Ecosystem Fund Overview and Snapshot
In my last article, The Common Good, I laid out my thoughts on the potential for ecosystem funds and grant programs to make a measurable difference in driving access and innovation in the crypto/Web3 (whatever we call it) space.
In this article I will dive a bit into my work thus far, lessons learned from the road and a view into The Harmony Foundation and their corresponding ecosystem fund and grants programs.
Harmony is an open and fast blockchain built using the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compute model. It touts super fast transactions along with low transaction costs relative to some other chains.
In addition to the base protocol layer Harmony also touts themselves as a strong Layer 2 scaling on Ethereum. This is becoming a bit of a crowded space as more and more projects vie for a juicy piece of the pie that is the white hot decentralized finance ecosystem. Harmony can connect with Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake chains. Their FlyClient architecture touts being fully trustless and efficient with gas compared to other solutions.
You can find a pretty extensive write up on Harmony that was done in Oct ‘21 by Rasheed Saleuddin from Messari that will give you far more information than I can provide here if you want to dive deeper into those kinds of details.
For the purposes of this article let’s move on to the main event and my review of the Ecosystem Fund and their incentive program.
Harmony seems to be $ONE of the more mature ecosystem funds I have encountered in terms of its structure, transparency and overall community engagement since starting my research.
Harmony announced their $300M+ ecosystem fund back in September of 2021 (seems like so long ago, I know anon) with a really well done Notion Site explaining the program structure, areas of focus and how to participate. Their CEO, Stephen Tse, discusses his vision for the program a bit in the thread below:
The Notion Site is a bit dated and hasn’t been updated much since the initial launch but you can see quite a bit of activity in the Harmony Forums related to governance and funding of proposals.
At its core the ecosystem program is focused on driving investment across 7 key areas with specific amounts and allocation quantities assigned to each. The program has high weighted funding for the first year of ~$180M and then looks to sustain with ~$200M from treasury reserves for years 2-4 for a total of ~$380M allocated to be distributed over a four year time span.
In terms of governance the foundation has established some guidelines based on the chosen track a would be sovereign individual may want to take. Per the response I received from my post on their forum this is how governance works today for the program:
“Provided the proposal meets the criteria, the proposal is then reviewed by a grants committee. The committee is made up of Harmony core team members and community contributors. The committee also relies on feedback from the broader community who can participate from the Harmony public forum, where proposals are posted.”
This process will be further decentralized shortly via the Launch DAO, moving the governance over to the community.”
Funding from the ecosystem program is paid out via $ONE with funds being sent from the Harmony Foundation’s wallet to the grantee’s multisig wallet. Having a 5 out of 9 multisig wallet is a requirement for funds to be distributed and all transaction details are posted on the proposal post publicly. You can check the recipients, amounts and stage of the process the funding proposal is in at an Airtable site that Harmony shares out. I found it an interesting document to explore, some brief observations:
As of writing close to $37M of the $300M+ fund has been approved or funded. Here’s a snapshot for you of the top projects that all have either been approved or funded for $1M or more:
The projects are divided up into these categories (definitions linked below.) I took some time to break down the numbers a bit on each as well to give you an idea of what they are looking like across the categories at time of writing:
18 Projects for ~$1.7M
MAI and Synapse (a personal fav of Sov’s) plus Warena funded for top spots with $250K each.
Average of ~$94K per project with some in the $10-$20K range for funding. All sitting in approved or funded status.
31 investments at ~$7.75M total in funding
Harmony/StakeDAO and Project X at EthDenver showing for $1M. Not sure why these wouldn’t fall into partnerships/launch or hackathon.
Average of ~$250K per project with some on lower end in the $10K-$25K range.
The largest category by a wide margin. 130 proposals for a whopping
~$13.2M in funding.
AAVE taking home top spot for their launch on Harmony. $5M committed and sitting in approved status.
Curve taking down an honorable 2nd spot with $2M in funding for their launch on Harmony.
Outside the top two all others were ~$100K or less. Average size was $101K and all of them sitting in various stages of approval and review.
38 DAO proposals for a total of ~$6.2M
Blu3, Sustainable Development DAO, and zkDAO taking down $1M
Average of ~$178K per with some on the lower end hitting $35-$50K. All but a few sitting in funded status.
6 Hackathons for $360K funded
Dystopia Labs took the top spot for $250K
Average ~$60K spent per hackathon. All in approved or funded status.
15 Partners funded for ~$6.5M
Bringing Abracadabra Money into Harmony took the top spot with $2M in funding back in NOV ‘21 (again, seems like so long ago.)
Everyone’s favorite DFK was in the mix with a cool $1M
Average across the 15 was ~$466K with some on the lower end receiving $50K-$100K in funding. All in approved or funded status.
21 Projects funded for
Top spot goes to Harmony<>Cosmos Bridge in taking down $95K. This project focuses on building a bridge between Harmony and Tendermint based ledgers using the IBC. Probably nothing.
Amounts varied pretty widely across the bounties. Average was around ~$37K with all of them in approved status.
17 Events for ~$323K
Most events seem to be happening in 2022 with more than half happening in just the last month.
All events in approved/funded status
Most events were $12K or less. ETHRio/World Summit/DreamerDAO all approved for $50K. Also a developer bootcamp in Sierra Leone with Princess Sarah Culberson that was an interesting find.
Project Y (no definition)
7 Projects total for $60K
All in Approved Status (recently approved - 3/28/22)
All requests seem to be for the same amount - $10K
I will mention I did find a few in the mix that seemed to me incorrectly categorized so just keep in mind that the totals I list below is purely based on the categories that are listed in the sheet, just keeping it real with ya fam.
I also took a bit of of time to break down the category amounts in Notion and posted them to my site, The Common Good, where all of my research related to this project is being kept. You can see below the totals and how the foundation is currently tracking against the original goals that were established (pictured above from their Harmony Notion Site) when the ecosystem fund launched:
Finding The Information
I did have to do some digging to find this information and bounced around a little bit between their main Telegram and Discord before being directed to join a Grants Telegram Group that is focused on answering questions and helping with any questions on the process. All in all I found the Harmony Community Team very accommodating in answering questions and genuinely trying to help.
As I move forward with my research I think it will be important I document not just the metrics themselves but how open and transparent the different funds are. From my perspective, Harmony did a good job here and they pretty transparent system for tracking the information if you are a guy like me that obviously needs better hobbies.
How to Apply
If you might be interested in applying you can hit the tweet below for more details. If questions arise during that process make sure to check out the Telegram Channel I mentioned earlier and they can help.
The Road Ahead 🛣️
As I started my research I started to review the list of incentives programs and grants in my compendium that have been gathered over time and build a backlog of those that I would like to learn more about on The Common Good site that I set up.
In this list there were a few major incentive programs that jumped out at me as they had advertised pretty large sums upon the launch of the program (circa ‘21 and early ‘22) so I naturally thought finding information regarding these would be a bit easier than I ended up encountering. I won’t name these programs that continue evading my simple questions (for now) but I have to say it’s a bit concerning that you are advertising 9 figure sums of money to grow your little slice of heaven yet don’t really want to provide much details on the governance, distribution or overall oversight of these funds.
I will do the best I can to eventually find metrics to report. Just don’t be surprised if some of the ecosystem programs you would think I should be evaluating don’t appear here anytime soon…
With that being said, I am gathering information from a couple more funds and will be back in the days ahead with another update from the road to share what I have learned.
You can always check out my research as I compile it at The Common Good or head by Sov’s Compendium anytime you are in need of information sauces, useful tools and research that might help on your journey towards sovereignty.