Gitcoin Appreciations Thread

Couldn’t find an encouragements thread to the Gitcoin team so here is one!
Starting off with a personal story of how massive a difference Gitcoin made in my life.

How quadratic funding changed my life

Half a year ago I had $100 in my bank account and in order to afford a place to stay I was performing fire spinning shows in exchange for housing at a resort in Zanzibar in East Africa while trying to launch my own startup. Seems like insanity, right?

I continued because I believe in the importance of finding the best ways to fund public goods and in the potential of crowdfunded prizes where you have three players:

  1. The proposer creates a project proposal
  2. Funders add to the prize pool for someone to build the project
  3. Contestants either join forces or compete to win the prize

We tested this out during Zuzalu a few months previous (thank you Gitcoin for supporting Zuzalu!). Two people added $50 each to a prize to build a productivity app which can save you hours every week. When you try to open your phone, the app asks why you are opening it thereby forcing you to use your phone with intention. A Ukrainian developer decided to adapt an app he was working on to win this prize. The free app he adapted received over 10,000 downloads and he donated the prize funds. (See Intenty on Google Play)

That took $100 worth of incentive. Sometimes builders just need the social validation that people care about something to want to build it. With a prize, you can also include the requirement that the project must be free or open source. This reverses traditional incentives of wanting to monopolize a product/invention to sell it over time to instead wanting to open source it to win the prize.

With crowdfunded prizes, as more people contribute to an idea the incentive to build it accumulates until the market forces make it enough that someone decides to build the project. From the builder perspective, it’s easier to be a civic entrepreneur making things that matter because you can see the proven demand for a project increase in real time instead of guessing what people might want.

We also tried to crowdfund a guitar and several people donated, but no one ended up picking up the guitar to win the prize so we refunded everyone. That’s another benefit of prizes, you can refund everyone if no one does it.

Then we made a prize to build an AI voice for a river. A bunch of people tossed in $20 and because prizes are open invitations, a dozen people decided to pursue this and join forces in an impromptu hackathon. 5 days later, we had built the first AI voice for a nature entity in history (see ) and presented it to the Prime Minister of Montenegro. Prizes can bring contestants together and make coordination easier.

After Montenegro, I traveled to Ukraine and crowdfunded a prize to deliver tourniquettes and other medical supplies that a group of volunteer medics had run out of on the frontline. The delivery was a success despite some near death experiences, and the medics used the supplies to save multiple lives.

Thanks to Umar, Colton, Kyle, and others in the Gitcoin ecosystem winning a prize for contributing the best ideas on voting mechanisms for prizes, we later put out the next in a series of “meta-prizes” for someone to implement that voting idea in a smart contract, and so the development of a full platform began.

Okay, so all that schilling is to point out that this idea is worthwhile, and that anyone could be doing it, but at that time me and my friends were the only people in the world we could find who were doing crowdfunded prizes/bounties. (As of Dec 2023 there is now one other platform that does crowdfunded bounties.)

It seemed so important to keep testing this concept that I decided to build this up despite having 0 funding. Fast forward a few months to me in Zanzibar having almost completely depleted my savings having spent my AI job savings on “meta-prizes” welcoming anyone to come in and build a particular feature into our open source code for viaPrize.

In that moment, the GG18 funds arrived, and to my shock (I’m pretty new to web3 so didn’t expect so much support) over 500 individuals had contributed to the viaPrize project. With those funds, I flew next to India where I met the most prolific out of two dozen contributors, and we decided to form a team.

As of now, we have distributed over $50,000 in funds, have over a dozen open source projects built winning prizes (see our github viaPrize · GitHub), and our only funding right now is from Gitcoin contributors and the matching from that.
We are a project that has a full time team of 5 and has paying users right now, and this has been solely funded with QF grants.

We are continuing to incubate the project through various Zuzalu style pop up villages around the world and intend to partner with special economic zone governments to replace traditional government contracts with prizes that take into account community preferences, are less corruption prone, and more efficient.
We look forward to seeing a full public goods funding progression where:

  1. A project before being built receives QF grants
  2. When the project is built/certain milestones or features are added, it wins prizes
  3. As the impact of the project is seen, it receives retroPGF (and impact certificates with a weighting can be upvoted/downvoted by the community)

I am inspired by friends on the Gitcoin team and know that they work very hard and face many frustrations in order to keep this machine aloft.
I hope to encourage the team and community by saying whether Gitcoin were to collapse next month or become 10x more massive, either way it has already been an incredible success at inspiring great projects and proving what an impact QF can have.

More Gitcoin appreciations welcome!


Thanks for sharing. We are very glad to hear of the impact that Gitcoin has made in your journey.

Keep on building!

1 Like


Governance forums are usually all business and no heart. Thanks for bringing the regen vibes @noahchonlee!

I want to give a shout to @jengajojo who has been super active in these threads this past year and is always providing really amazing food for thought through his experiences at other DAOs. I really appreciate the kind of stewardship and work it takes to contribute in this way. Happy to hear that you’ll be supporting us to shape up governance at Gitcoin!