Recurring payments for your work in open source

We’re excited to kick off 2019 with the announcement of Gitcoin Grants! Our newest product focuses on providing recurring funding for your work in open source software.

https://gitcoin.co/grants

Want to receive funding for your open source project? We think creating a Gitcoin Grant is a great path forward.

If you’re interested in supporting a project, Gitcoin Grants — powered by the EIP 1337 standard — is a fast, easy, and secure way to provide recurring token contributions to the best OSS maintainers in your community. Your contribution is amplified by the signal it provides to other (potentially, larger) funders on important infrastructure projects.

The Path To Gitcoin Grants

Gitcoin launched on the Ethereum blockchain a year ago as a bounty platform, making it easy to get paid for completing Github issues. A year later, we’ve seen $500K of bounties completed, representing 2,000 issues solved across 225 open source projects.

Along the way, we’ve seen some amazing developers who do so well on bounties that they end up being hired to work full time for great projects like MetaMask, uPort, MARKET Protocol, and the Ethereum Foundation.

Grants For Individual Developers

We also saw many open source developers who simply… enjoyed working on on bounties. One such example is Gitcoiner iamonuwa, who has had an unbelievable year.

This year, iamonuwa did 26 bounties worth over $5,000. This included work on Livepeer, MARKET Protocol, Bounties Network, and Gitcoin itself.

We wondered if there was a way for people like Onuwa to continue their great work on bounties, while also providing the support to be full-time in Web 3, without having to worry about a recurring stream of income.

Grants For OSS Maintainers

We also interacted with many open source maintainers in 2018. We supported many via Gitcoin Requests, a feature allowing maintainers to request funding for bounties. Some of these projects included slither and echidna by Trail of Bits, web3swift by Matter Inc, and blockscout by POA Network, along with larger repo’s like Solidity, Parity, Vyper, and more.

These developers were working on open source Ethereum projects which could positively impact the whole ecosystem, potentially for years to come.


In each case (for developers, and even more so — for maintainers), we wondered:

Is there a way to bring recurring funding to developers who want to maintain projects in the open source ecosystem?

As we worked on Gitcoin Grants, we saw funding allocated in the Ethereum community via the Ethereum Foundation, the Ethereum Community Fund, Status Incubate, MakerDAO’s Stable Fund, and even via YOLO grants from Vitalik.

We think highly of these grant programs, who play a critical role in funding Web 3’s open infrastructure. We’re hopeful we can help provide signal to these foundations by showing them where developers and individual contributors are crowdfunding support for projects.

Monthly Subscriptions On Ethereum’s Blockchain

Live Gitcoin Grants, currently ready for funding!

Gitcoin Grants is the first platform built on Ethereum’s blockchain which allows for recurring, on-chain payments to be made. The primary three use cases we see are as follows.

  • Paying developers to play a maintainer role on your repositories, after you’ve done a few bounties with them
  • Providing open source projects (and their maintainers) an avenue for crowdfunding their project
  • A public ‘grant application’, where you can crowdfund an initial portion of your grant… as a showcase for grants programs

Initially, we anticipate each of these use cases to be built around the Ethereum ecosystem. Developers will be paid in ERC-20 tokens. Public grant applications will be shared with the Ethereum Foundation, the Ethereum Community Fund, and other funding bodies as a tool for them to learn about projects and their traction.

The Technical Details

Grants utilizes the EIP-1337 standard for subscriptions on Ethereum. The standard makes use of meta-transactions, which allows for a transaction to be made on behalf of a paying subscriber on a recurring basis. This makes it easy to support projects in open source on a recurring basis, only confirming one initial subscription transaction. For more on EIP 1337, see below.

https://gitcoin.co/grants

Experimentations In Open Source Sustainability

On the surface, Gitcoin Grants looks like another crowdfunding platform. However, there are a few key things at play which make Gitcoin Grants unique.

  1. Gitcoin Grants is built on Ethereum. Thus, it will be initially focused on developing Ethereum open source projects, within an ecosystem which has millions of dollars in formal grant funding, looking for meaningful projects which can accelerate the ecosystem. We believe a successful Gitcoin Grant application can be meaningful signal for funders like Ethereum Grants, the Ethereum Community Fund, MakerDAO’s Stable Fund or others they consider their next investments in the ecosystem.
  2. Gitcoin is supported by ConsenSys, the largest blockchain venture studio in the world. We will be seeding the Gitcoin Grants product using the $500K ConsenSys Grants program which was announced at Devcon IV. To read more about ConsenSys grants, see here.
  3. Gitcoin Grants… is built by Gitcoin. Our mission to grow open source has us tinkering with a variety of mechanisms for doing so. We think we’re well suited to drive forward Gitcoin Grants under Gitcoin’s growing umbrella of products for the future of open source. It’s complemented by Gitcoin bounties, to make Gitcoin into a full service platform for growing & sustaining open source.
Gitcoin Bounties + Gitcoin Grants in the OSS Contributor Lifecycle

Experimentations With Liberal Radicalism

We’re excited for many experiments we can run using Gitcoin Grants as a mechanism for open source sustainability.

One such experiment involves research on Liberal Radicalism, a mechanism specified by Zoë Hitzig, Glen Weyl, and Vitalik Buterin in a recent paper. The paper introduces a mechanism called ‘CLR’ (Capital-constrained Liberal Radicalism), designed “to allow near optimal provision of a decentralized, self-organizing ecosystem of public goods.”

The paper goes on to describe an interesting setting where 1) crowdfunding from individual people alongside 2) large, philanthropic donations can be combined to create interesting opportunities to fund public goods.

We have more details on the ideas in our Discourse, and are open to ideas. Join the conversation!

Funding And Creating Grants

The alpha list of Gitcoin Grants is live! Projects include:

  • Prysm by Prysmatic Labs: Prysm is developing an open source ETH 2.0 client in Go. Their $5,000/mo goal will be allocated to hire new developers and researchers to speed up ETH2.0 implementation progress.
  • Cryptoeconomics.Study: Cryptoeconomics.study is a free, open-source course on Blockchain protocols and cryptoeconomics. Their $3,000/mo goal will be allocated to their team’s full-time development of the coding project.
  • Burner Wallet by Austin Griffith: One mobile phone can send DAI to another in 5 seconds with a simple QR code scan without any wallet download, working on mobile web browsers. Their $1,000/mo goal was already met (🎉) and will be allocated to bounties to help Austin move faster on the project.

Check out all eleven live Gitcoin Grants applications, and — if interested — see if you’d like to offer your support. 💰

Have a project which deserves funding? To be included in the next batch of Gitcoin Grants, fill out this form and we’ll be in touch.

Kudos To The Grants Team

We wouldn’t be here without the work of the amazing Gitcoin Grants team. We needed a bit of all of these skills to make Grants happen.

Kudos to the team!
  • Kudos to Kevin Seagraves for his work bringing Gitcoin Grants to bear
  • Kudos to Austin Griffith and Andrew Redden for their respective work on ethgrants.com, EIP-1337, and more for Ethereum subscriptions
  • Kudos to the Gitcoin Engineering Team: Mark Beacom, Saptak Sengupta, Aditya Anand, and Octavio Amuchástegui
  • Kudos to Kevin Owocki for the initial idea, spurring on the EIP-1337 working group, and his work shepherding forward open source
  • Kudos to Eswara Sai and Tim Borden for their contributions
  • Kudos to Alisa March and Will Sputra for their beautiful designs

To learn more about Gitcoin, click below. We welcome you on our journey to grow open source while changing the way we work.


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