Melon Council: everything (new) you need to know

Fabian Gompf
Sep 17, 2019 · 6 min read
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Melon Council, Aug ‘19

The Melon Council is a crucial part of the greater Melon Governance System initially laid out by the Melonport team in November 2018. The council started its work end of February 2019 and after six months of operation some of our roles have changed — Jenna Zenk is taking over the Vice Chair while I am taking the role of Chair. This seems like a good time to give a quick recap on what the council is (and what it is not), how we are organised, what we are working on, and what is coming next.

What is the Melon Council?

The initial version of the Melon protocol was conceived, designed and built by the Melonport team. With the deployment to mainnet at the beginning of this year, the Melonport team proposed a technocratic council composed of a diverse set of known individuals to take over key governance functions of the protocol, including:

  • Deployment of protocol upgrades (code upgrades, feature additions and bug fixes)
  • Management of the ENS subdomains pointing to the Melon smart contracts
  • Research around resource allocation to development teams
  • Adjusting network parameters (e.g. the cost per amgu)

With that, the Melon Council is by no means a direct replacement of the now dissolved Melonport organisation. There is no in-house development team and all council members are full-time professionals in their respective areas of expertise. The council itself has two subsets: the MTC (Melon Technical Council) and the MEB (Melon Exposed Businesses). While the MTC is now fully set up, we expect the MEB to form around business building on the Melon Protocol.

Who is on the Melon Technical Council?

The initial set of technical council members was curated by the Melonport team. Today, the council can evolve its own composition via voting. The current council is comprised of eight members, all of which have been on the council since its inception in February 2019.

  • Janos Berghorn, Investor @ KR1
  • Matthew Di Ferrante, Founder @ ZK Labs
  • Fabian Gompf, VP @ Parity Technologies
  • Will Harborne, CEO @ DeversiFi
  • Martin Lundfall, Formal Verification Researcher @ Ethereum Foundation & DappHub
  • Nick Munoz-McDonald, Smart Contract Auditor & Researcher @ G0 Group
  • Zahreddine Touag, Co-Founder & Head of Trading @ Woorton
  • Jenna Zenk, CTO @ Avantgarde Finance

How is the council organized?

The council holds an all-hands meeting every two weeks. This is where most of the discussions happen. The whole council tries to come together in person a few times per year around bigger events — for example a few weeks ago at Web3 Summit in Berlin. The council is organized into five different workstreams. Depending on their expertise, council members are taking on roles in different workstreams. Currently, this looks roughly as follows:

Security of the Melon protocol is one of the top priorities of the council. This includes things like security procedures, audits and upgrades. A good example of this is the v1.0.1 release of the protocol earlier this year. While monitoring the network, the Avantgarde Finance team discovered what initially appeared to be a bug in the Melon contracts. Further investigation together with Martin and Nick revealed that it was in fact a bug in the Solidity compiler, which could have had implications for the greater Ethereum ecosystem. We reported the bug to the Ethereum Foundation. A fix was coordinated with and rolled out by the Ethereum Foundation and we released a patched version on our end.

The council is also operating the Melon Bug Bounty Program, which allows us to to pay out bounties to security researchers sharing findings on the Melon protocol.

Council members: Nick, Martin and Jenna

Besides code level security, the council is also responsible for monitoring and parameter adjustment of the protocol’s token economics. To ensure a healthy burn rate, the council can adjust the amgu price (‘melon gas’). End of August, the council voted for the first time on an amgu price adjustment. The best place to keep track of the usage of the protocol is this monitoring tool. In addition to tracking all funds and investors, you can see the current burn rate and setup costs.

Council members: Janos, Will, Zahreddine

With regard to decentralized marketplaces, we’ve identified two main adoption challenges to Melon. First, the DEX ecosystem drastically lacks liquidity, which is a pain point for on-chain asset managers. Secondly, as a result of the lack of liquidity, on-chain prices might differ from prices available on more efficient markets. On centralized exchanges, market makers are able to provide liquidity by electronically posting bids and asks limit orders at several price levels, with high latency. This enables a relatively efficient price discovery mechanism and attracts further liquidity.

To bring liquidity on-chain, Woorton (an active market maker on centralized exchanges) has been building a new agnostic trading infrastructure allowing them to deploy their market making algorithms on both centralized and decentralized exchanges. This means Woorton will redirect liquidity in a bilateral fashion between CEXs and DEXs, allowing an overall better liquidity level.

Additionally, Woorton has been working on building its reserve that will operate on the Kyber Network. This means it will give the Melon Council greater flexibility to add new assets in the Melon asset universe.

Both initiatives aim to improve the trading experience of Melon fund managers.

Council members: Zahreddine, Jenna

Similar to Bitcoin’s BIP and Ethereum’s EIP process we are gathering improvement proposals for the Melon protocol (MIP) in one repository. This is a place for the community to contribute with their ideas and participate in technical discussions.

Apart from making the protocol incrementally more useful and secure, the council is also looking into ways to more fundamentally evolve it. This could include the development of privacy features or an integration with an interoperability protocol. While the council itself does not have the capacity to execute on these ideas, it can lay the groundwork for others to do so. A key tool for this is the effective and responsible allocation of resources.

Council members: Nick, Martin and Jenna

The council has a yearly inflation pool of MLN tokens at its disposal to allocate to external teams that want to contribute to the Melon protocol or ecosystem. Tokens that are not allocated in a given year can be burned. Teams interested in funding can submit a Melon Funding Proposal (MFP) to the council. Anyone can submit new MIPs as well as take outstanding MIPs and get funding for implementing them through an MFP.

The first MFP was made by Ash — building a gamified user experience on top of the Melon protocol. Another MFP that we are currently evaluating is a proposal from Avantgarde Finance (composed of most of the former Melonport team) to lead the development of the protocol itself. More on this soon!

Council members: Entire council

Having a good line of communication to the Melon community has become increasingly important to us. For the sake of full transparency, all major decision-making happens within an on-chain Aragon DAO on Ethereum mainnet. This allows anyone to verify ongoing and past proposal and their respective statuses or outcomes.

Bigger changes are also communicated on the Melon Protocol Blog and through our Twitter and Reddit. Going forward the Melon Protocol Blog will serve as a place to inform the community about all things Melon — not just council updates. We want to give other teams in the ecosystem (for example Ash and the former Melonport team) the chance to cross-post their updates here as well.

In addition, we re-activated our Gitter channels for community members to ask questions directly. For all official matters, we set up a general council email address. We are also working on a brand new website — one place where you can find out about all things Melon Protocol. Stay tuned!

Council members: Jenna, Will, Fabian

What is next?

Beginning of the year things slowed down a bit in the Melon ecosystem. While the council was still being established, the former Melonport team took some (well-deserved) time off after the successful deployment to mainnet. With a new company forming around this team, the council being fully setup and Ash going into beta, we hope to be back with a laser focus on further developing the protocol and driving adoption to it. There are tons of ways to get involved on this journey — whether as a developer, a community builder, an investor or fund manager.


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