Envisioning the Power of Gitcoin style grants for Solana

An in-depth analysis of Gitcoin and why a Gitcoin-style grants program for the Solana ecosystem is a golden opportunity!

What is Gitcoin?

  1. Kernel is a learn-and-build cohort-based program aiming to connect communities of open-source developers.
  2. Gitcoin Bounties connect open-source developers to bug bounties and other meaningful projects.
  3. Gitcoin Hackathons are designed to aid open-source contributors in earning by working on sponsored tasks while competing with their peers.
  4. Gitcoin Grants provide a way for the community to fund open-source projects for public benefit in web3.

Quadratic Funding: The Gitcoin Innovation

  • Anyone can make a contribution to any project.
  • There is a mechanism that keeps track of these contributions.
  • At the end of some period of time, the mechanism calculates a payment for each project.

GTC Token and DAO: The Governance

  1. 50% for the past:
    Allocated to builders, community members, investors, and the existing team.
  • 72% to GMV(Gross Market Value): Action through which value flowed through Gitcoin (Bounties, hackathons, grants). The 50/50 in the chart means GMV allocations were split evenly between spenders and earners from Gitcoin.
  • 20% to On-platform actions like Opened/creating a bounty, Submitted work to a bounty, Opened/created a grant, Contributed to a grant (This also included a ‘time decay’ i.e- actions performed early in Gitcoin got more weightage)
  • 6% to Funder’s League: Projects who participated in the Funder’s League got a split in GTC allocation.
  • 1.6% to KERNEL: Reserved for members of KERNEL (a web3 educational community).

Gitcoin DAO

  1. The Ecosystem Impact: The positive impact Gitcoin is having on open-source through the Impact funnel: — Number of developers onboarded → Developers getting opportunities → Funding Opportunities → Retention
  2. Interconnectedness: Increasing the social factor in the community. For eg. spinning off Sub-DAOs
  3. Decentralization: Progressive decentralization of Gitcoin.

Community of Gitcoin: The Traction recipe

Challenges faced by Gitcoin: A potential opportunity

  1. Still Centralised: Gitcoin is still largely built on web2 infrastructure and fairly centralized from a technical standpoint. This has led to centralized debt which has to be undone (just like technical debt). In fact, Gitcoin is also well aware of this issue and the topic was initiated in May 2021, starting a workstream called “dCompass”, which aims to make grants and hackathons decentralize more permissionless.
  2. Ethereum-focussed: While Gitcoin doesn’t pitch itself as an Ethereum-based grants system, it’s entirely focused on the Ethereum ecosystem and hasn’t much expanded to other alternate L1s, posing a concentration risk.
  3. Attack Vectors of QF: With millions of dollars in line, these are the different ways to game Quadratic Funding like:
  • Splitting contributions into multiple accounts, and donating to themselves
  • Coordinating fake contributions with real people
  • Colluders can manipulate the matching funds’ mechanism by dividing a large contribution into many small grants or by creating fake grants and coordinating real accounts to donate to them. This allows them to attract more matching funds as the mechanism disproportionately rewards the number of participants over the amount each participant donated.

Gitcoin Passport

  • Privacy-preserving identity verification through open web standards like Decentralized Identifiers (DID) and Verifiable Credentials (VC).
  • Cross-chain verification, allows data to be verified across multiple blockchains for a composable, interoperable identity.
  • Sybil resistance that ensures the governance and decision-making systems are secure and protected from fraud.

Impact analysis of Gitcoin Grants:

  1. Community Contribution: Amount contributed by the community
  2. From matching pools: Coming from Gitcoin’s matching pools which are made up of sponsors

Why Solana desperately needs Gitcoin-grants now?

Different possible Models:

1. Vanilla Clone of Gitcoin:

2. Open Grants Protocol:




3. Making BONK, the Gitcoin for Solana!

4. Integration of Solana into Gitcoin

  1. Integrate Solana payments: While Solana-based Projects can simply be listed under the current Gitcoin platform, the biggest issue would be: Solana payments. The Solana ecosystem wouldn’t want to buy or bridge Ethereum and then fund their favorite Solana projects. The donors should be able to pay in Solana-based Tokens (SPL) via wallets like Phantom, Backpack, glow, etc to the very least.
  2. Go Cross-Chain: Cross-chain messaging protocols like Wormhole are exactly built to solve the very problem of dApps to go cross-chain quickly. Gitcoin can use Wormhole in two ways:
  • xAssets: Allowing users to pay in any tokens on any chain while allowing projects to withdraw funds in any tokens on any chain. All swapping is possible in the backend via cross-chain bridges. Interoperability, FTW!
  • xVoting: Cross-chain protocols also allow for sending messages across chains and cross-chain voting is a primary use case for them. This can allow Solana users to vote using Solana, while this is communicated to EVM chains using cross-chain messaging.
  1. A simple solution with saved costs/efforts and faster Go-To-Market
  2. Leverage the existing gitcoin community and wider reach for Solana Projects
  3. Get eyeballs and bring non-Solana developers to apply and build for native Solana project grants.
  1. The Solana community will lack enthusiasm as after Degods and Phantom move, cross-chain is not very welcomed by the community.
  2. Losing the opportunity to build a Solana-native grant platform and bring an open-source revolution

How Gitcoin-style grants can impact the Solana Ecosystem?

  1. Donations: Crypto has a great utility for donations due to its global nature and accessibility. For example, Unchain and UkraineDAO raised over $10M in crypto donations for the Ukraine war. Gitcoin Round 13 raised over $700K for humanitarian aid which was matched by organizations. Many independent projects also used Gitcoin to fundraise for Ukraine. Crypto donations can be expanded to other social causes like Climate Change, education, and healthcare.
    Donations can not just mobilize on-chain funds toward social causes, but also bring capital from the fiat world into crypto, once it gets sufficient traction. For instance, a COVID relief donation campaign can be launched on-chain, where all the donations are visible to all transparently and it’s matched by a charity foundation, which was completely off-chain previously. Transparency would be the core value proposition for the Web2 charity, where all actions are visible to the public.
  2. DeFi: The Solana Foundation along with organizations like Jump and Alameda have been instrumental in building DeFi public goods like Project Serum, Firedancer, and more. However, as the ecosystem matures, Foundation will get thinner and the community will need to step up and build these public goods on their own.
  3. A perfect example here would be Openbook, a fork out of project Serum, which served as a critical liquidity infrastructure for Solana DeFi by matching orders for 30+ DeFi protocols, and hence, the fork was inevitable. The forked project doesn’t have any revenue component or a native token and hence, depends on grants from the community to keep it working. A Gitcoin-like platform would be perfect for such a case, where the DeFi community can contribute and the amount is matched by bigger DeFi protocols like Jupiter, Raydium along with Solana Foundation.
  4. NFTs: The Solana NFT community has been long debating on Metaplex as the only creator of token standards for the NFTs on Solana, making them a monopoly. The Metaplex essentially controls the whole NFT infrastructure on Solana, making them a critical public good. A gitcoin-style grant to create an open-source forked version of Metaplex would be very much well received by the NFT community and this would ensure a community-wide adoption by inherent marketing, which is essential for any NFT standard.
  5. Infrastructure and Developer Tooling: Anchor is a framework for quickly building secure Solana programs, without the hassles of writing boilerplate codes and security checks. It’s immensely popular among Solana developers with 2.6K stars, but it doesn’t have any sustainable sources of revenue. Building such critical pieces of infrastructure and open-source frameworks is critical for Solana, but kickstarting them via grants is necessary. Another such example would be Firedancer, the second validator client for Solana being developed by Jump Crypto. Wouldn’t it be cool, if it was funded by the community, matched by Jump Crypto and Solana Foundation?
  6. Bounties and Hackathons: Gitcoin-style grant funding on Solana can also be replicated with Quadratic voting on bounties & hackathons. Currently, winners are judged by a central jury & chosen based on consensus. To decentralize this, implement quadratic voting for public submissions, where participants can allocate a budget of credits to projects.
    Where all hackathon participants or community holders with X amount of certain tokens can just ‘vote’ for the most deserving projects. Each participant can, let’s say have a budget of 100 credits, which can they can choose to allocate between the projects of their choice. This protects minority advocates and balances power vs. one-person-one-vote or one-token-one-vote. These votes can alternatively opt for a Product Hunt-style upvote instead of quadratic voting calculations.
Source: Electric Capital Developers report 2022

Solana-focussed Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy:

  1. Community/Ecosystem Builders: This can be the wider Solana ecosystem or sub-ecosystems like the gaming community or trading community. The platform would require serious Business Development/Sales efforts to onboard strategic sponsors and ecosystems.
  2. Grant Owners: These will be projects, that are looking to raise $$$. To get more grant owners, partnerships with incubators or DAOs like SuperteamDAO, LamportDAO, GrapeAthensDAO, or MetacampDAO will be essential who can market the platform.
  3. Contributors: This will be the general public in the community, who are looking to find great projects and support them. A typical marketing campaign on social media channels like Twitter, Reddit, and community discords along with announcements from all communities and ecosystem projects will be essential to generate the hype. The more the hype, the more the word-of-mouth factor will come into play. BONK’s marketing can be a good example here.
  1. The number of open source projects on the platform and the amount raised: To help measure the size and growth of the open source community and understand its impact.
  2. The number of contributors: To help understand the level of engagement and participation in the community and the level of support that projects are receiving from individuals and organizations.
  3. Success Rate: The number of successful funding campaigns divided by the total funding campaigns.
  4. Gross Marketplace value (GMV): To measure the amount of value flowed through the platform, just like any marketplace.
  5. Platform usage and Retention Rate: E.g. the number of visits, page views, and time spent on the platform to understand the usability and take Product/UX decisions.
  6. Revenue: Tracking the revenue and financial performance of your platform and whether it is generating enough income to sustain its operations and growth.

Closing Thoughts: Making the Solana ecosystem more open-source


  1. Gitcoin’s Blog
  2. Governance forum of Gitcoin
  3. Green pill podcast by Bankless
  4. Gitcoin Passport
  5. We have also compiled a comprehensive list of all the resources and study materials related to this report. Feel free to refer to that for the complete list.



Crafting independent stories, research, and designing experiences. • Twitter @inSitesh

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Sitesh Kumar Sahoo

Crafting independent stories, research, and designing experiences. • Twitter @inSitesh