Announcing: The Gitcoin Protocol Alpha Tests

To learn how to donate, visit Grants Explorer Guide. Please note: the option to donate for individual rounds activates once the round goes live, and only stays open for the duration of the round period. In other words, you can only donate in the window of the round, and not outside of it. Join Gitcoin Alpha Rounds Announcement (for donors) so you don't miss any updates relevant to your participation.

Last update to this article: Jan 17, 2023

The Gitcoin Program Alpha Round is now live! To donate, visit this link.

Gitcoin grants built a strong use case for the value of Quadratic Funding to fund public goods, and we're excited to take this centralized experiment and decentralize it to help scale faster. It’s finally time for cGrants (centralized grants, the current QF platform) to be retired and continue toward our end goal as GitcoinDAO: create a decentralized and customizable grants protocol

The Alpha Test Season is where we will run early design rounds to test grants protocol as part of our transition from our centralized grants platform. Gitcoin is building in public with a select group of design partners to test a new suite of tools and services to power the next wave of community-driven initiatives. These tools include grants protocol, a fund allocation and distribution protocol (currently in testing) that helps communities fund projects within their ecosystem transparently. 

Where are we going? 

Grantees have always been and will continue to be our priority. Gitcoin aims to empower communities to fund their shared needs (ratified June 2022). To do so at scale, we are transitioning from our centralized grants platform to a decentralized protocol that can enable dozens of grants rounds to run concurrently, on-chain, at any given time. In other words, we want our transition to empower any community to coordinate its own grants program. 

We envision a suite of permissionless, modular, and decentralized protocols that will allow communities to coordinate funding to solve their most pressing problems in a self-sovereign way. To build these protocols, we’re working with communities and ecosystems who are committed to ensuring community voices are heard in their funding allocation process. We hope that, as we slowly open up the protocol suite to more communities, it will encourage a broad range of experiments in plural funding.  

The “test” alpha rounds with UNICEF, Fantom, Optimism, and Alchemix we’ll be running in the coming months are the first step to realizing this vision. In January, we will also run our own Gitcoin test round to ensure that we continue to support early-stage builders during the transition. Keep reading to see if you are eligible and how to participate. 

Important Dates

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Alpha Round Spotlight

Four rounds will run on grants protocol (currently in beta) during the Alpha Round Test Season. Below you can find information on each round, round eligibility, and more. 

  • UNICEF Round: Dec 9 - 21, 2022 (COMPLETED)

Gitcoin’s collaborative pilot with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation will kick-start the Alpha Rounds on Dec 9, the first-ever Quadratic Funding round on our new grants protocol (currently in testing). The grantees for this round have already been chosen by the UNICEF team; to read more about them, read Grantee Showcase: Meet UNICEF’s Alpha Round Grantees.

Innovative funding has always been essential for UNICEF to improve the lives and futures of children and young people. To achieve this, it’s essential to tap into new communities of innovators and problem-solvers to address these needs. Gitcoin’s grants protocol (currently in testing) offers a powerful solution. Gitcoin has always believed in blockchain’s potential to address global coordination problems and catalyze the development of technology that tackles pressing social issues and creates real-world regenerative impact. Through its Venture Fund, UNICEF's mission to fund innovative social impact projects that work directly with affected communities to close critical resource gaps using emerging technology is naturally aligned with ours.

This collaborative pilot round is a monumental step in bringing transparent, community-driven grant allocation to the NGO world.

For the full announcement, read Gitcoin <> UNICEF: A powerful Quadratic Funding collaboration pilot.

  • Fantom Round: Dec 12, 2022 - Jan 2, 2023 (COMPLETED)

The Fantom Foundation is leveraging Gitcoin’s grants protocol for an initial round allocating 125,000 FTM to projects building within the Fantom ecosystem. Through the partnership, Fantom builders can use the protocol to secure matched funding that helps sustain and grow their projects. This is a test round as part of the revamp of the larger Fantom Incentive Program

Who’s eligible? Virtually any project building on the Fantom network can apply! The Fantom Foundation has earmarked 125,000 FTM for matching funds in this initial trial round. For more info, visit this link

  • Gitcoin Program Round: Jan 17 - 31, 2023

Gitcoin will run a streamlined alpha round on the protocol in mid-January 2023 for our most historically contributed to rounds: Open Source Software, Ethereum Infrastructure, and Climate Solutions. Each round will run with a subset of existing grantees to ensure we can provide support during the transition, that the most dependent grantees receive the funding they rely on, and that we can work with the community to intentionally receive feedback and build out operational services to support scaling future rounds soon.

This option considers the desire to run a streamlined round, keep momentum, and ensure when we launch at scale in early Q2, 2023 on the protocol that it is more stable and reliable for grantees, both technically and operationally.

For more information on this round, visit Announcing: The Gitcoin Program Alpha Round.

  • Optimism Retroactive Public Goods Funding Round 2: January 31 to February 10, 2023 (CANCELED)

Optimism’s second round of Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF 2) will fund public goods that support the development and usage of the OP Stack, a modular, open-source blueprint for highly scalable, highly interoperable blockchains of all kinds and the code that powers Optimism Mainnet. 

Nominations for the round will run from January 3 to January 17, 2023. Projects will complete their funding profile using Gitcoin Grants Hub. During the voting round from January 31 to February 10, members of the newly announced Citizens’ House will cast votes on the projects that they value most. 

The growing L2 ecosystem chose to partner with Gitcoin because of a shared commitment to scaling Ethereum’s technology and values through open-source development and alignment on the importance of public goods.

“Public goods are critical to the sustainability of healthy communities and blockchain development, but these projects are often underfunded and overlooked by traditional investors,” said Ben Jones, director at the Optimism Foundation. “Optimism has made a long-term commitment to fund public goods. We’re starting with a funding round for projects meaningfully contributing to developing our ecosystem’s modular codebase, the OP Stack. The Optimism Collective – and the internet at large – is built on public goods. Our goal with RetroPGF is to enable profitability for impactful work and eventually build an economy where positive impact to the Collective is rewarded with profit to the individual.”

  • Alchemix Round: February (exact dates TBC)

A Quadratic Voting round running in February. More details to follow.

Grantees

Previous Gitcoin grantees that meet eligibility criteria for the Eth Infra, OSS or Climate round will be invited to participate in the test round on Gitcoin's grants protocol in January. Email support@gitcoin.co if you have any questions.

POAP Quest

For the Alpha rounds we are running a POAP quest where donors are eligible to claim a POAP for every round they participate in. If a user collects all POAPs they are included in a draw to win Schelling Point VIP tickets.

Transition to protocols

We're excited to transition our complete Gitcoin Grants Program to the protocol, and this test round is the first step. 

As we transition to protocols, we'll continue to care for our grantee community and provide ongoing grantee support. We're committed to helping communities build through the bear and intend to continue serving the ecosystem. We'll engage our grantees through this season to help test the protocol, prepare for its launch, and help grantees build connections with one another during this transition. Our focus on protocols will provide a better experience than our current centralized grants platform and allow more projects and communities to experience the value of community-driven funding. 

For more information, read Introduction to grants protocol.