Nouns Proposal Auction House (Prop House)

Nouns Proposal Auction House

What is it?

Nouns Proposal Auction House (or Prop House) is an experimental approach to deploying capital: an auction of ETH where the bids placed are proxy NounsDAO proposals. At the end of each auction, Noun owners (Nouners) vote on which proposal gets funded.

This proposal aims to be the MVP for a trustless on-chain solution.

Why?

The NounsDAO treasury is accruing capital at a $100M+ annual run rate. While NounsDAO has pushed several proposals through to execution, the current funding process does not seem like the optimal approach to scaling to thousands of projects. Prop House is an exploration of an alternative funding mechanism: forced treasury spend that minimizes friction to propose while maintaining quality via Nouns DAO member votes.

Forced treasury spend

If the underlying thesis behind Nouns DAO is that the more a meme is spread, the more its provenance is worth, then spending the treasury to proliferate Nouns makes a lot of sense. Assuming there is ongoing supply of ideas to proliferate Nouns, Prop House aims to force perpetual spend to capture this supply.

Minimizing friction

Anyone who wants to build on Nouns is encouraged to do so. To this end, there is documentation and guidance to help builders get funded as quickly as possible. Still, proposing to the DAO involves friction. It means joining a new community, proposing an idea, getting sponsorship, achieving community consensus and more. The process can take a week or more before proposing on-chain which takes yet another week. Prop House could alleviate some of this friction by redirecting focus to the proposal itself instead of other functions.

Quality

Assuming that being able to amass the significant amount of capital required to buy a Noun is correlated to being a good capital allocator, NounsDAO members represent a pool of intellectual capital that could be used as a quality filter for the best use of the Prop House auction funds.

How would it work?

Funds requested from the DAO would be sent to a 2/3 safe controlled by cryptoseneca, devcarrot and Pixelz. The funds would be used to run three auctions of varying amounts and run times:

  • 5 ETH with a 7 day proposal and 3 day voting period.
  • 10 ETH with a 14 day proposal and 3 day voting period.
  • 20 ETH with a 21 day proposal and 3 day voting period.

The differing amounts and run times are to test which scale (if any) is best suited for the format.

A web app will be built as the home for the project where both auctions and voting will take place. Auctions will run for their allotted time, allowing anyone to bid with a proposal. The consecutive voting period will have Nouners vote for the proposal of their choice. At the end of the voting period, the funds will be transferred to the proposal with the most votes.

Funds Requested

This proposal requests a total of 36 ETH from the DAO:

  • 35 ETH to fund three auctions.
  • 1 ETH for operational spend

Who is behind this proposal?

cryptoseneca, one of the Nouns project founders. I will be building Prop House alongside devcarrot (Nounder) and Pixelz (designer) with help from the rest of the Nounders.

Mock Up

Other Considerations

Prop House aims to be the MVP of a trustless on-chain solution. If the experiment succeeds, the next logical step would be to build an unopinionated suite of contracts that automate the process.

Conceptually, the contracts could be the seed to a crypto native Y Combinator model. Where as before you had partners, now you have DAO members. Instead of summer and winter batches, you have weekly or monthly cadences. And instead of demographic restrictions for applicants, you have anyone with an Ethereum wallet. It might be the case that breaking thresholds in the categories mentioned above transforms the model to something completely different.

FAQs

What type of proposals are expected?

Proposals that further proliferate Nouns onto the world while accurately representing the Nouns culture.

Who can submit proposals?

Anyone!

How can the NounsDAO ensure that the work will be properly executed?

While assurance of proposal execution is not possible, we can minimize the risk by putting the funds into the hands of credible bidders. Just as the Nouns iOS and Apple Watch apps team were funded 100 ETH without hesitation, we can rely on social reputation, relevant experience and other norms to maximize the chance of seeing the proposals through to proper execution.

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@seneca I really love this idea! This would allow creators/builders like us to submit proposals in a way that feels like less pressure, as we’re just bidding on these auctions.

Will those cards be clickable and the expected behavior is they lead to a new page with the in-depth proposal details?

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This is awesome! Love that it looks/feels like the Nouns page. I also love that there are 2 CTAs to submit a proposal. One that links you directly, and another that lets you start typing before you go more in-depth. Are there plans to show the proposals that got approved in the future?

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in favor of the open-call concept :partying_face: & grateful for the proposal.

thoughts on ideology

if the current ‘expected proposal’ entry in the FAQ is part of the site, it orients the plaftorm esp towards attracting creative marketers to try to increase Nouns brand value. this already bounds its scope somewhat.

ie there is a large pool of very interesting and talented artists/engineers/etc who are unlikely to be inspired by the the prompt: ‘proliferate Nouns art and culture,’ who nonetheless may have ideas the DAO would want to fund if members see an alignment opportunity.

maybe encourage proposals of all types/ say simply: “get funded” (ie not “to create,” “to buidl,” “to serve,” “to allocate,” etc), provide no addtl prompts and include a modify period to allow for feedback from members so ‘bidders’ can make changes if they choose?

or just go with the feudally oriented & menacing: “get funded to serve the dao” :man_farmer:

could be nice to add upvoting (& commenting) by anyone interacting with the site and then DAO can see what ideas are generating interest & do our job of thinking about compatibility w/Noun ‘values’

if the site is successful, it effectively becomes a marketing force in itself; if true the DAO may have considerable freedom to fund more in a patronage-y, less sponsosrhip-y way, if we choose.

anyway, exciting :heart:

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Hi all! I’m Pixelz, the designer mentioned in the proposal! Many thanks to @seneca for putting together this excellent proposal.

I agree that the Prop House could evolve into (and beyond) a “YC of Nouns”, where Nouners can frictionlessly curate & allocate funding to interesting projects on an ongoing basis. It is a forcing function for treasury spending, and creates a tighter cadence on which ideas are proposed, accepted, funded, and developed — all to the end of proliferating Nouns.

With a global talent pool (anyone with an Ethereum wallet) and minimal friction to create a proposal, the Prop House can significantly scale participation in the Nouns ecosystem. As the designer, I hope to work with the core team & broader community to conceive of a product experience which encourages widespread adoption among voters & proposers, with a focus on simplicity and ease-of-use.

@jad — Yes, the cards are meant to be clickable! There will be a subview for each proposal, with its associated state and the full-length proposal :slight_smile:

@michalp24 — This early draft does encourage reuse of components from nouns.wtf, which will separately see a design system which we could see shared between projects down the road (i.e. nouns-bootstrap). I also love the “start typing” call to action, and am wondering if that could be even more prominent! I think it’s a great idea to have a place to view the previous “winners”, or historical auctions more generally; will definitely include this in the next version of the designs. Really appreciate & welcome more of your feedback!

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@anounymous — Some sort of off-chain voting (e.g. thumbs up or down) and comments would definitely be useful, as they would help to reveal community sentiment / alignment before votes are cast on-chain (with an associated gas cost). Great idea!

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thanks for sharing your thoughts. i agree that the copy needs to go beyond proliferating Nouns as most people have no ideas what that would even mean. “Get Funded” is pretty open ended and might work. that said, we do have to include minimal guidance to align Nouns DAO and bidder proposals.

Depending on how the pilot program goes, I suggest the DAO consider buying a Noun @auction to run a 4th trial where the winning proposal earns the Noun. “get Nouned,” “Noun up,” wev.

Or if someone wants to sell a spare to the DAO near current prices…?

it would make sense to expect organic alignment out of these proposals. In the cases where we are handing out ETH to non-members maybe we can fork the MacArthur prompt: “celebrating and inspiring the creative potential of individuals through no-strings-attached fellowships.”

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@seneca and I spent some more time thinking about the UI. Some more early explorations below!

Home

Proposals

Welcoming any feedback :slight_smile:

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Some initial feedback from the second mockup.

  • Are proposals sorted by time of submission?
  • Primary (purple/pink) CTAs are connect wallet and create proposal. What does connecting my wallet do?
  • The learn more next to Create proposal feels like its in the wrong place. After you have typed in some details, it feels off
  • Does clicking Auction 2/3 expand that section with their respective proposals?
  • I do like the 2 columns of cards as it allows for edge cases of longer titles, unless you set a limit on how long they should be.
  • I also like “3 days left” vs the date.
  • Are auction 2/3 supposed to be the 10 and 20 eth I assume right? Should the auction for 20 eth be at the top?
  • I like how you added the eth balance and removed the github link from the top. More relevant to the content on the page.

Inner page:

  • On the actual page, it shows an avatar next to the wallet address, how is this image generated?
  • I wonder if their could be an explicit field for adding an image? it’s not clear that they are able to from the fields on the left side.
  • Also, does this website replace Discourse? Or is the idea after submitting a proposal here, questions get answered on Discourse?

Okay, that’s it for now. Hope the feedback is helpful!

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Sorry for a degree of incompleteness to the designs (drafting quickly), will address all of these changes in the next iteration!

Are proposals sorted by time of submission?

Yes, we were thinking about sorting by recency of submission by default to make it feel a bit like a timeline, but have also considered adding sorting controls. This may have implications for when users choose to submit their proposal, so this is very much open for discussion.

What does connecting my wallet do?

By default, anyone who connects their wallet can submit a proposal. If an account is also a Noun owner, additional permissions will be enabled (i.e. voting).

The learn more next to Create proposal feels like its in the wrong place.

Agree it’s a bit clunky. I was thinking the Learn more button could disappear once there is any input in the field, but if someone is having trouble coming up with an idea (and the field is still empty / placeholder), we could guide them to some documentation on how to structure their idea :smiley:

Does clicking Auction 2/3 expand that section…? Are auction 2/3 supposed to be the 10Ξ and 20Ξ?

Those proposals are not active, so there are no submissions yet, as the auctions occur sequentially; and yes, need to fix the dates / ether values for those!

It shows an avatar next to the wallet address, how is this image generated?

We can query the avatar field of the primary ENS name (e.g. pixelz.eth) if it is set, but we will need a placeholder in case this is not found.

I wonder if their could be an explicit field for adding an image?

Absolutely, the editor needs some work / more proper controls. Thinking we may use something like prosemirror for this.

Also, does this website replace Discourse?

I would say this is closer to nouns.wtf/vote and the individual proposal pages than Discourse, as it is not meant to handle conversations (yet). We were thinking a future version could have comments or an off-chain way to express sentiment (e.g. upvotes or hearts), but this would indeed compete with Discourse for attention, and therefore it may be worth encouraging use of this forum instead.

Really appreciate all of your questions and feedback; keep it coming!

This is one of my first posts here so I would advise against taking anything I say seriously. I find myself in the very position the PropHouse is addressing and would be most beneficial for, ie non-owner trying to find ways to participate so I love the direction of this and deeply resonate with it. However, in spite of all of that, I have to say I belive letting anyone propose and get funded trustlessly is a bad idea for many reasons. Nouns might be good capital allocators, I tend to agree and I think that is the DAO’s greatest asset - probably more valuable than the size of it’s treasury to be honest. Being smart-money is a hell of a title to have. The thing I fear is that something like this could affect that reputation. It only takes so many bad allocations untill you can no longer hold that image.
That being said. The work you’re you’re doing is inspiring to say the least… The idea of improving the wider-communiy’s ability to participate is something I belive any Noun would/should aspire to.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and welcome to the community!

I generally agree that there is work to be done to improve quality of proposals and post-funding processes. But that’s only a problem we can tackle once we have enough proposals that we’d need to worry about quality, curation, etc. For now, building systems that enable worthy ideas and builders to use the treasury should be priority.

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I’m in complete agreement with the logistics of Prop House, so don’t have feedback on that aspect, more of my feedback would be around UI/UX since I’m also a designer :slightly_smiling_face:

  • I think sorting may be ideal in the future (v2 or so) once it becomes an issue when there are a lot of proposals coming in. Probably not so much in the beginning.

  • If you type in the field and click ‘Create Proposal’, that just takes you to the next page where you fill in the rest of the info and the title field is populated right? I feel like someone creating a proposal for the first time, it’s unclear that there would be more fields to fill out. But maybe I’m wrong, I would assume they probably would’ve clicked on and looked at a few proposals to know that.

  • Makes sense about this is closer to nouns.wtf/vote so would the idea be that they should create a proposal in Discourse as well? What if a Nouner/Nounder liked a proposal but wanted to clarify some things before voting for it, how would they get in touch with the person who submitted the proposal?

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What would you guys think of an airdrop? Acting as a basic participation token. It would organically filter proposals, limit their number, act as an extra incentive for participation and possiblyboost inter-personal relationships inside our community since each Noun could gift the tokens to community members they appreciate the most. Eager to hear your opinon!