Introducing the 0x DAO

As Theo (@mintcloud) announced on the February developer and governance call, in the interest of responsible iteration, we are introducing a staged transition to full protocol decentralization, starting with a community-owned treasury seed-funded by 0x Labs.

We are seeking input and feedback, as well as expressions of interest from community and ecosystem members who may want to self-nominate for a role as a bootstrap delegate.

Call to action: Please review and comment on the plan as outlined below and reach out to Nikita, Theo, or Brent on Discord if you are interested in volunteering to be a bootstrap delegate.

0x DAO MVP - Bootstrap Delegates

Abstract

As we continue our mission to create a tokenized world where all value can flow freely, 0x Labs intends to experiment with seed-funding a community treasury managed by a DAO.

To establish the DAO, 0x Labs will identify a set of bootstrap delegates that will shepherd the initial steps of governance decentralization. These individuals and/or entities will receive enough delegated voting power to autonomously create treasury proposals, and to coordinate and execute them with neither the authority, nor the intervention of 0x Labs. This will constitute the 0x DAO MVP.

What’s in scope/out of scope in 0x DAO MVP

The 0x DAO MVP will include an on-chain, binding governance function that initially will control only the community treasury, but will not control updates of the core protocol. However, the goal is to progressively increase the governance reach of the 0x DAO so that it will assume responsibility for and control of protocol upgrades. For example, an intermediary step could be to give full control of staking parameters to the 0x DAO.

As outlined in the governance roadmap posted in 2020, the path to the decentralization of 0x is composed of several technical milestones, both accompanying and requiring a parallel evolution of the 0x community. The introduction of a 0x DAO is one of the most important steps on that path.

Treasury purpose

The purpose of the treasury is not enforced, and ZRX holders will be in control of what to do with treasury funds. The suggested usage, however, is the funding of projects (in the form of grants or other forms of work compensation) that benefit the 0x ecosystem and provide positive effects to ZRX holders. For example, we have seen these types of efforts with Uniswap and Compound, where the treasury is used to pay developers and finance initiatives aimed at increasing the adoption of the underlying protocol.

It is important to note, though, that the management of the treasury doesn’t have to be limited to spending funds. The DAO will be a veritable investment manager of these funds and can decide to use them in the way it finds it most useful; for example, lending to other protocols, LP AMMs, farming, or other activities designed to extend the fund’s impact and wherewithal.

Treasury funding

Initial seed funding for the treasury will consist of $1m worth of ZRX, which will be allocated directly from the Ecosystem Development Pool administered by 0x Labs. So that the treasury becomes self-sustaining, it is further intended that a portion of 0x protocol fees collected from protocol usage will be directed to the treasury in the future. 0x Labs, at its discretion, may also decide to allocate additional funds.

High-level overview of the voting process

The system is similar to the one used for the governance of Compound Protocol and Uniswap Treasury:

  1. Someone proposes a vote. We check they have enough stake by querying the Staking contract, and if it’s above some threshold we record the proposal / current epoch.
  2. Vote goes live throughout epoch+2. When someone casts a vote we simply query their balance in the staking contract. This will be constant throughout the epoch.
  3. When epoch+2+vote length completes the proposer calls some finalize function that distributes the funds if they met some quorum.

The role of bootstrap delegates

0x Labs intends to identify 5-7 individuals or entities to actively participate in helping to shape the governance of the treasury as stewards of the 0x DAO MVP. They are expected to:

  • align with the 0x protocol mission of building a world where tokenized value can flow freely.
  • be comfortable with being accountable for the good functioning of the protocol governance.
  • make responsible decisions based on the interests of the community, including creating and championing proposals that gather consensus in temperature checks.

This is an important step in progressive decentralization of 0x protocol. These delegates will have enough voting power to create proposals independently based on discussions with other ZRX holders. They will not have the power to unilaterally make decisions, but will have the power to influence decision-making through their reputation and advocacy.

Current voting power snapshot

Currently, the voting power of ZRX holders is spread across large categories of actors as shown below. Approximately 47% is considered inactive for voting purposes, approximately 3% is staked and can be considered active, and the remainder is unknown.

~% Category Voting Status Note
14% Ecosystem Dev Pool Inactive Source of treasury seed funding
12% Exchanges Inactive ZRX withdrawn from exchanges would become active
11% 0x Labs Team Vesting Inactive Vested ZRX already distributed to employees are active
10% Compound Inactive
3% ZRX Vault Active ZRX staked in pools
50% Unknown Addresses Active ZRX held on exchanges are inactive

It is important to note as a frame of reference that staking pool operators control 50% of the vote for the ZRX staked in their pools, while the other 50% is controlled by the individual stakers in those pools. So in practice, pool operators have “overweight” voting power, which reflects how the system was designed, i.e., to amplify marketmaker interests as they are the main organic generator of protocol fees.

Proposed allocation to bootstrap delegators

It is desirable that a set of bootstrap delegates will be able to create proposals autonomously, without having to put capital upfront. This voting power will be delegated to them by 0x Labs.

Because no single entity should be in the position to unilaterally control the outcome of a vote, the voting power held by the largest stakeholder informs the decision on what this allocation should be. The staking pool with the highest voting power is currently Volleyfire, with approximately 7m ZRX worth of voting power (50% of their staked value).

Therefore, to counterweight the largest staking pool’s voting power, we propose that bootstrap delegates in aggregate be assigned an equal amount of voting power. For example, if there are 7 delegates, each delegate will control 1m in ZRX voting weight. Specific numbers will be determined based on the number of bootstrap delegates.

Furthermore, to encourage and facilitate diversity of representation, we propose that a minimum quorum threshold be established for proposal passage, which will initially be set at 10m ZRX.

Typical activities of a bootstrap delegate

As representatives of the larger community, bootstrap delegates are expected to actively participate in various activities that reflect and contribute to healthy discourse and governance.

Suggested activities include:

1 / Hang out in the 0x Discord

Currently, Discord is the community hub where most conversations, especially those not directly related to governance, take place. It is important to maintain an awareness of the themes, concerns, and emerging ideas that are being shared there to identify and inform opportunities for more formalized governance.

2 / Watch the 0x forum

To host conversations around how to use treasury funds, the 0x forum (https://gov.0x.org/) seems a better venue than Discord. Discord is a great venue for a continuous flow, but not good for making decisions.

Delegates should monitor the activity on the forum, respond to treasury-related questions, and periodically initiate conversations, especially when ideas are being surfaced on Discord that can be translated into a treasury proposal.

3 / Create new proposals

The most meaningful activity that bootstrap delegates can engage in is to craft proposals that enable stakeholders to evaluate and vote on important issues that will shape the future of the protocol. This is not to say that all proposals will be profound, but they all will contribute to improving something in the short or long term. Delegates have been chosen with the expectation that they value this privilege and responsibility and will act in the best interests of the community and the protocol by researching and laying out courses of action to enable informed consideration, even for ideas that they may not personally agree with or support.

4 / Be opinionated on open proposals

Delegates should publicly express their opinions on open proposals, even if not created by them. This could be as simple as leaving a short ‘in support / not in support’ comment on the forum where the discussion on the proposal is underway.

5 / Vote on proposals

Vote with their delegated voting power. This is a fundamental part of their role. Repeated abstention would be a ‘waste’ of voting power delegated by 0x Labs.

6 / Participate in other communities

Participating in other projects and social media creates added value through learning what is or isn’t working; gathering feedback; creating opportunities for synergy, advocacy, and integration; and accelerating ideation.

FAQ

Q: How were delegates chosen?

A combination of reaching out to active ecosystem leaders and self-identification/nomination.

Q: How much time should I expect to commit?

A fair estimate would be 5-10 hours per week for delegates participating in all the activities listed above, but this will likely ebb and flow. However, delegates selected from the 0x ecosystem may choose to participate mainly by voting, which would decrease the time commitment significantly.

Q: What is the term of service (how long is this phase expected to last)?

We currently estimate a minimum of 6 months.

Q: Is there any compensation for my time and effort?

Delegates can expect to benefit indirectly from the outcomes that the treasury funding enables. Additionally, more direct financial compensation may be provided at some point in the future if approved by a governance vote. (See Synthetix and Uniswap for examples of compensated representatives.)

Q: Am I required to personally hold/stake a minimum number of ZRX to be a delegate?

No.

Q: Under what conditions might my status as a delegate be revoked?

Delegate status may be revoked if there is an extended period of non-participation and/or malicious, disruptive behavior. A process will be put in place for periodic review.

Q: Will there be a standard proposal template to follow?

Yes; an industry-standard template will be adopted.

Q: Are any resources available to help with technical or operational feasibility evaluations and cost estimates?

We expect to be able to provide assistance, within reason and resource constraints. Additionally, we expect that a body of knowledge will accrue to facilitate these types of activities.

Q: I am one of the bootstrap delegates and I (or my team) runs an application using 0x. Can I propose grants towards my team?

The usage of the funds is not strictly enforced, and it is up to the community of holders and the other bootstrap delegators to assess the benefit and ROI of any proposal and express it through their votes.

8 Likes

Thanks @nikita, this is a great write up. Thanks for taking the time to lay out the different components. It is good to see 0x marching towards becoming a DAO.

Was thinking the other day since St. Louis Fed endorsed 0x as one of the key infrastructure pieces for decentralized exchanges in their latest report, it will be important to provide an active governance framework that will invite significant stakeholders to collaborate.

2 Likes

I would like to apply to be a bootstrap delegate of ZRX protocol and contribute as I can to bring value to the protocol. I will commit to help on Discord discussions and bring them to forum when applicable and try to bring innovative approach’s to ZRX protocol.

With 0x V4 and the transformers approach, I believe a stream to deploy new kind of transformers will be needed and more help from community to expand the possible use cases. Another improvements will be start thinking about new kinds of orders like stop limit and also start explore new ways of bring competitive NFT orders to 0x v4 as similar on what was done for RFQ orders, discuss ways of 0x protocol start get some fees from RFQ orders without impacting adoptance.

Regarding DAO, there will be categories for proposals and limited budget for each category? For instance, if DAO receive only proposals for development grants, did the treasury funding can be used exclusively for that or there will be percentage max budget? Could the DAO treasury be used for marketing proposals? Like create a ZRX academy where users submit videos and articles explaining the protocol. Trying to understand if the Treasury scope will be exclusively for development.

3 Likes

Thanks for your comments, @JoaoCampos89. I’m of the mind that at the outset the budget will be unrestricted and available for use as the community sees fit. I can envision outlay categories and targets being established at some point through the governance process, but IMO it is unlikely that those kinds of constructs will be in place initially. That said, I do feel strongly that any proposal submitted for a vote should include some form of an ROI or cost/benefit estimation to ensure funds are used wisely.

2 Likes

Thanks for your comments, @Link. I look forward to fleshing out and incorporating some of the ideas that you have shared here in the forum and in the Discord into the active work of governing the protocol going forward.

Hi team!

I recently retired from my Corporate job and plan to assist with this effort, I’ll have the flexibility I need to be involved.

I’ll be spending the next month reviewing the archive and catching up on all things 0x.

Let me know what position you feel I could best play on this team. Offensive line, outfielder, playmaker, concessions (lol), open to feedback based on my background.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cryptohydrate

-Drew

2 Likes

I think you could make a great bootstrap 0x DAO delegate! Is that something you would be interested in doing?

Definitely. I want to spend a little “sabbatical time” reading up on some of the past development updates and familiarizing myself a bit more with the governance roadmap.

I have cut my teeth on some tiny Eth projects for the past 9 months, and think my Corporate experience could give some beneficial outside perspective to the effort.

2 Likes

The need for Bootstrap Delegates makes sense. The scoping plan for the DAO makes sense as well. Start small and finite, then expand the scope when ready.

In the Proposed allocation to bootstrap delegators, I agree that no single entity should be in the position to unilaterally control the outcome of a vote. I wonder if there’s a simple way we could figure this out. Since pool stake sizes can change any epoch. It could be tedious to constantly adjust the bootstrap delegate’s voting power with respect to the largest pool size. We’d either want to automate that or somehow simplify it so that it’s easier to calculate.

1 Like

Yes, agree on the potential need for voting power adjustment, but it would only be necessary if there were an upcoming/active vote, so that should simplify it some. On the other hand, we don’t know yet how frequently votes will occur.

I have also just mentioned this in the other thread. It is good that you are thinking about this @VolleyFire @nikita. The bootstrap delegates should not carry any voting power. They merely make suggestions to the community that then need to be enforced by everybody. Giving a small set of actors overweight voting powers will lead to a lot of problems down the road.

I believe the goal of giving bootstrap delegates some voting power is to essentially empower them and give them some responsibility and accountability as ZRX transitions into a DAO. Not every ZRX community member has the ability to be a market maker and operate a staking pool in such a way that it attracts stakers (aka voting power). There are community members out there who may have small or medium amounts of ZRX staked despite making large or massive contributions to the ZRX community. This would help boost them up a bit. The only exception is essentially the VolleyFire clause, which basically says VolleyFire’s pool is so large that it doesn’t need any more voting power despite being a bootstrap delegate.

1 Like