Wow. What a past few weeks. Gitcoin Grants Round 4 saw unprecedented support from the community, lots of Twitter activity, and ultimately — radical results. Let’s dive in.
Round 4, By The Numbers
As a reminder on the structure, there were two pools of funding to allocate in Gitcoin Grants Round 4 using the Liberal Radicalism mechanism.
- The Media Pool ($75,000). Supports media, community, and marketing projects
- The Technology Pool ($125,000). Supports Ethereum infrastructure projects spanning ETH 2.0, decentralized finance (DeFi), crypto wallets, UX.
With $200,000 for grabs, here’s what happened in just over two weeks, from January 6th, 2020 to January 21st, 2020.
- $143,642 in funds were committed by the Ethereum Community. This, plus the $200,000 in matching funds results in $343,642 to Ethereum projects for this CLR round.
- 5,936 contributions were made to 230 open source Ethereum projects
- 1,115 unique Ethereum community members participated in the funding round
This was a huge jump from Round 3 (see Vitalik’s review here), almost doubling all major numbers. From 80 projects to 230 projects. From 477 contributors to 1,115 contributors. From 1,982 contributions to 5,936 (!).
Before looking ahead, let’s take a closer look at the top five projects from the tech and media rounds to see who the community rallied around in highest concentration.
The Top 5 Tech Grants
1. Tornado Cash — privacy preserving transactions
Tornado Cash, for the uninitiated, improves the ability for private transactions on Ethereum.
Tornado improves transaction privacy by breaking the on-chain link between recipient and destination addresses. It uses a smart contract that accepts ETH deposits that can be withdrawn by a different address. Whenever ETH is withdrawn by the new address, there is no way to link the withdrawal to the deposit, ensuring complete privacy.Introducing Private Transactions on Ethereum, Now!
During the round, they received 308 contributions — some no doubt affected by the blog post written by former Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen about the potential for Tornado. While it’s still early days for the privacy community on Ethereum, Tornado has helped the community take a huge leap forward into concretely considering what private transactions might look like on the network.
The 308 contributions was round leading across both tech and media, and it wasn’t that close (2nd was 185, 3rd was 177).
2. DApp Node — Run + secure your own Ethereum nodes
DApp Node’s main goal is to increase the number of nodes on decentralized networks (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others). It sets out to accomplish this by reducing the steps required to run your own node, and then making it easy for your friends / family / people who trust you to use your nodes — thus reducing the need for the community at large to become reliant on larger blocks of nodes, which may be reliant on services like AWS, downstream.
DApp Node received 185 unique contributions and a $8,583 match from the Technology Pool. We look forward to their continued progress.
3. Sablier – Real-time finance, on Ethereum
I remember reading Paul Berg’s original introduction post to Radical Markets (Weyl, Posner) in 2018 — it was well written, and spoke to the intellectual curiosity and hustle of someone who I had already seen around the Gitcoin community working on bounties and developing web 3 applications. Today, he receives $10K from the community as a direct result of a radical idea, Liberal Radicalism!
Sablier is now here. It’s a real-time streaming platform which allows payments from Party A to Party B by the second. There’s a million potential use cases here — from atomic swaps, irreversible token streams, 1 on 1 tutoring — and likely many more untapped. We’re excited to see a thousand experiments bloom!
4. MetaGame – Real-time finance, on Ethereum
WTF is MetaGame, you might ask? Lucky for you, there’s an article to answer all your questions. Part game, part identity and reputation solution, the creators of MetaGame imagine a world where we can coordinate and collaborate together in ways currently impossble. MetaGame has players, guilds, alliances, and plays like an RPG game where coordination between players is rewarded with crypto, natively. 173 contributions later, they have $7.5k in matching to get the game going.
5. DeFiZap – Real-time finance, on Ethereum
Simply put, DeFiZap is awesome. Built on a variety of DeFi protocols (Compound, Set, bZx, Kyber — to name a few), one DeFi ‘Zap’ gets you exposure across DeFi protocols without you having to click around on each of them individually. While time saving is one benefit — another is education. With a variety of educational materials on DeFi, the site makes a big impact on user adoption from a variety of angles. It was great to hear a story recently from Kyle Kitsner of how the site started as an educational portal which told you which sites to lend on based on currents rates… to the first one-click zap (there are now 30+!). Check it out if you want to learn about DeFi.
Also — as it was built in Kyber’s virtual hack — we’re excited for another example of amazing things that can be built during a hackathon. Gitcoin’s hack’s have been seeing similar amazing results, month after month. Message me if you’re interested in joining one!
We couldn’t be happier to DeFiZap supported in this round and look forward to more from their team.
While we won’t go in depth on the Media Grants in this post, we encourage you to check out the work of Week In Ethereum News (read: how I got into Ethereum — thanks Evan), @antiprosynth, EthHub, The Bankless Scholorships by Ryan Adams, and David Hoffman’s indepedent writing.
Each of them is making an impact on a) sharing incredible knowledge witth the ecosystem, b) broadening the scope of our efforts and c) digging in on educational efforts for topics unknown.
As referenced in Vitalik’s blog post, there were a few hiccups as we worked through our first Media round in Gitcoin Grants Round 4. We look forward to iterating soon. Speaking of soon…
Gitcoin’s 2020 CLR Plans
First and foremost, Gitcoin plans to distribute the funds for Gitcoin Grants Round 4 no later than 2/3/2019.
From there, Gitcoin looks — with the support of the Ethereum Foundation and other matching partners — to run at least quarterly rounds in 2020, with a planned 4 CLR rounds. The hope is the regularly scheduled rounds will help grantees use these funds not only as additional donations, but as a strong source of funding for their operations in the Ethereum community. A rough schedule for the rest of the year is below.
- Q2 Match: March 16th — March 30th
- Q3 Match: June 15th — June 29th
- Q4 Match: September 14th — September 28th
The goal is to allocate at least $1.5MM (via matching + community contributions) to Ethereum infrastructure during this time — and we’re well on our way with $344K with developers in the first month.
Things You Can Do For Round 5
As mentioned in Vitalik’s article, we’re actively considering product improvements for Grants Round 5. Some of these ideas include downvoting grants (to provide a more neutral mechanism), recurring payments over multiple rounds (to encourage consistent income streams), and other UX improvements. We also look forward to hosting new, interesting projects every round. Many first timers received large matched in Round 4, which we consider a feature!
- Have a project you’d like in the next round? Create a grant here.
- Have feature ideas / UX improvements / bug fixes to log? Let us know on Github.
- Want to contribute as a public ‘matching partner’ with a donation of $5K+? Send us a message.
We’d be remiss to end this article with anything but the most important aspect of Gitcoin Grants Round 4. While not devoid of family arguments, the round saw an incredible outpouring of support from the unique individuals that make up Ethereum.
While open to criticism (especially the many constructive critiques we’ve gotten to Vitalik’s post), I’ll stand strongly for the importance of the community to speak up, vote on projects of interest, and provide support to each other. Community is the true social good being built here — the money is a cherry on top.
With that, we’d like to give special thanks to @meeseeking, who led our round of donations with $10,589 in donations across 30 projects, public matching of $50 DAI on top of the CLR match, and unmatched interest in supporting the projects of the community. He impacted me, lastly, with his words.
“The idea of destiny is a phrase that says they are coming to get us, but it is completed by another: go out and meet them.”
Liberal Radicalism amplifies the individual voice. One can be sure that even with $1, he or she can impact destiny. As we think broader than Ethereum, it’s worth considering how this mechanism can serve as a voice to the populace, complementing the traditional ‘voice’ provided by a vote.
See you all in Round 5, or before that at a workshop, a hackathon, a livestream or working on open source somewhere. 🙂