A North Star for Gitcoin ⭐️

A North Star for Gitcoin :star:

(and the decade-long path to get there)

Primary Audience: Gitcoiners who are looking for a north star, what our current course towards it, and grounding on how their work supports reaching it.

Secondary Audience: General Gitcoin fans, web3 regens. People with 2-3 pages worth of attention span.


** This is Owocki’s personal point of view. It is not an official Gitcoin policy. Not financial or tax advice. This content is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This post is not advice in any form. Do your own research. The Gitcoin team holds crypto assets, including GTC + ETH.


Gitcoin is a hybrid between

  1. Gitcoin Grants*: a web3 crowdfunding juggernaut
  2. Gitcoin Passport: a foundational web3-era sybil resistance infrastructure

Both sides are individually billion $$$ opportunities. But they’re linked because they are more powerful together. Each side feeds data, talent, momentum, and other resources to one other… They are both building infrastructure in response to what’s going on in themselves, surrounding ecosystems, & within the other one.

As one side grows in legitimacy, so does the other. As one side grows in demand, the other grows in supply. Like two co-evolved natural ecosystems, the two are in a constant state of symbiosis.

One parallel from natural ecosystems is Algae and fungi, which co-evolved in a mutualistic relationship. Algae provide photosynthetic capabilities, producing food, while fungi offer protection and a stable environment. This coevolution allowed them to colonize various habitats and thrive in a wide range of ecological niches.

Just like Algae & Fungi co-evolved together, Grants and Passport co-evolve together. Grants provide data, network effects, and a brand halo. Passport provides fraud protection + sybil resistance. This coevolution could allow them to colonize various economic ecosystems & thrive in a wide range of economic niches.

*Gitcoin Grants = an umbrella containing Gitcoin Grants Quarterly Program, Grants Stack, and Allo.

1. Gitcoin Grants: a web3-era funding juggernaut

Just as the internet proved naysayers wrong as it sculpted society over the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, web3 could sculpt society over the 2020s + 2030s.

We are 10 years into the web3’s foundational impact on the world. We have an opportunity & a responsibility to sculpt this movement.

Web1 transitioned humanity to become a networked species; web3 has the potential to evolve humanity further into a network species by bringing more core primitives of civilization onto the network.

There are already 6 different subcategories of crowdfunding that existed pre-web3, presumably there will be web3 versions of them. And because web3 will accelerate the use cases of massively multiplayer finance, there is a strong chance there will be many many more

Gitcoin started with Quadratic Funding. We are now branching into different types of funding.

Grants Stack is our trojan horse. Allo Protocol is what’s inside. Allo Protocol can become for crowdfunding campaigns what OpenZeppelin is for ERC-20 tokens (an easy to use/fork well-documented and audited set of libraries). We will build every major crowdfunding use case into Allo. The use cases we can’t build, will be built on Allo Protocol by our community & partners.

Grants Stack will be our preferred way of delivering Allo Protocol to the masses. Because it is easily forkable, everyone has the ability to run a campaign with no-code on it. Because of its ease of use, it proliferated among web3 grants programs… But grew to other communities from there. Because of it’s forkability/plug-in architecture has enabled 100s of types of community crowdfunding campaigns, it is the first and only tool that covers a majority of the crowdfunding use cases - an attribute that did much to increase speed of it’s adoption. It has done for crowdfunding in web3 what Wordpress did for blogging in web2.

Public Goods are Good. Gitcoin Grants started with public goods as our highest & most worthy cause. It gave us a moral high ground + momentum. Then we evolved Fund What Matters. As Ethereum & web3 washes over society, we will ride the wave + help regenerate causes across the world.

By 2033, Grants could become a crowdfunding juggernaut. By committing to 15M through Grants Stack in 2024, and increasing by 20% on average each year by 2033 we could be hitting $100s of millions in GMV within the decade. **

2. Gitcoin Passport: foundational web3-era sybil resistance infrastructure

As Gitcoin Grants has matured, it has generated a need for good sybil resistance tooling that matches our values. These values have been progressively elaborated over the course of Gitcoin’s evolution…

  1. Protecting PII / user data
  2. User control / data sovereignty
  3. & more

Passport will beat monolithic providers by recognizing the plurality of ways that people identify themselves + providing for this fundamental need. Passport will beat the existing KYC providers that do not get traction in web3 because they rely on statist, privacy-violating solutions to identify humans.

The TAM for identity is everyone on earth. Every government, every community. As the internet becomes more AI-driven, the demand for sybil resistance tools will grow from a low hum to overpowering need.

We will ride the wave of backlash against governments and big tech and for self-sovereign identity until the network effects of the entire movement begin to carry us. From there, we will win by providing tools both for convention (easy to integrate) and configuration (easy to fork/modify).

Passport will capture this demand by creating a flywheel that creates more & more value as it spins.

The flywheel was bootstrapped by Gitcoin Grants and over time we’ve created momentum through our dozens of others partners that’s starting to turn into exponential network effects.

The market for funding things is in the billions$$, so is the market for sybil resistance. By committing to have $3 million total cost of forgery in Gitcoin Passport in 2024, and increasing by 20% on average each year by 2033 Passport hit $10s of millions of sybil resistant use cases secured within the decade… **


Gitcoin Grants & Gitcoin Passport are in symbiosis with one another. As the capital cycle ebbs & flows over the next decade, the two could grow together + deepen their relationship with one another… potentially eventually becoming fundamental components of web3-era civil infrastructure by 2033.


exponential network effects

At the risk of asking something previously asked:

  1. Has Gitcoin considered increasing GIT utility by encouraging (or requiring) funded projects to incorporate GIT in places that make sense for their tokenomics? E.g. one of options for fees
  2. Has Gitcoin considered treasury ownership of project tokens it funds? (The project is funded, but also donates its tokens to Gitcoins treasury for long term holds

The primary objective of Gitcoin would still be paramount, but supported by these two secondary ones where the opportunity presents itself?


This is a wonderful perspective!

This dynamic seascape symbolizes a future that is more inclusive, fair, and empowering for everyone. The incredible synergy between Gitcoin Grants (GG) and Gitcoin Passport (GP) doesn’t merely enhance the so-called web3; it serves as the bedrock for a society where each individual has the opportunity to actively contribute and reap the benefits.

I envision furthering this progress by encouraging more feedback mechanisms within the systems and fostering synergies with other well-known crypto ecosystems.

Thank you for being such a great source of inspiration for all of us!


Just getting to this now :slight_smile:

I like the longterm view of this post. It helps contextualize the opportunities we’re pursuing. What I think this post does well is it articulates the opportunity for each of our product verticals (grants and identity management) both of which are very promising if we can pull it off.

One thing that’s missing for me in our strategy is a clearly articulated singular focus (aka a North Star) of what we’re trying to achieve as a network (both of products and ppl). I don’t believe we (read: “I”, since I did lead the proposal for our current mission :upside_down_face: ) have adequately united our product suite in our mission statement and I’m currently revising this and will propose an amendment soon.

That said, something I have noticed is that both the grants strategy and Passport strategy is working on different sides of the same coin: funding distribution. Grants Stack/Allo enables, and Passport protects. As the products incubate and develop their respective paths, perhaps our singular focus as a network should be to enable any community to distribute capital freely and effectively so they can fund what matters to them. and our BHAG/North Star goal for that could be 1billion in funding distributed and protected by Gitcoin.

Just some things I’m noodling on currently…




i dont know if this is what you asked for… but i think each of the products has to go through the following maturity steps along the product maturity spectrum (thing i just made up but might try to meme into existence if ppl like it):

  1. Launch - the moment the product makes first contact with market.
  2. Product Market Fit - the moment the product is starting to work for a specific market need
  3. Network Effects - the product/protocol getting exponentially better the more people use it, up to an upper limit defined by the size of the market.
  4. Financial Sustainability - a value capture mechanism is activated that allows the protocol to be financially sustainable. or the network’s overhead fee structure is reduced to 0 and is financially sustainable by having zero costs.

note that a products path along this spectrum is not purely linear, as there can be 1-step-forward-2-steps back or 2-steps-back-1-step-forward situations like

  1. in 2021 when we realized the products needed to be protocols, and so we had to go back to stage 1
  2. if we realize a market is not big enough to hit nfx, so we have to go back to stages 1/2
  3. if a launch fails to meet product market fit

another thing thats not linear is how value increases exponentially as products hit their “network effects” stage.

another tricky thing about this maturity spectrum is that different skills are needed at each stage of the spectrum. as the meme goes “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”. sometimes teams must evolve as products mature or dont mature.

idk if this helps at all.

  1. fwiw, i think grants stack is in step 2/3 right now.
  2. and passport is in step 2/3 also right now.
  3. allo is likely in step 2.
  4. PGN is in step 1 and is retooling before step 2 rn.

another hard thing is focus. imo it might might be good to just focus on one theme (say “gitcoin = grants”) for 2024 and nail that before trying to expand out to do 4 things.

anyway, to answer your question in terms of “what are we achieving as products/ppl” @Viriya … imo these 4 steps are basically it to get there.

i know @DisruptionJoe has also pushed for developing a strategy to hit north star goals. i’d be curious what else people want to see in articulating how we meet our goals.