We’re excited about running this experiment too!
The questions you pose are all very good and the community should get an answer to them. Let’s see if I can do a good job of answering them.
Why should the community, and COMP token-holders trust you? What are your qualifications, and background? What is your experience in the Compound community to date?
I spent the last three years investing at Digital Currency Group (DCG). During that time, I invested in 100+ companies and projects (some went on to be very successful, and some, umm…did not go on to be very successful). Early this year, I left DCG to work on something that I think is critically important and all at once underinvested in: network governance. That’s how I find myself here today.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to actively participate in Compound’s community while I was at DCG. Since early this year, however, I have been lurking on the forum and Discord on a daily basis. Going forward, I plan to be a far more active member of the community. (Less lurking and more posting).
What about the other members, that disburse funds?
We tried very hard to make sure members of the committee represent the interests of various stakeholders in the community and/or have experience in providing funding to projects in the space. Jesse is an investor at Variant (and a16z before that). Getty, Monetsupply, and Sam are independent members of the Compound community. Ken has deep experience with the grants process thanks to his work for the Ethereum Foundation. Finally, Ryan works at Coinbase, and before that, was an investor at CoinFund. I’m biased, of course, but I think we have some very high quality committee members!
Should the members be active Compound community participants? Some names I don’t recognize from Discord or these forums.
Active community members are absolutely critical to the success of the program. Few know what areas/people Compound should provide grants to as well as they do. We tried our best to form a committee that’s well-rounded: it has both active community participants as well as folks who know how to provide funding to projects and ideas. Having said that, we’re always open to hear from other community members who’d like to get involved.
Nobody on the list (to my knowledge) has a deep familiarity with the protocol codebase, which might be useful in quantifying grants for technical development.
That’s certainly a weakness of the committee today. We’d absolutely love to hear from people who are familiar with the codebase.
In the case of a protocol development, do you envision a grant before work is completed, after it is completed, after it is merged into the protocol? At what stage of development, would somebody apply for a grant? In the workflow, this isn’t made clear.
This is a question we hope to have an informed answer on after we get data points from running the grants program for several months. Certain applications, for example, would benefit from receiving a grant before the work is completed. Other applications may benefit from receiving a grant after the work is finished. Applications that have several intermediate stages may benefit from a hybrid approach: part of the grant is given upfront, part is given once intermediate stages are completed, and part is given once the work is merged into the protocol. We hope to have a better answer to the question after running the pilot and seeing what works and what doesn’t work. After several months of experimentation, best practices should start to emerge.
Since we don’t have the best practices yet, we’ll want to start with the largest funnel we can to get as many data points as possible. To that end, when we start, we would accept applicants who are at any stage of the development process: those who haven’t started the work yet, those who have completed some of the work but have several more steps to go, and finally, those who have completed the work and merged it into the protocol but haven’t yet received payment for a job well done.
It seems like somebody would (or should) apply before completing development work (or another type of contribution). Would you disburse funds, partially disburse funds (with the remainder at a later stage), or communicate a “provisional” grant/acceptance?
I think the above answer covers this question too.
Any steps in mind to eliminate potential fraud?
Being a victim to fraud is the cost of doing business, particularly in this space. While we will take utmost care in screening out bad actors, mistakes may occur and losses may be incurred. That said, a small potential loss shouldn’t prevent us from doing something that has a chance of delivering a large potential gain to the community.
To keep the probability of loss as low as possible, we will likely need to verify the identity of each applicant prior to disbursing a grant. That is how we can ensure no baddies make it through the grants process. If this is indeed the final approach we take, we will be extremely careful with protecting the identity of applicants (the only people who would see their identity are members of the grants committee). But we’re still thinking this part through, so input from the community would be very welcome!