A comment on the Shell X Gitcoin Partnership


Since our announcement of Shell’s involvement with Gitcoin Grants we have been listening to the community sentiment and thinking through how to respond with meaningful action vs. performative words.

When GitcoinDAO launched in 2021, we began a journey of decentralization which has not come without its challenges. Decision-making processes were put in place and iterated on as we moved from operating as an impact org to a protocol focused one. This required us to both move fast and take our passionate community along for the ride.

With our intention of staying neutral, we worked to maintain Gitcoin Grants, ship products that are useful to us and other communities and created plans to achieve financial sustainability for the DAO. All of this resulted in a series of decisions that our community did not have a chance to weigh in on.

I believe taking money from Shell, on our terms, was the right decision. Lending our legitimacy to them and calling them partners and showcasing them may not have been the right decision without more feedback from our community.

As a DAO and a respected brand in the Ethereum ecosystem, we understand the importance of working in public and the necessity of community involvement. Another beautiful thing about our ecosystem is that many ideals can co exist in our ecosystem and, in fact, very much co-exist in the Gitcoin community.

We wanted to ensure that our decision to accept funding from Shell was not something that we forced all grantees to accept however. As a result, grantees were asked to opt in during their application process. They can decide!

That said, we understand our responsibility in who and how we promote activities happening on our tech (we learned this loud and clear last round). We know that for some of you, running rounds where Shell is involved is not really the problem…but giving them a stage to amplify their voice is.

We acknowledge that our missteps have ripple effects and we are working to improve how we approach better community decision making. We’re listening and would like to invite everyone to participate in the development of a process that supports the selection and promotion of partners who feel aligned with our community’s values moving forward. See @ceresstation’s post on Gitcoin Partnerships Council to engage in the conversation.

I hope we can continue to show you our progress as we grow together as a community and a DAO.


Hey @kyle thanks for opening the discussion here.

From reading the thread on a partner vetting policy, it seems many people would have appreciated a simple poll that could have served as a community temperature check. You’ll see @umarkhaneth’s thread proving so here.

@shawn16400 critically pointed out that Gitcoin does not need another council. Instead, we should lean more heavily on our current steward council :slight_smile:

@annika also shared this sentiment of engaging the stewards more, while highlighting the information overload that can be intimidating for community members.

I personally found the suggestion from @essemharris quite interesting. Here it is:

TL;dr: We should design a GCP that formalizes (1) when the Stewards Council can intervene in a partnership opportunity, (2) the nature of that intervention, and (3) how, if at all, the partner or the Gitcoin Foundation can appeal the Steward Council’s decision. This GCP design should begin immediately after the partnership development process made transparent to the community.

I also appreciate the merit and rationale behind the comment from @rohit:

Whether it is Lahaina in Hawaii or Shimla in the Himalayas, when nature strikes its fury, it doesn’t discriminate based on what beliefs we hold dear. […] As someone who has nothing to do with the Climate round, I might hold my opinion dear on the trail of bad blood in the money going in the pool, but it shouldn’t count as much as, say, a grantee from the Global South fighting for the next dollar that can go a long way in making a difference in their world. Alternatively, if the grantee community believes their rounds are better off without similar alliances, the DAO should honor that as a signal in future partnerships.

I think this makes a good point. It reminds me of when soya farmers made the news for the deforestation of the Amazon and how terrible that was. The reality is how can you care about the future of the world when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed? These people don’t care about deforestation more than they care about feeding their families.

This brings me to a point made by @connor:

At the end of the day, it’s become extremely hard to raise matching pool funds in this bear market, and much of the loud criticism is coming from people who have benefited immensely from matching pool funds over the years.

I can’t believe the variety of nationalities and cultures represented on the GG18 kick-off call. The same goes for the weekly community calls – it is really awe-inspiring how many people have felt support from Gitcoin. Keeping them resourced seems like a worthy cause to me, but I’m interested to hear more about what we value as a community. Are we saving the Amazon or feeding our family?

Can we do both?


Just want to say that I’m a Gitcoin maxi - this event does nothing to lessen that. I also think your decision to take Shell funds is not wrong. How Gitcoin associates its brand with Shell is of course a legitimate concern. I was in the nonprofit sector for 15 years and received funds from a number of foundations who received THEIR funds from individuals, institutions and companies that people would consider ‘dirty.’ Yet, the veneer of an intermediate nice sounding nonprofit made it palatable for almost everyone.

I think Gitcoin has a responsibility to secure as much funding as possible to fund the radicle and pragmatic projects utilizing its platform for building a better world. We need billions of it in fact and as soon as possible. I think it would be interesting to have a discussion around what money Gitcoin takes and what money it doesn’t - but that is the rabbit hole of rabbit holes.

It pains me to see Gitcoin get so beat up on this but it is part of the game though when you are a top of funnel organization for funding public goods. Thanks for being the ones making mistakes and help making dreams happen - in public, in reflection and in service to a better world.


I don’t agree with those who say “money is money” (in sweeter words).
Brand damage is real, most of your supporters here are typically anti supercapitalism and on the opposity side of Shell. It’s not too late to save face, kick Shell and the likes out or lose your community.
Simple as that.

Stop acting like you are wallstreet businessmen with difficult moral decisions, you already chose a side by working for Gitcoin.
Stay on your side.
Options like this shouldn’t even be considered.

You are building pure love with Gitcoin passport and the Public goods network.
Don’t you see you are souring it?


Dear community, I find it very refreshing to read the apologies for greenwashing Shell, and people’s responses through this Governance platform. Representing an Arab youth climate grassroots that tried applying to GR15 unsuccessfully, only to finally make it to GR18 and find myself in front of such a question: I echo the criticisms laid forth that this decision should have been done much more transparently and democratically.

As first-timer with no computational experience, my team and I are wondering if it is worth it for us to officially accept money from Lebanon’s own Shell CEO, Wael Sawan, if we are not being able to convince the environmentalist community to create a Passport and fund us, nor are we being able to penetrate the sexist and homophobic crypto-community here. So they would take credit and use our logo only to match the $15 we have been able to collect so far, or whatever little amount we manage to get by?

This feels super wrong, and thus, we kindly ask every one of you to please explore our “FFF Lebanon: Pan-Arab DeFi solidarity” climate solution grant to see how we are facing the fossil industry at the very frontlines of ecological breakdown; and donate for us to make Wael start paying up for loss and damages starting at home, putting our leg up on this corporate mistake to further pressure them and TotalEnergies and ENI and NovaTek and anyone else with fossil interests to keep exploring and drilling new wells, as if nothing they could be held accountable for were happening, and even being promoted at this UNFCCC’s COP28.

FFF Europe had started a campaign for insurers and bankers of the fossil industry to spend $1 in Climate Finance for every $1 these fossil companies spend. Now, this is the scale of financing youth-collectives need. Anything less is really considered a mockery, but if we do find this economic and political means of campaigning to be massively advantageous for us in countering the rampantly racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic systems ruling over our SWANA region through authoritarian sectarianism – then so be it, we will not drop out of this pool of funds.



Your clarifications regarding Shell’s terms to participate in the matching pool would be important to know in full. Does the conversation just end like this?


I would like to express my thoughts about the Shell situation.

I was helping a fren to create a grant and I was filling the form, ticking all the checkboxes, it was only later when I realized that I accidentally opted-in into Shell.

After realising the mistake I have expressed my opinion here:

Source of the tweet: https://twitter.com/marsxrobertson/status/1691246143051587585

Source of the message: Telegram (probably need invite link)

And now my fren has concerns too…

Please forgive me not reading Terms & Conditions and ticking all the checkboxes.

How do I explain to a non-Web3-native fren where the money is coming from?

Is there a handy link listing the non-Shell sponsors?

(asking for a fren)

FYI… In the UK, the Shell HQ became a frequent target of protests. As a consequence, there is an injunction agains “Persons Unknown”: https://www.noticespublic.com/shell-centre-tower

use that money to hire lawyers and prosecute them Nuremberg style for crimes against humanity

Or towards any other legal fees incurred by environmental activists on the frontlines…


As a grantee in open source and web3 social round I can not really have a position on shell funding.
However, I strongly believe from now on Gitcoin is associated with Greenwashing.

I think Gitcoin has opened a Pandora box. And now we can expect all kinds of sponsors. I would not be surprised if we get an announcement that a dictator has personally invested into a matching pool.

I think Mars has really good points. Here is further information from the linked article.

Shell appears to have been the most prominent employer of influencer advertising over the last seven years.

In April, for example, the fossil fuel giant released a five-part YouTube series hosted by ex-BBC presenter Dallas Campbell, which touted the net zero benefits of hydrogen and featured one-on-one interviews with two Shell executives.

Oil and gas companies have been heavily promoting hydrogen as a green fuel, despite the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimating that hydrogen will represent at best 2.1 percent of total energy consumption in 2050.

“Shell has the ambition to make enough hydrogen from renewable power to kick-start this energy revolution,” Campbell said in the first video of the series, which has gained nearly 30,000 views.

The former BBC presenter has also promoted the series on his personal social media channels. On Instagram, Campbell encouraged his followers to watch his “Hydrogen powered adventure!” but did not tag Shell, nor mention his commercial relationship with the brand.

This was also not the first time that Campbell had partnered with Shell. In 2016, he presented the social media coverage of the company’s Make the Future London festival. “Dallas was fantastic,” Shell said in a testimonial following the event, adding that the social media campaign had fetched over a million views, which the company described as “absolutely huge!”

In 2022, a Harvard University paper found that a “green innovation” narrative was one of the key social media tactics deployed by fossil fuel companies. Analysing 2,325 social media posts from 22 major European polluters, the report found that 72 percent of posts from oil and gas firms tried to emphasise their spending on green technology.

As the study also pointed out, however, these firms invested just 1.7 percent of their annual capital expenditures in low carbon technologies between 2010 and 2018.


This is a serious question…

Wish I was better at “Web3 Community and Education” game but my fren is super-busy, he coordinates the network of 20+ Climate Emergency Centers (link, grant), physical buildings, located all over the UK.

I would like to report to him the results of the funding round.

I would like to reassure him that no Epstein and no Shell money is involved.

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I do apologize that the terms were not communicated to you sooner, although I’m glad to see that your project participated in GG18 nonetheless. Did you decide to opt in to the Climate Round in the end?

Dear Gitcoin Team and Community,

We at GainForest have always appreciated Gitcoin’s dedication to supporting a decentralized, open-source ecosystem. However, we feel compelled to address a concern we have regarding Gitcoin’s recent association with Shell, specifically its inclusion in the Gitcoin climate matching pool.

Our team has been active in climate policy advocacy at both national and international levels. We’ve witnessed first-hand the role that Big Oil corporations like Shell play in stalling progress on climate action. Furthermore, Shell’s past conduct, which includes legal controversies related to environmental degradation and human rights violations, presents an ethical quandary.

Historical Accountability

Shell, among other Big Oil companies, bears significant responsibility for the ongoing climate crisis. Even more alarming is their historic record, including legal controversies such as their complicity in human rights abuses on environmentalists (Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell).

Recent Activities and Greenwashing

Recent actions by Shell have only reinforced our concerns. Despite public commitments to sustainability, they have used their unprecedented profits to double down on fossil fuel exploration and extraction. This, in our view, represents a strategy of greenwashing rather than genuine change, as outlined in Al Gore’s TED talk and Christiana Figueres’ Al Jazeera article.

Funding Priorities

We understand the challenge of securing consistent, long-term funding for environmental initiatives. That said, the acceptance of Shell’s contribution to the Gitcoin climate matching pool — irrespective of its size — lends the corporation unwarranted legitimacy and reputational influence over projects genuinely seeking to address climate issues. We believe this might hurt projects in the long-term and is against the interest of Gitcoin.

Our Stance

GainForest has opted out of Shell funding and we’ve elaborated on our reasoning in our blog post. We acknowledge that not all organizations have the luxury to make this choice, but we believe Gitcoin should consider prioritizing long-term ethical funding over short-term gains.

We urge Gitcoin to reassess its funding sources, especially as we find ourselves at a crucial juncture in the battle against climate change. Our choices today will undeniably shape our collective future, and it’s imperative that we make decisions aligned with the long-term well-being of our planet instead of short-term profit.


So sad to see the lack of DYOR here:

Here is a good starting point:

And a follow up to see how ‘we’ are the experiment:

And that’s just wikipedia. It would make you sick if you actually really dug deep and spent the weeks, months and years to do YOR and found out how sick these organisations are.

And I’m really lost as to where ‘performative’ leads to in the post:

After all the pushback?

whether it was right or wrong, the result remains the same (I’m not cherry-picking words, facts are facts):

And I thought Gitcoin was a movement for change, but now it’s a:

And Shell are laughing, folks. That’s the thing. That’s their strategy. Well honed for well over a 100 years. Split communities who want to see change, and entice with a couple of greenbacks.Half a mil? Bah, it’s a drop in the ocean, one of their many polluting ones.

I guess it really depends on how deep your own research has gone. Some food for thought for 2023 - freebies abound. Aaaaand this is the national news agency: Onderzoek: jaarlijks 37,5 miljard euro subsidie naar fossiele sector

So that’s 37, 500, 000, 000 euros per year from tax payers money in a country of just under 18 million. Now we know were that 500, 000 might have come from. I wonder what the bounty pay is for the Shell employee that’s keeping track on this thread.

Care to join? Just want to show what ‘privliged’ folks are doing to try and turn the tables on an unjust past, present and future. Another day in the life of an activist for change:

Meanwhile folks around the world are crying divest, divest, divest, we’re over here creating something rotten out of something pure:
It doesn’t have to be this way.

What’s needed is a code on ethics. Really simple. We don’t do business with x, y and z type of organisations.


i don’t agree with this:

i do agree with this:

i hope i’m not going to make people upset or uncomfortable with this, but it’s really just part of the global system to control resources. they want to add “carbon scores” to our credit cards, which will be easy enough once they switch it to CBDC (we’ll still use the same cards, most people won’t notice a difference at all.) it’s already started with corporations, but individuals are coming soon, if we don’t stand up against it.

for anyone who may have heard that “the science is settled” here are a number of scientists who disagree:

  • “wrong to base their energy policy on decarbonization”
  • “the whole hysteria over climate change is a complete fabrication”
  • “amazing how you can get this enthusiasm for something so implausible. it’s a purely political narrative”
  • “objective evidence is that increase in CO2 is benefitting the earth. getting greener, deserts shrinking”
  • “the temperature LEADS the CO2, not the reverse. we’re in a CO2 famine.”
  • “UN scientists started an email campaign to hide the Medieval Warm Period.”

longer video, but very balanced and comprehensive. highly recommended.
Freeman Dyson (if you don’t know this name, look it up).
he doesn’t dispute climate change, but he says it’s unreasonble to call it a crisis.

  • “CO2 is so beneficial in other ways, it would be crazy to try and reduce it.”
  • “on the whole good, and not as large an effect as people imagine”

Tricky business.

As much as I’m for FREE SPEECH, I also like labelling climate change deniers as :clown_face:

GitHub issue: https://github.com/twitter/the-algorithm/issues/1863

Let’s say there is 8,000,000,000 people on the planet and 1% is in science, 1% is in climate clience, 1% of them are climate change deniers = that’s 8000 climate change deniers scientists.

:books: Unequivocal

:four:th report (2007)

:six:th report (2021)

(2007 it was “unequivoval”, 2021 it was “unequivoval” AND human influence)

IPCC Political football

Note that IPCC is political football, OPEC countries still like oil, Argentina and Brasil still like beef… If they agree, it means it is for real.

Emotional aspect

Ultimately I don’t think I can convince any climate change denier on logical / rational / analytical / factual level. I think I need to go into the emotional side, something that came to me after some heated debates on Twitter - trolls were quitting on me. No honourable troll would quit on a lady like Marsita, goddess of mischief.

Simplest explanation: Putin supporters. Russia is the only country benefiting from climate situation, melting Arctic, opening Nortwest Passage.

Transcript: https://chat.openai.com/share/316f1ab8-1dc2-49f3-9f9b-c41e81cf8df8

PS. My fren is growing some weed in his garage and in fact he is using CO2… In a controlled environment such as greenhouse, some CO2 is good. But we don’t want to make entire :earth_africa: a greenhouse with global warming spiralling out of control (feedback loops, tipping points, non-linear changes).


A little bit offtopic, a little bit related, very good punchline addressing the CO2…

Declassified NAVY document from 1990, from /r/collapse subreddit:

Part of the metacris / polycrisis / everything crisis:

  • difficult to figure out what is real
  • no trust in media, no trust in government
  • engagement metrics, polarisation, manufactured outrage
  • black box algorithms

That’s why I trust declassified / hacked documents more than media reports.