Gitcoin has been funding open source projects for a more decentralized web since 2017 and now it’s decentralizing itself. Yesterday the Ethereum-focused startup announced it will be now governed by a DAO and holders of its new token, GTC.
The first step in this gradual decentralization was to issue 100 million GTC tokens, 15 million of which were distributed to past users of its platform for doing things like creating grants or contributing to other projects. About 9,200 addresses of 25,500 eligible accounts have so far claimed GTC, at a median distribution of 68 GTC, according to Gitcoin founder Kevin Owocki. 68 GTC is now worth about $470 in secondary markets, which were created independently from Gitcoin.
“Our end goal is to build what we call the Quadratic Lands — a digital ecosystem where digital democracy reigns and public goods are funded handsomely,” Gitcoin said in a post. “We hope to rewrite the rules of economic gravity and envision creating upward economic mobility for thousands of builders. Most importantly, Quadratic Lands is built by the community it serves.”
The biggest recipient of GTC got as much as 1.7% of the airdrop, worth $1.7M at the time of writing.Think about that — someone just received over a million dollars for participating in a web3 project. Many others got several thousands of dollars worth of GTC.
Gitcoin’s airdrop is the latest example of how web3 is enabling an internet where users are also owners –– projects are increasingly rewarding users of their blockchain-based applications with native tokens. This increases participation, creates loyalty, and crucially, grants users the power to make decisions over the products and services they interact with on the platform. Uniswap spurred this trend of retroactive distribution by airdropping 150 million users to anyone who had used the decentralized exchange before Sept. 1, 2020, when the airdropped happened.
For GTC, half of the token supply, or 50 million GTC, will be deposited into the Gitcoin DAO treasury, to be governed directly through on-chain GTC voting. GTC allocated to the Gitcoin DAO will become available for distribution in equal monthly installments over the course of the next 2 years, meaning the full allocation will be unlocked by May 2023.
The remaining 35% of the token supply was distributed among stakeholders, including the team, investors, future employees and strategic partners of Gitcoin.
When recipients of the airdrop went to claim their GTC, they were taken through a website filled with confetti and prancing unicorns, which guided them through a short video explaining the vision behind the token and DAO and a short quiz. The last step asked users whether they would vote on governance decisions themselves or delegate their voting power to one of around 45 stewards.
“The 100% delegation upon airdrop I think is our big contribution to the space/crypto governance,” Owocki said in an email interview with The Defiant. “I’m very excited; I think it’s gonna set us up for more voter turnout/engagement.”
Stewards who got the most tokens delegated to them include Ethereum core devs call coordinator Trenton Van Epps, Ethereum developer Austin Griffith and Scalar Capital’s Linda Xie. Anyone who volunteered could become a steward.
Gitcoin Grants has provided nearly $16 million of funding to blockchain-based projects and $3.54 million in bounties to open-source developers since its November 2017 launch.