Funding the Commons

Funding the Commons (FtC)

Project Description and why it’s classified as a Public Good

Funding the Commons (FtC) originated as an event series aiming to cultivate a public goods community spanning across the spectrum, including Web2, Web3, research, philanthropy, government, and industry. Its primary focus is the fostering of innovative public goods funding mechanisms. By leveraging the FtC community, brand, events, extensive resources from key partners, and a growing builder community, the organization aims to establish a sustainable PGF ecosystem, and shape the discourse around public goods funding. This involves integrating existing public goods funding platforms to build a cohesive infrastructure, allocating resources effectively, and incubating innovative projects.

Our current focus is to bootstrap a virtuous cycle of builders creating and integrating public goods funding infrastructure, and leveraging that infrastructure, in addition to the infrastructure of leading PGF protocols, to fund the next wave of builders.

Funding the Commons will continue with its flagship offering: curated, thematic conferences leading the discourse in public goods funding, and bridging the gap between web3, web2, academia, and mainstream philanthropy.

We have successfully produced 7 conferences around the world in places such as New York City, Lisbon, Berlin, and Paris, in conjunction with major web3 events. Our speaker roster has included Juan Benet (founder of Protocol Labs), Vitalik Buterin, Jaan Tallinn (founder of Skype, director of Future of Life Institute), and many more.

Videos of presentations from previous conferences can be found on our YouTube channel, which exists as an evergreen educational asset for the global community interested in public goods to access our conference virtually in perpetuity.

Our first Fund Public Goods hackathon, ran in partnership with Buidlbox and completed on 1 September 2023, saw $100k in bounties allocated amongst 400+ competing builders prototyping public goods funding infrastructure on protocols such as Gitcoin, Brave, Celo, Drips, Filecoin Green, ENS, and more. Upon completion of the first Funding the Commons hackathon, we have identified a positive-sum outcome that generates grants for developers, prototypes for public goods funding protocols, and reputational prestige in the builder communities. The winners can be viewed here. Our goal with hackathons is to identify global talent in the public goods builder community, and in this way grow our community of builders.


Our first residency is currently underway, and will wrap up on 1 October. Though we won’t have a full understanding of its impact until mid October, reception is very strong amongst the wider community, with a very competitive cohort selected from over 200 applicants from around the world. Octant’s lead developer is on-site with us.

Facilitating collaboration over an extended period of time has led to long conversations, and high levels of collaboration and cross-pollination. A very interesting collaboration between two residency projects has emerged as a good example of this: GainForest and impactMarket are collaborating along with Celo, to prototype “Conservation Basic Income” as a way to solve 2 critical issues – poverty and on the ground data labeling – simultaneously.

We are currently planning a residency and pilot program in Split, Croatia in 2024, in partnership with the municipality and mayor of Split, local conference and hackathon BlockSplit, and Gitcoin. The residency would focus on applying web3 public goods funding infrastructure to real-world public goods funding: engaging the citizens of Split, Croatia to directly participate in allocating a portion of Split’s municipal budget. There is already significant sponsor interest in supporting this residency, as it gives the opportunity for blockchain protocols to prototype real-world non-speculative use cases with potential 6-figure user base growth.

Main Project Funding Sources:
Protocol Labs, Gitcoin, Golem Foundation/Octant, Celo, Drips, Brave

Seeking project-specific funding or funding for general operations:

Project-specific funding for:

  1. Next Funding the Commons Residency
  2. Builder basic income (BBI)
  3. A defragmented funding and impact evaluation stack

Project Roadmap and Milestones (only for project-specific funding):

  1. Next Funding the Commons Residency: Identify, resource, and amplify early stage projects. Creates an intimate space to create relationships between organizations, builders, and thought leaders. Finish analysis, evaluation, and research of this residency. Create a framework for measuring impact and metrics of future residencies, and implement a PoC. Benefits to Octant from residency outcomes

  2. Octant integrated with other aspects of PGF stack

  3. Reputation by association

  4. Pipeline of public goods builders applying for funding on Octant

  5. Builder basic income (BBI): Create Builder Basic Income Fund for our builders who wish to continue working on public goods projects initiated during the Berlin Residency.

The Builder Basic Income Fund is an interface for patrons to support a curated list (a Drips List) from our residents. It will also be the first “mini-product” created directly by Funding the Commons which will kickstart the virtuous cycle of builders creating public goods funding infrastructure to fund more builders. Builders will have a curated list of project concepts based on the public goods funding infrastructure stack to choose from. Hypercerts will be awarded to patrons, and a “Based Builder Hyperboard” will be created to display the dynamic contributions of patrons and builders. Builders will publish monthly progress for the Funding the Commons community.

  1. Funding and impact evaluation stack: The funding and impact evaluation stack aims to create alignment and convergence on a consolidated defragmented public goods funding stack, which is compatible with Octant V2.

By bringing together many projects building on the public goods funding stack, and bringing in representatives leading common infrastructure projects, thought leaders, and facilitating cross pollination and collaboration we have effectively facilitated and encouraged consolidation of public goods funding projects to meet at a schelling point of a public goods funding stack that makes sense at this point in time.

Team Information, including backgrounds and roles:

David Casey - Director at Funding the Commons. 3x Founder, Scout @ Celo, Advisor @ Gane, Values Co, Hyphen.Earth. LinkedIn
Sara Johnstone - Lead residencies at Funding the Commons. LinkedIn.
James Farrell - Funding stack and Impact Evaluation at Funding the Commons. Github, LinkedIn.
Jared Smith - Builder Community at Funding the Commons. Github, LinkedIn.
Anna Medina - Executive Assistant at Funding the Commons.

Advisors and Collaborators

Juan Benet - Founder & CEO @ Protocol Labs
Eleftherios Diakomichalis - Co-founder @ Radicle, Drips
Rene Reinsberg - Co-founder @ Celo
Holke Brammer - Director @ Hypercerts Foundation

Social Credibility (development progress, awards, notable GitHub commits, referrals):

Our FtC Residency in Berlin attracted over 200 applicant projects, of which only 40 were selected. Workshops and mentor sessions from the following partners.

  • Molly Mackinlay, Will Scott (Protocol Labs)
  • Daniel Burnett (Ethereum Enterprise Alliance)
  • Nate Gosselin Product Lead of Allo (Gitcoin)
  • Technical Lead of Octant (Golem Foundation)
  • Steve Ellis (Chainlink co-founder)
  • Mark Tyneway (OP Labs co-founder)
  • Rene Reinsberg (Celo co-founder)
  • Jonas (retroPGF lead at Optimism)
  • Jeff Pulver (creator of the public good VoIP)
  • Eleftherios Diakomichalis (Radicle & Drips co-founder)
  • Holke Brammer (Director, Hypercerts)
  • Anirudha Bose (Brave)
  • Arthaud Mesnard (
  • Janine Leger (Zuzalu)

40+ peer to peer workshops and coworking sessions including smart contract development, zero knowledge cryptography, AI integrations, public funding systems, impact evaluation, and economics in developing countries.

250k+ USD estimate of follow up funding to projects as a result of relationships developed during the residency.

Projects worked on during Berlin residency

  • Arbiter - Arbiter is a framework for stateful Ethereum smart-contract simulation.
  • AtMoos: A Free House - The Freehouse is an intelligent and self regulating living object/entity with two demonstrators (Moos and TDF).
  • Common Ground Database - A shared database containing behavior information and due diligence about projects on different grants programs.
  • NineTails - UI Configurator for flashbot bundles.
  • ZK Proof of Exploits - Tool for proving exploits found without revealing them.
  • Privatized Gitcoin Donations - Sean from Aztec working on this.
  • Decentralized Credit Scores in Nigeria/Ghana
  • Impact Market - UBI and Microloans in some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
  • Project JubJub - Experiments with ZK proofs and NFC chips.
  • Split QF - Quadratic Funding system for local municipalities in Split, Croatia.
  • Anonymous Proof of Humanity - via ZK obfuscated government issued IDs.
  • ZK Email Wallet - Provide framework for anyone to send transactions via email, also lets you bring inboxes “on-chain” for all manner of fascinating new use cases.
  • HackerDrop - System for deploying hypercerts.
  • GitCoin Project Scanner - automatically enriches information on GitCoin projects to help identify fraud.
  • FreeHaus Project - Experiment in tokenized ownership of a beautiful communal space in the heart of Berlin.
  • GainForest - Research project and top 6 contender for the 10 million dollar X prize for scalable biodiversity measurement protocol.
  • ChainExplorer - AI chatbot that leverages on and off chain data, allowing for deep dives into reputation and impact.
  • Quadratic Attention - System for signaling user engagement with advertisements.
  • Circuit breakers - Circuit breakers will help projects overcome their security challenges by allowing anyone to easily create robust, production-ready smart contracts with just a few lines of code.
  • Impact evaluation framework - Building an impact evaluation framework for web3
  • FtC: Impact evaluation stack - A POC stack for evaluating the impact of FtC
  • On-chain Representation of Hyperboards - with an associated wallet using ERC6551
  • Unalienating Systems - A study into how to prevent a sense of disconnection or estrangement within communities and individuals
  • RETH contributions - Help reth to become production ready.

Discord contact

Display name: fundingthecommons
Username: cryptonomous01
Secondary Contact: skipio

Project in Summary

Funding the Commons (FtC) is growing a Public Goods community through conferences, residencies, and hackathons. We help builders explore and develop on existing infrastructure through real-world contexts. Our residency program and conferences help to connect enterprises, governments, and protocols with builders and projects in the web3 space.

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