Gitcoin Wrapped: Our Progress Towards Pluralism and a Positive-Sum World in 2022

A year in web3 can feel like a lifetime. While the downfall of firms like Celsius, FTX, and 3AC dominated news headlines in 2022, the progress of Gitcoin and the wider regenerative community have given us high hopes for what web3 can accomplish in the future.

As an ecosystem, we collectively rekindled our conviction in DeFi (over CeFi), saw explosive growth in ImpactDAOs, witnessed our first ReFi summer, and doubled down on building more pluralistic tools that can empower local digital communities to fund their shared needs.

This post will recap our impact in 2022, our plans for pluralism in 2023, and how we can all create a positive-sum world together.

Before that, we want to give sincere thanks to everyone reading this. None of this would be possible without your support, and it means the world to have you in our community.

Reflecting on Our Impact in 2022

Last year was all about doubling down on what matters most to the success of web3: creating impact by funding our local public goods; our own shared needs

And on this front, we couldn’t be more proud of the progress we made:

  • We held three grant rounds on our grants platform and successfully allocated $13.9M in funding to a wide range of public goods. We saw nearly 1.4M unique contributions across GR13, GR14, and GR15. This brings us to over $69M in funding for those building a better future using decentralized technology.
  • We helped advocate for a free and open internet by supporting the EFF’s efforts to preserve Tornado Cash, the Internet Archive’s fight for a permanent digital library, and ongoing work by Coincenter and others towards informed stablecoin regulation
  • We invested in developing core Ethereum infrastructure and promising zero-knowledge technology. Gitcoin started as a key funder of open-source software, and that hasn’t changed. We’ve continued to fund key infrastructure projects like ethers.js, lighthouse, wagmi, and more. And given that ZK tech is arguably as important as blockchains, we were proud to host a zktech round this past year. We’re excited to continue to invest in the future of open-source software more broadly in 2023.
  • We launched the first version of Gitcoin Passport. Passport is an identity and Sybil resistance tool critical to enabling a more trustworthy web3 where real people, not bots and bad actors, can safely coordinate and transact with each other. It’s also critical to Gitcoin and other “round operators” to run quadratic funding rounds where matching funds get allocated fairly. Since its soft launch in 2022, Passport has gained over 100k users, with Snapshot and Bankless DAO as early adopters of the Passport SDK. Vitalik named Passport as one of the most exciting web3 products to date.
  • We launched our improved community-driven funding experience on our new grants protocol. This new protocol will power all of our Gitcoin Grants rounds moving forward, starting with our Alpha Test Rounds.This protocol is an exciting step forward in our journey to subtract Gitcoin as a dependency for a community to run a successful round. Our first two Alpha Test Rounds with the UNICEF Office of Innovation and Fantom were a massive success.
Building for Pluralism in 2023

The impact Gitcoin has made over the years has helped it become the terra firma of the web3 ecosystem. But scaling this impact requires us to maintain a subtraction mindset. We have to build pluralistic, credibly-neutral tools that enable any group to coordinate around their own shared needs, and that’s what we intend to do in 2023.

While pluralism is an idea that Gitcoin and RadicalxChange have been theorizing about for a while, we’re now taking the next step with the imminent launch of our new grants protocol. This tooling will allow anyone to create their own grants programs using the same methodology we’ve used to run Gitcoin Grants for the past 16 rounds. 

By allowing any local (even digital) community to experiment with different modes of funding beyond just pairwise quadratic funding, we can find novel ways to fund projects that might otherwise fall through the cracks. Applying this model beyond just our own, and increasingly beyond just web3, can help democracy grow up.

Speaking of QF, we hope you’re excited for the rest of our Alpha Test Season, especially our Gitcoin Alpha Round, which will take place starting on January 17th, 2023. These rounds will focus on Open Source Software, Ethereum Infrastructure, and Climate Solutions to continuously and sustainably support our mainstay grantees and ensure our protocol is stable and reliable before we open up to the broader ecosystem.

Overall, we’re excited to evolve our DAO to support the web3 ecosystem better while increasingly subtracting ourselves as dependencies. Expect to see greater protocol development velocity—on both Gitcoin’s grants protocol and our privacy-preserving identity protocol Passport, especially as we iterate more closely alongside you, our community.

All in all, we’re so excited for 2023! Join this Telegram to get a ping on January 17th, when the Gitcoin Alpha Round kicks off. And secure your early bird tickets for Schelling Point, which is taking place at ETH Denver 2023 in March.

Thank you to Gary Sheng and Scott Moore for crafting this piece.