Checkbook is a multi-signature wallet created for funding operations by localizing and parallelizing funding without compromising on security.

Why Checkbook?

For anyone who has been an active participant of a DAO, a Gnosis Safe MultiSig Wallet — a.k.a. a "multi-sig” — is a core piece of the organizational stack. A multi-sig requires more than one private key to sign and authorize a transaction. From a security perspective, assets must be stored to eliminate the risk associated with a single point of vulnerability. After the number of signatures that approves the transaction reaches a set quorum, one of the signers needs to return to the interface and execute the transaction.

Here's how the system currently works.

To ensure that the sender uniquely generates each transaction and to prevent a "replay attack," transactions on Ethereum are identified and processed sequentially by a scalar value called a "nonce." Nonces can only be redeemed in numeric order (1, 2, 3…): if someone queues up three transactions, they wouldn't be able to execute #3 unless transactions #1 and #2 have been executed first. The multi-sig and sequential nonce pattern also apply to the cancellation of a transaction.
In the pursuit of securing the multi-sig wallet, these design decisions cause significant overhead and inefficiency for organizational operations. The multi-sig signers are typically elected by the token holders and consist of a mix of the DAO’s operational leadership and third-party participants to minimize collusion. Here's the catch — those who are most likely to be elected as signers (crypto influencers, investors, etc.) tend to be too busy to attend to their duty as signers. Since each transaction requires coordination across multiple signers, transactions tend to get backed up in the queue, which can lead to a meaningful delay in funding and decay in trust from the fund receivers.
Checkbook localizes and parallelizes funding without compromising on security. Localization enables the delegation of approval power to respective project leads, the local signers, who are the most knowledgeable about the decision, and parallelization allows multiple workstreams to take place simultaneously without blocking one another. Not only do localization and parallelization increase efficiency, but they also increase throughput by enabling funding ideas to emerge from the bottom-up. On Gnosis, only the signers can propose a transaction. With Checkbook, anyone can propose the amount they'd like to get funded, and signers can approve it. Nonces still exist to label transactions with a unique number but need not be executed in numerical order. For example, if you have three transactions queued, you can execute them in the order of (1, 2, 3), (2, 1, 3), (3, 2, 1), or any other permutation.

Setting up

Follow these steps to set up your Checkbook:
  1. 1.
    Choose a name: This will be displayed in the Request for Proposals (projects) associated with the Checkbook. It’s a human-readable version of the Checkbook’s contract address.
  2. 2.
    Choose signer(s) and approval quorum: Depending on the governance structure of the project you’re running for your DAO, you can choose the decision-maker(s) by filling in their wallet addresses and the approval quorum, the number of people required to approve the transaction. Each proposal submitted to a project will be subjected to the associated Checkbook’s governance design. For example, “Q3 Budget” has four signers and an approval quorum of three. Any proposal submitted to that project will require three out of four signatures to be approved.
  3. 3.
    Transfer funds: Once you’ve created your Checkbook, a contract address will be generated. Copy the address to transfer the funds via your wallet provider or from your Gnosis Safe.

Directing Checkbook to a project

Checkbook is a project's source of funding. Think of it like a mini (decentralized) bank account that helps you organize your treasuries. One Checkbook can direct funds to multiple RFPs. For example, the “Q3 2022 Budget” Checkbook can provide funds for three projects: “Grants,” “Infrastructure,” and “Brand.” You can redirect to a different Checkbook anytime.

Generating a check

A check will be generated upon the final signature, and the author of the proposal may cash it at their convenience.

Check statuses

  • PENDING: Proposal approved; check generated; waiting for the author to cash
  • CASHED: Proposal approved; check generated; check cashed

Checkbook’s balance

You can view the amount available to be deployed in the Checkbook tab in Station’s settings or in the right panel of the associated project.

Refilling Checkbook’s balance

To refill Checkbook’s balance, copy the contract address and transfer the funds via your wallet provider or from your Gnosis Safe.