Last Update: May 2022
At the heart of Beefy is our culture of innovation and rapid development. From Day 1, Beefy's contributors have worked tirelessly to produce, distribute and iterate on products at lightning speed, both with our own work and in collaborating with the wider DeFi community.
Effective compensation and rewards are essential to building this culture, in order to continue attracting and developing talent and growing the DAO. In the spirit of openness and transparency, this page explains how we at Beefy think about compensation, and our initiatives to motivate engagement and growth.
At Beefy, we pride ourselves on our simple but highly effective tokenomics design, which avoids relying on governance tokens as a means of effective compensation. As explained in the Tokenomics & Governance section, our governance token - BIFI - has a fixed supply capped at only 80,000 tokens, so no new tokens can be minted to compensate our members. In fact, over 90% of the total BIFI supply was distributed to the cowmoonity in the first 2 months after Beefy went live in September 2020, so the Beefy treasury doesn't contain a stockpile of freshly minted BIFI either.
Rather, we prefer to focus on two use cases for BIFI: governance rights and protocol revenue, paid out through our BIFI Maxi and BIFI Earning Pool vaults. We feel these mechanisms encourage holders to cherish their BIFI and share in the protocol's success as owners, rather than investors or speculators.
The consequences of this design on compensation are clear: our Cowmoonity is encouraged to acquire and hold BIFI for themselves to participate in our success, but we have a strong preference for any payments to be made in stablecoins, rather than BIFI. Aside from the last remaining emissions from the 10% founder's fund (due to expire in July 2022), Beefy does not use BIFI as a form of compensation.
Given that the BIFI token wasn't designed for payments and compensation, the default method for compensating individual contributions has historically been retroactive payment proposals. Cowmoonity members who have found ways to bring value to Beefy are free to get stuck in and prove themselves useful, and instances of good work (if made known) will be rewarded.
Contributors are able (and encouraged) to submit "Requests for Funds" or "Retroactive Reward" proposals on Beefy's Snapshot page, for deliberation by the Cowmoonity. Proposals can include a range of options for different levels of rewards, or just a simple fixed amount. Proposers are encouraged to give details of the work they've done, or make themselves available for questions in the #🗣-proposal-discussion channel on the Beefy Discord.
In the early months of Beefy's development, retroactive rewards were an effective means of compensating the cowmoonity's efforts. Though our approach to compensation has advanced since then, today they continue on as a useful way to introduce newer or lesser known contributors to the cowmoonity, and compensate individuals for support work that might be difficult to value.
By contrast, product development work (such as building new Beefy vaults) is far easier to value by measuring the profits the products generate. One-time payments are therefore clearly an inferior form of compensation for product development, as we can't know the value of future profits successful products will produce. Similarly, though we believe that holding BIFI over time will also return the output of our developers' hard work to the cowmoonity, we recognise that this does not incentivise developers to participate over and above ordinary BIFI holders.
In recognition of these issues, and the value of incentivising product development, Beefy therefore offers developers a 0.5% share of all harvests for any vaults they successfully develop and deploy (as part of the performance fee structure). Anyone is welcome to try their hand at becoming a Strategist and developing their own vaults using Beefy's open source code, and our nifty guide.
A similar incentives problem also arises for the maintainers of our codebase , as cowmoonity-endorsed compensation will likely always undervalue a critical bug fix (particularly when compared to the reward the fixer could have received by exploiting the bug for theft or ransom). To compensate these contributions, we have also launched an additional bug bounty program with Immunefi - a crypto bug bounty platform for whitehat hackers. Successful claimants can receive up to $75,000 for exposing significant exploit, attack or theft opportunities.
By August 2021, Beefy's development team had grown to over 20 active contributors covering a range of functions, including smart contracts, UI/frontend, backend/APIs, data engineering, maintainers, DevOps and security. Many of these functions weren't captured by any of the existing developer incentives, and many devs had contributed months of labour without reward or compensation. To address this, Beefy founder Sirbeefalot considered a range of measures to further support and incentivise development and innovation in a sustainable manner.
The first major change was a move to a more holistic rewards framework for the entire dev team. Sirbeefalot devised a new proposal format in August 2021, which required existing devs to provide details of all of their unpaid contributions in recent months, together with estimates of hours worked and the complexity of their tasks. These notes were published to the DAO, and a budget allocation was proposed, which rewarded each dev with a proportion of the total payment aligning with their individual contributions. On 24 August 2021, 99.82% of the DAO voted to award the highest reward payment of $150,000 to the dev team, demonstrating the cowmoonity's strong support of the change.
Though grouping developer compensation together was a clear step forward, the process of gathering and analysing unpaid contributions was cumbersome and inconsistent. Following a re-organisation of leadership roles in September 2021, a further proposal was put forward by Weso in November 2021, proposing to move to reoccurring monthly payments for defined roles across the DAO (both developers and other contributors). In an accompanying forum post, Weso explained the different core contributor roles, and proposed that the DAO would need to regularly re-approve the reoccurring payments. He also suggested that the DAO should retain authority to remove roles and amend or remove proposed payments. On 8 November 2021, the cowmoonity approved Weso's proposal with a consensus of 97.69%.
The second limb of Sirbeefalot's efforts to incentivise development was the introduction of the BeefyGrants system. In a paper and blog post introducing the idea, Sirbeefalot explained that the system would be aimed at giving direction to Beefy's development efforts, creating a virtuous cycle of fund allocation, and fairly rewarding community members for their contributions.
Since that time, a range of BeefyGrants and other initiatives have received DAO support and funding, leading to a range of unique and exciting Cowmoonity-led initiatives. As such, our contributors are encouraged to considering applying for larger-scale grants and funding arrangements to support their ideas for new products and initiative.