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August 29, 2022

Announcing KERNEL

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KERNEL is an 8-week, invite-only program for top tech talent looking to build relationships, products, and companies in blockchain and Web 3.

KERNEL is an 8-week, invite-only program for top tech talent looking to build relationships, products, and companies in blockchain and Web 3.

100 talented peers from around the world will join the KERNEL this June, and will be surrounded by leading mentors from the Web3 community. Our goal is to provide KERNEL Fellows with opportunities to learn, build relationships, and provide funding opportunities for the products they build, both from Web 3 companies and investors. Apply here as an individual. Or apply here as a team.

Supported By Gitcoin 🌳

The Gitcoin team is putting our full weight behind the KERNEL Fellowship. It is a community initiative, ultimately, aiming for broad support from those interested in it’s mission and it’s goals.

Our mission is to grow open source, and we’ve found a deep well of great open source projects and brilliant builders in the blockchain ecosystem in the past 3 years. We believe the future will be open source, and the blockchain community will have a large part to play in its development.

Over the course of 2 years, we’ve helped seed $5M in open source software development, mostly in the Web3 space. We have a network of 40,000 Gitcoiners who are hackers, founders, builders, and supporters of open collaboration.

The two paths we are best known for are Gitcoin Hackathons and Gitcoin Grant rounds, which ultimately led us to KERNEL.

During Gitcoin Hackathons, we’ve built 500+ projects alongside 3,750 unique hackers in the last year, many on their first journey into Web 3. The biggest one yet, co-sponsored by Coindesk and Ethereal, has seen 67 projects built in 3 weeks by some of the top up-and-coming developers in crypto.

The New York Blockchain Week Hackathon has 69 active projects!

In Gitcoin Grants rounds, 700+ projects have raised $2MM+ in funding over 5 ‘Gitcoin Grants’ rounds. These rounds have given early funding to projects now VC-funded projects like Uniswap and Optimism, and continue to fund core infrastructure projects like Prysmatic Labs and Tornado Cash. And many others!

The last round saw a record $492K allocated in 2.5 weeks. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, wrote a bit about it here.


With our experience in both hackathons and grant funding, we’ve noticed a few things.

  • Lone Geniuses — we consistently come across ridiculously talented developers building genuinely amazing stuff in silos.
  • Composability Is Real — The top companies in crypto are made up of founders who are idea machines. By matching them with talented builders, we can work together to build the Web3 we want to see.
  • A Room For Newcomers — We need talented builders to join as we build an open internet. For the crypto-curious developer, designer, or builder who hasn’t joined the ecosystem yet, the home base you need is a KERNEL of smart, motivated people.

We want a room for each of these groups (companies, web 3 veterans, and talented newcomers) to easily meet each other and enable collaboration. We’ll be bringing these people together for Genesis Block, the first KERNEL cohort.

What is KERNEL?

The goal of the KERNEL fellowship is to strengthen the ecosystem by bringing together 100 highly ambitious people in a private room with top innovators in building the new, open Web.

The first KERNEL, Genesis Block, will be comprised of ~100 fellows from around the world. The program runs 8 weeks, with an expected commitment of 10 hrs per week. Successful applicants will be high capacity, extremely likely to succeed in web 3, and fully engaged.

The program will include eight modules, including deep dives into the history of blockchains, the Web 3 movement, decentralized finance, community building, and token economics. Twelve classic works in technology, open source software, and finance will be reviewed and discussed.

Each KERNEL fellow is expected to build a project or product over the course of eight weeks. You are not required to apply with a project, but you can if you have one! Companies who are involved will share design prompts and projects they’d like to see built with KERNEL Fellows and with the broader ecosystem.

Here’s a sampling of the companies we’ve built with in the last 6 months.

Expectations of the cohort are straightforward

  • Participate earnestly in the program 🙋🏻‍♀️
  • Make friends with cohort mates 🎎
  • Read weekly materials in advance of the Thursday firesides 📖
  • Join the topical Juntos hosted industry leaders 👯🏻♀️
  • Check out the great list of project suggestions 🚧
  • Ship one end-product by the end of the 8 weeks 🚀

What you can expect from us

  • Thursday’s Fireside Chats 💬 Each Thursday will be headlined by a session with web3 luminary.
  • Weekly Juntos 🥘 Junto’s — a concept coined by Ben Franklin — are small conversations meant for candid, generative talks.
  • Weekly Check-ins 📅 check-ins with fellows on their progress, their goals, and their interests.
  • Funding Opportunities 💰 Funding via company sponsorships for specific projects and Gitcoin Grants.

While a project from each fellow is an expectation, the goal is to build lifelong relationships amongst the 100 members, the mentors, and selfishly, ourselves. And, perhaps, hundreds or thousands to follow.

If you’re considering KERNEL — we’d ask one question:

If you had 8 weeks with 150 great minds supporting you, what would you want to build?

Apply to KERNEL

(Apply As A Team)

(Or Recommend A Friend)


Is there a cost for the KERNEL Fellowship?

There will be a cost for accepted participants to attend the program. The $ amount is intended to generate commitment from successful applicants, not to be financially prohibitive. Scholarships will be available and liberally applied, so please don’t hesitate to apply, even if money is an issue.

What is the timeline for the program?

  • Applications Open:May 21, 2020
  • Applications Close:June 22, 2020
  • Accepted Applicants Notified:June 24, 2020
  • Late Applications Close:July 6th, 2020
  • Kick-off Retreat: July 7th, 2020
  • The End:August 31st, 2020
  • Late applications will be reviewed between 6/22 – 7/6 and considered for the program, though it’s encouraged to apply earlier than later!

Please let us know! Fill this out to make a recommendation.

What constitutes an ‘end product’?

This is ultimately a choose your own adventure situation. If you have a product idea to build on an existing Web 3 startup, you can do it. If you want to write a report on the state of Web 3, you can do it. If you want to join cohort mates and iterate towards early PM Fit, we can help. If you want to knock out multiple sponsored projects during the course of the 8 weeks, we’ll pass them your way. It will ultimately be an individual adventure, supported by the best minds in the industry and great programming.

What inspires the program?

As community builders, we’re inspired from many in the past. Titans of Investing, On Deck, Y Combinator and the Ethereum community to date.

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