The Smart Contracts Team and Domain Work

The purpose of this post is to start a conversation about boundaries and expectations for work done by the Foundation Smart Contracts Team on behalf of the community. This is motivated both by recent discussions on the governance call around prioritization of work done by domain teams in general, and by the working experience of the Smart Contracts Team over the last few weeks.

The Smart Contracts Team must balance a number of different responsibilities:

  • protocol improvements (e.g. Liquidations 1.2 and 2.0, Chief redesign for next-gen governance)
  • operational work like collateral onboarding and weekly/monthly executives
  • providing Smart Contracts expertise to both the community (e.g. reviewing proposals) and other teams within the Foundation
  • creating as much automation and documented processes as possible to both allow us to do more now, and to make the ultimate dissolution of the Foundation feasible.

Our time is finite, and thus we must prioritize work with the ultimate success of the Maker protocol in mind. When working with the Smart Contracts Team, the community is encouraged to keep the following in mind:

  • Explicitly prioritizing new requests relative to ongoing or already requested work is greatly appreciated.
  • Clear and timely communication is critical; this has been highlighted by the confusion caused by adoption of the “base rate” in polling when crafting weekly executives. Whenever possible, defining explicit processes so that we know when, how, and from whom we should expect authoritative information is highly recommended.
  • Distracted engineers are suboptimal engineers—consider whether input from the Smart Contracts Team is strictly required for your request.
  • Some work items or requests will not be able to be prioritized quickly; in these cases, consider finding a way to implement them without relying completely on us (we may still be able to provide feedback even if we do not have the resources to implement a request). Grants may be available to fund such efforts (contact Amy Jung @amyjung).

For our part, we’re working on improving our internal organization and processes to maximize our own output per unit time. We’ll also be more proactive going forward about establishing communication procedures and boundaries (e.g. putting limits on last-minute requests for additions to the spell, which can greatly increase technical risk due to limited time for review and testing). We also hope to do more time-saving innovation like building automation and tools to accelerate recurring tasks (e.g. collateral evaluations, spellcrafting), although in the short term we’re essentially at our limit with project and operational work.


Agree with your comments - may be useful for your group to be more explicit about its current priorities and allocation of effort to those priorities, and get endorsement from the community that there is alignment with those priorities. If there are new things people want, people would then need to agree on tradeoffs.


Given that the Smart Contract team is at capacity, should we onboard another smart contract team from the community or from the broader DAO ecosystem? I know raid guild has expressed interest in getting involved with MakerDAO, and they have a great deal of skilled solidity developers.


A smart contract team, even if only one or two people at first, funded by and accountable to the DAO alone would be a huge positive development from many perspectives.


Thank you @Kurt_Barry . I just want to let you know that the Maker Community really appreciates everything that you and your Teammates do for the DAO. You guys keep plugging away–no matter how taxing our Demands are, and how silly our opinions come across.

The skill set that you and your Teammates and former Teammates poses–are the reason why this DAO has been successful, and why the word “DAI” flows out of peoples mouth like the Seine river. :upside_down_face:

When you’re feeling down and tired–remember that the Community really appreciates everything the Maker Foundation Teams have achieved so far, and what it will achieve in the near future. You hard work and dedication is priceless.

As far as the Maker Community–I can only think of one quote/talk I heard this morning about Community participation:

“People who own the Token don’t think they need to do anything. They think they can just sit and wait for the Team to do everything… The Community needs to get up off their ass and do something. Don’t expect to sit around and have me do everything” –Andre Cronje

After all, talk is cheap :grinning:


Yeah, I want to echo what a couple of people are saying. Your work is greatly appreciated, apologies for all the last minute stuff we / I end up springing on you.

Hopefully with some of the new processes we’ve put in place I can help to mitigate the impact on you guys.


Thanks for the update.

I think we need to get another smart contracts domain team on board perhaps they could help by taking some projects off current team hands, and then current team can review adjust second teams work?

I am back to how do we pay for all of this. We seem to be lagging on the whole operational business considerations in terms of how Maker will conduct Foundation Business when foundation is gone and how to pay for it all.


Thanks for this post @Kurt_Barry.

hiring a new team, entirely paid by returns from MakerDAO SF’s, would be great but is hard for several reasons including:

  1. while it might be not so difficult to find 1 engineer with a proven record on Smart Contract development in DeFI, it is going much harder to find 2-3 that are happy to work together. Personality conflicts, timezone/language differences, etc…
  2. It is going to be hard to let the new team coordinate with the Foundation Team, communicate (technical notions) between the two groups, etc. It takes time to integrate different groups and sometimes it is just not going to work.

For this reason I ask you @Kurt_Barry :slight_smile:

Question 1: would it be possible for us (MakerDAO governance) to hire you (Foundation Smart Contract Team) to do additional tasks? These additional tasks of course would be paid by MakerDAO. It would be entirely your responsibility to hire the required additional coders/programmers/engineers/etc. But you’d probably do a good (and quick!) search/hiring job, since you are already working on this and know the field well.

Question 2: If the answer to the above is negative, would you be willing to help MakerDAO assemble a new Smart Contract team separated from the Foundation? In other words: name a few talented individuals that are known and respected in the field and can deliver quickly? And that, if necessary, can interact with you (Foundation people) productively?



For both of those questions, I’d say it essentially sounds like you’re proposing that the Foundation assists with the search for domain team members, the difference being degree of involvement. I don’t personally have the authority to commit to what level of involvement is possible, but I very much believe that something can be worked out along those lines. This is new ground, so we’ll need to figure out the process as we go, but that’s what we’ve been doing all along :).

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