AIP-124: Thank APE: Rewarding ApeCoin Members for DAO Contributions!

Thanks so much @ChrisL!

Also, our team was inspired by two recent Twitter posts: one from @0xWave about ensuring ApeCoin runs “a DAO that’s sustainable in the Very Long Term which requires scrutiny and criticality,” and one from @veratheape recommending more “details and transparency” in ApeCoin proposals.

We’ve long agreed with these sentiments - hopefully this is noticed in our Thank APE proposal and in the detailed responses to the questions in this thread. Still, I want to make it easy for people to see answers to budget and sustainability-related questions in one simple reply. So here goes:

THANK APE BUDGET AND SUSTAINABILITY OVERVIEW

  1. In this proposal, Thank APE - built by ThriveCoin - asks for funding of 10k APE a month for 6 months. 100% of the rest of requested funds - up to 33.3k APE a month for 6 months - are circulated to community members after they’ve created value for our DAO.

  2. Our own cost to build the core Thank APE infrastructure is USD seven-figures - many, many times what we asked for in this proposal. Our own cost to white label and build special ApeCoin-specific integrations is est. around double what we asked (~ 600+ engineering hours a month).

  3. Few engineering teams in the world have the web3 sophistication / experience to build Thank APE infrastructure (our team has scaled products to millions of users, held leadership positions in top web3 orgs / communities, and worked together for years on similar kinds of problems).

  4. We proposed to receive our budget in APE - rather than USD - because we wanted our own “fate” to be intertwined with our ApeCoin community’s fate. If APE price decreased by 35% because of unexpected market conditions, we were willing to feel the hit too. This happened. It hasn’t phased us.

  5. We are delivering Thank APE at a loss - even though doing so isn’t optimal for any protocol or organization - because a) we’re Apes and we care! and b) we believe we will create extraordinary value together, and we trust the excitement and goodwill will rub off on us.

  6. We are already working to make Thank APE long-term sustainable. This is evident in collaborations with already-passed initiatives like Snag Solutions, Forever Apes, and more to share soon. We see a future where Thank APE can create continuous value for ApeCoin and be fully self-sustaining!

tldr; Thank APE is providing core, scalable ApeCoin infrastructure (rewarding and recognizing value-creating ApeCoin contributions!) to our community in a way that minimizes cost to our DAO, maximizes value creation for our DAO, and builds on a shared vision of long-term sustainability!

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Great Proposal @thrivegiraffe and thanks for putting so much work into this, and great to see the group of OG Apes getting involved in the board! Excited to see where the vote moves. Also Kudos for the visual presentation :slight_smile:

While I am in favor of contributing a dedicated budget to reward member participation. I would move away from granular incentivization for small tasks towards:
(1) Compensation for tangible, outcome-driven contributions(like SafeDAO is spearheading atm)
(2) Retroactive compensation for great stuff being built, or great community worklike it is standard in many high-quality DAOs.

My two key concerns with the proposed auto-validation and rewarding of participation:

  1. In my view, the key reason why people are not participating (“less than 7% have accounts”) is that they just don’t know how to get started. I have been working with several DAOs in the ecosystem and they all face this problem. Onboarding is hard - but it’s more an educational problem than a financial reward problem.
  2. Financial rewards for granular-level tasks have never really worked out for DAOs (or NFT communities) due to misaligned incentives. Financial mercenaries are real in the space and I’d be extremely cautious to attract community members for the wrong reasons / dilute the currently great quality of the ApeCoin Forum.
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Hi @Bernard it’s nice to meet you and thanks for the kind words!

Thank you, also, for your feedback. These were my three takeaways:

  1. You recommend incentivizing bigger, outcome-driven contributions - possibly retroactively.
  2. You believe the #1 reason people don’t participate is they don’t know how to get started.
  3. You are worried about “financial mercenaries” in the space.

Here are my quick reflections:

  1. Yes on supporting bigger, outcome-driven contributions! This isn’t an issue at all. It’ll be the job of the Thank APE board to evaluate community feedback + community data, and ensure the contributions we reward are routinely updated to be aligned with the value our community wishes to create.

  2. We agree that ApeCoin can do better onboarding. We can support that - and plan to support that - with Thank APE. Still, “getting started” is only part of solving for greater participation. To do that, people need to build lasting habits aligned with creating value for ApeCoin. That takes more than education. It requires, among other things, that our community is valued and feels valued for the contributions they make to ApeCoin (… and that’s what Thank APE does!).

  3. We also agree with your worries about “financial mercenaries” in web3. That’s why we built the tech to address bots, bad actors, and lazy actors. I’ve shared extensively about our tech and approach in various replies in the thread above - and, long story short, we feel confident that we can largely dissuade financial mercenaries… while persuading values-aligned community members to contribute!

Again, thanks so much for your nice words and great feedback. I hope the above is helpful! - Daniel

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Got the opportunity to have a call with @thrivegiraffe this week to talk about the AIP.

Appreciate the extensive posts, logical graphics and track records for validation. Below are my initial feedback:

Pros

  • Active participation of the DAO
  • Track record with existing case studies with BanklessDAO
  • Good retention stats
  • Opens up possibilities to support other approved AIPs

Cons

  • Customization of bot prevention is needed

"Token incentives are a top-of-the-funnel user acquisition tool but does not help with user retention.

There’s no replacing a good product. If your underlying user experience is bad, people will still leave after the rewards run out.
"

  • From Jason Choi, Ex-Spartan Group.

Many of the commentators above share concerns that echo with Jason. Perhaps the use of the metrics from BanklessDAO, and other communities that are using ThriveCoin’s model would help strengthening the thesis above.

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Hi @Harry, I appreciate your kind words. I enjoyed our conversation, and I’m excited for future collaborations too! I’ll do my best to quickly address your feedback:


Thanks for all the wonderful stuff you listed in your in your “Pros” reflection. It’s been really exciting to see and feel all of the excitement around our work and the impact we can make for ApeCoin!


Re: “Needed” Customization of Bot Prevention

I’m excited to give a little more color on the one con!

For the record, customization is just one of a number of bot mitigation strategies we use (you and I only covered this one in our conversation). I’ll list other strategies where customization isn’t needed below.

Additionally, the customization piece is designed as a feature / benefit. It’s very easy to do, and helps us quickly evolve to address any bot activity. We believe this a big, innovative “Pro”!

Below are four of our bot and bad actor mitigation strategies:

a. Granular community control over rewarded activities [this is the customization bit we talked about]
b. System designed to incentivize activity within one account
c. Delayed review and reward states supporting additional layers of detection
d. Spectrum of oversight for reward verification


Re: Jason’s Words About Token Incentives as a Top-of-Funnel User Acquisition Tool

Jason is brilliant. But he is wrong on this one. Let’s walk through a simple token incentive use-case for our ApeCoin forum to show exactly why he is wrong:

  • Earn APE for joining ApeCoin Discourse forum [top of funnel]
  • Earn APE for making a proposal comment valued by community members [middle of funnel]
  • Earn APE for creating an AIP idea valued by community members [past middle of funnel]
  • Earn APE for passing a final AIP on Snapshot [end of funnel]
  • Earn APE for implementing an initiative that tangibly increases member retention [end of funnel]

Tokens (e.g. rewards) incentivize the behavior communities wish to incentivize. They incentivize top-of-the-funnel user acquisition… when they are designed as top-of-the-funnel user acquisition tools. They incentive retention… when they are designed as user retention tools.

  • The optimal question is not: “What is the value of token incentives?”
  • The optimal question is: “What are we valuing with token incentives?”

Re: Jason’s Words About Not Replacing a Good Product

I absolutely agree.

This is a variation of an oft-quoted line in VC and entrepreneur circles. I’ve used it too with many of the entrepreneurs and community leaders I’ve mentored over the years.

But it isn’t an argument against rewarding community members (it was confusing for him to combine his first top-of-the-funnel statement with this one). It is instead a reminder that because rewards can’t replace a great product, we must use rewards to property incentivize our community members to make a great product!

Ultimately, with ApeCoin, our community is our “product” - and the easiest way to make it great is to thank the people who make it great. At the end of the day, that’s all Thank APE does. We’re thanking community members for contributions that our community values and that create value for our community. In other words, we’re thanking community members for contributions that makes our product great! - Daniel


PS I love this stuff. Like many on our team, I’ve spent much of my adult life building products that incentivize community-building at scale for large brands like Google or KPMG, governments, nonprofits, educational institutions, and - of course - distributed communities. If anyone has deeper or even random questions or thoughts, my “door” is always open for a conversation. Just message me. I’ll respond!

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I like what you’re trying to build

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This is a great idea! Love the overall proposal, contribution from social media platforms is superb.
Also concerned with the abusers and bots.

Thanks!

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