Building accountability for Treasury proposals

3 min readJun 16, 2022


Polkadot launched their Treasury in October 2021 to incentivize organic development and growth of our community. The DOT in the treasury comes as a natural part of the network protocol. Fees, slashes, and suboptimal staking configurations are all contributing factors. If it goes unused, it slowly gets burned.

The funds held in the Treasury can be spent by making a spending proposal that, if approved by the Council, will enter a waiting period before distribution. This waiting period is known as the spend period, and its duration is subject to governance, with the current default set to 24 days. The Treasury attempts to spend as many proposals in the queue as it can without running out of funds.

In the past 1.5 years, the Polkadot & Kusama treasuries have funded more than 50 projects with multiple proposals, tips, and bounties. But the question for the community and actually for the grants ecosystem across chains is, how do we know if the money given out of the treasury for a proposal was actually used in the right way? Are projects delivering on the milestones they set in a proposal document?

Let’s split the answer into 3 parts to analyze the different expense channels of the treasury-

  • Tips — Tips are discretionary and are given by the council members when a user/project proposes a tip for themself/someone else, attributing to the work that they have already done. The proposal here usually involves a small description for the tip request along with some document/link aka proof.
  • Bounties — Bounties Spending proposals aim to delegate the curation activity of spending proposals to experts called Curators. Curators are selected by the Council after the bounty proposal passes, and need to add an upfront payment to take the position. This deposit can be used to punish them if they act maliciously. However, if they are successful in their task of getting someone to complete the bounty work, they will receive their deposit back and part of the bounty reward. After the Council has activated a bounty, it delegates the work that requires expertise to the curator who gets to close the active bounty. Closing the active bounty enacts a delayed payout to the payout address and a payout of the curator fee. The delay phase allows the Council to act if any issues arise.
  • Proposal — This is where it gets tricky. Often the project teams request for money before they complete the tasks. These tasks/developments are proposed and developed with the aim of enhancing the DOT ecosystem and even go through a pre-screening of budget, milestones and scope before getting passed by the community and then the council members.

But, once passed, even though most projects deliver what they scoped out in the proposal, their is no tracking or accountability(unless someone actually goes to the team and asks for proofs or is able to capture the same from publicly available information)

So, how do we make teams more responsible and accountable? A very interesting challenge was put in front of us, and we designed a solution that acts as a tracking system for timelines and tasks for each treasury proposal -

Going forward, when anyone creates a new treasury proposal, they would be requested to submit a deadline date.

  • The proposers can leverage the platform to keep the community updated about the current status of the proposal → to be picked, in progress, completed or overdue.
  • The community on the other hand can monitor the progress of these proposals on the parachains’ calendar. This all-new integrated calendar will now show off-chain/on-chain events and proposal details for all calendars.

As we develop this feature further, we will extend our functionality to →

  • Filter by the status of proposal and type of event in the calendar
  • Allow proposers to edit the deadline date — as things may not always go according to plan
  • They can keep the community apprised of the current progress and demonstrate the proof by sharing media and notes
  • Weighing in community opinion on how the proposal has been delivered! This could be leveraged for future proposals and trusting teams with potential new projects 😃
  • The community members will be allowed to rate the delivery on a scale of 1–5 & they will also be allowed to add comments to ask further questions to the project team or voice their concerns and appreciations!

Let's get BUIDLing!




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