The difficulty of funding open-source software, or OSS, has been a dilemma for longer than Ethereum has been alive. Yet the young Ethereum ecosystem has already bloomed one of the most interesting stabs at answering the problem, and that blooming is Gitcoin.
Gitcoin is many things. It’s an Ethereum-powered dApp, it’s a project suite, and it’s a community platform.
In every regard, though, Gitcoin and its multitudes are pointed at one mission: fostering more sustainable OSS funding around Ethereum.
One of the project’s biggest hits to date has been its Gitcoin Grants program, the latest of which, Round 4, ended on January 21st after running for two weeks.
In that span, the initiative’s innovative “quadratic funding” mechanism boosted small donors, meaning users that spent only a handful of Dai could still secure hundreds of dollars’ worth of funding for Ethereum projects.
Round 4 Sees Plenty of Participation
With $200,000 worth of funds set aside by sponsors for the latest grant round’s quadratic matching, more than 1,000 community members jumped at the chance to boost their projects of choice with an extra scoop of funding.
With the Q1 round now having come to a close, the data shows it was a productive success.
Altogether, the Ethereum public made over 5,000 donations collectively totaling more than $100,000, atop which the matched funds will be applied.
STATS: Gitcoin Grants Round 4 has seen 5644 contributions from 1188 unique community members, worth $111093 in just over 14 days. ????????
— Gitcoin | ???? (@gitcoin) January 21, 2020
This round was of a first-of-its-kind, too, as it saw Gitcoin open up two grants funding pools: an “Infrastructure” one for Ethereum development projects and a “Community” one for Ethereum media projects, the latter being the new addition.
In the Infrastructure category, the projects estimated to receive the most matched funds in Round 4 were 1) the Tornado.cash ETH privacy solution, 2) “easy node” maestros DAppNode, and 3) the Sablier real-time money streaming dApp that’s recently captured the imaginations of many Ethereum stakeholders.
As for the Community category, the projects estimated to receive the most matched funds this go-around were 1) the popular Week in Ethereum News newsletter, 2) the Twitter news aggregation services of @antiprosynth, and 3) top Ethereum community info portal EthHub.
Zooming out, the acute funding in general will help many Ethereum projects enter 2020 on better war footing. But more Dai donations are coming yet if Gitcoin has anything to say about it.
More Grant Rounds Coming
Round 4 generated a lot of buzz and goodwill in the Ethereum community, and it further entrenched Gitcoin as a darling therein. The round is only the first of four on the slate for this year, too.
“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,” as Gitcoin’s Vivek Singh has previously explained.
With that said, Gitcoin is aiming to help distribute $1.5 million in grant funds by year’s end with coming grant rounds set for March, June, and September.
The Bigger Picture
Gitcoin doesn’t solve all of Ethereum’s funding problems, though it’s already proven to be very productive and an impressive advance in the right directions.
The project is interesting in what it suggests about Ethereum. For one, it suggests the robustness of the fledgling Ethereum ecosystem. There is no current analogue to Gitcoin in any other crypto community. That’s a testament to Ethereum’s smart contract capabilities, which Gitcoin leverages adeptly, as well as to Ethereum’s position as the reigning smart contracts platform.
Gitcoin Grants, like a mirror, also suggests what kind of things the Ethereum community is facing or prioritizing at a given time. For instance, the Tornado privacy solution getting a major response in Round 4 shows that more Ethereum stakeholders are starting to increasingly value privacy tools as the blockchain project matures.