IPFS Grants Platform

by Arkadiy Kukarkin, Molly Mackinlay on 2020-04-20

If you’ve spent time in the Web3 ecosystem, you’ve probably come across work that was supported by an IPFS ecosystem development grant. The ENS integration work funded in 2019 established a de facto standard for decentralized website hosting. A 2018 grant to Peergos to build a new scalable capabilities system helped define an exemplar for distributed access controls for mutable data. And a shared grant with NearForm helped implement Node.js support for the new QUIC protocol. These grants help support and accelerate the ecosystem of developers building on IPFS, and contribute to our mission to create a resilient, upgradeable, open network to preserve and grow humanity’s knowledge.

Motivation

As with every growing ecosystem, there’s a lot to be done to make IPFS successful. Last June, we gathered with the rest of the community at IPFS Camp, where the variety and vitality of the projects building in this space was exemplified in the SciFi fair, showcasing projects from Brave, Metamask, Textile, Berty, and more. Spending time with this thriving ecosystem (while immensely inspiring), also clarified the demand for more IPFS tooling: the functionality, features, and integrations outside the core IPFS protocol to help accelerate development by many projects across the community.

The newly updated IPFS Grant Platform aims to support exactly this need—helping the community coordinate and fund production of high-leverage tooling to grow IPFS adoption and usability. We call it the IPFS Grant Platform, because it’s intended to bring together community members at every stage of the grant-making and grant-writing process. Anyone can propose new RFPs or bounties for features and enhancements they’d like to see, and the process of refining and selecting grant recipients happens transparently in the open. Multiple organizations can even fund grants together!

Q1 Soft Launch

We soft launched this updated Grants Platform in Q1, with a quarterly focus on empowering the community to meet shared needs. This broad goal led to a wide range of projects in this cohort: from a microadoption grant to NYCMesh for integrating dweb technlogies in support of local services, to a bounty for adding metadata support to Unixfs needed by package managers to speed up updating large mirrors, to an ambitious new IPFS implementation in Rust that will benefit many projects using IPFS in resource-constrained environments.

Launch and Q2 Focus

This batch has already borne fruit, including half a dozen completed bounties, the beginnings of a Rust IPFS implementation, new user research into IPFS on mobile, and more! Therefore, we’re excited to officially launch the IPFS Grants Platform! Hop over to the repo to learn more. We’ll be following up soon with an IPFS Grants Guide here on the blog, including a deep dive into the different grant types and how to participate.

Unfortunately, spinning up this Grants Platform also happened to coincide with the spread of the worst pandemic this century. Therefore, we’re making the Q2 Quarterly Focus COVID-19 relief to help the many projects and tools working to contain the spread and impact of this disease. This means proposals like making COVID-19 related datasets more durable and available, enabling local community support networks, empowering remote work during quarantine, and so on, will be given first consideration.

Acknowledgements

We couldn’t have put this program together without your support and guidance:

But most importantly, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Q1 cohort and helped us dial in the proposal and application flow for the IPFS Grants Platform. Thanks for helping accelerate the IPFS Project and ecosystem!

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