Facilitator: Kitti Borissza, Adoption & Community, TZ Connect
John Newby, Co-director, TZ Connect
📜 Course Description
Taking stock of the Web3 market
Research based on gitcommit shows 18,000 monthly active users in Web3. While that might seem high, it’s important to remember that is a global figure. When you consider how many bakers (validators) there are on all chains, probably 100 of millions, it’s worth keeping the figure above in context.
It’s also useful to note that even when the Web3 network value falls, the number of active users stays relatively flat, indicating developers are not effected so directly by market prices. This is especially interesting nowadays, when we consider the fluctuating market around us.
34,000+ new developers contributed code last year marking it the highest growth in Web3 history, with 65% active developers joining within the last year alone. This means, that the average length of senior development experience in Web3 is just one year. This is a remarkable figure taken on its own, but when considering that there are only 1,000 full-time developers responsible for the smart contracts equalling assets totaling over $100 billion, the comparison is staggering. For this reason, it is no surprise that blockchain salaries are highly competitive.
From Europe, Asia, remote blockchain development compensations, to the US, salaries in blockchain can range from $73k, $67.5k, $124k to $136k respectively. The reality of the market is that there are very few developers to perform a lot of work. This creates a culture where developers are very free to be quite choosy with the projects they select, and there is incredible demand on their availability.
Engaging with hackathons give us an opportunity to source talent within a developer community directly, and to build something for the common good. Of the total number of the estimated 2500 smart contract developers out there, about 10% are available on Gitcoin. We hope to create open-source building blocks that live beyond this fellowship, to build bridges between various industries, and to extend these open-source building blocks out into the broader Web3 and arts & culture ecosystem. This method allows us to find developers who can be interested in contributing to accelerator tracks and small grants programs, or developers who can and are wiling, to continue working on the project kicked off when accepting a bounty.
What does open-source mean?
Open-source can trace its roots back to an academic culture, where sharing information in open collaboration was/is a common practice. A culture of freely sharing information is practiced in development, to build on and utilize software created within an ecosystem. The model of open communication is becoming increasingly popular because people tend to face a similar set of issues. Companies and people have really only a limited set of problems to solve in the world, and outsourcing solutions done through software can be a shared endeavor. An open culture set on solving the same set of problems is ultimately a sustainable, public good. However the model can be limited; precisely because the solution solves similar but varying issues, these tools can be quite generic. If a company wants to brand and integrate tooling, it can take some effort on the part of the integrators.
What is a bounty?
A bounty is a reward for a task or activity performed, and could be described as a trade exchange where a participant offers a service and is granted a reward as compensation. Like the cowboy posting a wanted ‘Dead or Alive’ flyer with the prize money and target listed, an organization sets a bounty and anyone can pick it up, perform the service, and claim the reward. It was brought into a digital sphere through game development. The difference between a bounty and the regular, or typical compensation model meant to remunerate developers, is that the reward implies some level of openness.
It’s relatively uncontroversial to say that no blockchain team has enough resources. Bounties in the blockchain world offer a way for participants to explore the tasks that development teams have no time to solve for, test code and remove bugs, create marketing strategies for finding ways to improve technical infrastructure, and provide localization efforts in article writing and content creation.
Gitcoin as a platform
Bierta Avale from Gitcoin joins this WAC fellowship discussion to give a bit of a background and some visibility to the way the hackathon service provider operates. Gitcoin has ran a total of 95 virtual hackathons worth $13 million, has 31,000+ monthly active users, and grosses $58 million in marketplace value with a total of 2 million transactions. Gitcoin offers three types of bounties, the first is a traditional project model in which one worker contributes and one participant gets paid. This type of bounty is great for sourcing ideas, being creative, and solving bugs or resolving problems via strategy. For this to work well, the participant needs to express interest in creating a good project description. Cooperative project collaboration is the second important feature of this bounty. They can either be worked on without approval, or they may only be kicked off once approval is met. Typically these projects are given guidance around scoping, and a close relationship is formed between the bounty funder and participants.
The second and less common type is a cooperative project in which a cooperative bounty is formed between multiple contributors. Teams are then formed to work on the bounty, and multiple contributors are paid. The third type, and what the WAC fellows will be participating in, is a content project. This model consists of multiple contributors and only one contributor is paid. Here, clear instructions and expectations are scoped, a clear title is given, an explicit description of how the bounties are created, how the prizes are decided, and what the judging process looks like is cohesively described. A bounty description of prizes should be clear. The conditions of how the prize money will be distributed, whether or not there will be categories, and clearly defined objectives should all be given. People put a lot of time and effort into completing the bounty so it serves the community well to respect participation.
Examples of past successful bounties
The first example happened at the height of the NFT boom and received 16 submissions which made it subsequently the most rewarded bounty. This was large in part due to it being written with a very open description which invited participants to engage in exploration on an open platform.
The second example is a more traditional DeFi project and received a total of two submissions. This could be down to the narrow constraints set on the bounty conditions, because ultimately, a very narrow DeFi NFT product was required. The bounty called for the development of a primitive (reusable algorithmic) tool, which performs synthetic asset tracking of the price of the cheapest NFT within a collection. Users can then lock up low-value NFTs in minting, based on these speculations. While it served a very specific use-case, the fact that it failed to inspire many submissions could be down to the fact that the product did not align with the creative culture of hackathon participants.
Or, it could have something to do with its stark contrast in a prizing scheme, as only one prize was distributed to a single team for $7500 XTZ, in comparison with the $40,000 XTZ distributed over three prizes as was the scheme in the first example.
For the WAC Fellowship hackathon, we are all stakeholders and are responsible for distributing $50,000 XTZ in bounties to the builders of the Web3 use-cases in arts & culture. Over the next few sessions we will draft the bounty together, as inspired by your vision through the explorations in the upcoming Futures Literacy Workshop. Each institution decides on 5,000 XTZ in prizes while organizers decide on $10,000 XTZ. The prize distribution for the bounties is open-ended. All institutions and organizers could follow the model from the second bounty example above and place the entire prize value on one bounty. Or, bounties could be created per institution so that the prize offered is $5,000 XTZ (though organizers might put a higher prize on more ‘technically complicated’ projects). Even still, institutions can practice the mechanisms of a DAO by teaming up to create and vote on 4 projects between them, even fractionalizing their vote.
Fortunately we can reach out to a broader ecosystem for support; mentors will be available for builders, Marigold will offer smart contract development assistance, and we are mobilizing all communication channels to promote the hackathons and will be hosting a public twitter space group weekly, after the hackathon kicks off. Institutions can support by inviting developers on their team to the twitter space, and send out a press release if you haven’t already!
Once submissions are in Encode will launch an accelerator program, which will be open to projects coming out of the WAC Fellowship hackathon. The accelerator offers the possibility of a grant or investment from the ecosystem. The program will focus primarily on product development; over 8 weeks, 10 teams will deepen their knowledge in rapid prototyping, marketing, fundraising, and could potentially receive a grant from the Tezos Foundation to continue working.
Who is invited to join the hackathon?
While it will be up to individuals to decide if and how they can meaningfully contribute to a bounty, we do encourage everyone to join. Because this hackathon will run for multiple weeks, we expect participants can take space to learn on the job. As we will be developing more complicated software, these projects will inevitably require various levels of expertise and skill sets. Teams can play a bit of matchmaking and networking, for example by finding someone to write the web applications, another to do design, while a third works on the backend. Furthermore, bounties are not limited to smart contract projects. Teams can also work on no-code or lo-fi wireframes and deliver a clear proposal of a user-friendly dApp. Delivering a clear, and explicit description of the project and its expectations will better bridge the gap for hackathon participants, and make the objectives digestible for developers to solve. In drafting your bounty, you are encouraged to take ideas and challenge them, and see what emerges as a project idea.