Gitcoin 2.1 - where we've been, where should we go?

Sometimes I write in order to clarify my thinking. Below is a memo I wrote a couple weeks ago about Gitcoin 2.1. These are my raw opinions circa 2 weeks ago, about where Gitcoin’s been and where we’re going. I am sharing for transparency, but beware it may contain errors and this post is not financial, strategic, or any other type of advice.

Gitcoin 2.1

The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create. ~ Leonard Sweeter

Where we’ve been

Gitcoin DAO spent $25m and 3 years (2021-2024) inventing a product that was too little too late.

  • Grants Stack QF was perfect for 2021 (notable aside: we generated a few spin outs/spin downs: PGN, public works, ODC, dCompass, Passport, etc)

The market has moved on

  1. From single player (Gitcoin only) to many competitors (some are now bigger than us).
  2. From QF only to a pluralistic ecosystem of capital allocation mechanisms.
  3. From 2010s era tech (L1s, on-chain POAPs, transparency by default) to 2020 era tech (zk, MACI, L2s)

Gitcoin must evolve to catch up (but not just catch up, we will skate to where the puck is going).

Where we’re going

(We should do an essay contest with the prompt “What is Gitcoin 2.1” and have other leaders write their own thoughtful takes. Here is my answer to this prompt:)

Our Goal is $50GMV, and then financial sustainability.

The good news is that we have everything we need to do it.

We are betting the brand on

  1. Grants = Growth (immediate business line)
  2. CASE (back of house, long term strategic investment)

Why betting the brand on this?

  1. I have high conviction in both initiatives.
  2. Gitcoin has enough $$$ left to pull it off (for now, but that overton window will close soon).
  3. The default is death.

What got us here won’t get us there.

0. Those who remain will need to opt in to being a live player or GTFO

For those who want to be full time still, This will be hard. Everyone needs to be a live player. Everyone needs to be pulling their weight. We will win by committing to doing it, together. By supporting each other.

We have burnt the boats. There is no going back to Gitcoin 1.0 or to 2.0. Please leave if you are not 100% onboard. If that’s you, come talk to me. We will make it easy. Please do me the justice of freeing up your seat for someone who wants to be here.

Anyone who remains after 1 week, we get hardcore. We commit. We believe we can do it.

1. We believe we can do it, so we can do it.

We can do it if we believe we can do it.

If we don’t believe we can do it we won’t do it. We commit to the outcome and we work backwards to make it work. This mindset creates folllow through and it is key.

2. We are the SOURCE of a new regenerative web3

We are source. We are the highest-lindy public goods funding project in Ethereum and an early innovator in a existentially important space! We sit atop a groundswell of legitimacy. Lets act like it.

3. It’s just an optimization problem (tune $$$ spent to GMV output)

Literally the most important metric to scale rn: $$$ spent to GMV output. If we spent $25m on traditional QF ($3.5m GMV in 2024), then how might we learn from newer initiatives that costed closer to $200k to build, like EasyRetroPGF ($1.95m GMV in 2024)?

What if we can make bets in multiple areas? We already are. Check out all of these things that were built on Allo.

How do we do it?

Object level investments (from shallowest to deepest)

1. Grants = Growth, powered by CASE

We show off the fruits of CASE in sales/BD convos. Sometimes this means we build new stuff for customers.


In CASE R&D, we focus on Grants mechanisms.

  1. Key investment: Reduce TTV for new mechanisms to explore design space 10000x faster.
  2. 2nd Key investment: Embrace Capital Allocation Strategies built elsewhere (more on that later).
  3. Mechanisms
  4. QF
    1. Via GS
    2. VIa QF new build
  5. RetroPGF
    1. OP Round 3 style
    2. OP Round 4-5 style
  6. Experimental Mechanisms
    1. Private QF
    2. Conviction Voting
    3. Guilds
    4. Streaming QF
    5. Cookie Jar
    6. MolochDAOs
  7. Supporting Software
  8. Sidecar Apps that add utility for all mechanisms (like checker)
  9. GTC Utility
    1. Our goal is not just GMV but Allo GMV and eventually GTC utility.

3. GG21+ powered by CASE

We use CASE to reinvent Grant Program/Citizens Programs to match our product offerings.

  1. QF
  2. RetroPGF
  3. Grant ships
  4. 1 or 2 experimental mechanisms

During this, we must:

  1. Become experts on the mechanisms by demoing the mechanisms.
  2. Do a Rotational Volunteering Program so that engineers and other back of house ppl have to do customer service + have empathy forour users. Everyone who is full time at Grants Lab must serve in some volunteer or support capacity in the round. This will create empathy for our users and for each other.
  3. Merge Citizens Grants Rounds into GG rounds
  4. These should have the same operational playbook just be focused on Gitcoin internally instead of outwards.

4. CCCC, powered by CASE

Launch a new container for DAO/Citizens work entitled the citizens & core coordination container (CCCC)

  1. Core =
    1. Owns education on the common knowledge citizens must all have (Whitepaper, Rainbowpaper, CASE book, grants canvas book, current events / initiatives)
    2. Owns internal comms
    3. Owns website
    4. Owns brand
  2. Citizens = the people in the outer orbit of the DAO.
  3. Coordination - ways that they can help Gitcoin
    1. Mechanisms, built on Allo.
      1. Direct Grants
      2. Retroactive Grants
      3. RFPs from GL
      4. Write Software / Build Mechanisms on Allo
  4. Education & Training Programs
    1. Teach people to see the world in terms of capital allocation.
    2. Teach them to use our software.
    3. 10m GTC all in commitment from treasury.
    • Its a lot but if we dont dogfood our own mechanisms we will never win. And we need to level access to outsiders.
  5. Container

5. Metagovernance loop: Progressive governance refactor

Workstreams. Fucking. Blow. They don’t work. They’re capital inefficient. They turn into fiefdoms.

Why are we still using workstreams (or a variant of them) 36 months after the dao was created?

Why are we using workstreams when we should be using our own mechanisms? Or the latest DAO tooling? If we believe in networks over hierarchies, lets start using our products to nurture the neworks around Gitcoin!

We need to go through this loop

  1. Start to think in mechanisms
  2. Start to act in mechanisms
  3. Build them on Allo
  4. Use them here
  5. Repeat until moon

S22 needs to be the LAST time we dont use allo (or something on the road to being on Allo) to distribute $$$ to the DAO.

How do we govern what mechanisms we use? I recommend we use

  1. Grants Ships - decentralized container for choosing mechanisms.
  2. Dedicated Domain Allocation == Kevin and Meg and other top stewards are domain experts now, but eventually we open up more pools of funds.

In Closing

Gitcoin then iterates every 6 months until big success or until failure. Whatever we are in Dec 2024, that is Gitcoin 2.2. The amount of pain we all go through in 6 months is directly driven by the results of what we do now until then (and some luck).

In November, Owocki to give Gitcoin 2.1 talk at Devcon this year about new product offerings. We are fucking Gitcoin. We were leaders and will be again. This is how you can leverage us yourself.