Coordinating Bounty System Improvements

As discussed in our recent [recommendations post], one of the areas that we believe could provide a lot of value to the Rocket Pool DAOs is improvements and more adoption of the bounty system.

This post includes:

  • A summary of why this is valuable for the Rocket Pool DAOs.
  • Suggested improvements to the Bounty System.
  • Areas to which the community can contribute.

The goal of this post is to find other community members who are willing and able to contribute to this initiative. I will put together a retro at the end of the process to cover work done under the initiative.

Why Bounties?

Bounties represent a balanced working structure for both the DAO and individual contributors.

Grants involve a lot of risk for the DAO, both in subject and execution. The DAO doesn’t control what grant proposals it receives, and payment is pre-agreed based on definitions and outcomes provided by the grantee.

Retros, on the other hand, involve a lot of risk for contributors. A contributor can never be sure the DAO will recognize what they have done as valuable, and pay them fairly for their work.

Bounties split the difference here, and provide benefits to all parties.

  • The DAO can approve work separately from the worker.
  • Criteria for payment are not produced by the worker.
  • Bounty hunters do not need to make proposals, they can focus on working.
  • DAO can better track future expenses.

What to improve?

We can make bounties more accessible


Currently, the bounties are defined as answers to the GMC bounty template questions. This template is serving two audiences:

  • The GMC needs to understand if this bounty is worth funding.
  • The bounty hunter needs to understand if this bounty is worth their time.

The template should continue to serve GMC members, but a separate item should be produced that better serves the potential bounty hunter.

There are lots of other quality-of-life improvements we can investigate to further aid the discovery process for potential bounty hunters.

We can better incentivize bounty proposals


Writing a good bounty proposal is not a trivial task, especially for larger amounts. This is a kind of coordination work, and it is work the DAO should incentivize.

The current incentives defined by Valdorff’s [bounty for creating bounties] (aka the bounty bounty) has a few areas for improvement.

  1. The payout is too uncertain. It is only given to the proposer when and if the bounty is completed.
  2. The payout is too limited in scope. It only applies to bounties above 100 RPL of value.
  3. The payout is too small. It’s only 3 RPL for a job that requires several hours of work and a strong understanding of Rocket Pool.

We can make bounties can drive engagement


Bounties offer a unique feedback loop that retros and grants don’t have. This feedback loop can help drive engagement with the Rocket Pool DAO and increase the overall effectiveness of the DAO in achieving its goals.

The unique loop for bounties looks like this:

  1. Community member sees something they want to improve.
  2. Community member writes a bounty proposal.
  3. GMC accepts bounty proposal.
  4. Bounty hunter completes proposal.
  5. Proposer, GMC, and Bounty Hunter have together achieved something.
  6. The proposer’s work and effort is vindicated.
  7. Community members observe this and are more likely to move from #1 to #2.

Every time a bounty proposer’s bounty is completed, this shows everyone in the DAO that they can make a positive change happen, with just a fraction of the commitment in time and effort needed to contribute directly.

How to contribute?

Bounty Board


I’ve started putting together a bounty board site. There’s a public repository [here] and you can see it live [here]. This is intended to solve the bounty-accessibility problem.

Any of the following would be useful:

  • Clarifying requirements (what would you need to see here to pick up bounty work?)
  • Pull Requests (requires a knowledge of basic front-end web development: HTML, CSS, etc.)
  • Feedback and suggestions.

Please comment on the thread if you’re interested in any of these. I’m happy to help you get set up with development environments or walk you through thought processes and current goals.

Bounty RPIP


The Bounty RPIP will describe some of the improvements to incentives, and changes to templates, and will include a set of best-practice bounty submission tips.

The goals here are to cover:

  • Financial incentives for bounty proposals that the GMC accepts.
  • Financial incentives for bounty proposals that are later completed.
  • Further short-duration financial incentives for bounty proposals to quickly bump up the number of bounties.
  • Some required template items for bounty proposals.
  • Guidelines for how to write good bounty proposals.

A stretch goal here is to incentivize the proposer to engage with the bounty hunter during the work process. Both to answer queries and to help ensure requirements are being met for the bounty payout.

Any of the following would be useful:

  • Brainstorm / discussion of how to structure bounty incentives.
  • Brainstorming best-practice bounty proposal guidelines.
  • Contributing to the draft of the RPIP.
  • Review and feedback.

Write More Bounties


Writing additional bounties should wait until a little later on in the process. Some dependencies here are:

  • The GMC updating the current bounty template per recommendations.
  • The Bounty RPIP in a finalized state, with the expectation that it will pass governance.

With that in mind though, there is prep work you can do now, we will need more bounties! We will want to provide a lot of choices up-front for bounty hunters alongside the ongoing commitment to the system.

Useful contributions at this point:

  • Think about areas you would improve in Rocket Pool.
  • Consider what someone making this improvement would need to know.
  • Draft a rough idea of what you might propose as a bounty.

Adopt the System


This is the only item here that I flat out cannot do without all of your help. Ultimately, this initiative will be unsuccessful if there isn’t at least a base level of buy-in.

We will need to encourage consistent use of this system. We need to observe it in action, iterate where required, and make it work for all parties as frictionlessly as possible.

If you’re a trusted member of the Rocket Pool community, and you think this is a worthwhile initiative, please engage in some form! Even if it’s just a short comment, a message of support, a couple of words of feedback, etc.

To reiterate the above, I would love to work with some of you all to pursue this! Even if you’ve not engaged with the Rocket Pool DAOs in a serious way before, I’d encourage you to reach out on this thread if any of this sounds interesting to you.

Thanks for reading!


This initiative shows great promise.

I am prepared to contribute to improving the design and structure through PRs.

Bounties, have faced challenges in gaining momentum relative to grants and retrospective awards. At present, Valdorff stands out as the primary proposer and contributor. However, enhancing the user experience (UX) and fortifying the framework of the system could attract a broader array of participants. In an ideal scenario, an effective bounty system could serve as a vital link between the protocol and the GMC, facilitating the communication of updated insights into the community’s expectations and goals.