Over the last several months, KeeperDAO has undergone transformative changes to crystallize a vision and future where KeeperDAO will be paramount to the health of decentralised financial networks, as well as supporting DeFi users and ROOK holders alike. This process of experimentation, research, and collaboration has been both fruitful and insightful… and has led us to this precipitous moment.
Today, I am honored to formally announce a monumental expansion of the KeeperDAO ecosystem: KeeperDAO Labs.
What Exactly is Labs?
KD Labs is a sandbox for experimentation, compounding progress, and shaping new ideas into reality. Within this ever-evolving virtual tinker-station, a handful of individuals are hard at work catalyzing growth for KeeperDAO.
To keep these individuals and projects harmoniously orchestrated, Labs maintains two primary and continuous goals:
- Compliment KeeperDAO Core by building and advancing technology built on top of KeeperDAO’s core protocol;
- Facilitate KeeperDAO business development, marketing, outreach, documentation, and community growth.
To accomplish these missions, KeeperDAO has taken several steps to plant the seeds of KeeperDAO Labs.
First, we began sourcing talent from our community. We truly had no idea what opportunity was waiting in the shadows; we have been astonished by the creativity, passion, and intellect that has come forward. Second, we tested the waters from our talent pool by defining attainable missions and projects to focus on short term. Based on how strong the results and visions were that emerged, we now canonize the future of community development as a modular entity hellbent on scaling DeFi for the masses with KeeperDAO.
An Anti-Hierarchical Modular Organization
So many skilled individuals have stepped up eager to help KeeperDAO, establishing a top priority to make sure we water the seeds of Labs properly. With dozens of contributors today, we have been carefully considering the best way to to harness, preserve, and scale our community’s talent.
Like most DAOs, we instinctively pushed back against traditional structures… but while many DAOs reflexively settled on a static flat structure, we could not. Flat structures are indeed excellent for bootstrapping, but they do not work for KeeperDAO’s long term vision because flat structures do not scale. The ideal structure is not circular in nature either — there are too many interwoven responsibilities that will inevitably unfold in time. And, to be clear, this organization is absolutely not a hierarchical structure.
For this type of environment, we need a structure which enables contributors to pursue their visions without being shackled by top-down requirements or external gravities. Instead, we seek a model that unleashes individuals’ potential, multiplies talents with one another, and results in wild harmonies. KeeperDAO Labs shall scale as a modular structure.
The fundamental concept here is that each component - a team member, a project, an idea - can be applied in any sequence, to achieve literally any imaginable (and yet to be imagined) outcome.
Projects will be sourced internally as well as proposed by team members and community members via governance.
The way community ideas evolve into prioritized projects will happen via governance proposals (KIPs); these proposals may include information about resource needs as well as (project dependent) treasury-funded ROOK to fund non-FTE contributors and resources for a given project.
Of course, the default nature of Labs is one of transparency… yet, some potions are best saved until they have hit the right temperature. Accordingly, we may seek to plan, develop, and release certain projects with discretionary privacy in the following cases:
- There exists a competitive advantage in obfuscating what we are doing;
- The project is abstract in origin and takes many shapes and sizes and paths before it’s finalization;
- A specific release schedule is necessary to make sure a project is understood and utilized correctly;
- Proprietary information from KeeperDAO Core is being utilized in the project.
A few examples of projects already released or near-release are the web redesign, the client development of the Hiding Vault, rebranding initiatives, refining our external communication strategy, compiling documentation for all past, current, and future endeavors, and lastly developing a network of Keepers, market makers, and partners to build the future of DeFi alongside. We're excitedly titrating many, many more projects as we speak.
Labs Within The Ecosystem
KeeperDAO is not simply a set of technologies which unite Keepers in a collaborative fashion. It is nothing without its innovative game theoretical system; it is also nothing without stakeholder participation. There are many components that will come together to deliver the KeeperDAO network — a well-lit and safe haven amidst a complex Forest of bad actors. Similar to the internal design of KeeperDAO Labs, we envision this network to be driven by many sliding components complimenting one another other. KeeperDAO Labs is the first component dedicated to foster growth, tech advancement, and adoption of the Keeper’s games. It may not be the end all extension of the community, though. For now, it functions as a comforting and guiding spirit which helps lost wanderers of the Dark Forest find, enter, and enjoy the safe haven of the KeeperDAO walled garden.
Some of the ecosystem-based responsibilities of Labs include the following:
- Creating and maintaining low-friction, high-quality end-user experiences;
- Creating and maintaining comprehensive documentation to allow users to understand the protocol (and hence use it more readily), and allow developers to more easily build on top of it as well as contribute proposals and integrations;
- Developing a product strategy that can be communicated to orient, incentivize, or prioritize work in particular areas which are particularly beneficial;
- Sequencing our messaging so that the KeeperDAO brand and values are recognized and well-represented in the Ethereum ecosystem;
- Establish consistent outreach channels to onboard Keepers, market makers, liquidity providers, and other key stakeholders within the network;
- Study, review, and potentially contribute to implementing positive governance proposals — especially proposals that come attached to working code that is built with or interacts with the protocol.
Initial funding for KeeperDAO Labs can come from two primary sources:
- The treasury (buy backs or otherwise);
- KeeperDAO's accumulated ROOK (primarily from the Treasury's liquidity providing).
Going forward, we intend to build a continuous system where Labs continues to provide value to the KeeperDAO and DeFi ecosystem, which will generate revenue to the KeeperDAO treasury, which will finally and consistently warrant funding via the treasury to KeeperDAO. We plan to consistently make our case to the KeeperDAO community to justify continued funding (via governance) that will perpetuate this loop.
Organizing production and the means of production in the most equitable and just way is a historically difficult and fundamentally imperfect science. We are eager, but humble, in our stride to reach perpetual equilibrium.
Recruitment, Hiring, & Onboarding
In the initial days of KeeperDAO Labs, we have been spoiled with amazing talent organically involving itself. While we have planted and watered seeds these last few months, we are aware that growing a beautiful garden takes ongoing upkeep. When something grows, there is a natural gravity or tendency for the growing entity to develop a recursive structure. Trees grow branches, and those branches grow branches. It seems natural to mirror nature, doesn’t it?
So, we have drawn on our experience and research to establish high quality standards for scalable team growth. This encompasses the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process for KeeperDAO and KeeperDAO Labs. As this is a particularly critical topic for the future of the DAO, it will be cast as an early KeeperDAO Improvement Proposal. The scaling of the team is an important responsibility and will warrant more posts in the future.
Labs & Governance
One thing that we hope is clear is that we do not take governance lightly. This can be a fatal flaw for a project, and is already inflicting wounds across other projects throughout the DeFi space. While there has been a tendency towards a generic governance mold across DeFi, we believe oversimplified approaches are counterproductive and they may have grave consequences.
The flaws of existing governance models expose an opportunity for us to show our strengths - the strengths of the KeeperDAO Core Team, the KeeperDAO Labs team, and the community as a whole. With the addition of the Labs team, we have the necessary head-strength to facilitate such an exciting and important endeavor. It'll be Labs' honor to work with all of you on this.
The creation and canonization of KeeperDAO Labs enables exceedingly talented individuals to develop products, awareness, and adoption for KeeperDAO. To foster a perpetual state of progress, we have also taken the necessary steps to scale KeeperDAO’s personnel operations in a fashion that supports innovation, team happiness, and protocol success. We'll see you in the Lab!