SSV Research Report: A deep-dive into the DAO, it’s community and surrounding Ecosystem, and the Marketing employed

Hey there SSV DAO,

Shad here, whom you recently voted for to become the first ‘hired’ member of the DAO (Thanks again, for that, I’m overly excited).

For the past 2 weeks (14th March - 1st April), I’ve been solely focused on collecting information from the core team, Dmarketing, and industry players, to get a holistic picture of what’s going on and where we can make the most impact going forward.

Thankfully, we’re off to a great start, and months if not years ahead of the competition, in great shape for ETH 2.0 and the upcoming Merge.

Since SSV’s inception, we’ve been moving ridiculously fast and bootstrapping multiple processes, especially on the DAO, ecosystem, and marketing side.

As the core technology is maturing and we inch closer and closer to mainnet, it’s now becoming clear that we need to sort out the rest.

In this report, you will find the key insights that I have learned over these last 2 weeks, as well as where I believe our focusses should be, and the ideas surrounding that.

You’ll notice that the report focuses on a variety of areas that may seem ‘Out of scope’ for what I originally posted on the DAO forum. Understandably, that may draw some criticism. The reason for including such a wide array of topics is quite simple, there’s a lot to work on and we all must ‘wear many hats’.

This report serves 2 purposes;

  1. To act as an audit of existing processes and the state of affairs
  2. To create a roadmap for myself and the DAO, in general, to move forward




Shad, awesome post and I’m glad you have put so much work into it, and into getting SSV forward. My response will only hit a few points that stuck out to me in my first read through.

I’m glad the testnet seemingly went well and if setting the future for SSV and DVTs. But the structure of the testnet, as discussed in the testnet proposals, is what I attribute to low DAO participation. My perception from the testnet and the discord is that all you have to do to earn SSV is vote on proposals to earn more SSV, with extremely minimal participation. I get that the SSV development is tied to the price of the token going up based on interest, but that only gets people interested in a quick buck, pretty much equating the SSV token to one of those pump and dump shitcoins you mentioned in the post. At the same time, those actively participating in the network, primarily the operators, are sacrificing time, power, data and bandwidth and can’t compete with SSV whales, but are interested in the success of the network and the future of Ethereum staking. Those operators barely get a voice despite the greater amount of work put in compared to hodling the SSV token or getting lucky with deposit bot timing. Change up how the DAO votes, give everyone one vote or operators a multiplier, and I think engagement will go up and operators will no longer feel like an unvalued part of the network. Same goes for the secret society, it isn’t just hodlers you want, but those actively participating in the network, either as operators, validators, DAO participation, or discord engagement.

For funding, yes, Anchor is juicy, but it is not the Ethereum network, the APRs are fleeting, and UST is sketchy. Allocating some of the funds to the stETH derivatives like icETH should be fine, as is built upon a core protocol of the network.

In regards to community outreach, sure, I’ve seen the posts on Twitter and in the SSV reddit; they are quality, but lack outreach and usefulness and this engagement. But the majority Eth staking conversations are happening in the EthStaker and Ethfinance reddits, and that’s where the engagement on those platforms needs to be. If SSV really wants to be The DVT of choice, of Eth staking, it needs to be engaged there, to establish itself as the front runner and become so familiar with those in the community that it can be as easily mentioned as prysm, Geth, gnosis, etc. Better communication there, a better DAO and testnet structure, will go along way; why not engage EthStaker in promoting the next testnet, or get Dappnode to pin the SSV dapp to the top of the dapp install page, efforts like that. I really don’t see how a costly influencer is going to be useful in promoting what wants to be a core protocol without being a pump and dump.

I’m not sure if I missed it in the post, but is there a roadmap, like hey testnet 2 will come in late Q2, with testnet 3 in Q4, here’s the goals of those testnets and what’s being tested and what level of participation is needed and who we want to get involved, with the eventual goal of going live on say the merged gnosis chain first (potential partnership there) and live on mainnet in mid 2023? I think the community is lacking a path and data; by engaging in the discord on how things are going, like hey the SSV team saw this issue on the network with these combinations of operators and how we’re solving it, or how folks can get involved, would help too; a lot of the testnet just seemed about when rounds began and ended and rewards, and nothing on how it was actually going.

I’m sure there’s more, I’ll give it a reread and hopefully others will engage. Again, thank you for the work.

Further ideas on my second reread: For outreach and hackathons, why not a Gitcoin grant and bounties? There’s huge engagement in the funding rounds, plus matching, and it provides a very well known platform to get seen and get engagement, especially if you get one of the champions of Eth staking like Swagtimus, Superphiz, Daily Gwei etc to put it in their collection. Has SSV got any of the grants from the Ethereum Foundation?

As for hype to get folk engaged in SSV, consider the Gnosis staking model they’ve recently rolled out. They rolled out the same staking as the Eth network with the goal of making it more accessible, so all folks needed to stake was the Gnosis staking client, Nethermind, and 1 GNO. Since December 2021, they’ve launched and had 750k GNO staked, and a lot of that has come through various grants, whether 10 GNO distributed straight from the GNO foundation or 4 GNO through buying a certain Dappnode to stake. People have to maintain their gnosis staking operators in order to continue to gain the interest on the staked GNO, and withdrawals will be enabled around the same time as mainnet staking. SSV could get huge interest, I think, with a similar model, either parterning with Gnosis on the gnosis chain as a future testnet, or having folks actually have to stake SSV or a derivative testnet token(as opposed to the current definition of SSV staking aka hodling) and accrue interest and not be able to withdraw, and be penalized if they aren’t maintaining their operator. There could even be a grant application for folks to apply for and say get 10 SSV validators, instead of using GoETH and the rush to get into the deposit bot. I think lowering the barrier to staking but having people actually have to participate to obtain their gains could lead to big hype. Partnerships with other developers like Dappnode or Stakehouse or the like could also get those communities interested, especially if paired with making solo staking easier in the future.

As for outreach, I think the reason for the SSV token needs to be addressed. When SSV goes mainnet, it’s going to require operators switch over and maintain an additional package (ie Geth+Prysm+SSV). If you can clearly address how an operator is incentivized to run an additional package and bandwidth (is it like Rocketpool gaining RPL on a regular basis?) that could get people interested. Why will people want to be paid in SSV versus say another yet to be developed DVT that would payout to operators in Eth for hosting? Eth is the foundational token of the network and is the one I’d rather hold the most forever, so why do I want to earn and also hold SSV? That’s the question, I guess, that’ll clear some of the future up.

Just some more ideas.


Great response and questions! I agree with pretty much everything you mentioned.

Thank you for the excellent response and ideas:

Operators and voting

I also see this as a significant problem, and am starting to look at delegation based models such that operators can ‘team up’ and club together. I also think that your specific concerns needs to be voiced more loudly in the run-up to the next iteration of the testnet and I will personally be taking this across.

Regarding your specific suggestion →

Where are those holders and operators communicating right now? How can I speak to them?


I agree with the above as you list, only, this will be an issue as stETH is a derivative of ETH and will therefore leave the DAO exposed the ETH volatility. I do think some proportion of the funds, like 50+%, should be kept in a stablecoin, whatever that means, nowadays.

Do you have any exact suggestions on how we could split this up? Or can you point me to anyone in the community that might be interested in aiding me on this?

I will likely propose a DAO budget meeting at a high level, for next week, to kick things off.

Outreach, marketing and roadmap

Yup, agreed. There was some politics however I believe it has been resolved. We absolutely must be living on those communities and be able to be mentioned in the same breath as the rest.

We have the Dmarketing team on it now, specifically FOD, who is working on engaging those said communities in long form. I feel we are lacking on communicating our main aims, here, however.

I will look into this deeper, thank you for suggesting it.

asfaik there is no roadmap as of right now, I’m also going to look into that.

I’m also going to put down Gitcoin in my potential roadmap for the nearest future. Would you personally be able to help me set this up?



Value proposition for validators

Yeah, this isn’t communicated well at all, right now. It should be clear that you get ETH + SSV and it’s net > than just running on Beacon raw. I’m going to look into that, also.

@tehllama ben thank you for all of this. I’ve got it down and will start working through. If you have any more ideas, please do drop them in. Thank you


Re: Operators and Voting

The delegation based models are interesting, and I’ll have to look more into the team up; I’m assuming it’s similar to how ENS token holders can delegate their voting power to representatives. On my commute today I remembered another DAO, maybe Curve, I can’t remember, but in order to have voting power they required tokens to be invested into a contract for say a year. That way you get an actual commitment from folks and not just have the largest holders of the SSV token as the whales dictating the DAO and proposals, though those holders could also put their tokens in the contract for a year if they’re actually invested in the product. And potentially that contract could be invested in some sort of pool to gain interest, so there’s a return for those who commit their tokens beyond voting rights.

As for where those holders and operators are communicating, I’d assume the discord, and that’s where you want to make the place, get conversations going there. Even tonight on r/ethfinance someone was asking what news of SSV/DVTs there was and how to find out more and I pointed them over here, there isn’t much out there to find out. I know us Dappnode runners have discussed SSV in our Dappnode discord, but there needs to be an effort by the SSV team to engage in the discord, both as tech support and conversationalists.

Re: Funding. Agreed, Eth is volatile and a stablecoin, whether backed like USDC or one more on chain like DAI, are good and solid investments with decent returns. I am just one guy who has my opinions on keeping things on Ethereum’s chain and what to do, I think you could also ask in the Discord to see what folks recommend and see if there’s any good models. As to how things should be split, I’ll see if I have time to do some research and get answers, but DAO funding is something I’ve never really read about.

Re: Outreach: if there’s politics that affects the network, testnet, DAO, I think that should be reported on. I’m glad it’s resolved though. I saw conversation tonight on r/EthFinance on how Rocketpool is also failing, or at least to the general Eth consumer, in marketing to the standard person that is staking, and how more communication is needed. I don’t know if it’s possible, but having a posting on a standard schedule, like every other week, at both a technical and explain like I’m 5 level, on how SSV works, what challenges it faced in the testnet and going forward, what optimal implementation will be, and having that all posted on the SSV medium and cross posted by one of the SSV devs into the SSV discord, reddits, and wherever else Eth conversation is happening (EthStaker discord? Maybe a youtube explainer/demo series?)

A roadmap would really help, I think, get people excited, give something to look forward to, and something for the team to announce progress on. The value proposition of why running SSV to stakers should be part of this too.

I’ll look into how Gitcoin grants and bounties are written, I think the goal would be to get the grant written and approved and integrated into the quadratic funding grants round in a couple months as part of the Eth infrastructure bucket.

1 Like

Thank you for all of these suggestions.

I agree with you on all points, especially the more tangible roadmap, at least for the network.

We need a unified vision for everything, going forward.

This is all great and will influence my work, greatly appreciated.

And please do message me on Discord if you’d like to talk more in-depth