Gitcoin DAO

DAO Members Interviewed:

  1. Kevin Owocki, Co-founder
  2. Scott Moore, Co-founder
  3. Ben, Cause Round Lead
  4. Kris, DAO Ops, and Community Engagement Co-Lead
  5. Saf, Full-time Contributor

Interviewer(s): Deepa, Impact DAO Media

What is Gitcoin DAO

Gitcoin is the largest crowdfunding protocol for web3 open source projects, as well as various other causes. It was founded in November 2017 by Kevin Owocki and Scott Moore. They chose to transition into a DAO in May 2021. Gitcoin DAO manages the crowdfunding protocol. To date, they have disbursed 72.4 million dollars in funding to 3.4k projects across 15 grant rounds. They run four quarterly grant rounds every year.

Gitcoin serves as a go-to platform for web3 entities looking to support their ecosystem’s open-source projects. Impact investing firms like Omidyar Network and philanthropists such as Kimbal Musk are also using Gitcoin’s platform to channel funds into web3 impact projects.

In addition, Gitcoin was the first to apply the quadratic funding model to match grant funds. Quadratic funding is a radically new way of funding programs in a highly democratic way. The quadratic funding model was originally defined in a paper published in 2019 by Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum. For more information on Quadratic Funding, view the video.

Grant success on Gitcoin depends on how much the community cares about the project and how well the project can rally a support base.

In 2023, Gitcoin is making a big leap by transitioning into a decentralized grants protocol. In addition to hosting the Gitcoin Grants Program, the new protocol will allow any community, ecosystem, or individual to run their own grant rounds, and will come out of the box with the ability to create quadratic funding rounds. The other major products of GitcoinDAO are Bounties and Hackathons.

How Do They DAO

  • Gitcoin transitioned from a traditional tech company in 2017 to a DAO in 2021. They are the most mature DAO in our study with well defined systems and processes in place along with over 100 full time contributors on payroll.
  • Their transition process was slow, with initially only a few departments taking the plunge into the “way of the DAO”. However, as of today, all Gitcoin departments are now part of the DAO.
  • The DAO was launched with the GTC token (Coinmarketcap GTC Value). The token generated funds needed to sustain and grow operations. The tokenomics also made it possible to transfer 100% of the funds raised on the platform to grantees.
  • The Gitcoin organization structure consists of concentric circles. Anyone that shows interest in Gitcoin (by joining their Discord) becomes part of DAO Citizens (the outermost community circle). The innermost circle comprises Full-Time Contributors (=employees), who are subdivided into workstreams with functional leads. There are four main concentric circles: DAO Citizen, Trust Steward, Part-Time Contributor, and Full-Time Contributors. As of Aug 2022, the Gitcoin DAO had 120 Full-Time Contributors on their payroll.

It goes from, being a DAO Citizen, to Trusted [Stewards], then you go to a Part-Time Contributor role and then to a Full-Time Contributor ​​- Kris, Ops Co-lead Gitcoin DAO

  • The GTC token is used for financing, governance, and payroll.
  • The DAO employs the delegation voting method for major decisions (e.g. budgets).
  • In delegation voting, power is vested in the hands of Stewards, who are designated to actively participate in governance by preparing/reading thoroughly around each decision.
  • GTC token holders can delegate their votes to these Stewards as they are well-versed in the issues and can make informed decisions.
  • Commonly used tools at Gitcoin include Discord, Discourse, Snapshot (for off-chain voting), and Tally (for on-chain voting).
  • ​​The Tally vote is the autonomous part of the Gitcoin DAO. That is, if the vote passes, then funds will automatically flow from the Gitcoin DAO multisig to the relevant workstream’s multisig.
  • As part of the move towards complete decentralization, the two founders Kevin Owocki and Scoot Moore have delegated the power to the DAO by stepping down from Gitcoin leadership.

There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who takes the credit! In the DAO space, you have to be willing to let things happen without requiring that you’re always at the center of it. - Scott Moore, Co-Founder, Gitcoin

For a deeper understanding of how Gitcoin DAO operates, refer to the following conversations with Gitcoin Founders and Builders:

Interview with Scott Moore, Co-founder Gitcoin Interview with Ben, Cause Rounds Lead Interview with Kris, DAO Ops, and Community Engagement Co-Lead Interview with Saf, Full Time Contributor