A mechanism is credibly neutral if it does not discriminate for or against any specific people, treating everyone fairly, to the extent that it’s possible in today’s diverse and complicated world. ~ Vitalik Buterin
I believe that credible neutrality is very important to public goods funding in the 21 century.
Why? Public goods are relative to the values of the communities they serve.
In a tribalistic and polarized world, it is impossible to serve all of the memetic tribes at the same time.
- some communities will want a DEI round. some will think that is woke BS.
- some communities will want to fund open source software. some just won’t care.
- some will want to fund local public goods. some digital.
- some are okay with an oil company giving them money. some are not.
This is a fundamental tension in what Gitcoin Grants is trying to do. The realization and acceptance of this tension was a profound moment for me, and it is part of why we decided to refactor Gitcoin Grants from a company/product to a DAO/protocol: Communities should be sovereign to decide their own values. They should be able coordinate on credibly neutral protocols which do not discriminate or rent-seek on them. We should be able to fund public goods regardless of whether the red team or the blue team is in power. We can accomplish this by building credibly neutral institutions for funding public goods.
Different memetic tribes will have diff public goods according to their value-sets. Criticism from tribes a about tribe b value-sets isn’t as legitimate as criticism from within that tribe.
Which brings me to a point about decentralization & credible neutrality within the Gitcoin ecosystem.
I feel like the DEI controversy in GG17 (beta rounds) + the shell controversy in GG18 misses that Gitcoin is now a DAO with several parts:
- the dao contributors themselves.
- products are credibly neutral protocols now.
- its programs which run rounds on the protocols (shell deal + daphne thing happened here)
By design, if u don’t like the Gitcoin contributors politics, or the politics of anyone else using the protocols, you can still use the protocol… you can fork the programs and make binance grants, avalanche grants, grants for people into knitting, grants for shiba inu sonic 69 fans, or any community you want.
Here is a visual of what this looks like.