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Proposed ‘Arbitrum Coalition’ Stirs Debate Over Costs and Influence

With its proposed cost of $2 million, the 'Arbitrum Coalition' is facing mixed reactions. Community members weigh the benefits of enhanced decision-making against the risks of power centralization.

Blockworks Research, the research division of Blockworks media company, along with Trail of Bits, a smart contract auditor, and Gualent, a firm specializing in quantitative analytics, have proposed their services to the Arbitrum DAO. These organizations plan to form the “Arbitrum Coalition”, a collaborative effort to enhance the Arbitrum DAO’s decision-making efficiency. 

Although the proposal might seem beneficial, it has polarized the community. Some members support the coalition, believing it will greatly improve the DAO’s efficiency. However, others question its financial cost, estimated at $2 million per year, and the potential for conflicts of interest.

The entire discussion and governance process for Arbitrum currently takes place on the Arbitrum Governance Forum. However, Blockworks Research pointed out that while the forum features numerous valuable suggestions, it frequently lacks the “necessary research, coordination, design, and risk assessment” for optimal progress. So the company and its partners are trying to change this by offering their combined services:

  • Blockworks Research will offer data-driven insights on proposals to aid delegates in making informed decisions, support proposal improvement, and manage project logistics, such as communication with the DAO and speaking with delegates. 
  • Trail of Bits will review on-chain proposals for security and create tools and educational materials for future proposals. 
  • Gauntlet will guide the Arbitrum DAO’s growth with quantitative analysis, providing research models to enhance decision-making. 

The total cost for the coalition’s one-year term is estimated at around $2 million, broken down as follows: Trail of Bits - $800,000, Gauntlet - $327,000, Blockworks Research - $780,000, and L2BEAT - $96,000. Although not a member of the coalition, L2BEAT functions as the DAO’s advocate, supporting its interests and steering the coalition. 

Currently, according to a snapshot, 39.37% of the voters are in favor of the Arbitrum Coalition Proposal, 31.33% are against it, and 29.32% have abstained.


Despite the benefits presented, not everyone is happy with the proposal. The main arguments against the proposal are its high cost, conflicts of interest, and the potential for significant power concentration in the coalition’s hands.

Some members have pointed out that paying $650-$1,500 an hour to “review governance proposals” is not just expensive but also unreasonable.


Others have raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the concentration of power in the hands of the coalition, noting that members of the coalition are also significant holders of the Arbitrum token:

“Having the same parties review and provide opinions on proposals, cover those proposals publicly via Media Networks, vote on proposals, review the security concerns of a proposal, and then execute the Arbitrum network upgrades is fundamentally lacking separation of powers.”

Despite the divided opinions, it appears likely that the vote will pass. However, at this stage it is just a temperature check vote to gauge community sentiment. The proposal will still require a formal vote for approval.