Extension of the Uniswap-Arbitrum Grant Program (UAGP)

Author(s): Bernard (Areta)

Related Discussions:

Submission Date: March 15 2024

Table of contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Topic 1: ARB to USDC Swap
  • Topic 2: Extension of the Uniswap-Arbitrum Grant Program
  • Next steps

Executive Summary

TL;DR on the thread and discussion.

From the inception of the UAGP, we were the benefactors of a significant price increase in our allocated ARB tokens, which nearly doubled our capacity to fund projects that fell into our scope.

Given the positive price action and the fact that our program denominates costs in USD to align with our grantees’ budgeting, we propose extending the program for another 3 months to utilize the extended runway. This discussion started at the GovSwap in Denver and we received positive feedback on the decision. This thread is meant to capture more community sentiment around this.

Within this thread, we have 2 objectives:

  • 1. Inform you on runway extension: Operationally, the UAGP swapped our treasury ARB to USD to secure runway and mitigate currency risk impacting our ability to fund projects.
  • 2. Align with you on program extension: With our extended runway, we propose to extend the core program to a maximum of 3 more months.

Topic 1: ARB to USDC Swap

Off the back of discussions at GovSwap and aligning internally, the UAGP committee has decided to secure our program’s runway by converting a large proportion of the ARB in our treasury to USD to hedge against currency risk with ARB price fluctuations.

Key reasons for the decision are:

  • Our guiding objective for the UAGP is to enable builders to build, and provide value, for the Uniswap and Arbitrum ecosystems.

  • As such, we made the decision to swap a large portion of the ARB in our treasury to USDC, extending our runway and enabling us to fund almost twice as many projects as initially budgeted for at inception. This decision was made after initial discussions with delegates in Denver and after careful consideration of the potential impact of price volatility stemming from systemic risk and resulting from specific events (eg. ARB token unlocks).

Transaction in detail:

  • On February 29th, we swapped 599k ARB within our treasury to USDC, which was executed at around ~$2/token, amounting to 1.195m USDC.
  • All in all, a slippage of 0.25%, of which effectively the slippage was 0.17% and the rest was just price fluctuation/spread/others.
  • See the discussed transaction here: https://arbiscan.io/tx/0xa15eb0dda7189e1e46e920e833a4da4373f66ac05b1d25b4c793f64c636b61dd
  • A portion representing <15% of our initial ARB allocation remains in the treasury to cover continued operational expenses of the UAGP committee and allow for potential program extension in the future (details below).

Given the price of ARB around the time of the UAGP’s inception, the program was allocated roughly ~$1.1m in USDC terms to direct towards funding projects that fit within our scope of core objectives. From that period, ARB token price has nearly doubled and our treasury has increased to ~$1.8m in USD terms (excl. amounts already paid out).

Topic 2: Extension of the Uniswap-Arbitrum Grant Program

Proposed extension

As described previously, the positive price action of ARB and our decision to secure our coffers has enabled us to fund almost 2x as many projects as initially anticipated.

The increase in projects funded brings with them an extended period of assessment and tracking required, and as such:

  • We’d like to extend the UAGP operation for up to a maximum additional 3 months depending on the quality of inbound applications (extending from ending in April ‘24 to July ‘24)
  • Similarly, we want to block budget for an additional 6 months at 20% of full capacity for milestone-tracking and reporting, should that be necessary.

It is important to note that an increase in funding capacity does not necessarily equate to a proportional increase in program length due to the benefit of having already initiated and established a well-running program. More simply, the doubling in runway does not require a doubling in operational time/costs, given the biggest chunk of set-up costs and momentum creation has already been done.

UAGP Financial Overview

The UAGP has been operating for 4 months, and in that period has accepted 7 projects out of 93 applications. This resulted in reserving 586k UDSC to accepted projects to pay-out via milestones (103k USDC already paid out).

Given the first month of operation was largely process initiation and set-up, we’ve averaged a rate of assessing ~31 applications per month and funded the selected ones with an average grant size of ~84k USDC.

We plan to cease the committee’s operations once the final funds are distributed, or at that juncture, reassess and potentially request additional funding from Arbitrum based on the community’s perception of the program’s success.

What does that mean in practice?

  • Considering the remaining unallocated ~998k USDC in our treasury, we are now in the position to be able to fund a larger number of projects with an extension of the program, while maintaining the current assessment speed, we propose and extension for 3 months for all subsequent projects. This of course is not set in stone and will be educated by the quality level of applications.
  • For the continuation of the operational management, we aim to reserve a maximum amount 109k ARB for the committee. This amount would be spent if all committee members would stay on board for another 3 months and work the maximum amount of hours (78k ARB), and includes another 6 months term to stay on with reduced capacity of 20% (31k ARB). We have been paid 100 ARB/hr since the beginning of the program bearing the up and down side for incentive alignment.
  • In reality, as described above, we hope to meet the finalization of the program earlier and with less capacity needed considering our existing momentum and the rate of deal inflow we presently see.

Upon completion

When the UAGP committee is moving to an end we will either:

  • Pathway A: Propose extending the program and request additional funding from Arbitrum, provided the committee desires to proceed and the community views the initiative as successful.
  • Pathway B: Close down operation of the full committee and maintain a minimal capacity (20%) to see through tracking and reporting of existing Grants with a longer timeline, reporting at predefined periods to the DAO. In case this option is taken and there are excess funds (likely scenario) in the treasury, these funds will be sent back to the Uniswap Treasury / Airdrop contract, and the DAO can decide how to allocate those funds.

Timeline and Next Steps

We aim to provide ample time for feedback and discussion. While we have done significant pre-discussion on the ground in Denver we appreciate the importance of getting a wider consensus on this and your input, whether it’s voicing concerns, posing questions, or simply agreeing, would be valuable for our decision-making on topic 2.

We plan to keep this discussion open for two weeks. While this isn’t a strict deadline, as significant discussion needs may extend, we intend for this timeframe to maintain operational efficiency.

You can find us here, or directly via @bmitte on telegram.

Thank you for your time and mind space!

12 Likes

Thanks for the update @bernard! Derisking to USDC seems prudent and I’m personally supportive of an extension of grant making ops. Happy to see such robust inbound!

6 Likes

Hello, JoJo here from the UAGP committee. Would like to add some colors to what @bernard posted.

When we started the program, $ARB was around $1. Without looking too close to the price movements and volatility of crypto, the whole budget of the program was, give or take, around $1M.

We have seen, from end of november to jan-feb, a big momentum in markets, specifically in $arb itself, that has sent it above $2. As a result, the potential allocation we could have made to protocols increased up to the point in which there was the opportunity to seize the opportunity to be able to serve almost 80% more grants compared to the initial plan.

There were reasons to think that specific tail events could happen and reprice the assets in our treasury. While keeping it in $ARB could have potentially, in future, guaranteed a bigger runaway, in the UAGP we are not in the business of trading funds: we want to give protocols a chance to grow the Uniswap and Arbitrum ecosystem. The ability to serve more protocols, almost 80% more than what we originally planned, was just too important in our eyes, and we decided to seize this opportunity.

5 Likes

Thanks for the update @bernard

While it’s exciting to see that the group was able to sell the recent local top to fund it’s operations, I wonder if there are any quantative updates which can help the DAO measure the following mandates:

1 Like

Thanks @jengajojo for the comments - share the excitement here :slight_smile:

On the more qualitative support points:

On the first two points, we are largely tackling this by positioning the UAGP at the core of the Arbitrum ecosystem and merely “being out there” and approachable to give builders a path cross-ecosystem. E.g., we have presented the program on many occasions and guided builders from the Arbitrum ecosystem to Uniswap, and vice versa. Examples include presenting the program on the Arbitrum DAO Day, the Arbitrum GovHackathon in Denver, taking part in the GovSwap, supporting applicants to pitch at the Arbitrum Demo Day in Denver, and onboarding many builders through personal interactions at conferences.
A key element of this is actively participating in both ecosystems and providing a platform for builders to approach us. We’ll try to highlight some “case studies” of this in our survey (see info below) to make this more tangible.

On the third point, this is a topic we discussed actively before launching and moving the proposal to on-chain. While we generally believe this can be of great value, right now additional support is largely offered in our onboarding and then practically done (a) light-touch via milestone-setting calls (e.g., challenging core KPIs) and (b) in direct interactions with the Grantees and doing intros to relevant people. For full transparency here, there haven’t been many instances (besides introductions made by us) where we actively did a big chunk of “strategic support”. This is driven by (a) the projects not asking for it at their current stage and (b), given our lean mandate, not a key priority for us either. If you check the on-chain proposal, you will see we’ve already adjusted this in the proposal before putting it up for an on-chain vote.

For other program updates, find a more granular view here. Similarly, @fin_areta is currently preparing a qualitative mid-term survey to highlight some of the more nuanced (qualitative) developments and collect opinions from parties involved in the program.

Let us know what you think or if you’d like us to shine more light on these

1 Like

Update (March 29): Thank you for all the valuable feedback received through the forum and other channels over the last two weeks! We are extending the program for an additional three months, as outlined in the thread. Closer to the program’s conclusion, we will share more about the next steps, including the possibility of further extension and funding requests, after internal discussions within the committee.

2 Likes

This seems to have been concluded very fast and without much discussion.

  1. Was the qualitative survey shared?
  2. Can timesheets be shared as well? More detailed cost and activity performed by the parties involved will shine light in the effectiveness of the work being done.

https://gov.uniswap.org/t/uniswap-arbitrum-grant-program-uagp-midway-learnings-survey/24110

Thank you for sharing.
It sounds counter-intuitive to survey successful grant recipients and not all applicants. This casts doubt on the capabilities of those driving this program.

What are your thoughts?

1 Like

I think what @D-FB is hinting at one of the cognitive biases aka

There are also controversies over some of these biases as to whether they count as useless or irrational, or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior. For example, when getting to know others, people tend to ask leading questions which seem biased towards confirming their assumptions about the person. However, this kind of confirmation bias has also been argued to be an example of social skill; a way to establish a connection with the other person.

This is why for critical discussion as in case say with legal structure, I would advocate deliberately inviting in contrary opinions including those who don’t want a legal structure.

I notice this in traditional govts in that the various commissions always seem to be leading towards extending govt regulation, never reducing it :face_exhaling: After all, if there was no problem to be solved, they wouldn’t have a reason to exist …

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nCedOQJ0ZEA

1 Like

Hi D-FBI, first of all welcome to the Uniswap Forum and thanks for your input.

On the survey, and how to read it:

We do agree surveying grantees is like asking your employees for feedback. Reading through the assessment you will find its not about presenting any score, but rather getting learnings for how to improve our internal processes.

In a grant program, you will find many different elements to provide feedback on from application to onboarding, responsiveness, tracking, communication, etc. For most of these critical phases in a grant program, grantees are the highest-context individuals (i.e., the ones that understand the inner workings of a company in your analogy).

Whereas applicants also have good insights, although just limited to the application phase as they haven’t seen the company from the inside. Indeed, there might also be merit in interviewing these folks to improve the application process.

As we mentioned in the thread, the scores should be viewed in context; the exercise is aimed at generating learnings for improvements, rather than showcasing achievements.

"In general, we’re pleased with the results of our survey and more importantly generated tangible learnings from the direct insights of program participants. We are mindful that these are opinions from accepted grantees and naturally are inclined toward more positive experiences with the UAGP. However, we still believe its worthwhile to run this exercise to test ourselves for any apparent gaps. This assumption was stress-tested by the fact no individual response rated the likelihood to recommend the UAGP to peers lower than a 9.”

On Discord Feedback:

We obv. appreciate all opinions and remarks, but you will find in DAOs sometimes loud voices can come from individual parties with their own agenda. This is not to discredit any opinion, and as we feel we’ve displayed, we still take every point mentioned as an opportunity for improvement. For instance, in this particular recent case, we provided application feedback, offered a call (which was scheduled but the party never attended), and highlighted the feedback received.

Of course, we would welcome more on your background and feedback, so please feel free to come by our office hours or schedule a personal call with us :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

Good day all, posting here as a matter of transparency.

It seems Torque has been denied access to the resources set forth in this program due to an oversight, hindering our ability to become competitive in the market. Our one-of-a-kind, diversified, and single asset pools built on Uniswap and GMX are absolutely firing.

The justification is focused around the judges not being able to “prove” ecosystem impact, but UAGP is outlined to fund projects that’ve “demonstrated potential”, not already proven impact. So, I believe we’ve been judged in a slightly unfair manner currently.

We’ve demonstrated undeniable potential over 1.5 yrs of developing the Torque brand. Anyone can review our work. For those looking to check out the Torque Interface, DM our Twitter, in our Telegram group, or to me personally. A code will be provided.

It is programs like this which justify bearing a non-linear trajectory and in fact, Uniswap itself would not be here today if it was edged out of the grant program that funded it.

I sincerely hope the review committee will take swift action to kindly reverse this decision based on the additional findings. Thank you for the opportunity and consideration!

Cameron Conrad
Torque Founder

1 Like

Hi Cameron,

Thank you for your message and for sharing your thoughts with the community. We appreciate your dedication and the hard work you’ve put into developing the Torque brand over the past 1.5 years.

The grant application process is highly competitive, and as we’ve mentioned a handful of times in this forum, we receive many excellent proposals. The decision was made after careful consideration and review by our committee based on the criteria outlined in the program. While we recognize your achievements and the potential you’ve demonstrated, the decision remains final.

We encourage you to continue developing Torque and exploring other opportunities for funding and support. As mentioned by mail, we remain available to support you and Torque, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for your understanding and for your continued contributions to the community.

1 Like

Thank you for the prompt response!