central authority which is enforcing them.
This was a challenge for the Grants Committee. We had existing rules and a clear mandate from the DAO for increased accountability, but we had no enforcement mechanism and not enough resources to do a deep dive on every project and guild. Add to this that we were entering a bear market, and needed to balance these new measures while keeping contributors happy and bullish on BanklessDAO.
So if rules wouldn’t work, what would?
Carrots and Sticks
Decentralized systems don’t have rules enforced by a central authority; Vitalik isn’t signing off on new Ethereum blocks one by one. Instead they create incentives (both positive and negative) for participants to be part of the system. Validators get ETH for validating new blocks (carrots), and they lose ETH if they are inactive or not connected (sticks).
Conway’s Law says that a product’s design will mirror the organization that created it. In my experience, organizations built on top of certain technologies also end up mirroring the technology upon which they are built. When looking to build our organization at BanklessDAO, looking to blockchain not only follows our values, it gives us a path of least resistance.
This idea of building a system of carrots and sticks isn’t new. In fact, one of my favourite books on organizational design (The 4 Disciplines of Execution) describes the key to creating engaged teams: setting up winnable games. Humans are natural game-players, so turning work into a game leads to engagement.
On the Grants Committee, this means we needed a way to create a game around accountability. Our answer to that was report-based funding, which laid out two incentives:
Distribute seasonal project funding in two tranches: the first one immediately, and the second one after projects reported on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Work with projects to set two KPIs per season, with the goal to help focus projects on impact and self-sovereignty
In this system, projects get additional eyes on their strategy, which helps them focus their team and create synergies with other projects (carrot). They also leave 50% of their BANK on the table if they don’t report KPIs to the DAO (stick).
Whether or not you agree with this system, you can’t really argue with the results. For the first time ever, the DAO has visibility into every project that is currently receiving funding.
Report-based funding got us some results, but it also created some confusion around what a KPI actually is. I’ll often ask for KPIs and receive a goal.
KPIs can be thought of as ‘health metrics’. Just as your doctor can surmise your overall health by reading your blood pressure and pulse, the DAO can understand the health of a project based on tailored metrics for each project.
Deciding which KPIs to use for each project is the challenging (and fun!) part. If, instead of blood pressure, your doctor measured your shoe size, it would be tough to understand how healthy you are. In the same vein, we need targeted metrics to show us project health. They need to have an actual impact on how the project was doing — vanity metrics don’t help our mission. They also need to be big enough to matter, and small enough to make progress every month. They need to be measurable immediately. In a way, KPIs are encoding the strategy a project takes in any given season, and are therefore an excellent visibility mechanism.
In the original report-based funding post, I outlined two types of KPIs each project should submit:
Impact on our mission — how is this project furthering the BanklessDAO mission?
Self-sovereignty — how prepared is this project to stand on its own?
As an example, Bankless Academy’s KPIs in S4 were the number of lesson completions (impact), and the number of sales leads (self-sovereignty). These two numbers cut to the heart of the project’s strategy in S4: they were seeking to optimize their product and sales pipeline. On the other hand, vanity metrics like a count of Twitter followers may feel good to report, but they don’t speak to the overall strategy of the project.
Changing the Guild Game
Having added accountability to projects, guilds were next on the list. This was substantially more challenging than projects, as guilds provide the basic infrastructure of BanklessDAO, while projects are meant to eventually be self-sovereign. Guilds themselves were also very different — some guilds concentrated on attracting talent, some concentrated on building projects, and others were running the basic infrastructure of the DAO. How could the Grants Committee set up a cohesive incentive structure for such a varied group?
Luckily for the Grants Committee, this had been a topic of discussion over the previous two seasons, and the current zeitgeist was that guilds were meant to provide talent to the DAO, i.e. they needed to be incentivized to attract, retain, and upskill talent. Given this definition, I posted the idea of breaking guilds up into two kinds of teams:
Guilds are responsible for attracting, retaining, and upskilling talent, and nothing else.
Departments are responsible for keeping the DAO running (aka infrastructure teams).
Guilds would be funded based on the number of active members they had. More active members that the DAO can draw from, more funding (carrot). Less active members, less funding (stick).
After some refinement and voting, member-based guild funding was implemented for the S6 Seasonal Funding Round, and the Grants Committee allowed each guild to define what “active member” meant, with a view to refine this over time to come up with a cohesive definition across BanklessDAO.
A Winnable Game for All
After six months on the Grants Committee, I am proud of the impact we have made on the grants process. We took a relatively opaque and rule-less process, and turned it into a game our contributors could play to help us achieve our mission.
When I announced that I wouldn’t seek re-election, many reached out and expressed sadness or asked me to reconsider. The truth of the matter is that being on the Grants Committee had allowed me to identify some of the holes in the Grants Committee itself — we had started to create a winnable game for our contributors, but the game of Grants Committee itself was not winnable. No matter what you do, being a member of the Grants Committee isn’t sustainable over the long-term.
There are various reasons for this, but the primary one is that the Grants Committee does not have a defined purpose, or at least not one that has been mandated by the DAO. Everyone has different expectations of the role of the Grants Committee, and those expectations are often conflicting, even to members of the committee itself. As a result, over time, no matter which actions they take, committee members are always going to be stepping on toes in an unwinnable game.
If we truly want to ensure the success of BanklessDAO, we need to make winnable games for everyone. We need to understand what success looks like for each part of our DAO, large or small, and ensure every part has the authority to follow through on their responsibilities.
Luckily, BanklessDAO is a place where ANYONE can create a winnable game through our governance processes, driven by our shared ethos. If you don’t like your situation, you can complain, or you can use your freedom and agency to improve it. To that end, perhaps you should ask yourself:
Which carrots and sticks do you want to create?
🗓 Weekly Recap
🌐 IbizaNXT Recap Video
We have already covered the IbizaNXT event in recent Weekly Rollup issues, but check out this video recap, produced by the Global Events team. Watching this, it’s hard not to FOMO in to the next web3 event!
To celebrate the launch of the Academy’s BanklessDAO Constitution lesson, the team has released an exclusive NFT series designed by Tetranome and cisco. Each item in the NFT collection is available to buy on OpenSea for 90 MATIC.
This week we learn more about Bankless Card and Dev Guild contributor, tomtranmer.
What is your favourite DeFi protocol?
Synthetix.io — you may not realize it, but SNX forces you into sound trading strategies.
What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?
Grammy’s Cupboard from Shaw’s Ice Cream.
[Sorry, no mouth-watering link available!]
Which of the NFTs that you own is your favourite?
How does one choose a favourite child? My TIM collection (The Infinite Machine Movie) probably tops my list.
Where would you love to travel to?
Either the Moon or The real Metaverse (though some days I feel like I’m living there already).
What did you aspire to before you discovered crypto, and has that changed at all?
Before crypto, I had pursued acting with a goal of bringing truth. After crypto, I realized that my talents were best served as a builder for the web3 future.
That’s it — short and sweet! If you would like to be featured in Kat’s Roll Call, answer the questions via this form, and keep consuming the Weekly Rollup goodness.
🎙 BanklessDAO Podcasts
❤️ Reach Out If You Need Help
The last few days have been rough and if anyone is hurting or struggling, please reach out for help. The #contributor-care channel is always open to anyone looking for a little reassurance. There will be ups and downs and challenges along the way but we will emerge stronger. Take care of yourselves.
As part of the third cohort, you will have the opportunity to write and publish a 1000-word post every week for four weeks, and to give feedback and discuss your writing with others. The Cohort is offered to all BanklessDAO members looking to improve their writing skills, publish more, and connect — we’d love you to join the Writers Guild too, but it’s not a requirement.
If you contributed to the DAO during October and you'd like to participate in the Coordinape round, you can sign up by going to the #bot-commands channel in Discord. Type in
/coordinape form-request and follow the link to Google Form. Once you’re signed up, wait for the allocation period to give and receive GIVE.
The form submission period is open and will end on November 16 at 17:00 UTC. The GIVE allocation period will most likely run from Friday November 18 to Wednesday November 23 (the timeline will be finalized and communicated beforehand).
The third and final Notion Ninja Blue Belt Course is now open for beta testing. This advanced course, which covers the use of Notion’s database functionality, is for ninjas who have already completed the White and Orange Belt courses.
Completing each stage of the course earns each student a Bankless Ninja NFT, with each Ninja being a progressive belt colour. The latest NFT, the blue-belted Ninja, signifies some serious knowledge management skills and is the last step on the way to earning the fabulous red-belted Bankless Ninja wearable skin for use in Decentraland.
🤓 Are You a Notion Admin in Season 6?
If you are the designated Notion administrator for a guild or project in Season 6 and have not completed the Notion Ninja courses, you must at least review the video: How BanklessDAO Uses Notion, for key information on your role responsibilities.
If you’re new to the role and/or need some assistance, reach out in the #notion-workstream channel in the Ops Department category of Discord.
Sesh is a bot used to create calendar events and set up polls in Discord. Do you want to know how to register and get your events on the sesh calendar? Do you want to know how to create events, polls, etc.? Join 0xZfi.eth on Tuesday November 15 at 13:00 UTC in the watercooler voice channel to gain insight on how to make use of sesh. To set a reminder, RSVP to the event.
A liquidity pool is a digital supply of cryptocurrency that is secured by a smart contract. As a result, liquidity is produced, allowing for quicker transactions. This is a brand new knowledge session about liquidity pools, brought to you by the Education Guild to help you in your journey into the DeFi world. Join Quietfox on Wednesday November 16 at 13:00 UTC in the watercooler voice channel. To set a reminder, RSVP to the event.
If you want to learn about how to be safe in the web3 space with respect to your wallet, then this is that opportunity. Paulito will be conducting a How to Wallet/Security session in the watercooler voice channel on Thursday November 17 at 13:00 UTC. To set a reminder, RSVP to the event.
🎣 Phishing School
Authors: d0wnlore and the InfoSec Team
Ignore Blue Checkmarks in the Post-Elon Twitter
Crypto Twitter is likely aware by now that Elon Musk owns Twitter. As the new CEO, he has started to make sweeping changes to the platform, in an effort to make it profitable but less lucrative to bots and spam. The most talked-about thus far are changes to how the blue checkmark is acquired.
The blue checkmark used to indicate that the account displaying it had been verified by Twitter as the authoritative representation of an influential person or organization. But the verification process became ineffective if the associated account was hacked. In addition to issues with how one would define being “influential” enough to go through the process, the blue checkmark system led to doing more harm than good in many situations.
But now this blue checkmark can be acquired through a $8/mo Twitter Blue subscription:
Now the blue checkmark may mean two different things: either that an account was verified under the previous verification criteria (active, notable, and authentic), or that the account has an active subscription to Twitter Blue. Accounts that receive the blue checkmark as part of a Twitter Blue subscription will not undergo review to confirm that they meet the active, notable and authentic criteria that was used in the previous process.
While there are new rules that Twitter Blue accounts must follow to maintain the blue checkmark, this new avenue has led to more cases of fake accounts impersonating influential ones on the platform.
These latest changes to Twitter are a reminder of how important it is to think critically about the messages you see on the internet, especially tweets and DMs. So this week will be a quick reminder of how to check the legitimacy of a tweet:
Are there misspellings in the username, such as characters that look like others (l and i). Are there filler words and characters added to keep the original name intact (adding underscores, a two-letter country code or the world “real” to the original name).
How old is the account? How many tweets do they have and have their last few tweets kept a consistent theme for what you expect that person to tweet, or do they seem “off-brand”?
Who follows them? Who replies to their tweets? Do they engage in conversation, not reply at all or reply to others with spam or vitriolic messages?
The quantity of Crypto Twitter personalities with the blue checkmark was already small to begin with. But now more than ever it is important to think critically about the content we consume and to not outsource our trust verification to a PNG image. Legacy blue checkmarks may soon go away as well, confirming this feature as just an indication that someone, including spammers, has some cash to spend rather than having significant social capital (or the right contacts).
Proposals in Discussion
The BanklessDAO Constitution failed to capture the operational realities of the Grants Committee, and incorporated incorrect requirements (quorum, ungated polls) for grant proposals. This bDIP will bring the Constitution in line with the practices of the Grants Committee, providing clarity for future funding requests. This proposal needs your feedback and your vote, please!
The Season 6 seasonal funding round was the first implementation of member-based guild funding. This post shares an analysis of member-based guild funding for Season 6 and attempts to gather consensus on the procedure for Season 7 through polls and feedback.
The authors of this proposal suggest that the DAO-wide Coordinape round could be better managed by having coordinators and project managers of the different guilds, departments, and projects submit active member information instead of using the general sign-up forms.
This post outlines a rationale for forming a Meta governance squad in BanklessDAO and delegating SAFE tokens from all multi-sigs funded by BanklessDAO to delegate their SAFE voting power to daostewards.eth. If approved, this would give the delegate group an expected voting power of 70,000 SAFE.
There has been some great discussion on this proposal to adjust the Guest Pass system as a way to address contributor retention and BANK turnover. The author says that the current system “reduces the utility of holding BANK, incentivises “value-extracting” contributors to join … and disincentives (sic) “value-creating” members to stay”. What do you think?
✅ Action Items
🚨 Sign up for the DAO-wide Coordinape before November 16 at 17:00 UTC.
🧐 Share your ideas about the range of proposals on the Forum.
🔥 Join the third BanklessDAO Writers Cohort, ready to start on November 18.