As of today, the Decentraland DAO is now accepting applications for community grants!

You can apply for your first grant at governance.decentraland.org. Before you begin writing your proposal, be sure to read the documentation on grants at docs.decentraland.org. There, you’ll find an overview of how grants work, how to write a good grant proposal, and what to do if your grant is approved.

Decentraland is a platform for builders and creators

Since its inception, the mission of the Decentraland platform has been to provide the tools needed to create a rich and vibrant virtual world filled with eye-catching locations, immersive spaces, social experiences, and games. Over the course of the last three years, Decentraland has become home to an amazing community of makers, builders, and artists - each contributing their own unique perspectives and talents to the metaverse.

Countless imaginative scenes and experiences have been deployed, leaving us awe-inspired and motivated on a daily basis. However, while the SDK and Builder have been put to some surprising and creative uses, the long-term vision has also been to enable a creator economy.

DAO funded grants for the community are foundational to that vision. By feeding directly into the community of creators and builders, grants will only speed Decentraland on it’s path toward becoming one of the most vibrant spaces in the metaverse.

How did we get here?

In January of 2020, the Decentraland DAO was initialized with 222 million MANA destined to vest over a 10 year period. Since that first January 2020 launch of the DAO, about 6% of that total has vested amounting to over 14 million MANA that’s currently available to the community (as of the time of this writing).

You can view the vesting contract on Etherscan, or you can see a visual breakdown of how much has vested to date by logging in with your wallet at vesting.decentraland.org.

Fast forward to last January, 2021. At that point, we still hadn’t established a process for distributing the DAO’s MANA through grants. This blogpost laid out the major roadblocks, the most significant of which were:

  • The old DAO’s workflows and UI were cumbersome and complex
  • The old DAO depended on on-chain voting, with gas prices ever increasing

That same post suggested three main solutions and a call for the community’s feedback and approval:

  1. Redesign the DAO’s interface
  2. Restructure the proposal flow
  3. Add support for off-chain voting

The Decentraland Foundation followed up by publishing a detailed RFC and proposal outlining the necessary steps toward making these solutions a reality. After receiving the community’s approval, they set to work.

Since then, all three solutions have been put into place. The Decentraland DAO now features a Snapshot integration that allows users to vote on proposals off-chain, for free. Each passed proposal with binding actions is committed on-chain by a DAO Committee, maintaining the security of on-chain governance.

The entire governance hub at governance.decentraland.org was redesigned, new documentation was added, the proposal creation flow was streamlined, and participation and overall engagement with the DAO has since increased.

The final step was to decide how the first iteration of community grants should look. Two goals were top of mind: giving the creator community an energizing jolt in the form of quick funding, and starting small enough to avoid financial risk to the DAO while still learning how grants are best applied for, vetted, approved, and distributed.

A framework for grants

The framework selected by the community to help structure the first iteration of grants established four categories of projects that could receive one of three tiers of funding.

Those four categories are:

  1. Community: projects intended to grow, educate, entertain, and moderate Decentraland’s community
  2. Content creator: projects focused on the design and creation of 3D content, whether those be models, wearables, or entire scenes
  3. Platform contributor: contributions to any of Decentraland’s open source code bases
  4. Gaming: projects that might span all three of the other categories with the aim to create fully-fledged, interactive games for Decentraland

The three tiers of funding are:

  • Tier 1: $500 - $1500 USD in MANA, by one-time payment
  • Tier 2: $1500 - $3000 USD in MANA, by one-time payment
  • Tier 3: $3000 - $5000 total USD in MANA, by a vesting contract with a one month cliff

The objective of this framework is to provide an initial limit to the size and scope of projects funded by the DAO. As per the approval of the proposal, it is the belief of the DAO that starting small is the safest way to establish how grants can and should be used. There are few (if any) other DAOs with a grant model as decentralized as this and with a treasury as large as Decentraland’s. So, this framework’s existence is crucial to protect the DAO’s treasury from abuse and to ensure that grants are able to increase in scale, sustainably.

You can review the full proposal for the grants framework here, or read up on how the framework is implemented, in addition to the limitations and requirements for grants, in the docs here.

How to apply

Applying for grants is a simple process, but care should be taken when writing and presenting your proposal.

To get started, head to governance.decentraland.org and log in with your wallet of choice. Click Submit a Proposal and select Grant Request from the list of proposal categories.

You’ll be shown a proposal form, which you must fill out completely and to the best of your ability before submitting your request.

Once submitted, grant requests may be voted on by the community for a period of 7 days. Currently, grant requests must receive at least 1 million VP voting in favor of their approval in order to pass (with the FOR votes in the majority).

If your proposal is approved, then you can plan to receive your funding (or details of your vesting contract) within the following 7 days.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 grants are paid by one-time transfer to the beneficiary Eth address provided in your request. Tier 3 grants are paid by vesting contract, with a one-month cliff. It is the responsibility of the beneficiary to withdraw any vested funds from these contracts.

Remember, Tier 3 grants can range anywhere from $3000 to $5000 total USD, paid in MANA via a vesting contract over three months. For example, a $5000 grant would vest roughly $1666 USD in the first month leading to the cliff. After the cliff, the remaining ~$3334 is released at a constant rate every second. Tier 3 grants may be revoked by a controller entity if the recipient fails to meet (or report on) the grant’s milestones. For the time being, the DAO Committee will serve as this controller.

More details on how to receive approved grants, and how to report your progress, can be found in the documentation.

Help keep the DAO running smoothly!

It is up to the community of MANA and LAND holders who can vote in the DAO to ensure that the DAO continues to operate smoothly. If you are a voter, please participate!

Review new grant applications regularly, and ask any questions you might have for the requester. It’s easy to filter grant requests in your proposal feed: just click “Grant Request” in the left hand “Categories” column. If you have concerns or suggestions, you can share them within the Forum topic generated for every proposal. There will also be weekly town halls, which provide requesters opportunities to pitch their projects to the community, and voters opportunities to question and discuss proposals.

Next steps

This is another big milestone for the Decentraland DAO, ushering in a new era of community-funded development within the metaverse. The DAO will surely learn from this first iteration of the grants program, with the long-term goal of expanding the grant tiers and funding opportunities to include larger and more ambitious projects.

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