KERNEL Evolves: A New Leaf For Gitcoin DAO

Abstract: KERNEL is on the path to spinning out from Gitcoin, paving the path for it to create its own space within GitcoinDAO & beyond.

Motivations & Intentions

Over the past 4 years, Gitcoin has become a schelling point for creators and funders of digital public goods who aim to build the common architecture that will allow hundreds of DAOs to succeed in non-extractive, collaborative and complementary ways.

Nearly two years ago (in May 2020), KERNEL was born. It aimed to create a new type of space in Gitcoin’s garden – bringing together top Gitcoin Grantees, hackathon contributors, and diverse participants from all walks of web3 into an experiential, 8 week exploration of the depths of web3.

In the process, it has become a homebase for many of those creators, and has, as an internal wing of Gitcoin, fostered a thriving, unique community of individuals interested in exploring web3 and along the way, our shared human experience. This group includes artists, technologists, biologists, professional actors, researchers, and unique individuals from every corner of the world.

The culture KERNEL has developed is unique, and benefits from space to explore and experiment it’s web3 story (as it relates to governance, legal structures, and token experimentation). Giving KERNEL space to do so has become a priority internal to Gitcoin, and it is through trust that we’re able to get here.

One of the reasons is that Gitcoin itself aims to be a DAO of DAO’s, where forkability & experimentation is meant to flourish. To foster this properly, the hope within GitcoinDAO is to let ‘a thousand experiments bloom’.

In this case, KERNEL begins as a model for this future, and as they say, when “a single flower blooms, throughout the world it is spring.”

The Future of KERNEL

Over the past 2 years, KERNEL has completed 5 KERNEL Blocks and there are now over 1,000 KERNEL Fellows all throughout web3. We are grateful to have had each of them with us.

To support this process, we created a 8 module, 16 lesson syllabus which is a comprehensive and expansive lens on Web3, both as a set of projects we are collectively co-creating and as a set of technologies we must personally live with, navigate, and cultivate as a part of our own lives. The Web 3 lessons are meaningful only if informed by the personal lessons which lead to an internal state encouraging clarity, excellence, heightened awareness, and selfless service amongst KERNEL participants.

The syllabus is intended to be an invitation to conversation amongst Kernel Fellows, and is further supported by fellow-led conversations (juntos), movement practices, and other regenerative and rejuvenating events. Most obvious to note is Kernel Dinners, which are always paid for by Kernel and recognize the unspeakable magic of a meal shared amongst friends.

Our intention is for KERNEL to be a continued place for exploration and to support the increasingly diverse projects that are affiliated, in ways small and large, with KERNEL. Some of these projects include EPNS, Charged Particles, Atlantis World, Sherlock, Swivel Finance, Good Ghosting and Verses. There are countless others we are grateful to know and spend time alongside.

We expect to continue to do three blocks next year while 1) creating more ties between our alumni and current fellows 2) to play a more active role in helping KERNEL projects mindfully build and 3) to serve as a safe space for co-creation amongst peers for the decades to come.

Along the way, KERNEL aims to create an open-source framework for ‘communities of care’, with the thesis that care for one another is the basis for all public goods. We plan to express our future plans more clearly in a future Gitcoin Governance post as we aim to foster continued collaboration between KERNEL & GitcoinDAO. More to come.

What will be the relationship between GitcoinDAO and KERNEL?

Gitcoin Holdings will retain governance rights within KERNEL and we plan to detail this as soon as is appropriate. The future plans include moving this governance power to GitcoinDAO, and further detailing how this may evolve as GitcoinDAO becomes a DAO of DAOs.

As the story unfolds, we look to Finite & Infinite Games as a source of inspiration for what may come next:

“The rules of an infinite game must change in the course of play. The rules are changed when the players of an infinite game agree that the play is imperiled by a finite outcome — that is, by the victory of some players and the defeat of others. The rules of an infinite game are changed to prevent anyone from winning the game and to bring as many persons as possible into the play.”

We look forward to bringing more people into the play and are grateful for the slow evolution that brings us to today. Thank you for your kind attention.


KERNEL is a living and breathing embodiment of an intentional community of care and co-creation. With this evolution, KERNEL is planting the seeds for many more kernels of our cyber-physical commons to blossom - thereby helping realize the pluralistic vision of Gitcoin DAO.

Being an integral part of both, I keenly look forward to this mutualistic coevolution, and continue to help contribute and facilitate collaborations however I can!