DIP 33: ETHLocal - supporting our diverse infinite garden with QF!

Introduction

Ethereum is global, and bringing Devcon to Southeast Asia is in line with our goal of reaching more local Ethereum communities, as well as increasing diversity within the overall Ethereum community. The Ethereum community is in many ways still western-dominated, despite the fact that crypto is more practically used in Southeast Asia. To illustrate that, four countries within Southeast Asia rank in the top 20 of the Global Crypto Adoption Index, with Vietnam and the Philippines at #1 and #2.
quoted from Announcing Devcon 7!

  • this is a proposal put forth on behalf of clr.fund who has been working with local ethereum communities to conduct quadratic funding (QF) rounds
  • did QF round at ETHColombia for Devcon VI, 292K to support 38 communities and projects
  • several nascent communities and upswell of support in SEA now that DevconSEA has been announced
  • existing group of projects that are just starting out with the Road to Devcon grants initiative that is helping to increase accessibility and opportunities for people to learn, engage, and contribute to the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • we do get strong participation in activities in SEA
  • perfect time to use Minimal Anti-Collusion Infrastructure (MACI) to conduct a QF round as other sybil solutions are not as widespread in SEA

Objectives

  • As part of the Ethereum philosophy of subtraction, we will want to eventually have local ethereum communities be self-sustaining and thriving
  • This would mean that they could benefit from using funding mechanisms that improve participation amongst their communities, are sufficiently transparent to motivate projects to contribute public goods, and funders to feel confident that they are able to support meaningful work done for their local ecosystems
  • A possible state would be for local projects that are revenue generating and self-sufficient to have a culture of contributing back to local, well-run, and Ethereum-focused communities. Thereby, keeping the overall ecosystem sustainable and healthy for new participants and to remain a safe space for current members.

Proposal

Why Devcon is a natural schelling point

  • Devcon is the undisputed reunion of the Ethereum ecosystem where cultural norms and behaviours can be encouraged by setting the right examples.
  • With DevconSEA, several Ethereum communities in SEA have kickstarted their activities, many countries have begun running their own conferences, hackathons, and regular meetups in anticipation.

Overcoming constraints to adoption

  • We’d like to kickstart these initiatives with some support and set the right examples while testing existing funding infrastructure limitations in SEA.
  • For example, a quick survey was done with community leaders and current sybil solutions such as BrightID have not been widely adopted which might hinder the QF mechanism from working properly.

Sustaining our local ecosystems

  • In the longer term, we will hope to see more local communities continue running their own rounds much like after Devcon VI which inspired rounds in Argentina and Honduras too.
  • potentially in the future we can run another round closer to DevconSEA when the SEA ecosystem has more knowledge of QF too

On the road to DevconSEA QF Round

Round Details

Goals: to educate SEA communities on QF (its benefits, when to use, operations) and lay the ground work for a larger ecosystem round during DevconSEA.

Proposed size: max 30k in matching funds, expect 200-500 donors

Round Qualification: only RTD grantees and Ethereum-specific communities that have run meetups/events prior to 2024

Suggested Timeline:
5 Feb - 20 Feb: actively engage participants

  • onboarding
  • sharing best practices
  • publicity campaign, talking about their work and also our hopes for Devcon
  • sharing about QF to communities
  • open to sponsors to the matching funds

20 Feb - 4 March: QF round execution

9 March: finalise round and disbursement + continue our engagements

  • now that the broader Ethereum ecosystem knows about our initiatives in SEA, open up conversations about how they could support the larger round during DevconSEA
  • encourage round participants to support each others’ initiatives throughout the year

Limitations: as brightID isn’t commonly used in SEA, we will need to have a constrained round to prevent sybil attacking. We define a constrained round as constraining projects eligible for QF to only RTD grantees and Ethereum-specific communities that have run meetups/events prior to 2024

5 Likes

Thanks for the proposal!
Would need some more information though - especially on the interface to DEVCon. E.g. what do you require?
Also please add more details on e.g. “constrained round”
Also you need to select another number - DIP-32 is already taken.

where do I check the latest DIP number? I just saw that there’s a 31 in the forum but haven’t found a 32

1 Like

The forum is not mandatory for DIPs - the source of truth is git:

got it, thank you @ligi ! made a PR here: Create DIP-33 by Fishbiscuit · Pull Request #127 · efdevcon/DIPs · GitHub

and made some edits according to your feedback

2 Likes

Hello everyone :space_invader:

I’m Romina, from Argentina. I’m a EF grantee for ETH Kipu. I have participated as a volunteer in curating the ETH Colombia round in Devcon VI. I was responsible for organizing the QF round of ETH Latam in Buenos Aires and am currently in charge of organizing the QF round of ETH Latam, which will take place in March.

Regarding the round you propose:

  • I think it’s good that you suggest a “constrained round”. I’m not sure if we both understand that expression in the same way. For example, this year we will have a round for ETH Latam where only projects born or executed geographically in Central America and the Caribbean will participate. This is to prevent the matching pool from being diluted in dozens of applications from all of Latin America. The nature of ETH Latam is to be a local itinerant event that moves throughout Latin America (since we unfortunately can’t always have Devcon). This edition will be held in Honduras. So, understanding the QF round as a financing mechanism contributing to the sustainability of local communities, we have limited the geographical scope to prevent teams from all over Latin America from applying. There are large communities in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil with a lot of support that could take a significant portion of the matching pool. This is not bad, but it would be detrimental to initiatives in Central America. I believe the same should happen in SEA, as Devcon is an itinerant event that has a significant influence on each country/region it chooses. Having a small budget for the first months of the year thanks to a QF round is great. You can count on it to organize small meetings that help maintain the regularity of community gatherings and strengthen human connections. In the same sense of “constrained,” would the voters be only Devcon attendees?

Other suggestions:

  • I am working on a small call to add observers at different stages of the process. In this particular round, we will only add them to the initiative screening stage since we are very close to deadlines. But for future rounds, I think it’s positive to have witnesses throughout the process who, in some way, audit that everything is done fairly, and no one is disqualified due to favoritism or any other reason. Also, these individuals can appreciate the experience as a whole. However, it is not within their role to decide, as that requires another role, which I describe below.

  • Community curators: Call for individuals related to public goods and interested in organizing future rounds. There are currently a few of us around the world with experience in two or more rounds. We must transmit this know-how to community members from the Ethereum ecosystem and, if possible, to organizations outside web3. The rounds can be an onboarding mechanism. Here is an example from ETH Porto and a round for a non-web3 organization.

  • Encourage alliances: I will use an imaginary example to illustrate this point. In previous rounds, we see teams applying on their own. What if we start incentivizing alliances? Let’s say ETH Padthai allies with ReFi Thai to organize a film and debate cycle throughout the country. This way, we promote new initiatives to apply and gather more votes, team coordination, and specific initiatives, leading to the next point…

  • I think we need to get creative with QF rounds and combine some things. I am a badgeholder in RPGF by Optimism. For those unfamiliar, Optimism has a mission mechanism, where any forum member can suggest positive things to build for the Optimism ecosystem. The top 100 delegates must select some and publish them for formal discussion. The process is more complex, but I won’t delve into it. I only mention it so that we consider such a mechanism to create a kind of wishlist of missions and direct incentives. I am unaware of the SEA ecosystem, but in Latin America, many communities are conducting onboarding activities, and almost no one talks about ZK, AA, or other more specific topics. What would be beneficial for the SEA region? Is there something they want to promote? Could it be included in the eligibility section?

Currently, the requirements are very general. Will this round have a specific topic?

We have a round sponsor for the first time, and it’s Scroll. I am discussing with them about a possible wishlist. This is not my idea; I took it from ESP.

The last point is the big unknown for all rounds… Will there be a follow-up? Will the history of wallets and applicants from this round be used for future rounds? How should we start to measure the impact of these QF Rounds?

@fishbiscuit I believe we should have a common channel for all QF round organizers worldwide to share best practices, and learnings, and, above all, start a conversation about a future stack or several customized stacks for each region.

I am available for any queries. I will be traveling to Devcon, so I also offer to volunteer on-site :heartpulse:

4 Likes

I think there is a significant challenge when it comes to implementing QF round in local communities. While QF is a tool for direct democracy, its use doesn’t inherently guarantee democratic participation. Up to this point, the primary drivers of QF round have been external sponsors, round operators, and community organizers, rather than the broader community membership.

Ultimately, an QF round would ideally have these characteristics:

  • The matching fund should originate from the local community itself, rather than external sources.
  • Voters should be members of the community.
  • The agenda should be created based on community needs and interests.

So, the question remains: how can we effectively move towards this ideal model in our local communities?

3 Likes

Hello all. I’m an organizer at ETH63 based out of the Philippines in SEA and I am supportive of doing a QF round to support the community. Having that long-term flywheel of support allows us to continue local activities sustainably.

However, as the post suggests, we do need a Sybil-resistant mechanism to ensure that the QF round is run fairly and correctly. More importantly, the QF round should also cater to the local community that we intend to support such as the Philippine community to which I belong.

Looking at BrightID, it seems to lack language support and timing support for people to register and come on board. Furthermore, it adds friction to joining the round. I imagine people will simply download and go through the registration process just to do QF.

With that, are there other Sybil-resistant mechanisms that can be built into the community organization process? For example, we do events, lessons, and conferences, and these tickets are sold or given out to people who attend. If we can include them as participants, we will have a growing pool and a flywheel effect as more events are done around SEA.

1 Like

I merged the DIP after doing some formal changes. We will decide on it soon. @fishbiscuit one Q in my mind after reading it: did you already do a round with CLR.fund + MACI? I only find ones with usage of brightID so far.

1 Like

responding to @ligi
Thanks for merging!

Yes! MACI has been a core part of clr.fund since the beginning. Also to clarify, ETH communities that have run a physical event prior to 2024 would be ETHKL, EthVietnam, Ethereum Singapore, ETHPadThai.

responding to @EynSoph

Thank you for responding! Glad to see more ETH communities chiming in too. We thought long and hard about how to execute the road and what are some key priorities for doing it early in the year.
With some efforts from @Rose to galvanise the community + Devcon being in SEA + there being existing ETH communities + new Road to Devcon grantees, the timing is great to hold a round soon. One thing consistent amongst these projects are that they tend to be physical events/meetups. We are exploring the eventual use of zupass and other ticketing solutions that might serve as better sybil mechanisms to allow us to run more focused ‘ecosystem’ or ‘regional’ based rounds.

I love the idea of a flywheel where eventually as Devcon is a roving conference across different regions, we take the opportunity to kickstart the right kinds of habits in ecosystems. QF could also become a form of retroactive funding for meetup organisers that rely on grants, sponsors, and even donations to keep going.

It is my hope that we might even be able to support public goods that come up from different regions and encourage donors to participate in sustaining them.

responding to @daehyun

I absolutely agree with how you describe an ideal state of QF funding. In line with the foundation’s philosophy too, we can’t just wait for EF to fund communities.
Right now the dominant narratives are

  • give $1 to move $100 because of matching sponsors (gitcoin’s approach)
  • impact = profit (Optimism’s approach)
  • get rewarded for giving (giveth’s approach)

what you are describing (as cliche as it is) is a coordination problem. Where we need to demonstrate

  1. why QF as a tool, how and when it should be used, what to do to run a good QF round
  2. that communities are a good medium for surfacing meaningful projects + allocating resources to them. There might even be new use cases for QF that we haven’t tried yet. It could be a way for communities to express preferences for new projects vs supporting existing community projects, to have experts dive deeply into projects to allocate resources (like how some conferences use QV to decide speakers) etc etc
  3. funding QF rounds has some form of justifiable ROI

Sadly, I do not have any concrete answers to this but I believe that we can get closer to it by

  • closing the knowledge gap by introducing QF, discovering community projects, discovering community preferences
  • retaining and transmitting knowledge, as @Cryptochica suggested to have round organisers play a stewardship role
  • driving up publicity to projects in the community that contribute
  • in line with MACI team’s roadmap, to support more community engagment and quadratic funding experiments.

responding to @Cryptochica
Firstly, I appreciate your incredibly detailed response and have great respect for your experience and work in the space.
Let’s work together on setting up a platform for round operators that believe in QF as a fitting tool for community decision-making. From there, with iteration, I believe we might have the potential to become a braintrust for the on-the-ground operations and applications of QF.
I’ve spoken to quite a few web2 projects to pitch QF too. In general for them they think its a fundraising tool from web3.
There’s a lot more to QF that organisations will need convincing + it’s an excellent application of subtraction

1 Like

Thanks @fishbiscuit - I like this idea overall!

Question on your plan for the round structure:

From my understanding, this “constrained round” you propose helps handle which recipient projects are eligible, but that’s separate from the criteria for eligible contributors (correct?). What is your proposed sybil resistance mechanism, BrightID or something else? I personally have concerns around BrightID for general UX as well as the regionally specific issues mentioned on this thread.

2 Likes

responding to @samajammin

agree yes eligible projects != eligible contributors
right now in some conversations I was looking at the possibility of using zupass (but it’s not ready yet), brightid (checking with their team if we can host our own verification parties), or just not have an eligibility criterion for contributors (keeping the round short so that only communities have time to react and contribute to it)

I’d really like to hear your thoughts on what’s optimal considering the options we have too!

2 Likes

I’d recommend thinking through some way to prioritize participation by SEA community members.

Maybe that takes the form of something like:

  • collaborating with a project like Proof of Passport to allow citizens of SEA countries to participate
  • working with recipient projects & broader SEA ecosystem communities to get member lists (e.g. via POAPs from past events/meetups/conferences, or Discord membership, then building a whitelist using Guild or similar)

I recognize these approaches take effort vs. the functionality that clr.fund provides out-of-the-box, so I think BrightID could be a reasonable fallback, particularly if their team is able to extend support of verification parties to SEA-friendly times

1 Like

responding to @samajammin

Yes! absolutely, for example we’re doing an Ethereum Singapore meetup today and we’re giving out POAPs, I think much like the bernoulli effect for airflow, when we kickoff the QF round and get communities engaged we’ll have momentum and I intend to ride that.
Have also been talking to @Cryptochica to tap on her own experiences galvanising communities and we’d be sharing these best practices across the world (literally and figuratively)

I’ve gotten a volunteer to host brightid parties ad-hoc for the round, so I think we’re ready!

I think the best way forward would be to collaborate with a project like Proof of Passport and use a set of countries in the SEA region.
BrightId does not really excite me tbh. and I was happy that the initial proposal mentioned not using it.