Uniswap is one of the largest trading protocols in decentralized finance (DeFi) with over 1.5 million users, 63 million trades and over $400 billion in total trade volume.
One of the critical factors that allowed Uniswap to achieve such massive scale is the thousands of developers and builders who build on the protocol. Most of these contributors are not full-time employees of Uniswap Labs.
Instead, they are rewarded directly for their contributions via fees for integrating with the Uniswap protocol, or via direct grants funding to keep their project free.
Uniswap’s grants strategy, common among blockchain projects, creates both opportunities and challenges.
On the plus side, a direct grants program with healthy funding encourages thousands of talented builders around the world to build on and advance the Uniswap protocol. Uniswap Grants Program and its leader, Ken Ng, have three key goals:
To overcome this challenge and achieve their goals, Uniswap Grants partnered with Gitcoin and joined its eleventh quarterly Grants Round (GR11) in Sept. 2021.
Three key drivers justified this decision:
1. Gitcoin’s builder community
Uniswap Grants gained access to Gitcoin’s builder community. This community includes more than 200,000 active builders who have collectively generated $36+ million for digital public goods since Gitcoin was founded in 2017. Gitcoin hosts bounties, hackathons, and grants rounds in partnership with open source projects like Uniswap, helping developers, designers, community organizers and other web3 builders get compensated for their contributions to open source projects.
2. Quadratic Funding FTW
Gitcoin’s Quadratic Funding mechanism facilitates democratic and decentralized distribution of funds . Co-created and popularized by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, Quadratic Funding enables Uniswap Grants to leverage the open source community to identify promising projects and allocate matching funds to projects with the broadest support. Gitcoin Grants is the world’s largest example of this novel political-economic mechanism, funding digital public goods at global scale.
3. Streamlined grants operations
By partnering with Gitcoin, Uniswap Grants was able to reduce many time-consuming aspects of running grants directly. Gitcoin supported Uniswap from start-to-finish, including planning, marketing, creating policy, vetting, resolving disputes, distributing payments, and mitigating fraud. These efforts saved the Uniswap team hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in administrative overhead.
The results Uniswap Grants achieved with Gitcoin exceeded their expectations.
Top finishers included: a Uniswap v3 options framework, a portfolio tracking tool and an SDK Polywrapper.
If you’re interested in running a grants round for your open source community, we’d love to hear from you!
Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to building public goods with you and your community.