Announcing Gitcoin Grants’ New $500k Ethereum Infrastructure Round

Gitcoin is an internet-native organization that uses quadratic funding to help communities fund their shared needs. Using this model, Gitcoin has funded some of the most important digital public goods in the Ethereum ecosystem, from Austin Griffith’s Burner Wallet to Ethers.js, Hardhat, and WalletConnect. Together with the community and invaluable partners and sponsors like the Ethereum Foundation, Gitcoin Grants has generated over $60 million in grants for projects in the Ethereum ecosystem.

Over time, Gitcoin has evolved from focusing solely on open source in the Ethereum ecosystem into focusing on public goods more broadly. In light of that shift, we saw a need to explicitly double down on having specific funding for Ethereum Infrastructure, given what we see in the market today. Gitcoin Grants is now at the forefront of pioneering new political-economic incentive design mechanisms, aiming to create coherent and sustainable political-economic arrangements through increased returns for the client researchers and developers. Diverse research and development are critical in paving the way for a collaborative and secure future of the Ethereum protocol, but the open-source environment that protocols live in poses real funding challenges that stunt the growth of these impact projects. We see and recognize this problem, and in response, we created a brand new Ethereum Infrastructure round debuting in the upcoming Grants Round 14 from June 8 – 23, 2022.

Funding and Scaling the Ethereum Protocol

Ethereum infrastructure, like other forms of open-source software, is a public good and the foundation for so much of what we all enjoy today about web3 and all previous iterations of the web. Ethereum is a city without roads and bridges, and this is far from an abstract idea: even Gitcoin itself relies on this same shared infrastructure; we wouldn’t be here today without it.This foundation, however, is widely considered to be underfunded. Vitalik Buterin’s article The Most Important Scarce Resource is Legitimacy showed the relative amount spent on R&D (Protocol Development) relative to PoW spending (spending on security):

The distribution of funds within this area has tangible consequences that pop up across the entire web3 ecosystem. Developers feel underpaid, are burning out, and some are even leaving the Ethereum ecosystem entirely. In response to this issue, we at Gitcoin asked ourselves if we could be doing more to support Ethereum protocol devs – and the answer was yes.

Ethereum Infrastructure Ecosystem Round

We are excited to announce that we are joining forces with Coinbase, Chainlink, Figment, Polygon, and Yearn to recenter on the infrastructure that makes our work possible with the Ethereum Infrastructure round, aimed at empowering those that make the Ethereum ecosystem possible. These three partners have committed a combined total of $500k in matching funds, paid out in DAI, that will fund developers and projects aimed at improving the Ethereum ecosystem. Gitcoin’s main pool, our DAO treasury-funded pool that supports all Ethereum public goods (e.g., past projects that are now household names like Bankless and POAP), will further augment this round and bring total eligibility to just over $1.5m. We couldn’t be more grateful to the folks helping us make achieving this mission possible!

Round Eligibility

Grants focused on supporting, or directly advancing the Ethereum ecosystem, will find their home in this round. This includes areas such as:

  • Core client devs (e.g., geth / nethermind; prysm / lighthouse)
  • Tooling providers (e.g., hardhat / ethers.js)
  • Those showcasing the power of critical ecosystem ideas (e.g., dark forest with zero-knowledge proofs)
  • Those doing the hard work of educating developers (e.g., Austin (Gitcoin) / Nader (DeveloperDAO))

Additionally, other round-agnostic eligibility will still apply (such as the project shouldn’t have its own token or raised VC funding). For a complete breakdown of eligibility criteria for the Ethereum Infrastructure round, please take a look at the GR14 ETH Infra Round Brief.

Note: Round Eligibility was decided at the discretion of Coinbase. Gitcoin and Ethereum Foundation informed the decision-making process of Coinbase.

Moving Toward a More Open Future

If you’re building something that fits the criteria, head over to Gitcoin and create a Grant. Fill in the requested details and select the tags that best align with your project (make sure to select the “ETH Infra” tag to be considered for this Ecosystem Round. Grants can have multiple tags, so please select all that apply.)

Our future is bright, open, and highly coordinated. Most importantly, we’re building that future together. We can’t wait to see you all on June 8 for the start of Grants Round 14!