The Maker Foundation is dedicated to building an ecosystem that not only brings financial stability and transparency to the global economy, but also highlights the vital role that community plays in a decentralized world.
Early in the life of the MakerDAO project, we realized that our community is special. From the outset, our project drew fantastically talented and highly motivated individuals with keen insight into cryptocurrency and finance, and deep interest in our decentralized stablecoin, Dai. In those first days, most were developers and blockchain entrepreneurs. Today, the Maker community also consists of individual crypto enthusiasts, enterprise users, partner organizations, Dai integrators, and others. While all community members have the desire to realize the advantages of stable digital money, many also possess skills valuable to the Foundation and MakerDAO project.
We know that a strong, engaged, and motivated community is critical to the growth of the Maker ecosystem and to the expansion of the DeFi (decentralized finance) movement. So, in 2018, we established the Community Development Program, which includes grant funding for blockchain projects, specifically to incentivize our community members to help us transform the global financial system. In a very short period of time, thanks to the progress made within our industry and the work completed in conjunction with our community, Dai has become a building block for decentralized applications (dapps).
Decentralized Finance and the Role Maker Plays
The DeFi movement offers trustless, interoperable, and transparent protocols that run autonomously, without a central authority. DeFi, therefore, removes the roadblocks of centralized finance (limited accessibility, slow cross-border transactions, lack of personal control, high costs, and distrust), opening up a new world of financial possibilities to all, including to the over 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world.
As of this writing, over 50% of all DeFi projects are built upon Dai, and Maker has just over $480million in total value locked in DeFi projects, according to DeFi Pulse.
The Importance of Community In a Decentralized World
As noted above, a strong, healthy community seeds our ecosystem and fosters the development, promotion, and adoption of decentralized protocols. At the Maker Foundation, we not only recognize the role a healthy community plays in advancing the DeFi movement, but we also actively incentivize the community on various levels.
Community Development aids the Maker Foundation in its task of bootstrapping the Maker Protocol toward complete decentralization. Therefore, the program’s resources are all provided by the Foundation’s reserves.
The Community Development Program By the Numbers
The program provides our community members with access to resources, expertise, and funding. Initiatives such as the Development Grants and Community Meetup Grants programs motivate members to use their skills to build blockchain projects that incorporate the Dai stablecoin, increase Dai adoption, support emerging economies, and much more. And it’s been a great success. Since February 2018, 28 grant applications have been accepted (from 83 submitted).
“Since inception, we've allocated just over 600,000 Dai for development grants, and about 100,000 Dai spread across the rest of our initiatives,” says Richard Brown, Head of Community Development. “For example, through the Community Translations initiative, our community members translate educational content in return for Dai bounties. As of June 2019, these members have translated 35 documents across seven languages, including Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and French.”
Bounties and prizes of Dai are also awarded at hackathons we sponsor. These events help conceive of new use cases for Dai and for DeFi projects at large.
Attention-Getting Projects Funded Through Maker Grants
Here are just three of the many blockchain projects that have launched with the help of Maker community grant funding.
PoolTogether — Targeting the lottery market. According to market research firm IBISWorld, the global sports betting and lottery industry saw revenues of $217 billion in 2018. That’s hardly shocking given that most bettors and lottery players lose the money they wager. But PoolTogether wants to level the playing field, and aims to do so through its no-loss lottery model that allows people to play the odds risk-free using Dai.
The Pooltogether app not only incentivizes people to adopt Dai, but can also become a tool for social good. Winnings could be awarded to charities or even to individuals or start-ups though “fund me”-like campaigns.
Watch this video to learn more:
Sablier—Changing how people get paid. A true helping hand for gig workers, Sablier aims to power continuous payments and disrupt the high-interest payday loan industry. Built on Ethereum and using Dai, Sablier allows people to get paid automatically by the minute, hour, day, upon completing milestones, or on any time basis. It’s an extremely compelling use case for Dai that could provide payment-frustrated contract workers and consultants with the financial freedom they’ve long sought.
Gas Stations Network (GSN)—Removing the onboarding bottleneck. Based on the concept of meta-transactions, GSN places relays between dapp users and the blockchain. Users no longer need ETH to pay for gas to complete a transaction. With a decentralized network of relayers that allow dapp developers to subsidize gas fees, users can experience smooth onboarding. And smooth onboarding means quick, easy adoption.
Blockchain Project Evolution Through Community Grant Funding
To help foster the growth of the Maker ecosystem, we’ve designed a series of frameworks that allows our community members to act on their passions to make the system better. As we grow, as the DeFi movement grows, and as Dai adoption increases around the world, we will continue to embrace the people at our core, learn from them, and evolve with them.
Please join us in our mission to shape the future of commerce on the blockchain. If you have a project that you believe will interest us, visit our Community Development Program portal to learn how we might help.