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Empowering Community and Innovation: Geo Web's Journey with Grants Stack

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Geo Web is an augmented reality network that overlays a virtual layer on the physical Earth. Their QF round, which ran on Grants Stack from July 17 - July 31, 2023, was open to public goods projects and builders in the open-source spatial computing ecosystem. Their matching pool distributed 4 ETH across six projects.

I. Overview

II. Goals

III. Challenge / Problem(s) to Solve

IV.  Solution / How We Helped Solve the Problem(s)

V. Results

VI. Conclusion

VII. Testimonials

VII. Relevant Links

I. Overview

Geo Web is an innovative augmented reality network that overlays a virtual layer on the physical Earth. By utilizing open, ownerless protocols, publishers can anchor a plethora of digital content—from images to 3D objects—to specific physical locations. This content is then accessible to users via universal browsers on devices like smartphones and smart glasses, based on their geolocation. This immersive experience transcends the limitations of traditional, siloed apps and proprietary app stores, ushering in a unified, augmented reality shared by all. Structured around user-defined digital land parcel NFTs, Geo Web introduces a unique land market system, promoting productive utility, inclusivity, and public goods funding. Prior to running their round, Geo Web launched their protocol in January 2023 which helped them grow an ETH pool for about six months. Their commitment to the public goods model and permissionless innovation is not only evidenced by their history as quadratic funding (QF) grantees from past Gitcoin Grants rounds, but also by their transparent allocation of funds generated by the protocol. This focus on community empowerment led them to run their first QF round using Grants Stack, a partnership that had been in the works even before Grants Stack's official announcement. Geo Web was the first partner to run a community-led round on Grants Stack, highlighting their dedication to democratic funding allocation and commitment to community engagement.

II. Goals

Geo Web got their start through Gitcoin Grants rounds, with all their funding coming in the form of grants to date. Thus, deploying a QF round has always been part of their plan. While ithey looked at other platforms, they decided to run their round on Grants Stack because it had the most frictionless onboarding and operating experience, while the other options required extensive development and time commitment.

In addition to input on fund allocation, one of Geo Web’s other goals was growing brand awareness and introducing the protocol to a new community of public goods users. The four objectives of Geo Web’s round were:

  • To allocate funds generated by Geo Web protocol in an open and decentralized manner.
  • To expand the reach of Geo Web and attract new builders and contributors.
  • To create a governance mechanism that would allow the community to have a say in the allocation of funds.
  • To promote Geo Web as a public good and avoid centralizing the decision making.

III. Challenges / Solutions

As GeoWeb was preparing to run their grants round, the team faced a series of challenges. From the technical intricacies of running a QF round, to the complexities of community engagement and fund allocation, each hurdle presented an opportunity for growth. This section outlines their challenges and follows with the solutions they implemented to overcome them.

Challenge

  • Deploying a QF round without extensive development

While the Geo Web team was looking for a platform that would be a good fit for their first QF round, they encountered many alternative platforms that required forking, a longer development time, and ultimately a heavier lift. Due to the small size of their round, they didn’t believe the additional dev time felt like the best use of their resources.

Solution

  • Grants Stack offered a streamlined experience for their QF round

Grants Stack offered a streamlined and user-friendly experience, making it the obvious choice for their inaugural quadratic funding round. With Grants Stack, there's no need to fork the app or allocate developer hours to get a grants program up and running - making it incredibly easy for communities to deploy their own rounds. The added guidance from the Grants Stack team further simplified the process of running the round.

Challenge

  • Engaging and expanding the community while managing increased participation

As a nascent project still in its formative stages, the Geo Web team experienced challenges with decision making and managing increased engagement. While attracting a broad base of contributors and community members is beneficial, it was also important to them to establish a transparent, democratic and decentralized way of making decisions.

Solution

  • Quadratic Funding with Grants Stack promoted decentralized decision-making

To address the challenge of centralized decision making, Geo Web used Grants Stack’s quadratic funding mechanism to run their round. This made it easier to harness community intelligence to validate decision making, ensuring that the allocation of funds accrued from their protocol reflected the diverse perspectives of the Geo Web community.

Challenge

  • Encouraging new builders to contribute

Building on their previous success with Gitcoin, one of the team’s primary objectives was to expand their reach. However, they found it challenging to motivate potential builders who were already familiar with the project and to attract new builders who weren’t previously familiar with GeoWeb. As recipients of grants funding themselves, the core team didn't want to monopolize the funds. To them, receiving a significant majority (e.g., 90%) of the funds meant the round would have been deemed a failure. Their goal was to distribute funding to a diverse group of contributors.

Solutions

  • Matching Pool/Grants Incentivization

The team wanted to incentivize builders in their ecosystem to contribute more actively by offering them grant funding for their work. The matching pool was a great way to engage potential builders and encourage them to build on GeoWeb. In order to foster growth and innovation, they prioritized the allocation of funds to individuals outside of the core team. This not only supported new Geo Web members, but also ensured that the core team did not monopolize the resources, promoting a more inclusive and diverse ecosystem.

  • Running on GS amplified their visibility, attracting new contributors

They recognized the interplay between funders and builders, understanding that some funders might eventually become builders or vice versa. Despite being a small project, they didn't focus on marketing - their strength was in building. However, running their grants round on Gitcoin Grants Stack was a way to significantly boost their visibility. For many, their first exposure to Geo Web was through their grants round announcement. The boost from being affiliated with Gitcoin played a pivotal role in promotion of the round.

Challenge

  • Achieving decentralized decision-making in fund allocation and avoiding core team monopolization

One of the primary challenges was the degree of decentralization achieved in the decision making process regarding fund allocation. The team aimed to decentralize both their development and funding distribution efforts to allow for more innovation within the project. 

Solution

The decentralization of decision making was achieved by implementing QF to leverage community-led decision making. The round brought the community together, which resulted in increased engagement within the wider community. This helped ensure that the funds were allocated to teams and individuals outside of the core team. This distribution isn’t just a sign of validation from the community, but also a testament to Geo Web's commitment to decentralization.

V. Results

When it came to reviewing projects for inclusion in the round, the team had a clear approach from the beginning. They were committed to fostering an open and inclusive environment, while being acutely aware of their responsibility to ensure the integrity of the process and work to mitigate bots and bad actors. The eligibility criteria focused on projects related to Augmented Reality (AR), the Geo Web, partial common ownership, and other related themes. They also emphasized the importance of the projects being public goods and specified that applicants should not have raised any venture capital funds.

Their clear eligibility criteria made the selection process straightforward for the team. Out of 12 applications, half were rejected for misalignment with the round or lack of effort. Conversely, the other six projects were perfectly aligned with Geo Web’s objectives. The team felt fortunate that the applications they received didn't present them with any particularly challenging decisions, making the selection process smoother than anticipated.

Overall, Geo Web’s QF round was a resounding success with 106 unique contributors and over $1,150 in contributions that were matched with a pool of 4 ETH and distributed across six projects

VI. Conclusion

Going into the round, the Geo Web team had concerns around the engagement of their community beyond the core team and how that would affect the allocation of their matching pool funds. While the core team did receive the highest number of votes during the round, they were pleased that it wasn't by a significant margin. Given the donors’ familiarity with the core team, it was unsurprising that most of them donated at least $1 (the minimum donation amount) to the core Geo Web project. However, grantees outside of the core team were notably proactive in garnering support, which played a role in evening out the contributions.

For their future endeavors, the Geo Web team aims to refine their approach, especially around communication. Having been participants in Gitcoin’s Alpha and Beta rounds, they had insights that they felt could have been better utilized. They were cautious about making changes after the round began that might alter the results, such as the voting weights. This decision meant that certain donations, like those not ending in a whole dollar amount, were not rounded up. They set a threshold of a dollar for matching, but in hindsight, they realized that a better practice might have been to round up amounts like $0.96 to one dollar because votes didn’t count if the amount wasn’t rounded up. At the time, their concern was to avoid making decisions that could impact participants differently and exert undue influence.

Another challenge they encountered was in communicating guidelines around good Gitcoin passport scores. While they tried to address some API-related issues, there were still instances where scores like 19.95 needed rounding up, to count. They were torn between the desire to not exclude anyone from voting and sticking with the established rules. 

The Geo Web team chose to maintain the existing donation thresholds and Passport scores, prioritizing trust and consistency. They acknowledged that there were missed opportunities, particularly when larger donations were excluded due to discrepancies in Passport scores. However, they were reluctant to alter the established rules. Looking ahead, the team aims to enhance communication of these guidelines to improve the participant experience and amplify impact.

Despite these challenges, the Geo Web QF round was an overwhelming success for a variety of reasons. First, it helped dispel the myth that QF rounds require large amounts of funding in order to be impactful. Despite only having a pool of 4 ETH, there was great interest from the community and resulted in six projects receiving funds. Geo Web’s other objective was to raise awareness of their project, which was partially driven by placement on Gitcoin Explorer. This helped them build momentum and led to larger contributions once the round started. 

Finally, Grants Stack removed the hassle of extensive infrastructure development and allowed the Geo Web team to quickly deploy their QF round. They were able to more effectively use their resources, while still having a smooth inaugural grants round.

VII. Testimonials

“One of the most delightful aspects of running the round was seeing people come together, actively participate, and take our idea to new heights. It's truly inspiring to witness individuals benefit from our initiative and then venture off to create their own paths. 

From a technical standpoint, the simplicity of the process was astounding. We've observed numerous Quadratic Funding rounds and understand their complexities.Yet, with Grants Stack, all we had to do was click around, input some figures, and everything was set in motion. The potential and power of this tool is undeniable. It's accessible even to those without a developer background; a basic understanding of a web3 Ethereum wallet is all you need. This experience has been nothing short of magical for us." 

Graven Prest - Co-Founder, Geo Web

VII. Relevant Links

Interested in deploying your own round? Schedule a demo with our team or launch your own program today!

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