How CoW DAO uses Badges to improve transparency in their Grants Committee
Emily Furlong
0xcAB2
Otterspace
0x74EF
January 19th, 2023

CoW is a DeFi protocol that allows users to trade cryptocurrencies at lower fees by matching peer-to-peer trades and searching across all exchanges for the best price. The protocol is governed by CoW DAO, whose members vote on proposals using the native CoW token. The purpose of the DAO is to manage the infrastructure of the CoW ecosystem by overseeing system parameters, allocating funds, and determining incentives. One of the main initiatives that CoW DAO launched was the CoW Grants Program, with the main mission being to fund the growth of the CoW Protocol ecosystem. While an initial process to govern the CoW Grants Program was established, it lacked the transparency, openness, and flexibility DeFi strives for, and needed a change.

Grants Committee membership was intransparent and voting informal

One of the responsibilities of CoW DAO is the management of the CoW Grants Program, which allocates resources to projects that further the CoW Protocol ecosystem. The Grants Committee, which is made up of 7 members, oversees the program and votes on projects to fund.

Previously, membership of the committee was visible through the Grants Committee Safe. Each member was a signer on the Safe and voted to fund projects by approving Safe transactions in a closed format. Once new projects were approved, the committee executed the grant through a proposed transaction on Safe.

After some time, the CoW Grants committee recognized that this process lacked visibility to the wider community. The decision-making process around approving grants was also unclear and intransparent, as grants were approved informally without a public vote by the committee members.

Badges make membership public with voting carried out on Snapshot

To address these issues, the team introduced Otterspace Badges to represent membership of the CoW DAO Grants Committee and use these to vote on grants in a new Snapshot space. Each of the 7 committee members received a CoW Grants Committee Member Badge. By holding this badge, committee members have one vote on grant proposals and can publicly exercise their vote on Snapshot.

Decisions on grant proposals are now more public and transparent within the DAOs Snapshot space. Anyone can visit the CoW Grants Committee Snapshot sub-space and see the grant proposals, their outcomes, and who voted in favor or against. Additionally, membership on the Grants Committee itself is now visualized through the ownership of a Badge - displayed in the wallets of the committee members.

The CoW DAO Grants sub-space
The CoW DAO Grants sub-space

The flexibility of the Otterspace Snapshot Strategy also leaves room for new opportunities for structuring grant proposal votes. Multiple tokens can be combined into a voting strategy. For example, holders of the CoW token or a different committee Badge could be invited to participate in a grant proposal vote. By starting with building membership of the Grants Committee using Otterspace Badges, the committee has created a foundation on which further membership structures can be built and improve the transparency, visibility, and decision-making process.

If you’re interested in building the membership of your DAO using Badges, joinhere.

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