CIP-8: CowDAO Grants Program (CGP)

Summary - Development of a CowSwap Grants Program (CGP)

The purpose of this CIP is to gather support within the community to pass a vote to allow the formation of a CowSwap Grants Program (CGP). The mission of the CowSwap Grants Program (CGP) is to provide valuable resources to help grow the CowSwap ecosystem and thus $COW token utility.

The program can start small by sponsoring hackathons, but could grow in time to fund core protocol development, bounties, solver solutions, UX tools, etc.

As a grants program is a subjective process that cannot be easily automated, the proposal calls for a small committee of at LEAST 5 members (comprised of an odd number to break any ties) to review proposals and deliver an efficient, predictable process to applicants.


The mission of the CGP is to provide valuable resources to help grow the CowSwap ecosystem. Through public discourse and inbound applications, the community will get first-hand exposure to identify and respond to the most pressing needs of the ecosystem, as well as the ability to support innovative projects expanding the capabilities of CowSwap.

By rewarding talent early with developer incentives, bounties, and infrastructure support, the CGP acts as a catalyst for growth and helps to make CowSwap a hub of activity for DeFi.

Initially, the CGP aims to start narrow in scope, funding peripheral ecosystem initiatives, such as targeted bounties, hackathon sponsorships, and other low-stakes means of building out the CowSwap ecosystem. Over time, if the program proves effective, the grant allocations can grow in scope to include, for example, improved front-ends, trading interfaces, and eventually, core protocol and solver development.

For context Gitcoin CLR Round 7 distributed $725k ($450k in matched) across 857 projects. So as you can see a little goes a long way. I believe this type of program will expand the $COW tokens utility.

Committee Members
While the goals and priorities of the grant program will be thoroughly discussed and reviewed by the community through public discourse, I propose that the CGP should be operated as a small committee to ensure that the application and decision process will be efficient and predictable, so applicants have clear objectives and timely decisions.

Starting with at minimum 5 members enables the committee to efficiently fund projects with tight feedback loops and rapid iterations. The purpose of the committee would be to administer and review the CowSwap Grants Program in order to provide value for the $COW ecosystem.

Comittee members selection and compensation should be tabled as a separate discussion if this CIP gains sufficient interest.

The budget proposed for the CGP is:

  • $100K (of $COW) per Month;
  • For a total of 12 months.

The assumption is that $1.2M worth of $COW seems appropriate, relative to the expected size of the treasury that $COW token holders are entrusted with allocating. Prior to the end of the 12 Month proposed CGP, a NEW CGP Proposal should be tabled by this community using data collected from the CGP to assess the program and inform its next phase.

Grant Allocation Committee:

  • At LEAST a minimum of 5 committee members;
  • Each committee has a term of 12 months after which the program needs to be renewed by the CowDAO governance; and
  • Committee functions as a 4 of 5 multi-sig for example.


It is proposed that the community can discuss this proposal in various forums such as Discord, Twitter, the CowDAO forum, etc., and that this CIP is tabled for voting on for voting.

It is envisaged that the CowDAO team shall:

  • Share this CIP in other forums (Discord, Twitter, etc.);
  • Table this CIP for voting on cow.eth snapshot space for a nominated period (e.g. 3 days) after enough participants are available for a fair vote;
  • Release a claimable POAP for those who participate in order to encourage voting; and
  • If the vote passes the CowDAO technical team shall create the required Multi-sig
  • If the vote passes then a new CIP shall be raised by the community to call for CGP Comittee member selection and compensation.


A quorum is proposed that would require 35M vCOW tokens required to vote YES in order for this proposal to pass. Additionally, in order for a proposal to be approved, YES votes should account for >50% of total participating votes. (simple majority). This means that at least >17.5M votes in the affirmative is required to pass.


  • Provides incentives to grow the CowSwap ecosystem;
  • Improves utility for the $COW token;
  • Increases demand for the $COW token;
  • As more people own the $COW token, it will encourage further interactions with the CowSwap protocol; and
  • I believe it is what the cowmunity wants.

Why would a select committee be needed to approve which grants are desirable instead of the voting community as a whole?


One word - efficiency.

As you can see in the proposal, Gitcoin CLR Round 7 distributed grants across 857 projects. I doubt most community members have time or inclination to vote and vet that many projects. I certainly don’t, that’s why I proposed a committee :innocent:


I support an idea, it is necessary to incentivize community for continuous contribution. It is very important to develop a work culture and align the interests of members with the success of the protocol. However, I think that this proposal should be elaborated in more detail and the structure of contribution / working groups within the community should be defined.

  1. How will the work activity be categorized (project or process oriented)
  2. Will a strategy be developed to set priorities, why should work start immediately?
  3. Given that the Gnosis chain with merged xDai community develops a specific culture that differs significantly from other “scaling chains” - should the protocol be adapted to this?
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Efficiency at the cost of what? It would lead to a centralization of power and carry a risk of gate keeping.

That risk may be worth it if the efficiency is needed, but that is the question. Cow DAO is not a funding aggregator like gitcoin and will not be funding upwards of 900 projects similar to gitcoin.

This proposal should compare similar projects such as 1inch, not gitcoin to see how often funding decisions are made and whether ‘maximum efficiency’ for those types of numbers are worth isolating funding power to around 5 people.

If similar projects like 1inch have a very high number of funding proposals and efficiency can be explained to be very beneficial it may change my mind, but I’m not convinced yet, at least without further info on more similar projects


@netrunner Once again thanks for that active participation and all those ideas, I like the fact that you’re really invested in the protocol.
I do think that a CowSwap Grants Program is necessary but It’s not healthy to give such responsibilities and power to such a small group of people, in my point of view, we’ll have to find another solution on that matter.
Otherwise I agree with the fundamental of it.


Personally I understand the advantages of having a small(ish) committee - chosen by the community - dedicated to funding. I agree that perhaps having this ran by a DAO entirely would be inefficient and at worst dangerous; since the majority of the COWmunity simply would not have time or interest to fully vet projects (there are bound to be all sorts of projects, good and bad, clambering for these funds), and could lead to people being mislead into funding some not so honest things – we all know what this space is like.

I would say at least doubling the minimum requirement of 5 members to 10 would be better however and am entirely open to other options if this really isn’t desirable by many.


Maybe its an idea to let Cowmunity stars be in the comittee, they have already showed participation and commitment in the CoWProtocol


This seems relevant. 5 members strikes me as a low number given the size of CowSwap and the proposed budget.

Personally, I think it would make sense for a commitee to review proposals - for the purpose of presenting worthy ones to the Cowmunity, and letting all vCow holders vote on whether this should be executed or not. Make the commitee judges, and let the community be juries.


why not ,i like cowswap exchange ,wagmi

Hi @squidz, thank you for taking the time to review this proposal.

To clarify some points:

  • I do not believe that a small team (Min 5 people and can be any odd number really) would constitute a significant risk of centralization. The proposal is talking about the treasury releasing ~100k a month to the CowSwap Grants Program Team which would have a minimum 4/5 multi-sig, and would review & fund proposals to ensure they align with the CowDAO ecosystem.
  • Based on the size of the Treasury and expected value, I doubt the CGP would even constitute a 0.1% concentration of power.
  • To answer your second point, other Dex’s like Uniswap do run Grants Programs. See:

All good points. The proposal just calls for a MINIMUM of 5 people. The team/comitee can be any number of people (5, 7, 9… n). The intention is to ensure its not controlled by a single person and an odd number to break ties.


Great initative, I suggest to actually analyze what the ecosystem needs, then open seperate grants for each production/solution.
In such case budgeting would be more efficent


as a community member who has created, and managed 2 separate grants programs i’d support the committee approach rather than a community-wide structure.

if he happy to share more of my experience if there’s further discussion on the subject.


Very nice proposal, you have my appreciation and gratitude.

Every activity that we do as part of the CoWmunity should stem from a shared goal of bringing value to the protocol and DAO on one side, and society on the other. Without forgetting that they are not separate but part of the same thing and that we are part of both. Doing something that exploits one, harms the other. Ameliorating one, benefits the other.

Growing our ecosystem, in the spirit of cooperation, gives us more opportunities to share these values and a greater freedom in the way we share them. Anything that we undertake should be, eventually, net positive to all participants.

Information to actions, motivations and any important communications or relations should be open and accessible to the community at all times. Fostering confidence, trust, effectiveness, balance and a healthy and happy environment. Encouraging the sharing of ideas and information to gain new perspective, new opinions and better insight.

All DAO activities should uphold these values and any other ones that we agree on as a community.

In the spirit of this and to try to bring alignment in the goals and incentives of all participants, I advise approaching any resource allocation with pragmatism, utility, and practicality in mind.


Currently, we are not sure what budget will be needed. We can start with $100K (of $COW) per Month. However, I think, that we should limit the initial time horizon to three months. By doing this, we can start small with an emphasis on organization, quality, setting initial goals and smaller grants. Additionally, the speed at which the space moves, dictates more frequent reassessments.

At the end of the initial 3-month period, the committee, with the help of the community can assess the performed work and different achievements, gather feedback and align the focus for the next period. A report prepared by the Committee Members that summarizes the last period should be shared with the community to facilitate and start the discussion. This will lay the foundation for all further actions in the next period and help us to identify the opportunities.

If the community agrees and, considering the level of progress, that the Program has achieved, the second period can be increased to 6 months. Again, I would advise having the same assessment, feedback, focus alignment and opportunity identification as the previous period. As we will have a greater level of maturity, we could actually consider this as the first true period and the previous one as Period 0.

I think that having these, initially shorter periods, will be more helpful in building a better Grants Program for all internal and external stakeholders.

Grant Allocation Committee:

I agree that 5 is a minimum, and we should increase the members to 7 or 9. Having even 1 additional member of the committee means that tasks can be more broadly assigned. A larger member count will also instill more confidence in the community. We shouldn’t increase the seats too much to try to keep the committee as lean and as efficient as possible.

These are my thoughts for the moment. I welcome and applaud the conversation we are having. Apologies for the length, I will try to keep it shorter in future.


good suggestion ,hope cow swap moving forward well

With the recent proposal regarding the spinoff of the team and their compensation, maybe we should take both proposals into consideration before continuing CIP-Draft: Funding for development Services - Service Agreement

First I’d like to thank @netrunner for initiating the discussion around setting up a focused Grants Program. I’ve taken the initiative to further iterate on the initial draft.

As previously stated, the goal of this CIP is to gain support from the CoWmunity in order to pass a vote allowing the creation of a Cow Protocol Grants Program (CGP), that could take the form of a GrantsDAO.

The mission of the grants program is to provide funding to help grow the Cow Protocol ecosystem.

Grant categories

The primary areas of growth for the CoW Protocol could be defined as:

  • CoWmunity Growth
    To grow the CoWmunity as well as further propel the growth of active users of the protocol, strategic efforts need to be made to achieve this. Any team or individual with a promising initiative that can sustainably achieve this should be incentivized to contribute in any way possible.

  • User interface and User experience (UI/UX)
    The improvement of the general user experience for CowSwap or other user facing products or interfaces which use the underlying CoW Protocol. User retention is as important as user growth. The DeFi landscape is very competitive and continuous efforts need to be made to provide and aim for a superior user experience for both new and existing users.

  • Decentralization
    Any initiative or proposal that researches and solves for further decentralizing all relevant aspects of the protocol.

  • Solvers
    Becoming a solver on the protocol should be made as accessible and easy as possible. All initiatives that strive to achieve this goal should be eligible to receive a grant. Examples of initiatives: Providing the right toolset, data (end-points), create a DappNode package or otherwise.

  • Dev. Tools (SDK)
    To foster the growth of other products/interfaces/protocols/DAOs integrating the CoW Protocol as the settlement layer, excellent development tools (SDK’s) and documentation needs to be further developed and continuously improved. The demand from notable 3rd parties to integrate is already there and this is a category where significant order settlement volume growth could be achieved.

  • Other/misc.
    Any other initiative brought forward through a grants application that doesn’t necessarily fit in any of the aforementioned categories, could still be considered beneficial for the CoW Protocol. It’s up to the grant committee to review such grant applications.

The GrantsDAO aims to fund the development of the core protocol as well as the ecosystem that surrounds it. The following topics are eligible for (longer-term) grant funding:

  1. Funding for core contributors working under the GrantsDAO.
  2. Individuals and teams who contribute to any of the aforementioned established grant categories by providing innovative solutions, tackling difficulties, or otherwise contributing to any of the aforementioned defined grant categories.
  3. General funding for activities tailored to the CoW Protocol ecosystem’s future needs.

Technical implementation

The GrantsDAO should be managed and executed by a so-called ‘sub’ DAO (referred to as the GrantsDAO). The GrantsDAO would effectively be coordinated from a Gnosis Safe multisignature wallet. The controllers/signers of this Safe should be equal to the committee members.

Funding for the GrantsDAO is proposed to be sent to a multisignature wallet controlled by both CowDAO and the GrantsDAO, with a 1-of-2 signature threshold. While CowDAO is not envisioned to actively get involved with GrantsDAO proposals, this set up facilitates a replacement of the GrantsDAO’s committee members, if CowDAO redeems such action necessary (e.g. committee members have become inactive).

In order to receive and coordinate incoming grant applications a specific subdomain could be set up under (example). This webpage should inform the end-user about the general mission and process of the GrantsDAO,as well as allow community members to apply through a web form (Google Form, Airtable, Typeform). The committee members are responsible for properly handling any incoming requests. This shall be a transparent process.

Committee members

The goal of the GrantsDAO is to empower the community to tackle and solve any existing (complex) challenges for the CoW Protocol and to attract the right talent with aligned interests. I think @netrunner has proposed a sensible suggestion in terms of how many committee members there should be. Here an iteration on that proposal:

  • At least a minimum of 6 committee members shall be assigned
  • Of which 3 are facilitated by Cow Services LDA and 3 are active community members.
  • 4 out of 6 signing threshold for the GrantDAO’s owned Gnosis Safe (multi signature wallet).
  • The Gnosis Safe with the allocated grant funds is controlled by the CowDAO and the GrantsDAO. This Safe shall have a signing threshold of 1 out-of 2 where both DAOs are a signer.
  • The GrantsDAO can be overruled at any time by an emergency proposal from the CowDAO (e.g. inactivity of 1 or more committee members). Which can result in revoking the GrantsDAO as the signer of the Gnosis Safe with the allocated grant funds.
  • Each committee member has an assignment term of 6 months after which the program is up for review again by the CowDAO. This limits the CowDAO’s engagement to twice yearly.

Responsibilities for committee members:

  • Weekly review of grant applications (not to exceed two weeks).
  • Provide a monthly report on grant requests, approvals, rejections and communicate this with the CoWmunity.
  • Define RFPs (request for proposals) and challenges, co-ordinated from within the community and bring them to the attention of the rest of the community (potential grant applicants) as a whole.
  • Manage and review grant payment requests

As a committee member you will have to spend a certain amount of time in this 6 month period, to fulfill these responsibilities. Therefore a stipend should be paid out for these efforts. The initial proposal is to allocate 1500 COW tokens per month for each member. Core team (Cow Services LDA) and core contributors will not receive a stipend. The community should discuss the proposed stipend amount in the comments below and needs to approve the actual amount in phase II of this proposal.


For any type of approved grants, contributing to the mentioned grant categories, funding will be required. Also core contributors would receive funding from the GrantsDAO instead of Cow Services LDA.

In terms of immediate funding needs, the initial request would be to grant a monthly on-going stipend for core contributors during this phase (6 months).

The proposed budget by @netrunner of:

  • $100K (of $COW) per Month

Seems sufficient to cover for immediate funding needs, including the funding of adding one or more core contributors and paying out the stipends for the committee members within the grant period. Instead of defining a grant period as 12 months, I would suggest shortening this to 6 months. In the next phase (after 6 months) the funding program shall be reviewed again.

To note: funding should come from the non-KYC’ed funds raised by the investments in the CoW Protocol. This allows for KYC’ed funds to remain available for Cow Services LDA.

The committee is expected to perform proper management of the grant funds. The funds do not need to be spent in full within the 6 months period. Any unspent allocated grant funds within the 6 month period shall be kept in the GrantsDAO as a buffer unless decided otherwise by the CowDAO.

Payments and accounting tools

Payments of approved grants and on-going funding of core contributors, shall happen from the Gnosis Safe, controlled by the CowDAO and the GrantsDAO.

In terms of managing payments and general accounting of paid out grants, a tool could be picked to facilitate this. Tools that could be considered:

  • - for receiving and paying invoices from approved grant applications
  • - to stream payments during the 6 months
  • CSV Airdrop app (Gnosis Safe) - To manually send payments

An approved grant recipient could send an invoice or payment request to the GrantsDAO. The GrantsDAO should then review/approve and perform the payouts. Grant recipients could be paid out in COW token or any other ERC-20 token that can be swapped through with sufficient liquidity (less than -3% price impact). This should be decided in phase II of this proposal.

To note: The GrantsDAO has no legal character and thus any invoice (or simply ‘payment request’) shall be addressed to the GrantsDAO’s public Ethereum address or ENS name.

As for the specification brought forward by @netrunner, I agree on his points on how to further execute this CIP and to have the CoWmunity create a separate CIP to select the actual committee thereafter.

:point_right: Summary of call to action points to discuss, prior to phase (II) of this proposal:

  • Who will be part of the grant committee? Define the 6 committee members. Any interested community member shall write a short application in the thread of this forum post, laying out their motivation and prior engagements, as well as the address they would like to use as their signing wallet (ideally connected to ENS).
  • Define the allocated stipend (in COW token) for each committee member for the defined responsibilities for the 6 month period.
  • Define and prepare the snapshot execution parameters to set up the GrantsDAO Gnosis Safe with the grant committee ownership structure and the Gnosis Safe (which will hold grant funds) with the 2 DAOs being the signers.
  • Define the mechanism of grant payouts: Streaming (e.g. Sablier) or manual (scheduled and / or CSV airdrop) payments.
  • Define what tokens shall be allowed to pay out the grants.
  • Define which core contributors will start to work under the GrantsDAO
  • Specify the allocated stipend (in COW token) for the coming 6 month period for each eligible committee member.

Thank you for your suggestions Fairlight. My name is Kubesqrt and I have been an active member of cowswap for the past few months. I am interested in the role of a committee member. I have summarised my profile below and some of my notable achievements and why I believe I would be a suitable candidate for the role of a committee member.

I have been in DeFI since 2020 and have been degening ever since. I have experience in the finance sector and believe I would be an asset to the CoW DAO as a committee member due to my past experience

I have been doing my best to take an active role in our DAO. In the past, I have been actively helping users in the discord as well as producing content, for example FAQs and articles as well as assisting with general day-to-day tasks that our DAO requires. Please check out some of my work below:

I have also been an active member in various other DAOs/organisations more notably Cryptotesters in which I have also produced content for example: Ambire Smart Wallet Review by Cryptotesters. In addition to that, I am a member of the Arbitrum Discord in which I am an “Arbitor”. I do my best to support the community with any questions they may have.

I would be very proud to take on the role of a committee member if I were to be given the opportunity.

My wallet: kubesqrt.eth (0x386b4ba873a4f423ca28a4df1b2347ca949ced0e)


Thank you for your work and very detailed proposal. I think that I will probably apply later as a committee member…

For now I have just a small question, do we have a rough idea of how much time per week the role could require? (Even if I suppose that will be directly proportional to how many people will actually apply for grants)… Thank you!

So I’m applying to become a committee member. I’ve been in crypto for years now, and following and using DeFi since it’s beginning, I think I might have showed, especially on Discord, how passionate and bullish I was on CowSwap/CowDAO and I think that this opportunity to possibly become a committee member for the Grants Program would be the right occasion to get to work and help the DAO toward the growth and goals it envision.

For me personally that would also be the right occasion to earn some valuable experience on that matter, as, for now, to be totally honest, my “DAO contributions/experiences” (appart from simple voting) are rather small, but with a very strong will to gain more experience now, especially within the CowDAO.

My ENS address is : chiminiv9.eth (0xF44217A8b6b3f258BFFEaD635c226528aa516aea)

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