[Non-constitutional] Proposal to fund Plurality Labs Milestone 1B(ridge)

Plurality Labs Milestone 1b(ridge):

Decentralize grant decision, clarify value, prepare for scale


Back in August, Arbitrum DAO passed our AIP-3 to build a pluralistic grants framework that decentralizes grants decision-making, avoids capture and scales valuable grants allocations, and grows the Arbitrum ecosystem overall.

Our proposal passed on Tally with ~99% of delegate votes. It had overwhelming support, we believe, because you a) trust our motives and capabilities, and b) understand how big and important the problem is:

Nearly every DAO struggles to create sustainable value - largely because DAO decision-making is famously slow, and inefficient, which drives them to compromise their values and centralize. Arbitrum is committed to being better, and you believed in our ability to help.

Background (Milestone 1a Retrospective)

Across Milestones 1a, we pluralistically deployed funds via 12 different grants programs and different modalities for grants decision-making.

Experimenting with multiple modalities allows us to allocate grants to support quick feedback about what works and can scale now. We can quickly evolve our grants decision making based the below success rubric, which determines where to allocate grants:

  • Grow = double-down / start to scale
  • Coach = make changes / try again
  • Cut = discontinue / recommend to seed program

In Milestone 1a, we seeded the initial 12 Grants Programs. In Milestone 1b, we will lean on our newly established Plurality Labs board (more later!) as well as community voices who can evaluate our grants via our Thrive Protocol to inform where to cut, coach, and grow.

[Based on our pluralistic grants framework and success criteria, these are the current results of milestone 1 (details here)]

Some wins from Milestone 1a include:

  • Firestarters: Four proposals passed Snapshot because of our Firestarters program - which funds unbiased research, cat herding, and crafting of proposals crucial to the DAO. These include STIP, ARDC, ARPC, and STEP. (TNorm talking about our role with STIP)
  • Experimenting with Grants Decision-Making Modalities: We drove over 30 experiments in collective decision-making, including proactive and retroactive grant-making, and grant-making driven by experts, expert-counsels, permissionless counsels, random counsels, and direct input mechanisms.
  • Retroactive Grants: We drove the first retroactive grants program in Arbitrum, rewarding unpaid contributors, and setting the stage for follow-on experiments. Some of these people are creating obvious value in the ecosystem now, like Atom from castlecap who is now an LTIPP advisor.
  • Quadratic Funding: Via Gitcoin, we brought thousands of new users, and hundreds of builders and builder projects to the Arbitrum ecosystem.

Important learning from Milestone 1a:

  • Investing in documentation: We did a lot. We funded 250+ projects, and spurred movement all over the DAO. But we didn’t document our work and value well. More importantly, we didn’t deliver certain written deliverables that people in the DAO were expecting on time. It hurt us. We won’t make that mistake again.
  • Investing in communications: Our bias was for action. We cared about creating value and learning - and put blinders on for everything else. We should have hired a Marketing or Comms person. We didn’t. Going forward, we’ll button up. We have a good story to tell. We’re excited to tell it.
  • Leveraging internal team: Plurality Labs was acquired by ThriveCoin in August of 2023. We have a team of 26 people who support other big ecosystems. We could have leveraged Thrive best practices. But in an effort to stay “true” to the Milestone 1 proposal, we kept the teams separate - too separate. We’ll use all available resources this time.


We have a big vision. We’re seeking to build the most robust pluralistic grants ecosystem in DAO history. To do it, we took some big shots on goal in Milestone 1a - funding 12 grant programs using 30 decision making experiments to fund 250+ projects. Some shots scored and others missed.

This is aligned with the expectations of the pluralistic grants approach. The only way to create and scale pluralistic grants is to decentralize bet taking… and to get as comfortable with the shots that embarrassingly fly into the stands as we are with the goals.

Because it’s all data. And the data helps us double-down on winners and cut what doesn’t work yet. With the data we’re collecting, we will consistently improve results; we will create a robust, long-term pluralistic grants framework for Arbitrum DAO. This framework is emerging now, and it will continue to become clearer throughout Milestone 1b(ridge).

Milestone 1(bridge):

In our maiden proposal, the principal outcome we sought to achieve was to demonstrate that we could deliver and scale enormous value creation via a pluralistic grants framework. The general feedback from delegates has been: kind of…

There seems to be wide agreement that we created value. There also seems to be wide agreement that there’s something here to scale. But there isn’t yet wide agreement that we’ve documented our learning or that we are ready for scale. Fair.

Thus, after consultation with a number of the top delegates, we created this Milestone 1b(ridge) proposal that asks for the exact same amount of ARB and same timeframe as passed with 99% of delegate vote in August.

In Milestone 1b, we will show:

  1. We can build on winners and cut underperformers with our initial grants allocations.
  2. We can continue to drive experimentation with new grants allocations.
  3. We can deliver on all deliverables for Milestone 1 to the satisfaction of our top delegates.
  4. We can leverage better tech and systems to support further scale in Milestone 2.

To ensure we achieve these goals, we are implementing best-practices from the Thrive team that, also, are aligned with feedback we received from delegates:

  1. Plurality Labs Board: We are welcoming a board of top voices in the Arbitrum community for oversight, and to ensure decentralized decision-making.
  2. Human validations: Thrive Protocol allows us to validate when value is created, and pay out funds to projects upon value creation. This is critical for scale. We’ll use it.
  3. Team upgrade: We are bringing in the big guns for this one, adding team members that know grants, know DAOs, and know scale.

Here’s more information about our commitments in Milestone 1b(ridge):

Plurality Labs Board: We brought together trusted and known voices in the Arbitrum community. Their role with us is to gather feedback and data from our Arbitrum community, and to make strategic decisions about grants allocators, specific grants / contributions, and validations.

This board is part of this vote. We found people to represent the different stakeholder groups in Arbitrum. Now your votes will ratify this group - which includes two who voted “No” to our temp check for Milestone 2!

Human Validations: Going forward, we will fund our grants at specific milestones of value creation. White-listed Arbitrum community members will - in a pluralistic way - help clarify when value is created, and will also be rewarded for their services (more on this later).

Team revamp: We are fully utilizing our 26-person ThriveCoin team), we have also added some key team members to our roster, including: Ben West (GitCoin grants lead), Kyler Wandler (DAO Research Collective), and Scott Mandel (Complex Labs, Flexa, 2Q Ventures).


As aligned with the feedback we’ve received from delegates and community members, we made this proposal easy: The total cost and timeframe are the same as the first proposal: 3.36M ARB and 6 months, with 336k ARB to Plurality Labs and 224k ARB to program management, as in the first proposal.

2.8M ARB will be funding ecosystem development, including demonstrating that we can create incrementally more value with our emerging pluralistic grants framework. We are also adding a layer of oversight to our work - welcoming an esteemed Plurality Labs board. They will, among other things, help ensure we deliver the value we promise.

The 560k ARB services fee (same ARB and same buckets as first proposal) includes:


Our intention is for this to be one of the most impactful AIPs in the history of Arbitrum. If we do our work right (and we believe we’re on the right track) we should be spurring thriving, net-positive ecosystem activity in Arbitrum for years to come.

Additionally, we’ll be doing it via a pluralistic grants framework that has a consistent bias for value creation, further decentralization, and resistance to capture. We will be building the future of web3 together, and providing a path for all great people and teams to work with Arbitrum.

When the value of Milestone 1b is obvious, we’ll present Milestone 2.

Thank you.


Hey everyone! I’m very happy to provide this new proposal which takes in all the feedback we have received. I will try to answer any questions quickly and concisely.

Feel free to reach out to me to discuss anything. We also have some new team members along with support from Thrivecoin who will be introduced during this next chapter. I personally love the opportunity Arbitrum provides to innovate on truly decentralized technology AND governance.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is an example of the monthly reports we will be providing from here forward. Plurality Labs monthly report: January 2024


Hey folks -
Thanks. Thanks to the delegates, community members, grantees, program managers, partners and the foundation for all the support in helping us think about this proposal.
I think this proposal combined with the newly formed advisory board is headed in the right direction in order to decentralize grant decision-making, clarifying value, and preparing for scale.
And as always, we welcome any feedback you might have.


I am very proud to be involved in this exciting proposal. After over 2 years of running grants rounds for Gitcoin I am joining the Plurality Labs team and would be working on the implementation of this plan. The Plurality Labs team is doing some of the most innovative and important work in web3 and Arbitrum has been a leader in exploring these vital strategies.

I agree with the legitimate concerns that were raised about Milestone 2 when first proposed and its great to see this thoughtful revised 1(b) approach. Big thanks to the advisory board members and community members who offered their time, their ideas and their feedback.

Looking forward to discussing next steps with y’all. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts here and/ or reach out to me directly to dive deeper into the details of this plan.


Ehy @DisruptionJoe nice proposal.
A lot of stuff could be discussed. I think you are in an experimenting camp that is both an blessing and a curse

  • a blessing, cause you can do a lot of different stuff. And also, measure stuff that you do in tons of ways (so, for what it matters, success can always be achieved as long as it is measured in a certain way)
  • a curse, because me that I am a reader of your result could argue that your metric of success is not mine.

Point of view I guess, but I also think that experimenting is indeed necessary to find the right or the less wrong thing to do.
Would love, to be honest, for you to general refer not only to the vision you are bringing but also to other visions like this one written by your darling cow or in general others that are more “standard”. I think this would help a lot in helping DAO, users, and people who are not following what you do closely (and you do lot of things, often times very different from each other).

But I don’t want to really focus on the above, these are just general consideration.

I want to better understand the role of the advisory board. I think PL implementing these third party, well established figures, is really a huge step forward, because they can take ownership of the view as well along with PL and express their opinion. And this can address a lot in regards to the internal decision system and others. I think this board, plus some better communication and an (even light) bridge to more standard frameworks/measures like the above can really really really help the DAO better understand the value you are brining.

So, this board, what they can realistically do? Can they veto PL decisions? Or do they have voting power, in a council of X people? Or are they just advisors, with no decision power but only the power to report as third independent parties what is going on in PL?

Note: i am ok with whatever of the above to be honest, I am just trying to understand who does what. And, if you explained it in the proposal and I didn’t understand it/get it, sorry in advance.


Hey! Thanks for paying attention to the work we do.

Yeah! 12 programs all with different funding mechanisms is a lot.


I love this graphic you made! It is very helpful. Here is another way to look at it. I think your diagram showcases challenges and solutions in the user incentives and product market fit bets section here:

Then we must think of the levels - the way you did for the builder grants to development grants. The complexity grows quickly.

This chart shows 30 potentially unique frameworks that are a part of the pluralist grant framework overall. One at each intersection of level and category.

Then, we must think that different verticals require unique customizations. The pluralist framework we will document and deliver prior to the end of Milestone 1b(ridge) will address how these many frameworks can work in a complimentary way:

  • people aren’t “double-dipping” for grants
  • the data can be assessed across ALL programs
  • standardized evaluation rubrics across

Yes. Totally agree that the board will help us execute better AND provide more clarity for the DAO as a whole.

Our first meeting is today! We will discuss the charter and inform here asap. It’s still a WIP!

Ben! So glad to have you on the team. For everyone here, I’m incredibly excited to have brought Ben to the Arbitrum ecosystem!


Plurality Labs has played an important role in the growth and success of the Arbitrum DAO. The flexibility of their mandate and operating model allowed them to step in and plug gaps as they emerged. The firestarter and retroactive + quadratic funding models cover a distinct and important set of constituents relative to the other Arbitrum funding sources. I’m supportive of Milestone 1b.


Very nice answer, i like it. Let me explode a couple of points here.

While I am digging this approach from an R&D standpoint, from a production standpoint i would like a more top down approach, in which while there is an high level vision of what you want to do, you figure out specific details along the way. Because nothing can be preplanned. Basically, fuck around & find out, but with always a broad vision.

complex. IMHO can only be solved through infra controlled partially by the dao and the foundation.

looking forward to see what comes out of this :slight_smile:


I said this before and in this updated proposal, I am in favor of this proposal as it is. Prior to AIP-3 passing, I was hesitant to see this move forward but I am glad to have been proven wrong and seen the immense value that PL has brought to Arbitrum DAO.

Seeing that this proposal requests the same amount of ARB in the same timeframe as AIP-3, I am happy to be in favor of this. I am also curious to understand the role of PL Board and I understand thats a WIP.


We had our inaugural session this week, and the foundation of operations was laid out; given a lot of the board is cautious but dogmatic in our approach to moving the ecosystem forward, I am excited to participate. I do believe this structure will allow iterative feedback cycles to course correct when needed, maintain responsibility throughout the lifecycle, but also remain agile to the ecosystem’s evolving needs.


I have a few questions about the Board:

  • If the Board is elected by PL, can we say it’s part of PL?
  • Are there any promises of future payments related to their role?
  • Do they need to declare any conflicts of interest regarding PL? Or has any of them received a grant from PL or have any business relationship?
  • You mentioned that two of them voted against PL in the previous proposal, which was then removed. Could you specify who they are?
  • It would be helpful if you could explain the scope of this Council and what their responsibilities will be.

I’m asking these questions on a personal basis and they are not related to the SEEDLatam delegation I am part of.


Hi @axlvaz_SEEDLATAM.eth thanks so much for your questions. I’m a big fan of your work with SeedLatam, and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to clarify a bit more information connected to the board.

Answers below:

  1. They are not part of the Thrive/Plurality Labs team. The purpose of the board is ensuring community feedback and oversight connected to our milestone 1b(ridge) and to support preparing for milestone 2. This is aligned with best practices from our Thrive team. It makes us better.
  2. We have made no offers or promises of future payments, and we’ve had no discussion about it. Historically, about half of Thrive’s community boards are paid. But any renumeration is mostly symbolic. Board members do it because they believe in the impact we can create together.
  3. One board member has received a grant from Plurality Labs - Pepperoni Joe’s R3gen Finance received a grant to produce a full DAO financial report. He is on the Treasure DAO ARB committee that votes on how treasure will vote in Arbitrum.
  4. L2Beat and DK both voted against that temp check- asking instead that we do the work we are proposing to do in a milestone 1b(ridge) before a Milestone 2.
  5. The responsibilities of the board are, generally, to ensure there is broad oversight and ongoing community feedback connected to all big community decisions. In the next few weeks, we will co-create a board charter, and we’ll make the charter available to the community for review.

Again, thanks so much for your contributions to our Arbitrum community, Axlvax. The delegate incentives has been fun and interesting to watch as it went from an idea to an implementation.


I am really excited for this proposal! Before i begin my review I’ll start off with the disclaimer that I am a grantee of PL and received funds for starting the Treasury and Sustainability firestarter.

From my perspective, it appears that ArbitrumDAO is no longer in its infancy stage but slowly professionalizing ( thanks in large part to @Immutablelawyer work with ARDC and the procurement committee ). At the same time, we now risk becoming a playground for established service providers to operate in with little room left for individual initiative to move the needle on major matters.

It is in serving as a countervailing force to this trend that I think PL has the clearest value proposition. Whether it be Gitcoin QF rounds, Jokerace allotments, Buidlbox hackathons or the Firestarter program, all initiatives had one thing in common - empowering individuals in the DAO to have a greater say and power over its direction.

I do have some questions on the program which I hope are answered before moving to snapshot;

  1. Bridge 1b is asking for a 2x increase compared to 1a as the price of ARB has ~ doubled. May we know where the additional funds will be deployed? Would it be paying grantees/PL staff the same ARB rate as earlier, hiring additional staff, deploying more to evaluations or some other purpose?

  2. I have seen some discussion in our Telegram groups that the way PL has operated so far is similar to a Questbook domain on experiments, with Joe as the domain allocator. This is ofcourse not a clean comparison and it makes sense to keep them separate for now (for example the 50k maximum grant in QB would not make sense for PL). I would still like a clear answer as to how this grant is different from just being an experiments domain on QB, and whether there is any scope of some sort of merger between both programs down the road.

To conclude, the DAO is professionalizing and unless we continue funding programs like the one proposed here, established service providers will end up being the one calling the shots and determining our future direction (as we see in many other DAOs). I particularly like the present proposal as it has both a bottom-up pluralist framework empowering individual contributors to step up even if they have no entity or team behind them, and a top-down council comprising key decision makers in Arbitrum. This proposal has my full support.

Side note: I love that @BenWest is now in the PL roster. He runs amazing Twitter spaces and I hope to see more of his radio jockey skills in play for communicating the work done under this grant.


I do think that this is a good approach to finalise pending mandate-points from Tenure [1] while still ensuring that the Program can proceed and continue providing value to the Ecosystem (on this point re. value-add, I do not think that there are any arguments).

In addition, given the nascent nature of the Pluralistic ideology, I think the inclusion of a knowledgeable advisory board to serve as an ongoing supervisor of sorts on what the Program is achieving/what the Program can improve is a great addition. My only suggestion here would be to add a compensation to these members. I feel that a compensation is always merited in a case where responsibility/obligation is being undertaken. Plus, the DAO would have an expectation on the part of the advisors for such advisors to perform and perform their function if a compensation is attached.

Aside from the above, I look forward to seeing the proposal move forward. In line with previous feedback given, what I’d like to see from PL is more operational excellence i.e. :

  • Proper accounting; and
  • Proper onoging visibility of Grants Funded, Stage/Milestone reached, Recipients etc.

As a further aside, I would also like to applaud PL for taking on all the feedback provided throughout the past few weeks!

Kind regards,
Axis Advisory


What metrics are used to separate proper fund use and fund abuse?

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Hi thedevanshmehta,

Thanks for your comment and support. We appreciate your contributions to the DAO through the Treasury and Sustainability Firestarter, and we’re excited to see where it goes. I am Daniel, cofounder of ThriveCoin, and I’m happy to address your feedback and questions:

Thank you. That means a lot to us.

The price of ARB was $1.82 when I last looked today. When milestone 1a was passed, the price of ARB was $1.16. That’s a 56% increase currently. In the last few days that number has dipped lower - and we have yet to see the impact on price of a succession of soon-to-come large unlocks.

Given the obvious volatility of ARB, the PL team spoke with a number of delegates about the fairest way to do this bridge. The most common answer was what you probably expect: keep prices in ARB, and keep amounts the same. It make it easy on everyone and feels fair. So that’s what we did.

While Joe was the most visible program manager on Telegram chats (which may be why that perception exists), he was not the main domain allocator. In the first deployment, there were 12 programs selected as allocators. Joe was the program manager for 2 of them, which is just 16.6%

Going forward, our shared commitment is to further and further decentralize grants allocation. In Milestone 1B(ridge), we will be showing that by leveraging the support of the board and the community to make decisions about grants allocators and grants selections.

We are are approaching grants making differently from QuestBook and others. We are seeking to master the art of efficient, valuable pluralistic grants giving at scale. We are agnostic about the allocator and allocation methodology - as long as it drives value, efficiency, and scale.

Questbook is an example of a grants allocator that we would allocate funds through - and we have in the past. We value Questbook’s contributions to the ecosystem and we believe in their path forward. We will surely continue to work together in the future, but there are no talks of merging.

Thanks for your support and for your great questions! - Daniel


Hi @Immutablelawyer, it’s nice to meet you, and thanks for your thoughtful reply.

We really appreciate that you see the value we’ve created, and we’re excited to build on that value while also shoring up areas where we can improve.

Yes. To address these needs, we brought on Ben, who ran GitCoin grants rounds for the last few years, and who has an extensive operational background. Additionally, we’ve brought on Kyler, from the DAO Research Collective, and Scott from Complex Labs and Flexa, to add additional muscle.

Agreed. This board has enormous experience, expertise, and passion for Arbitrum. They will help us. We have high expectations for ourselves, and we want to be held to their high standards for our work together.

Thank you. Our perspective is that we’re stronger together. Hard feedback makes us better. We appreciate your trust and belief in us to hear it and to use it to be better.

Great point. We will bring it up for consideration in future board meetings.

Thank you. And thanks again for your feedback and suggestions.


Thanks for your comprehensive answer addressing my queries.

I am super excited about the entire Thrivecoin team getting more involved for this bridge. Having both Questbook and Thrivecoin run independent grant programs for arbitrum helps the DAO not have single vendor lock in and puts us in a strong position for onboarding new builders/contributors.


Hey @allen_muhani - thanks for taking the time to comment and asking the question.

You hit on two of the most important, yet less-well understood components of a great grant program: a) What should be prioritized for funding and b ) how do we ensure the funds were well spent?

For point a: We evaluate all grant allocators to understand the value creation and scalability of grants. Going forward, we are refining the program manager application process to focus more on value creation and scalability vs. activity. Said another way, its great a grant program was created and gave away ARB, but what was the actual value of all that spending?

Point b is an ongoing challenge we are iterating on - with our friends at Karma we explored rating individual grant projects post close and we did this at a program level using Ethelo. Although the Ethelo program was focused on program awareness, the next iteration would include leveraging the right technology to scale and reward true value creation. And - just to make sure we are on track, we will use the board to ensure we maintain the right focus.

In an ideal state - we can ensure every token spent is strategically allocated and we maximize the impact of that spend. Are we there yet? No, but it is exactly where we are headed.

Thanks @allen_muhani for the great question, and for supporting the DAO.


Happy to share more @allen_muhani about how we worked with Plurality on both of these items. If you look at our final report produced as part of our grant, I think we demonstrated a solid proof of concept, methodology, and technological implementation for achieving this at a broader scale!

I’m open to any questions or a conversation both about our process and how we can work together across the DAO to build decentralized systems to help support determining prioritization for funding and ensuring funds are well spent.