On November 3, 2023, we hosted a conversation ”Building blocks for public goods on the Devconnect Journey” at PlankerDAO's X Space to discuss topics related to public goods, GG19, DevConnect Istanbul. We invited Carlos Merlar, the Head of Memepact at Gitcoin as our featured speaker to talk about these topics and Koko, Devconnect volunteer Coordinator at Ethereum Foundation as our co-host.
Key points from the conversation include:
- GG19 Key Changes:
- The grant round will operate on the Public Goods Network (PGN), enabling it to contribute to open-source software and the community rounds. Projects participating in these rounds need to bridge Ethereum to PGN.
- Changes in Gitcoin Passport score rules; the higher your passport score is, the more matching the projects will get that you donate to.
- Highlighted Public Goods Events at DevConnect:
- Greenpill Turkey – side event in the afternoon on November 15
- Optimism Onchain Summit – funds public goods retroactively
- Deepact – An event focusing on achieving public goods and impact through blockchain.
- Challenges in Public Goods Development in the Ethereum Community:
- One big challenge is educating people about what public goods are. It’s not something that screams at you to become a millionaire overnight, so it lacks appeal to VCs. But the promise is to create goods that benefit everyone and contribute to a more regenerative society, so we should start changing the mindsets of VCs and even speculators to be more supportive of this.
- Another huge barrier is language. A translation program on Ethereum.org is accessible. People who can speak a second language can volunteer to contribute to translating ethereum.org into the language that you know, which can decrease the barriers to entry for anyone to access public goods funding for people to understand what public goods are.
- Response to Barriers for Offline Event Participation:
- It’s special to connect with people in real life, and the opportunities of attending events offline can also open a lot of opportunities for builders. However, some people cannot join because of financial and visa barriers. Unfortunately we can’t help solve these problems right now, but we are actively working on organizing additional rounds with the hope of fundraising to support those facing difficulties, enabling their participation in these events.
- Encouragement for Chinese Community Builders:
- Hope that builders from the Chinese community who are working on public goods can gain more visibility and get funded.
Lauran: Hello, everyone. Welcome to today’s Twitter space. I’m Lauran from PlankerDAO and Uncommons, excited to have Koko from Ethereum Foundation to be today’s host, and Carlos from Gitcoin, and he will share his ideas on public goods and Gitcoin grants. Okay. Koko, you can start now.
Koko: Okay. Well, hello, everyone. My name is Koko. I’m the volunteer coordinator for DevConnect Istanbul. I recently joined the Ethereum Foundation. But I have been working with communities across East Africa for the past couple years now. And I’m just so excited for DevConnect and to welcome all of the volunteers who I see are joining in this Twitter space. So excited to meet you all very soon.
Lauran: Thanks, Koko. Carlos, maybe you can just introduce yourself a little bit.
Carlos: Yes, certainly. So I am from Honduras. And I’m living in Austria. I work at Gitcoin. I jokingly say that my position is the head of Meme Pact. I work in the grant program. And I also started this little project in Honduras that’s now expanded to different countries.It’s called Web3beach. And, yeah, the idea there is just to onboard people in rural communities to Web3 through doing good in their community. I guess I’m a public goods maxi. And I’m really focused on trying to distribute public goods funding to underrepresented communities in the Ethereum ecosystem.
Host（Lauran）: That’s cool. And several days ago, when I joined the Gitcoin Round Manager pilot cohort, and Ben West has mentioned you in his presentation.
Carlos: That’s amazing. Were you present for the training that I did with John?
Host（Lauran）: Yeah, it’s a pilot cohort for round manager. And, yeah, they’re just a small group. So maybe we can talk about that later. And, Koko, maybe you can just ask questions now.
Koko: Yep, sorry, I had a little trouble with my mic. But, Carlos, I think you mentioned a very important aspect in your introduction, which is where you’re from and, you know, what you do. So I think I’ll also add that. So I’m from a small country called Eritrea. It’s in East Africa. And although I’m based in Canada, a lot of the work that I do with the communities in Africa is based in Africa, because I truly believe that the Web3 technologies that we’re working on in Ethereum have the power to change at the government level. And so I’m really passionate about doing a lot more research on how groups of people make decisions and how we can have technology that’s both privacy enabling, but also has censorship resistance at its core. So I hope that helps, Lauran. I’m excited to talk more about this DevConnect specific round as well.
Carlos: Yeah, I love that you mentioned that. A lot of the work that I do is really focused on my experience being Honduran, also just being an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. for so many years. And as a result of that being unbanked for over two decades and undocumented and then returning to Honduras, feeling like there was so much potential for change with this emerging technology. And now we have this really cool opportunity to tinker around with creating change in our communities and trying to create, trying to improve communities in ways that governments are unable to or sometimes unwilling to. And it just starts with small changes. And then I hope my long-term vision is that all of us working in the public goods space can create solutions for problems in our communities and our countries and have the governments go, “oh, that’s really cool. You fixed something that I couldn’t. And you’re doing it with this crazy new tech”. So maybe we should be more friendly to this emerging technology.
Koko: I am also very happy that you shared that personal story about you, Carlos. I think that hits home for a lot of people potentially in this space and a lot of people that I work directly with. I think one thing I really appreciate about Carlos is that he has an experimental mindset towards everything, right? And so it’s like, okay, let’s try it out. Let’s test it out. Let’s see what happens. And that’s really what initiated this DevConnect round. You know, one thing that I have learned over the past couple months as I’ve gotten to know the global Ethereum community is that people are so eager to join the signal to be present at these conferences, but are, you know, things like DevConnect, but it’s a financial barrier to a lot of people that are in the community. And so just because people, you know, don’t come to DevConnect doesn’t mean that they’re not eagerly experimenting in their own regards in their hometowns. And so the people that attend DevConnect, we just want to give them a way to access more funding to be able to meet the Ethereum community, because I think that there’s something special about meeting people in real life, although these virtual spaces have done so good. I just think that there’s just so much more you can do in real life, so much more experimentation to be had.
Carlos: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. It’s also a great opportunity for builders and impact makers in the Ethereum ecosystem to network. You know, there’s, you’re right, we do connect very often online and platforms like this and Discord channels, but it just doesn’t compare to meeting someone in real life and getting that personal connection in that vibe. And I think that the opportunity to attend these conferences could open a lot of doors for others, whether it’s helping you land a position within the ecosystem, or getting some funding opportunities through grants or investments for the project that you’re building, or creating collaborations. You know, there’s just so much opportunity that these conferences can unlock. And it is unfortunate that there are so many barriers, including, you know, the financial barrier for a lot of people to attend, then beyond that, you know, there’s the visa barrier, right? So I myself can go to a lot of countries because I hold Honduran Passport. And I know a lot of my friends are, you know, we get so excited about conferences months ahead. And then as the time rolls by, it’s like, “Oh, wait, I have to, you know, apply for an interview to get a visa”. And the wait time for this interview could be, you know, up to years, which is surprising to a lot of people who don’t have this reality. Right.
Koko: I know, Lauran, we’re, we’re kind of sidetracked from our initial plan for this Twitter space. But Carlos, you said visa and my heart stopped, because a lot of the volunteers, there’s, you know, one in specific in this space, the amount of hurdles that we had to go through to get their visa. You know, one of the main reasons Turkey was chosen for DevConnect is because of the low barriers to entry for most countries. And so, you know, if you’re travelling from Colombia, you don’t need a visa to enter Turkey. But if you’re traveling from certain parts of Africa, that’s just not the case. And so the, yes, the financial barrier, there’s one and the visa process is extremely challenging, but we’re going to make it work.
Carlos: Yeah, I’m really, really excited to get to meet all these amazing builders from all over the world. Um, should we jump into some of the planned questions? I have to say that the way that this space has been organized has been amazing. This is like the level of organization for this space is just so good. It definitely inspired me to put a little bit more structure into the spaces that I host. So I do the weekly community calls for Gitcoin. And I, for the most part, just YOLO it, but I definitely see a lot of value in being as organized as you all have been.
Koko: I don’t know if Lauran you wanted to ask some of the questions that you prepared?
Host(Lauran): Yeah, I’m coming. So the first question will be, yeah, I think everyone must be curious about your role in Memepact at Gitcoin. Could you please just introduce it to everyone, the Memepact?
Carlos: Yeah, so I work in the, it’s a new work stream at Gitcoin. It’s GSD, you know, for getting stuff done. We recently split the public goods funding workstream into two. So I’m more on this side, but I also work on the community side. And we have Azeem, who works at Gitcoin, and he is the Head of Impact. He basically for the last, I don’t know how long, but for a long time, he’s been very influential in raising a lot of the funds that go into the matching pools. So, you know, in web3, it’s really hard to determine an exact title for people like we don’t, most people don’t have a real title. So I thought it would just be funny to make one up. And I went with Memepact. I don’t know that anyone within Gitcoin officially recognizes that role, but I’m rolling with it.
Host(Lauran): That’s awesome. And Koco, do you have anything to say? Because I saw your mic is shaking now. I’m not sure if your network has something wrong.
Koko: I hope my network doesn’t have issues. I just left my mic on. So I don’t have to keep turning it off and on. I hope it’s not making noise.
Carlos: I will go a little bit further into the concept of this Memepact. So, you know, we, in the Ethereum ecosystem, we use a lot of, a lot of terminology that, you know, is meant to be very impactful, like onboarding the next billion, or mass adoption, and all these like really great ideas, but they’re still a meme, right? They’re not because we’re so early and we’re so young that it’s helpful to create these big dreams and these big visions. But then realistically, you know, like, I love comparing where we are now to big industries. So for example, like Home Depot has a bigger market cap than Ethereum. Like, I think it’s like, putting these things into perspective, really helps us realize where we are, like how early we are and how much work there is to be done. So I kind of joke around with like, the lofty ideas that we play around with and where we actually are and, and kind of use that as like, a way to, I guess, mostly motivate myself to like, realize that it’s still so early, we have so much work to do. So let’s just like, you know, let’s just strap on our boots and go boots to the ground. And let’s make these memes a reality.
Host(Lauran): That’s great. And I think being playful is also a very important step for mass adoption. Okay. And the second question is, I know you are also the founder of Web3beach. Could you introduce this community to us? And I think this is also a very interesting name.
Carlos: Yes. So this is I think like my whole life is a meme, I guess. So Web3beach started because I saw what El Salvador was doing with Bitcoin Beach, right? And I thought, that’s interesting. That’s really cool. They’re creating adoption for crypto, but it’s unfortunate for a lot of people that are living day to day, that they all of a sudden have to accept getting paid in Bitcoin, and potentially have that Bitcoin, you know, lose 10% value overnight, right? So, because we are still in the very volatile asset class. And I thought to myself, like, what do they be cool if it was, if it was Ethereum, and then they could implement other tools beyond just, you know, a digital currency that is considered, for the most part, a store of value, or a store of wealth, where like, okay, that makes sense if you have wealth, right? But if you don’t, and if you’re just trying to get paid, so you can pay your rent and buy your food, then maybe that’s not the best use case for you immediately. But then I thought, like, okay, so if you have Ethereum, then there’s a lot of other things that you can do with it. You know, we have the public goods funding space, we have a lot more DeFi tooling than the Bitcoin ecosystem does. So I thought, okay, well, I’m going to do with Ethereum Beach, and then someone in Thailand or somewhere has that name already. So I thought, okay, well, web3beach. And the idea is that, you know, the blockchain industry or the crypto space is this massive sea of opportunities, but you need to like, start off at the beach to take this journey. And it also so happens that I was living on an island in Honduras, and I’m very passionate about ocean conservation. I’m a divemaster. I’ve done, you know, thousands of dives, and I do a lot of environmental work I was doing when I was living there around conserving marine life and the marine ecosystem, so you know, coral farming, coral restoration, beach cleanups. We did beach cleanups for, I think, 10 years weekly. And then I started playing with the idea of like, what if we adopt play-to-earn mechanisms, right? Like basically, you play this game and you get rewarded with a token that’s crypto that has value. What if we just copy and paste that to real life with environmental impact. So instead of just going and doing a beach cleanup because you care about the environment, then you get rewarded with a little bit of crypto. And then that crypto you can actually use locally for tuk-tuks or buying street food or getting a coffee at the local cafes, and then, you know, creating like a micro crypto economy in the small island, which was just perfect, because the island’s population is like 6000. Everyone lives on one base. So it really allows you to create adoption. And it’s like a little petri dish, you know, you can just start experimenting. And you can have 10 use cases for crypto within a 10 minute walk, right. So that was really cool to me, really, really experimental. And the whole idea behind that was, if I could make this work here, then this could serve as an example to people anywhere in the world. And then they can go, ”Oh, that person did this thing, and didn’t have to create any tools. He’s not a developer, he’s just basically introducing crypto through, you know, being a positive influence in your community. And then creating adoption for people that you know, don’t have bank accounts, can’t have a bank account”. The island has one bank and one ATM that works half the time. So yeah, it was a perfect opportunity to experiment with it. And then people kept going, “Oh, you should expand this, you should scale it out”. And I’m going, “No, I don’t want to like, scale it out”. Because it’s a lot of work. I just want people to see it’s a possibility. And you can copy and paste anywhere. And then eventually, people started contacting me going, Hey, I want to do web3beach in my community. And I said, “yeah, great, do it”. They’re like, “No, I want you to do it. I want to do it together with you”. So we thought, “Okay, cool. Let’s see what we can do. Can you go onboard some people and get them to do something good in their community?” And they’re like, “Yeah, we live on the beach. And you know, people here don’t have jobs“. And so Venezuela is a perfect example for it.
The minimum wage in Venezuela is $5 a month. But you need 108 minimum wages to provide basic needs for your family, right? Just the economy is so bad. So then we started experimenting with things they’re rewarding people with DAI for doing a beach cleanup. But also, it goes beyond the beach cleanup, right? You have to like, learn how to use the wallet, you have to learn how to do swaps, you have to learn how to bridge, you learn how to mint NFTs. So we’re playing with different levels of adoption. And then people get rewarded with crypto, which they can use locally, because crypto adoption in places like Venezuela is really high because the economy is so bad. And then I started moving away from the idea of like, imposing what I think is good, is impactful in your community to you determining what’s impactful in their community. And they came back to me and said, “Hey, we haven’t had a school in four years, because the educators don’t want to get paid $5 a month to be a teacher. So can we do something about that?” So we basically took a room from someone’s home, our community led there and created a classroom. So younger kids have class in the morning. Older kids and teens have class in the afternoon, like we can’t do grades, we just do like age ranges. And then we incentivize the parents with one DAI per child per day to attend the classes. So in some cases, where the parents are unemployed, like the kids become the breadwinners, because now, you know, they can make a monthly minimum wage by going to school five days in the week, right. So that’s just like an example of how we’re experimenting with these things. And now, we work with communities in Japan, we work with communities in Venezuela, we have worked with communities in Colombia, and I am just like Koko said, like I’m very open to experimenting and trying things out. I think the success rate is probably, you know, 30 to 40% with onboarding communities and making it a real use case for crypto in their communities. But that’s still pretty good, I think, right. And yeah, that’s where Web3beach is. And now the next step is onboarding organizations, like bigger organizations that have more structure and have been creating impact for four years, but they don’t know about Ethereum, they don’t know about the public goods funding space. So basically bringing their impact on-chain, and onboarding those impact makers to the industry through public goods funding and creating, I think, more meaningful adoption, instead of more adoption that’s based on speculating on token prices. So lots of different grants in one place. That’s Web3beach.
Host(Lauran): Wow, you are really impacting the world. And I saw your website, less plastic and more fish. And there are so many interesting activities happening in your Web3beach. Koko, do you have any questions about here to ask or discuss?
Koko: Yeah, I think the more I get to work with Carlos, the more I learn about all his previous experiences. And I’m just excited for Web3beach to do some impact in Kenya one day, like during East Safari or, yeah, at another event somewhere. You know, that’s, I think the idea of just sporadic cleanups have always been done. But now when you have an incentive structure around them, they’re just so much more structured. And I think that’s also important.
Carlos: Yeah, I’m really excited about Kenya as well. We onboarded Ocean Soul, which is an organization that pays, they’re called the Ocean Mamas. They pay the Ocean Mamas to do beach cleanups, and they collect the flip flops, and then take them to their workshop and then have the out-of-work, like wood carvers, turn these flip flops into these amazing pieces of art. And an example of that is like life-sized giraffes made out of flip flops and carved out of flip flops. And then they have this cool welfare program where their staff, they basically pay for all their medical bills and their educational expenses for their kids. And they also do matching for, in case if anyone wants to buy land, they match up to 50% of that. And so I’m working with them to like bringing them on-chain, and they just participated in the last Gitcoin round. And, you know, they earned some funding through that, which is really cool. And I remember when I first contacted them, it must have been like six months ago, I kept bugging them like, “hey, you need to sign up for this, like, let me walk you through it”. And I can imagine being on the receiving end of that, like, this sounds like a scam. This sounds like, like this Honduran prince says he’s gonna give me some money for what I’m already doing. So I’m excited that they actually, like, went on board with us, and I got to meet them and I got to visit with them. And actually the owner has a home in Khalifa, which I got to stay at while I was there. And I’m really excited for Kenya, really really excited. I want to go back and I want to keep figuring out how to do stuff there. I did a beach cleanup with them and in Khalifa as well. That was really cool.
Host(Lauran): That’s great. And maybe you can share more, the web3beach community in Kenya later. And the next question is, we all know that the new Grant Round is going to begin and do you think there are any new changes that you want to share with us here?
Carlos: Yes, for sure. There’s definitely a couple of things to keep in mind. One of them is that the Gitcoin rounds are going to be running on PGN, Public Goods Network. So this is part of the OP stack. And which means you need to bridge Ethereum over to PGM to be able to contribute to the open source software and the community rounds, right. So if you are involved in one of those projects that’s participating in there or want to support one of them, you have to have Ethereum over there to be able to contribute to them. The climate solutions round will be running on Optimism. And one of the really cool things that we’re implementing there is prioritizing reviews for projects that have created an impact certificate, right? So I think the whole Web3 public goods space is going to start moving in the direction where we don’t trust we verify, right? So what that means is, it’s really difficult to confirm or verify that you’re doing the things that you propose you’re doing. So there are a lot of projects and people working on primitives to solve for this problem. So you know, Hypercerts is one example of them. Prop dates from Nouns is another example of that. Karma just brought out something called Grantee Accountability Protocol. I know the Optimism ecosystem is like a lot of the participants of the collective are working on this, like Oxinamo is coming up with. She’s been doing a lot of research around this. So that’s something definitely to take into consideration. And I think that if you start adopting these tools now, you’ll be a step ahead from other grantees because eventually, I’m envisioning these grants programs, having those impact certificates presence right on the explorer pages so that it takes the need for you to do your own research away. And it’s based on this infrastructure and the evaluations of this impact instead of, you know, you being responsible for contributing to a round and having to dig into 100 different accounts yourself. So definitely, definitely keep an eye on those developments and try to adopt them as early as possible.
Then other things that have changed a little bit is the passport score has been shuffled a little bit. So I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to be speaking about this, but I’m gonna go ahead and say it anyway. So here’s some alpha, the higher your passport score is, the more matching the projects will get that you donate to, right. So I think in the past, we’ve experienced some difficulties with, you know, emerging economies, for example, where a lot of people are web3 natives, but they don’t have all of those qualifications to get all of those stamps, because it is expensive to get a lot of those stamps, right? Like you, they are based on on-chain interactions. And a lot of those on-chain interactions cost money. So a lot of people in Honduras, and Venezuela, and Kenya, and all these different countries, like, you know, despite them being on-chain for years, don’t have the credentials to accumulate all those stamps. So now that’s a lower score will allow you to get some matching, but also the higher score will allow you to get a lot higher matching. So the idea there is to level the playing field a little bit. I don’t think that’s a problem that’s going to be solved immediately. But I’m glad to see that the Gitcoin passport team is taking some steps to try to mediate that a little bit. And what else? I think that’s the big picture, the big items in store for GG19. There is going to be another Latin America round this time, it’s sponsored by 1inch. I’m working to create, Oh, oh, there’s more alpha. Okay, so this isn’t GG19. But there are Africa rounds. And there are eight pack region rounds coming for GG20. I can’t say who and I can’t say how much but we just had calls on that the last couple of days. And I’m really excited to be pushing in that direction as well.
Host(Lauran): Wow, so many exclusive news. Yeah, actually, I have heard about the passport score in our program in the round manager course. So don’t worry, because the rest has also revealed that. Okay, so Koko, do you have anything about the grant round 19 here?
Koko: Well, I think what I really love about Gitcoin is that each round is like an experiment, and then the data is studied and reviewed, and then each round has some new improvements. So I remember, I think it was the first round I contribute, or I made a project for was like GG8. And so that was some time ago, and I didn’t know anything about Gitcoin and just had to learn a lot. And so it’s really exciting to be, like, part of GG19. SafariDAO, which is, like, the community that I contribute to in Africa, is excited to participate. And yeah, I think that’s about it for GG19. I’m excited to talk a little bit more about the Gitcoin round specific to the DevConnect volunteers as well.
Host(Lauran): Okay, I think Koko, you can share your round here. We can just talk about the grant round here.
Koko: Yeah, because I see there’s a lot of volunteers in the room, and I want to, you know, address maybe some of the questions that they had as well. So if this is your first time participating in a Gitcoin grant round, well, welcome, you know, like I mentioned, GG8 was my first time. And so we initiated a grant round for volunteers that are contributing their time, specifically from Latin America and Africa. And so these are volunteers participating in DevConnect and ETHGlobal. I think like we talked about earlier, there’s a lot of travel expenses, visa expenses, you know, no one visa is actually the same price. And like I mentioned, this is the first time an experiment like this is happening. You know, Talent Protocol does a lot of great work in order to help people get to big events like this. But it’s very different from the scholarship that the Ethereum Foundation has, the Scholar Program is quite competitive. So, you know, this Gitcoin grant allows anyone that’s new, anyone that’s curious, anyone that’s willing to contribute some of their time and volunteer access to an opportunity to be at the spaces where they will have the opportunity to learn, right?
I think there’s something to be said about like virtual learning. Again, it’s it’s really beautiful, but these spaces, the people that you meet, the lifelong connections, the friendships that are formed are really valuable. And so all of the other scholarship programs or funding programs kind of cater towards someone that’s maybe, you know, more experienced in this space and has contributed a lot, but we wanted to make the Gitcoin grant round really accessible to anyone. You know, you can tell me that you have no idea what blockchain is, you have no idea what Ethereum is, but you can access this Gitcoin grant round. And so it’s open to anyone that’s accepted as a DevConnect or ETHGlobal volunteer. As long as, you know, you haven’t had a different kind of scholarship. We have a lot of onboarding calls to help people understand how to submit their projects on-chain. Project is the same as volunteer in this case. And so, yeah, and just, you know, we’ve hosted two or three of those onboarding sessions so far and the questions that people have and just like the excitement like, “oh, this is all I have to do and I get, you know, this amount of funding or like how does quadratic funding work?” And so I see Lavender in the chat because she’s someone who has went from, you know, not really knowing a lot about Gitcoin to being able to experiment as a grant operator within just a few short weeks. And so it’s very different because it’s, you know, you don’t need to code or you don’t need to, you know, have any special skill set. You know, Gitcoin, I think makes it super easy to follow. Yeah, that’s the DevConnect round. Maybe, Carlos, you can share a little bit more about it. But yeah, we’re gonna, yeah, I don’t know. I’m just super excited to be able to have the tools to be able to experiment with something like this because the first month that I was having coffee chats with the Ethereum community from all over the world that wanted to volunteer, one of the biggest things was, you know, it’s a financial barrier. Is there anything that, you know, the Ethereum Foundation can provide in terms of funding to be able to access this type of event? And so having no answer for them made me really disappointed. And so when Carlos brought up this great idea to experiment, I was fully on board.
Carlos: Yes, I second a lot of what you just said. But I want to start off by just thanking Koko for all of her work and all of her effort that went into this. I am now at a position where I’m trying to experiment with as many things as possible and trying to add value wherever I can. But that does incur a lot of additional, that results in me putting in a lot of additional time and effort into all of these experiments. And it’s been so cool working with Koko on this, because, you know, we talked about the idea, we talked about the concept, and then Koko just like ran with it, right? Like, the amount of effort that she put into it and the way she was able to execute this was just been so impressive. And I’m so stoked to see what else comes out of this. Like, I think there’s a lot of potential for this small working group that has been managing this round to develop into potentially a service provider, right? Because Gitcoin is not in the business of running these services for people. It’s more like we’re providing the infrastructure and then other people can become service providers. So I think Koko would be an amazing candidate for that. And yeah, just the way she’s been able to help everyone along and, and really empower as she’s learning is super impressive. And I think that’s such a valuable skill to be able to teach as you learn is amazing. That’s like what we’re doing with this early emerging technology. So thank you so much for that Koko. And the intention behind the round, it’s pretty much, you know, helping builders, helping people in the ecosystem that are trying to add value, but also trying to learn more and grow within the ecosystem, helping them get there to this in real life event. We did have a huge hiatus, you know, during the pandemic where no one was able to go anywhere, we have this huge disconnect in the industry, which hampered our growth for a little bit, I think. And now that we’re returning to a lot more of these activations, it’s really important to try to diversify the presence there and try to get people there from all over the world. And, you know, the financial barrier is real. It’s a huge barrier for a lot of people. I know people personally that have borrowed money to be able to go right like that’s not a position that we want to put people in. And it’s unfortunate, like we can’t solve all of these problems for everyone. But if we can make, you know, if we can add a little grain of sand to help people there, I feel like we’re positioning them to be able to help themselves in the long run, right. So this was, this was an idea based on also like, like I said before, everything I do is based on my personal experiences and the personal challenges that I’ve had, and realizing that I’m not the only one that has this. So I have gone to conferences on my own, and basically spent like, I remember the first time I spent like two months salary, going to a conference and thinking, Oh, God, like, is this even going to be worth it? Should I go like what’s going to happen? And then I got a scholarship for another conference. And it was a $400 like budget, like basically a scholarship $400 to cover the sum of the travel expenses, but the whole trip ended up being like $2,000, so realizing that I went through that and realizing that there’s a lot of other people in the same position and and within the context of like what I’m familiar with, you know, being from Latin America, and recently having been to to Africa and knowing a lot of African builders like I know that’s a situation a lot of people are being confronted with. And I also see the upsides for them to be able to have visibility in person at these conferences, and potentially having that experience, open up a lot of opportunities for them in the future. Like I’m really excited about, you know, one year from now, seeing where these volunteers are, and it would be amazing to see that, you know, their experience there unlock something, whether it was a connection, or whether it was, you know, just motivating them to keep building an ecosystem. I think that we’re creating those opportunities for them. And you know, I’d love to be able to cover all of their expenses. And it’s just unfortunate that we can’t right now. But again, like, maybe this is an opportunity for us to create this working group that really focuses on this, and does, you know, fundraising so that we can position ourselves to continuously run these rounds for the next ETC for DEVCON for, you know, ETHDenver for like the really big Ethereum conferences, I’d love to continuously provide these opportunities for people and, and then, you know, see where that takes others.
Host(Lauran): That’s amazing. And I also think that such a program can really help those underrepresented people to join these conferences, this summit, and to keep up with the industry. And, okay, we’ll move on to the next question. So this question is for Carlos. Do you think what’s the biggest challenge when we talk about the public goods development in the Ethereum community? And how do you see the future direction of its development? Can you share some ideas on that?
Carlos: Yeah, I think we, it’s just not a sexy topic. You know, it’s not like, it’s not something that screams at you, you’re going to become a millionaire overnight, you know, like a lot of the other kind of areas of crypto promise, like the promise behind public goods is that we’re creating goods that everyone can benefit from and has the potential to create a more regenerative society. Like that’s not something that makes people instinctively want to like, throw money at right. So I think that one big challenge is creating education around like, what are public goods? What are different types of public goods? How can you benefit from public goods? How can the world benefit from public goods? How can these goods that we’re creating? How can they help change or help create solutions for the problems that we’re facing now? Right? And I think that the more we refine these conversations, and the these, these responses, or this discourse, you know, we keep iterating on this, then the easier it’s going to be for people to understand what we’re talking about, and understand our intentions behind this, and then really buy into it, right? And, and I think a big part, there’s a lot of protocols and a lot of projects in the space that are public goods, and have become profitable, right? So like using those as examples, I think we’ll start changing the mindsets of VCs, and even just speculators, right? And having them be more supportive of this, or angel investors as well, and having them be more supportive of this, and then putting more money towards that. I think that’s a big challenge that we’re facing. But I do believe that as crypto finds better product-market fit, then these use cases, and these goods will start to prevail, and become more attractive, and start creating more value for, you know, not just our ecosystem, for the world in general. And then people will say, “Oh, now I get what these public goods people were talking about a couple of years ago”. So that’s where I think we’re going.
Host(Lauran): Yeah, thanks. And also, I remember days ago, Owocki and Vitalik has a talk on these public goods. And they also have some ideas on this, and Vitalik thinks public goods is very important to Ethereum, and the public goods has different scope. For example, the public goods is intensively associated with certain community, and maybe they are small scale, or they’re high scale, but they are both important. So thanks for sharing your idea on this. And regarding the public goods, do you have any recommendations about the public goods event on DevConnect? And I think maybe Koko can go first.
Koko: Yes, I definitely have some recommendations. I will note about a barrier to public goods in the Ethereum community. I think one huge barrier is language. The people that benefit from public goods is everyone. And so if we’re only communicating in English, and the resources are only available in English, that excludes the people that only speak a different language. And so if you didn’t know, you can, anyone that speaks a second language, you can head to ethereum.org. And there’s a translation program so that all of this information, you can essentially volunteer to contribute to translating ethereum.org into the language that you know, right. And that’s one huge step in the right direction to decrease the barriers to entry for anyone to access public goods funding for people to understand what public goods are. And so if you do speak a second language, you should definitely check out ethereum.org and contribute to translating. I will note one exciting thing is that Turkish has translated, I think it’s at 100% right now. But Turkish is one of the only, well, one of few languages that are 100% translated, like the entire ethereum.org is translated to Turkish. So that’s really cool because leading up to DevConnect, you can understand how eager the community is, right. So there’s a couple public goods events that are on my radar. And I think that if people have time, they should definitely attend. The first is a Greenpill Turkey side event that’s happening on November 15, in the afternoon. You can probably reach out to Greenpill, like the Greenpill Twitter and find out a lot of information about that. And the second is Onchain summit by Optimism. Because Optimism is an organization that has learned a lot of lessons from Gitcoin. You know, Gitcoin funds public goods proactively through these grants, whereas Optimism funds public goods retroactively, as also known as, you know, RPGF. So those are the two that are on my radar. I’m curious if Carlos has some more to add.
Carlos: Yeah, I just pinned Greenpill, the Greenpill event in Turkey, I will be speaking there as well. I would love to have you roll up at the event as well. Also, Onchain summit, really excited about everything that’s happening there. I think the whole Superchain ecosystem, I’m just so over bullish on because it’s just everyone that’s like doing everything that we’re doing in crypto. But the quiet part, it’s like, we’re actually generating sequencer fees for public goods. It’s like, keep doing your swaps, keep minting stuff, keep doing Defi, but you’re ultimately contributing to public goods, which is just like such an amazing concept, right? Then there’s also something called Deepact, I don’t know if I can pull that up right now while I’m on my phone, but I can look for it later and share. Also, a lot of really great, great speakers will be there. And I’m really excited. So that’s just like really focused on public goods and impact through blockchain. And those are my top 3, I am right now looking. So this is kind of a thing that I do everywhere I travel to try to just do something on my own to add a little value or create a little bit of impact based on, you know, my personal interests. And I’ve been writing these organizations that do beach cleanups in Turkey. So I might be joining one of them, if I can get a hold of them. One of them is the needs to meet that negi from meppa? I don’t know what I just said. It’s a community in Turkey that does beach cleanups. And I hope to join one of those. And if I land one of those, and I can connect, I’m definitely going to be sharing it, we can go and try to Greenpill, some organizations that are making an impact outside of the Ethereum ecosystem and try to bring them in with us. So those are my alpha tips for public goods in at DevConnect.
Summary and Q&A
Host(Lauran): Thank you. And by the way, Koko just mentioned two events. And the first one Greenpill Connect, our community has minted several NFT and we also joined that day and hope we can meet on the venue. And the second Onchain Summit. It has ended registrations are very pitiful. Okay, so let’s come to the last part of our space to audiences. Do you have any questions to ask? If you have, please hand up and I will invite you to speak. Okay, wait a minute. So actually, I have met Koko in the interview for DevCon volunteer and that we haven’t had such an opportunity to talk. And I wonder, when you work as a volunteer coordinator, do you have anything to share with us, like your feelings, your experience?
Koko: Yes, I will say that I recently joined the Ethereum Foundation and I credit a lot of the ability to get this role to volunteering, you know, volunteering in my own community in Canada and volunteering by contributing to SafariDAO and just being a part of the African web3 community. So I think that volunteering is so powerful. It opens up so many doors. And I’m just excited to welcome all of the volunteers for training and throughout the week of Dev Connect. And I’m just, I can’t think of all the right words, maybe. But there’s just so much intention into just creating really good experience for you guys. So I’m excited. And I can see Frisco is on the stage. And I probably welcome him to share his thoughts.
Frisco: Hi, everyone, thanks for the opportunity to be part of the cohort. Gitcoins actually reminds me, I was just written how it reminds me of my days in the early 2010s, when I was raising funds online with（a name of a crowdfunding platform) and GoFundMe to fund libertarian and for African students. And I remember it was actually through that I even got to do a Bitcoin in 2011, when a Facebook friend who is also libertarian and I in charge of Bitcoin Cash in Latin, actually approached me and said he wanted to donate in Bitcoin. It’s been exciting. I’ve seen Gitcoin around, but then I didn’t take it serious. My friend Joyce is actually one of the guys who have been sort of involved in various rounds, but then nothing prompted me to check it out until we had to run around a couple of weeks ago for the DevCon volunteers. And in fact, it’s so amazing for me. And I’m going through the various rounds and seeing even some of our African brothers are using this to actually sort of raise funding for various activities. And I find it so exciting and I’m looking forward to how to introduce people in Africa to this and to see how they can utilize it for various activities and other, especially in building decentralized tools. I actually want to ask Carlos a question. In fact, your energy is so amazing. What actually motivates you to do so much for the Gitcoin community and then the entire cryptosphere, let’s say the welfare community as well? Yeah.
Carlos: So, yeah, this is very related to what Koko just mentioned, right, about volunteering and how you can benefit from volunteering as well. So I have been just doing a lot of volunteer work since my teens. I started attending this nonprofit youth center. It’s like an after school program. The idea is basically, like, keep kids away from gangs and drugs in the inner city. And I remember one day kind of just stopping and looking around at all the volunteers and going, wait, none of y’all are from the hood. Like, what are y’all doing here? What’s the reason for you investing so much time into teaching us arts and computer work and athletics? What’s happening here? And they’re like, oh, we’re just trying to do good in the community and we’re trying to be helpful. And that for me triggered like, why don’t I do it for my own community as I grow up through this program? And then I ended up becoming a tutor and becoming a basketball coach for a peewee basketball team. And that’s just always been like that. That has played a huge role in me, like the volunteers helping me through things and helping me just learn different things that opened a lot of doors for me. And then, you know, being passionate about scuba diving and realizing the importance that scuba diving has on the economy and the island I lived in in Honduras, and then while I’m trying to find places to volunteer or ways to help that situation there. And then, you know, that transitioned over to my time in Ethereum where it’s like, okay, well, I see a lot of value here. I see a lot of potential for this to change the world. So like, what can I do to be impactful here, right? And like, how can I help other people? It’s always been like, if you can get your foot in the door, if you can walk through that door and create opportunities, you should just hold it open instead of letting it shut behind you. And if you hold it open, then you know, more people can come in. So that’s kind of like my motivation for it.
Host(Lauran): Thanks, Carlos. Do you have any questions? If you have, you can just hands up and I will invite you to speak. Do you have any more questions? And now we can allow one more question and we will end this space.
Carlos: I do also want to say that this round, like last round, I think it’s been a few rounds now, there is, I know this is going to get translated to Chinese. So there is a Greater China round happening. So make sure that you apply to that if you’re listening later.
Host(Lauran): Yes, actually, that round is hosted by our partner community, which is GCC. And yeah, many Chinese communities are going to apply for that round. And we also hope more Chinese communities can get funded and really develop our own culture and our public goods.
Carlos: Yeah, I love that. I recently, in the Optimism Governance Forum, I recently saw someone post about the Chinese community needing to get more visibility for their work of public goods. And it’s absolutely true. It’s funny, like, we don’t realize this, because it’s not relevant to us. I’m a big believer in, you know, if you want to create diversity, diversity goes way beyond what you represent, right? Diversity, like, really working for diversity requires you to take a step back and figuring out who else can benefit from this idea of diversity and inclusion. And it’s absolutely true. Like, I love that call out was made on the Governance Forum, because the Chinese builders create so much open source software, right? And they do add so much value. And there is a huge interest in public goods there. So it’s great to, like, make that heard so that other people take notice, for sure.
Host(Lauran): Yes, and I think Gitcoin now is also very focused on diversification. For example, in our course, there are many, you know, learners from different communities from around the world, and they are learning how to host around and to help to empower their communities. And I think that’s a very important part of the Gitcoin now. So maybe today’s space, we can just end here because it’s already one hour. And later, hopefully we can meet in Istanbul and have more discussions. Koko, Carlos, do you have anything to add here?
Carlos: I just want to say that if you are still here, if you’re still building, you are probably doing it for the right reasons. So just keep doing what you’re doing. And just you will be rewarded for this in the long run.
Host(Lauran): Wow, that’s encouraging. Thank you, Carlos. And okay, maybe we
end up here. Thank you for joining today’s Twitter space. Bye bye everyone. See you soon.