Grant Ships: Weekly Dev Log

Grant Ships: Weekly Dev Log

Hello Arbitrum Community!

We’re excited to bring you our first update on Grant Ships, the innovative ‘evolutionary grants game’ in development by the DAO Masons and funded by Plurality Labs.

We’re nearing the end of our first milestone, and we’ll be making weekly additions to this dev log thread every week for the remainder of the project.

Introducing Grant Ships

Grant Ships is an ‘evolutionary grants game’ - a.k.a. The plurality meta-framework - where Grant Ships (grant-giving subDAOs) compete to best deploy capital in the Arbitrum ecosystem.

The goal is to continually improve how we allocate capital by learning which Ship models are most effective, who the talented actors are, and which allocations resonate with Arbitrum voters.

High performing Grant Ships (as signaled by Arbitrum token votes) are rewarded with more capital to deploy in following rounds.

The Grant Ships Rule Book

One of our deliverables is a Rule Book.

For an overview of the game and answers to some of your questions, check out the Overview page and the FAQ in the rulebook. These are great resources to understand the basics and keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

Our rulebook is in active development, so expect some updates along the way.

Upcoming Beta Round

Our beta launch is scheduled for mid-February, where we will have 3 grant ships allocating 90K in ARB for grants.

Our 4 Deliverables

We will deliver:

  1. A game dashboard - with the web interface needed to play.
  2. A project whitepaper - explaining how it works on a technical level.
  3. A comprehensive rulebook - explaining how it works at a high practical level.
  4. Promotion and education - Spreading the word and show how to interact with the game

Latest Progress Report

As of December 19th, here’s what we’ve achieved:

  • Development and Smart Contract Progress: We’re simultaneously focusing on platform, community and smart contract/dashboard development.

    Most notably, the “Grant Ships Registry” smart contract is under development and available for review. This will be transitioned into an Allo distribution strategy during Milestone 2.

  • Collaborative Efforts: We presented at Plurality Labs Grantee Highlights twitter space and the Hats Protocol Demo Day.

    Check out the recordings to hear us talk about the project.

  • Rulebook: The rulebook, outlining the gameplay mechanics and strategies for Grant Ships, has been created and is nearing its final form. We encourage your feedback to make it even better.

  • Getting Popular?: Our efforts are getting attention, and we’ve got invitations to speak on various podcasts. If you have any ideas how we can get the word out (we need grant givers and recipients!) - Please let us know!

  • Regulatory Compliance: We’ve completed a first draft of our “Compliance Doc” , ensuring our Grant Ships will align with ethical and legal standards.

What’s Next

  • Publishing the Whitepaper: We’re drafting and publishing a whitepaper for the project. We still have technical decisions to make before we can finalize this, but it is one of our primary deliverables.

  • Continued Testing and Development: We will finalize development of the Registry contract, along with all testing scripts, ensuring every aspect of the contract is fully tested and secure.

  • Registry Indexer: Upon completion of the Allo strategy contract, our development team will switch focus to the creation of an indexer (subgraph or spec) (implementation details TBD)

  • Grant Ships Dashboard: The front end dashboard will provide the interface for all actors to interface with the game.

  • Integrations: We are planning integrations with Hats and Allo protocols.

  • Community Engagement: We’ll be hosting online sessions to gather feedback, ideas, and suggestions from the community. Your input is vital!

  • Operator Training Program: Interested in becoming a Grant Ship Operator? Keep an eye out for our upcoming training program. Details and sign-up information available through the Rule Book

Call to Action

We invite you, the vibrant Arbitrum community, to dive into the evolving world of Grant Ships.

Don’t miss your chance to sign up here.

Check out our work-in-progress Rulebook for a sneak peek into the game mechanics. If you’re intrigued, consider volunteering as a Grant Ship Operator, grant recipient or game facilitator in our beta round.

Your participation and insights will be invaluable in shaping the future of Grant Ships.

Please follow Grant Ships on X for updates.

Stay tuned as we will be announcing a weekly X - Spaces soon!! :rocket::milky_way:

Who we Are

Grant Ships is being developed by DAO Masons, initiated and supported through a recent grant from Plurality Labs.

Follow DAO Masons on X to learn more about our team or join our Discord, linked at


I really love seeing the initiative you are taking here and want to publicly thank you for getting work started even before we knew exactly how the payments would be processed. Thank you!


In adition to this, we have recently completed Milestone 1. Here is our report for the milestone.
Grant Ships Milestone 1 Report


DevLog: Week of Jan 1 2024

We thought we’d be working through the holidays but decided to take some time off. Expect weekly updates from here on out.

Development Progress

We’ve pivoted to writing Grant Ships as an Allo Strategy. This means we forked their repo, ported our prototype contract over, and here on out most of the (solidity) code will fit within the Allo framework.

We’re making a push to submit our initial version of Grant Ships to the Allo hackathon by Jan 9th.

You can check out the repo here: GitHub - DAOmasons/allo-v2: Core Allo V2 Contracts

Expect more detailed development updates in future weeks as we get more code written.

Recruitment Progress

A big factor for Grant Ships’ success is recruiting talented allocators to man the ships. Our signup form is accessible from the Rule Book and we have several promising applicants.

Documentation Progress

Documentation includes the Rule Book and Whitepaper deliverables.

The Rule Book draft is available in the original post.

We’re currently working on a Whitepaper draft, which will describe specifics about how the game works and how it is implemented. This will be changing frequently in the early stages as we nail down technical specifics so we’re not releasing a draft yet.

What we need

We need people to sign up!
Follow us on X!

Join our Discord and talk Grant Ships with us.

Special Thanks for this week

Feems for hosting us on the Plurality Twitter spaces
Spencer and David of Hats protocol for timely technical support and having us as guests on their Demo Day.
Zakk & JaxCoder & thelostone-mc of Allo for all the technical support and encouragement

  • (and many others that we’ll mention in the coming weeks)

Also, hot off the presses, Grant Ships now has a channel on Warpcast

Would love to see some members of the community join the channel.

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DevLog: Week of Jan 8th 2024

Development Progress

We made a hard push to get a working version for the Allo Hackathon. Check out our submission on buidlbox, you can see an overview of the code up to this point there. buidlbox

@Jord is our lead dev, and he was grinding hard to get this thing done. We’ve got tests! :clap::clap::clap:

You can check out our branch on the Allo repo here: GitHub - DAOmasons/allo-v2: Core Allo V2 Contracts

Recruitment Progress

We have a Spaces appearance coming up next Tuesday with Nexe Protocol discussing Grant Impact rating.

We’re in talks with Owocki to get on Green Pill!

We’re hoping to get some attention and have more people signing up soon.

Documentation Progress

We got some sequence diagrams started while working on the Hackathon, so those will make it into the whitepaper.

What we need

We need people to sign up !
Follow us on X!

Join our Discord and talk Grant Ships with us.

Special Thanks for this week

DavidKieve for connecting about Nexe

Zakk & JaxCoder & thelostone-mc of Allo for all the technical support and encouragement for the Allo Hackathon


DevLog: Weeks of Jan 15th & Jan 22nd 2024

Development Progress

The code is cleaning up, and we’ve got over 50 tests running successfully. We’re still waiting to hear on the Hackathon results, we’ve got our fingers crossed. :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

We’re starting development on the front end now. We have some screens ready in Figma. We’re building it out with Vite, Wagmi and Mantine right now.

Here’s one of the early screens to get an idea how the UI will look:

You can check out our branch on the Allo repo here: GitHub - DAOmasons/allo-v2: Core Allo V2 Contracts

@Jord wrote up a development recap that gives some more insight into the decisions we’ve made thus far:

Development Recap: How we got here.

The Original Plan

The original plan for Grant Ships was to build a front end using existing smart contracts. The plan was to never touch Solidity at all, to save time and test player behavior before ‘locking in’ the game rules in a Smart contract. As we all know, contract development is time-consuming and challenging.

We also planned on sourcing data from existing protocols data using their subgraph endpoints. We would instead focus more on the event, gathering the people, and making sure the game is played as expected.

This was a great plan on paper. However, once we began doing our initial tests, we began to discover issues.

  • The original design as presented in the proposal involved the facilitators holding all the funds in a safe. Even though we were willing to tolerate this centralization for the test round, it was still vulnerable to capture.
  • Accounting errors. We would have needed to partition the funds in the safe and manually keep track of which funds are going to which project. This meant that we were now tracking everything through spreadsheets, which is error-prone. Again, tolerable for a test round but not ideal.
  • The biggest challenges came from the Safe API . We didn’t know this, but pushing TXs to a Gnosis Safe involved signing, hashing, and posting data to a centralized server. This gets complicated when you are trying to use Hats . We could not find a seamless way to make Hats (onchain) work with this API (offchain) without making our ship operators do things manually.
    • Also, gas estimation is another issue. Having worked with the Gnosis gas estimation API for MolochDAOs, I’ve learned the challenges of relying on a centralized API for Multicall transactions. It can sometimes be an unnecessary blocker. Also, L2’s calculates gas differently. These challenges are surmountable but weighed in the decision process for steering away from Safe.
  • So in essence, we had no way of having our ships post grant requests to facilitators.
  • Data availability was another issue. We were unprepared for the amount of content required to provide a seamless experience in the app.
  • In essence The code required to make this work would have been more complicated and intensive than what we have currently

Pivot 1: Allo Attempt 1

So at first, we decided to give Allo a go. They had a lot of the things we needed. However, we quickly learned that Allo uses its role system. We made a snap judgment and assumed that the integration may cause more issues than it was worth.

It’s worth noting that this was an error on our end. Had we dug a little deeper or met with Zaak earlier (he was on vacation at the time), we would have discovered that the strategies are wide open and we definitely could have made this work.

However, we didn’t know this so we had another pivot

Pivot 2: Vanilla contract

Repo Link

We decided to make a contract that wouldn’t handle funds but could handle all the Metadata and amounts. This would at least handle the accounting issues and Metadata needs previously mentioned.

However, as we began to codify the rules, we began to discover that this plan was creating a lot of extra work. Way more than anticipated.

Around this time, I started meeting with Zaak from Allo and talked through each of the needs of the project. It was clear that we were going to save some time with Allo.

One caveat here is that Zaak had mentioned that building a strategy generally takes a couple of days and only involves 100-200 lines of code. This wasn’t the case for us (also most of the strategies in the repo are larger than 100-200 lines of code)

Final Pivot: Allo, GameManagerStrategy and GrantShipStrategy

Repo Link

So after this pivot, We doubled down on Allo. Overall, the contracts and tests likely took a couple of weeks of very intensive dev, with some extra time for docs, edits, etc.

The good news is that the strategies we built are far better than the original vision. Some of the features include:

  • Increased capture resistance . No one holds the funds. They can only be withdrawn by certain roles, to one address. Flags are onchain and can stop a ship immediately.
  • Increased plurality . The original plan called for one type of Grant Ship that did grants one way. However, GameManagerStrategy can deploy any type of ship. In the future, we will be able to adapt existing Allo strategies and turn them into GrantShips (ex. Retroactive Ship, MicroGrant Ships, RFP, etc)
  • Better UX . Because our data sources are aligned, there is far less need to send users to other applications. All the data they need will be in front of them. We were also able to reduce the amount of overall transactions needed.
  • Record-keeping . The way we handle and store data is a 10x improvement over what we had initially planned. Better yet, it’s looking like new features recently built on TheGraph are going to allow us to reliably index data from IPFS. This means that we will be able to structure our data in many useful ways, for a wide array of actors, under one API.

Also, these contracts are tested, and we are confident they suit our needs to play Grant Ships. The direction is solidified. We are currently refining the designs and building the application. Here is a screenshot of the application in action.

Recruitment Progress

The talk on measuring grant impact with Nexe Protocol went well. Check out the recording.

We’re reaching out to applicants now to have initial conversations. If you’d like to apply to be a ship operator or volunteer, see the Sign Up link at https://grantshipsfun

Documentation Progress

We’ve added some technical documentation to the repo, with more to come.

See to learn about the Grant Ships contracts.

What we need

We need people to sign up !
Follow us on X!

Join our Discord and talk Grant Ships with us.

Special Thanks for this week

This week we’d like to thank DavidKieve from Nexe Protocol, Feems from Plurality, Nahesh from Karma and Carl Cervone for connecting about measuring grant impact!

Thanks all, this was a longer one to make up for the missed post last week. Feel free to reach out with any questions.


Schedule change

We’ve requested a 2 week extension to our Milestone Two deadline.

The reasoning for the request is largely in the previous post in the Development Log section. Basically it took us longer to get homed in on the final tech solution than we anticipated.

We need more time to get the UX the way we want it and getting the graph connections wired up is a good bit of work as well.

Original Schedule:

  • Milestone 1, 3 weeks
    • Start: 11/20/2023
  • Milestone 2: 7 Weeks (+1 week for holidays)
    • Start: 12/11/2023
  • Milestone 3: 3 Weeks
    • Start: 1/29/2024
  • Milestone 4: 4 Weeks
    • Start: 2/19/2024
    • End: 3/18/2024

Amended schedule:

  • Milestone 1, 3 weeks
    • Start: 11/20/2023
  • Milestone 2: 9 Weeks (+1 week for holidays)
    • Start: 12/11/2023
  • Milestone 3: 3 Weeks
    • Start: 2/12/2024
  • Milestone 4: 4 Weeks
    • Start: 3/04/2024
    • End: 4/01/2024
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Join us for our upcoming community meetup as we prepare for the beta grant round. This event is a chance to explore the latest developments of Grant Ships, share thoughts, and preview upcoming features. It’s an open forum for everyone - developers, enthusiasts, or anyone interested in decentralized grants. Your feedback and perspectives are important to us. This is more than just a discussion; it’s a collaborative effort to shape the future of grant distribution. Be a part of this meaningful conversation and help us set new standards in the grants domain. We look forward to your participation!

Please RSVP if you are able to attend!

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DevLog: Week of Jan 29th 2024

Development Progress

This week we largely focused on Graph integrations for the registration process in the app. The signup flow involves posting metadata to IPFS, then sending the hash to our contracts, which emit events, which are indexed by the graph, which pull the IPFS data and put a copy of it into the graph.

We ran into issues with the indexer not having access to the IPFS data until it had been up for about 12 hours. We wrote some workarounds to pull it directly when it isn’t in the graph, but this adds some clunk to our code that we’d rather not have. We’re talking with Filebase and Graph support to see if we can get this fixed as it’s not supposed to work this way.

The other primary focus, now that the contracts are written, is getting the front end up and working. Here’s an early peek at the style of the site


We’ve got dozens of screens of user flows drafted in Figma, and we’ll be implementing those over the next 2 weeks. Point of interest, we’re using Mantine front end library and finding it to be a great experience to develop UI/UX with.

Recruitment Progress

We held our first Grant Ships Meetup last Friday, and we’ll have another one this week. Join Us If you’d like to attend, meet the team and learn how you can get involved.

Sign up link: Grant Ships Meetup · Luma

Documentation Progress

We haven’t put focus on the documentation this past week, but now that we have user flows to document the Rulebook will be getting a lot of new content next week.

What we need

Grant allocation expertise and people willing to give it a try in our beta round! Grant Ships is only a framework to support good grant giving. If you know what it takes to allocate funds in an effective way, please come share your thoughts and get involved!

We build better when we have interest from the community. Drop by our discord or twitter and let us know you see us!

Social links here:

Special Thanks for this week

The Graph & Filebase devrel teams for answering our persistent annoying questions about IPFS lookups :laughing:


DevLog: Week of Feb 5th 2024

Development Progress

This past week has been mainly focused on getting our graph indexer up. We ran into problems with IPFS indexing, discovering that entities added to IPFS were not immediately available through the graph’s indexer, usually taking about 12 hours to show up. Without going into the details, this meant a lot of painful research to get to the bottom of what was happening followed by a series of workarounds to compensate for the problem.

Technical issues aside, we’re working on getting the FeedEvent items available, so that every event that happens in the Grant Ships game is easily queryable to be put into feeds, showing everyone exactly what’s happened onchain within the game.

Recruitment Progress

Our Friday 2PM EST meetup has been a success 3 weeks in a row now. We have many interested potential Grant Ship operators. We’re talking with folks in the web3 gaming space about potentially nicheing the beta round of Grant Ships into the web3 games domain.

Documentation Progress

We’re making a final push on the white paper! Expect to see it next week.

What we need

We have a good amount of Grant Ship Operator applicants at this point. We could use people at our community meetups asking us questions and helping us think through how the beta round will work. Your curiosity helps!

Special Thanks for this week

FileCoin and TheGraph teams for troubleshooting help
Jules, RefiMedellin and Zer8 for their great questions and interest in becoming operators.

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DevLog: Week of Feb 12th 2024

Development Progress

This past week has been about getting the front end working correctly. The Graph feeds are working well enough and we’re focusing on the user experience and process flows.

Soon we’ll have a version deployed live so we can start showing it off and get some light testing.

Recruitment Progress

Our Friday 2PM EST meetup has been a success 4 weeks in a row now and we added a Wednesday morning meeting at 11AM EST for those who couldn’t make Friday. Our events are held in our Discord “Ship Talk” channel. Join us if you’d like to learn more.

We noticed one point of confusion among the operator candidates. We have an interest form on our website that we’ve asked people to fill out. This form isn’t the actual application to become an operator. The actual application to become an operator will be part of the launched Grant Ships app, because the applications and everything else create records onchain.

We’re planning to launch the app in early March. So even though we’re collecting information from interested operators and working to build some community, everybody will need to fill out the application when the app launches and decisions will be made from those applications.

It looks like we’ll be making an appearance on a popular podcast next month. When that’s confirmed we’ll announce it here. We’re hoping that draws a lot of attention to the project to help it really thrive.

Documentation Progress

White paper will be available next week.

What we need

The questions we get at our meetings help us understand how the community sees the project and what work we need to do. Please join our discord and ask us questions if you don’t understand anything, we’re happy to help.

Special Thanks for this week

Feems from Plurality for brainstorming on marketing strategy.
Juan from Refi Medellin, Zer8, Jules, HBesso31 and everybody else who has attended our community meetings, asked questions or given us feedback on Grant Ships.

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DevLog: Week of Feb 19th 2024

Development Progress

We’re finished with Milestone 2!

It was a little rocky at the end, with some delays to iron out bugs and get a few things right. We’re waiting for final validation from Plurality, but we’re on to Milestone 3 internally. That means mostly finishing touches on the app.

You can take a look at the alpha version here: keep in mind it is still in alpha test mode and isn’t ready for use.

We’ll be putting on proper demos soon.

Recruitment Progress

Our Friday 2PM EST meetup has been a success with steady attendance. Our events are held in our Discord “Ship Talk” channel. Join us if you’d like to learn more.

You can also register to attend the meetup: register here.

It looks like we’ll be making an appearance on a popular podcast next month so we’re intending to delay our launch until shortly after that episode airs. Stay tuned!

Documentation Progress

The whitepaper is available here: Grant Ships Whitepaper - HackMD

What we need

People to read the whitepaper and give feedback!

Special Thanks for this week

Jesh and Jules for an interesting conversation last Friday’s meetup. Shawn and Joe and Kyler and the team at Plurality and Thrivecoin for taking the time to understand what we’re doing here and supporting us throughout.