Proposal: Agora continuation


We’d like to seek funding for a quarter (3 months) to keep developing Agora in order to improve the governance efficacy of Nouns through delegation.

Progress so far

We got funded on August 31 via Prop House mandates to build an MVP. In less than one month, we’ve built a delegate platform for voters to broadcast what they want to see, and for builders to find voters who might support their prop. To illustrate the outcome with some numbers, so far we’ve seen:

  • 17 statements from delegates representing 125 nouns (>25% of all votes!)
  • 16 statements from builders who are seeking delegation
  • 5 nouns delegated via Agora (that we know of)
  • Proposal passed to deploy a beta on lil nouns

In sum, Agora has created a hub that turned delegation from an invisible, behind the scenes activity, to something the community can see, participate in, discuss, and improve upon.

What’s next?

Our goal has always been to greatly improve the effectiveness of the Nouns DAO. We recognize that while the DAO lives and dies by the quality of its decision making, the time demand of being a good voter is such that we cannot expect most token holders to participate to the degree required. Therefore focusing on driving delegation of votes into the hands of qualified and engaged delegates is the highest leverage activity we can invest in – especially given that constant issuance means that delegation and governance engagement is naturally trending downwards.

Although creating a client like Agora to reduce friction and provide transparency is a necessary first step, we don’t think that alone will be enough to drive meaningful delegation. That’s why the next phase of Agora will not only continue to improve the delegation client, but also deliberately invest in programs and mechanisms that can greatly increase delegation and participation. We outline below the key areas we’ll focus on in the next phase of Agora.

Focus areas

Incentivize effective governance: We believe there’s tremendous potential in creating incentives to reward effective governance, but also recognize the pitfalls of designing poor mechanisms. As such, we will be running a series of small scale incentive programs over the next months, with the goal of finding the best one to turn into a mechanism we can invest in for the long run. Below are some examples of incentive designs.

Continue building the Agora app: We’ll keep building the Agora client to create the best experience for Nouns governance participants, bar none. This means investing in features like: proposals view with reasons delegated voted for / against, more robust governance metrics over time, an easy to use proposal creator, granular and temporary delegation, etc.

Operate a delegate drive program: we recognize that one of the key ingredients of Prop House’s success was their investment in getting builders and voters to participate. Taking inspiration from that effort, we’ll also operate a program to get token holders and voters to participate on Agora.

Outcomes in 4 months:

If we are successful, this is what things would look like in a quarter:

  • A full fledged Agora app that is a more powerful version of Tally & when it comes to voting and delegating.
  • Strong conviction around the most effective mechanism to incentivize voter turnout
  • More delegates and delegation from the delegate drive program and mechanism experiments


Yitong – Project lead & designer: co-founder of Vector DAO, and previously design + product at Coinbase. Prop builder for #87, contributor to Nouns Vision, delegate

0xcaff – Engineer: Built the v1 of Agora, previously engineer at Coinbase

Tom Taubkin – Protocol Engineer: Contributor to several defi projects, previously engineer at Coinbase

Mrtn – Ops / Community: Delegate from nounlets, funded via Prop House as governance historian, deployed Agora on lil nouns, previously pm on nouns.builder, and pm at Google

Funding request

235 ETH 3 months for the team

20 ETH to incentivize voter participation

Total ask 255 ETH (of which 20 will be given back to community via participation incentives)


hi @yitong - thanks for the thoughtful proposal. i am a big fan of agora and would love to see its continued development

i have had a few nouners privately DM me to inquire about the levels of compensation included in this proposal - this is 19.6 ETH ($25.5k) per person (4) per month (3). is this full time work? or part time? can you please provide a little more detail on how much time the team will be spending on this project?

Thanks for posting Yitong. Glad to have you and the team onboard.

Governance is under explored within the Nouns ecosystem via systems thinking and this is a great first stab at it. Execution from the team since the prop house round has been great (launching the mvp almost on day of funding!). I feel confident in Nouns taking a bet on the Agora team to explore the space via the focus areas mentioned and beyond. Big yes from me!


ooc @noun22, do Nouns voters tend to think about compensation in terms of time & materials vs outcomes?


Thanks for letting me read drafts of this yitong. Full support here.

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@yitong is agora currently or planned to be open sourced?

my expectation is that projects funded by nouns should be open sourced. curious to hear others’ opinions.


While im very pro continued funding of Agora, i do have a couple of questions:

  • I think its prudent to break down compensation in more detail. Are you splitting evenly between team members?
  • I agree with David re OSS — how do you think about that?
  • Do you plan to monetize or raise VC for agora at some point? Personally, that would be more unappealing and I would rather see Agora take a path similar to Prop House (ie, become an “Ethereum public good”)
  • Is it possible for agora to make any data you collect accessible by the dao? (Im wary of the fact that nounsdao could end up being pretty dependent on agora, which is great for agora, but perhaps not great for the dao longterm.)

Not a question, but i still think comp is slightly higher than i would prefer (<200e), but it somewhat depends on how you see the future of agora.

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I struggle to see the reasoning behind the scrutiny of the prop based on ft/pt and comp
distribution if what we are evaluating is prop ask against prop output from a highly competent and trusted team.

Also, it’s not like these details have been asked of other proposals of similar characteristics.

i think it is a pretty routine and reasonable request to ask how much each team member is being paid, and the scope of the work they will be performing. i don’t want to be the bad guy here but i think that’s a very fair request to make

to your second point, im not sure i agree. the proposal to fund prop house included a breakdown of comp by team member and a description of what each member does

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my point is that as a protocol (and not a company), we shouldn’t evaluate on details that add unnecessary friction to the builder and don’t move the needle on expected output in any meaningful way. and judging by the last props of similar or greater asks (xanadu, nounish, esports, etc), voters did not care as non of the props of had a break down on individual members or were explicit about “being full time".

that said, it is a reasonable request and i’m sure the team wouldn’t mind to disclose. was just making a larger point about props in general.


I believe @yitong and team can execute very well and make Agora amazing. Herein lies my main concern: Nouns can become dependent on Agora, and Agora might change the rules of engagement down the line, e.g. just shut down, decide to charge for their service more than the DAO thinks is fair to pay, etc.

The decision to fund Agora would be made very easy if we had some assurances that Nouns can continue using the service, e.g. by open sourcing it, or any other idea you may think of.

Personally less worried about Agora receiving additional funding, as that might actually allow it to thrive and become even more valuable to Nouns. If Agora choose to become a for-profit business and/or bring in additional for-profit funding, I think the fair thing to do would be to give back to Nouns DAO. I’m not sure what’s the best model for that, whether it’s giving the Nouns Foundation equity, whether it’s Agora buying Nouns on the auction. Would love for all of us to brainstorm this challenge further!


hey yall! lots of great feedback here, and wanted to chime in on the topics mentioned

Open source & data availability
Yep, the plan is to open source before end of quarter. So far, we’ve prioritized shipping speed over everything, but this is high up our list now that the first version is out.

As for the data, we originally wanted to store directly on IPFS/Arweave so that it’s available to all, but decided against it due to increased friction from requiring an on chain transaction. As stop gap, we’ll commit to uploading a monthly snapshot of the data as CSVs into an open google sheet, while exploring how we can eventually move to permanent storage on chain without increasing friction for users.

Funding request & compensation split
Our original target for the compensation was to have the ETH / headcount / month to come in at least 20% below similar props from similar engineering/product teams like Prop House and Verbs, which seem like the rough comparison points. So I admit to be surprised by the level concern I’m hearing given the precedents.

For some context around our pricing: top tier engineering talent is incredibly expensive to retain when senior to staff level talent at companies like Coinbase make well above 500k in total comp. Obviously, the team understands that Nouns as an organization is not capitalized the same way, but it’s important for me to make sure everyone I work with is compensated well enough that it feels good for all involved to be working on this full time and for the long term. For example, almost the entire 20ETH prop house mandate budget went towards paying the team, with me forgoing any compensation for the MVP.

However, based on some 1:1 conversations, I do understand where folks are coming from, and would be open to reducing the ask by 25ETH (a bit more than 10%) to 210ETH instead of 235ETH. Ultimately, the delegates are Agora’s users and I want to make sure folks feel good not only about what we’re doing, but also how we’re doing it!

Monetization & venture funding
Our preferred approach is to be fully funded from Nouns DAO, and eventually other DAOs that might benefit from Agora, or even doing our own Nouns fork to fund via provenance. In particular, I look forward to Prop House pioneering an approach here that we can follow.

Our team has founded a large venture-backed company before and frankly have been diluted enough by investors that raising VC is never our first choice :sweat_smile:. However, I also want to be realistic that we’re just so early (prop house is barely 1 year old!) that it’s hard to categorically promise to do or not do anything when it comes to funding Agora. But I hope that this gives you a bit of color on our preference.

Next steps:
We’ll put this proposal on chain over the weekend, so that voting can begin early next week. Again, very grateful for all the feedback we’ve gotten. Thank you all! :smiley:


FYI team, I totally bungled the text in the onchain submission for some reason. Will cancel and resubmit as soon as possible. Apologies for the confusion yall


We just resubmitted our revised proposal based on community feedback! We’ve clarified our deliverables, increased transparency, reduced the ask by 20%, and implemented a payment stream.

A quick note on the transfer amount for those who skipped on the text:

We’re requesting $221,000 for the team (170ETH at today’s price) and 20ETH to reward participation.

The reason the transfer amount is higher is due to having a buffer in case ETH price moves. If the price stays constant, the full amount of the buffer will be returned to the treasury. We’re just learning from proposal best