This is a phenomenal discussion and makes a lot of our implicit protocol transition much more explicit – thanks so much @J9leger and team for the thoughtfulness and clarity put into this writeup.
Initially, I was very much pro-Option 1 – put our money where our mouth is, and go all-in protocol.
But as I read through the responses and think through things further, a couple things strike me that push me to try and get a bit creative here. The two main consideration points making me doubt my initial support for Option 1 are:
- @juanna’s point on timeframe here - the round is less than two months away; if we’ve already set expectatations with lots of funders that GR16 is happening, rugging it completely does feel a bit late.
- My further thinking on timing, and your callout of the main risk under Option 1 – that even with a pause (Option 1), the protocol is still not ready and we lose further credibility. Now through January just may not be enough time to move the needle on protocol advancement, even with 100% focus.
As a result, I would propose an “Option 3”: Run a “Main Round Only” GR16 and GR17.
Based on my experience running grants programs over the past year, my finger-in-the-air assessment is that this would reduce operational complexity by about 80% vs. running our usual rounds. There’s still work to be done – but it’s much more manageable from every angle (CLR setup, policy, grant review, marketing, payouts… all of it).
Adding any sort of cause or ecosystem rounds - even if it’s just two or three - substantially increases complexity and distracts from focus. So, personally, I would err towards setting the expectation now that we run two really bare bones rounds that are still the Gitcoin Grants everyone knows & loves on the familiar quarterly cadence, keeping the program alive but giving the team the next six months to focus on protocol in a much more dedicated fashion.
This would probably require an interim re-definition of the “Main Round” and what’s in for these two special rounds in GR16 & GR17 (IMO, it should be pretty broad and include all the archteypes of ecosystem/cause round grantees that have been on the platform prior).
Pros of my Option 3 proposal:
- Maintains familiar quarterly cadence, grantees still get funding
- ~80% less work than status quo (And six months of this ‘downtime’ vs. three)
- A new opportunity to test quadratic funding in its purest form in the context of just a main round - how do all the climate, DeSci, etc. grantees that we’ve garnered in the last couple rounds now stack up funding-wise in absence of dedicated rounds?
Cons of my Option 3 proposal:
- This still kind of sucks for any funders who were hoping to fund a specific cause or ecosystem round for GR16/GR17 - and, TBD if we could even fundraise sufficiently to make this work (would require a re-framing of expectations/offerings with partners, but I think it’s doable)
- Doesn’t give the team the 100% protocol focus that Option 1 gives
Lastly, I will say that if a proposal like the Option 3 I’ve outlined isn’t workable or worth considering for whatever reason, my strong support would be for Option 1 over Option 2. I really think we’re kidding ourselves if we think we can run any form of Ecosystem/Cause Rounds and ramp up the focus on the protocol to where it needs to be.