Hypercerts Foundation: The web3 standard for impact certification and interconnected funding systems

1. Project Name

Hypercerts Foundation

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


The mission of the Hypercerts Foundation is to advance the development and adoption of open-source protocols for funding and rewarding positive impact.


Research on hypercerts was first presented to the public by David A. Dalrymple at the conference series Funding the Commons in March and July 2022 (watch). However, the concept of “impact certificates” has been a recurring theme at conferences and in online discussion forums since at least 2014. In late 2022, a small team of research scientists, developers, and practitioners began implementing hypercerts as a set of Ethereum-based smart contracts that could be used to assert and fund impact claims. The Hypercerts Foundation serves as the home for this work and for the emerging ecosystem built on top of the hypercert protocols.

Where are we headed?

Imagine a world where positive impact was one of the most highly valued creations in our society; where entrepreneurs who pursued high-uncertainty, high-upside moonshots to radically improve society were rewarded directly for that impact; where becoming a patron of impactful causes was something people aspired to and displayed proudly; and where the methods used to evaluate impact were credible, transparent, and independently verifiable.

That world might seem a distance away, but it’s one we can build towards. Specifically we’d like to see more impact markets, retroactive funding and innovation in the way we fund public goods. In order for this to occur, we need protocols to track and fund impact.

What are hypercerts?

A single hypercert is a semi-fungible token that accounts for work that’s intended to be impactful, and whose ownership can be fractionalized and even transferred under specific conditions. Each hypercert represents a unique impact claim capturing the following basic information:

  • Who: Set of contributors
  • What: Scope of work
  • When: Time of work

Hypercerts disentangle the contribution accounting from the evaluations, such that multiple evaluations can be submitted towards each hypercert. This makes visible competing evaluations and thereby enables a dynamic open evaluation system (consider the challenges around low-quality carbon credits that are difficult to expose).

As an extension of ERC 1155 semi-fungible tokens, hypercerts create a single, open, shared, and decentralized database for different impact funding mechanisms.

While hypercerts may be useful for any impact funding mechanism, they’re particularly valuable for retroactive funding as they provide baseline invariant guarantees impact claims will not be forgotten.

Crucially, hypercerts don’t create a new funding silo, but avoids these as they can be integrated into any existing funding platform creating an interconnected funding ecosystem.

The work so far

The work ahead

  • Release the core protocol on additional EVM-compatible chains
  • Enable attestation, evaluations and supplementary information using existing tools like the Ethereum Attestation Service
  • Build out hyperboards, such that any project and event can create them
  • Create marketplace tools to sell and transfer hypercerts and add to SDK
  • Cooperate with funding platforms and projects to integrate hypercerts
  • Build new applications like prize competitions with hypercerts

3. Main Project Funding Sources:

  • Protocol Labs has funded the initial research as well the creation of the Hypercerts Foundation via grants (ongoing support).
  • We want to add additional funding sources via Optimism’s RetroPGF, Gitcoin, and hopefully Octant to fully build out the interconnected funding ecosystem.

4. Seeking project-specific funding or funding for general operations:

We seek funding for the general operations of the Hypercerts Foundation. Some of the work ahead is described above.

5. Team Information, including backgrounds and roles:

As the Hypercerts Foundation we are working with collaborators and contractors on specific projects to further our mission. Holke Brammer serves as official director and chairperson of the Hypercerts Foundation. Below you find the background of the main people involved.

Main contributors

Advisors / collaborators

  • Juan Benet, Founder & CEO of Protocol Labs
  • Kevin Owocki, Founder Gitcoin
  • David ‘davidad’ Dalrymple, Programme Director ARIA

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

Referrals (Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.)

  • Juan Benet: “We are proud to be an early supporter of the Hypercerts Foundation, which will bring even greater focus and resources to this important area of innovation,” said Juan Benet, founder and CEO of Protocol Labs. “The Hypercerts Foundation is helping build a more transparent and interoperable environment for funding public goods. We are excited to contribute to its mission in any way we can.”
  • Kevin Owocki: “This is an exciting moment for the Hypercerts Foundation and for the future of impact funding,” says Kevin Owocki of Supermodular.xyz, another early supporter and steward of the new initiative. “We are committed to advancing the development of decentralized protocols and novel coordination mechanisms.”


Eligibility Criteria

Do you have a commitment to open-source (i.e. every open-source license accepted by the Open-Source Initiative) technology and sharing results publicly?

Have you provided transparency about how exactly funding will be used?

  • We have described the “work ahead” above, which we will realize together with collaborators that are paid as contractors. If more details are useful, please let us know.

Are you advancing values of freedom and privacy (no surveillance and handling of personal data)?

  • Yes, we are committed to advancing values of freedom and privacy. For some use cases we will need zkHypercerts for contributions and/or evaluations.

Are you supporting decentralization in various fields (for example building Web3 projects)?

  • Yes, hypercerts are a new web3 primitive (an extension of the ERC-1155 standard) and we believe that decentralization is especially important for contribution accounting and impact measurement and evaluation. Nobody should have centralized power over how a person or group is tracking their own contributions.

Have you provided social media channels to the extent that we can confirm social proof of your project?