MakerDAO feedback

A couple weeks ago, I ran SourceCred on MakerDAO’s Discourse and one of their GitHub repos. Posted it to their Discourse, got some good feedback I thought I’d share.

A little context: MakerDAO is one of the more well-known crypto projects. They produce a stablecoin, DAI, which is pegged to the US dollar. It is therefore much less volatile than most cryptocurrencies, which makes it more suitable for everyday use cases. In fact, DAI is what SourceCred is looking at to pay contributors when we move payments on-chain. MakerDAO (or Maker as it’s usually called), has a Foundation with some full-time employees, but recently started investigating ways to reward contributors for working on tasks related to technical and governance work. Much of this work happens in public on their Discourse, so I thought I’d suggest SourceCred as an input to their compensation model.

Feedback was generally positive, but several concerns were raised, namely:

  • Algorithm being gamed, e.g. someone generating tons of low-value posts.

  • Stability (or lack thereof) in pay rate

  • Fair and equitable distribution of rewards among workers

  • Some work not being captured well by algorithms

In other words, many of the same problems we’re grappling with.

SourceCred was subsequently talked about on their weekly Governance and Risk meeting., which they record. Below is a link to where they start discussing SourceCred.

We got some feedback on Maker’s Discourse scores that quantity was being rewarded over quality in some cases. This inspired @decentralion to create a proposed change to the SourceCred algorithm that mints cred on likes instead of posts, which is more resilient to spam attacks and could lead to higher quality scores. As seen on the PR implementing the change and a post on the change, there was some spirited debate about the merits of this, with some concerns around collusion attacks and other issues. However rough consensus emerged around giving it a go, and @decentralion has instituted the change. If you have feedback on the change, let us know!

We’re also exploring the possibility of a partnership or grant with the Maker Foundation. This would be really exciting, as Maker is ideal in many ways as a beta user of SourceCred. The project is a pioneer in on-chain governance (one of the few in the crypto space to have it working), has a need that SourceCred may be able to address, and a community that is famously civil and is well-versed in complex algorithms and governance issues.

If you’re new to Maker, below is an episode from my favorite crypto podcast where the founder explains the whole (admittedly complex) system in a pretty accessible way.