Capital Allocation for Cultural Pursuits in Web3

TL;DR – not an official proposal.

Just some of my thoughts on the potential steps that could be taken to redefine capital allocation mechanisms used for creative pursuits, leveraging Grants+ and inspired by the success of the We :heart: The Art contest.

“If there’s one thing that connects the lives of artists globally, it is probably a general sense of economic precarity. Web3 could be a potential pathway to financial security in a world filled with shifting institutional frameworks–a common reality no matter where an artist might be located.” – World View: The Global Reach of Refraction S02/03 Grant Recipients


  • This proposal outlines a vision for exploring Grants+, specifically with respect to redefining capital allocation practices within creative and cultural pursuits.
  • This discussion highlights the We :heart: The Art contest as an example of successful mechanism design for incentivizing and celebrating creative activity within the blockchain space.
  • RefractionDAO, RareDAO, the Open Source Orchestra (OSO), and Gitcoin share a common goal: to foster innovation and creativity within the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • By leveraging Allo funding, we aspire to create a synergistic platform that empowers artists, musicians, and creators to explore new frontiers in cultural and creative expression.
  • This would ultimately create value for the Gitcoin ecosystem (and beyond) by:
    • Enabling access to funding for creative projects through Allo.
    • Encouraging experimentation and innovation in cultural and artistic expression.
    • Building a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and creators within the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • The current market backdrop is ripe for proactive PR, which goes hand in hand with event activations. In other words, there’s an opportunity to elevate our activities and manufacture our own publicity.


  • While Gitcoin may not have been directly involved in organizing the We :heart: The Art contest, we can adapt and integrate similar principles into our own funding initiatives.
  • Just as We :heart: The Art celebrates creative expression within the blockchain community, our tools can empower creators and performers within its ecosystem. Gitcoin’s expertise in funding coordination and capital allocation tools could significantly benefit artists looking to build a career in our broader web3 ecosystem.
  • This could include adopting similar prize structures, contest categories, or community engagement strategies.

Consider the case of Aga Szot’s Icon Walk in Dublin, a vibrant public art installation that served as a cultural landmark for over 14 years. Its closure by Dublin City Council, replaced by a restaurant, highlights a broader trend where commercial interests often supersede the preservation of cultural heritage (the Cobblestone is another example, which was saved due to community protests).

I believe that a long term study on the ‘most significant changes’ tracked from before the Icon Walk was installed, throughout its 14 year life, and between 2 and 5 years after its removal, would articulate the value this public art installation to tourism in the area. It went far beyond “The Greatest Story Ever Strolled”, acting very much as a Schelling point for many creatives around Dublin city.

I had the privilege of being invited to the closing ceremony for the Icon Factory, which occurred during the days immediately following the 2023 Dublin riots. So many members from various artistic factions showed up for Aga, over a three day celebration of everything she brought to Dublin through her art. I got the tail end of this sense of belonging. Meanwhile, a protest in Dublin was hijacked by opportunistic bigots that rioted across the city, destroying public property. In stark contrast, Aga Szot (a Polish woman) was commemorating the removal of a beautiful installation of street art depicting Irish creative champions.

Reflecting on Ireland Music Week, which took place just a month ahead of the riots, discussions centered around themes of accessibility, inclusion, and public funding for cultural initiatives. I have some rather messy notes on Ireland Music Week here if anyone feels so inclined, but you have been warned. They are for my brain, by my brain.

As we reflect on the role of awareness and accessibility as public goods, we confront important questions about the intersection of art, culture, and society. Should awareness of societal issues be considered a public good? Is accessibility to cultural experiences a fundamental right that should be available to all? These questions prompt us to consider the broader implications of supporting public art installations and cultural initiatives within our communities.

I left envisioning a creative industry more deeply rooted in humanistic practices, where innovation and responsibility coalesce to foster very important places (VIPs) – aka cultural spaces. Here, perhaps artists and creators could express themselves freely and get tipped or paid almost in a street performer style.

Something along these lines was built at ETHDublin – it’s called Turtleneck, and was built by the IDriss team.

Let’s talk about growth

Devconnect Istanbul was a great trip, thanks to @CoachJonathan and @Viriya.

  1. We ran the quadratic voting round for Turkish charities at Schelling Point Sessions. There were so many learnings in this for me and I’m looking forward to executing on the next one.
  2. We connected with Gitcoin citizens IRL, one of which is Ornella at Bankless Academy. We talked about how we could motivate younger people to engage with web3 more constructively, a chat that resulted in her first byline getting featured in Blockworks!
  3. We met with Raf at RefractionDAO, which ignited a conversation on how to fold creative and cultural pursuits into what is public and what is good. It is my intention to bring these threads together, hopefully in a situation where we have students pursuing cultural careers at DAOs.

ETHDenver 2024 brought with it so much quality time with Gitcoiners, valuable insights, and fresh ideas. Sincerest apologies to @kyle and @owocki for waking you up on the last night in the Airbnb. The local barman heard I was Irish and allocated free whiskey to me in excess. Lesson learned.

In total, there were six side events to be managed, including Schelling Point Sessions and the Ecosystem Growth Summit (EGS). Laura’s thinking on the relationship between these events resonates strongly with me. I am so grateful for everyone that supported the organization of the Gitcoin side events, especially the fabulous volunteers:

  • @jaxcoder and his wife, Jennifer, Gitcoin’s designated spokesperson detectives.
  • @lanzdingz, @Decentralizedceo, and Rodrigo, who welcomed almost 150 guests to the EGS.
  • An extra special shoutout to Lana and Izzy for facilitating great conversations about strategies for measuring and improving social impact, with a focus on innovative approaches to agriculture, donation tracking and reporting, and the potential of blockchain and crypto for social good at SP Sessions.

A musical performance coordinated at the Gitcoin House with the brilliant Justin Holmes. I was part of a separate side event between the Crypto Communications Collective and the Association of Crypto Journalists and Researchers at Infinite Monkey Theorem. This was hugely successful, and I had the fortune of playing Bass with the Open Source Orchestra.

The juice was worth the squeeze in both cases, and I’m eager to make musical performances a staple of our future events.

What’s the point of all this ?

If creating content with onchain primitives empowers creators, giving them a direct line to their audience, my thoughts are still with adequate compensation. Nobody can rely solely on tips, so I can’t help but think that a matching pool + audience donations could be a model worth testing. Maybe the app isn’t called Turtleneck, but I reckon the concept has legs.

Retroactive funding makes the most sense to me, as it involves funding activities that have already generated value but may have been overlooked initially. For example, the musical performance of Justin Holmes at the Gitcoin House. Also, the wider movement of the Open Source Orchestra, which has played open jams at several marquee ETH events.

The challenge lies in ensuring that retroactive funding is used to support genuine contributions rather than incentivizing free labor or contributing to the perception of clout-based compensation, otherwise referred to as ‘exposure bucks’. Essentially, many artists and creative types have met the challenge of working for free with the promise of promotion or credit in lieu of payment

Impact measurement for cultural and creative endeavors isn’t simply about immediate results either. So reporting is less relevant for individual artists, and would be more relevant to gather the Most Significant Change (MSC) in people’s reflection on Gitcoin organized events after trying out regular musical performances.

In other words, assessing long-term, qualitative impact on how these initiatives make people feel, contributing to positive or negative recollections of our activities. Another example is JT Nichol’s stunning BBQ at Gitcoin House during ETHDenver. And yes, of course there are creative and cultural elements to cooking and serving to large audiences. I distinctly remember the BBQ day as the first time I had beans and pineapple together.

Moreover, serving people with alternative diets makes them feel welcome and extremely grateful for being included, with music putting a neat bow on the experience as a whole. In essence, my thinking is that a program can be great – but likely the only people that will fully recall the content are the speakers themselves. Attendees will remember how well the day went as a whole – from entertainment to refreshments to content. Qualitative assessment methods could include participant observation, social media analysis, and of course feedback surveys.

Thinking of EthCC, is there a way that we can collaborate with other DAOs like RefractionDAO and RareDAO to run social events or unconventional hackathons? By joining forces, we can amplify our impact and create something truly special. We could even coordinate programming with How to DAO and Bankless Academy to generate content that students can use to kickstart their careers in web3. This would ultimately serve onboarding the next billion and our first billion distributed through Allo.

This could take the form of an event at EthCC where the first half of the day is dedicated to programming and Steward Council engagement, perhaps a governance or grants hackathon, and the latter part would have a similar theme to the grants trauma dump night, but with more structure and less vulnerability required of attendees. Something that pulls on heartstrings and opens people up, but without them feeling they have been exposed.

Throughout the day(s), artists and performers could exhibit to allow a breakaway from the intellectual components. The intention is that people leave feeling refreshed, informed, and stimulated.

Proposed Topics and/or Initiatives

  • Integration of Allo

Objective: Establish funding campaigns through Allo to support creative and cultural pursuits within the Gitcoin ecosystem.

Implementation Steps:

  • Develop tailored funding campaigns specifically for music production, art exhibitions, and cultural events.

  • Streamline the application process for creators to submit funding proposals, ensuring transparency and accessibility.

  • Open Source Orchestra Partnership

Objective: Integrate the OSO Protocol into the Allo platform to provide comprehensive solutions for live music production, streaming, and event management.

Implementation Steps:

  • Collaborate with OSO to integrate their protocol into Allo, enabling end-to-end solutions for live performances.

  • Host live music performances and cultural events within the Ethereum ecosystem, leveraging blockchain technology for immutable content distribution.

  • RareDAO Collaboration

Objective: Partner with RareDAO to identify and fund innovative creative projects that promote cultural and artistic expression.

Implementation Steps:

  • Collaborate with RareDAO to select and fund projects aligned with our mission of fostering creativity and cultural diversity.

  • Leverage RareDAO’s expertise in decentralized governance and community engagement to ensure the success of funded projects.

  • RefractionDAO Partnership

Objective: Partner with RefractionDAO to support diverse global voices in the web3 space through creative grants and initiatives.

Implementation Steps:

  • Collaborate with RefractionDAO to highlight the potential of web3 in empowering artists worldwide.
  • Develop and showcase projects such as Ziro Festival’s cross-cultural music collaboration and Bubblegum Club’s Ghostland music vertical to demonstrate the impact of web3 on cultural narratives and community support.


To specifically call it out, I believe these topics and/or initiatives could serve the following objectives and key results for the Ecosystem Collective:

  1. Attracting and Retaining Skilled Contributors: Engage with other DAOs, the Open Source Orchestra, and satellite communities to attract and retain highly skilled contributors to the initiatives.
  2. Demonstrating Product Use Cases: Showcase the use cases of Gitcoin products through dogfooding initiatives, demonstrating their effectiveness in supporting creative projects within the ecosystem.
  3. Fueling Open Source Technology: Use impactful grant-making to fuel open source technology development and educate on best practices in grants management, positioning Gitcoin as a leader in coordinating value allocation within the industry.

If there is sufficient interest in this, I would request help ironing out the implementation process. My intention is to coordinate around EthCC and our associated side events.

Be it a social event, some type of hackathon, or just a casual breakout session, I’d like to explore Allo-enabled funding and partnerships with RefractionDAO, RareDAO, and the Open Source Orchestra. Implementation could involve launching tailored funding campaigns, integrating the OSO protocol into Allo, and collaborating with RareDAO and RefractionDAO to foster creativity and cultural diversity within the Gitcoin ecosystem.

Excited to hear your thoughts. Any and all feedback welcome :slight_smile:


This is a great point that I generally agree with. Creativity arises emotions that can be remembered for many years.
As long as the Gitcoin goals are met, then we should experiment with various initiatives.

  1. This initiative can give measurable signals of top contributors.
  2. The various products that Gitcoin ships can be utilized in various fields. With the entertainment field, products like the Grants Stack, could be utilized to identify promising talent that could receive more opportunities. Mixed with the new product gofundop creators could get enough to sustain their work prior to their release. these are the two examples of possible use cases in the creator economy.
  3. How about supporting OSS platforms or projects that utilize Gitcoin within their resource allocation model?

Gitcoin needs a phygital arts + science festival!

Thanks for all, @quaylawn!

For divulgation purposes, the schelling point could eventually evolve to that…

Some ideas/topics to elaborate:

  • Interactive Installations
  • DeSci Workshops
  • Web3 Art Auctions
  • Crypto Art Galleries
  • NFT Showcases
  • Live Performances
  • Tech Talks
  • Hackathons
  • Community Art Projects
  • Networking Opportunities

something like Pragma but not Pragma, something like pop up cities but not pop-up cities…

A tiny experiment could work for now


Thanks, @quaylawn, for penning this down. There are so many seeds here, each with the potential to blossom fully into meaningful experiences and impacts for the community.

One of my favorite quotes on culture comes from Professor Clayton M. Christensen’s book, “How Will You Measure Your Life?”,

Make no mistake: a culture happens, whether you want it to or not. The only question is how hard you are going to try to influence it.

A deliberate approach to shape and converge words and visuals to find common ground to celebrate the community’s journey can go a long way! I look forward to working with you on elaborating the next level of detail on these ideas to get them closer to execution!

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Appreciate you starting this conversation @quaylawn!

It has been a topic of conversation for quite some time. @lanitrock @birdsoar and @alexalombardo have been in this community for some time championing the same message (i.e., there is value in arts and culture and that should be funded as something Gitcoin’s community cares about).

There are a few threads to pull on here that are interesting:

Grants funding for the arts: I have a background in arts and music and know that funding is hard to come by even in the world beyond web3. One thing I love about Gitcoin’s new framework for Gitcoin Grants is that ANY community can come together, apply for funding and spin up a round to fund what matters to them :slight_smile: We created this structure for folks like you who want to shift systems and need funding to do it :sparkling_heart:

We have not yet experimented too much with grants centred around events (beyond the Istanbul experiment) and it’s an interesting idea. I think it’s worth double-clicking on the evolving purpose of Schelling Point (SP) that would be interesting to hear community feedback on.

Schelling Point’s evolution for consideration: Historically SP has been a place where regens can come together and surface conversations on thought leadership around using crypto for good. It also worked to GreenPill degens who where onboarding to the crypto for good movement.

Its loose value proposition made it very challenging to raise sponsorship funds for, especially in the bear. We knew that Schelling Point is just too valuable to not run (it is a beloved, surprisingly intimate space that does feel unique and special to our community) so that prompted us to rework the format so that we could continue creating the connections and having the conversations that matter to those in the SP orbit.

This is how SP sessions were created – a smaller set of events centred on more niched conversations. The smaller scope was both affordable and very well received by attendees who are both lifers of SP and new to SP.

With Gitcoin’s renewed focus on Grants for 2024, we have been working through how we can ladder a meaningful events strategy into our overarching org strategy and have been mulling over the following:

SP as an events series to host niched, more emergent conversations with important thought leaders on Grants best practices such as deep dives on impact reporting, grants program learnings, grantee education.

Ecosystem Growth Summit as the place where we surface codified learnings (from SP and beyond) to proliferate the best wisdom on ecosystem growth through capital allocation. (name tbc) as the decentralized brand for SP that is mostly focused on top of funnel onboarding/Public Goods Pilling. These would be hosted and run by community members (think TEDx) and they can request a certain amount of funds for a given event.

With this structure, it allows Gitcoin to have more ownership over programming that is strategically aligned with the first two event types and the latter being a place for community experimentation and creativity.

If this is the direction we go (and I’d love to hear ppl’s thoughts on the structure) then it sounds like might be the place to experiment with these ideas :yellow_heart: There are structures missing for .edu event series but this could be the domino that sets that plan into play.

cc: @CoachJonathan who has been my thought partner in working through the emergent structure


In response to this I might add an addendum to my initial post, as it was pointed out to me by @polarpunklabs that it’s not 100% clear what the next step could be. I think testing out these ideas at ETHDublin is relatively low risk. We could post a bounty that encourages the use of EasyRetroPGF to fund initiatives like the Open Source Orchestra.

That way we could experiment with Izzy’s suggestions :point_down:

This would also help us affirm Gitcoin’s positioning at the epicentre of capital allocation in Ireland :slight_smile:

Longer term, I’d like to see Allo integrated into solutions for developing physical public goods in Dublin. Counterintuitively, culture is heavily neglected by the City Council here.

My hope is that the results at ETHDublin in May could inspire conversations at EthCC in July, and extend to planning events like the phygital arts and science festival @robioreefeco mentioned.

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This is quite interesting.

The Schelling Point needs to evolve into an arts and science fair. Efforts could be gradually implemented, involving communities not necessarily from the web3 space. Focal points should target potential communities.