P-32: Academy Sub-DAO Budget - 2023 Q3-Q4

Academy Sub-DAO - 2023 Q3-Q4

Authors: @wolovim, @Piablo, @markkos89.eth, @uma

This is an iteration on the never-ratified S2 proposal.


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 DAO 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 and being iterated on today, while a full redesign (”V2”) is also in development.


The Academy team works to fulfill the main mission of Developer DAO: to educate and onboard web3 contributors. What started as a study group grew into a full effort to build a free and high-quality platform to empower builders to make an impact in this industry. The intention is to provide project-based learning tracks that lift developers out of “tutorial hell” and into mid-level skills and beyond. Academy is fully aligned with D_D’s mission to “Accelerate the education and impact of a new wave of web3 builders.”

Brand Usage

D_D Academy will continue to be hosted as a subdomain on the DAO domain and be closely affiliated with the DAO, while maintaining a separate brand. V2 designs are similar, but not identical to DAO branding. The Academy logo and other components are subject to change as a part of that redesign.

Scope of Work

The Academy team is building a free-to-learn 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. In Q3 and Q4, the focus is on completing the redesign, introducing a couple more learning tracks, and accommodating Preferred Partner initiatives.


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, education & pedagogy, technical writing, product development, and design. Stewards in those core areas:

Product & Design: uma
Development: markkos89
Pedagogy & Content: piablo
PM/Sub-DAO Coordinator: 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 without a separate entity, under The Developer DAO Foundation, abiding by relevant requirements.

The Sub-DAO Coordinator role is defined in the D_D Labs team budget and - paraphrasing - is responsible for ensuring rewards are processed and the sub-DAO is represented and accountable at appropriate Developer DAO internal and external events.


The Academy Steward role conveys accountability, not necessarily authority. When a decision in a particular domain needs to be made, it is the responsibility of the Steward to make sure that happens by gathering input, facilitating conversations, and gaining consent from affected parties to move forward with a solution that is “safe enough to try.”

Aside from product decisions, the allocation of rewards within a domain is one more decision which should follow a similar consent-driven process driven by the relevant Steward. Acknowledging that this is experimental, Stewards and contributors are expected to document the process as best practices are discovered.


Any member of Developer DAO can join weekly meetings or engage in the Academy Discord channels to learn about opportunities to contribute. The Academy documentation is to be kept up to date with more specific and timely context.


Q3/4 Provide learners with high-quality learning opportunities Owner (Steward)
KR Research and design v2 of the Learner UX Product/Design
KR Implement and deploy v2 of the Learner UX Development
KR Enable users to store their progress Development
KR Optimize the website and lessons for SEO Product/Design
KR Publish at least one lesson in three homegrown tracks Pedagogy/Content
KR Publish one beta partner lesson Pedagogy/Content
KR Facilitate discovery of and document processes related to partnerships, team rituals, rewards PM

Budget Request

Season 2 Retroactive Reward

The S2 budget request (not ratified - stalled in governance) included a baseline Steward reward plus a reward pool intended to further reward any contributor, including Stewards. Ultimately, the originally defined Stewards accounted for all the hours spent developing the platform and content in S2. To quickly settle up for last season and move forward, the ask is just the original Steward baseline numbers, without the reward pool. 5 months is used here, recognizing that the Season was extended a month by DAO Stewards.

Previous Stewards: 600 CODE/mo * 5 mos * 7 Stewards = 21,000 total for Season 2

Q3 & Q4 Budgets

The CODE rewards request is a similar model to Season 2, but with fewer Stewards and more weight on a base reward.

Stewards: 800 CODE/mo * 3 months * 4 Stewards = 9,600 total per quarter

Reward Pool for Contributors: Monthly: 3,200 / Quarterly: 9,600

Total request of CODE per quarter: 19,200

Total USDC per quarter, defined by D_D Labs: $1000/mo Sub-DAO Coordination stipend + any preferred partner revenue split

Stewards are entrusted to figure out how best to leverage the Reward Pool to advance the mission of Academy. That process will be documented as best practices are identified, but the thought process behind the number is to enable up to four additional “core team” members, rewarded in amounts equal to the Stewards. Any contributor, including Stewards, are eligible for reward pool rewards.

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 the quarter 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. Developer DAO “Preferred Partners” initiatives also fall within this bucket.

The process for each will be another iterative process that gets documented as they’re refined over time. 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 recognizes that Developer DAO will be a primary source of contributors and learners, while leveraging its brand and reach. Seeking to be robustly regenerative, Developer DAO will retain 19%* of revenue generated by Academy. The remainder will be used to pay expenses, reinvest in the platform, and reward contributors.

*19 is a “happy prime” number, with nearby options if we want to adjust up or down in the future, e.g., 13, 23. The precedent is 10%.

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.
  • As Academy grows, the platform can plug into other areas of the DAO. When users finish a learning objective, they may be encouraged to join a D_D hackathon, become a mentor, write for the blog, apply for a D_D job, and so on.
  • Academy can tastefully promote D_D’s Preferred Partners (e.g., a preferred wallet or data provider) where it makes sense within the content.
  • Finally, Academy will allocate 19% of revenue 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 Academy team would receive 19,200 CODE tokens, the $1000/mo Sub-DAO Coordination stipend, and a share of Preferred Partner revenue over the course of each quarter.


I would encourage Academy to reduce the number to 10% to give more to the team, in order to be more stable, and keep a team together for the long run.
I support this.

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Thanks for putting this together @wolovim

I agree with @Erik_Knobl that whilst the 19% is admirable, I’d prefer to see that lower until the team is sufficiently rewarded for their work. However, acknowledge this is your decision alone to make and will support either way :slight_smile:

The proposal to me looks solid. Let’s add the following links to the proposal so the community can see what the team have been working on.

As well as some screenshots of the updated designs. Whilst contributors have seen them the voting members have not and I believe they should get that chance, plus I hope it will help with generating broad support for the work you’re doing (and shine a lighton the work you’ve already done) with the community.

One further thought related to getting paid content onto the academy. How do you feel about adding an OKR to create some framework for paid partner content and assigning it to someone?

Have been doing that a bit with @wolovim already and if you’re the right contact, then it would be good to start leaning into that with you. More and more, I feel a good path to get this started is planning a course we’d write ourselves on protocols we like and applying to their grant programs.

I think this might be a friendlier path given where the project is currently at and also believe we could quite easily identify protocols we’d like to see content from and then recruit someone to co-author the grant application from our community and then produce the content. This could be really nice to move things along, bootstrap partner content in and give members a chance to get paid for generating content for the academy.

Creating a template for a community member to do this feels like an easier task then planning out how we pitch and sell to partners.

Further clarification would be excellent…

What is the difference between fundamentals and tracks in the new design/structure?

This question comes from riffing with @mannyornothing and @Billyjitsu about how we can support getting partner content on the platform.

Maybe it might be an idea to structure it in the following way…

  1. Fundamentals (homegrown, chain agnostic content that doesn’t have an obvious funder but could maybe get retroactive public goods funding once live or from profit from other partner content)
  2. Projects (Build projects on partner protocols or chains that we can get funded either via selling or grants to protocol grant programs)

Imagine it would be pretty easy to sell this project-based structure and suitable for learners as they’d walk away from a project, and the protocol would have something shipped on their network.

There is no difference between fundamentals and tracks from Academy v1 to v2. A track is a series of projects, i.e. get your hands dirty - do some coding.
Fundamentals are supporting materials in order to build a project / projects. The rationale is all in our docs back in the days of School of Code and as an educational concept, hasn’t changed.

I’m afraid this doesn’t make any sense to me in calling one thing a project and another a fundamental - just because there’s a guarantee of money coming in, am I reading that correctly?

:point_up_2: And we already had many conversations around how we do and don’t present content i.e. homegrown ‘versus’ sponsored into what may be like a two tiered class system.

The following, as a concept, does fit with the vision of Academy and is what falls under the definition of a project…

…as does having sponsors offer ‘fundamentals’ to support their project offerings.

I think the one beta partner lesson KR assigned to Pedagogy/Content steward maybe implicitly included that, but its right to point out that it’ll take a larger collaborative effort to sign, coordinate, and execute and its probably worthy of its own KR to systematize that.

would gladly take the help here, thanks. related, but separate from this budget proposal, there are still some important details to figure out around contributor reward flows and i’d welcome more input there. recent chats with you and @mannyornothing have been helpful in spurring ideas.

as @Piablo already highlighted, the focus of Academy has been project-based learning tracks. tracks could be internally or partner-driven, but the idea has been to deliver multiple lessons that produce a meaningfully featured, real-world project by the end. my interpretation of fundamentals is one-off content to fill in gaps of knowledge/prerequisites for project tracks. as we’ve discussed elsewhere though, i’m not opposed to exploring other types of partner engagements, e.g., something smaller than a multi-part project track.

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I’m really happy about what we are building, Academy’s goals and to be part of this team.
I can’t be more glad and honoured to be considered as a steward, always aiming to help others and keep learning in the way :muscle:

I support this.


Thanks for your reply and sorry for the slow follow-up here.

Would like to see an KR for this to support and would prefer this is a business/product decision, with Pedagogy/Content feeding into it. I’d be happy for this OKR to sit with @mannyornothing and if that helps, although given the comment below by default that feels like you at the moment?

I’m working on a deck for Academy here and believe we also need a much simplified guide for tack authors so have open a page in Notion for that here.

Channel where these are being discussed is here.

I think multi-part project tracks for partners is perfectly fine and will work on that model. By “my interpretation” does that mean there isn’t a clear shared definition of fundamentals vs tracks in the academy? If no, I think getting this in place should be prioritised, feels like a fundamental piece that is important to be aligned on. Do we have any documentation on this? Either current or old.

Thanks for the clarification. Please could you share some docs where this stuff is explained so I can use it to inform the pitch deck and simplified guide linked above?

Seems like we’re aligned ignoring nomenculture. Would like to see us prioritise extremely clear definitions and documents for these so we can take them to partners and also to internal authors.

I asked in the discord about how we handle onboarding Raza and @wolovim 's response here made it clear the docs are currently in a place where we could give these to partners or authors.

Let’s collaborate on getting this stuff defined as we need and also as I believe it will be a very healthy exercise too :slight_smile:

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This proposal looks good to me.

Would agree with 10% instead of 19% going back to the DAO.

Thanks for all your work on this! :saluting_face:

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Lots of good conversation with Stewards and the Academy team in discord/on calls since this publishing. Still ironing out processes involving partner and author onboarding, internal reward structures, and so on. Getting close on a several of those pieces, but none of those change the dynamic of this proposal as far as I can tell. The OKRs are still relevant, though I do anticipate getting more specific with those internally and on the next budget request as we get our feet under us and learn more about making the machine run.

One question we weighed internally was requesting a larger CODE reward pool in order to specify standard Lesson creation rewards for authors up front, but for now we can do that on a smaller scale and roll our learnings into the next budget period.

I do appreciate the encouragement from Stewards to prioritize rewarding contributors. To start, the team would like to stick with the 19% back to D_D as proposed however, setting an aggressively regenerative precedent.

TL;DR - from my perspective: the proposal is safe enough to try and ready for snapshot.


This proposal has now been elevated to Snapshot - voting goes live 24 hours from now and will run for 5 days (120 hours). Link to Snapshot - Snapshot