Why Web3 Is Scaling Better, According to Gitcoin Founder Kevin Owocki
Web3's only funding doesn't need to come from VCs — and that's a good thing, says Gitcoin founder Kevin Owocki
By: Zack Guzman
October 19, 2023
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Before Gitcoin founder Kevin Owocki had built one of Web3's most beloved crowdfunding platforms, he had five failed crypto side projects on his hands in 2016.
The next year, a novel idea of growing the industry hit him that came to evolve into one of the leading funding alternatives for Web3 projects tackling all kinds of issues — from global warming, to financial inclusion.
There is, after all, no government in crypto to provide funding for the public benefit, and instead of public goods projects getting turned down by venture funding, what if they could be funded by all the people who might stand to benefit? Enter Gitcoin.
"If we can use crypto mechanisms to pay people in crypto for working on crypto, there's a flywheel there. And after a lot of iteration and trying a lot of stuff, we landed on Gitcoin grants as our primary product, and we've done over $50 million worth of funding on the platform over the last several years," Owocki said in a new Coinage interview (above) from the sidelines of the Messari Mainnet conference.
In total, Gitcoin has now helped distribute more than $50 million dollars to projects via its platform, where founders and funders come together. Gitcoin grants are channeled to projects that attract more unique donors in order to optimize for projects that would seemingly do the most good.
As Gitcoin has grown, Owocki jokes he'd be a billionaire in the social capital he's unlocked by creating a platform to spread possibility and funding around in Web3.
"We're at a point in which almost every major project in the ecosystem we funded in some way," he said. "And so it's just really neat to come to Mainnet or to go to an ETH Global event and to have someone that I've never met before come up to me and say, 'Hey, Gitcoin changed my life.'"
As a founder himself, Owocki has spent years building in Web3, and took about a year away from Gitcoin before recently returning to help scale the project further. Gitcoin is a DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization, and Owocki is working on a literal book to help others think through transitioning to that structure. As a DAO founder myself, I asked him about what he tells others when they ask about why Gitcoin should be a DAO, and why permissionless funding isn't something to be feared.
"I think what we don't want to do is create the old world of intermediaries and central power brokers that get to decide what's good and what's not," he said. "I think there's a lot of problems in traditional finance where the regulatory agencies get captured by the people that they regulate, or the intermediaries that rate different financial instruments, get captured by the people who pay them to do that."
For more on how Owocki sees Web3 growing over the next cycle, what he's most excited by, and how we mistakenly sold all his ETH to buy a mountain bike, Coinage members can watch our full interview above.
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