As the blockchain and web3 ecosystems continue to expand, an increasing number of organizations and foundations are stepping forward to offer grants, and provide funding and support to web3 and crypto startups working on groundbreaking projects.
In this blog post, we'll explore the 10 most prominent grant programs in 2023, highlighting their focus areas and how they can benefit ambitious blockchain, crypto, and web3 startups.
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1. Uniswap - Ecosystem Grant
Uniswap is a decentralized exchange platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. Born from grant funding, Uniswap now offers ecosystem grants to projects that contribute to the growth and development of the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. Uniswap's grant program aims to foster innovation and enable new projects to thrive within the DeFi ecosystem.
- Grant information: https://www.uniswapfoundation.org/apply-for-a-grant
- Application process: Submit a proposal via their online form.
- Startup Success Case: Unisocks – A limited edition, dynamically priced token that represents a physical pair of socks. Unisocks pioneered the concept of tokenized physical goods on Uniswap.
2. Gitcoin - Grants Community
Gitcoin is a platform that connects developers with open-source projects in need of funding. Through its Grants Community, Gitcoin enables blockchain and web3 projects to receive funding from a pool of grants contributed by companies, organizations, and the broader community. By leveraging the power of crowdfunding, Gitcoin empowers web3 projects to access the resources they need to succeed.
- Grant information: https://gitcoin.co/grants/
- Application process: Create a grant on the Gitcoin platform and participate in their quarterly matching rounds.
- Startup Success Case: ENS (Ethereum Name Service) – ENS is a decentralized domain name system built on the Ethereum blockchain. It allows users to create human-readable domain names, like "yourname.eth," that can be used as wallet addresses, decentralized websites, and more. ENS received a Gitcoin grant to help fund their development and expand the use of decentralized naming systems.
3. Solana - Ecosystem Grant
The Solana Foundation Grants Program supports projects working on the Solana blockchain ecosystem. In addition to funding, the program offers dedicated technical support, recruiting assistance, and more to help teams bring their innovative ideas to life. Solana's high-performance blockchain is designed to enable scalable and secure decentralized applications, making it an attractive option for web3 startups.
- Grant information: https://solana.com/grants/
- Application process: Complete the online application form, including a project description and timeline.
- Startup Success Case: Mango Markets – A decentralized trading platform built on Solana that offers cross-margin trading and on-chain order books.
Optimism is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum, designed to improve transaction throughput and reduce gas fees. It uses Optimistic Rollups technology to bundle multiple transactions into a single proof, significantly increasing the network's capacity. Optimism has a grant program called "Optimism PBC Grants" that supports projects working on tooling, infrastructure, research, and education related to the Optimism ecosystem.
- Grant information: https://foul-porch-0eb.notion.site/Optimism-Grants-Council-090bb648d1854136b9630c608da7a8bc
- Application process: Complete the online application form
- Startup Success Case: Synthetix - a leading decentralized finance (DeFi) platform that allows users to mint, trade, and manage synthetic assets, integrated with the Optimism network to improve transaction throughput and reduce gas fees. This integration has significantly enhanced the user experience on the Synthetix platform, allowing for faster transactions and lower costs for users while interacting with their synthetic assets.
5. Ethereum - Network Grant
The Ethereum Foundation offers grants to projects working on Ethereum and its ecosystem, including web3 startups. Ethereum's Network Grant program aims to support projects that enhance the platform's scalability, security, and usability. As one of the leading platforms for decentralized applications and smart contracts, Ethereum's grant program is a valuable resource for blockchain and web3 startups.
- Grant information: https://ethereum.org/greeter
- Application process: Monitor Ethereum Foundation's blog and social media for grant rounds and submit a proposal during open rounds.
- Startup Success Case: Gnosis – A prediction market platform built on Ethereum that allows users to trade on the outcomes of future events.
6. Polkadot - Ecosystem Grant
Polkadot is a multi-chain platform that enables the seamless transfer of data and assets across various blockchains. The Web3 Foundation Grants Program, part of Polkadot's ecosystem, offers funding to projects that advance the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems. By supporting a diverse range of projects, Polkadot's grant program contributes to the growth of the web3 ecosystem as a whole.
- Grant information: https://web3.foundation/grants/
- Application process: Submit a proposal through their online form, including project details and milestones.
- Startup Success Case: Acala Network – A decentralized finance hub and stablecoin platform built on the Polkadot network.
7. Filecoin Foundation - Ecosystem Grant
The Filecoin Foundation supports projects that contribute to the development of the Filecoin ecosystem, which includes web3 startups. Filecoin is a decentralized storage network that enables users to rent out their storage space and earn tokens in return. The foundation's grant program aims to foster innovation and support projects that improve the Filecoin network's functionality and accessibility.
- Grant information: https://fil.org/grants
- Application process: Monitor their website and social media channels for open grant rounds, and submit a proposal when the rounds are open. You can also email to email@example.com for more information and grant application details.
- Startup Success Case: Fleek – A platform that makes it easy to build and host websites on the decentralized web using IPFS and Filecoin.
8. Aave Grants DAO - Community-Led Grants
Aave is a decentralized finance protocol that enables users to lend and borrow cryptocurrencies. The Aave Grants DAO is a community-led grants program designed to fund ideas submitted by the Aave protocol's community. This decentralized approach to funding ensures that the projects receiving grants align with the needs and priorities of the Aave community, ultimately benefiting the broader DeFi ecosystem.
- Grant information: https://aavegrants.org/
- Application process: Submit a proposal on the Aave Grants website, including project description and milestones.
- Startup Success Case: Aavegotchi – A DeFi-staked crypto-collectibles game built on Aave that merges decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
9. Polygon - Ecosystem Grant
Polygon is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum that provides a framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. It offers a flexible approach to scaling, including Plasma chains, ZK-Rollups, and Optimistic Rollups. Polygon has a grant program called the "Polygon Ecosystem Grants" that supports projects focusing on infrastructure, tooling, research, and education within the Polygon ecosystem.
- Grant information: https://polygonventures.xyz/ or https://polygon.community/#/
- Application process: Monitor their website and social media channels for grant rounds, and submit a proposal during open rounds. You can also submit an online form on polygonventures.xyz website
- Startup Success Case: QuickSwap - a decentralized exchange built on the Polygon network that offers fast and low-cost trading. It leverages Polygon's Layer 2 scaling solution to provide a more efficient and user-friendly experience compared to traditional Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges.
10. Aptos Foundation
Aptos is a new blockchain protocol designed for scalability, decentralization, and security. It is built on the core concepts of the Ethereum protocol and leverages the innovations of the Eth2 research community. The Aptos Foundation Grant Program supports projects that contribute to the development and growth of the Aptos ecosystem, including tooling, infrastructure, research, and education.
- Grant information: https://aptosfoundation.org/grants
- Application process: To apply for an Aptos grant, fill out the application form on their website, providing details about your project and requested funding.
These top 10 grant providers offer a wide range of opportunities for blockchain and web3 startups. Amongst other grant providers are mStable, Curve, Coreum, Alpha Finance, Pool Together, Maker DAO, Gnosis, Kraken, Bloom Grants (Oasis), Nervos, Nexus Mutual, Avalanche and others. Many of them are covered in the 2nd Part of our blockchain grants overview series.
By understanding the application process and learning from the success stories of other startups in the ecosystem, you can increase your chances of securing funding for your project. Keep in mind that grant requirements and application processes can vary, so always consult each organization's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
In addition to grants, there are other ways to secure funding for your startup, such as raising capital from venture capital (VC) investors. By leveraging InnMind's platform and network, you can explore additional funding opportunities tailored to your project's needs and goals.
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