We present the latest Polkadot Treasury Report. It covers all awarded Treasury DOT spends until 2023-10-18. This report shows spending to a granularity we haven’t seen before in Polkadot: As a new highlight, the report now includes subcategories!
Authors: Alice und Bob, Jeeper
The year 2023 hasn’t concluded yet, but we see a clear increase in USD and DOT spending compared to 2022. 21m USD (3.9m DOT) in spending has been awarded so far this year, compared to 13m USD (1.7m DOT) in 2022.
For this report, we have chosen the main categories of Development, Operations, Outreach, and Research. Some additional costs are covered as Other.
- Development primarily covers any kind of software development that is funded
- Operations include software and hardware costs incurred to operate the network and auxiliary services like explorers.
- Outreach covers all social activities and media productions, as well as educational activities.
- Research covers original research, reports, and analytics
Spending for Development and Operations already doubled. Outreach increased by <10% so far. Research has seen an increase of 65%.
Over the whole lifespan of Governance, Development has taken up half of the spending, Outreach was 38%, and Operations took 9%. Research and Other at 2%.
We see that 2022 and 2023 roughly compare in the relative importance of the categories, which signals some degree of stability.
After many hours of working through proposals, we are proud to share this never-before-seen lens into Polkadot spending. Costs are now categorized along the major targets of each proposal.
Since we are just introducing this category, we will now give a tour of what total costs have been incurred over the categories
With 18m total spend, this category makes up 50% of all total costs.
- The biggest spending subcategories include wallets (6.4m), Substrate-related work (new hosts, clients, developer tooling, 3.3m), and the bridge (2.6m).
- Significant recurring investments are also made into smart contract support (primarily Ink!, 1.1m), multisig tools (850k), explorers (830k), and governance tools (810k)
- Protocol subsidies include spending for the common good as well as regular ecosystem projects and amount to 1.1m
- Other technologies have been funded on occasion, including ZK, SDKs, Light Clients, privacy, anti-scam, RPC, and staking, totaling 1.4m
These spends are often hard to categorize, as they often overlap. We might have to adjust those subcategories in the future. They made up almost 14m so far, 38% of total costs.
- The biggest positions are hackathons, training, online conferences, bootcamps with 4.4m
- Conference hosting, like Decoded and Sub0 was 3.4m
- Media & Outreach and Education together covered 3.6m.
- Representing Polkadot at conferences (2.3m)
- Events (mostly parties) were funded with 250k. Tragically, OpenGov didn’t pay for a single party so far.
While operating Polkadot is covered via staking rewards (juicy 460m per year) and not through the Treasury, auxiliary services created for mere humans totaled a slim 3.1m USD, 9% of total costs.
- RPCs, Nodes, and Indexing services together cost 1.6m
- Governance tools and other explorers cost 840k
- Anti-scam activities were rewarded with 660k
- Software Services and snapshots made up 72k
Research overall cost 730k and includes:
- Messari took 350k USD for original research which an intern or ChatGPT could put together in 2 months
- several studies into decentralization, validator selection, candle auctions, network carbon emissions, legal guidelines, data tooling
We hope that this report serves the Polkadot community in gaining a better understanding of past spending and informs future decision-making and budgeting considerations. As laid out in Towards a Treasury Budget and Polkadot Governance Framework - v2023.09, we believe arriving at a reliable budget is a worthwhile long-term goal to allocate funds effectively and efficiently.
Due to the decentralized nature of decision-making, we believe the next good step is to group more funds into bounties (instead of singular proposals) to provide a base for dedicated budgeting tracks. This would enable us to have more focused discussions on specific topics and reduce the amount of friction on individual proposals.
- To obtain the data, we have scraped awarded spends from DoTreasury and manually categorized them.
- The raw data is available here
- Some proposals cover multiple categories or subcategories. We have categorized them according to their primary intention or main category.
- The previous report used the date of spending when they were proposed. For this report, we updated the method to use the date of when spends were awarded.
- @CoinStudio has provided valuable research along the W3F categories. We consider those categories not clear and distinct enough as main categories to provide comparative insights. For example, security is a cross-sectional function that can cover different areas of software, hardware, and social domains; bounties can cover any other topic; etc. We have decided to instead choose our main categories and include relevant topics as subcategories. We believe this aligns more with the organization’s functions intended for Treasury spending.
- We think it is too early to draw conclusions about the differences between Gov1 and OpenGov spending. Big ticket spending is more and data should be gathered over a year to include spending for conferences and heavier development spends