Episode 155: August 19, 2021
04:13: Forum at a Glance
08:15: GovAlpha Update
13:11: Protocol Engineering Update
17:34: Oracles Update
29:34: Risk Update
34:07: Real World Finance Update
45:10: Growth Update
55:16: Content Production Update
58:49: Governance Communications Update
1:04:20: Sustainable Ecosystem Scaling Update
1:08:20: MIPs Update
1:10:45: Open Discussion
Agenda and Preamble
- Hello everyone, and welcome to the MakerDAO Scientific Governance and Risk meeting number 155, taking place on Thursday, August 19th at 17:00 UTC. My name is LongForWisdom. I am one of the Governance Facilitators at MakerDAO.
- We like people to get involved and ask questions or comments, so please, do not be shy if you have something to say.
- Current Executive for MOMC Proposal, August Core Unit Budgets, Housekeeping has not yet passed.
- Planning to include an executive for Friday, August 20th, which will bundle content from the last two weeks.
- Two polls ended today, August 19th:
- There are three ratification polls and three community greenlight polls currently active. Those have 10 days remaining; please vote.
- In terms of executive, we have the executive from last week. We need votes on that. We will have another executive this Friday that will include the increase for the 6S DC. We will include onboarding for MATIC and the PSM; there are also parameter changes.
- We will be slightly changing the format of this call and will now move to Forum at a Glance. We will cover Core Units after that.
Forum at a Glance
Forum at a Glance for August 13 - 19
GovAlpha Weekly Update
- Begun tracking delegates participation and communication metrics. These metrics show up on the vote.makerdao.com voting portal. These are calculated manually, but future participation will be automated. But communications will remain balance because that is much harder to automate.
- We are still working on getting custody platform integration so we can unlock delegation for larger holders.
- DUX offers integration help and emailing the larger platforms to offer help and integrating if they need a hand.
- Making concrete process on the Maker Operational Manual, which will be the platform with governance-focused documentation. Making concrete progress on the Maker Operational Manual under @gala’s management.
@mkrorbkr and @AstronautThis producing parameter documentation for the RWA vault parameters and covers the
- Payton is working on documenting the governance vote hash-checking process. We hash the contents of polls, and people can take these hashes and check what is being displayed in the UI to match what is launching.
- Someone from project engineering, maybe Derek, is also working on updating the executive audit documentation for governance, which I think needs to be updated to cover the DSS executive stuff.
- Onboarding is going well on GovAlpha; @Sebix is spending most of his working time with us and looking to take on projects like MIPs and forum organization.
- Gala has been doing well on the Maker operational manual.
- More projects may be coming soon for contributors.
Protocol Engineering Team Update
Upcoming Executive spell Contents:
- PAX PSM.
- MATIC collateral.
ILK Liquidation ratios, which had just gone through.
- 6S Broker-Dealer address and yanking our deployer address.
- 6S Debt Ceiling increase.
- CalcFab into the changelog to improve onboarding.
Focus this week for the team:
- We’ve been doing an async GUNI Review focusing on the Oracle; team meeting next Tuesday to conclude.
- Small enhancements to OmegaPoker that optimizes the order in which collateral prices are updated.
- We are about 3/4 of the way through setting up the Goerli network; there are just a few outstanding works to wrap up, such as RWA support, removing permissions, updating changelog versions, and general tidy up.
- Wrapped up some Etherscan spell verification improvements for Mainnet, Kovan, and Goerli.
- Deployed MATIC to Kovan.
- Outstanding: need to define stETH DC limits. We hope to add that to the forum post Talbaneth created some time ago.
Discussions this week:
- StarkWare CU includes liaison and discussion of including the risk framework.
- Prior to this meeting, we discussed how to assess our technical approach to Arbitrum.
Oracles Team Update
- August 20th’s executive vote includes onboarding MATIC. The oracles are live. However, not all feeds have been upgraded; 21/25 are upgrades with just four more left. That should not be a blocker for launch.
- We previously had a call with the MATIC team reviewing their smart contract oracle solution for stETH. However, we were working on it and identified that the Oracle setup is not gas efficient. The feed-based back end for stETH should be complete within the next couple of weeks. We could have fumbled it around a bit to make it a little more efficient, but there was a fundamental design characteristic of the implementation and how it uses and verifies Merkle proofs prohibitively gas expensive.
- Instead of going with this kind of bespoke, more decentralized oracle model like what we did with the UniSwap LP tokens, we are falling back on the regular pattern of using feeds. With Merkle proof, you can prove the data on a chain with feeds by getting a consensus like a validator set of what they think is the truth.
- In terms of a decentralization point of view, it’s worse to use feeds, but in terms of using code, it is probably safer to use the feed implementation.
- We trust the feed model for everything else. We are not really taking on any extra security concerns and, in the end, Oracles is a cost function. We have to put a significant amount of waiting on how much these things cost.
- In conclusion, we should have the feed-based back end for stETH done within next week. We would need another week or so for testing. Shortly after that, we could onboard stETH.
- Assessments coming as soon as August 20th:
- We are organizing two offsites, one in Reykjavík, Iceland, during September. Then we will meet at EthLisbon in October.
- Frank Cruz: I was reading about the cross-chain Oracles that are coming into the market, such as Switchboard, and there’s also another network. Is that something you are looking to do in the near future? They claim to connect HiFi, high-fidelity, market data to the decentralized world. They are also looking to do it to the cross-chain with all these other L1s. Is that something that you guys are thinking about doing in the near future?
- Nik: Our Oracle stack is fundamentally blockchain agnostic; every component has nothing to do with Ethereum until you get to the last step to push the value to Ethereum. We can just push data to any blockchain, L1, or any L2. That is not really a big technical lift for us. We still need a cohesive strategy on which chains we should target and maintain support for. Going after all of them at once is not the best idea; it is better to go big on Optimism, Polygon, Solana, or something.
- Nik: The blockchains that are EVM compatible are the easiest for us to do because it just means that we can redeploy our Ethereum based smart contract Oracles on that chain. The only thing we have to do is spin up a relay to start pushing values to that chain.
- Nik: Regarding high fidelity, on chains that are more scalable than Ethereum, we can have a much tighter kind of latency pricing or pricing latency on those chains, right. Solana, where transactions are cheap, we could update every 10 pips or something like that vs. Ethereum, which is cost-prohibitive and can only update every half a percent spread.
- Nik: If there are any chains that you think are particularly promising, I would love to hear why you think that particular chain is something we should focus on. At the moment, we are figuring out where the industry is heading and where people are expanding to.
- Frank Cruz: I was in the Jet protocol forum. They are considering one of our nemeses, and somebody else brought up the Oracle Core Unit. I recommend looking at jet protocol; they are trying to decide the community and use. ChainLink is the front runner right now. Circling back to stETH, Please explain to me how it will work when Eth 2.0 launches, and folks can stake it to protect the network and use it to borrow on something like AAVE or even in Maker. How will you guys make sure that somebody does not get liquidated on AAVE and that stETH is no longer in the borrower’s hands in Maker, if that makes sense?
- Nik: When we are talking about tETH? We are talking about the Lido stETH in particular. When you stake with Lido, you are not staking yourself, basically. They are running the validator node, and your stETH is an IOU; you can go to Lido and redeem. You cannot actually redeem, at least not until post-merge.
- Nik: Lido incentivizes liquidity right between stETH and Eth. For all intents and purposes, the stETH token is just an IOU token. You are inherently trusting in Lido not to have a screw-up where a lot of stuff gets slashed, but if a bunch of stuff were to get slashed, the stETH price would drop. To some degree, they would be insolvent because they could not handle all the redemptions they would owe, so there would not be one-to-one redemption.
- Nik: I do not think it matters if you take out a loan in stETH and get liquidated, it is not a big deal. Someone else buys the IOU; it is still worth something, but we are dependent on Lido’s staking implementation to ensure that you can get redeemed one-to-one post-merge. It’s not just a function of liquidity.
Risk Team Update
- We are proceeding with institutional vault risk assessment.
Nexo confirmed that they would be willing to increase their debt exposure by 100m to 200m under the conditions provided in the post.
- Still some discussion about origination fee levels. Close to reaching a final agreement.
- Apart from our risk assessment and work that needs to be done by PE to have these special vaults implemented, we’ll also see revenue impact scenario analysis made by Mark. This analysis is essentially the main decision point at offering these kinds of vaults of particular sizes going forward.
- Polygon reached out asking for a 100m loan collateralized by their treasury MATIC tokens.
- Since such loans would probably need to reach higher collateralization levels than the one implemented at the upcoming MATIC-A vault, it might be better for them and Maker to set up an institutional vault (origination fees and special requirements regarding LR and maintenance of CR). We are in discussions with them about this.
- Monetsupply should soon make two posts:
- One is regarding
dust limits and will be a signal poll to confirm whether the community approves the suggested
- He is also working on actual parameter changes needed for off-boarding the KNC-A vault (a showcase of the actual process off-boarding collaterals).
- Finally, most of the other team members are working on risk dashboards and automatization of vault user behavior metrics; a lot of interesting stuff is happening there.
Real-World Finance Team Update
- This week, we have published the New Silver audit by Shearman & Sterling and on-chain securitization roadmap. It was a work to summarize everything they said. I discussed the document with them today, and we published it after the call.
- We started moving forward with GST Capital that is also investing in some ? (34:40) pools. They have some experience in securitization. We are happy to have them work with us and see what they think because, at the end of the day, we are on the same side.
- We participated in the MIP58 Cayman RWA Asset Foundation’s Know Your MIP call yesterday. It was a cool call to ask all your questions on Cayman Foundation works with all the RWA. You can find the Youtube recording online.
- We are still working on a risk assessment with Christian. We are trying to get it as soon as possible, but it might be delayed to the end of Sunday. If we do not get it on Friday, we thought it would be better to give one more week to the community to review all the documentation before submitting it to the governance pool. We will not want to rush too much, even if the borrower side is not pleased. It is better not to rush things.
- Lastly, Mark is working on an institutional Vault analysis. We have discussed it just before this call. We will first review it with Nadia and Primoz before sharing it with the community.
- PaperImperium: I was reading through the legal review that was just posted about Centrifuge. I noticed there were quite a few things on there, some of which were pretty important. You recommended we do not move forward until they are fixed, but I saw that the estimated timeline for those is the end of 2021. Can you provide a little more background on what the process looks like to get this done?
- I do not know where you read that we do not want to move forward on some items. I do not have this impression.
- PaperImperium: It says, “We should fix these before moving forward.”
- For the short-term items, as fast as possible, and some are already being fixed. If I put the end of 2021, it is mainly because I know there are delays, and I do not want to overstate the speed at which we can go.
- PaperImperium: What do we do with the Centrifuge stuff that is going on now?
- I do not have any recommendations on that. I am pretty happy with it. I will not say it is sophisticated to the institutional level. Still, it represents what we have discussed with the community in the past, and improvements are made every month. If it were me, I would invest more in those pools and only invest 100 for each pool because you asked me not to invest more.
- PaperImperium: Many of these are really serious issues that we have talked about for months and are just getting a legal review. It should have been the first step, but now that we have it, how do we constructively move forward to limit our risk to these?
As for the legal review timeline, I am not a Legal CU, and we do not have one. It was not my decision to onboard the Centrifuge asset without a legal review. As it was not my decision to onboard all assets, we have without legal review. To my understanding, currently, there are zero criteria with a legal review because there is no Legal CU. Moving forward, you can decide whatever you want.
- PaperImperium: Moving forward to address these, it looks like we need to have our Maker’s representation sit down and come up with some alternative language for these. Right? Is Centrifuge going to pay for these legal bills too? It looks like we are paying the legal bills for a structure that they should have had ready to go at the beginning of the year.
- We are not paying for their lawyers. We are paying for our lawyers. My understanding of all legal deals is that there is a lawyer on each side.
- PaperImperium: We did not have a lawyer on our side until recently.
- Correct. That is why I put in the budget that I wanted to hire a lawyer. There is an item in my budget for that. It was to make the legality of stuff.
- PaperImperium: We are sitting at a point where we have already authorized 44 million dollars of exposure to something we did not have a legal review until now. It has lots of problems, and we will pay more legal fees to fix what they should have done the first time correctly. Is that correct?
- It is not my understanding, but if that is your interpretation, sure.
- PaperImperium: Are we going to be paying more legal fees to fix Centrifuge’s legal structure, yes or no?
- Lucas: Centrifuge is engaging lawyers to work together with you to improve the structure. Paper, if you want to put it that way, you can, but we are working on that together, as Seb said. Maker has certain requirements, Centrifuge has certain requirements, and our asset originators may have certain requirements. We are all making sure that we find the best solution moving forward. That is what this on-chain securitization roadmap is about.
- David Utrobin: I think Paper’s question is specifically about who pays the bill for the lawyers.
- Lucas: The lawyer representing Maker now is paid by Maker. The lawyer that is drafting these agreements and is working with the Maker lawyers who have brought up these questions is paid by Centrifuge.
- PaperImperium: We are paid less than anybody else on it and have a terrible legal structure, and now we will pay to rebuild their structure.
- Lucas: Paper, let’s keep this out of this discussion for now because it is irrelevant. There is also an ongoing effort to build specifically a legal structure by Maker that is only usable by Maker for SolarX. Maker has a lot of precedent building the legal frameworks that you need on Maker’s dime.
- PaperImperium: Except that we are doing it for your platform here.
- Lucas: No, you are doing it to ensure that MakerDAO, which is the only DAO that we interact with so far, has equally strong legal protections as individual investors.
- We invested a lot to onboard Sushi LP, and we did it until the end. We are developing and investing a lot in Aave, and we are paying for everything. It is the same.
- PaperImperium: Except that Aave and Sushi do not come to us so that we build something that will be legally viable…
- Someone: The problems we are fixing are many, and many are very familiar since we talked about them for months. Moving forward, I would feel much more comfortable if a third party in the room can observe any discussions between RWF and Centrifuge on how to fix this. Not me, but please find someone else who can independently report to the DAO how these negotiations go forward. I do not feel that we were dealt fairly with the first time, and I want to make sure that we are this time.
- Lucas: None of the MKR holders have indicated this to me, Paper, and so far, none of the executive votes or signal requests struggled here.
- LongForWisdom: We can continue that in the forum if you wish to figure out a third party that would be willing to do this.
Growth Core Unit Update
Growth CU Weekly Updates
- One of our ideas for the rest of the year is to replicate what we did in Argentina. We found a strategic partner and created a product that could fix something in the country. That partner was Buenbit. After two years of working with them, they started this awesome product around DAI offering to Argentineans. Now they are expanding their business to other Latin American countries. In this solution, they could save their money in DAI and get yield over the balancing DAI. Argentineans are using Buenbit as a bank. As soon as they receive their salary, they are converting their salary into DAI. Buenbit started to do business with other companies in Argentina to offer a service where employees will receive their salary automatically in DAI. Whenever they need to pay for something, they now have a card to start paying in pesos. That was amazing. It was impossible for Maker, even when we were at the Foundation, to create a product that could solve specific needs for a country.
- We are trying to find these strategic partners in different countries to create a product that fits the market they want to target. This is something we are starting to do with imToken, which is a wallet in China. A couple of years ago, when the gas fees were not a problem, we launched a campaign with them, and we had a lot of CDPs open through imToken. We want to understand what we can do with the Chinese market and increase DAI awareness through them. Not to start talking about DAI the same way as we talk about DAI in Latin America, but trying to understand how DAI could fit into the Chinese market. We prepared a plan to execute with them in the next months for the rest of the year.
- Jennifer created a post in the forum asking for everyone’s feedback about BitPay. We want to create a campaign to increase the usage of Dai on that platform. I do not know if you read Jen’s post, but it is funny because people use DAI to buy luxury things, for example, renting Yachts. DAI users are interesting people.
- I want to give a welcome to Hajive, who joined the team yesterday. He will be covering Europe with Gustav. His background is interesting because he comes from the traditional financial markets. He is very used to working with institutions. He worked with JPMorgan and Reuters. A couple of years ago, he started to work in crypto, working with Wirex and Luno. It will be great to have him on the team because he can help us with these new ideas that we want to implement around the Maker and institutions. His user name in the forum is @hajive. You can say “hello” to him in the forum.
- As for the start of the week, Jen will be participating in the Web3 Fashion Week. It is a big NFT conference where different creators in fashion and art will be talking, and Jenn will be talking about why DAI and Maker around NFTs.
- In the forum, I talked about just one integration, one partner. Still, in the week, we have a lot of integrations. On Maker Growth Twitter, you can find a lot of these new integrations.
- I hear that Primoz and Derek mentioned something about institutional Vaults. I did not include it in the updates that you will find in the forum. We thought about institutional Vaults as Vaults that could have different risk parameters because we were expecting larger amounts of DAI minted from those Vaults.
- We are starting to work with Nexo. At the same time, thanks to the visibility, because many people are reading the forum, we have had different institutions. Institutions in the sense of other crypto banks, crypto companies like Nexo, and crypto projects with a crypto treasury. To answer your question, Long, One of the first interested in opening an institutional Vault with their Token treasury is Polygon. We also have other projects that will be interested in doing something like that.
- I think this is good to start to think about. We were just discussing with Primoz that, in the case of Polygon, it might not make sense to have a regular Maker Vault for Matic because everyone is using their Matic inside the Polygon network. It will be more logical to have an institutional Vault for the Polygon team to use their Matic to mint DAI for more acquisitions and deploy that DAI into the Polygon network.
- This opens a lot of new opportunities for us. When we want to onboard a Token as collateral, we should not do it as always do - having a regular Vault. We could think about having institutional Vaults first. If we see that their community will be interested in having a normal Vault, we could go for that. That is on the institutional side of the Vaults.
- We had a very interesting conversation with Aave about the D3M that will bring a lot of liquidity of DAI into Aave. We want to launch that product as soon as possible to start testing this D3M into the Aave V2 Market. Depending on the results and how this is working, we could also expand the D3M into the Aave ARC, the Aave for institutions. That will bring DAI to these private pools for institutions, which is super exciting for the protocol.
- Frank Cruz: Speaking of Aave institutional, are you guys still talking to Fireblocks? The former SCC guy is joining them.
Content Production Update
Content Production Biweekly Updates
- For those of you that do not know me, I am Jerry from Content Production.
- We got a lot of stuff posted in the last few weeks: video, audio, and “Dai on different networks.” We are making “DAI on different networks” and Maker Relay available on our substack.
- We are tabling the mascot contest right now. The bad news is that we only got one entry. The good news is that it was pretty good. We have had some team discussions about why we did not get as much response as we had hoped. One of the main things that came up was that previously when people have tried to do art contests with MakerDAO, there was a lot of response that it seemed like it could be a scam because nothing about it was on official channels. That is one of the things we are considering is possible. On that note, we are currently working with GovAlpha on a MIP for asset allocation so CUs can request access to different properties that are proposed to be owned by the DAI Foundation. Lastly, we have conducted a lot of brand research interviews. If you have not already, please schedule one with us. We are currently discussing and figuring out how to summarize and follow up on that in the forums. Keep your eyes out for that.
- We have upcoming AMAs with Planet_X and the Centrifuge Team that will be announced soon.
- David Utrobin: Is Content Production looking for somebody specializing in brand and brand systems?
- Seth: Potentially. Right now, we are discussing a structuring of the team in different regards based on many of the needs we fielded from the community, including the marketing informal poll that we had up. We are also following up on that in the same post with the brand research stuff. Based on those responses, we are deciding in which directions the structuring of the team should go. Does that make sense?
- David Utrobin: You are not sure if a person that specializes in brand and brand systems is necessarily helpful at this stage. Right?
- Seth: Not a hard no. But basically, yes.
Governance Communications Update
GovComms Bi-weekl Update
- I am David Utrobin, the facilitator of GovComms.
- Setup is moving slow. We still have not gotten our first disbursement of DAI due to the delayed executive.
- We have three new contributors being trained for the summary team. Welcome, Andrea Suarez, Rhodey, and Kunfu-po. It is cool to see the summary team expanding slowly.
- We are continuing our hunt for an engagement lead. If you know any rock stars interested in this role that involves a lot of stakeholder relations, engagement, and mapping Maker down and stakeholders, we are hunting. We are hunting on two fronts. We have the talent CU that is being incubated under SES, helping us. In parallel, I am doing my independent search for this person. Generally speaking, applicants are few. It has been challenging to find decent fits for this role, but there are some, so we will continue the hunt.
- Maker Relay got a facelift. We have a new banner thanks to Cat. We have a new informational structure thanks to the Content Production team pioneering it. Also, we have a refreshed feedback survey. Lots of progress in Maker Relay in the last weeks.
- We took ownership of the forum at a Glance and had been making weekly improvements. You have seen Artem presenting it at the beginning of this call. We are going to try to make it as best as we can. Feel free to give us feedback about what we could do to do that.
- We created a basic GovComms CU overview presentation in our public drive. Our previous one was in Figma, and it was outdated. To increase the transparency of what our team does, I put together a bunch of slides. I took the example from SES because they recommend doing this.
- We started a team updates audit to make some recommendations to bring us closer to similar standards. This is mostly because I was trying to understand what to put in these updates from our team. I am studying everybody’s updates and trying to document them to have a higher view of everything. We could see what teams are really doing, what they are not, what information is coming across, what is not.
- In the last weeks, I met with Mario, our Reddit moderator, to discuss his ongoing availability, our moderator needs, and the general state of Reddit. He had a ton of insight about that side of our community. It is mostly new people, and people are just starting to get into Maker. We are going to publish some polished notes in our public drive later today or tomorrow. That might be useful for Content Production, onboarding funnels, for strategy around what we post where. We are starting to collect some data and some interesting insights there.
- We met with Dumitru from the former foundation Technical Operations team to discuss info security best practices for google drive. As some of you know, our mandate includes the lofty goal of mapping MakerDAO and its stakeholder segments. We intend to collect the identity and contact information for MakerDAO and its stakeholders. Information security is top of mind. We are being proactive about how we are going to manage this project.
- Our office hours are Fridays 1800 to 1830 UTC. Feel free to join us if you want to get to know us a little more, ask us what we are doing, or inquire about any of the things I just mentioned.
Sustainable Ecosystem Scaling Update
SES Public Drive
Weekly MIPs Update
Presentations and Other Discussions
- David Utrobin: Go vote on the executive! I beg you.
- LongForWisdom: We will have a Meet your Delegate call next week for MakerMan. It might be one hour later than the time we usually do. We will have an agenda on the forum for that.
- David Utrobin: If you are not already signed up to the Maker Calendar, I recommend you do so. It has all the calls and events! You will not miss anything!
Common Abbreviated Terms
CR: Collateralization Ratio
DC: Debt Ceiling
ES: Emergency Shutdown
SF: Stability Fee
DSR: Dai Savings Rate
MIP: Maker Improvement Proposal
OSM: Oracle Security Module
LR: Liquidation Ratio
RWA: Real-World Asset
RWF: Real-World Finance
SC: Smart Contracts
CU: Core Unit
- Andrea Suarez produced this summary.
- Artem Gordon produced this summary.
- David Utrobin produced this summary.
- Kunfu-po produced this summary.
- Everyone who spoke and presented on the call, listed in the headers.