Knowledge Transfer: The Gitcoin Hyperstructure 🏢


I was chatting with @annika about the concepts below and she mentioned it might be worth sharing on the gov forum, so here it goes. This post is meant to be a knowledge transfer and represents my limited vantage point. Please treat it as just a data point + part of the knowledge transfer.


  • Socialware - Mechanisms that create assurances through human relationships, incurring a high social coordination cost.
  • Trustware - Mechanisms that create assurances through technology, incurring a low social coordination cost.
  • Hyperstructure - crypto protocols that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries

Credit for these definitions: Orca: socialware to trustware , Zora: Hyperstructures.


Gitcoin started as socialware (high social coordination cost) + more trustware (low social coordination cost) has evolved over time.
Once Trustware runs all of the core operations of Gitcoin’s products, then Gitcoin is a hyperstructure (a crypto protocol that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries).

The four phases of this evolution of trust @ Gitcoin are:

  1. Socialware
  2. Modular socialware
  3. Trustware at the center with socialware at the edges (hyperstructure phase)
  4. Growth via network effects

As Gitcoin Progressively decentralizes over time, I believe it’ll move from centralization to a decentralized and modular set of protocol-based codebases.

The evolution of socialware => trustware of GitcoinDAO

The Gitcoin Hyperstructure

As noted above, Hyperstructures are crypto protocols that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries.

Once Gitcoin Grants is run primarily on trustware, I believe that it has fully become a Hyperstructure.

Here is a more-artistic (and less technical) visualization of the Gitcoin Hyperstructure by IamJvck, created via this design bounty.


I did not cover this phase in the OP, but perhaps it’s worth reading this post about Network Effects to learn more about the fourth phase.

From that post:

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Thanks for the great post @owocki (and incredible visuals @octaviaan!)

Reflecting on our journey so far, even the fully socialware to modular socialware this year has been a massive change and we have a ways to go. IMO, we should work to start to weave in elements of trustware wherever we can, even as we continue on improving our ‘modular socialware’ structures in the interim.


Super excited to see you adopt the Socialware/Trustware model from Orca, I think it’s a great way of analyzing how a DAO operates :heart:

Also really love that you’re seeing a vision of Gitcoin moving into Trustware as much as technology allows. I think all DAOs need to be moving in this direction constantly to take advantage of the technology platform they’re built on to allow the organization to scale without compromising values/mission.

Big opportunity for GitcoinDAO to be a leader in showing the DAO space in general the way to the next level!


Very compelling!

My project enables organisations like Gitcoin to build and run decentralised off-chain Trustware which can be owned directly by the DAO. Just wanted to drop the idea here because it could be very useful for running things like fraud analysis and governance decisions autonomously. Here’s more info: – feel free to reach out if of interest!

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Very cool, been thinking a lot about data science trustware and I think there is a ton that could be done for Gitcoin specifically. Including socialware to find consensus on what data science is used/what trade offs you want → turn the chosen result of the socialware into trustware.

Given data science model drift, you may want iterative socialware where humans keep tuning the models and deploying them to trustware. EDIT: I think this may be what you mean by having fraud analyzers and governance continue as socialware?

I like to think of it as “Can we confirm that data scientists have access to the same data (not even gitcoin has an advantage of data proprietary to them)?” to enable reproducibility and observability. Then we might say “Does the protocol infrastructure have low barriers to swapping one properly formatted algo for another?”

I’d love to connect to hear more about how you think of this! Find me on discord and I’ll send you a calendly link!

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