[Proposal] GR14 Round Structure & Grants Eligibility Update

I appreciate the thoughtful comments about this deceptively complex issue. I will reply to some of the comments as I go. But ultimately, I think aiming at the most basic layer is appropriate. Is a given project truly a public good or not? If the community believes yes, then the token situation is irrelevant. There seems to be agreement that projects with large treasuries should not be eligible for the grant program, regardless of where that funding originated. So I would like to eventually see the <$500k restriction be generalized to apply to any source, not just VCs. But this is a step in the right direction imo.

The large influx of applicants which should result from the criteria modifications is a feature during this down market macro state, at a time when other grant protocols are springing up. The boost to numbers might just extend our Overton window enough to ship G2.0 successfully.

I will vote #1.

I agree. But the FDD is already tasked with this challenge. To truly eliminate the case-by-case assessments we need to establish hard criteria - ‘musts’ not ‘should-s’. It is the ‘should’ which puts undue pressure on individual grant reviewers. No single reviewer should be expected to determine, on behalf of the Gitcoin Dao, whether an borderline case is eligible or not. Especially considering this has been an entry level position into the FDD. Historically FDD spread this pressure over additional reviewers but this is not scalable. In fact if we distilled the criteria to a single item it would probably be: MUST be a public good. If this is assured the rest is nearly unimportant. Token no token, open source vs closed source (another contentious matter).

Creating public good benefit outweighs all the secondary criteria (probably which evolved to help assess benefit to public goods in the first place). If we just did a community signaling process on whether borderline grants (as flagged by community and FDD) are true public goods and which are not, the rest becomes noise.

I believe the justification bubbled up during the BrightID discussions, and was based on the recognition that a great portion of blockchain projects use tokens for both governance and to provide for individual ownership/investment. This combined with the expansion of Gitcoin (bringing in many new reviewers) caused some inconsistent application of the eligibility criteria. The FDD suggested initial revisions in pursuit of consistent application of eligibility criteria and to increase the number of excellent projects getting funded.

I like the idea of using a 3 month delay whether by smart contract escrow or another mechanism. In addition to TJ’s reasoning, it provides a large window of time to process any disputes and appeals without causing any disruption to projects accumulating donations. When we remove denied projects from rounds we cancel their ability to accrue donations. If the project later successfully appeals we do not know how much they would’ve earned. I acknowledge the FDD engaged LexDao to improve and fine-tune the emergent appeal process. Preserving the donations for denied grants (in event of later good appeal) is high on the priority list.

Yes yes yes! Great point Lunacat.

Great to see first-time posters in this thread. Welcome Saintsal.

I will vote #1 and push for future revision to ensure the 500k cap applies to funding from all sources.


Come on … really? GTC has no economic value? So why does the DAO pay salaries with it? Why can I sell it via uniswap for other tokens or via Binance for cash?

Please don’t treat me like an idiot. The only reason this was written in that page was for legal reasons.

I will remind you that Gitcoin itself had an investment round (Ethereum’s Gitcoin Raises $11.3 Million, Spins Out of ConsenSys - Decrypt), took money (economic value) to spin out of Consensys and create the GTC token and the DAO and paid out the investors in GTC.

Investors hunt money and economic value. If it had no economic value then:

  1. The token would be not tradeable
  2. The investors (Paradigm, Electric capital etc.) would be philanthropists and not VCs.
1 Like

So why not keep the no token rule, but specify if the token is only used for governance, and the project has no treasury of said token then it’s fine?

Basically push the responsibility to the user to do due diligence instead of pushing it on the DAO?


This is ridiculous, should we start to look back in time and see for example Bankless (Just to mention this one)? Did we ever made a follow up on any grants? It’s almost like playing a catch me if you can game…

I have my opinion and you got yours, which is fine. Not treating anyone as an idiot here…

There is no need to look back in time if we don’t change the rules now.

1 Like

This was closer to the FDD’s original revision suggestion. Which met resistance for the exact reason you and SirlupinWatson discuss. Many projects claim to have a Governance token of no value which is actively traded on the open market (like $GTC & $BANK). So predictions were made that making this change (without the suggestion to keep zero project tokens in a treasury) would take a lot of effort but would not produce the desired changes. I like the additional clause but I wonder if there is a way to also push this responsibility to the applicant. Like every grant applicant must provide a team treasury breakdown?
It is probably beyond the scope of the average reviewer to conduct treasury analysis…but maybe not…


This would require more time of humans reviewing items rather than being a scalable system. But that might be fine for the number of cases that encounter this issue.

1 Like

This is the issue. With the BrightID appeal we asked to have the policy change as part of a snapshot vote, which would then allow the law to fine tune to an acceptable solution. Since the stewards did not want a vote, it remains in someones hands, and that is currently FDD. We were going to implement a Celeste or Kleros solution, but the dGrants project was stopped and grants 2.0 started.

Either way, the no vote was a vote for the ambiguity to continue and no discernable process for evolving the law to be in place.

We have started talks with LexDAO Impact Clinic to guide us through designing a proper appeals system. cc @bestape


Hello everyone, thank you @annika for raising these collective concerns we have been having, before diving into the actual proposal I would like to reveal the situations from the GIA’s perspective and also mine.

The main issue is that people/projects/organizations view Gitcoin as the GO TO place to get funding(like the Kickstarter of web3 and indie projects). Most of the applicants don’t even care what the eligibility criteria are or what our mission at Gitcoin is. They just want funding and will try anything to get it. Given the complexity and diversity of the grant applications, I believe we did an amazing job filtering out these type of projects in GR12 and GR13, but not all of them, that is currently impossible if we really want credible neutrality/fairness in the grants program. We need a reason to deny a project, we cannot deny it just because we want to.

After reviewing thousands of grants(GR11, GR12) and approving even more(GR12, GR13) I think I am one of the few people that has clear view on what’s going on.

1. A lot of the people that apply for funding don’t care that much about Gitcoin’s mission
2. A lof of the people that apply for funding don’t care that much what the rules are…until they get denied.
3. A lof of the people always tend to “milk the cow” until the very last drop, so they will resort to very complex tactics to get their grant applications into an “approvable” format
4. People that want to game the system can read in Discord and also on the forum and basically create a perfect grant “recipe” which only has the goal of extracting $ from Gitcoin, Gitcoin’s users and our partners. (this will be a vulnerability also in Grants 2.0 )

Sorry for the tags I just want everyone to be aware of these situations and also to try to see the situation from another angle @lefterisjp @Lunacat @tjayrush

I think that @connor nailed it

I think Connor really described the core issue of denying grants with tokens. We already accepted a lot of grants that use NFTs for funding all kinds of initiatives…like sell NFTs to raise $ for a cause.

I see no issue in grants having a token to sustain their activity if they are building toward the common good. :slight_smile:

A possible solution:

1. We could clearly redefine some of the acceptance/denial criteria for each round
(clearly state what is acceptable and what is not) and make that known!

Now getting into the comments…

How would you recommend handling these types of situations? Different rounds have different levels of acceptance/restrictions via grant applications. That makes our job in the GIA way harder than it should be. How do we maintain credible neutrality if a grantee gets denied for the same reason others get approved? :slight_smile:

When people reach out in support and ask: Hey why was my grant denied, it’s exactly like this other grant that was approved?

The GIA(me, @David_Dyor and @vogue20033 ) and also the FDD really cared about each and every grant creator(I know how hard starting out is). I personally answered to all of their questions and tried to help them understand what’s going on. Not a few believe that we are biased in our approach and I also believe that.
We sometimes favor BIG projects over SMALL ones because of their influence and sometimes we are are more likely to approve projects that are our FRENS. It that credible neutral? :slight_smile:

The issue with creating a threshold like 500k $ is the fact that we could be cutting funding to projects that are OS and building for the public good, but need wayyy more $ than 500k to reach their goals. We will see in GR15…

100% agreed, I’m keeping it real here: the reality we all live in is a kinda vortex in which the law is used as a cover up and we make rules that can be easily broken… Even if Gitcoin started that way, I see no issue with that, we didn’t have other ways of funding a project like Gitcoin back then.


Maybe when true believers in web 3 will gather the right amount of capital this will change

I kinda agree with this, but what if they are funding their projects with their token to continue building cool stuff? Why should we discriminate between token and no token? That was the reason Annika wrote this proposal.

For GR15 we should try to create more threshold like the 500k $ one…a example:
Projects that donate over X percent of their profits to public goods or use the funds to build around a cause should be allowed

I will vote with Option 1!

1 Like

Deny all token projects and let them appeal explaining why it’s not used as a funding mechanism.
If they have a token that’s sufficiently funding them deny the project.

Because they already have a funding mechanism in place through the token and gitcoin grant matching pot is not the place to supplement their income from.

1 Like

The funny part is that until GR13 we actually DID! But as I explained there were already some projects with tokens approved and some rounds are more permissive towards this hence we need a general rule :slight_smile:

Hmm, well ok, but we have a lot of grants approved that have a funding mechanism, not that ez to solve. I would ask:

Should we investigate the funding mechanisms of each and every project that is now active on the platform and draw our conclusions from there? :slight_smile: This will only lead to conflicting situations.

1 Like

Either that or simply define the no token rule better and more concretely via a document.

And make a post publishing and outlining this document and ask the community itself to flag existing grants:

  1. By asking the grant owners why do they still have an active grant when there is a token?
  2. Flagging them to the DAO.

Effectively push a lot of responsibility to the community to weed out existing grants that should also follow this rule. You’d be surprised at the result.


The community can flag grants and is already flagging, but that doesn’t mean that they will take up the time to really research that project outside of Gitcoin(where the truth lies), they will just read the descriptions on the platform. We cannot assume that everyone tells the truth in that description… Believe me we are doing everything we can, we pushed for the creation of a Grant Investigations squad specifically for this reason…people lie and deceive the platform and the community doesn’t have all the inputs to check. There are more solutions to this…we are working towards that. But as time goes by these situations will be more frequent not less…

We need to be on the same page and aware of the issues that we face in order to understand the magnitude of the situation. A lot of stewards and influential figures from the DAO don’t know what our challenges within the FDD(specifically GIA regarding this issue) really are and how we are solving them. :slight_smile:


So your solution is give up and open the doors to all token projects? I am sorry but this is not a solution.

1 Like

This should be the primary question for every grant, thanks David for your comments!


Give up on what? I’ve explained that we started investigating grants from other perspectives, something that I’ve pushed solely for the benefit of the Gitcoin Grants Ecosystem…

Btw, it is not “my” solution. This is a proposal and we each vote on it. If I personally didn’t care for our collective mission, why would I make my own job harder by voting for “Yes, allow grants with tokens” ? Who would vote in favor of increasing his own workload this season…? :smiley:

This is not about what I believe, it’s about credible neutrality and in my view if we just don’t allow projects with tokens/NFTs this would be a loss for the ecosystem as a whole.

I think that is the aligned vission with Grants 2.0, yes.


QF grants with no rules and a completely off-hands unmoderated approach will never work.

In such a case any project, no matter how big or well funded can take part and apply.

Assuming byzantine behavior and non-honest participants the QF round then devolves to a battle between the marketing departments of big organizations.

Which organization can better use their well funded marketing team to organize social media campaigns to get the most people to vote for them and drain the matching pot in their favor?

In the meantime, the projects that really need the funding, 2-3 devs banding together to build a public good get nothing.


I agree, we will always need grant curation and yes, it’s great to get the community involved(as you stated above), that’s why we will be using Ethelo to begin the shift to permissionless reviews :slight_smile:
We will still have trusted reviewers in that permissionless system that handle the main round and if other ecosystems/causes want to use this system, they will be able to do it. Each round could have it’s own rules and people that will be paid to curate(review) according to those rules.

We will see how Grant Investigations perform at the end GR14 and how many fraudulent/malice/non-eligible grant applications we will find.
Lately we also figured out that we need to investigate grants from round to round to ensure that they are not just “milking the cow” and actually building something. This

I agree…this is what I am actually worried about. That’s why we handle every case with equal importance. A “small” project today can be the next “Uniswap” or even “GItcoin” :slight_smile:


Yes. This was the basis for the decision with BrightID and we made that decision based on feedback from 138 Gitcoin users who overwhelmingly wanted us to fund public goods over worrying about exact policy.


I agree. This is my reasoning for funding the “Trust Building” squad in option 2 on our (FDD) budget proposal. We need to provide communities with a software tool that decentralizes their content moderation (grant eligibility).

The other argument is that we should ship Grants 2.0 and let communities delegate the authority.

Either way, a marketplace will be formed for better solutions to the problem, but unfortunately the one that is not delegated authority would be a public good infrastructure that no one entity would invest in building.

I believe that if we don’t invest in it now, to ship it with grants 2.0 protocol, then it will not be built.

Yes, and if there is delegated authority to moderate content, then it is easy to corrupt. But if we shipped a tool for the communities to express their inter-subjective consensus, we would empower better results aligned with our overall mission.

Communities will choose different “funding stacks” with grants 2.0. These stacks will be composed of 4 modular components:

  1. Funding mechanisms (Voting weight distribution) - QF, Pairwise QF, MACI, SACI, 1p1V, Pluralist Pairwise QF, QF w/ $1 Tax, etc

  2. Grant discoverability curation (Who gets the best spot on the shelf) - Staking on grants (TCR), JokeDAO/nounsdao curation method, Pluralist signalling

  3. Grant eligibility curation (Content moderation) - Delegated authority, Oracles, Inter-subjective consensus, tbd new models…

  4. Sybil-Resistance Services (How do we know each voter is legitimate?) - Algorithmic (dPoPP reader or current ML), rules based (constraints based on dPoPP stamps or other reputation/holdings), Deep Learning, staking on other users, mechanism design tied into the funding mechanism, etc

When these stacks compete to see which allocates public goods funding in a way that is best for the community, the evolutionary pressue is on matching pools to select a funding stack that works for the users/participants/donors.

The idea would be that we can allow the public goods funding rails to compete with each other rather than the capital itself.