What is the Governance Surface Area for GTC?

The objective of this post is to articulate how GitcoinDAO Stewards govern Gitcoin, and how that might change over time. GitcoinDAO Stewards have been delegated the right to govern Gitcoin by GTC holders when GTC launched in May.


Specifically I aim to cover:

  1. What is decentralized + what is not decentralized?
  2. The Governance Surface Area between the two.

Decentralization of the following layers of the Gitcoin stack.

  1. Governance
  2. Technology

Progress So Far


We took the first step to decentralize the Governance of the network when we launched GTC in May. This was the first step, but not the last - nonetheless we have made meaningful progress towards fully decentralizing governance. In the last 6 months we have:

  1. Established a group of stewards who govern GitcoinDAO who are active in Governance.
  2. The Stewards have voted on 35 proposals, including ratifying Grants Rounds Governance Rules & Results.
  3. Written countless posts documenting our progress towards progressive decentralization on https://gov.gitcoin.co/


The first step to decentralize the Technology was the launch of dGrants. This was the first step, but not the last – nonetheless we have made meaningful progress.

  1. Phillip Hutchins, the ex-CTO of Storj, is leading development of dGrants - a forkable QF protocol that anyone can deploy to administer public goods in their own community & in the context of their own values.
  2. A dGrants protocol example is live for GR12, and has raised $2k from 600 contributors.

The Governance Surface Area

So far, the GTC holders have governed Gitcoin by voting on proposals to:

  1. Ratifying Grants Round Rules
  2. Ratifying Grants Round Results
  3. Funding DAO Workstreams
  4. Ratifying Partnerships with other DAOs
  5. Ratifying a path forward on the AKITA donation from Vitalik

Right now our Governance is more decentralized than the Computation/Development of the stack. This means that the Governance presently plugged into governance of the current centralized platform, which is managed by the US entity Gitcoin Holdings. After we progressively decentralize, the centralize platform may be consumed by the decentralized platform, and the governance/development/computation of the network have all been fully decentralized.

More Decentralization => More GTC Utility

As GitcoinDAO is progressively decentralized, there will be more governance surface area exposed to the stewards. This means that :

  1. Each of the above categories of proposals will have more surface area that are governed by GTC.
  2. There will be new categories of proposals that will be governed by GTC.
  3. New tools, available only to GTC holders, can & will be used to inform policy decisions.

Target State

GitcoinDAO’s target state is to have fully decentralized governance, computation, and development. We are under no illusions that this is a multi-year initiative, and that we are likely only ¼-1/2 of the way there.

In the meantime, the US Holding company is focused on empowering & accelerating the DAO’s progress.

cGrants has a 2.5 year head start over dGrants, but we expect that dGrants will catch up over the next few years as both tools mature & find product market fit.

We are not perfect, and we are not at our target state yet, but we are striving to be better every day. If you have suggestions about how to improve, please dive in at https://gitcoindao.com/ and chime in.