[DRAFT] Academy Sub-DAO

Academy Sub-DAO

Authors: @Erik_Knobl, @wolovim, @piablo, @7i7o, @brianfive, @john-mac.eth, @uma


This proposal seeks to establish Academy as a sub-DAO of Developer DAO, based on the current DAO Governance Structure.

Academy is an educational platform for builders, seeking to onboard members and the wider public into both the DAO and the broader web3 industry by providing quality content, support, and a great user experience. An MVP is available today and this proposal considers its next iterations.


The Academy team works to fulfill the main mission of Developer DAO: to educate and onboard web3 contributors. What started as a study group has evolved and grown into a full effort to build a free and high-quality platform to empower builders to make an impact in this industry.

Scope of Work

Domain of Operations

The Academy team is building a free education platform. Prior to this budget, an MVP has been designed, developed, and deployed. Since the MVP, new team members have joined and design thinking exercises have been facilitated to explore a roadmap from here.

The updated member experience will focus on one persona: the web3 Learner - persons willing to enter the web3 world by improving their skills. This aligns with our mission to “Accelerate the education and impact of a new wave of web3 builders.”


Academy is to be a sub-DAO of Developer DAO, and as such, intends to operate with a flexible and autonomous structure that allows for experimentation and iteration.


As a team, we task ourselves with delivering and maintaining a robust and meaningful web3 education platform. Together, we have combined decades of professional experience across web development & architecture, education & pedagogy, technical writing, product development, and design. Starting Stewards in those core areas:

Product & Design: Erik, uma
Development: 7i7o, brianfive
Pedagogy & Content: piablo, john-mac.eth
PM: wolovim

The specifics of how each domain performs its functions will be documented along the way as best practices are discovered. Further, there has been and likely will continue to be significant domain crossover between individuals in these roles.

These Stewards will be signers on the Academy multisig and the sub-DAO will operate in Season 2 without a separate entity, under The Developer DAO Foundation, abiding by relevant requirements.


Any member of Developer DAO can join weekly meetings and apply to take on bountied tasks.


O2 Provide DAO members with high-quality learning opportunities Owner
KR Enable users to store their progress Development, Product/Design
KR Research and design v2 of the Learner UX Product/Design
KR Implement and deploy v2 of the Learner UX Development
KR Facilitate discovery of and document Operational Framework PM
KR Include learning objectives for each lesson Pedagogy/Content
KR Develop learning standards for all lessons Pedagogy/Content

Budget Request (Including value returned to the DAO)

Team Stewards: Monthly Individual: 600 / Total for the Season: 16,800
Reward Pool* for Contributors: Monthly: 8,400 / Total for the Season: 16,800

Total request of CODE for Season 2: 33,600
Total request of USDC for Season 2: $0

Note: Steward contributions have been ongoing since Season 2 inception, so all four months are budgeted to include retroactive reward. The reward pool monthly request includes only the final two months of Season 2.

Bounties eligible for the reward pool will be determined by the Stewards throughout the Season. The process of defining tasks, assigning value, and assigning task owners will be defined, iterated on, and documented during Season 2. Any D_D member, including Team Stewards, are eligible for reward pool tasks.

We commit to transparency of allocations and will maintain those in a publicly accessible location. Further, any reward pool CODE not used will be returned to the DAO Treasury at the conclusion of Season 2 or incorporated into the next budget request.

Business Model

As a sub-DAO of Developer DAO, Academy will operate as a separate, autonomous organization.

Content will be prioritized for the platform in two ways:

  • Internally-driven: the team will assess what it believes to be a well-rounded and high quality user experience, then create tasks to achieve that end.
  • Sponsor-driven: the team will assess opportunities to add partner content to the platform for a one-time and/or ongoing fee, then create tasks to achieve that end.

The process for each will be another iterative process that gets documented as they’re refined in Season 2. The team is committed to finding a healthy balance between homegrown and sponsored content, acknowledging that revenue is required to be sustainable, but that over-prioritizing sponsored content may result in a lopsided product.

The Academy team endeavors to robustly invest in its foundations, allocating a third of net proceeds (defined as revenue minus expenses) back into Developer DAO (22%) and into the Academy multisig (11%). The remainder of net proceeds will be distributed to Academy contributors proportionate to the distribution of CODE.

An example: $1000 revenue - $100 expenses = $900 net proceeds. 22% ($198) goes to D_D, 11% ($99) to Academy multisig, and the remaining 67% ($603) is divided amongst the contributors during that period based on the CODE distributions (Steward role + task completion).

A notable omission is a reward to Partner Leads that facilitate deals with sponsors. Once a sponsor onboarding process is defined, and the demands of Partner Leads are clarified, will the team work with Partner Leads to agree on and document an appropriate reward.

Value Proposition

The team will continue to build an education platform, helping Developer DAO to fulfill one of its core missions: providing free education to web3 builders. Academy is an open source public good, available to learners within and beyond the walls of D_D.

In addition, Academy will allocate 22% of net proceeds back to the Developer DAO treasury, recognizing the importance of the DAO as the primary source of contributors and learners, and as a message amplifier via the power of its brand and following.


The DAO’s Treasury would allocate 33,600 $CODE tokens to the Academy multisig over the course of the Season.


Overall, I support the idea.

Few questions that I have before the snapshot vote.

  • What are the wind-down conditions if this goes sideways for non-$CODE assets? Where does the money in the multi-sig go?

  • What’s the predicted income for this for you all? The end goal of this question is to find out if it’s independently viable.

  • How are you calculating the $CODE amounts?

  • Will the partner lead percentage come from the 33% or the other allocation?

  • Will the remaining 67% be used for sustainability or only income for contributors?

  • Would the team be willing to do sponsored courses for DAO-wide sponsors?


I love seeing this go up. Thanks, Academy team. There is huge potential here to have a big impact on the DAO’s mission :saluting_face:

I’ve been asking other Sub-DAO’s to run their finances through the treasury as it makes it far easier for me to ensure we have the correct contracts and invoicing in place to keep us as safe as possible re AML laws. This applies to Accounts Payable and Recievable. Managing payments across multiple treasuries is a real pain. The idea is that once Sub-DAOs have their entity, and these are their problems, it makes sense to have their multi-sig. A

Are you OK with that?

Nice, I like the narrow focus. Constraints and not restraints.

I love the focus on creating a sustainable business here. Bravo.

Probably putting the cart before the horse but I wonder if y’all have thought about how to split rewards and, if a new entity is created, how that might work?

Lastly, @stewards - in particular @Erik_Knobl - Seasons are no longer a thing according to P-23: 2023 Roadmap but Governance guidance has not been updated. We need to address this quickly before elevating existing budgets, I opened a thread in discord here to get the conversations going.

Other than that I think @ntindle has asked some valuable questions


I think this suggestion from @kempsterrrr could be a reasonable answer at this point in time, @ntindle:

There is a lot of potential income from sponsored content being hosted on Academy. What type of financial parameters would you suggest that would restrict or restrain any viability if that weren’t the case?

Basically 10 hours a week for the present Academy Stewards (fka core-team) for tasks involved that are more difficult to quantify, or document. And on top of that, Quest (bount-yuk) based rewards for e.g. implementing features, doing a user analysis, writing/reviewing a piece of content.

From the proposal:

(IMO - it should come out of the 67%)

Not totally sure what you mean by sustainability here. The idea of putting 11% of the total 100% into the sub-DAO multi-sig was to ensure a bit of sustainability. We also discussed in the eventuality of having a high incoming revenue, that we would lower that 67% and raise the 33% back to our roots.

Do you mean willing to host sponsored courses for them?

I hope I’ve understood your questions, Nick.
To my colleagues, please correct me if I’m wrong on any of these points.


I’m part of this initiative, and as steward, I support it.

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Exactly, that is the question I have

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From my perspective: yes, for a to-be-determined fee and after a to-be-determined screening process. We could easily dump some partner content onto the platform, but I’d like to see us be more strategic. As an example, there’s some discussion about prioritizing a UX centered around guided project building. If we go that route, it may require a lot of hand-holding with a partner to get that content created or converted. A goal would be to start with one understanding beta partner to try that out, then scale from there.

As piablo highlighted, the goal is to build a balanced experience:

My hypothesis is that better curated and integrated partner content would be appreciated by the learner and the partner, i.e., present the partner projects more prominently once the learner has the prerequisites and is positioned to understand what the new solution has to offer. Further, ideally we work with partners to have their guided project highlight what differentiates them.

tl;dr: imo, not immediately, but eventually yes.

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How to help?

The academy can pivot and addopt the “coding bootcamp” bussiness model? and paywith token?
to development from the agency?

Maybe i’m really new. But just speaking it out loud…


Hey @Shelter.Uyku
Thanks for your input.

Can you give a bit more detail for each thing you mentioned, please?

  • Pivot from what model as you see it?
  • To which bootcamp model as you see it?
  • Pay with which token?
  • And what type of development, and from which agency?

Just so you know a bit of background:

The Academy aims to exclude nobody from getting education. It’s already exclusive enough when someone has access to a machine to develop on, and others don’t. So putting up further financial barriers, aka ‘exclusion zones’ doesn’t align with the ‘inclusive’ ethos of what we had always set out to do.

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Im pretty new I must say,

  • Pivot from what model as you see it? for what is only for devdao to use it to more outsiders students
  • To which bootcamp model as you see it? plataforma5, henry.com, there are more
  • Pay with which token? $CODE ?? something for the DAO of course
  • And what type of development, and from which agency? Development from internal projects, and the DAO agency, of course!

Hi, welcome, and thanks for chiming in! Academy is still in its earliest forms, so in the spirit of MVPs, its operating ideas are intentionally modest for now.

Intention is for all content to be freely accessible, whether the learner is a member of D_D or not. To start, opportunities to contribute (and be rewarded) will be restricted to members, just to keep logistics simple out of the gate. Revenue will come from partners that want to have their tool/platform/solution featured on the site.

Not sure if this is what you’re getting at, but I do hope to plug Academy into more areas of the DAO as it matures. Would love to see us funnel competent contributors into D_D Agency after they’ve demonstrated competencies in Academy. Maybe theres opportunity for Agency to contribute to Academy too, but that’s not something that’s been explored seriously yet.


cc @wolovim

I want to raise an important question: if we’re doing this on profit (net proceeds), what is to stop the team from raising their costs and never returning anything to do the DAO? Is the DAO just supposed to trust you? How do we pay for the increased operational costs/overhead as the project grows if a Sub-DAO is not making a profit?

Where we have Sub-DAO’s operating as core parts of the DAO and less like “services providers” as with [DRAFT] - VIBES IRL Sub-DAO I’ll personally be advocating for them being their own entities as fast as possible/reasonable and the Foundation having an equity stake in that entity. This is the cleanest way to ensure the DAO has value returned as if the folks owning the equity want to take money out of the project or there is a financing event; the DAO will be legally entitled to its share for that value rather than having to trust teams to not “cook the books” and increase costs so there is no profit to return.

I wonder if, whilst Sub-DAOs are part of the Foundation, where the foundation is taking on all the risk and cost (processing contracts, invoices etc.), should this be done revenue to ensure those costs are covered?

This seems like the most sensible and sustainable approach for everyone.

I’d love to hear from the other @stewards thoughts on this, as it’s a very important topic.

@mannyornothing and I discussed yesterday the need to clarify the % share that labs return to the DAO, as right now, the folks Contributing there are funding the entire DAO, which is challenging from on operational decision-making level re allocating the money the Sub-DAO is bringing in - right now we’d need to submit governance proposals which doesn’t make sense IMO if other Sub-DAO are only return a %.

I believe % of revenue for Sub-DAOs inside the foundation makes the most sense until separate entities are formed for the above reasons.

Personally I don’t mind if we go without a multisig, so long as DAO finance processes are efficient enough to support basic operations (e.g., pay our bills on time). One question this presents is how to account for the 11% we have proposed to stash away for project nest egg. Any suggestions there?

Confused by this question in Academy’s context. Contributors aren’t offered any predefined stablecoin rewards (and none are requested from the DAO). D_D gets its cut ‘before’ contributors do, so I think the incentives are well-aligned there. Raising costs penalizes contributors at least as much as it does the DAO.

gm, we still need one more steward for this to move forward.
@mannyornothing @Colin4ward @drop_knowledge @rubinovitz

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Really excited about this initiative.

I want to echo what @kempsterrrr mentioned and say I’m not 100% sure how this should be formatted as a business to best align with the larger DAO. I’m about to do some off the cuff business talk so if I get anything wrong please correct me:

It seems like the value exchange is that The Academy produces educational content (therefore furthering DD’s mission) and then DD gives distribution for that content across the DD network and lends its brand.

It seems like the way a franchise like McDonalds would do this is to charge a bunch of large upfront fees, which I don’t think we should do. I do however wonder if there should be some explicit fees that need to come out of each season to avoid the problem @kempsterrrr mentioned: “if we’re doing this on profit (net proceeds), what is to stop the team from raising their costs and never returning anything to do the DAO? Is the DAO just supposed to trust you? How do we pay for the increased operational costs/overhead as the project grows if a Sub-DAO is not making a profit?”

@kempsterrrr proposed a version of this with % revenue instead of % proceeds. Generally agree there. I do wonder if we should allow sub-DAOs to fail and declare a sort of sub-DAO bankruptcy after the first season to let people experiment. E.g. the worst case happens: this subDAO pays contributors but can’t generate any other revenue. In this case I don’t think we should ask for the contributors to pay DD back, but DD should probably let another group try to create the official sustainable educational sub-DAO of DD.

Generally open to ideas here.

First, thanks for reviewing. :beers:

Academy’s request is purely CODE governance tokens. Outside of a baseline CODE reward for project stewards, any further reward flows to D_D after expenses, but before contributors. I don’t think there are any perverse incentives to inflate costs; contributors would be hurting themselves at least as much as the DAO. By keeping costs down, contributors earn more. Additionally, if there have been any costs so far, they’ve been footed by contributors and I haven’t heard any voiced expectations of reimbursements.

Generally agree with the premise that D_D needs to get comfortable letting sub-DAOs experiment in low-risk ways. I’m obviously biased, but given that Academy is not requesting any stablecoins, is requesting a relatively modest amount of CODE tokens, has a well-known team, financial upside, and an MVP… I’d suggest this proposal is pretty comfortably on the low-risk end of the spectrum.

Extending the timeline out further, an Academy platform done right has much more to offer D_D. It could incorporate DAO-specific onboarding content or create pipelines that plug into D_D Jobs, D_D Agency, Mentorship, or any other initiative in the DAO. Example of using Academy as a vetting service: If a hackathon support team is considering applicants to sponsor and send to a hackathon, an Academy profile could verify they’ve completed some amount of a particular curriculum. That roadmap isn’t yet set, because the focus on is still on doing the fundamentals right, but that is a welcome discussion.

A final thought: with Season 2 a few weeks from close, instead of creating a whole new proposal, I’d prefer to tweak this proposal to include a straightforward Season 2 retroactive reward + an updated outlook for Season 3 / Q3 / whatever we decide to call it.

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