We are thrilled to announce the results of the initial round of grants from the Ethereum Foundation.
As a quick reminder, the Ethereum project is dedicated to promoting useful dapps and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, and the Ethereum Foundation aims to empower developers with top-tier R & D, developer experience, and education. Despite the initial potential of the ecosystem, there is still a long way to go, and we are committed to working with the community to drive tangible progress.
These grants will support the teams focusing on research and development to benefit the entire ecosystem. Additionally, we hope that these grants will indicate to the community what we believe are the essential elements in the ecosystem that require further support. In other words, the Foundation is here to assist teams and individuals who are working to prevent a tragedy of the commons.
This year, we will intensify our efforts to collaborate with the community to enhance Ethereum’s scalability, utility, and security. Therefore, although this grant program was initially announced two months ago as a program strictly focused on scalability, we have decided to broaden the support to projects that are making significant contributions across scalability, utility, and security. These projects do not involve ICOs or token sales, and are centered around building valuable products and experiences.
Scalability can include implementing sharding, plasma, or state channels with existing teams or independently. It can also involve optimizing geth/parity or creating alternate clients. Utility refers to improving the developer experience (e.g. static analyzers, linters, dev frameworks, mobile SDKs, documentation, Solidity/Vyper development) or experimenting with new dapps that offer utility to the end user. Security can encompass auditing existing contracts, providing tools that prevent error-prone programming patterns, and contributing to alternative second-layer languages focused on security.
We are also starting to engage with the design community to address product and UX design challenges. For instance, key management, Ethereum payments UX, and onboarding flows are areas that require significant improvement for mainstream adoption. We aim to fund more design studies, hire, and connect talented designers with dynamic teams in the space.
Lastly, we would like to revisit the roots of the Ethereum project: passionate open-source developers contributing to the project in their spare time. In that spirit, we have introduced a “hackternship” grant for community members who propose an impactful Ethereum side project.
Here are the inaugural Ethereum Foundation grant winners:
L4 Research – Scalability Grant – $1.5M. State channels research.
Runtime Verification – Security Grant – $500K. Casper contract formal verification.
ETHGlobal – DevEx Grant* – $200K. World-class developer conferences for Ethereum
Prysmatic Labs – Scalability Grant – $100K. Sharding implementation.
DDA – #buidl Grant** – $100K. Tokenless decentralized derivatives network + state channels R & D
Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Scalability Grant – $50K. Sharding simulation.
Plasma Taiwan Dev – Scalability Grant – $25K. Plasma implementation.
Ethers.js – DevEx Grant – $25K. Web3.js alternative.
Turbo Geth – Scalability Grant – $25K. Geth optimization.
Solium – DevEx Grant – $10K. Solidity static analyzer.
Alex Komarov – Design Grant – $10K. Key management UX study
(Anonymous) – Hackternship – $10K. Deterministic WebAssembly.
Ankit Raj – Hackternship – $10K. Technical writing for Geth and Solidity.
* DevEx Grant – Improves developer experience (“useful” for developers).
** #buidl Grant – Builds for the end user (“useful” for users).
What we provide for teams that win a grant
Non-dilutive fundingTechnical advisoryConnection to more usersPlatform to share your work
We hope to provide Ethereum teams with more runway, advice, and resources to focus on building valuable products and experiences.
Additionally, many of these grants may be followed by additional funding and/or collaboration when milestones are achieved. We believe this will create tight feedback loops for making an impact on the ecosystem.
Wishlist for future grants
In future rounds of grants, we hope to see more applications in these areas:
Alternate sharding implementationsAlternate plasma implementationsImproving efficiency of existing clients such as geth & parityA tokenless “Lightning Network” for Ethereum
UX design studies to improve private key management and transacting in EthereumAlternative wallet/ client designsTooling that improves developer experienceImproved documentation & developer/user education videos
Security audits for Solidity and VyperSmart contract auditsTooling that prevents vulnerable code
You have a job (or school)? No problem! Suggest a problem you want to solve and we’re happy to fund a 10-week, $10K externship for your spare time working on Ethereum. Successful projects will be featured at a developer conference. We are also looking to hire and fund from this pool of side projects.
This is an ongoing grant program, and we invite the rest of the community to approach us with your ideas (application link).
Ethereum is built by the community for the community, and we’re here to support you. Thank you for building!
Ethereum Foundation Team