- Gitcoin is launching its Citizen Grants program, split into Citizens Retro (Retroactive Funding), Citizens Innovate (Citizen Proposals) and Citizens Forward (RFPs), to foster innovation and community participation.
- The Citizens Innovate and Citizens Forward programs will be launched as a 6-month pilot project, with the Citizens Retro aspect being run as a separate initiative.
- Citizens Innovate uses GCPs – ideas from community members on actionable steps towards Gitcoin’s objectives, while Citizens Forward uses RFPs coming from internal teams with budgets for DAO-wide goals. Proposals are evaluated for alignment with Gitcoin’s intents, impact, feasibility, and sustainability.
- Gitcoin has set key Essential Intents, such as Network Effects, Community First, and Financial Longevity, guiding the proposal priorities and focusing on aspects like product adoption, community engagement, and financial health.
- The GCP submission process follows a structured monthly cycle, including proposal submission, community feedback, and voting by a pre-selected Grants Council, with no cycle in December and a cap of three proposals per individual per quarter.
- This proposal is to request funds to run a pilot of the Citizens Innovate aspect of the program
Gitcoin firmly believes that grants programs are a key lever for ecosystem growth. In order to bootstrap further innovation at Gitcoin and leverage the awesome power of its community, Gitcoin will be formally spinning up its pilot Citizen Grants Program.
Think of this as Gitcoin’s own grants program focused not on funding specific causes, but rather growing its own ecosystem. The Citizen round was the first iteration of this - retroactive funding for community members working to expand the Gitcoin ecosystem. This “new” program is going to expand beyond just retroactive funding and will also include opportunities for proactive funding for community members, not using QF as a funding mechanism but rather more of a “direct grants” style of funding.
In the future, more grants-awarding experiments will be introduced to continue innovating on novel ways to effectively allocate capital to develop the Gitcoin ecosystem.
- Citizens Retro: Having already run 2 rounds and being recently approved to run 2 more, our retroactive rewards program focuses on rewarding Citizens retroactively for their contributions to the Gitcoin ecosystem. Participants must meet eligibility criteria in order to participate.
- Citizens Innovate: Community-led ideas on achieving the DAO’s goals. Proposals take the form of GCPs (described in detail below).
- Citizens Forward: DAO-led initiatives calling for Citizen contributions. Similar to RFPs, budgeted DAO workstreams can allocate parts of their budgets toward specific projects they’d like to see created/built/fulfilled on.
- Essential Intents: Think of Essential Intents as our North Stars – a medium-term objective or a direction we want to head in. While the destination might be clear, the paths to get there could be many. That’s where the collective wisdom of our community comes in.
- Gitcoin Citizen Proposals (GCPs): Ideas emerging from one or more community members on tangible steps we can take to achieve our Essential Intents. They’re specific, actionable, and time-bound initiatives that guide us in our journey toward our objectives.
- Request for Proposals (RFPs): Ideas emerging from Workstream Leads that they are willing to fund (with their DAO-approved budgets) in order to achieve workstream or DAO-wide goals.
- Grants Council: A collection of high-context internal DAO contributors (typically Workstream leads) who (for now) get ultimate decision rights on which GCPs to fund.
- Gitcoin Grants has always supported incredible causes outside of Gitcoin (OSS, Climate, DeSci, etc.) but has never had its own round/program to grow its own ecosystem
- Gitcoin has an incredible base of individuals who are hungry to contribute to its success
- A framework for what community members can work on has never been clearly articulated by the DAO along with funding to support such initiatives
- Now that Gitcoin’s products are built and in the market, there is more clarity around what potential projects would be most high value for Gitcoin to fund
- Gitcoin is a firm believer that grants programs are one of the best ways to grow one’s ecosystem–this program is our conviction of that belief
This regularly-occurring round will fold into the larger Citizens Grants program purview, solidifying it as a regular initiative of the DAO. This program will continue to run as is. Program details will not be outlined in this governance forum post. Those unfamiliar with this initiative can read about it in the most recent proposal and find out more by following the Gitcoin Citizens account on Twitter.
This initiative involves Gitcoin community members proposing their own ideas for accomplishing the DAO’s goals. Approved ideas will receive funding to do the work outlined in the initial proposal.
If you’re interested in submitting a Gitcoin Citizen Proposal (GCP), you may do so by posting a completed GCP to either the governance forum or to a specific area within Grants Stack [TO BE CONFIRMED].
- GCPs should attempt to follow the outline in the template, though adhering 100% to it is not necessary and will not be penalized when being assessed.
- Submissions must also provide any necessary background information to support the feasibility of the proposal.
- Please be as specific as possible in defining your measures of success and KPIs
- Allows the Grants Council to accurately measure your progress and later accurately measure the project’s impact.
- GCPs must outline requested resources and provide a rationale for the budget
- GCPs will be evaluated based on their alignment with Gitcoin’s Essential Intents, potential impact, feasibility, and sustainability.
- Both individuals and teams are encouraged to submit their own GCPs.
Each GCP will be reviewed by the Grants Council and be given a response within 10 business days.
In an ideal future state, this function will be decentralized either to a council of external contributors or to Gitcoin Stewards, with ultimate decision rights sitting within the community.
- All approved project owners must KYC with Gitcoin to receive rewards.
- GCP grants are awarded in the form of GTC governance tokens, streamed to the project over the course of the proposed project timeline.
- Exact payout details will be confirmed on a project-by–project basis based on milestones and outputs.
- An individual may be involved in the submission of a maximum of three GCPs per period.
- For example, one individual can submit either 1 proposal by themselves and 2 proposals as part of a team for a total of 3 proposals. Alternatively they can submit 2 proposals by themselves and 1 proposal as part of a team for a total of 3 proposals.
- Projects that require cash upfront in order to execute may make that request, that request subject to the approval of CSDO.
- Upfront cash requests may not be more than 25% of the total project cost.
- GCPs should have a clear due date and do not span more than 2 seasons (6 months).
- Funds earmarked for GCPs do not need to be spent unless the projects applying are meeting the needs of the DAO.
- Excess funds at the end of the 6-month pilot will be returned to the DAO treasury should the pilot program not be considered a sucess
- If a grant recipient fails to meet a pre-defined critical milestone, they may be subject to the grant clawback mechanism built into the original contract.
Every grant awarded to a GCP has a clawback mechanism. Since most grants will have a payout that comes only after work is performed, the Grants Council reserves the right to withhold payment should there be a failure to execute on critical milestones, as defined by proposers and documented publicly.
Project owners are encouraged to be in communication with the Program Manager should they anticipate missing a deliverable at the agreed upon time. If they do communicate in advance and their Grants Council representative agrees, there is no need to proceed with the process below.
- A representative from the Grants Council or the Program Manager will give a warning to the Project Owner, giving 1 week for them to hit their agreed upon milestone.
Note: The next step happens if either i) the project owner fails to hit their milestone within 1 week or ii) if this is the 2nd time the project owner misses a critical milestone without prior communication
- The grant council votes on the investigation and outlines its rationale behind clawback based on the data presented
- An appeal process may be launched by the Project Owner by contacting the Program Manager
a) An investigation will be conducted by the Governance Coordinator , facilitated by the Program manager, with both the Project Owner and the Grants Council to collect all pertinent information.
b) Information will all be posted into Snapshot and the community will vote whether or not to repeal the decision or to allow it.
c) The decision of this vote is final and binding.
d) Should the decision be repealed, the entire incident will essentially be “stricken from the record” and the project should proceed as if nothing has happened.
e) New deadlines should also be resubmitted to the Grants Council and posted on the Governance Forum by the Project Owner.
Gitcoin’s recent Essential Intents play into this initiative and will dictate which proposals are the highest priority to Gitcoin.
Essential Intents have been set by the CSDO team in October 2023 in consultation with Gitcoin Stewards. Essential Intents are reviewed and reset (approximately) every 18 months.
All GCPs must align with at least one Essential Intent. Essential Intents each have their own individual budget.
Gitcoin is increasingly focused on attaining one thing: traction for its products. With this newly adopted intent, we are shifting from a focus on “Protocol Adoption & Grants Program Success” to prioritizing product adoption as the cornerstone for generating network effects and ecosystem growth.
This is Gitcoin’s most important intent.
- Number of new users of our products
- Growth rate of product adoption
- Number of novel use cases for any of our products
- Amount of investment secured from new partnerships
- Contributions around market research collection
- Reporting on competitive landscapes or market trends
- Plugins, add-ons, or integrations with Gitcoin products
- Usability reviews, UX/UI audits
- Product demo initiative
- Real-time dashboard of useful aspects of Gitcoin
- Projects that support sybil defense efforts during a Grants Round
Proposed budget: 250,000 GTC
Community is at the core of what Gitcoin is. It’s all about encouraging active participation, effective governance, and widespread adoption of Gitcoin’s initiatives and platforms. Gitcoin’s aim with this intent is to create an environment where community members feel empowered to actively contribute to Gitcoin’s evolution.
- '# of community members committing to Gitcoin repos
- '# of new Passports with GTC staking
- '# of communities running their own grants round
- Educational resources
- Product-focused hackathons or conferences
- Specific marketing efforts aimed at growing a community of value aligned Gitcoiners
- Passport Identity Staking boosting initiative
- NFT series to highlight grantee impact stories
Proposed budget: 50,000 GTC
Note: This category is the most broad of the Intents and is done deliberately to allow proposals to new, innovative ideas. It is important that suggested ideas are economically driven and that there is an ability to measure ROI as a result of the efforts. Ideas tied to this Essential Intent are the least likely to be approved by the Grants Council.
With an expanded footprint, one of Gitcoin’s main aims is to ensure its financial health, adapting to any market dynamics. Revenue generating opportunities, cost saving activities and token utility initiatives are all fair game when it comes to ensuring that Gitcoin is economically sustainable, allowing it to fulfill its vision of a world shaped by community-led positive change.
- Amount of revenue generated through the use of its products
- Amount of costs saved
- Number of novel token utility use cases
- Establishment of new partnerships
- Potential integrators engagement
- Feedback on investment opportunities
Proposed budget: 150,000 GTC
The initial council will comprise 3 DAO members. These members are high-context individuals that have a deep understanding of Gitcoin and its current priorities. This includes:
After the initial 6 month pilot, there will be a public re-evaluation of whether or not to proceed with the same individuals or if the job will be passed along to other DAO members/Citizens. Also up for discussion is the size of the Grants Council. Factors that will help make this decision include (but are not limited to):
- Amount of work required to review applications
- Capacity given other responsibilities
- Desire to continue in the role
The Grants Council will decide which projects to fund. The council will work with the Program Manager for publishing its decisions as well as a brief explanation for all decisions.
The Grants Council will also be responsible for determining when to halt a project’s stream should they violate program rules or misuse funds. All reports of violations will be evaluated by the Grants Council. It will require 2 out of 3 council members to vote in favor of halting the stream for a stream to be stopped. Streams can also be halted via a DAO snapshot vote should the DAO disagree with the Grants Council’s judgment.
The Grants Council does not need to spend the entire Citizen Innovate budget should they feel there are not enough quality applications.
Grants Council Responsibilities:
- Approving/rejecting GCPs
- Provide public reasoning for all funding decisions made
- Determining when to halt a project’s stream should they violate program rules or misuse funds
- Will be determined by majority rules vote
Removing Council Members
Should the DAO feel a member or members of the council are not fulfilling their duty they may remove them using a snapshot vote.
Anyone with sufficient voting power can initiate a Snapshot poll to remove Grants Council member(s). Should the poll receive a majority “remove” vote, the Grants Council member(s) will be immediately removed.
Should this occur there will then be a week-long application process where replacement Grants Council members can apply via the forum. This will be followed by a Snapshot vote to elect replacement member(s).
The Program Manager will be responsible for coordinating between all parties involved to ensure the program runs smoothly. They will be available to answer any questions the DAO has regarding the program and will publish monthly reports so the community understands the status of the program. The Program Manager will have no input into which projects receive funds. However, they will be responsible for handling any operational tasks that arise throughout the program.
The Program Manager for the pilot of this project will be @rohit. Should the DAO feel Rohit is not fulfilling his duties as program manager, they may remove him using a snapshot vote. An emergency Snapshot vote will then be used to elect a replacement program manager.
In the long term, this position will be decided by the DAO. However, because the program is intended to get up and running as soon as possible, it will rely on Rohit’s services given his proven track record at Gitcoin over the last year and his experience and familiarity with Gitcoin’s goals and objectives.
- Creating a rubric that all projects will be judged against (to be approved by the Grants Council)
- Initial screening of applications to ensure they meet minimum eligibility requirements
- Tracking approved projects
- Ensuring projects properly communicate their progress
- Flagging potential rule violations to the Grants Council for potential action
- Ensure monthly submission cycles are followed
- Coordinate the KYC process
- Coordinate streams between multisig and projects
- Advise promising projects on how to improve their application prior to getting in front of the Grants Council
- Creating and publicizing a submission cycle for applicants to follow
This program is designed to reduce the large burden Stewards would face having to vote on a large number of proposals, while keeping approved proposals as aligned as possible with Gitcoin’s Essential Intents. While the Grants Council will be responsible for decision making around what proposals to fund, the Gitcoin Stewards will still retain the final say in many aspects of this proposal.
Stewards will retain the following powers:
- Ratify all additional roles included in this proposal
- Remove any position holder via a snapshot vote should the delegates feel they are not fulfilling their responsibilities
- Veto any funding decision made by the council
A dedicated 3/5 multisig for Citizens Innovate will be established to hold funds. Funds held in the multisig are explicitly banned from usage in DAO governance, including delegation.
The multisig will include a clawback capability so the DAO can retrieve funds if the multisig violates the agreement.
Signers will be:
- Grants Council member 1: @meglister
- Grants Council member 2: @owocki
- Grants Council member 3: @Viriya
- Program Manager: @CoachJonathan
- Gitcoin Chief of Staff: @deltajuliet
Projects that received grants funding during a Gitcoin Grants round are eligible to receive Citizens Innovate funding. Additionally, receiving funding from this pilot program does not prohibit projects from applying for funding during a Gitcoin Grants.
- Grantees must outline a spending plan, provide a pro forma, and state the grant’s objective.
- Grantees are expected to not encourage or partake Sybil attacks against the forum to sway community opinion.
- Grantees must agree to KYC with the Gitcoin Foundation to receive funds.
- Grantees must apply using the approved program application template
By streaming grant payments, the multisig will be empowered to hold grantees accountable to their proposals by halting fund streaming for any of the following reasons:
Submission cycles will be introduced after program launch to make it easier for the Grants Council to batch review and approve applications. The program manager will be responsible for sharing this information publicly.
- Any use of funds not explicitly described in the grantee’s application.
We have not yet run a program like this and it is difficult to find what other grants programs consider a “success” in terms of programs. To keep things simple, the following metrics will be measured and looked at as a community as to whether or not to continue the pilot beyond the 6-months:
- Number of applications
- Number of selected GCPs (indication that these are quality applications)
- Success of projects hitting milestones and KPIs
- Feedback collected from funded projects about the process
- Feedback collected from Grants Council about their view on the success of this program in meeting DAO-wide goals
This initiative is composed of pre-defined projects (RFPs) that Workstreams (with approved budgets) request assistance with.
RFPs are pre-specified by Workstreams and are supported by workstream budgets. Workstreams will have the final decision as to which individual/team will complete each RFP. While GTC token holders will not vote on RFPs directly, GTC token holders will have 1) the ability to vote for/against each worktream’s budget request (every 3-12 months) and 2) visibility into all RFP applications (hosted on Grants Stack and linked to from within the Citizen Grants website).
If you’re interested in applying to an RFP, you may do so by submitting your application on Grants Stack [LINK COMING SOON] before the submission deadline. Make sure your application is complete and answers all the qualifying questions.
A representative from the appropriate workstream will aim to announce the selected proposal within 10 business days of the submission closing. The Workstream is not under the obligation to select a winning proposal should none of the proposals meet the criteria or the quality of application being looked for.
Citizen Grants program updates will be shared via our Governance Forum, DAO Digest newsletter, monthly Steward Sync, and Citizens Twitter account. We can also explore hosting a regular monthly call held every month for the project teams to share progress and answer any questions (should there be interest in this).
For Citizens Innovate, the frequency and format of project updates should be detailed within each GCP.
Partnership Fund: The purpose of the Partnerships Fund is to reward Gitcoin Community members for creating unique funding opportunities on behalf of Gitcoin.
Citizens Experiments: This fund is intended to serve as a home for Gitcoin to run novel grants-related experiments.
- What does a grants program using conviction voting look like?
- What does a QV round look like where only participating projects can vote on projects other than their own?
All experiments will be rigorously documented, with learnings shared publicly afterward for the entire ecosystem to glean insights from. Experiments will last for varying amounts of time and the funds value will change for each experiment.
Parameters for each experiment, including the funding mechanism, eligibility criteria of projects, etc. will be outlined and selected by CSDO. CSDO may also delegate the responsibility of running this experiment to external parties.
Experiments may be run by DAO Core Contributors or by Citizens.
- Citizens Retro is already underway and does not require approval.
- Citizens Innovate will require approval of this proposal in order to release funds from the treasury into a Citizens Innovate multisig.
- Citizens Forward will not require Steward approval for setting up the program, only for releasing funds to Workstreams looking to set up RFPs (done through formal Workstream budget requests).
- Community feedback is welcome and appreciated (especially if there are any gaps in the logic of how this program will be administered).
- Fund the Citizens Innovate pilot with 450,000 GTC
- Don’t fund the Citizens Innovate pilot