LTI Pilot Program Position Application Thread


Name: Castle Labs

Position I am applying for: Application Advisor

TG: @atomist, @theconsequence

Twitter: @castle__cap, @0xatomist, @francescoweb3

Affiliations (Currently I am working with, invested in, etc.): Castle Labs is currently supporting Curvance as an Advisory partner surrounding Marketing, Content, and Technical Writing. Members of Castle Labs Governance team are contributors at Rysk Finance and Brahma Fi, both in Marketing, Growth, and BD capacities.

Why You

Why would you be the best candidate for this position?

  1. Trustworthy and Reliable Research Collective

We are a research collective deeply rooted in the on-chain world, offering a unique perspective that aligns with the needs and dynamics of market participants and DeFi power users. Since coming out of stealth in Jan 2023, we have gathered over 1,600 subscribers to our newsletter, over 5,800 followers on Twitter, and have become a household name in the Arbitrum ecosystem and DAO.

Newsletter Publication:
Typefully Profile: Castle Capital (@Castle__Cap)

  1. On-Chain Natives

We are on-chain native users and protocol contributors at heart, coming together to form a research collective. This allows us to have a different point of view from larger corporate-style research firms and governance-centric entities.

Our USP lies in our deep integration with the DeFi and Infrastructure communities, especially on Arbitrum. We don’t just observe but are active participants who engage, interact, and evolve with the market, its builders, and its users. This on-chain native approach allows us to provide insights, strategies, and advice that are not only current but also forward-thinking, aligning perfectly with the needs of protocols and teams that this grant program will target.

  1. Experience from STIP

During the initial STIP, we used our initiative, acting as an informal Application Advisor in the forum and subsequently through conversations with projects and delegates in DMs, many of whom we have built strong relationships with. These efforts were very well received by the DAO and the wider Arbitrum community.

We aimed to provide applicants with detailed and actionable feedback on their proposals and give delegates additional context and deeper insights before voting on proposals. Moreover, this feedback comes from a perspective that is highly aligned with the on-chain native communities rife throughout Arbitrum. Not only did our research provide detailed feedback for applicants, delegates, and the DAO, but it also served to disseminate DAO activities and excitement for governance to our social audience of on-chain Arbitrum natives who are often disillusioned with DAOs.

Our main tasks/workflows during the STIP were:

  • Rubric and core value creation
  • Analyst research and scoring
  • Formulating applicant responses
  • Protocol and delegate communication

STIP Impact: Out of 46 responses, 35 projects engaged with us in the forum, resulting in 21 updates to proposals. Of these updates, 14 lowered their requests, totaling 12.37M ARB saved for other protocols -

STIP Codex containing our rubric, scoring system, notes, and detailed responses:

Arbitrum Forum (at time of STIP): 40 days visited, 12h read time, 101 topics viewed, 1.7k posts read, 193 likes received, 76 comprehensive posts created

Furthermore, we also have experience crafting and editing a grant proposal in the STIP with Rysk Finance (Atomist), as well as informally advising applicants desiring a STIP round 2 and those seeking GMX ARB grants.

  1. Arbitrum DAO Coverage

What do you think a good incentive application looks like?

Our Core Values on what makes a good application:

  • Arbitrum-Alignment: Teams should demonstrate how they are committed to the chain’s stability and longevity. They should prove this through their alignment with the ecosystem, in terms of their existing protocol as well as their application.

  • Team and Product Effectiveness: The team should evidence their experience, reputation, and expertise in delivering products, executing plans, and overcoming obstacles.

  • Ecosystem-wide Incentive Goals: Granted ARB should trigger a wave of ecosystem benefits to Arbitrum, amplifying impact across the chain. Teams should focus on outsized impacts to growing the ecosystem, not just their siloed user base and liquidity. These goals and impacts should be clear from the outset.

  • Innovation First: Teams should demonstrate and evidence the uniqueness and innovative nature of their products. This is the driving force of Arbitrum and should be continually incentivized to create new primitives not yet imagined.

  • Collaboration over Competition: Innovation can be accelerated massively due to crypto’s open and permissionless nature, creating a vast ecosystem of interconnected products. Teams should evidence their open and collaborative approach to the Arbitrum ecosystem unleashing a new wave of composability.

On top of this, an application should have laid out KPIs surrounding the final output and impact from the applicant, most likely based on the following criteria:

  • Increase user events and gas paid on-chain (extending beyond their protocol)
  • Increase builder activity and integrations with other protocols on-chain
  • Increasing liquidity attracted to their product (and subsequently others)
  • Increase supported assets on the chain and how this can bring more users
  • Decrease UX friction and user journey complexity and how this can attract new users

These KPIs should also include context on the following:

  • Product Market Fit (PMF): How their KPIs link to their own PMF, whether they are attempting to drive usage in an already successful product or search for the PMF they are on track for.

  • Logical Calculated Request: A clear calculation of the grant value they are requesting linked to product usage and KPI goals

  • Sustainability: How to secure and retain increases in impact after the close of incentives (strong future plans)

  • Second-Order Effects: How their product success will lead to a wider impact on the Arbitrum ecosystem and protocols around them

What are your goals for this program?

  • Implement Post-Mortem Lessons from the STIP: Implement key lessons from the previous STIP and create an ever-improving long-term incentive program. This should be largely from data-driven quantitative analysis from the STIP, but also through qualitative data and participant anecdotes.

  • Achieve Long-term Sticky Liquidity and User Retention: Discover whether we can design a long-term incentive program that achieves sticky liquidity on the chain rather than short-term mercenary farming capital.

  • Create a Strong and Robust Framework and Processes: Establishment of a well-designed, robust, and transparent process to evaluate and support applicants, with strong alignment between Council and Advisors. This should encompass following grants through to completion with data-driven post-mortems fed back to the Council and Advisors.

  • Cast a Wide Net: Support as many builders as possible in their search for grant funding - many will have never written a proposal before or have the resources to dedicate to it, even though they may be building an incredible product. We want to ensure that smaller, resource-stretched teams have the potential to become giants and do not slip through the cracks of the process.

  • Champion the Advisor Role: Advisors must not only guide applicants through the process but also enable them to learn and understand the core pillars of the program. Even if unsuccessful, applicants should complete a grant application round not only understanding how to write a compelling application but also why it needs to be written in that way. This is on top of ensuring applicants receive timely, concise, and actionable feedback to iterate their proposals.

  • Support Arbitrum and its Future: We wish to be instrumental in laying the foundations to improve the distribution of future incentive programs on Arbitrum, contributing with our expertise to ensure the most efficient distribution of funds, with the broader goal to benefit the Arbitrum ecosystem as our number one priority.