GIP-2: SAFE Token Model

Should Gnosis aim to establish a governance token for Gnosis Safe?

GIP: 2
title: Implement SAFE Token Model
author: Anna George, Lukas Schor
status: Pending
type: Meta
created: 2020-11-16
  • Yes: Implement SAFE Token
  • No: Make no change

0 voters

Abstract

Gnosis Safe is a new account standard and open gateway to the Internet of Value. In order to establish the Safe as a community-owned public good, we plan to distribute the SAFE governance token. The SAFE Token will be used for voting, curation and rewards for ecosystem contributions.

Even though governance over parts of the Safe ecosystem and product offering will be community-driven, Gnosis Safe will always remain a fully self-custodial asset management solution, in which the user is in full control.

This proposal is about whether the Gnosis team should go ahead working out a Safe Token Model.

Motivation

Though we are building Gnosis Safe as an open system that can be re-used and extended by anyone, we recognize that Gnosis still holds a dominant position in the Safe ecosystem. The main reason for this is that Gnosis currently holds the “trust monopoly” for the curation and promotion of all core components of Gnosis Safe. Here are a few examples:

  • Interfaces: Gnosis hosts the interfaces most commonly used to interact with Gnosis Safes.
  • Smart contracts: Gnosis is the main contributor and publisher of smart contract updates.
  • Safe Apps: Gnosis curates the list of Safe Apps displayed to the users through our interfaces.

SAFE Token

In order to enshrine Gnosis Safe as an end-to-end community project, we are proposing to launch the SAFE governance token. We consider the SAFE Token as an essential tool to decentralize the trust monopoly held by Gnosis. We believe this will firmly establish Gnosis Safe as a public good and community-owned infrastructure. SAFE Tokens are not an investment product. Instead, SAFE Token will be distributed to stakeholders of the Gnosis Safe ecosystem that are interested in shaping the future of Gnosis Safe.

SAFE Governance

We envision the SAFE Token will be used to govern and curate essential infrastructure components of the Gnosis Safe ecosystem, including:


Assets

  • SAFE Treasury: SAFE holders will be able to reward important ecosystem developments via the SAFE Treasury.
  • ENS domain “safe.eth”: The ENS domain “safe.eth” will be used in the future to point to a Safe Multisig interface deployed on IPFS, but it might be used for other purposes as well.

Curation

  • Safe Apps: SAFE Token holders will curate the list of trusted Safe Apps that appear by default in the Gnosis Safe web interface and update existing ones to newer versions.
  • Safe Contracts: After successful audits and bug bounty periods, the community should be vetting updates to the Safe Contracts and define which is the recommended contract version at any point in time.
  • Safe Modules: Gnosis Safe smart contracts can be extended with modules to enable custom access/control schemes. SAFE holders will be able to curate and validate community-built Safe Modules.

Signaling

  • Safe Apps: Show interest in a specific Safe App idea to educate developers about user preference and demand.

  • Infrastructure: Help prioritize tasks in Safe-related Github repositories (see example).


There is no immediate need to have all activities described above to be community-governed from day one. Rather, Gnosis will take a cautious and progressive approach, decentralizing governance over different components successively over time to prevent any disruptions to users. The governance process would likely be conducted using a SAFE Treasury app that allows SAFE holders to vote on proposals. The transition to open governance is a long term goal, and we aim to establish a sustainable governance system that lasts for decades.

Gnosis Safe will always remain a fully self-custodial asset management solution, in which the user is in full control. The governance enabled through the SAFE Token is limited to curation activities and building initiatives that drive the Gnosis Safe ecosystem forward.

SAFE Token Distribution

Though the proposal is about whether a Gnosis SAFE token should be investigated, in the following we outline specification ideas as to how such tokens could be distributed, assuming the proposal to issue Gnosis SAFE tokens finds your support and will end up being implemented.

When designing the SAFE Token distribution model, we followed this principle:


Distribute the SAFE Token fairly and sustainably across a wide range of relevant stakeholders to foster active governance of the Gnosis Safe ecosystem.


At genesis, 1 billion SAFE Tokens are proposed to be minted with the following distribution:

  • 10% Early Adopters (Users)
    • Early adopters are retrospectively awarded for funds stored and transactions made in the past according to a predetermined formula. Additionally, there will be an initial “liquidity mining” launch program for users.
  • 2.5% Early Ecosystem Contributors
    • Early contributors are retrospectively awarded for ecosystem contributions according to a list of contributions consolidated by Gnosis.
  • 25% GnosisDAO
    • To be decided (see options in “Benefits for GnosisDAO Holders” section)
  • 50% SAFE Treasury
    • SAFE Treasury is a vehicle for rewarding future ecosystem contributions initially controlled by Gnosis, but over time, it will be governed by SAFE Holders. The SAFE Treasury would have a 10 years vesting period. It might also be an option to introduce a yearly inflation rate of 1-3%, which would be granted to the SAFE Treasury to sustain its ability to reward contributions beyond the vesting period.
  • 12.5% Gnosis Share
    • Gnosis Share is incentivising Gnosis and its staff as core maintainers to have aligned incentives and long term commitment to the SAFE Token and the Safe ecosystem. Gnosis Share would have a 5 years vesting period.

Relationship between SAFE Tokens and GNO Tokens

To recognise the importance of GNO Tokens in the development of Gnosis Safe, we propose that 25% of the total SAFE Token supply shall accrue to GNO Tokens. This can be achieved through various ways, including a combination of:

  1. Direct vesting to GnosisDAO: SAFE Tokens are vested into the GnosisDAO Treasury over a period of time via a vesting smart contract.
  2. Uniswap Pool Liquidity Shares: SAFE Tokens are locked in a Uniswap liquidity pool and are matched by GnosisDAO with GNO Tokens. The resulting liquidity shares are then split between GnosisDAO and the SAFE Treasury to assure mutual incentive alignment.
  3. Bonding curve: A bonding curve is set up, issuing SAFE Tokens for GNO Tokens at an increasing exchange rate. If demand for SAFE Tokens increases, this results in an increased demand for GNO Tokens.
  4. Initial price finding and aligning interest: To find a fair initial price, we propose to conduct an initial price finding for GnosisDAO’s SAFE Token share on Mesa. The GNO Tokens received through this are given to the SAFE Treasury to ensure their aligned interest with GnosisDAO.

Which options do you approve?

  • Direct Vesting
  • Uniswap LP Shares
  • Bonding Curve
  • Initial Price Finding

0 voters

Disclaimer

The plans outlined in this proposal are subject to discussion and change. They may also need to be (re)structured to take account of legal, regulatory, or technical developments as well as governance considerations. This document should not be taken as the basis for making investment decisions, nor be construed as a recommendation to engage in any transactions. You are solely responsible for your own investment decisions and transactions.

3 Likes

Just adding another simple view on what has been posted regarding the proposed circulating supply. Again, this is based on the example lukas_gnosis has provided, and will be subject to change given the forum’s discussion and agreement. Very much welcome the forum’s additional thoughts on a fair community distribution.

If we do want to proceed with a Safe token, balancing the allocation to GnosisDAO will be a key component. I think once GnosisDAO comes to a consensus on its manifest - we can then accurately align the DAO’s vision with SAFE’s distribution. Personally, I also feel that long-term it is more valuable to GNO holders if GnosisDAO is a major stakeholder of ecosystems rather than an owner of products i.e. the Safe.

Initial token distribution:

  • 125M for various community programs (early adopters / contributions / wider launch)
  • 100m SafeDAO allocation
  • 50m allocation to GnosisDAO (this yearly allocation will continue for 5 years)

Example Token Distribution After 5 Years:

  • 250m in total allocated to GnosisDAO
  • 125M for Gnosis team to incentivise core Safe maintainers and long term commitment
  • 500M allocated to SafeDAO for management and distribution
  • 125M Adopters / Contributors / Launch programs

Will the SAFE token holders have governance rights over the SAFE token and the bonding curve?
Just as a reference to a recent case in the Aragon community where the ANT governance made a contentious decision to pause the ANJ token bonding curve.

With the benefit of having a community specifically engaged with the Gnosis Safe, there comes also the question of the sovereignty of this community.
Will the SAFE community be under GNODAO control in terms of the power to change or cancel the SAFE token or any other established token economics?

2 Likes

Yes, the SAFE token holders will have governance over the SAFE Treasury as well as the bonding curve.
The Gnosis DAO only has as much influence on SAFE governance as they are holding shares of SAFE tokens.

How the proposal is currently written, no SAFE tokens are directly given to the GnosisDAO. However, some of the Gnosis Share could be handed to the Gnosis DAO. With this proposal the main upside for GNO token holders is the bonding curve. There are, however, alternatives to the bonding curve:

  1. Simple vesting to the GnosisDAO: SAFE Tokens are vested into the GnosisDAO Treasury over a period of time.

  2. Uniswap Pool Liquidity Shares: SAFE Tokens are locked in a Uniswap liquidity pool and are matched by the GnosisDAO with GNO Tokens. The resulting Liquidity shares are then split between the GnosisDAO and the SAFE Treasury to assure mutual incentives. (This could be combined with vesting of SAFE tokens to the Gnosis DAO)

  3. Bonding curve: A bonding curve is set up, issuing SAFE Tokens for locking GNO Tokens at an increasing exchange rate. If demand for SAFE increases, this results in an increased demand for GNO Tokens.

2 Likes

Beautiful. Will there be profit sharing?
I recommend going for a simple distribution model, that requires little effort from the user side and distributes widely.
So more like uniswap, less than dxdao :wink:

4 Likes

Big fan of Gnosis Safe and an active user myself - just came here to signal my support for this initiative. Removing any gatekeeper will make Gnosis Safe more resilient and hopefully lead to more innovation.

Looking forward to contributing to the development of Safe :slight_smile:

7 Likes

There is not currently a fee mechanism built into the Gnosis Safe and there are also no concrete plans for this. Of course, this might be an option at some point in the future, and then SAFE Token Holders may or may not be beneficiaries of this. After all, SAFE Token holders will, under this proposal, have effective control over the safe.eth ENS name and could have it point to a version of the Gnosis Safe interface that has a fee mechanism (e.g. related to additional features).

Definitely agree with keeping the distribution simple and easy to understand. This also contributes to transparency and the distribution being considered “fair”.

I’m against this proposal.

Not because I don’t agree with it, I do, but because I don’t think the outlined strategy will achieve the desired goal.

I understand that the purpose of the SAFE token is to remove Gnosis as the central “gatekeeper” of Safe and I don’t think this proposal solves that problem.

The issue I see is that for the Safe to be usable, it requires servers which run services, like this one https://github.com/gnosis/safe-transaction-service, which lets you know the balances of all your assets amongst other things.

Someone has to ensure that the servers keep running so that service is available so people may use the Gnosis Safe product. Right now that someone is Gnosis. If the community is using their tokens to decide things like curation and signalling, it’s not enough to remove Gnosis as the gatekeeper.

If something happens to Gnosis as a company that pays bills to host servers which run Safe services, then the whole product goes down and having Safe tokens means nothing because there will be nothing to curate and nobody to signal to.

I believe for this proposal to achieve its goal, the intention should be to remove the reliance on a single entity to run servers so that the product and the user experience can survive independent of Gnosis. As long as there is that reliance, the Safe product and the value of the token will rely directly on Gnosis.

1 Like

I agree. This aspect is not covered in the proposal. But even related to this centralization aspect, could a SAFE Token not be a potential solution? As you could imagine there being a network of transaction-services that is curated by SAFE Tokens and/or the SAFE Token being a means to access the “service” provided by these indexers?

2 Likes

About the Curation of Apps/Contracts/Modules, if the community uses the SAFE governance token to have a new token vote on every entry, it will require a massive duplication of effort and might be plagued by low response rates creating security issues and vectors of entry for unsafe apps.

You might consider using a dedicated Curation tool such as Kleros Curate in order not to have to reinvent the wheel and take the risk that the culture around the SAFE token do not develop appropriately so that people reliably vote so that the curation system can have good resistance to attacks.

The SAFE token can still have its use in such a schema by being either locked as a deposit to get a new entry into the list of authorized apps or also could be used as a lever to modify the display order of the apps in the Gnosis Safe (Projects display order would be ranked by the number of SAFE tokens locked/burned).

4 Likes

What is the advantage of creating a new token over giving control to the Gnosis DAO (and maybe still rewarding developers/early adopters with GNO)? After all the Safe has been built using the resources provided by the GNO holders (and its value is likely priced in to the current GNO price).

To me, creating a new token and only assigning 25% to the Gnosis DAO is a big give-away from GNO holders’ perspective that deserves further justification.

7 Likes

A SAFE token is definitely a solution, but I’d like to see this aspect directly addressed in the proposal to feel comfortable voting for it. In your example we have a network of competing services, its one thing to use the SAFE token to curate or decide which service is used by the Safe product, but that service provider still needs to be paid. If that service provider is paid with SAFE tokens, who pays those tokens? If no one pays. no services, no product.

It would be an interesting exercise to work out what the costs are to “run” the safe, how much does a single Safe wallet cost in services? What are the flat vs variable costs? Perhaps this could lead to a model that requires users to or hold X amount of SAFE tokens in a Safe to earn interest via lending protocol to pay service providers.

Kinda reminds me of the initial GNO/OWL token economics for the Gnosis Safe whereby fees where paid in OWL in order to incentive the holding of GNO to mint OWL, to pay for fees for the SAFE.

I agree with this comment. The creation of a Safe token is not removing Gnosis as the gatekeeper and decentralizing governance as this has already been achieved with the creation of the GnosisDAO. Instead it is transferring influence from GNO token holders to Safe token holders and only receiving 25% for doing so.

4 Likes

I’m not convinced the SAFE Token could more reliably align incentives with Safe development than GNO would. I hear you saying the stakeholders should be wider than GNO holders, because the Safe has become a critical piece of infrastructure for the community. I don’t, however, hear an explicit discussion of the misalignment.

What do you see as the specific conflicts of interest for using GNO as the governance mechanism, and why do you think mechanisms can’t be introduced to circumvent those?

3 Likes

I think the discussion boils down to what the Gnosis Safe is perceived to be in the long run.

  1. Is it a product, developed and maintained by Gnosis and funded through resources provided by GNO holders?

  2. Is it a platform kickstarted by Gnosis and with Gnosis / GnosisDAO being a critical provider of infrastructure, but where the value of the platform is driven strongly by other stakeholders.

If we aim for the former, then I agree, the value created should be exclusively captured by the GNO token and the GNO token also would be a good fit for governing centralized aspects of the system.

However, we have written this proposal with the second assumption in mind. We want to have the Gnosis Safe become the new “account standard” on Ethereum, effectively replacing EOAs as the primary accounts. EOAs will therefore take the role of simple signer keys but not as accounts. The Gnosis Safe is not to be seen as just the Safe Multisig web interface, but as a collection of components some being built by Gnosis and some by third-parties, including interfaces, Dapps, modules, backend infrastructure, SDKs etc.

If we want to have a chance to achieve this ambitious vision, Gnosis Safe cannot be seen as a purely “Gnosis product” and also the token economics, value capture & distribution, as well as governance over the system, should not be tied 1:1 to the GNO token. Here are a few reasons.

Value creators are not necessarily stakeholders

Even looking at the Gnosis Safe situation today, who actually brought value to the Safe ecosystem? Yes, one part was the GNO holders funding the project and Gnosis executing on the project (thus both being represented with a major stake in the SAFE Token Model). But Gnosis Safe, as a project, would hold no value without its user, especially early users bringing trust to the solution and making it an easier decision for later adopters to start using Gnosis Safe. Also, value was brought to the Gnosis Safe through external contributors creating Safe Apps, third-party interfaces, transaction relayers, and other extensions. Especially those external contributors will become even more critical value drivers in the future. As in order to achieve the vision of the Gnosis Safe of becoming the new account standard, we rely on a vibrant ecosystem being built around it. Saying GNO holders should capture 100% of the Gnosis Safe value will not allow to build up this ecosystem. If we build an ecosystem yet capture all value using GNO, wouldn’t the value drivers (i.e. ecosystem participants that are not GNO holders) just want to fork away, establishing their own SAFE Token using a fairer distribution and set up their own core maintainer team for the Safe infrastructure?

GNO Distribution issues

GNO currently is facing some significant distribution issues (outlined here). Any Gnosis Safe components being governed by the GNO Token would inevitably suffer from those. While they might be fixed at some point, this could very well take 1-2 years to achieve.

GNO can’t effectively be used in multiple token economics / (protocol) governance schemes simultaneously

Imagine if at some point Gnosis would have multiple protocols with each one needing to have some decentralized governance in place. How can be guaranteed that the protocol is governed by “relevant stakeholders” given that it might differ for each protocol who the relevant stakeholders are? Does it make sense to have the token economics of one protocol be impacted by things not related to the protocol itself? Should relevant stakeholders of those additional protocols become GNO holders by diluting existing GNO holders?

Misaligned incentives

The SAFE Token is essentially a separation of concerns, GNO Tokens are used to govern initiatives that increase the value of the GNO Token and the SAFE Token is used to bring value to the Safe ecosystem. In case GNO is used as a governance token in the Safe ecosystem, there might be cases where what’s best for the GNO Token is not best for the Safe ecosystem. This proposal makes sure incentives are aligned in those cases, because the value captured by the GNO Token is directly related to bringing value to the Safe ecosystem.

Final thoughts: My personal vision for the GnosisDAO / GNO token

I see GnosisDAO as a vehicle to fund/kickstart initiatives that ultimately capture more value for the GNO token. Whereas the most obvious two categories of initiatives are:

  • Treasury management: Effective deployment of assets in a way that they increase the value of the treasury
  • Kickstarting new protocols with their own native token: GnosisDAO is building infrastructure with their own ecosystems and establishes native tokens that capture the value of those ecosystems (not just the own interfaces/products built on top of the protocol). As a result, GnosisDAO receives a significant stake to be further incentivized to help grow the ecosystem. This should also be in the interest of the new “spun-out” ecosystem as they can rely on Gnosis continuing to be core maintainer and ecosystem developer. Therefore, Gnosis does not build products, it builds open-source infrastructure and establishes token economics / decentralized governance around those.

I think long-term it brings more value to GNO holders if GnosisDAO is a major stakeholder of ecosystems rather than an owner of products. At least wherever there is a chance to capture the ecosystem value vs. the product value. 25% value capture of a platform play can be a vastly better return than 100% value capture of a product play. However, both are valid options, of course, so I would not dismiss the latter.

This is definitely an important discussion to have because it also very much affects our product strategy. We have aimed to become a platform and have started to direct our focus towards this. If the GnosisDAO would prefer to see Gnosis Safe as a product, we have to adapt some assumptions and re-adjust our product focus.

9 Likes

@lukas_gnosis you provide a really great detailed perspective. It is interesting to think about a future where each product has its own token versus a community token that can govern many products.

You can see a parallel situation like that happening in the NFT/Art space. Is it better for every artist to have their own token, or for artists to join a collective/community token system and be a part of that?
Already, many people are having trouble handling so many tokens.

In order to detach the association, one step here might be to change the name of Gnosis Safe to something like “ETH Safe”???

1 Like

I’ll throw in my 2c:

From a theoretical perspective, I get it: It’s probably slightly better to separate the SAFE token from the GNO token.

But we’re here gathered around this wonderful GnosisDAO table, representing the GnosisDAO. We are only interested in the Gnosis Safe as it pertains to the GnosisDAO!

From a GnosisDAO perspective, I think giving away the SAFE is deadly, and I would much rather distribute GNO tokens to the relevant Safe ecosystem users to distribute GNO wider, and retain control of the Gnosis Safe product (the only product we have).

One way helps solve the issues around distributing GNO, and retains value in the GNO ecosystem (users actually now have an incentive to own GNO (to govern the Safe).

The other way only increases the problems around GNO Distribution Issues, making them much harder to solve…

It’s very hard to answer “What is the purpose of GNO?” without products, but community owned Software is a thing!

  • “Well, GNO governs the Gnosis Safe” is at least the roots of a purpose.

Otherwise, is GNO a hedge fund? Like what is GNO supposed to govern then?

Surprised by the approval in this proposal, to me it stifles the very best chance to distribute GNO wider and make it valuable.

For the GnosisDAO to want to get 25% of the SAFE, it effectively means that at the very least we believe that separating the SAFE token would create >4x the value, for us, as compared to just keeping it in GNO (making our 25% share worth more than 100%).

  • Do we really believe this?

EDIT: Since Gnosis DAO also controls 50% of the treasury, it would be more like >2x SAFE appreciation vs keeping it in GNO to make sense. That seems more reasonable to achieve, although still doesn’t help and rather takes away utility from the GNO token.

Otherwise, we could also think that Gnosis Safe is a toxic asset for the DAO to hold. That it costs us more to control it, that would lower the calculation (meaning we would need the price to be worth less than 4x).

Seems to me like it’s a great asset for the GnosisDAO to govern. Why give it away? Is it ready to be given away?

While it may or may not be maximizing the value for the Gnosis Safe, I just don’t think it’s maximizing the value for the GnosisDAO.

1 Like

Well, this is kind of a complex topic. I’m just informed enough to be dangerous.

The SAFE token way is probably more in-line with Gnosis vision.

Seems like a good proposal.

GNO makes more sense in this way, to take smaller peices of platforms.

I’m not sure that the existence of the safe-transaction-service necessitates that Gnosis remains as a gatekeeper for the Safe into the future. Certainly it’s reliant for the near-mid future but much of that functionality looks like it could be moved out to a subgraph given a v2 Safe which exposes more information via events (possibly for the existing contracts given call handlers as well). Incentivisation for others to run provide this service would then be provided through the Graph’s economics.

Obviously this can’t satisfy the offchain components of the service such as storing confirmation signatures before a transaction is executed but this could be handled by a non Safe-specific service also.

2 Likes

As a non-GNO-holding Safe user, I’m cautiously in favour of this.

I see the planned GnosisDAO governance process as potentially being too unwieldy for many of the decisions which are to be taken related to the Safe. GnosisDAO is more direction setting as seen by how futarchy plays a key role whereas many of the decisions taken by SafeDAO are technical and have a much shorter time horizon. A separate governance mechanism makes sense to avoid endless prediction markets on whether the GNO price will improve if we update the Balancer Safe app from v1.2.0 to v1.2.1.

Clearly there needs to be a parallel governance mechanism for the Safe ecosystem and a separate token goes some way to codifying it while also allowing decision making to be weighted differently to account for the distinct set of stakeholders for the ecosystem.

One issue I’m concerned about is that while the proposal goes in detail on the expenses of the SAFE treasury (i.e. rewarding individuals for developing/auditing new Safe contracts/apps) it doesn’t address how it may replenish this treasury. I’d be more comfortable if there were proposals on how the SafeDAO could be self-sustaining.

While I’m sure that it could make do with relying on periodic grants from GnosisDAO for the mid-term however I don’t expect this to be sustainable in the long-term. Should this distribution of GNO and SAFE holders diverge too strongly I’m sure that GnosisDAO members will feel reluctant to fund the SafeDAO (already seen in this thread) and SafeDAO may feel overly constrained by GnosisDAO’s power of the purse.

Should this be desired to become more than a specialised governance route within GnosisDAO itself I think that forming an independent revenue stream would be a priority.

5 Likes