A guide for funding opportunities in the crypto ecosystem
Taking inspiration from Nadia Eghbal's list of microgrants, this document aims to provide a list of all the ways people can get funded for crypto work without giving away equity or issuing a token.
Table of Contents
- Non-crypto-specific (but applicable) Grants and Fellowships
Note: This list is loosely ordered from general funding to protocol-specific funding.
UNICEF Innovation Fund
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is making $50-90K equity-free investments to provide seed financing to for-profit technology start-ups that have the potential to benefit humanity. The fund is looking to invest in a group of companies developing software solutions on open blockchains, specifically in the areas of smart contracts, analyzing data directly from public blockchains, tokenization and mining. Check out the Imnnovation Fund's FAQs here.
Samsung NEXT Stack Zero Grant
Samsung NEXT are offering grants ranging from $25k-75k to early-stage teams building decentralised technologies. Head directly to the application form here.
Social Alpha Foundation
Co-founded by Jehan Chu of Kenetic Capital, Social Alpha Foundation offers grants ranging from $10k - 100,000k. There are two categories of grants: the education grant, which supports organizations, collectives and individuals that offer blockchain education with a focus on social impact and the application grant, for non-commercial blockchain applications that tackle social welfare issues with a focus on Public Health, Environment or Education.
Ethereum Community Fund
The Ethereum Community Fund is similar to the EF in that it wishes to advance the Ethereum ecosystem, however is backed by several founding members including Cosmos, OmiseGo, Maker, Golem, Web3 and Status. Typical grant amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000; in general, ECF will provide funding that will initially cover 6 months of runway. See previously funded ECF alumni here. Interested parties can submit an application here.
https://app.tettra.co/teams/ethereum/pages/applying-for-ef-grants * official website coming soon
The Ethereum Foundation grants have committed over $11M to over 52 projects since they kicked off their program at the start of 2018. They fund projects that are committed to advancing the Ethereum ecosystem; a rather broad mandate covering public infrastructure and community goods. Preceding the funding of each wave, the EF publishes a wish list for the types of projects that they hope to see apply.
ConsenSys AG unveiled at DevCon IV the launch of “ConsenSys Grants,” a $500,000 USD fund that will be dispersed in amounts of $10,000 to $25,0000 via Gitcoin. The launch of this grants program is an effort to encourage the growth of the Ethereum infrastructure layer with bounties and grants for open source projects. Timing for the rollout of the newly launched grants program is set to begin in early 2019 and will continue throughout the end of year. Applicants will have the opportunity to apply under categories, which will be determined by the wider Ethereum community in an effort to support decentralized decision making. For now, ConsenSys will support projects that focus on infrastructure, research, user experience, design, interoperability, and developer tools. To learn more, sign up here for a dedicated newsletter to keep up to date on grant recipients and projects.
Protocol Labs Request For Proposals (RFP) Program
The first RFPs solicit improvements to components used in Filecoin. Future RFPs will fund problems across PL's entire stack of protocols, from Multiformats to Filecoin, and they also welcome open problems and suggestions for work that they may be interested in funding. The RFP Program has an inital commitment of $5M to fund multiple rounds of grants ranging from $5,000 to $2M. Check out active RFPs here. Each RFP references an Open Problem Statement in Protocol Labs' public research repo. Application instructions can be found here.
Aragon Nest was launched to support projects building fundamental tools and infrastructure, largely around Aragon and Ethereum. Similar to MakerDAO's relationship with L4 Ventures in the the Stable Fund, Aragon Nest is sheparded by Placeholder VC (Chris Burniske & Joel Monegro). See the current proposals for grants and requests for funding.
The Stable Fund
The Stable Fund is an investment fund started by L4, in partnership with MakerDAO. They aim to support startups using using Dai or Maker infrastructure as a core component. The Stable Fund offers no-strings attached (equity-free) grants of up to $25k and equity funding of up to $200k.
MakerDAO Core Community Development Group (CCDG)
A series of initiatives (fund grants, bounties, community development rewards) designed to create direct incentives and support structures to allow people to participate in and contribute to the success the Dai Stable Coin platform.
Zcash Foundation Grants
Zcash Foundation Grants are distributed twice annually and have a broad scope. See here for ideas. The foundation emphasizes that they are especially interested in funding proposals that are public goods and not obviously monetizable. The program had a 2017 Q4 budget of $80,000, funded by the Zcash Foundation, which they increased to $250,000 in 2018 Q2, funded by the Zcash Foundation and the Blockchain Institute.
Dash Budget Vote Proposal Tracker
Dash has a large budget of $1M+ allocated monthly to this program (10% of Dash’s block rewards are earmarked for this program, decreasing by 7% roughly every year. Proposals receive funding if “Net Votes” (total 'Yes' minus total 'No' votes) exceeds 10% of all active masternodes. Reputation plays a big role in who gets funded: applicants are encouraged to build a relationship with the community, demonstrate that they’re the right person for the job, and drum up support for their proposal in the pre-proposal forum. You can check out Dash Watch to see examples of funded proposals.
The Interchain Foundation supports development around the Cosmos ecosystem. Currently, the foundation operates on an ad-hoc basis but will evolve into a fully-formed program towards the end of 2018, after the launch of the Cosmos Network.
Blockstack Public Benefit Corporation
The Blockstack Public Benefit Corporation is committing $1M to support teams building social network dapps using the Blockstack infrastucture. Each developer or team that is accepted will receive $100K.
Stellar Partnership Grant Program
This grant program aims to support projects who integrate with the Stellar network and pursue the improvement of the global financial landscape and promote financial inclusion. The Stellar Development Foundation has allocated 25 billion total lumens to this program (a monster $6b pool at these prices?!).
The Request Fund
Request Network has pledged $30 million (in $REQ & $ETH) over the next 5 years to the Request Fund for projects based around mobile apps to create, detect, and pay requests. See here for a wishlist from the Request network team and the application form here.
Monero Forum Funding System (FFS)
This could be classified as a "grant" but operates more as a crowdfunding mechanism: anybody can donate Monero towards these projects. Applicants must move through a multi-step and openly-vetted process. If the proposal is successfully granted, funds are held in escrow and disbursed to the recipient as specific milestones are met.
NEM Community Fund
As of September 2018, funding process is undergoing a restructure. The funding pool consists of ~300 million NEM ($28M at current prices) and is largely focused on the Asia-Pacific region.
Bitcoin Development Grants
A $1.2M grant fund for Bitcoin protocol development supported by Bitmain, Xapo and many more crypto figureheads.
These are more informal grants published on the Web 3 Foundation's github. Funding can be applied for by those building around the Polkadot ecosystem and working to make the Web 3 vision a reality.
$5k grants ($200k pledged) to support with the development of Scuttlebutt, funded by DFINITY.
SmartCash SmartHive Governance Portal
Over 10 million SMART available (~$2M USD) to fund projects contributing to the SmartCash ecosystem. SmartCash holders vote on projects to be funded.
Issuing bounties to solve the Ethereum ecosystem's biggest challenges. There are currently two bounties available, for $250k each.
The Bounties Network
An open-source, generalized platform for bounties across Ethereum
Status Open Bounty
Status has an active bounties platform that is supported by a $1m pledge in Nov 2017 to support projects and developers in the space.
See Nadia Ehgbal's exhaustive list of microgrant programs.
Open Technology Fund
The Open Technology Fund is a project of Radio Free Asia, a 501(c)(3) public charity that believes everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression online. They have a range of funds and deadlines - most supported efforts receive $50k - $200k. Check out previously supported projects in their annual letters.
IPE NCC Community Projects Fund
The RIPE NCC Fund sets aside 250,000 EUR annually to support projects of value to the operation and resilience of the Internet, with a focus on tools and services benefitting the technical community in their service region. See here for previously funded projects.
Lightspeed Fellowship Program
Lightspeed grant around 20 Summer Fellowships each year to students or recent grads who are interested in starting a technology company over a summer. Each participant gets $15k and the team (minimum team of 2) gets an additional $5k. Lightspeed have been active in the crypto investment space, however this this is not an investment, this is a grant; Lightspeed get no equity in the company. Applications are rolling from November to February each year.
Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grants
Twice a year, the Shuttleworth Foundation award a number of small grants to a collection of social change agents, no strings attached, in support of their work. Recipients are selected based on nominations from our Fellows. Each award is worth $5,000.
A new fellowship/grants program launched with a $1M grant from the Thiel Foundation. Funding is to be directed at high-risk, high-reward ideas that advance prosperity, opportunity, and wellbeing. Projects will either be fellowships or grants: fellowships involve time in residence at the Mercatus Center in Northern Virginia; grants are one-time or slightly staggered payments to support a project. See here for the recently funded first cohort.