[CIP] Inauguration of the Cartesi Community Grants Program

The following CIP was posted and approved at Community Grants Program · Issue #35 · cartesi/cips · GitHub

What follows is a memorandum of the CIP for your viewing:

Cartesi Community Grants Program


We propose to start a community-driven Cartesi Grants Program to fund public goods and reusable open-source projects that drive value to the Cartesi ecosystem through community-led development and adoption of the Cartesi technology.

Our proposal is inspired by grant pilot programs that have been previously rolled out by Compound, Uniswap, and Aave.

This initiative is meant to be a simple MVP of a Cartesi Grants Program. If successful, it is our hope that this program will be renewed, refined, and further decentralized over time, with the goal of eventually becoming a fully fledged Cartesi Grants DAO.

Budget and Duration

The proposal recommends a maximum funding cap of $250,000 per quarter, with an initial program duration of two quarters.

If this proposal passes, funding will be denominated in stablecoins from the Cartesi Foundation’s community treasury, deposited in a Cartesi Grants Program multi-sig wallet to be made public upon program funding.

Upon conclusion of the program duration, any amounts remaining in the multi-sig will be returned to the Cartesi Foundation treasury unless a proposal to extend the Grants Program has been implemented.

Grant Council

Grant administration is inherently subjective and, in many cases, requires specialized knowledge to assess the technological viability of applications and ensure that payment milestones are being met.

Given these realities, we propose establishing a Grant Council that has the power to review and administer grants on a discretionary basis, with community ratification sought for grants above a certain funding threshold (as explained further below).

The purpose of the initial Grant Council is to test the hypothesis that a Cartesi Grants Program can prove to be an effective means of delivering value to the Cartesi ecosystem before scaling the program.

Grant Council Members:

  • Erick de Moura: Co-Founder & Core Contributor
  • Colin Steil: Co-Founder & Core Contributor
  • Milton Jonathan: Head of Product
  • Felipe Argento: Core Blockchain Developer
  • Carlo Fragni: Solution Architect Lead
  • Gabriel Barros: Developer Advocate

The Grant Council will function as a 4 of 7 multi-sig of the treasury safe at this address: 0x691f1CbCFede605f9989d7994562c65d83D6F145

In addition, a Grants Program Manager will be appointed to facilitate the proposal process and manage the program.

Grants Program Manager:

  • Joe Nance: Director of Cartesi Labs

Process and Timeline

If approved, the MVP will begin upon funding of the multi-sig and run for a period of six months. Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for the duration of the program. The Grant Council will stop accepting applications two weeks before the end of the MVP Grant Program, in order to evaluate any remaining applications.

A detailed application process will be shared shortly after this proposal passes. In general, Grant Council members will review each application and evaluate its potential value to the Cartesi ecosystem.

Grant applications in the MVP program will follow one of two “tracks” depending on the size of the request:

Rapid Grants ($5,000 USD or less)

  • Applications reviewed by Grant Council only
  • Funding decisions made in Grant Council’s sole discretion
  • Grant Council to publicly announce details of successfully funded rapid grants on Cartesi Discourse Governance Forum

Community Grants (greater than $5,000 USD)

  • All applications posted publicly to the Cartesi Discourse Governance Forum
  • Grant Council conducts review for consistency with Grant Program mandate (explained in further detail below), ecosystem impact, and technological feasibility, which will be deliberated openly in a read-only channel found in Cartesi’s Discord.
    • The Grant Council’s review may include private interviews with grant applicants, the contents of which will be publicly disclosed to the extent necessary to provide insight into the Council’s decision to approve or deny the application
  • Applications that pass Grant Council review will be transferred to Snapshot for community vote
    • Grant Council will provide justification in the Cartesi Discourse Governance Forum for any community grant applications that are not elevated to a Snapshot vote
  • Applications receiving community approval on Snapshot will be funded by the Grant Council (except under exceptional circumstances)
    • Any deviations from the Snapshot vote by the Grant Council must be fully and publicly explained in the Cartesi Discourse Governance Forum

At the end of the MVP program (after all milestone payments are made), the multi-sig holders will ensure that any unspent funds are returned to the community treasury for use at a later time.

Applicant Project Guidelines

The Cartesi Community Grants Program is dedicated to funding projects that promote the sustainable growth of the Cartesi ecosystem, with a primary focus on public goods projects, reusable infrastructure, and reusable DApp components.

Examples of the projects falling under the Community Grants Program’s mandate include:

  • A DAO governance tool running on Cartesi technology
  • An order book that can be integrated into DeFi applications running on Cartesi technology
  • Tooling and convenience layers (such as DApp development frameworks)
  • An aggregator or sequencer for Cartesi Rollups
  • Open-source front ends (such as a wallet UI)

Examples of the types of projects that would likely fall outside of the Community Grants Program’s mandate include:

  • Full scale development of a DApp that implements a profit model (note that open-source back-end logic for such DApps may properly fall within the Grants Program’s mandate depending on ecosystem impact and reusability)
  • A branded or closed-source front-end
  • DApps that do not require Cartesi technology to run or could be better implemented without it

We recognize that some decisions regarding which applications fall within the Grants Program mandate may be subjective in nature. The Grant Council will provide a full and public explanation for any grant applications that are rejected for falling outside of the Grants Program mandate.


We feel that these program parameters are appropriate for a Cartesi Community Grants Program MVP. This program is meant to be an experiment. Upon the MVPs conclusion, it is our hope that the programs successes and shortcomings will be the subject of community review and feedback and that the Cartesi Community Grants Program will be renewed and iterated upon over time.

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In the interest of transparency and eliminating bottlenecks in the CGP, the Grants Council has decided to make the following changes:

Change 1)
The CGP will no longer be accepting applications through the “Rapid Grant” Google Form, regardless of asking amount. Instead, all technical applications for CGP funding will go through the Discourse forum, governance.cartesi.io.

As there is still a demand from the community for funding non-technical proposals (such as for events, developer groups, educational initiatives, etc.), the Developer Advocacy and Growth units may still fund such projects at their own discretion, from within their own units, separate from the purview of the CGP.

The CGP’s focus and what projects it deems acceptable will remain the same- to fund public goods and reusable open-source projects that add value to the Cartesi Ecosystem.

Change 2)
Instead of applicants proposing entire projects with milestones in a “waterfall” fashion, the CGP will enforce a “lean” approach to funding requests. In this manner, the old proposal template has been replaced with one that frames the application in terms of a POC. This new template requires the applicant to propose a POC (not a complete project), with its own budget. The budget is expected to be less than what we’ve seen for full projects since it is a POC, and not a production-ready product. The POC proposal will be accompanied by a “vision” section which acts to sell the community on the POC’s worth, as well as what a “full” version would include, should the POC succeed (i.e. just as if they proposed the project in the format previously, with milestones leading to a production-ready tool or product).

Change 3)
Instead of deliberating in a closed discourse channel, the Grants Council will deliberate on all proposals openly in the governance forum, deciding when/if these POC proposals go to a community vote, and then they are voted for on Snapshot by the community. Thus, there is no longer a notion of a “CGP rapid grant” nor a “private review by the Grants Council”.

The Council and Community will frame their feedback and evaluation in the context of evaluating the proposal as a POC, and make recommendations accordingly. For example, reminding the applicant that they should not be proposing to build the big picture yet, but helping them to find the core aspect of the project that needs to be shown as viable before work can/should begin on other portions, and proposing that central portion instead, along with the amount of money that it needs to be completed.

Supposing an applicant has successfully built, documented, and demoed the POC they proposed, they are paid the grant in-full at completion, and can then propose a more detailed and comprehensive project, to which the POC was central. This proposal will take place in the same manner, but will indicate (and reference) their previously completed POC.

If the POC fails, the applicant is still required to submit a report for why it failed, and details of their efforts. The grants council will then decide on a prorated payment at their own discretion.