Call For Growth Programs To Spend Treasury Tokens

Background

As described in the introductory article here, the Index Coop community has immediate access to 5% of the total $INDEX tokens and the remaining community tokens that are vested monthly.

Since launch, the first expenditure of the treasury was funding the Treasury Committee to reward useful work for the Index Coop community. As the liquidity mining program ends in December, it would be great to create additional programs to incentivize long-term holders and growth of the Index Coop’s products. As the focus in the near term is getting to 1% of DeFi, we hope to grow the DeFi Pulse Index’s (“DPI”) holder base and total supply among high-retention users (those who purchase the product for the long run).

Our treasury of tokens is one of the strongest incentive mechanisms we have as it lets us distribute tokens for useful work that reflexively increases the value of the token itself. Among the growth team, we need to instill a culture that is more aggressive about creating programs and running experiments to spend these tokens.

How To Think About These Proposals

Each proposal to spend treasury tokens should have a hypothesis around how it hopes the program will help accomplish a specific goal. As I see it now, the Coop has two major goals:

  1. Increase DPI Supply
  2. Increase $INDEX distribution

Increasing DPI Supply is the natural benchmark for any growth program. A growing DPI supply means (holding price constant), a larger AUV, and a larger fee base for the Coop. Distribution partners, like centralized exchanges, will be looking at DPI Supply and AUV as a proxy for the legitimacy of our project and whether or not we are the winners that they want to support.

Increasing $INDEX distribution is a more nuanced objective. A wider distribution helps the governance process have more rigor and legitimacy as the more tokens in distribution among a wider audience, the harder it is to compromise the process. Furthermore, the more individuals that are holding the governance token, the more individuals wiling to evangelize the project, the larger the community gets, and the stronger our marketing. Such a virtuous loop feeds back into the goal of wanting to grow the DPI supply through organic grass roots marketing.

Please mention other goals that you think may be relevant in the comments.

To complement the goals, be sure to think critically about your hypothesis. Think about whether or not the persona you want to target is actually being targeted by the program you are proposing. We have created an excel doc here that maps the buyers journey for the different personas we are currently considering. Think about where in the buyers journey you expect the leverage points to be.

Types of Programs

We want the capital and distribution we attract with these types of programs to be high retention.

As an example, in the case of liquidity mining, neither those buying the DPI to participate, or those earning the $INDEX token by participating, will be high retention. Potentially, a large majority of those that are presently participating in the liquidity mining programs will sell off once the incentives end and are already dumping the $INDEX tokens as soon as they get them.

Another example is a referral/affiliate program that we had specced out here. This program had basically attempted to incentivize content producers to sell the $DPI in exchange for earning a commission in $INDEX tokens. In such a model, the expected retention for DPI is high as those buying likely see strong utility, but the retention for the content creators earning $INDEX is low as they are more mercenary and want to quickly get their money. This proposal is far from fleshed out as there are several technical and game theoretic challenges preventing it from being feasible, but hopefully it serves to illustrate the different personas.

Finally, one can think of a systemized model similar to our treasury program where individuals do tasks from @overanalyser call to action post here and get rewarded in $INDEX. The growth in DPI is 0, but maybe the retention for $INDEX is high since they have to do work and understand the value of the community to earn the token.

Resources

We generally find @overanalyser’s 2% Cash Grab proposal to be generally a good structure for how one should make experimental proposals.

UMA Developer Mining is an interesting foray into this design space.

Augur Affiliate Program is an example of an onchain affiliate program.

Conclusion

The design space here is massive and we are really excited to see the creativity of the community be unleashed here! Doing experiments and doubling down on the ones that work is likely the highest leverage thing the community can currently work on.

Excited to see all the proposals that come out here!

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The proposed onchain affiliate program definitely works but I’d be concerned about privacy. It’s relatively easy to scrape the web for the referral links, match those to onchain transactions, and track buyer addresses to marketing channels. Obviously that’s the whole point but in aggregate it exposes a lot of offchain information and behavior patterns about DPI users who participate and could put them at risk.

Synthetix Volume Program is another example. I think this achieves both because it takes a considerable amount of investment to integrate our contracts, it sustainably brings users over time, and likely creates open source code that other people can use to integrate Index Coop into other apps faster. Sponsoring a long term hackathon (1 month?) also achieves the same thing I think but is a riskier investment. Gitcoin bounties is another option but we are kinda already doing that via Treasury Committee and I think the committee forces people to actually get involved in the community vs interacting through Github and a command line.

Ponzinomic affiliate program would do seasons of 3 or 6 months. Works almost the same except there is a single pool of INDEX for a season that is shared to affiliates pro-rata to their sales. Mandate that X amount of DPI have to be sold and time-locked for rewards to be distributed. If there are already a lot of sales in a season people would either have to make even more sales this season to maximize the sales they already made (sunk cost) or want to wait to sell in later rounds. Since INDEX holders decide how many rewards goes into the next season affiliates would want to sell in the current season to gain INDEX governance power and prevent risk from next season incase program discontinues, rewards reduced, or competition increases and dilutes them more because the program is more well known. We should do a lot of marketing before hand to make sure the first season is very competitive which sets the pace for the rest.

Make dope ass swag from MetaFactory which always gets people hype and makes people walking billboards. The YFI hoodie just sold out and I’ve seen it on a bunch of social media posts and zoom calls doing free promo. This would likely attract more artists to the Coop as well. We always hold the tokens we receive (YFI, MEME, DAI, ETH, etc.) to diversify our treasury and show community support. (obviously im biased here)

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The season thing was definitely something I was thinking about too. I’m curious though how it avoids whales wash trading. Say for example, near the end of the season, a whale refers themselves and puts a ton of capital into DPI, only to remove it after the season ends.

Timelock rewards may work, but the hard part is tracking the status of the DPI. DO we require the buyer to stake? What happens if they simply transfer to another wallet for opsec, does the affiliate lose the reward? That gets a little tougher.

Yea no matter what this is going to be tricky for any affiliate program.

I think a long timelock ~6-12 months for the DPI bought discourages gaming the system. Even if they were to try and game it that gives us enough time to prove that DPI is the best long term investment strategy and keep them as holders afterwards. That shouldn’t be hard to convince buyers to lock since it goes with our proposition for DPI in the first place - without them needing to touch their tokens, we are still managing the index, earning yield, voting on meta-governance etc. while they can sit back and relax knowing their assets are safe and locked away.

I was thinking to make it simple the buying of DPI would happen in the affiliate sales contract. So you send your ETH/DAI/etc. and the contract buys the DPI, automatically locks it and assigns reward to affiliate that you put in with your order all in one tx. How that address for the affiliate gets input could be like you guys described in your doc.

This is an area I really know very little about.

I can see the need to distribute INDEX, but I don’t like giving them away. …

I don’t like the idea of incentivised selling, I think because I’m worried about encouraging sales techniques that I don’t like.

Selling / giving to strategic partners / influencers feels wrong.

I wonder about strategic partnerships with other protocols. Maybe a governance token exchange at market price with lock in? Say we swap $50K worth INDEX for for $50K worth of AAVE with agreement to hold in the others treasury.

Liquidity mining encourages short term selling.

I like using it to reward contribution to the coop.
I like the idea of using it to encourage INDEX and DPI staking. I think someone willing to stake for 3 months in return for DPI and INDEX rewards is the type of person we want.

I wonder if some sort of bonding curve / automated selling function is worth investigating. Some way to release a substantial amount of INDEX onto the market at a known rate. Then we know that as the price grows we increase the number of tokes available on the market. Say 1,000,000 INDEX to be sold between $4 and $10. I we do our jobs correctly, and INDEX gains value, there is a price sensitive seller for the market.

How do we feel about airdrops? I know they can be perceived as scammy and ultimately diluting, but I think targeted they can be effective. Maybe allocating some INDEX or DPI for an airdrop into one of the smart wallets like Dharma or Argent (Frontier token recently did this with Dharma, about $2 worth of tokens per user)…its is good promotion as the wallet users tend to look things up that are given to them. Those platforms only have a few thousand users so it doesn’t need to be a very large sum in total.

Pros: One of the reasons I like this is that DPI targets non-traders and so do the smart wallets. Feels like the target demographic we are trying to hit. Might be able to get some free marketing exposure from the wallets as part of the package. (ie email to wallet users to explain what just got airdropped etc)

Cons: Relatively expensive and smart wallet users might have small balances? Even so, it can be good to get DPI/INDEX branding front and center as it may pay dividends long term as they get more comfortable with the ecosystem. It took me a while to move from speculating in individual tokens to just getting index exposure.

1 Like

OK, A few random thoughts to apply a little of the INDEX treasury towards

If we decide we need it,we could commission artists to work up some more graphics / generate some different images on the overall INDEXcoop theme. (Note I would prefer to ask for ask for a portfolio and them commission rather than a competition). i.e. the coop takes the risk, but artists aren’t working for nothing.

Meme competition (here I would just reward the best we see in a set period (monthly?)

I’m a big fan of Finematics and wonder if we could commission him to do a video around DPI / index funds. We give him full editorial control, and he can declare our sponsorship if he likes. https://www.youtube.com/c/Finematics/videos

1 Like

OK, a couple more ideas:

Run a group of surveys with an INDEX prize:

  1. LP providers:
    Why did you LP
    Did you stake
    Did you keep the INDEX or sell
    Do you plan to keep LP’ing?
    Do you LP other projects
    etc

  2. DPI holders
    Why did you buy
    Why didn’t you LP
    How long do you intend to hold
    Would you use AAVE, Compount, yEarn, Maker vaults
    What other DeFi tokens do you hold
    etc

  3. INDEX purchasers
    Did you also farm
    Why did you buy
    Have participated in the community
    etc

  4. None holders
    Are you planning to buy DPI?
    Are you planning to buy INDEX

A starting point for prizes

  1. 200 INDEX (possibly a second @ 100, third @50?), possibly allow all LP’s to enter the DPI holders
    survey (or auto entry - include the same questions)
  2. 100 INDEX (possibly a second)
  3. 50 INDEX
  4. 10 INDEX

Obviously we should design the form to avoid dox’ing people, and 4 has a risk of sybil attacks (Combination of low prize, force a long form answer and remove any that appear too generic).

Benefits:

  1. Marketing awareness as we promote the survey/ award the prizes
  2. Marketing awareness as we include information and links in each survey
  3. Data to review to provide some insight into each group - Let a community member play with the data and write a internal report and an external blog.
  4. Marketing awareness when we publish a blog on the stats.
  5. Distribution of some INDEX

Ideally, we would start before the end of staking and put a link on the farm page of the website. Aim to finish late December and award prizes over the holiday period.

Second idea:

Create some bounties for Dune analytics because I think they are awesome tools and I want to see more of them (of the coop and in general)

We would need to think of a few, check with the guys at Dune to see if they are possible, and if they would like use to add others.

Some suggestions:

  • Table / chart of weights for each token (Current, user determined date, possibly chart over time)
  • LP farm sizes
  • LP farm sizes and do they hold or sell the INDEX (current, or fixed date - 1 month after liquidity farming ends)
  • Age distribution of DPI holders (how sticky is the DPI- ideally if we account for aDPI, yDPI etc)
  • Charts of DPI composition over time ($USD basis)
  • Bounty for the best original idea.

I would suggest that we give bounties for INDEX / DPI specific queries based on how hard we think they are, and add additional bounties to make generic versions of them (i.e. allow the user to input a date range and refresh, or add a different address and apply the query to other projects - basically kick start some open source innovation on Dune analytics).

I think we would need to work with the Dune guys to specify the queries, and possibly set some criteria so we don’t award everything to a single person (or is that no bad thing?). And maybe have some criteria for good coding practice / commenting to allow ease of forking.

Note, a lot of these queries would need to be forked and updated as we add tokens

Potential Benefits:

  • Marketing awareness as we launch and reward the bounties.
  • Help develop a public good for the Ethereum ecosystem (yes, I know Dune are a private company with VC’s, but I think more open source queries on dune helps everyone)
  • Coop awareness as people see all the new queries on the coop dashboard.
  • More information in include in future coop marketing
  • The ability to measure more / new Coop KPI’s.
  • Distribute some INDEX to different people

Suggested rewards:
Say we select:

  • 8 basic INDEX queries,
  • 6 user modifiable Queries (e.g. a fork that allows the user to set a start and end date),
  • 4 more that allow the user to examine other wallets etc.
    A total of 300 to 500 INDEX awarded with the majority allocated to the 8 Basic queries.

I did this figure in about half a day with No SQL experience, and the vast majority of the code was based on a fork, and about three major major hints from Mats in the Dune team (i.e. I explained what I wanted to do, and he forked and updated my code in seconds, then I scratched my head and looked at the next step…), so I suspect that some of the queries will be trivial to SQL experts.

Obviously it may be easier to just pay the Dune guys to write the queries, but where is the fun in that?

Edit:

A LP profitability chart: basically ((Uniswap income / pool size)/divergence loss) . That would be a really interesting chart to see. User inputs LP pair address and a start and end date.

Likely to cost more INDEX.

btw : @richard any thoughts?

3 Likes

I’m with Over Analyser on this, I don’t see the need to give tokens away just to meet the goal of more distribution as this increases DPI AUV at the cost of devaluing $index. It should work the other way around where we just get our heads down and build cool stuff, which attracts more people to come in and do the same. These people in turn contribute to the Coop and are rewarded $index for their effort. This has a two-fold effect of increasing distribution while making sure the tokens get into the hands of the right users, specifically those who are invested in what we are doing.

The affiliate program is an example, I see giving out tokens to people with large followings/for shilling as undermining the whole point of Index Coop. If those people wanted to contribute there is nothing stopping them joining the Discord to say hi, announcing their intention to spread the word and coming back a few weeks later with some engagement numbers to show they have added value. I feel like approaching influencers undermines the efforts of other community members and is ‘the tail wagging the dog’ approach.

That’s not to say we can’t advertise rewards for things that are vital or needed in the short term if no one has stepped forward from within the Coop. I think we could do with someone to produce artwork for things like the newsletter (Yearn example) that can be standardised and used across all our comms/sites.

So the ideas OA proposed above seem decent as they help us gather data or push forward in areas that are needed, and should be rewarded. There is nothing stopping an Index Coop member from picking up those tasks and running with them right now tbh. But I disagree with giving out tokens prior to someone doing useful work, just because of perceived influence. Every token that is distributed inflates away value for other holders.

A solution could be to have a ‘bounties’ page that we market externally and leave up and running in the discord. We could discuss in gov calls, on the forum/discord about pressing issues and agree what is beyond the current team’s workload. Aside from that individual Hoots/Talons etc team members should be able to pin smaller bounties at their discretion (10-30 index lets say). Tagging @gdocter here because it could form the final steps of the onboarding process to pick up smaller bounties shortly after members join.

I think this approach keeps the $index token valuable because it can only be obtained thru PoW and aligns with our values of being builders and do-ers.

4 Likes

As if one wall of text wasn’t enough, I think the focus on increasing DPI retention through rewards has legs, but should be done via staking the DPI token with us, so that we can do the intrinsic value experimentation with it.

DPI stakers should then receive some portion of streaming fees (or mint/redeem) while locking up the tokens, this allows Index Coop to devise intrinsic strategies and further increase yield. If on top of that we wanted to reward $index then that seems ok as it’s rewarding long term thinking and contributes to the goal of increased DPI AUV.

To summarise the comment above and this one I’ve broken it down in the table below. Two sources of income are ‘passive’ - i.e from the index treasury and will sit there until spent, or ‘active’ - from DPI (and future products) and should be diverted to where they are most useful to achieve our goals.

4 Likes

Youtube Explainer video

Thanks for the tag!

First, I’m 100% aligned with your line of thinking on this: reward value-producing contributions

Second, I think the ‘bounties page’ could be super valuable for a) current b) new c) prospective Index members.

Totally with you that we could use such a page to proactively reach out to influencers/artists/etc… and say, “hey, this bounty seems perfect for you! etc…” Because it’d be value to current folks, it seems like something really worth pushing forward asap and that should be incorporated into new community member onboarding.

Third, that table :clap:

4 Likes

Great stuff, will get it on the agenda for tomorrow’s call and we can have a bit of discussion.

Also haven’t even read this properly yet but it’s on my to do list for tomorrow:

Just gave that thread a read, and no shocker, it resonates :slight_smile:

increase education about core products while also creating new “shareholders” which are higher likelihood to contribute to the project in the future

[bolding is mine]

TLDR - Invest INDEX in people that invest themselves in Index Coop not people that invest money in INDEX or DPI. Use DPI as payment for everything else.

In respect to “Increasing $INDEX distribution” we need to figure out if we want quality or quantity of holders. Obviously we want quality. INDEX is a governance token given to community members to manage a protocol, and not some form of payment for arbitrary tasks which we can use $DPI tokens for.

For example @tompain’s suggestion of airdrops to wallets gets a large quantity of holders but in my opinion very low quality holders because if you use a mobile wallet instead of hardware/smart contract wallet you definitely aren’t sophisticated enough to participate in INDEX governance. Same with filling out user research forms, that’s very low effort and while it is valuable data we should pay for I don’t think it warrants a stake in a governance token, if they were a good candidate for governance they would be taking the initiative to improve it and receive INDEX for that effort anyway. We definitely shouldn’t be paying INDEX to our users (e.g. form fillers, DPI stakers) because that’s not adding value to the Coop at large and they should be plenty incentivized by getting a better product (filling form) or having fees rebated/earning yield (staking DPI).

Depending how high we set the bar for the affiliate program ($25M in new DPI minted and locked is a good target which brings us almost to our 1% goal) requires spending enough time + energy in learning our product, connecting with a wide or wealthy audience, and demonstrating the value in our product that they will probably be good long term participants in the DAO. Same with Dune Analytics if we require someone to do multiple queries and maybe publish some data analysis after. Basically anything that makes the person learn more about Index Coop as a platform AND expand our ecosystem vs something that benefits you even without the INDEX reward.

Disclaimer: I could be totally biased because I have no intention of ever using DPI and am only working here to benefit Index Coop. My personal viewpoint on DPI holders is that they aren’t really committed to the Coop since they are receiving a product/service and they would participate at the platform level if they wanted to receive INDEX so are low quality governance participants.

2 Likes

I remain in favor of the growth mining doc laid out here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E5D-iznIJVlabgwJRkBCxubKMKtHPG-55YT8GBPMq5I/edit#)

I think as long as we only pay for successful sales (people buying $DPI) and we structure it in a way that attracts behavior we want (eg holding/staking $DPI for a year), that is paying for useful work

If we’re worried about unscrupulous characters shilling DPI everywhere we could have people have to do onboarding with the community and only whitelist people that we think will maintain community values

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You bring up a good point about governance, what does the ideal INDEX governance look like? Is there a model we are trying to emulate? That may have been defined somewhere else but it seems to be an open question among distributed projects right now. I tend to believe a small highly motivated group is going to work faster and better than a large, disparate, less motivated group will. This is important in relation to deciding how tokens get distributed. Sometimes it feels like projects are pushing toward objectives without knowing what the ideal end game looks like. Sorry if I am bringing something up that has already been discussed.

The best governance model lets people have autonomy, accountability, and mutual rewards with the organization. Basically something that lets people branch out and experiment on their own while still being committed to (but not hindered by) the larger organization. Most importantly people need to be internally vs externally motivated so making INDEX a purely governance/reputation token vs a capital asset that gives share of revenue is something I’m pretty adamant about. If people aren’t motivated by money it’s a lot easier to make progress and come up with good ideas (especially related to properly allocating money/resources)

I proposed staking INDEX into product specific DAOs here and a couple days later AAVE proposed a similar model.

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