Open Source Observer: Measure the impact of open source contributions

Project Description

The goal of Open Source Observer is to measure the ROI of funding open source teams.

Specifically, we help open source communities and funders:

  • Track the full downstream impact of grants programs on key ecosystem metrics like user growth and developer activity over time
  • Create reward functions that allocate funding to projects based on impact analysis
  • Deep dive well-known projects and minimize bias

We’re putting all the metrics needed to inform better decision-making and grantmaking in one place, including:

  • Impact: trace a project’s downstream contribution to end users, revenue, ecosystem growth, and sustainability by linking it to platform metrics
  • Activity: graph a project’s team, momentum, and dependencies from GitHub and package managers
  • Financing: estimate funding and burn rates from grant metadata and analysis of public financial reports

We are building Open Source Observer entirely as a public good, not just with open source and open data, but with truly open infrastructure. We want to make the data and analyses as widely available as possible and are committed to sharing our infrastructure directly with the community.

Main Project Funding Sources

Open Source Observer is grant-funded.

So far, we’ve received grants and inkind support from Optimism, Arbitrum, Protocol Labs, and Gitcoin. As our infrastructure costs grow, we may look for cost-sharing opportunities with individuals and team who make use of the data to supplement what we receive from grants.

Seeking project-specific funding or funding for general operations

We are seeking general operations funding. We are currently a team of three building this as a public good. Apart from our team costs, our main expenses are related to our data infrastructure.


In the near term, we’re building a dashboard so people can explore and start to use our impact metrics. We’re also working on automated data ingestion pipelines for different blockchains and open source activity metrics (eg, GitHub, package managers, dependency networks, etc).

Next, we want to build a data collective and release an API for developers to experiment with and define their own impact metrics.

In the long run, we want to see composable, impact-based funding power the internet economies of the future.

Team Information

Ray, Reuven and I began Open Source Observer while at Protocol Labs, working on Hypercerts. We left in October and are now pursuing this full-time. We registered a company called Kariba Labs. Open Source Observer is the first product we’ve released.

  • Raymond Cheng is the engineering lead. He has started multiple projects that are used by millions of people, including co-founding security company Oasis Labs, and creating a networking project that was productionized by Google into Outline.
  • Reuven Gonzales is the senior software engineer. He has been a founder and early engineering hire and a variety of web2 and web3 companies, including Oasis Labs and GainForest.
  • Carl Cervone is the product and community lead. He is a Gitcoin steward, previously co-founded a startup that generates sustainability and transparency data for commodity supply chains, and frequently writes about public goods funding.

Social Credibility

We are still a young project and just launched our Twitter and Substack in November.

Our GitHub is the best place to see our work progress. We had various speaking events Devconnect, including dPact, Funding the Commons, Protocol Labs Summit, and Schelling Point.

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?
  • Are you advancing values of freedom and privacy (no surveillance and handling of personal data)?
  • Are you supporting decentralization in various fields (for example building Web3 projects)?
  • Have you provided social media channels to the extent that we can confirm social proof of your project?

Discord contact

Carl Cervone (@cerv1)

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