Go Fund Yourself - The Daily Gwei #55

Some thoughts on funding/grants in the Ethereum space.


I’ve been a big proponent of supporting “public goods” work in the Ethereum space for quite a while now - from being a heavy Gitcoin donor to funding projects that I believe will benefit the most amount of people. Ethereum allows people to quickly fund any project or individual that they want since sending money such as ETH or DAI around is as simple as knowing someone’s ENS address.

“Public goods” funding has been something that Ethereum has been experimenting with for years and only over the last few months with the launch of the Gitcoin Grants matching rounds have people started paying real attention. I think this is mainly because of the multiplier effect of these rounds. For those who aren’t familiar, the way it works is that a bunch of sponsors put up an amount of money to go towards matching individual donations. Of course, this is nothing new but the most interesting thing about these matching rounds is that a 1 DAI donation can be multiplied by up to 200x by using these sponsored funds (learn more about how this works here). This acts to amplify an individuals donation and gives them the feeling that their donation is having an impact even though they may not have thousands of dollars to give.

Outside of Gitcoin, there are plenty of “ecosystem grant” programs being run by various companies, teams and institutions within the Ethereum space. The Ethereum Foundation runs the ESP (Ecosystem Support Program) and previously ran their own grants program, ConsenSys Labs provides incubation for various teams and there are numerous smaller grants programs that spin up & down all the time. In addition to this, individuals across Ethereum can easily donate money to anyone they want to by simply sending ETH, DAI or any other token to another users Ethereum address.

There’s also been debates in the Ethereum community around “block reward funding” - that is, paying out core developers and researchers a share of the ETH rewards sourced directly from blocks mined on the Ethereum network. This already exists in protocols like Zcash and Decred but that’s because they have had it in place since day 1 - it becomes very messy to implement this into an existing protocol - especially one as large as Ethereum. The last time the debate was had, the major concerns were around who would steward the funds, how would the funds be allocated and how to avoid capture of the funds by any one party. This is actually something that the DAO space as a whole is trying to tackle and improve upon so I’m keeping a close eye on that.

All in all, I prefer the experimentation of these things to be done on the upper layers of Ethereum - whether it be via DAOs or via something like Gitcoin grants - rather than at the base layer. I personally don’t think Ethereum will ever have any form of block reward funding (in eth1 or eth2) and I think that’s okay as long as we keep utilizing the other options available to us to get money to where it needs to be.

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano


All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.


Follow and Support Me