Vocabulary: Gitcoin Grants, Programs, Rounds, etc

Thanks to @owocki & @Sov for co-authoring this post.

The objective of this post is to define a couple canonical terms so that we can make sure we’re all speaking the same language?

What is Allo Protocol?

Allo is a credibly neutral open-source protocol that enables groups to efficiently and transparently allocate pooled capital.

What is Gitcoin Grants Stack?

Gitcoin Grants Stack is a protocol-enabled solution that enables any community to create, manage and grow a grants program. From deployment and application management, to funds allocation, Grants Stack makes it easy to run and grow a grants program.

Gitcoin Grants Stack is powered by Allo Protocol.

What is Gitcoin Passport?

Gitcoin Passport is the premier solution for easy-to-use identity management tools that protect communities from Sybils and bots.

What is Gitcoin Grants?

Gitcoin Grants is a quarterly cycle where Gitcoin helps to drive awareness and funding to both Program and Community Rounds. This “hype cycle” generates buzz and excitement, creating opportunities for projects to gain exposure and secure funding. Gitcoin Grants act as a catalyst, attracting contributors, participants, and spectators and offering projects and round operators a unique opportunity to maximize impact, reach diverse audiences, and enhance credibility.

Gitcoin Grants is powered by Gitcoin Grants Stack and protected by Gitcoin Passport.

What is A Program?

A program is a set of rounds that are logically grouped together and named for what connects them…


  1. GreenPill Network creates a program, and within that program the team has the ability to run multiple rounds that tie in with the theme of said program.
  2. The Climate Solutions round(s) fall within the Climate Program.
  3. The ETH Infra, Web3 Community & Education and OSS rounds fall within the Gitcoin Grants/ETH/Gitcoin Program.

Each program is run by a team of round operators responsible for the execution and success of the rounds.

What is THE Program?

The Gitcoin Grants flagship Program (the program for short) is the entity that operates and runs the flagship rounds that are managed by Gitcoin contributors. These include ETH Infra, OSS, Web3 Community & Education (and have, in the past, included Climate & ZKTech).

This program serves to dogfood Gitcoin Grants, to build a flagship program that others can emulate, and to fund Gitcoin’s most OG constituency, OSS Devs.

What is a Round?

A round is a time-delimited campaign which, run on Gitcoin Grants Stack, is a time period in which matching funders, crowdfunders, and grantees, can contribute to Funding What Matters in their ecosystem.

What is a Program Round?

Program Rounds are rounds that occur within the Gitcoin Grants quarterly cycle, and refers to the specific grant rounds directly managed and overseen by the Grants Program Team (formerly PGF). These rounds are meticulously curated and optimized to align with Gitcoin’s mission and values, emphasizing transparency, decentralization, and community engagement.

What is a Community Round?

A community round is a round that is run on Grants Stack / Allo Protocol by a community member (typically not funded or administered by Gitcoin). Community rounds can be run in parallel with Program Rounds during the quarterly Gitcoin Grants cycle, or as a standalone round.

What is a Round Operator?

A round operator is responsible for the running, execution and success of a round. Usually includes a few key team members.

What is a Gitcoin-run Round?

A Gitcoin-run round is a round that is run on Grants Stack / Allo Protocol and is administered by someone who is compensated by Gitcoin.

What is credible neutrality?

A mechanism is credibly neutral if it does not discriminate for or against any specific people, treating everyone fairly, to the extent that it’s possible in today’s diverse and complicated world. ~ Vitalik Buterin

There are parts of the Gitcoin ecosystem that are credibly neutral, and parts that are not.

Credibly neutral: Allo Protocol, Passport, Grants Stack

Not credibly neutral: rounds, programs.

Contains both credibly neutral and not credibly neutral components: Gitcoin Grants ecosystem

What is progressive decentralization?

Decentralization is the transfer of control of an activity or organization to several local entities or authorities rather than one single one.

Progressive decentralization is the philosophy of decentralization over time, in increments. Over time, legal, brand, governance, product, computation, data, functions of Gitcoin have been progressively decentralized. As Gitcoin Grants continues to progressively decentralize, there may be different components that modularize and decentralize over time.

One way we may eventually progressively decentralize is through modularizing the programs.

Hopefully these definitions will help disambiguate terms and enable smoother communication across the DAO.

Any questions let me know.


thanks for helping shepherd this forward.


SUPER handy, thanks @MathildaDV

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Love this overview, super clear and helpful.

I know at some point we had another post on vocabulary, referencing some other terms we often use. Wonder if you or anyone else has the link. Eg. still wondering if we now officially say ‘donors’ or ‘contributors’. Pretty impossible to find through search on this forum.

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Ha I didn’t even know that another such post even existed! But that’s a good callout. We are saying “donors” FYI. But if we can find that other post it’ll be helpful to review it and potentially update it or add some of that vocab to this post. Do you remember who posted it or when?

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Found it!

Seems we never published this glossary directly on the forum but referenced in many Gitcoin Digests.

Probably needs an update because of the above.

And here we talk about '̶f̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶’̶ supporter instead of ‘donor’, but happy we’re sticking with donor!

Thanks for sharing! I’ll make sure to update it. And yes we switched “donor” for “supporter” – not “funder”. Funders are matching pool funders. But yes we’re sticking with donors :slight_smile:

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I’ve gone ahead and added all of these terms to a Glossary section in our newly developed Governance Manual


Two more thoughts while re-reading and trying to formulate my thoughts elsewhere:

One note, maybe this could be confusing and does not really add anything? Should this be a separate term? To me program rounds are run by Gitcoin aka Gitcoin-run rounds.
Eg the Citizens Round is a community round, and fits the definition, with the caveat that it is atypically funded by Gitcoin. By removing the separate note or term ‘Gitcoin-run round’ you can disambiguate here.

Also wondering about this on community rounds

… maybe it might be relevant to just talk here about ‘run on grants stack’, which is the platform (managed by Gitcoin), and to have a separate term for rounds run on forked instances of our platform, if and when this happens?

Even if we don’t need this term just yet, I think we can just talk wrt community rounds as ‘run on Grants Stack’ (leave out Allo). It makes it easier for people to understand. Grants Stack is our platform, and people are still wrapping their heads around this. The protocol name is not that important in this context.

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These are great points @krrisis! I’ll take them into consideration.

Where would the Sybil round fall under then?

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Cool, fyi if run on Grants Stack makes sense for community rounds I would suggest to change the ‘I just donated’’ message in the application from ‘… on @gitcoin’ to eg ‘on (@)gitcoin @grantsstack

On this:

I assume the same as the Gitcoin Citizen round, this is a community round (funded by Gitcoin).

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This is actually already in the works! I requested this from the Grants Stack team during Citizens Round :slight_smile: Great minds think alike.

Gotcha and makes sense. I’ll exercise my brain cells on this when I have a bit more time and go over this doc again and will let you know if I make these changes. Appreciate the input!

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