Experiment #1 Recap
Austin Robey
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Unnamed Fund
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soapboxdarby
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Bhavik Singh
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Noya Kohavi
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February 26th, 2023

Unnamed Fund was organized by members of the NEW INC community to explore alternative forms of creative grantmaking with an emphasis on solidarity and mutualism. As a collective, we are launching distinct grantmaking experiments, with the intention of incorporating lessons learned into new experiments.

Our first experiment, outlined here, allowed NEW INC members and alumni to create any funding request, distributed via a community quadratic voting process from a shared pool of funds.

Experiment #1 results

As a result of our initial funding experiment:

  • $10,000 was split among 20 funding requests

  • 19 people voted

  • 100% of funding requests received money

  • The least funded request received $230

  • The most funded request received $1,630

  • The median funding per request was $510

  • The average funding per request was $550

Stories and learnings

Funding requests

Because there were no restrictions for funding requests, many requests were completely unrelated to any creative practice. We helped money go directly towards urgent and basic needs of the community. Some of the requests that were funded included:

  • Funding to pay off debt incurred from unemployment during the pandemic

  • Lost wages due to caretaking for a sick partner

  • Funding for gender affirming surgery

Trust is key

While designing this experiment, we often debated how to protect the integrity of the voting process against various edge cases or bad actors. In the end, the mutual trust within the NEW INC community allowed us to maintain a fair and simple process.

People

The efforts of Experiment #1 were primarily organized by a core team of four: Noya Kohavi, Alex Darby, Bhavik Singh, and Austin Robey. **
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We also had support from NEW INC leadership as well as fellow alumni Jonah King.

Experiment #1 framework

Aiming to keep the framework of our initial funding experiment as simple and efficient as possible,

  • Unnamed Fund raised 2.4 ETH and 7,525 CELO, placed in a multisig treasury.

  • Funding requests are made by anyone within the NEW INC community (members and alumni).

  • Funding requests have no restrictions or reporting requirements.

  • Fund allocation is democratically determined by the community.

  • The results of a community vote determine the percentage share of the fund for each funding request.

  • The entire fund is allocated to requests.

Experiment 1 process

1. NEW INC co-design workshop

In partnership with NEW INC, we held a virtual event with Y8 members to learn how to best serve the funding challenges of the community. In this workshop, we

2. Fundraising

Next, we raised funds. Funding from mCLUB, OCELOT, and smaller individual gifts were placed in a multisignature wallet, controlled by the core team.

3. Solicitation of community funding requests

We performed outreach to several grantmaking organizations, with a modest goal of raising $10,000 to distribute to the community.

4. Election

Voting was performed using RadicalxChange’s quadratic voting tool, allowing voters to allocate voting credits to projects they felt were most impactful, weighted by the intensity of their conviction. Ballots were sent via email to those who opted in to the process.

5. Distribution

Funds were distributed proportionally based on the results of the community election. The grants were sent entirely in ETH or CELO from our collectively controlled multisignature treasuries.

Considerations

While structuring this funding experiment, we had several considerations in mind. Many of these goals were generated through our workshop with NEW INC members. In addition to treating the initial experiment as a learning process, we determined that our funding processes should be:

  • Without restrictions

  • Without reporting

  • Easy to apply for

  • Allocated quickly

Supporters

We received funding from these sources:

mClub is a grantmaking DAO that supports creators and communities within the Mirror ecosystem. Support included 2.5 ETH via our Mirror crowdfund.

OCELOT (Original CELO Treasury) is a collective that aims to support innovation within the CELO ecosystem, by focusing on funding open source projects, radical experimentation, and community growth.

Through NEW INC’s partnership with Meta Open Arts, we received a grant of $10,000 through the Next Web Seed Grant. This grant helped compensate the core team for organizing and facilitating Experiment #1.

Challenges

Voting process

While quadratic voting was intuitive and successful, holding elections via email was a challenge without access to a full database of NEW INC members and alumni. In following experiments, this may be mitigated by finding ways to hold elections directly within the NEW INC Slack, where most members of the existing community already are.

Ambition

Initially, we struggled with defining the scope of this experiment. Sometimes there was a temptation to overdesign the process. In the end, we defaulted towards simplicity whenever we could.

Administration and management

Because all of the members of Unnamed Fund have other full time commitments, it was sometimes difficult to coordinate synchronously or swiftly make decisions as a group.

Manual fund distribution

Distributing funding required us to manually send grants out from our treasury. We could have improved this experiment by asking members to set up wallets before fund distribution. For following experiments, we may program automatic splits instead.

Education and documentation

Many in the NEW INC community are new Web3 users. We will benefit from increased documentations, guides, and education for Web3 onboarding and wallet setup.

Integration with NEW INC

While we did have support from NEW INC, we could achieve more community visibility, awareness, and participation from more closely integrating with member onboarding and orientation week programming.

Reflection

Overall, we felt very encouraged by the results of Experiment #1, and will continue both writing and shaping our next funding experiment.

Next steps

To follow, we will be:

  • Through public writing, further articulating the vision for this project

  • Expand membership of core team

  • Organize Experiment #2

Follow along for more updates by subscribing to our newsletter.

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