AIP-261: Progress-based Funding

THE PROBLEM: proposals receive 100% of funding upfront with no obligation to set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and report back to DAO with progress updates.


  1. Voters reject proposals that don’t appear bulletproof b/c 100% of proposal funding is at risk.
  2. Voters have to over-rely on team’s existing reputation, which means that newer and lesser-known community members are less likely to have their proposals approved.
  3. If a proposal turns out to be a scam, all of approved amount is lost.
  4. If the team experiences a force majeure event (illness or death of the founder(s), extreme market changes/volatility, etc), all of approved amount is lost.

THE SOLUTION: make funding milestone-based.

Give some funding upfront, some in the middle, and some at the end, and require proposal authors to both define KPIs as part of their proposals and to regularly post progress updates. Progress updates unlock continued funding. Discourse Facilitators can pause funding if major red flags arise; however, teams can appeal up the chain, including a DAO-wide vote if all other options fail.


  1. “On the fence” proposals are more likely to pass due to reduced risk per proposal (allowing us to give proposals the benefit of the doubt without risking all the coin).

  2. Team’s delivery/execution becomes more important than their initial fame/reputation, which opens the door wider for newer community members.

  3. The DAO doesn’t have to reach out to teams for progress updates; the teams are instead required to bring regular updates to the DAO on a predictable cadence. Voters can always look up the progress and status of every approved proposal.

  4. If a proposal is a scam or the team incurs a catastrophic event, some or most of the funding is recovered.

EFFECTS ON PROPOSALS (tl;dr version):

  • Small and short projects (see below): no change from current system (projects get all funding at once). It doesn’t make much sense to split up funding for a cheap 2-month project, for example.
  • Bigger/longer projects: a portion is funded upfront, the remaining funding goes out in pieces after every progress update posted.
  • Failing projects: funding may be paused by a discourse facilitator, but the project can appeal and the community can override to continue funding.
  • Abandoned projects - funding is reclaimed by the DAO.

(Detailed definitions for “small,” “short,” “failing,” and “abandoned” are provided in Specifications section.)


A proposal requesting under US $500,000 can ask for an exception and to receive most or all of the funding upfront. If this occurs, they must quote the entirety of this ‘Exceptions’ section in their proposal immediately preceding the ask for an exception. DAO voters should question such exceptions with high skepticism while understanding that no single rule can cover every possible case and so exceptions will occasionally exist. Valid exceptions will always rely on a specific business case and limitations, and they will never revolve solely around “trust me bro” type of arguments. Proposal author(s) must show clearly that breaking up funding into smaller chunks will make their project impossible or hurt its execution and chances of success significantly.


Codify progress update process, better align DAO and project incentives, remove the responsibility from the Secretary’s shoulders to keep bugging projects for updates, help teams think in terms of milestones and deadlines (which is just good business sense), and (potentially) save the DAO millions of $ape.


This helps voters: voting on millions of dollars based on a single deck/presentation is hard, stressful, and risky in ever-changing markets.

This helps projects: thinking in milestone terms helps break down bigger vision into smaller goals, which uncovers issues and reduces risk. Deadlines, too, are very important ingredient of success.

This helps the treasury: rugged projects and force majeur events will not cost us 100% of funding.

This helps record-keeping: DAO members will always know where to find status of any given project.

Everyone wins, except for those who will have to authorize payments more often now. That seems like a small price to pay for what is a far more robust system that may also save us millions.



  • Proposals costing over $40K or taking 5 months or longer to execute will now be funded in multiple parts, with a payment due every 3 months.

  • Proposals will be required to include KPIs for every 3 months of project’s development time. The KPIs are self-defined by the author/team, and they must be externally verifiable by DAO admins.

  • Once a proposal is approved, the project team is required to post progress updates every 3 months from the day they receive funding (updates can be submitted up to 20 days before the 3-month mark). Progress updates must be submitted both via a form (link to which will be posted on the forum for all to have access to) and as a reply to the original AIP.

  • When a progress update is posted, if the project is meeting at least 50% of self-established KPIs, the next leg of funding is unlocked automatically.

  • If a progress update is posted and the project is only meeting 25% to 50% of their own KPIs, then a discourse facilitator may flag the project to pause funding. The project can appeal the pause.

  • If the project fails to achieve at least 25% of their KPIs, the funding is paused automatically.

  • If the funding had been paused for 90 days, and there’s no new progress update showing sufficient improvement in KPIs AND there was no appeal submitted, a discourse facilitator then submits a request to Ape Assembly (if such sub-governing body exists) or creates an AIP for DAO-wide vote (if no Ape Assembly-like governing body exists) to ask for funding to be cancelled so that the unsent funds can be reclaimed by the DAO. If this is an AIP, it goes straight to Draft stage.

  • If no progress update is posted for 90 days past the deadline, the project is considered abandoned and the funds are reclaimed by the DAO. No appeal is possible at this point and the team would have to get a new AIP approved to receive more funding.


Often, projects need a larger first payment to kick things off, or a smaller one if they want to first do some R&D.

The smallest initial payment will be 7.5% of the total requested amount.

The largest initial payment will depend on project size and duration as specified below:

Below US $40,000 and shorter than 5 months: up to 100%.
Below US $100,000 (any duration): up to 65%.
Below US $250,000 (any duration): up to 50%.
Below US $500,000 (any duration): up to 40%.
Below US $1M (any duration): up to 35%.
Below US $2M (any duration): up to 30%.
Below US $3M (any duration): up to 25%.
$3M+ (any duration): up to 20%.

The remaining payouts shall be equal in size.

Example: A $300K, 9-month proposal may ask for 40%, 30%, 30% -or- 20%, 40%, 40%.


Divide number of months into 3 and round up. If the result is 1 but the asked amount is $40,000 or higher, change it to 2 (so two payments).


  • 7 mo project: 7 / 3 = 2.33 → rounds up to 3 payments (one upfront, then at 3 months, then final payment at 6 months)

  • 1-year project: 12 / 3 = 4 payments (one upfront, then at 3 months, then at 6 months, then final payment at 9 months)


If a team must keep certain details private for business reasons, it may post simplified progress update to the DAO and request that the discourse facilitator reviewing the update privately messages the team about proof of KPIs. The facilitator shall review the proof and then publicly confirm approximate findings. The details sent privately will be kept private even if the facilitator decides the funding must be paused due to the project failing on its commitments (as defined elsewhere in this AIP). However, during the appeal process the team will obviously have to disclose what they feel is necessary, and if the project team directly contradicts a discourse facilitator’s statements, then the facilitator will have the right to reveal the relevant piece of information previously sent in private in order to defend their integrity and show that they’re not lying. Basic ethics and honor system should be followed by the team to prevent such a scenario.


Level 1: DAO admins
A project whose funding was paused may submit an appeal package to the facilitator who paused it. The facilitator shall share it with all other facilitators and a majority vote will decide the appeal (if for some reason there’s an even number of facilitators, any governance steward or special council member can break the tie). A different facilitator will then message the project team about the result of the vote.

From here, if the appeal is denied, the project team may choose to get back to work and get their KPIs to acceptable levels within the next 90 days in order to unlock the next leg of funding, or they may choose to escalate the appeal.

Level 2: Ape Assembly
If Ape Assembly exists (regardless of what it may be called at the time, we’re referring to a DAO-approved sub-governing body that includes some but not all of the voters), the team may next submit their appeal to such a sub-governing body.

Level 3: DAO-wide vote
If the team is not happy with the decision of the sub-governing body, they may then submit an AIP to appeal this decision with DAO as a whole. This AIP shall skip the Ideas stage and be promoted to Draft right away. It will be subject to Special Council’s regular review process re: legal and regulatory concerns; however, Special Council will not be weighing in on the appeal decision itself, similar to how they don’t weigh in on other AIPs.


Authors/teams are encouraged to submit progress updates up to 20 calendar days before their progress update due date in order to help with timely flow of funds. Facilitators will have 10 calendar days to review/follow-up. Teams will have 7 calendar days to answer and can request a one-time 7-day extension.

If a facilitator does not respond to the progress update within 10 calendar days of it being posted, project team can request a governance steward or a treasury steward to look into the matter. If no response again within 10 calendar days, the progress update is considered auto-approved and funding is unlocked.


This proposal does not allow facilitators to outright cancel funding; only community can do so. In case of any personal differences between a facilitator and project founder(s), at worst the funding may be delayed for a few weeks.

The appeal process was designed such that no single point of failure or corruption is possible, and there’s always a path back to a DAO-wide vote if an override is necessary.


Project teams can post progress updates in any format they like. However, each update must include a simple, unadorned list of every KPI applicable per original AIP and the current progress towards that KPI in the following format:

KPI # (KPI name): quantity / total (percentage)

‘Quantity’ and ‘total’ can be skipped if such enumerations are not applicable (for example, if the project only needs 1 smart contract, then they can just put % of completion of the contract).

For example, for a proposal that finances a comic book:

KPI 1 (Converting script to panels): 50/50 (100%)
KPI 2 (Number of pages drawn in pencil): 20/50 (40%)
KPI 3 (Number of pages colored): 15/50 (30%)
KPI 4 (Cover design): 0/1 (0%)
KPI 5 (Website progress): 40%
KPI 6 (Smart contract progress): 60%
KPI 7 (Social media accounts setup): 2/3 (66%)


Changes to Discourse

  1. When posting an AIP, authors should add “reserved for progress update #X by [date]” posts for each milestone applicable to the AIP (per rules outlined here). Once funding is received, “[date]” placeholders should be updated with exact dates. Later, these forum posts can be edited with post progress updates.

  2. AIP threads are unlocked after AIP is approved so that those updates can be posted and the community can discuss the progress updates.

Changes to AIP Draft

  • Add section for expected KPIs (authors can only post final KPIs for finished project if they assume linear project execution, or they can post custom KPIs for every milestone i.e. for every 3 months ahead).
  • Add instruction to for them to add reserved posts under their AIP draft when they post it.
  • Specify in ‘Cost’ section that proposal authors must pick their preferred payout amounts in percentages per “Calculating Payout Amounts” if they want their upfront (first) payment to differ from the rest.

This new process is to go into effect 45 days after this proposal passes.
This gives the facilitators time to prepare the progress update form (e.g. a google form teams must use to submit progress updates), update AIP draft template, and figure out internal changes to handling payments in smaller chunks.

$0 (part of salaries and responsibilities of existing roles, no new roles proposed)


Thanks for putting this forward Sasha. I was thinking of Vulkan’s initiative to track AIP progress, as well as reviewing some older AIPs on my own and wondering if they’re making good on their promises, so this is timely.

I can, however, imagine a $500k project (for instance) that requires a substantial up-front investment that roughly 35% might not cover (raw materials, professional booking fees in case of IRL event, R&D, etc.). In accounting as well, we account differently for “long-term” vs “short-term” revenue recognition (the airline industry, for example, being a great example as their asset construction takes place over several years with potentially substantial up-front investment).

Perhaps a case-by-case basis may be an approach here, with KPIs that the AIP author would need to define (and justify) for each project that lies outside of the ones we may have been accustomed to up to this point.


Maybe it’s a range? Say 35-50% upfront, the last leg has to be at least 15%, and the middle then varies based on upfront choice. But even for events, you book some upfront, you get invoiced net 90 for the rest. If you have heavy R&D, you can do a separate proposal for that. Frankly that’s the whole point here - your R&D may show your solution isn’t viable, so DAO shouldn’t waste the money.

And/or allow author to ask for an exception, but they must explicitly remind voters that it’s unusual and then carry burden of proof. I think few will pass the muster, as intended, b/c few (if any?) genuinely need all money upfront. This leaves the flexibility and at the same time discourages 100% upfront ask for the vast majority of proposals, as voters will expect milestone-based funding from most AIPs.


@Sasha interesting enough to be brought up for attention here. This might work well hand in hand with the AIP progress tracker initiated by @Vulkan . We will be able to control the outflow of the treasury on hand and also have good sense of the receiver end to deal with the finances carefully.


Thanks man, yeah Vulkan’s (awesome) efforts are complimentary to this.

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Interesting topic for sure. To me it would make the most sense to vote as a DAO what the threshold amount is where it would just be mandatory when submitting an AIP to include a funding schedule?

Let’s say that number becomes $50,000. Any AIP asking for more than $50,000 wouldn’t receive all their funding up front and would need to break down in their proposal what makes the most sense for their proposal.

As for who would decide if the project was eligible or not for their next round of funding today is a tough one. Is it the community, ape assembly, special council, treasury and grants WG?? Definitely a topic ripe for discussion.

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I’m not sure I follow. This AIP, if approved, would be that DAO vote and it outlines specific amounts:

Are you proposing that 250k be changed to 50k?

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Hard to explain in written format. I was just saying would it be easier to make this a mandatory process for all proposals over X amount, but instead of having these set tiers that you mentioned, the AIP proposer would outline what type of funding works best for their AIP.

As mentioned above by @CryptoLogically one format may work for one project but not another.


AIP 1 - Asking for $1M and proposes 50% upfront with 25% month 3 and 25% month 9.

AIP 2 - Asking for $1M but only needs 10% upfront 45% month 6 and 45% month 12. (I would assume you would agree this looks “better” to voters. Hence why it would work against this prop if they had to use a set structure.)

Long story short I am just wondering if instead of having set structured tiers by $ amount, you just set the baseline amount that triggers funding be delivered over time and not all at once. And then leave it up to the proposer to decide the structure knowing the DAO will ultimately decide their fate.

It’s late. I’m tired. Hope this makes sense.

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Well, you did a great job! :beers:

So the proposed guidelines - which is maybe not clear and I need to clarify - are MAX payouts per period. In your AIP 2 example, asking only 10% upfront and more later is an option today and will remain an option after this AIP. However, asking above 35% upfront if your AIP is $500K+ is a no-go. We can make it 40%, or 45%.

Would there be any specific examples we can think of that would require more than 35-45% upfront and just can’t wait another 1/3 of project duration for the next leg? I’m struggling to think of anything, but I’m also fried today so…

Yes having those tiers set as MAX payouts changes everything. In that case I would be fine seeing various tiers knowing that teams can adjust within their respective tier for what is best for their project.

This would be a fun topic for a late night discord voice chat, we should plan one out.


Updated some percentages/numbers after @BojangleGuy and @CryptoLogically feedback.


Hi @Sasha,

Thank you for sharing this idea. I agree that it is a great idea to stop treasury bleeding in case of rugged/abandoned/catastrophically failing proposals.

Regarding your proposal on the funding milestones, I believe it’s a great idea to split funding into parts and hold proposal teams/authors responsible for some progress before further funding is given out. This approach will ensure that projects are progressing as planned and the treasury is not drained unnecessarily. In fact in most cases of vendors (as a former legal advisor to gov tender committee), the payment it’s on-going by agreed milestone; by the way also the winners picking have a interesting formula to choose the right operator, maybe I’ll take my time and write about it soon.

With regards to the exact numbers/cut-offs/dates, if we will vote on make it required term, I think it would be best to err on the side of caution and have more frequent checkpoints for larger projects. For instance, for a $5M+ proposal, having a checkpoint every 2-3 months may be more appropriate than every 6 months or the acheivement of the agreed milestone, the sooner.

Regarding the updated AIP process, I think it’s a good idea to have a mechanism in place to stop funding if there are obvious red flags or if the progress update is way off. This will help to protect the treasury and ensure that only viable projects are funded.

Overall, I think your proposal is well-thought-out, in order to track automatically on the entire on-going proposals we must implement innovation tech that will help all dao member be up-to-date on the milestones (I’m working with @Vulkan to achieving it).

-Mr. Hype :fire:


This can be a perfect ground zero for proposals that require large fundings. Funds can be control in Multi Sig and deployed once each milestone is achieved is brilliant.

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The administration of this program would take a significant amount of work, who do you believe would take this responsibility in the current DAO structure?

Also, do you have any examples of AIPs that you feel have abused the system? Thanks,



Thanks, BT! Great questions.

If I may just respectfully push back on this:

  • this administration already exists as AIPs can voluntarily ask for milestone-based funding (and some have). My proposal just makes it a default setting as, afaik, the vast majority of AIPs do not need upfront funding.
  • The secretary (currently, Vulkan) has to actually do more work by chasing authors for progress updates; with this proposal, the authors would be the ones coming with updates to the DAO.
  • if there’s any work worth doing at all, it’s guarding treasury funds. This is the very core of the DAO and all other work is meaningless without it (imho). Basic accountability seems like the foundational work that should be done.

Discourse facilitators. If they’re qualified to judge risk/write up DAR packages, then they’re qualified to review progress updates.

Also, whoever is in control of the funds/wallet would have a few more transactions to approve. That’s maybe 5-10 extra minutes every week in exchange for a system of accountability and major reduction of risk to DAO treasury funds, not to mention other positive outcomes (see below).

Great question in general, but if I did, I wouldn’t give them b/c that would invite drama and derail this thread. The question is (do take this extreme example humorously =0) sort of like asking “why have a law against killing, can you think of a single example of murder?”

As you’ve been here longer than me and seen many more AIPs fly by, let me ask you in turn - can you think of many examples where AIPs (over $250K / 6 months) that got upfront funding actually needed all of it upfront and couldn’t instead work with progress-based funding? If so, would it be different if the cutoff was higher/lower than 250K?

Preventing negative outcome (mistakes/rugs/etc.) isn’t the only goal of this, however. The other goals are to 1) reduce drama/tensions, 2) promote more ecosystem activity, 3) reduce number of grifter/scam/fraud applications, and 4) force progress-based thinking from the authors.

1. Drama
Example 1 (I’m not taking a side): many have criticized ApeWater’s ask for $3M+. ApeWater is one of the best “mass market” opportunities we’ve seen and also one of the riskiest. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, wouldn’t everyone feel a whole lot more secure if we just had progress-based funding? Then we’d be arguing about $800k instead of 3.25M. Still a high bar to meet, but if we did vote for it, at least we’d have the security of knowing we’ll see progress update and additional money will only be spent if the team is delivering.

Example 2: I’ve seen some known figures complain about Guy Oseary’s funding. Personally, I have little reason to doubt Guy is solid. But the concerns of “how is it being spent” and “why pre-authorize without knowing what it’s for?” are valid. Again, if everyone knew that only 1/4th of that is authorized and the rest depends on delivered results - wouldn’t there just be less drama, less bitterness, and more confidence in the DAO?

2. More AIPs approved = more ecosystem activity
It seems the DAO votes very conservatively currently and I think it’s in part (there are other reasons, too) because of the current system of 100% upfront payment. Many more possibly-legitimate proposals would get voted for, imho, if voters had the security of knowing that only a portion of money is committed based on the initial sales pitch, and the rest - based on actual performance.

How many AIPs were not funded b/c the author asked for slightly too much or too little? Or because the author was bad at selling/pitching but could be a great founder? Or b/c the idea seemed good but looked too good to be true and there was no way to “trial” it?

3. Reduce number of bad applications
Right now everyone knows that if they make a great sales pitch and get their AIP passed, they’re set for years! This is crypto and there are plenty of bad actors eyeing the big bag of money we have at the DAO. I won’t name, but I’ve seen a few already. Thankfully, most come with pretty terrible efforts, but these will get better with time (and with ChatGPT/AI), and during bull market when euphoria is high approvals will be easier to obtain. Knowing they can’t get all money upfront is a big deterrent.

4. Force progress-based thinking
This change automatically improves every proposal posted here by forcing authors to include milestones and think in terms of progress. This is one of the most common questions I see - how will you measure? What are your KPIs? By when? how much? Voters shouldn’t have to ask these over and over. It helps both the authors (i.e. any founder) to think in terms of progress-based milestones and it helps the voters.

We currently have zero mandatory accountability once AIP is approved. Zero. I think it has many effects on voting patterns, community mood, and authors’ interactions with the DAO. Having basic (but flexible) accountability solves these problems.

Sorry for the long one!!! Lmk your thoughts, BT :orange_heart:


Fantastic post, Sasha. Thank you.

This is yet another AIP that should’ve been in place already since Day 1.

I was recently told by a higher-up that Oseary’s funds expired a week or two ago, with zero spent. And IIRC (is supposed to) defaults back to treasury. Someone of his influence couldn’t accomplish a single thing with that vast sum of “money” (full credit for not making it disappear though!), but we’re gonna approve randos via popularity contest votes to get, or oversee, multi-million$ up front with zero accountability and it’ll be juuuust fine. Yeah, the world and Web3/crypto in particular work exactly like that. /s

In Oseary’s case I’m gonna presume lawyers (or basic common sense) told him not to get mixed up in it. So many celebs being cracked down on now - rightly so - for shilling tokens.

Yet there’s no accountability at all, or repercussions for lack thereof, at any level.


Well written and simple to understand on the reason of the cause you are raising :+1:


Wholly agree with this sentiment, just disagree that there’s a system in place to deal with it if it becomes a standard requirement. I do like the onus of this being put on AIP authors.

Facilitating the AIP process and then being in charge of disbursing funds creates the opportunities significant conflicts of interest.

From my understanding of the system it would make sense that the Administrator who is responsible for disbursing funds is also responsible for milestone monitoring and subsequent disbursements – all with regular reporting to the DAO.

No proposals have any sort of payments extended beyond a one-year period.

I appreciate putting some accountability in place and I hope the second-order effects are as impactful as you believe. Look forward to seeing this progress! Thank you,



Do you feel I need to add more to “Steps” section or somewhere else? Would love to hear more on what you feel the difference is between people already doing this work for “non-standard” AIPs and how it will be different if it’s standard.

100%, which is why facilitators would not be in charge of disbursing funds. They won’t even be able to stop funding. They can only request that the community stops funding if they feel there’s enough evidence for a rugged/failing project. The funding only stops automatically if the author doesn’t submit any progress at all within 30 days (i.e. disappears). Otherwise, since community approves funding, only the community can stop funding. There’s also Oversight section to help prevent facilitator abuse even of this little power.

Was I perhaps unclear in explaining that in the proposal above? Or, do you mean that even flagging an active project for community re-review is a conflict of interest? Sorry, just trying to clarify exact intent here.

That’s not what I meant. I meant that if a rug $300k proposal passes, for example, it is enough money to set someone up for years of their life in most countries/locations.

But speaking of one-year limit - is that a hard limit set by a proposal somewhere? I checked AIP-1, 2, and 3, didn’t see it there. If it’s a hard limit then I need to adjust the checkpoints above in my proposal, too, as 5 checkpoints within 1 year is too frequent (for $5M+ proposals).

Thank you for the input/responses, BT!


The new Mission Statement?