Proposal to fund the Engineering Workstream, March - August 2022
Abstract / Overview
The ShapeShift DAO relies on the Engineering Workstream to maintain the open source code base, undertake core engineering work to enable new features, support bounties from the broader community, and to provide architectural oversight and technical leadership as we continue to execute the DAO’s vision.
This proposal is to fund the Engineering Workstream’s budget from March 1st, 2022 through August 31st, 2022 inclusive.
This proposal also seeks to appoint 0xdef1cafe as the Engineering Workstream leader, taking over from Josh Forman.
Josh Forman is stepping down as Engineering Workstream leader at the end of the current budget cycle to pursue his personal passion of leadership and coaching full time. Josh has been instrumental in his leadership of engineering within ShapeShift for many years, previously as Director of Engineering at centralized ShapeShift, helping the team navigate through progressive decentralization as ShapeShift transitioned from a centralized entity to a DAO. On behalf of the team and community, we thank Josh for his inspiration and leadership over his tenure, and wish him the very best success with his own endeavours. Josh will remain a part of the Engineering Workstream in a part time capacity, providing leadership coaching, guidance, and facilitating retrospectives and workshops.
- repositories respectively.
Outside my direct technical contributions, I
represent ShapeShift at conferences including EthCC and MCON Denver in 2021, and ETHDenver 2022;
- represent engineering in discussions and partnerships with Bancor, Yearn, IOTA, XDEFI and others;
- say gm and run standup daily;
- collaborate closely with all other workstream leaders, and the ShapeShift Foundation;
- define, plan, and oversee execution of our technical roadmap;
- do whatever it takes to execute the DAO’s shared vision.
The details below expand upon the budget spreadsheet.
Current team & growth
- Please see the budget spreadsheet for an authoritative list, but in summary, the current team includes eleven current contributors; nine former ShapeShift employees, plus welcomes two new full time contributors, 0xApotheosis and gomes, both starting in February 2022.
The budget also includes five open positions to further expand the workstream and it’s ability to deliver.
Two mid level engineers
- Two senior level engineers
- One technical program manager
The Technical Program Manager role is new, and is intended to include, but not be limited to, project management, administration of bounties, coordination with other workstreams, managing releases, and fostering partnerships. This role will relieve pressure from engineers administering these tasks, allowing them to focus on individual contribution work.
Accordingly, this budget seeks approval for the commitment of $1,909,050, plus an allocation of FOX as explained below. This will cover direct labor costs, to cover fifteen total current and open positions, and funds for a health community developer ecosystem.
- The labor market for engineering talent is becoming increasingly competetive. It is essential that the ShapeShift DAO is able to both attract and retain top engineering talent, in order to remain competitive in the rapidly-evolving crypto landscape. Organizations offering at or above market rate compensation are more easily able to attract said talent.
The proposed budget seeks to achieve this goal by
Increasing engineering salaries by 20% over the previous budget cycle, in alignment with current US market rates for mid and senior level engineers, and
- Incentivizes the attraction and retention of talent to the Engineering Workstream by an additional stream of FOX tokens, to create an assymmetric upside opportunity for committed contributors.
- The FOX stream is inspired by traditional compensation models used by private or public companies with options or restricted stock units respectively. This is typically a 4 year total period including a 1 year cliff, with the potential upside equal to the base salary at the outset annually.
A FOX stream will work as follows:
The strike price for FOX will be determined as the 6 month average FOX Price to March 1, 2022, or the date which a contributor joins the Engineering Workstream after March 1 2022, whichever is latest.
- Total FOX compensation equal to 3 years base salary, excluding overhead compensation, at said strike price, over a 36 month (3 year) period, not adjusted with future negotiations.
- Each contributors FOX stream is subject to a 6 month cliff after their start date, no earlier than March 1 2022. A 6 month lump sum will unlock at this date.
- After the 6 month cliff period, the remaining amount will be made available via a streaming smart contract over 30 months.
- If a contributor leaves, or fails to adequately contribute to the Engineering Workstream at any point during the 36 month period, the contributor’s stream will be cancelled, with any remaining funds to be returned to the DAO.
- The exact streaming tool is to be determined, but may include Sablier or Superfluid for capital efficiency.
- Tax implications are the responsibilities of individual contributors.
- The stream is specific to the Engineering Workstream, and is non-transferable between ShapeShift DAO workstreams, unless approved by a governance vote.
The budget seeks approval for a provisional total amount of 18,834,341 FOX to committed - a minimum of 12,921,403 FOX for current workstream members, and 5,912,938 FOX for open positions. This total amount is contingent on all current workstream members, plus all provisional open positions being filled. In the event that open positions are not filled, some of the addtional 5,912,938 FOX may not be required.
It must be noted that this proposal seeks the commitment, but not the spend of, 18,834,341 FOX for this budget. From a cash flow perspective, approximately one sixth (6 out of 36 months) will be required to cover lump sump payments for members contributing full time to the end of this budget, plus any additional amount required to be committed to contributor’s streams thereafter.
Additionally, it must be noted that the FOX amounts outlined above are provisional, and calculated based on a 6 month average FOX price to February 1st 2022. Actual amounts will be finalized based on the 6 month average FOX price prior to the beginning of the budget - i.e. March 1st 2022.
The workstream will ensure the tool chosen in point 6 for streams meets our requirements in points 5 and 8 above, while maximizing capital efficiency for the DAO, such that the minimum amount of FOX is locked in contracts.
- In the previous budget cycle, the Engineering Workstream delivered a completely new version of ShapeShift. Open source and written from the ground up, it is architected for extensibility, ease of integration, and maintenance, among other goals.
Given the open source nature of the new version, the Engineering Workstream has been able to create bounties via Gitcoin to outsource the completion of well defined work. These bounties have proved to be an extremely effective and efficient way to
attract new ad-hoc and full time contributors to the code base,
- complete tasks with varying scope and complexity, from single line changes to research spikes, and
- allow the Engineering Workstream to focus on delivering core engineering work.
Engineering-sponsored bounties will continue to be an integral part of our strategy to deliver bug fixes, maintenance, new features, and attract new contributors, and the number of bounties will to continue to increase.
Accordingly, this budget seeks $175,000 over six months, equivalent to two full time senior engineer positions annualized, to be managed at the workstreams discretion to continue to operate and expand the bounty program.
- The budget also contains two line items for
Four contract audits at a cost of $50,000 each, and
- Six month of team building and entertainment expenses, at $5,000/month.
Both of these line items are provisional, and any unspent funds will be returned to the DAO.
This budget seeks approval for the commitment of $260,000 for non-labor costs.
Unforeseen costs will arise, and 10% of the subtotal is requested accordingly.
The budget seeks approval for $347,100 for contingency to be spent judiciously at the workstreams discretion, shall it be required.
Unused funds from any budget category will be returned to the DAO at the end of the budget cycle. In the unlikely event that the Engineering Workstream requires more funds, a separate governance proposal shall be raised.
The Engineering Workstream was initially formed on September 1 2021 via this snapshot vote. The Engineering Workstream has since matured, and will continue to operate in accordance with the original proposal.
The budget spreadsheet contains a list of goals and deliverables the workstream intends to complete during this budget. Detailed breakdowns of each item are available upon request.
The DAO recognizes that the crypto ecosystem is rapidly evolving and liable to change quickly. The Engineering Workstream reserves the right to add, remove, or reprioritize goals from this list, with the intent to deliver the most valuable and relevant items expediently to the market.
The product roadmap, externally posted bounties, emerging partnerships, and changes in resourcing are all factors liable to change the scope or prioritization of listed goals, however, broadly speaking, we intend to complete the strategic goals that are currently defined.
Additionally, the Engineering Workstream anticipates the listed goals to be non exhaustive, and is confident that the scope of work completed within six months to be greater than what is explicitly defined. The DAO must acknowledge that a rigidly planned six month roadmap within the crypto ecosystem would be naive at best, and that the Engineering Workstream, in conjunction with the DAO as a whole, should remain agile in responding to and capitalizing upon market opportunities as they arise.
- The Engineering Workstream will report progress against these goals via the following methods
daily public standups
- availability during normal working hours in Discord
- weekly engineering/product public meetings
- weekly governance calls
- weekly marketing newsletters
- fortnightly engineering demos
- monthly forum posts
- periodic engineering office hours
Fundamentally, the DAO delivers a product to increase ease of use of the multi-chain multi-wallet multi-protocol universe that we find ourselves in. It is the Engineering effort that builds our product. We need Engineering in order to thrive. The goals listed above will be delivered.
Engineering labor is the most expensive component of the DAO’s budget. Any aspect that does not seem appropriate to serve the greater needs of the DAO should be criticized.
The author of this proposal, 0xdef1cafe, stands to benefit from it, and is long FOX.