[Proposal] Diversify Gitcoin Stablecoin Holdings by exchanging USDC for Glo Dollars

Hi @0xZakk - yes, I am the CTO of Glo Dollar.


Thanks for the critical note @QuickMythril - you are certainly quick!

Gladly this round we’re getting quite a bit more support with 399 contributors as of this writing: Gitcoin | Explorer

In an attempt to keep the proposal post brief I mostly linked to existing resources such as this article on how it works and why Glo Dollar is beneficial. There’s a lot more articles on everything Glo Dollar on https://www.glodollar.org/ and there’s also good info in this Green Pill episode on Glo Dollar.

Happy to provide any additional info as requested and/or answer specific questions about what we’re trying to achieve :slight_smile:


thanks for the reply, and yes i was probably hasty with my response actually. i have taken some time to look into Glo and i see it’s getting more attention in the current Grants round. from my understanding, Glo is basically a stablecoin like USDC, except the interest earned on the assets that back the tokens will be donated to GiveDirectly.

the questions i have though, are more about the centralization of this setup. “Brale Inc. & Glo Development Foundation, Inc.” who decides these details. why was it set up as a company? this doesn’t seem like it follows the ideals of web3 and blockchain.

i understand the cryptocurrency space is going through a lot of growth and changes, and we have to consider things like government regulations, but i believe a properly decentralized system should not have to worry about that.

i wonder about things like, how GiveDirectly was chosen, and why Brale is needed when they are cutting into the profits. does the community have influence over these decisions? i don’t see any kind of DAO or other way for individuals to be involved, aside from financial support.

there is talk about regular auditing to ensure transparency of the funds, but that doesn’t seem like it would be preventative. what happens if someone from Brale, Glo, or GiveDirectly makes a mistake, or intentionally misuses the funds? we will all see it, but could we do anything about it after the fact?

i don’t mean to sound like i am completely against the idea being proposed, but these are some things i personally would want to consider before making a decision like that. it’s not all up to me though, and this is just my perspective.

here are three important factors of a stable coin, according to the Glo team in the video from February:

  • “utility, liquidity, trustworthiness”
    (of which they said Glo hadn’t reached ideal levels yet)

i would be interested to know what progress has been made in those areas since then.


Hey @QuickMythril ! thanks for these questions and your interest. Sharing a bit more on why/how we chose GiveDirectly.

I strongly encourage you to read our blog post titled “Why Glo Foundation chose to donate to GiveDirectly” at glo dollar dot org (sorry, I can’t include links)! It offers great detail on Glo Dollar’s history, our opinion about cash transfers, and GiveDirectly itself.

At the top, you’ll find a summary:

  1. GiveDirectly was the natural choice when we pivoted in July 2022.
  2. We have a really high opinion of both cash transfers and GiveDirectly as an organization.
  3. Cash scales magnificently.
  4. We are less certain about the benefits of public health interventions (vs. cash transfers) than GiveWell, a prominent charity evaluator, is.
  5. In light of that uncertainty, we favor the simplest, most autonomy-compatible intervention, which is cash transfers.

I’m less involved with the issuing partnership so another team member will be best placed to share more context on Brale :saluting_face:


Thanks for the followup questions @QuickMythril and the quick answer @emily! Some more of my thoughts below.

You’re correct in that Glo Dollar is fully centralised.

However, the same is true for 95% of the stablecoin market, including USDC and USDT. The reality of the current crypto ecosystem is that there is an enormous need for centralized stablecoins issued by traditional companies. Of the current stablecoin market ~85% is USDC/USDT. This is also apparent by how Gitcoin currently exclusively holds USDC.

So the crypto ecosystem is over-reliant on this duopoly, and it’s important to reduce this dependence.
This can be done if industry leaders vote with their wallets on promising alternatives. That does require leading organisations like Gitcoin to “dip their toes” in these alternatives.

Fortunately, this can be done progressively, which is why we propose starting with just 10% (which is a mere 1.35% of the total treasury).

After the swap, Gitcoin still trusts Circle (also a centralised company) for 90% of their stablecoins, while allowing Glo Dollar to build track record over takes time. If nothing else, diversifying a concentrated 100% USDC position into 90%/10% arguably makes sense anyway as being overly reliant on one party isn’t best practice.

Another consideration to take into account is that the companies behind USDC and USDT earn an estimated $7M per day in yield. The only reason they can earn this is because holders stay with them. Switching to Glo Dollar means we redirect this massive revenue stream to something with societal good.

You’re correct in that regular auditing won’t be preventative. Two things to say on this. First: this is the same as with USDC (or any other of the centralized stablecoins). Second: Brale Inc. (NMLS 2376957) is a US-licensed Money Transmitter that is legally obliged to fulfil their promises. That does not mean it’s impossible for them to make a mistake or intentionally misuse funds, but if that happens, they may end up in jail (as with the other centralised stablecoin issuers).

On the broader theme of trustworthiness: while Brale itself is a relatively new company, its CEO Ben Milne has a strong track record in building fintech company Dwolla. The Founding Donor of the Glo Foundation is Sid Sijbrandij, the co-founder and CEO of GitLab. Both the Glo Foundation as well as the Brale team are non-anonymous, and the Glo Foundation is working with one of the Big 4 accounting firms for audit readiness.

Over time, we’ll take all the usual measures you’d expect: attestations, audits, an independent board… But all new stablecoins have to start somewhere.

You also mention utility and liquidity. While both take time to grow, for Gitcoin’s use case (i.e. holding 6-7 digit numbers in treasury) we’re actually already at the place where we need to be with both. Glo Dollar is fully transferable, always 1:1 redeemable for US dollars, and has an independent market making firm and OTC desk active in the markets who can provide sufficient liquidity.

Lastly, GiveDirectly is a highly reputable NGO with an amazing track record. They’ve been providing cash transfers to 1.5 million people in extreme poverty and counting. For more on them, please see emily’s reply in this thread.

So, does the community have influence over these decisions? No :slightly_smiling_face: but this proposal should be considered in light of the alternative: trusting other, profit-seeking, centralized stablecoins.

Thanks again for the great questions and please do not hesitate to followup with any other questions you may have!


Overall, I’m supportive, but would like to share some comments:

  • Glo Team: I’ve met various team members at Glo over the past year. My view is this is a legit initiative with a professional, mission-focused team.
  • GiveDirectly: GiveDirectly has a very strong track record in terms of execution and transparency. They are widely respected in the international development community. Their ethos of expanding financial freedom and economic opportunity also feels very aligned with crypto values, even though the mechanism is different.
  • Risks: I don’t feel qualified to assess the risk of a new stablecoin project. Someone should review the audits. How robust are the proof of reserves? I would encourage the Glo team to share more on these points. (Maybe they are already in their docs / website; I haven’t done the diligence myself …)
  • Treasury Diversification: From a treasury management perspective, the proposal feels reasonable. Many DAOs hold a mix of stables (DAI, USDC, etc). An amount like 10% of stables feels like the upper limit of what one might put into a smaller project. However, looking at the current Uniswap pools, the TVL is still quite small (<$1M) so it might be better to rampup, eg, $50K / month, until the project has greater adoption.
  • Meta Point: I don’t like the idea of voting frequently on piecemeal changes to the treasury composition. If this proposal finds support here, then my recommendation would be packaging it as part of a larger treasury diversification proposal that incorporates multiple concerns, like this one.

I was writing out the last two points but Carl said it best. I’ll only add my view that 10% is too high no matter what, and we should ramp up towards a total of $50K - $100K.


Thanks for the proposal!

I agree with @ccerv1’s on all the points (as so often). Glo seems a great team and ++ reputation, GiveDirectly is one of the best out there, on risks: indeed, all extra info is very, very welcome so an informed decision can be made here.

Really good point also about the total TVL of Glo, it is pretty low, so we cannot risk too much here wrt liquidity.

What could maybe be an alternative is diversifying a symbolic part of the Gitcoin Matching funds. This doesn’t require a DAO vote afaik, although we do vote on matching pool payouts.
In this sense it could be worth having a quick vote, as it wouldn’t be part of the core DAOs treasury’s diversification. (crf Carl’s final meta point) or it could just be a CSDO decision.

Currently the DAO holds about 900K in USDC in the matching pool funds.

Swapping 5-10% of this would be a very nice sum already, and would also be a signal to our community.
I personally believe the Grants Program should embody core web3 community values as Gitcoin’s ‘flagship program’, so this would be a step in the right direction and be practicing what we preach. By supporting Glo Dollar, we are supporting public goods simply by diversifying our own matching pool holdings.

Even if this is just 50K, it will help Glo Dollar on its mission, and Gitcoin with its vision.
Wondering if @Sov @M0nkeyFl0wer or @kyle have any thoughts on it.


Thank you for the proposal @garm. +1 to some of the comments that @ccerv1 has about the Glo team. However I do share the concerns which @essemharris highlights and @krrisis makes an interesting point about using Glo as a part of the Gitcoin product offering. Building on this idea, will Glo be interested in using Quadratic Matching and Grants Stack to distribute the Glo yield between a plethora of public good intiatives as opposed to a single org?


Thanks for the great comments and feedback @ccerv1 @essemharris @krrisis and @jengajojo!

Reserves are all managed by brale.xyz with a self assertion published on https://brale.xyz/stablecoins/usdglo. We have audit rights on these reserves and together with a big 4 auditor are working towards a best in class audit - unfortunately it will take quite some time to complete this work. More on our relationship with Brale here.

Ramping up the amount of Glo Dollar held over time is a good idea - also makes sense from a diversification strategy perspective! Ultimately our hope is that as TVL and trust in Glo Dollar grows, the ecosystem embraces Glo Dollar in its entirety and holds the majority of their stablecoins in Glo Dollar. Baby steps.

I like @krrisis’ idea to start with Gitcoin Matching funds, and we’d love to work towards distributing Gitcoin Matching funds to grantees in Glo Dollar as well. That’s :100: in line with the larger vision of what we’re trying to achieve. Some Glo Consortium members are already converting some of the DAI they receive as part of the GG18 round into Glo Dollar. We love to see that happening, so I would love to explore how we can make Gitcoin Matching funds denominated in Glo Dollar happen for future rounds!


Glad to hear this @garm

Best to talk directly with the Public Goods team about this or make a proposal to use x% Glo instead of DAI in the next round


@garm, I want to thank you for taking the time to write this proposal and to answer questions here in the forum. Glo Dollar seems like a very exciting project and I’m glad you’re working on it.

That said, I do not believe it is wise to diversify Gitcoin’s treasury into Glo Dollars. I do not support this proposal and, if it goes to a vote, I will vote against it.

While you are right that having Gitcoin’s treasury 100% denominated in USDC is a risk, it is also a risk to diversify into a new, so-far untested alternative. Given where we are as a DAO, the most prudent thing is to keep the treasury in USDC and find other ways to support Glo Dollar as a values-aligned project. Speaking more broadly, Gitcoin needs to be focusing in on the areas where we can have the largest impact (Passport, Grants Stack, and Allo). That unfortunately means turning down other opportunities, even when they’re as exciting as this one.

Please don’t take this as a lack of enthusiasm for Glo Dollar. I am personally excited about this project and the tremendous progress you’ve already made.


Would like to echo @0xZakk 's comments! While I’m personally a fan of GloDollar, I don’t support diversifying the Gitcoin treasury into GloDollars and would vote agains this proposal.

Aside from the risk of relying on a new product, we are currently leveraging our USDC reserves to pay expenses while the GTC token has a depressed price. I don’t think that most of our creditors would accept payment in GloDollars given current liquidity levels and that strategy may not meet GloDollar’s goals, either.


Personally I got a message in my DMs about this Glo token during GG18 & totally thought it was a scam token.

Still not sure what Glo is but I thought that was an awful way to initiate a conversation with prospective projects that may actually be interested in the product.

Thanks for your candid feedback as to why you do not support this proposal @0xZakk and @meglister as well as your personal support of the Glo Dollar initiative!

I 100% understand your thinking and hesitations, and they’re very much in line with feedback we get on a daily basis: most people are hesitant to switch to a new stablecoin until it is ubiquitous because of perceived “unknown-unknowns” of an “untested” alternative. This presents a paradoxical cold start problem to us, as Glo Dollar will not become ubiquitous until at least 3.5% of the population switches.

Of course, we don’t get to adoption by 3.5% of crypto users overnight, we need to start with the 0.1% of crypto users and organizations with the strongest mission & values alignment. I like to think Gitcoin is within that 0.1% given its mission to support regenerative digital public goods, and that because of this alignment Gitcoin can very effectively leverage Glo Dollar’s impact as part of its own marketing and branding. To illustrate, the potential impact is big:

  • If Glo Dollar captures 1% of the current stablecoin market, we generate enough money for GiveDirectly to lift an estimated 62,000 people out of extreme poverty.
  • At 5% market share, that’d be 310,000.

Isn’t that exactly the kind of real-world impact we’re striving for in crypto? Available to us at the cost of no one, except Circle and Tether.

@0xZakk I’d love to explore what other ways to support Glo Dollar we can come up with together that you would be supportive of. Would diversifying matching pool funds instead of treasury funds as suggested by @krrisis be a viable alternative? Or perhaps reducing the 500k to a smaller amount and/or doing multiple swaps over the course of a year makes more sense?

At this stage in Glo Dollar’s growth holding any amount of Glo Dollar already helps - some Glo Consortium members start with 5% of their treasury or a single $10k buy, for instance.

Finally, I want to emphasize that we’d actually be stoked if Glo Dollars are being used to pay creditors, or even converted back to USDC when necessary @meglister! This very much fits with our vision of Glo Dollar being a stablecoin that’s being used to power real world goods and services, of which payroll is a great example. Note that we can facilitate 1:1 swaps from Glo Dollar to USDC.

On the following points:

I’m less inclined to support this because the matching pool is not Gitcoin’s money. We don’t think of it as a source of money that we have access to because this is a pool of funds people have donated and contributed to for the explicit purpose of being used to fund matching pools. I appreciate and want to encourage the creativity when thinking of ways Gitcoin and Glo Dollar can work together. But touching the matching pool is a non-starter for me.

It’s not really about the amount for me. First, the risk of diversifying into a new stable coin isn’t worth it to me. I just don’t believe it’s prudent for Gitcoin to engage in active treasury management at all. Second, Gitcoin is focused on building tools for fund public goods: the grants program, Passport, Grants Stack, and Allo. That’s already a huge surface area and the best thing we can do as a DAO is continue to focus on these as the places we can have the most impact and trust the larger ecosystem around us to develop solutions for other problems.

So it’s a No from me for any diversification of the treasury or matching pool. But that is not a No to a collaboration between Glo Dollar and Gitcoin, so long as that collaboration is mutually aligned with what the grants program, Passport, Grants Stack, and/or Allo.


Thanks @0xZakk - makes sense on not wanting to touch any funds within the matching pool that are donated by individuals with a specific purpose.

While I agree that focus is of utmost importance and I understand your position, personally I do think that diversifying one’s treasury is a sensible thing to do in order to (a) ensure continuity in being able to build tools for funding public goods and (b) strengthen Gitcoin’s positioning as a champion of fostering a better crypto ecosystem. Especially given that diversifying stablecoin holdings is a very low effort task to complete.

I appreciate you being supportive of collaboration between Glo Dollar and Gitcoin though, and will think about other great ways that we can support the grants program, Passport, Grants Stack and/or Allo.

Hey @garm thanks for starting this conversation and all of your thoughtful responses.

This proposal meets quorum to actually go to a vote. I’m curious if you wanted to make any amendments to your proposal or if you wanted it to go to a vote as is. This proposal also doesn’t have to go to a vote if you don’t want it to.

Happy to move this forward for you.

you have explained very well but few things must be edited well :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks @CoachJonathan! I’m working on a slightly amended proposal that we’d like to go to a vote this week - what is the best way to move forward with posting this?