The Merge and beyond: Gitcoin is a gateway to Web3 crowdfunding for climate solutions
by Ben West, Cause Round Lead at Gitcoin
One of the biggest events in the history of cryptocurrency, and what we now call web3, just happened. On the morning of Sept. 15, 2022, the Ethereum blockchain transitioned off “mining” on powerful, energy-intensive, single purpose computers in warehouses by switching the underlying security mechanism for the blockchain. In the process of this change of code, Ethereum energy consumption fell by 99.5%.
This is arguably the single biggest reduction in energy consumption by any industry in modern history. With “The Merge” on September 15th, Ethereum reduced its annual energy consumption and associated emissions by approximately 41 million tons, or the equivalent of Sweden.
To celebrate this historic moment, I invite you to join us in exploring the climate solutions projects currently looking for support in the 15th quarterly Gitcoin Grants Round (we call it “GR15”) which is live from Sept 7th to the 22nd and features over 150 early-stage climate projects from all over the world.
Gitcoin is a project that aims to fund public goods and open source tools for Web3. Gitcoin Grant Rounds have created a powerful crowdfunding tool that allows project developers to share their projects with the broader community for anyone to browse and fund and unlock approximately 3 million dollars in matching funds each quarter. Over the last year, the number of climate-related projects in our climate solutions side round that have been proposed and funded by the community has grown from 26 to over 200 projects. The magic of Gitcoin is the grants on the platform benefit from something called Quadratic Funding which algorithmically apportions matching funds to the projects with the greatest volume of support from community members, effectively harnessing the wisdom of the crowd.
These innovative projects are already using web3 technology to help accelerate climate solutions and unlock the world-changing transition that is necessary. Allow me to share with you how and why this technology can be useful.
“Trustless?” - Removing middlemen
The fundamental characteristic that makes blockchain technology and web3 valuable is that it creates what is called a “trustless” condition. In other words, something that doesn’t need to be trusted because it is verified. It is this combination of decentralisation, game- theory powered incentivization and cryptography that creates conditions that do not require us to trust any third party to exchange things of value.
Bitcoin used these capabilities to start exchanging a form of money, and now Ethereum and other projects expanded the usefulness of “trustlessness” by facilitating applications to be able to run on a blockchain. Now the only limit to what is possible is the imagination of developers and changemakers exploring potential use cases. Some early examples include directly financing renewable energy projects and forest conservation, facilitating local microgrids, or increasing the accountability and efficiency of carbon accounting at the local and international level, as well as the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of carbon offsets. It can also facilitate things like removing middlemen in car sharing and so much more.
Composability and Interoperability
When you talk to developers working on Web3 technology and ask them what they are excited about, very often that conversation centres around composability and interoperability. These are key principles of Web3 which is essentially open source technology being built on public blockchains. This means that instead of reinventing the wheel, projects can learn from each other, grow together and build on top of each other's innovations.
To illustrate the wide array of different use cases for blockchain-enabled solutions, we’ve created some collections of projects based on their use cases from the Gitcoin Grants Round:
Potential Risks to be avoided
At the end of the day cryptocurrency and Web3 are just tools. They can be used for public goods or they can be used to make things worse. Concerns about privacy in a world of open blockchains is a real issue that needs to be addressed. This is part of the reason why Web3 is perhaps better understood as not only a shift in technology, but also as an emerging social movement focused on decentralisation and the empowerment of communities.
The importance of art, storytelling and community
Art, storytelling and community play a fundamental role in shaping our technology and the values of our society. You will also find projects in the Gitcoin grants round to support educational arts and culture projects. At the end of the day no tool is perfect but it can help. Our hope is that Gitcoin can help put better tools in the hands of more people and together we can get to work building a better world.
✍️ The Draw-down
Weekly climate art by our MCJ Artist-in-Residence, Nicole Kelner.
🍿 The Lean Back
Learn about Statiq in the latest Pique Action film.
🎙My Climate Journey Podcast
📉 Jason talked with Matthias Schmelzer about degrowth, ensuring a just transition away from fossil fuels, and what Matthias wants capitalists to hear.
🌱 Cody caught up with Jason Aramburu, CEO and co-founder of Climate Robotics, about biochar’s origins as an indigenous practice, the chemistry of biochar, the Climate Robotics solution, and his company’s business model.
💥 Sign-ups for the next AirMiners Launchpad 8 week program for carbon removal startups are now open! The cut-off for the next cohort is September 30th, 2022. Applicants from underrepresented backgrounds especially encouraged to apply!
❓ Camila Thorndike is participating in an AMA in the MCJ Slack community starting tomorrow 9/21 at 8am PST. Set your reminders, and get your questions ready! If you’re not a member, consider joining or drop your questions for Camila in the comments on this post.
👩💻 Climate Jobs
Stealth quick service restaurant startup is looking for a software Head of Product to help them become the biggest fast-food brand worldwide by 10Xing the customer experience, while using 100% plant-based ingredients.
🗓 September Events
For more climate events, check out the #c-events channel in MCJ Slack.
🤝 MCJ Career Transitions Meetup: Casual monthly event designed to build a network of individuals who can learn from and support each other into their new roles. (9/21)
🇨🇦 Vancouver Climate Social: A casual get-together for climate-minded folks to mingle. (9/21)
🍻 Seattle MCJ x WorkOnClimate Meetup: For folks in the area who want to connect around climate solutions. (9/21)
🧠 MCJ Monthly Idea Jam! This month, our focus is on: Mobility & Transport. Come along, listen, and share your thoughts. (9/23)
💭 If you have feedback or items you’d like to include, feel free to reach out.
🤝 If you’d like to become an MCJ community member, apply today.