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September 14, 2022

Gitcoin: the Ecosystem Innovation Flywheel

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In a world of Web2, the landscape is populated with giants like Meta and Google. It’s a world where the tech giants are in control. In this ecosystem, having a seat at the table isn’t really an option; you buy into going along for the ride. And historically, there have been security concerns and rampant manipulation as data is trafficked.

But it’s not all negative. The good news is there is a new world: Web 3.0 – and everyone’s invited. This futuristic upgrade of the internet uses blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and NFTs to put ownership and control back into the hands of the users. Web 3.0 is remodeling the internet by building on open-source technologies that put the users' needs at the forefront.

At the center of all this is composability. With composability, we can all co-create the web together. Are you prepared to be part of it? Are you ready to have a seat at the table?

Web3 Ecosystems Are Composable by Design

Composability means taking current software components and transforming them into new projects. It’s similar to creating a Lego tower by placing one piece on top of another until you have a large structure. Once a software component exists, users in the entire ecosystem can reuse it — developers don’t need to build anything from scratch. This means that blockchain applications like decentralized exchanges (DEXs), decentralized applications (dApps), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) can interact and collaborate.

Through data hoarding, patent protection, and products created with incompatible tech stacks, the Web 2.0 tech giants have corrupted composability to boost corporate profits. They have also discouraged competitors by enforcing high switching costs, leading to a fragmented system where it’s nearly impossible to combine components to add value.

However, change is upon us. Networks that were previously closed are now open. Software development is complete in a shorter timeframe because the features for dApps don’t need to be developed from the ground up.

The Role of Ethereum

If you're unfamiliar, Ethereum is an open source, distributed software platform that is based on blockchain and a preferred location for decentralized applications. It’s like a digital marketplace that offers hosting services and app deployment without any control from a central authority.

Although Ethereum has multiple features, there are two that stand out. The first is the peer-to-peer network. This enables users to interact directly, run transactions, and sign contracts with each other without the need for an intermediary.

The second is its compostability. Ethereum is the ideal platform for Web3 because of its composable nature: all the components in its ecosystem are interoperable, which means they can communicate and integrate. Returning to the Lego example, it’s as if each component were a building block and is, therefore, suitable for any project. As a result, Ethereum provides value to users and bolsters innovation. For instance, users on Ethereum are constantly building upon existing apps to create new ones, which leads to better products and experiences for everyone.

Gitcoin: The Ecosystem Innovation Flywheel

Gitcoin is proud to be the default ecosystem flywheel through the use of our quadratic funding (QF). This has led to a domino effect of compounding returns.

QF is a form of crowdfunding that matches donations from everyday people with a pool from larger donors. What makes it special is that it uses a mathematical formula to ensure that the projects that receive support from the most significant number of people (rather than the greatest number of donations) gain more matched funds.

Screenshot 2022-11-08 at 23.03.51

In the case of Gitcoin, an ecosystem partner sets up a pool of money to find innovators to develop solutions and grow the ecosystem. Anyone who wants to can decide how to distribute the funds through QF.

Gitcoin then grants developers who make unique products for the ecosystem. As a result, the ecosystem grows. The satisfied ecosystem partner returns with even more support next time, meaning more developers receive funding.

This virtuous cycle continues, creating an internet built by all of us, for all of us.

Show Your Support

The big GR15 is happening right now, meaning you can directly get involved.

Our ecosystem partners for the GR15 Grant Round are Polygon, Unlock Protocol, Web3 Social, ENS, Aurora, Coinbase, Yearn Finance, 1Inch, OP Games, Game7, Loot, Mask Network, ZK Validator, 0xPARC, a16z, Forta, and Plancker DAO.

Remember that, because of QF, your donation of just $1 can be matched and multiplied to $10 or even $100. The signal, rather than the amount, makes all the difference.

As Richard Moore, founder of Ethers.js, says:

“I also wanted to remind everyone there are a lot of other worthwhile projects floating about Gitcoin, and recommend taking a few minutes when you are bored to poke around. Even a couple DAI count, and for smaller or newer projects that are still trying to get off the ground and may be struggling with motivation, a few donations from strangers can make them feel loved and help keep that keep-on-swimming motivation alive.”

Now it’s your turn! Check out all the fantastic projects to find those you’d like to support.

- Team Gitcoin

Thank you to Faith, Armando, and MathildaDV for co-creating this piece.

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