Impact Certificates [Proposals Wanted] 📄

just an update that we (myself + the PL team) have started reviewing the proposals above. we will hopefully be back with some thinking about path forward in the coming weeks.


Good timing for this as I reluctantly soak in the WEF vibes this week in Davos. There’s a keen ear to web3 and a growing awareness that many/most SDGs are unlikely to be met by 2030. It’s a bit of a trojan horse approach, but could be a lever worth pushing on.

Curious to hear @owocki thoughts…

[Reposting our earlier proposal here, as it’s more relevant!]

Protein is looking to build a web3 version of BCorp/MSCI to make it easier for ImpactDAOs to access funding, investment and other novel mechanisms to boost their impact. There is a need for impact investors and philanthropists to be able to synthesize due diligence, using the tools of web3 to escape the siloed and proprietary approach of legacy ESG initiatives.

A token curated registry (TCR) of ImpactDAOs with their validated impact / traction scores would create a key ingredient in a composable ecosystem to improve the collective impact of the web3 world.

Such registry is basically a curated list of impact DAOs, which enables discovery of impactDAOs for potential contributors, investors, funders. Each ImpactDAO receives an on-chain score from a validator, allowing for investment vehicles and other token mechanics / governance to be built on top. For example a tracker fund could invest in the 10 highest impact across all projects, or the 10 highest impact in solving the food crisis, or buy a crypto ETF based on the tokens of top DAOs across specific areas of impact (for retail investors). Alternatively, an active donor fund could use this list to adjust its recurring / streaming donation. Conversely, a certain score could be used for gating access to the list, e.g. on the Regen Stack for web3 orgs that want to address their impacts but are outside of their expertise: highly rated forestry might be recommended for offsetting, highly rated design for reuse featured for laptops equipment, etc.

The impact rating can be kept honest due to 1) crypto economic incentives for evaluation / challenging scores and adding / removing DAOs from the registry, 2) robust governance system that would ensure legitimacy of the process.

This grant would allow us to reach the goals of Stage 1:

  • Develop the scoring mechanism v1 - impact values that validators would be attesting to. These could range from internal policies and processes through to verifiable impacts.
  • Design the incentive structure v1 required to ensure all eligible ImpactDAOs are scored and that their scores are an accurate reflection (this would include arbitration mechanisms).
  • Validate the demand from potential investors (consumers of the curated list)

What we need

  • 35,000 USDC
  • Support from RatingsDAO / access to talent from ICC/Gitcoin network (e.g. for game theory and token engineering)

Once Stage 1 is completed, we’ll look for additional support to:

  • Prototype the investable TCR
  • Build frontend for ease of navigation
  • Train validators / evaluation agents to use our scoring mechanism
  • Kickstart the ecosystem for decentralized validation of ImpactDAOs, incl. supplying it with the necessary liquidity

Who we are

Protein Community is a community DAO, building out the Good Growth standard and cultural / regenerative accelerator. We’ve just released our pilot cohort, supporting and funding projects that ‘bring under-represented communities into the new economy’. We are currently evaluating our approach before our next “recelerator” which focuses on supporting projects and their regen stack.

You can learn more about us on Twitter @protein

Hi everyone, my name is Ahmed Lelamo, I work with Ethelo doing public digital decision-making engagements. I’ve taken the lead in our impact measurement efforts as we try to understand what kind of impact our technology is having on decision-makers. We’ve recently started a conversation with Ashoka (a global network of social entrepreneurs) practitioners who are very excited about the prospects of impact work in web3.

About us:


Ethelo provides best-in-class engagement technology, coupled with expert services that make big decisions easy. We combine fairness and collective intelligence to unlock the answers to hard, contentious problems.

Ethelo has worked with approximately 100k participants across 400 major decisions. More than 150 customers have used our platform including local governments, businesses, nonprofits, health agencies, universities, indigenous communities, housing associations, foundations, and the Canadian government.


Ashoka identifies and supports the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, learns from the patterns in their innovations, and mobilizes a global community that embraces these new frameworks to build an “everyone a changemaker world.”

The Ashoka Fellow Network consists of a global network of 3,000 Fellows in over 72 countries. Ashoka’s process for qualifying fellows, and the strict criteria that are applied, have made its community synonymous with highly impactful, innovative strategies for social and environmental impact.


The process of creating impact certificates needs to be credibly neutral, transparent and inclusive.

In collaboration with Ashoka, Ethelo will provide the consensus-building processes and technology and a wealth of expertise in impact assessment (through Ashoka’s practitioners) needed for a governance body to:

  1. Collectively create an Impact Assessment Framework (IAF) that can align stakeholders around foundational impact assessment features such as methodology, criteria and metrics.

  2. Ashoka impact specialists, along with interested community members, use the Ethelo platform to apply the Impact Assessment Framework and collectively assign Impact Certifications (unique NFTs) to qualifying projects.

Collectively create an Impact Assessment Framework
What does “Impact” mean in the first place? How do we measure it? What are the criteria for Impact? Should some metrics or criteria be weighted differently? Should there be several Impact Categories with unique impact metrics?

These are questions that should be answered by a broader set of stakeholders, not just the third-party organization tasked with adjudicating impact certification. Ethelo can provide the platform to engage a large number of stakeholders, including the impact makers themselves to build consensus around the most broadly supported Impact Assessment Framework. Ideally, we would invite all DAOs identified to be Impact DAOs and ask them to participate in the process of collectively shaping the Impact Assessment Framework.

This engagement process can be a multi-stage process starting with Ideation where participants brainstorm on broad ideas about what “impact” means and culminating with a Prioritization stage where the details of the Impact Assessment Framework are voted on and the most broadly supported framework is selected.

Involving the community of Impact DAOs from the beginning will go a long way to legitimize the Impact Assessment Framework and the certificates that result from it.

The key to a successful engagement process culminating in a broadly supported Impact Assessment Framework is making sure that the questions posed during the Ideation process are open-ended enough to receive a wide variety of responses but also the process needs to be structured enough to facilitate the following Prioritization phase. To make sure these engagement goals are achieved, the Ethelo team can provide a wealth of experience configuring public engagement processes, while Ashoka practitioners can provide knowledge and insight about alternative impact assessment methodologies which can be used as content-prompts for participants to respond meaningfully.

Ashoka’s impact framework

Over the last 40 years, Ashoka has perfected its expertise in identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs with system changing ideas. We have learned to distinguish between four levels of impact: direct service, scaled direct service, system change and framework change and engage only with the last two.

The vast majority of social impact initiatives tend to concentrate on addressing the symptoms of a problem by providing direct services to those it serves (i.e. a soup kitchen, planting trees). While these approaches will always be needed, alone they will never address the root causes at play. Systems change, meanwhile, changes the pattern of behavior in a given system (i.e. introducing “zero deforestation” policies; turning fishermen into algae farmers).

The highest level of impact is one where social entrepreneurs manage to change the mindsets that drive behavior (i.e. the civil rights movement; decentralization). By changing the way people see and understand the world, they create demand for new behaviors at all levels.

Ashoka has developed a number of measures to track and evaluate systems change and framework change, which we’d love to adjust for Gitcoin’s Impact Assessment Framework.

Collectively assign Impact Certifications
Once the Impact Assessment Framework has been democratically created, along with all the impact sectors, criteria, metrics and whatever else the framework includes, it can be democratically implemented resulting in the assignment of Impact Certificates (in the form of unique NFTs)

Impact makers will be asked to provide their claim of impact in detail, specific to the impact sector they are involved in. This information will be uploaded on the Ethelo platform for the governance body to review using a multi-criteria Impact Assessment Framework, resulting in a final Impact Score per individual impact claim. Here is a demo of a multi-criteria Ethelo Granting instance that could be repurposed for an Impact Evaluation process:

Reviewers involved in the governance/impact-verification process can be several different groups of stakeholders with different levels of influence over the Impact Score. Ethelo supports several levels of authentication that can allow different stakeholders to influence the final Impact Score differently. We could have several tiers of potential reviewers:

  • Independent Judges (provided by Ashoka)
  • Gitcoin Stewards
  • Gitcoin DAO members
  • General DAO Community

Allowing a larger number of stakeholders in the review process ensures that the process is transparent and inclusive.

The results of this collective assessment exercise will determine whether a particular project will receive an impact certificate. Again, all the details about the impact framework will be decided in the earlier engagement phase.

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Digital Gaia is building the decentralized foundations for environmental impact measurement and certification:

  • Infrastructure for algorithmic, probabilistic and transparent forecasting and measurement of impact, based on decentralized science;
  • Incentivized knowledge feeds to connect and reward the global communities of nature stewards, domain experts, and data scientists;
  • An Impact Oracle that can back dynamic Proof of Impact NFTs.

Our thesis on Proof of Impact (PoI)

Tokenized impact certificates must be far more legitimate than their legacy counterparts. Most proposals assume (implicitly or explicitly) such legitimacy can be derived from attestation by some trusted governance body, and, once issued, has a well-defined and immutable “face value”, i.e., some metric of success (ideally according to ex ante criteria). This is reflected in Vitalik’s own proposal of a Results Oracle for public goods funding. We believe this sort of model is insufficient for efficient externality pricing, particularly for natural impact, which involves a context-dependent, long-running interplay of global and local factors.

In our proposal, the basic Web3 primitive is a dynamic, algorithmic assessment of an intervention’s impact. This judgment is achieved by an autonomous (AI) agent which integrates and weighs the available evidence and knowledge contributed by (a fully open and untrusted community of) humans, using commonly accepted principles of science and decision theory, such as Bayesian inference and free energy minimization. The source of its legitimacy is the scientific method itself - based not on authority, but on an evolving and transparent paper trail of inferences cross-validated against real-world data.

These impact tokens, and the economy built on top of them, will generate ongoing incentives for communities to contribute further knowledge and create a commons of impact assessment know-how, eventually arbitraging away structural uncertainty, noise and disinformation, while gaining resilience due to the strong upside to contrarian views, whistleblowing etc. Finally, arbitrarily high-grade impact credits can be minted as derivatives (”99.99% certainty that 1 ton of CO2 was removed by this project”).

It’s worth mentioning that this would also be the foundation for algorithmic impact investing, and therefore self-funded public goods.

About Digital Gaia

  • Our team and partner network combines expertise in both active inference and deep learning AI, data science, economics, community engagement, climate business, and collective intelligence.
  • We are building: (1) the basic primitive mentioned above; (2) MVP contribution & engagement apps for nature stewards and scientists; (3) Python SDKs for data scientists.
  • We have already built PoCs for a large portion of (1) and (2).
  • We have completed a draft whitepaper describing our architecture and validated it with world leaders in AI, data science and collective intelligence.


We’re raising $200,000 to complete MVP development over the next 3-6 months.


Like that you are talking about Oracles​:clap::clap::clap:. Been out of the loop with a lovely case of Covid but please loop back to me if you are looking for more team members. I am still interested in working on project!


@owocki been out of loop for a bit here with Covid but officially on the mend. Wondering if someone from Gitcoindao can connect with me.

I’m trying to figure out if my time is better used going for supporting role in the public goods discussion work stream or if I should just go ahead and try to get funding for my idea about using web3 tech to make Fair Trade more effective and transparent. (Could overlap well as a use case writhing the UN sustainability goals mapping)

Either way my background in international manufacturing and fashion activism would bring more diversity to the work around public goods and would appreciate it if I could get pointed in the right direction.

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My two cents: I think we’re at a fascinating inflection point in mainstreaming Web3.0, and the space could be ripe for disruption.

Part of this has to do with the fact that, as you point out, we’re nowhere near close to achieving the SDGs. At the same time, though, that’s been known for a while now.

I think a larger driver is that many ‘mainstream’ SDG folks have moved into prominent positions in the Web3.0 space. The SDG space is very technocratic and risk-averse; you need the ‘hundredth monkey effect’ to kick in to see increased uptake of Web3.0 solutions.


still working on figuring out how to evaluate these. i would expect an update sometime in june.


Thank you. And yes can see it’s a bit bonkers with “all the things”. But want to emphasize that I have sincere interest in coordinating and understand that reimagining the Fair Trade system is going to take some patience.

Maybe there’s a steward that can point me in the right direction?

Or go thru Kernal and come back later?

Update: we have had our first proposal review committee meeting today! progress, sorry for the stop & go pace so far folks.


Hi Kevin,

I’m a little late to the party but hope you and your team still see this somehow.

I’ve introduced our project to a couple of guys on the Gitcoin team at Funding The Commons New York a couple of weeks ago, and would love to get your thoughts here as well.

A quick introduction of the idea, the NFT project is called Fox Of Utopias, we were inspired by the Ukraine airdrop announcement which incentivized 3x more donation amount and 9x more contributor counts a week after they first made their ETH address public. We’re trying to apply that process to various global causes selected by our community, hoping to start with Gitcoin Grants Round 15.

To address the attributes you mentioned

  1. NFT : The Fox PFP NFTs act as impact certificate to reward donors
  2. Governance : Holders of NFTs have a vote on which causes to support next, not with funding but with airdrops
  3. Buy pressure : The NFT project will still be an IP business, which would come with its own stories, content, merch and whatever attracts public attention, the more popular it gets the more incentives for donors to make a contribution
  4. Team : I built one of the leading music NFT marketplaces in Asia, founding partners are ex-Googler and award winning artist
  5. Gitcoin integration : Gitcoin rd15 donors are our intended first target for airdrops

We do a couple of things differently,

  1. we find the task to fairly measure impact at scale extremely hard, Gitcoin can of course be neutral but probably not knowledgable enough in all areas that require measurements. Although fair measurement is still possible with a well designed government structure, it is a hefty task to kickstart momentum for impact certificate. Our solution is to simplify and focus on one variable, on-chain donations, which requires no human measurement, scalable and transparent we can just airdrop to them with no permission. This might not be the impact that you guys are looking for, but donations are still undeniably impacts, and the easiest place to start with.

  2. We created a character and story for the NFT project. What we’ve learned from the PFP market is it’s almost always in some ways about self-expression, attaching oneself to a likable character that has a story to tell is more attractive than a certificate written in words, this also creates a desire to hold on secondary market.

  3. To create buy pressure, we decided to leverage mainstream demand. One one side we do what other NFT projects do to create a strong community with storytelling and with IP building, on the other side because we chose high impact high net worth individuals to be our holders, we think we can create a focal point for other projects to provide WL to or utilities to our holders, as an acquisition strategy or as a charitable attempt to help the world.

All in all the higher the demand and price of these NFTs, the more incentives our potential target has to make donations, in that way we can help more causes reach their goals, while building a brand that does good.

Would love to talk to you and answer your questions if any.


Hey everyone,

Thanks for your submissions to this proposal process and for your patience as we evaluated them.

As you know, the market has shifted around over the past few months. I have been preoccupied with the many implications that that has on the work we do here. So that accounts for part of the delay.

The rest of the delay is accommodated by the fact that Gitcoin is currently in the early stages of forming a partnership with Protocols Labs, who runs the Funding the Commons conference series. You may have noticed that we recently did a podcast episode with them about the collaboration. Protocol Labs bring strong economic/ game theory/ design thinking to the table that we just did not have when we launched these RFPs. Checkout this talk from their recent conference to see what I mean. We have learned a lot from them in the last few months and leveled up our seriousness in solving these problems!

We’ve read through each of the submissions and given private feedback to many of the top proposals. Through the last few months, we realized that many of these proposals bring something to the table, but none of them completely solved for what we wanted to solve for. And after getting in touch with PL, we ended up very excited about HyperCertificates.

We would like to build a long term ecosystem where each composite part of this movement can contribute different components to a thriving interoperable ecosystem, but in the short term, we need to figure out how all these things fit together.

The components

  1. Gitcoin Grants
  2. Impact Certificates NFTs / HyperCertificates
  3. Impact Marketplaces
  4. Marketing
  5. Category Creation
  6. More???

As such, we have decided that the most prudent course of action will be to.

  1. Reward the top 5 proposals with a stipend of $2k each, thanking them for their time & effort so far. We consider this a retrospective reward for the time spent pulling together these proposals, but more importantly the value generated through the discussion and questions raised by the community during this process that significantly accelerated our thinking on impact markets / hypercertificates. We hope that the funds are used to continue these efforts.
  2. Have a series of bi-weekly calls in which we attempt to achieve consensus about how the composite parts fit together. The end goal of these weekly series will be to define a set of interfaces that interoperate with each other.
  3. Once we have defined the interfaces, we will revisit funding individual proposals for different components.

The proposals that will receive a stipend now are

  1. Digital Gaia (rkauf)
  2. Protein (willprotein)
  3. Ethelo/Ashoka (Ahmed_Lelamo)
  4. Impact Oracle (OrBlob)
  5. Crowdmuse

If you are on one of these teams, please send us an ETH address where we can pay you the stipend in the shared channel we created at the start of the collaboration. If there is no shared channel, please email me

Even though this isn’t a grant big enough to implement the proposals, we hope that you’ll continue your work and push this forward together with us.

Thanks again for your time and patience.


Kevin + the DAO Impact Team + Protocol Labs

PS - pls join the telegram continuing the discussion here Telegram: Join Group Chat


@owocki Hi Kevin hypercerts is brilliant, I believe this is to be an open standard we can build on top of? If we wish to do so, who would be the best way to push this forward? We also intend to work with Gitcoin Grants, which we hope to talk to Connor soon.

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Hi folks - I’m a founder of Crowd Funded Cures (crowdfundedcures [dot] org), which is a DeSci crowdfunding platform (NZ charity aiming to launch as Impact DAO), that will issue Open Source Medical Prize NFTs / Hypercerts to create demand for clinical trial data (using Molecule’s IP-NFT platform) validating the safety and efficacy of “unmonopolisable therapies” (e.g. repurposing generic drugs as open source medicines such as generic ketamine to treat depression or fluvoxamine to treat covid).

I conducted my Masters thesis on this problem back in 2014 and set up a NZ charity to implement the idea of flexible Medical Prizes to address it. This has evolved into the concept of Social Impact Bonds and now, with crypto, I believe the Impact Certificate or Hypercert framework fits well. Basically, you issue an Open Source Medical Prize NFT / Hypercert in a specific disease class, which represents a bounty that is split annually or paid specifically to a research group that publishes a clinical trial validating the safety and efficacy of an off-patent medicine or unmonopolisable therapy.

We have a number of off-patent use cases, and reaching out to key stakeholders, e.g. am presenting to NHS Medicines Repurposing Steering Group on 26 July and have been in discussions with BARDA about backing a generic drug repurposing Advance Market Commitment / Pay-For-Success contract incentive of $50-100m. Also working PsyDAO on an Open Ketamine project to obtain FDA-approved generic (racemic) ketamine for treatment resistant depression, which has been shown to be more effective than the patented s-ketamine intranasal spray. As mentioned, above, another use case is FDA-approved generic fluvoxamine to treat Covid (like ivermectin but actually effective at only $10 a course, as shown in TOGETHER Phase 3 trial in Brazil and similar to patented molnupiravir that costs $700 a course).

We are also trying to raise funds for a feasibility study with a management consulting firm (e.g. BCG, McKinsey, Guidehouse) to show that repurposing either of these drugs to get FDA-approval would be worth billions of dollars in value for a relatively low cost ($5-10m Impact Certificates to de-risk optimal open source treatment protocol in Phase 2 clinical trials, then $50-100m PFS contract negotiated with government for Phase 3 clinical trials and regulatory approval).

We have a front end dev and blockchain dev, but if any folks interested to contribute in a high impact DeSci project, please email savva [at] crowdfundedcures [dot] org or check our our Discord (link at bottom of website).

Scott Alexander (author of Meditations on Moloch) just created a great post on Impact Certificates => Impact Markets: The Annoying Details - EA Forum

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Thanks for sharing, my thoughts:

  1. EA’s are primarily funders and view issues through a funder’s lens.

Hence it is no surprise that Scott and other EAs think of Impact Certificates as a funding/investment vehicle.

While ICs could be used in this manner, this completely misses the primary way to use ICs.

We should think of Impact Certificates as purchases, not investments. You can go to the store and buy a product. Or you can go to a charity and buy an impact certificate. An IC represents one verifiably unique outcome, e.g. one rescued puppy.

There doesn’t need to be any reselling or financial ROI associated with the purchase. Paying to rescue a puppy (and own the associated IC) is valuable to a dog lover.

  1. Nonprofit is no longer necessary or beneficial for charity.

The web3 public goods/charity space needs to unlearn the concept of nonprofit. I’ve seen too many proposed web3 public goods/charity funding mechanisms bend into pretzels to add investment dynamics to a nonprofit. It’s unnecessary.

If you want a way to invest in these organizations, there is a dead simple solution: make them businesses and then invest in them like any other business.

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+1; this is an avoidable cultural mistake that could be learned from the broader NFT community. My view is a bit more nuanced - IMO we need to tread the fine line of sometimes investing in ICs and sometimes purchasing ICs. Both ICs and NFTs in general recognize in theory that both speculators and final purchasers are necessary for a long-term healthy ecosystem. However, the broader NFT community arguably didn’t give enough love to the latter, and so is up until now largely Ponzi. While “Ponzi for good” is arguably productive, we could probably do even better.

One thing about making these more attractive for final purchasers: although the media/community/status/etc should be compelling, this ideally shouldn’t require significant amounts of skillful labor on behalf of every organization hoping to raise money (I’ve spoken to at least one org that’s noted “but we don’t want to manage a community” - and wasteful donor engagement is already a pain point of trad nonprofits).

Of course, one approach to “final purchasers” is to have them picked out in advance and flush with cash (a luxury that happily, some orgs have). Other than that these social planners should be decentralized, we must also ask whether it makes sense from a specialization standpoint to separate the “initial purchasers” from the “final purchasers” (it seems likely both would require similar skillsets - and a lot of coordination/iteration can be achieved by having the same people do the initial action and the retro, as “agile teams” do).

Finally, I believe the following “anti-prize” pieces are worth us prize-proponents reading (for the purpose of steelmanning our own approaches):
https ://
https ://

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A follow-up: I just came across this extension: Lit Token Access. I think it’d be cool for Gitcoin and/or impact certificates to collab with some e-commerce stores.

For example, we could have Gold Sponsor, Silver Sponsor, Bronze Sponsor for contributing to the matching pool; Gold Voter, Silver Voter, and Bronze Voter for contributing to a project; Gold Seer, Silver Seer, Bronze Seer retroactively for contributing to a project that the community in hindsight voted to turn out highly impactful. Then partner stores could have different discount tiers (see this Vitalik post). Is it still “mathematically optimal” at this point? Probably not. But the increased volume seems worth it.

I think we’ll continue to see really cool integrations of NFT/POAPs with Web2 services for “utility” (the Twitter hexagon was another good one, and it sounds like Instagram is making a play as well).

For Grants 2.0 we could make it a core part of the stack to provide the tools & the network for any community to promo and build a viral campaign around their round. So we open-source not only an FDD stack but also an MMM stack.


Yes, there will be both use cases. I just wanted to push back on the investment tunnel vision.

Impact certificates are like donation receipts but 100x better. We don’t need to coax people to buy them. People already donate. Now they will donate and get the associated impact certificate. Impact certificates improve the donor experience.

The need to create a liquid market for impact certificates is unnecessary.