[S14 Proposal - Amended x2] KERNEL Budget Request of 49K GTC

Six years ago I decided that I needed to commit my life to a purpose, to have something bigger than me that would always be my north star.

Previously, I had thought of finding purpose like “love at first sight”. I thought I was in some cosmic game that would randomly show me my purpose and I would be wise enough to recognize it.

When I decided that I was in control and could select my purpose, I thought to myself “What is the most noble goal possible”

After months of thinking and writing, I landed on EDUCATION.

But I am not a teacher. I’m something more like a systems engineer with a focus on adaptive processes. How could I affect education?

Education is THE fundamental public good.

Our neighbors having access to education makes our lives better.

Everyone should always have access to education.

In fact, the value that it creates could be accounted for using Ostrom’s SES Framework and then redistributed to others. Maybe there is a level of education where people are less prone to violence?

Anyway, all that is to say that the reason I am here is because from a system engineering viewpoint, I thought the best way I could possibly work towards my mission was to build and evangelize DAOs to eventually provide free education to everyone for life. In fact, if they can’t get paid to work, they should get paid to learn. That is my purpose.

I’m supporting this proposal WITHOUT a clause for return because I have ALREADY felt the benefits of the Kernel community in the world.

I went to Metacamp last month with 35 DAO leaders and we had a whole discussion on how Kernel isn’t only the best web 3 education available, but it is a leader in cultivating the VALUES we claim Web 3 will have.

It is the premier education for how the world shifts from a paradigm of competition, to a paradigm of collaboration.

We might be best to think of this a retroactive public goods funding, but it really doesn’t matter to me. The Kernel program deserves support of the Gitcoin community.


Hello all, with thanks for comments, feedback, and suggestions by all, KERNEL has revised its proposal to 96K GTC, as specifically suggested by @ceresstation and @linda.

The amendment is reflected in the topline message, with a new TL;DR, emphasis on the plan for a KERNEL Treasury, and a new S14 budget.

This was a significant slimming exercise but it is one we feel confident can still work (with less room for external open source contributors).

We appreciate all of the thoughts throughout and hope that this proposal better describes the reciprocal ways we hope KERNEL and GitcoinDAO may operate for years to come.


Well said Joe. Wow I had no idea about these layers to you. I wonder how many other members of the GC fam had similar experiences. I sure did. Thanks for opening up Sir and allowing us to know you deeper.

At EthDenver I heard more positive remarks about Kernel than any other aspect of GC. Congrats on the creation Vivek and team. Also, thank you for the detailed answers to the questions above. I am determined to eventually participate in a Kernel Block. Though small, you have my support. I trust the core members of GPG to ensure any token/gov sharing agreement between Kernel and Gitcoin Dao is fair.


Pretty surprised by this proposal as I thought KERNEL was separating from Gitcoin but I def support the program being in the DAO. The thoughtfulness and intention that the KERNEL team brings to their work is so valuable and is what I think really makes them a crowd favorite. I may be a little bias as a past participant tho. :sweat_smile: Totally agree with @DisruptionJoe here too that education makes our lives better & is a fundamental public good. :seedling:


Jumping in to provide my two cents as I go through all the proposals.

I’ll start by saying that, like @DisruptionJoe, I feel a deep affinity with & love for KERNEL. I, too, believe education is THE fundamental public good - and I’ve seen & experienced firsthand the learning, the connection, the beauty, and the safe space that KERNEL brings to the Web3 ecosystem at large.

I would love for the DAO and KERNEL to explore means of mutual collaboration, and would even be open to exploring the idea of the DAO Treasury generously providing some funding to KERNEL.

That said, I really don’t think a DAO workstream is the right structure for a relationship between the DAO and KERNEL.

Why’s that?

  1. KERNEL is already becoming its own entity
    With KERNEL becoming an established entity having its own completely separate governance structure, I don’t think it makes sense for it to also be a DAO workstream. This, too, is why I am voting ‘no’ to the mintkudos.xyz proposal. As I mentioned there, all current GitcoinDAO workstreams are teams that are dedicated to the DAO at-large - rather than having the DAO as just one of many affiliations. KERNEL or mintkudos.xyz becoming their own workstreams would bring about a set of new considerations/challenges that I don’t think we are prepared to prioritize facing right now.

  2. I do not see it serving the Protocol DAO mission
    While KERNEL is consistent with the ‘learn’ mandate within Gitcoin’s previous earn/learn/connect/fund framing, as we move intentionally towards being a Protocol DAO, I do not see a strategic fit in the context of the workstreams we are standing up in service of that mission.

(As an aside, a thought for CSDO & DAO governance consideration, generally speaking - together, this proposal and the mintkudos.xyz proposal make me question whether we might create other avenues for such requests that are not workstream formations.)

Although I plan to vote ‘no’ on this proposal for KERNEL to become a workstream, I want to reiterate my love for & support of the program. I do earnestly hope we can establish another flavour of relationship that can support KERNEL in its worthy ambitions.


One major challenge is balancing preparing for the future and growing public goods from a broader perspective vs addressing the immediate needs of the present.

As of now, GitcoinDAO generally needs to streamline our workstreams in the coming months.

I would like to suggest that Kernel focus on its core priorities for now, namely having funding for KB6, KB7 and building a KERNEL treasury. I think GitcoinDAO would make an excellent anchor partner as Kernel transitions to an endowment funded model.

This would make the budget just

Item GTC Amount
Kernel Blocks 6+7 39k GTC ($330k USD)
Infinite Game 10k GTC ($60k USD)

This would be just 1/3 of the original ask.

I think right now, Kernel needs GitcoinDAO’s support more than ever and I implore that fellow stewards (@krrisis @kyle @Pop @ceresstation @seedphrase ) consider giving Kernel the breathing space for the year ahead. Kernel adds a lot of value in terms of the folks that we bring to GitcoinDAO + bringing in potential funders of public goods. I’d also like to suggest that projects grown within Kernel sign a giving pledge to public goods which can help to justify value accrual to the protocol.


Thanks Vivek for the thoughts and details. I too have a strong affinity for Kernel, but I am still just stuck on “why a workstream” and “why more funding from Gitcoin.” This was a project that Gitcoin nurtured and funded for almost 2 years already. Seeking more from Gitcoin doesn’t feel appropriate. I am of the opinion Kernel really needs to stand on its own (and that was the goal with the seed funding as part of the spin out from Holdings).

I will likely vote no on the proposal for Kernel to be a workstream and to have it funded further by Gitcoin. There has been interest from others in the past to also be an anchor funder and I wonder if we can start there?

Thank you for taking the time to amend and restructure the proposal in line with the accountability flow. I feelI have a broader context on the good Kernel brings into this ecosystem, having witnessed it in action (perhaps more than other newer stewards) for the past two years.

I tend to echo some of the comments in this thread around the size of the request and perhaps the timing. As this DAO has been evolving, maturing and working hard to sharpen its focus, the reduced ask suggestions for running KB7/8 make a lot of sense and I am hoping we can ensure the continuation of Kernel with a lesser amount without diminishing/affecting its value.

I feel this specifically is a great way to ensure value is flowing back into Gitcoin DAO as a result of funding Kernel and something we have been discussing has been missing from a lot of other workstreams’ focus. If we can ensure this dynamic is sustainable, it would provide a great medium/long term flow of value for both Gitcoin and Kernel.


Hello friends, explorers, stewards, thank you for your comments on the KERNEL proposal (& thank you to @seedphrase @David_Dyor @annika for your kind words on KERNEL itself).

We reach the end of the road a bit wearied, but nonetheless excited for the future of GitcoinDAO & KERNEL well beyond today’s shifting tides.

To be brief, we have made a final and substantial amendment to the KERNEL Proposal, reducing our ask to 49K GTC for our first quarter as a workstream within GitcoinDAO. This suggestion was originally made by @Fishbiscuit and has been enacted in the main proposal here.

I’d like to address a few thoughts beyond simply reducing the proposal amount, although I do hope this is a substantial gesture in our understanding that:

(a) GitcoinDAO is in a precarious position and must show wisdom as we enter a new cycle (h/t @linda for this resource), and
(b) while we feel strongly KERNEL is worth funding, solidifying our unique exploration as a smaller workstream may be healthier at this time.

One of the reasons is for (b) is posed by Annika here, in that KERNEL doesn’t quite fit the mold for a GitcoinDAO workstream or a “mutual grant” today, given it’s unique history within Gitcoin Holdings. We are starting our own entity, we have a complimentary mission (focused on a specific set of public goods, seeded around education), and are not explicitly focused on the ProtocolDAO.

While these points are true, and Annika later alludes to a gap to be filled, I think this misses the following:

KERNEL serves as a unique, important hedge to workstreams directly focused directly on a ProtocolDAO: a high-potential, independent entity experimenting with a clear, extremely high potential, win-win relationship with the DAO. This is an exercise in coordination which might serve as a model for other workstreams, mutual grants, or [insert new category] to consider as the future of GitcoinDAO & public goods funding unfolds.

While we are entering a bear market, I think it serves GitcoinDAO well to ensure experiments like KERNEL are given a real chance to succeed as public goods and that attempts to coordinate in this way are not halted completely. If not here, then where?

In closing, I am reminded of a specific, quieter part of the KERNEL syllabus on a spanish concept called Duende, which includes a poetic phrase or two.

Here is the heart of the struggle then: what we want is a miracle; what we have is a network of messy human beings. Do we have the creativity to see how these two are not any different?

It is good to know that glasses
are to drink from;
the bad thing
is to not know what thirst is for.

In moving forward, I hope that we may find ways for KERNEL to participate as a healthy member of GitcoinDAO (as a workstream today, and perhaps, in other ways in the future) dedicated to honesty, trust, excellence, heightened awareness, and the ways in which messy humans might come together to do things that otherwise may seem impossible, starting with the simplest: caring for one another. We understand we would be joining GitcoinDAO in a period of struggle, and are dedicated and intertwined with the efforts of moving through it as well as we can, together.

I close with a favorite passage from a dearest friend, the one and only @cryptowanderer:

Let’s be honest then; what we’re working for is a miracle. Many of us harbour the desire that a critical mass of people will wake up and realise that the ways we transact with one another and the ways that we organise our relationships and work surrender both power and value to a system consciously designed to extract the maximum profit it can. Moreover, that this realisation will also entail the creative and insightful use of the tools we already have, in the service of imagining new personal and political possibilities. This is the definition of a poetic hope, and it highlights the depths of the struggle which we must each face if we are to realise such a world.


Since people have been reaching out about my vote on this proposal (and actually, my vote on the twice amended proposal based on all the feedback received here and during the stewards call this month), I will share my rationale.

I opted not to create a voter guide since I feel they are currently imperfect (I do want to look at blending the different elements from each that could form the basis of a standard matrix for evaluating proposals as we evolve this process) and they reflect a singular individual perspective vs an objective guide to a decision making process.

My vote for YES on the twice amended proposal reflects my desire to see Kernel continue its great work in onboarding, incubating and bringing value into the web3 ecosystem. Having witnessed the talent being pulled in [EXAMPLE REDACTED] and mentored some of the projects in Kernel in the past two years, the value to the open source ecosystem (and a means of funding this through education, mentorship and networking) cannot be denied. The continued work in looking at promoting mutual value exchange was highlighted here in the original proposal.

As a result and because of Gitcoin’s 24% in governance rights, the value will also flow back into Gitcoin. I believe @vivek also highlighted that here:

Understanding that without this reduced funding the project may encounter tough times rending them unable to run further blocks, I choose to vote YES for this season. This by no means constitutes a FOREVER choice and any progress or lack thereof will be evaluated and a different vote may happen in the future.

I believe in balance in all things and I shared my thoughts here on a post by @owocki from March - it is important to make rational decisions that can enable the flow of value and this is my decision based on the context I have, based on the reduced amount requested and the reasons listed above which are true at this point in time when my decision is being recorded.


After numerous discussions, I have decided I am against this proposal.

Here’s why: (I have spoken to Vivek on the phone + articulated most of this to him already.)

KERNELs impact in the market is undeniable, and I value Vivek and Andy’s friendship, but there are major problems with this proposal (and KERNELs longevity) that need to be taken seriously.

I wrote this post because the dao has responsibilities (1) to manage gitcoins own treasury outflows (2) press for some hard but necessary growth in KERNEL.

Here are some reasons I decided I was against this proposal:

  1. It is a signal of weakness in the funding market for KERNEL to come back to Gitcoin for funding after we’ve already incubated & spun it out. KERNEL would be in a stronger position if they had an outside lead for their funding round.
  2. In the past, I’ve made deals with KERNEL leadership where they don’t follow through on their end of the bargain. The pattern I’ve seen is that they want something, they make some promises to get it, and when they get what they want, they forget the promises and dont follow through on them. For this reason, I don’t take them at their word that they’ll be present in CSDO or any other GitcoinDAO oriented activities (& these are conditions of having a GitcoinDAO workstream).
  3. I still have brain damage from the damage Vivek caused to Gitcoin by being negligent as COO during mid/late 2020. Vivek focused on KERNEL without prudently transferring his responsibilities over the rest of the Gitcoin portfolio. In a counterfactual world in which he had been doing the job he had agreed upon - managing the product/teams teams performance, coaching them up, turning the team, shipping the stuff on our roadmap, and not just ignoring all of these responsibilities and letting the team culture rot - we wouldnt have had such a hard reset for kyle/lindsey/kevin olsen on the product side in 2021 (debt we are STILL paying down). The damage here is easily 5x-15x the financial cost of incubating KERNEL itself. (maybe even larger if you consider how our market position has deteriorated without a functional product team). Until I figured out what was going on, KERNEL was like a tapeworm consuming resources its host sorely needed. Setting its host back 6-9 months in time, and creating endemic cultural rot that would take years to unwind. I was over this when I thought there was going to be a clean deal to spinout KERNEL, but now that we’re going to consider ongoing workstream relationship with them I think this history (and the damage it has done to my ability to trust Vivek) needs to be articulated.
  4. We set up the KERNEL spinout from holdings deal to give KERNEL runway. That deal’s terms made no mention of further funding from GitcoinDAO. KERNEL is essentially double dipping here by playing the dao and the holdco off each other (telling both that it needs it to fund the next 3-6 months of runway). The amount the holdings company gave KERNEL is enough runway for a team of 1 or 2 for a year, or a team of six for the next couple blocks.
  5. This proposal offers nothing back to GitcoinDAO. It’s essential a “something for nothing” proposal. I believe that the proposal should be mutually beneficial.
  6. This proposal sets a precedent that Gitcoin will continue to fund KERNEL ad infinitum.
  7. KERNEL is not one of Gitcoin’s Essential Intents. In a bear market, the DAO should be especially scrutinizing what it funds.

Here is what I think should happen:

Given the option, KERNEL chose independent governance. Now they need to meet the moment and actually follow through to be independent from Gitcoin. They need to stop returning the the DAO treasury (especially during scarcity times).

That means:

  1. Learn to fundraise outside of Gitcoin/GitcoinDAO.
  2. If KERNEL is going to fundraise from GitcoinDAO stop asking for ridiculous terms ($200k for no mutual benefit). And show GitcoinDAO you will follow through on what you say you’re going to do.
  3. Make the hard choices about how much burn KERNEL can handle. KERNEL has a staff of 6, which is huge for a project that doesnt want to raise VC and is pre-revenue and pre-financial sustainability.

I understand that this comment may seem harsh. I value KERNEL, but I think it needs to do some growing up now that its “left the house”. I hope that these hard conversations lead to the eventual thriving of a more mature KERNEL.

With tough love,

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Thank you for sharing these certainly unknown dynamics regarding the relationship between these teams or specifically, yourself and Vivek. I’d specifically want to understand this better (perhaps also from @vivek’s side) as this sounds like an erosion of trust happened at least two years ago and has never been mended. I am keen to get a balanced view so would always want to hear both sides.

Keen to also hear and review the thoughts of the Kernel team on this so we may move forward together:

Piecing together context and background a lot of us are unaware of is of great importance to due diligence as is ensuring we have all perspectives recorded.

I’m sorry to hear that this separation went so badly.

I personally do not think we need even more details on public fora but hope that more conversations can be held in the future if tensions need to be resolved and traumas healed.

Because I also deeply value vivek & andy as human beings and respect the entire team building Kernel with a lot of soul/spirit, heart and also very focused energy. To me Kernel really embodies so much of the solarpunk vibe this world (web3 and beyond) needs, and a lot comes from how vivek hosts and creates a home for people coming in combined with andy’s writing and… I could go on. Tl;dr: it matters.

Apart from the pain I read above I also read a solid objective argumentation why I feel I need to change my vote to a no at this time.

edit: Would still vote yes on a mutual grant proposal with deeply discussed terms.

I hope further dialogue will happen (in the right context and timeframe, whatever it requires), so that the initial agreement between Gitcoin Holdings and Kernel will come to fruition.
If I can support this in any way, very open.

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FWIW the seperation is going fine. Vivek and I have an amicable and professional (but not as close as when we were cofounders of Gitcoin) relationship. Yes, there is some scar tissue there (and I’m sure I am partially at fault for some of it), but it’s not terminal IMO. And I deeply admire Andy.

Now that they’re independent and holdings has set them up with seed funding and the market has turned bearish, I just dont support any further funding from the DAO without an articulation of utility back to GitcoinDAO.

And even then, I think KERNEL needs to get real about their own financial sustainability/burn. And so does GitcoinDAO TBH.

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Hello friends,

Thank you for your thoughts. We are always open to feedback.

Perhaps so - especially the structural issues Simona pointed out. We tried to attend to these given the mix of circumstances, but acknowledge some fault.

This implication is false. KERNEL has been cash-positive since Genesis Block. That changes during KB6, hence us asking for some breathing room. We do still keep costs to a minimum. For instance, our marketing spend to date is $0, as are our hosting costs for the course.

Is asking for help a signal of weakness? This seems to be a question of taste. Our hope is to demonstrate support from a DAO made up by many people who have been through the program as a means of continuing to provide a high-quality, open, network-neutral, plural good.

Non-disclosures get in the way of full transparency here, so I simply invite you to think about whether we can create a healthy educational web with 1 or 2 people, and whether we should ever aim to.

Please see all the people and projects listed who have gone through Kernel only to enter GitcoinDAO. This post implies no-one on that list has provided value. I believe that to be untrue.

We’ve stipulated a maximum of 3 seasons.

Vivek is a man of integrity and wisdom and I count working with him closely as the greatest privilege I have experienced in web3.

I am, however, aware of my own limitations and now wonder if this is because I lost my brain some time ago? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I wish you all a better week ahead.


Hey Andy, thanks for stopping by. I wish it was under better circumstances, in a time of more abundance and alignment.

Based on my conversations with Vivek that are focused on financial scarcity, and my own understanding of the financials - I dont think thats true. Unless you take for granted the costs that Gitcoin holdings has been incurring to support KERNEL.

You might be including a large one-time contribution to Gitcoin from a web3 partner in Q1 2021 that we booked as KERNEL revenue before it was disclosed to me that KERNEL intended to have its own brand and economics. This was a special one-time circumstance where we booked ~$350k to KERNEL in order to balance our books before leaving Consensys (eg not owe any $$ back to Consensys at month-end upon spinout). I do not think you can include this payment, which was generated through Gitcoin dealflow and only booked to KERNEL by way of this extremely special one time circumstance.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard KERNEL leadership assert that KERNEL is cash flow positive. If KERNEL is cash flow positive, that conflicts with what I’ve heard from the GitcoinDAO stewards. I’ve heard from a few of them that are under the impression that this proposal is “keep alive” funding for KERNEL.

The snapshot proposal implies to me that the next couple KERNEL Blocks would not happen without this funding. Pasting that graphic below:

I suppose it depends on the audience.

Failing to raise money from an outside funder, and having to return to past funders, is absolutely considered a signal of weakness in the web3 and web2 fundraising worlds.

But perhaps to other audiences of a different bent it is not.

It is nice to see the cultural interop between Gitcoin and KERNEL. It is also nice to see KERNEL continue to raise $$$ on Gitcoin Grants and continue to leverage access to the rolodex of partners and legitimacy that Gitcoin has built.

There are many mutually beneficial parts of this relationship that do not require extracting hundreds of thousands of $$$ more from Gitcoin to KERNEL per quarter.

Gitcoin has already incubated KERNEL. I find that fact continuously seems to be taken for granted. So when I stop taking that for granted and soberly look at this proposal - I fail to see how this proposal extends more utility back to Gitcoin at a level commensurate with the ask.

KERNEL chose independence from Gitcoin. That doesn’t mean independence only when you want it and dependence when independence is inconvenient for you. I’d like to see KERNEL follow through on becoming fully independent.

I am aligned with your goal of creating a healthy educational web. I just dont see why Gitcoin has to keep funding it.

I know that KERNEL plans to build an endowment. The analogue that @vivek explained to me was Carnege Mellon which was endowed by Andrew Carnege and Andrew Mellon - two wealthy philanthropists. The Carnege Melon endowment started with several million $$ and is now worth $3.1 billion. If Gitcoin was as financially successful as these two, enough to be a wealthy philanthropist, I think the situation would be different. But unfortunately it is not.

For context, Gitcoin has its own issues with focus and financial sustainability to figure out at the moment. Supporting KERNEL when it was supposed to have already gone independent only adds to those burdens.

There is more on this topic here: What would a Lean/Effective Gitcoin look like? ⏳

My mistake. You are right. You did stipulate a max of 3 seasons.

I too want to recognize my own limitations here. I may be looking at this in a flawed way. And I have not gone through KERNEL so I do not fully understand the community’s values and philosophy.

Let me restate that I would like to see KERNEL be very successful and create lots of good in the world. I bare you no ill will, and I hope to see you be successful. But I do believe it is outside of GitcoinDAOs primary focus right now. Which forces some hard tradeoffs.

And let me again state that I am one voice in the Gitcoin network. I do not even have any voting power in the DAO as I do not have any GTC delegated to me. I pledge to accept the legitimacy of this proposals outcome no matter what the stewards decide.

Wishing you a great week ahead too.


I think this is prob an important part to call out to you guys at Kernel, probably merits some extra emphasis.
We are unfortunately at the moment really in a state of (extra) alert (check out the voter guides) so we are turning a bit more inwards than we would have say 3 months ago, for a whole lot of valid reasons. That reflection Gitcoin is going through was and is in any case very much needed, and I’m happy we’re focusing on it. Tl;dr there is a lot of context here, and there always is, on both sides. So let’s talk more and figure something out.

I don’t think it ever is, and if it comes up with VCs and others you are courting or are courting you, well then - especially because of what kernel embodies - I am happy if such deals have been turned down, because you weren’t aligned. And i’m pretty sure that might have happened already, without knowing further context. The thing is we, Gitcoin, also need help right now. So we’ll first need to help ourselves, in order to be able to continue to help others in a sustainable way.

I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It nourished me and inspired me during a moment I deeply needed it, and I’ll be forever grateful to the entire Kernel team for emanating this power of the gift. You or anyone who feels so inclined can start right now right here. It’s a public good. But that’s only part of it, for the community part you need to apply for a Block, and hope there will be endless Blocks to come.

We’re always stronger together, and I hope we won’t get lost in communication breakdowns on a forum, but knowing the people involved in this conversation and their aligned values and aspirations (re: a future world where public goods are always good and always funded) I think we are going to make it all in the end. Bear market or not. :sunny:

I’ll end with a quote by @cryptowanderer from Kernel, as an invitation to all of us to keep on exploring. I think there is endless opportunity here for mutual gifting and I hope we will continue to embody that spirit of ‘service’.

From Module 7, the Gift


Warm tidings to each of you stumbling upon this governance post for it’s last hurrah :wink: I hope you enjoy(ed) the full moon in all it’s glory, wherever you are today.

I’ll start with facts first and move from there into more subjective territories. Points 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 from @owocki are explicitly responded to throughout.

Due to legal process, the spinout of KERNEL has taken 8 months (which is the last time anyone at KERNEL took salary from Gitcoin Holdings). The total burn on Gitcoin Holdings in the last 8 months has never been more than $5k/mo (covering costs like Slack, Typeform, and Airtable).

To both Kevin & Andy’s points, during those eight months, we have survived almost entirely on the KERNEL Multisig, which includes a) money generated via KERNEL past Blocks and b) Gitcoin Grants rounds (this does not include any inflows from large one time donations from Gitcoin Holdings). We are cash flow positive during KERNEL Blocks, and the multisig has held us over between blocks as well well as legal things play their due course.

At maintenance levels, even with our empty KERNEL Block 6 and no fundraise, KERNEL will be fine for another 4 months with the multisig. We will not disappear if this proposal does not pass and KB6 & KB7 will happen.

However, fundraising $2-3MM for a long winter, and doing so via a web3 native fundraise allows us to move beyond ‘maintenance’ for a project that, contrary to what this forum may feel like, is very clearly growing in a healthy way. We can do work we otherwise couldn’t with this more support, much of which has been described above. Starting that fundraise with GitcoinDAO (at 49K GTC this season), especially given the context, seemed a logical start.

We never would have gotten there if it weren’t for the 14 months prior, where KERNEL was, with 3-4 employees, funded entirely by Gitcoin Holdings. Upon this basis, we reached an agreement for it’s spinout into it’s own entity to explore it’s own pluralistic future (will return here), though we knew it would always be intertwined with Gitcoin - starting with Holdings and ideally, with GitcoinDAO.

The biggest difference in opinion here seems to this: what is the difference between fundraising from Gitcoin Holdings and GitcoinDAO? Is it, in this scenario, ‘double dipping’, or are the asks to two different entities that operate with different mandates? There are obviously similarities, but what is different?

More specifically, what does this GitcoinDAO treasury represent? Is it meant for furthering efforts coming from Gitcoin Holdings, or also for other projects which build with more pluralistic intents? How does the DAO balance these two important categories at an early stage and over time?

In my imperfect role as COO of Gitcoin, I once quoted a paper in a Gitcoin discourse called Liberal Radicalism. Kevin had recently launched Gitcoin Grants v1 with a much smaller team and quadratic funding, from that paper, helped bring it to life. Today, I will quote the more recent Decentralized Society, by Puja Ohlhaver, Glen Weyl, and Vitalik Buterin.

We call this richer, pluralistic ecosystem “Decentralized Society” (DeSoc)—a co-determined sociality, where Souls and communities come together bottom-up, as emergent properties of each other to co-create plural network goods and intelligences, at a range of scales. Key to this sociality is decomposable property rights and enhanced governance mechanisms that reward trust and cooperation while protecting networks from capture, extraction, and domination.

With such augmented sociality, web3 can eschew today’s hyper-finanancialization in favor of a more transformative, pluralist future of increasing returns across social distance.

While KERNEL is not one of ‘Gitcoin’s Essential Intents’, and while it retains the need for some social distance, may we not find increasing returns and new worlds together? I’ll explain further.

While not raising venture funding and instead choosing to raise funds from web3 donors, starting with GitcoinDAO, & via our own web3 experiments, may not seem to be mutually beneficial, it actually is.

Instead of GitcoinDAO’s expected 24% ‘team governance rights’ in KERNEL being diluted in the same hyper-financial environment being warned against in Decentralized Society by the venture capital model, it will stay at 24%. This means that KERNEL, if it is successful, will be governed by a) it’s vibrant community and b) GitcoinDAO.

This is why we felt KERNEL already uniquely fits between a mutual grant & a workstream at this time. (We are committed to our role as a workstream, given this proposal did fall in that category, and feel well positioned to play in it for S14 via @sidcode and myself).

We sense other web3 protocols will respect and appreciate these two communities retaining the two governance voices in KERNEL, and that it’s a sign of strength to have GitcoinDAO be the anchor partner. (As previously mentioned, the Nomic Labs fundraise is our example here – they went back to the Ethereum Foundation for anchor support of $8MM after having their early support since their inception, and then raised $22MM in donations successfully from protocols, DAO’s, and other stakeholders. This was not a sign of weakness.)

In summary, we decided to make the proposal here first because:

  1. KERNEL is a place where mutual benefit will financially accrue to GitcoinDAO, perhaps as a home for a variety of ‘plural network goods and intelligences’
  2. The use and norms of the GitcoinDAO treasury have long term ramifications for KERNEL and web3 in general, regardless of whether this proposal passes or not

I understand and empathize that we make this proposal in a time of immense strain. Opening the hatches in a bear market is not the suggestion we make. There are many ways in which this proposal was imperfect, perhaps most notably picking a workstream flow, although the other options for exploring funding were not so clear.

We do, however, want to speak out against the precedent not funding KERNEL suggests – against a pluralist vision for the use of GitcoinDAO’s treasury.

Specific to Kev’s points, this requires the hard position of balancing What would a Lean/Effective Gitcoin look like? :hourglass_flowing_sand: with A Vision For A Pluralistic Civilization Scale Infrastructure For Funding Public Goods?

As Kevin states, more eloquently in my opinion (minus a typo or two :wink:), in the latter:

I envision a web-scale public goods funding infrastructure replacing some of the places where nation states are receding in their support for public goods (or were never good at supporting public goods in the first place). in the old world, public goods were oriented around nation state. in the new world, they’ll be based upon your online niche/community you belong to. were in the middle of a great re-indexing from nation-states to niches. niches are the new nation-states insofar as as this public goods funding spreads outward, niches (not geography) will be the aqueduct that carries the liquidity outward to the world.

KERNEL is most directly described here as a ‘niche community’ – one that is partially public, but decidedly focused on plural outcomes – ‘helping the world by caring for KERNEL Fellows and their communities.’ I do not suggest that funding all niches like KERNEL is within GitcoinDAO’s mandate, but I do sense that funding a high potential “aqueduct” for niche funding that is intertwined with the DAO and could use the support mindfully is a reasonable path forward. This can be done without requesting more governance control, though we understand the paradigm from which the suggestion comes (we respectfully decline this suggestion). It can be done by allowing many pies to grow.

We are grateful that one of the KERNEL fellows we’ve spent time with is @krrisis, who I can’t thank enough for his words on the forum today. It has always been a joy to be with you, in Metaspace, in juntos, in firesides, and here. His words on KERNEL and on the considerations of GitcoinDAO both ring true to me and I respect his judgement however he chooses.

The largest gift KERNEL has given me is a sense of security in service – that in web3, and in life, if I can find it in my heart to serve without boundaries, there will be compounding rewards and benefits. I have failed many times in this effort, and I will again. In the process, I will never find perfection, but I may find my way to good.

I’ll end with thoughts on the word ‘good’, which may have tangential relation to the rest of this post and what ‘public good’ might mean. From the inimitable @cryptowanderer, helped by Henry Zhu, and the special Mary Oliver:

Happily, the language of the good is also a language of self-imposed limits, which seeks perfect expression only as a means towards realizing a convivial life lived together in the golden mean. This golden mean, or middle path, is akin to the program of least complexity, because it requires no additional symbol, only a kind of rhythmic harmony; a balance of the whole.

Balanced by Mary Oliver:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

I love KERNEL, and am grateful that it is my ever-moving home today and will be into the future. It will remain focused on people and poetry, even when ill placed within long governance threads (lol).

We will remain amicable with GitcoinDAO regardless of outcome which intertwines with our story in a plurality of ways. We do not depend deeply on each other, but we are stronger together.

I trust that the vote tomorrow will play out as it is meant to and wish you all well.


They are two seperate entities. One is a delaware c corp and one is a DAO with a legal structure based in Cayman.

I’d encourage you to read through the governance process. Gitcoin Holdings has gone to considerable length to seperate itself from the DAOs decision making. There is a balance here though, as until now we’ve been there to catch things when they fall over (as the recent dGrants workstream). In the future, Holdings will likely fully dissaffiliate from the DAO and will only interact at arms length with it in order to make more clear the seperation.

As to your question about focus, the workstream leads recently went through an excercise to ratify the DAOs Purpose and Essential Intent for the next 18 months. Those are in draft form and not ratified yet. I expect that a post will be coming about that this week.

This is where I start to get worried. Gitcoin is already your anchor partner. One of the terms we agreed upon in our “Seeding KERNEL DAO” doc was that “Gitcoin as Founding Donor of KERNEL”.

I feel that were getting into string bet territory here. Is Gitcoin a Founding partner for KERNEL already? Or is it dependent on this proposal passing?

If the DAO had the capitalization of the EF, it could fund at the levels they do. But the DAO does not.

I do not think that there is a balance to strike here. Nowhere in the A Vision For A Pluralistic Civilization Scale Infrastructure For Funding Public Goods? post does it imply that Gitcoin would be funding these mechanisms out of it’s treasury.

In fact, the opposite is true. A pluralistic infrastructure requires pluralistic funding mechanisms and sources.

(Though AFAIK the DAO does intend to scale Gitcoin Grants to a point where it could fund a project like this)

I just found out that you asked Gitcoin Holdings’s lead designer to work on the KERNEL brand recently. As you know, I have trust issues stemming from resources that Gitcoin Holdings are funding, that were supposed to be allocated to our priorities, being allocated to KERNEL’s priorties - especially without my knowledge. This feels like its an abuse of trust. Resource misalignment has happened many times in our shared history, but I think now is a good time for it to end. As the seperation has been finalized socially in Q3 last year, and will be legally seperated soon, I would like to ask you to stop asking full time team members at Gitcoin Holdings to work on KERNEL work, especially on Gitcoin Holding’s dime.

The KERNEL syllabus talks about values like “Consider your intention first.”. “Incentives inform everything.”. I am disappointed that these values seem to only be selectively applied, either when (1) you want something or (2) within the KERNEL alumni in-group. You could have considered asking me before you asked our lead designer to work on KERNEL after you’ve already spun out. You could follow through on your committments after you make them. But you chose not to, whether consciously or mindlessly, the result is the same.

Regardless of the wrinkles in our shared history, I am happy for you that you found your tribe and your place in the ecosystem. And I am happy that KERNEL alumni seem to have gained so much from the program. I know you love KERNEL because I see you pour your heart and soul into it to make it a great experience.

Speaking of long governance posts: I have empathy for KERNEL but I am against accomodating it in this proposal. Through this conversation I’ve tried to be firm but not mean - especially not unnecessarily. My apologies in advance for if/when I stepped over this line.

Likewise, I wish KERNEL the best and look forward to GitcoinDAO and KERNEL being more at arms length together in the DAO of DAO ecosystem. Perhaps once the dust has settled we can define that relationship further so there are no more surprises.


This is tough. Lots of static here… @vivek I have one simple question. What is the quid pro quo for this grant?

It sounds like there is already some past “debt” for lack of a better word with Gitcoin holdings… so Holdings will get some stuff from past contributions.

If we give you this money now, what does the DAO get back in the future?

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