Impact DAOs

About Gitcoin — Marching towards higher quality problems

Reimagining the plumbing for public goods funding

Rohit Malekar
3 min readNov 17, 2022

Possibly for the first time in the history of humankind, a group of individuals with a shared interest have the collective power to transparently institutionalize and autonomously operate a mission irrespective of where they pay their taxes or what they do for a living. The theoretical potential of Web3, however, hinges on having interoperable digital rails and the lego blocks to facilitate this transformation in ways that are resilient and sustainable. In this article, we will review the Gitcoin community’s role in persistently pushing for progress to solve high quality problems to enable this transformation.

What is the opportunity with Web3?

Our public goods are withering. The infrastructure needed for communities to thrive faces systemic apathy from those who grab power and consistent disinterest from those who have extracted wealth off it.

With the current systems, we keep losing the game over and over again.

The current political landscape, welfare structures, financial systems, and philanthropic initiatives have not been able to create a prominent Schelling point or a focal point of convergence to overcome the failures in coordination.

How can crypto fix any of this?

Now that we have technical affordances to embed transparency and automation with greater finesse, what do we do about it?

“With programable money, we can program our values into our money” (Greenpilled).

Web3 allows the ability to program our values into our money. Blockchain can codify incentive design that encourages action towards socially beneficial outcomes at scale. These incentives drive collective action to overcome common failures of coordination. The atomic unit of this transformation is an Impact DAO — a collective action that has a net positive impact on building and sustaining public goods. Related Impact DAOs stack over each other to replace existing centers of power and build transparent systems of tomorrow.

Gitcoin — Gluing the Impact DAO stack

The digital infrastructure, protocols, and tools for building the transparency-first social and industrial institutions of tomorrow do not exist today in their entirety. Here are three examples of how Gitcoin is enabling the creation of public goods that will interlock and compound the momentum for a fair future.

  1. Bounties and hackathons — Building with and for the community
    From nocode hackathons for non-technical contributors to targeted design and engineering bounties to incubate and scale open source software, Gitcoin started by mapping communities with contributors for their key needs. Mapping the demand with the supply for a composable open source ecosystem has accelerated the availability of products and differentiated experiences for all.
  2. Grants — Community-driven funding coordination
    Quadratic funding captures the preferences of the community and also measures the strength of their conviction to invest in priorities they care the most about. Across multiple rounds of grants, Gitcoin has enabled voices at the edges to show their support for an ever-growing spectrum of topics that need investments.
  3. Grants Protocol and Gitcoin Passport — From products to protocols
    The grants protocol amplifies the impact of quadratic funding by enabling any community to have the same set of tools as Gitcoin to self-govern and transparently distribute funds by matching community preferences. Gitcoin Passport is a similar modular tool available to any project where establishing the identity of a member is critical for its legitimacy.

The Flywheel Effect — Quality of problems we solve

The heaviest spins of the flywheel for Gitcoin are barely complete. Yet, there are exciting possibilities for how this work might lead to an inclusive and transparent future. Can an HR department of a Web2 company utilize grants protocol to determine how to spend the wellness budget? Can a decentralized social network protocol integrate with Gitcoin Passport to provide uniqueness of digital user accounts without compromising user privacy?

As digital public goods stack upon each other to build momentum, the largest impact by the Gitcoin community is in elevating the quality of problems we can dream of solving.

Since May 2021, the platform is governed by Gitcoin DAO — you can learn more about it here.



Rohit Malekar

Building a digital studio, creating the culture and craft for digital product development, writing on decentralization. More at