This is a proposal for a new type of Hackathon, one that honors the values of decentralization, boosts the collective engagement of all stakeholders — sponsors, hackers, and the wider community — and leverages the wisdom of the crowd in a scalable way to reach consensus: which projects should receive funding.
In the following article, we will explain the benefits of over existing hackathon models, introduce dHack and it’s first implementation at the upcoming ETHBerlin(zwei) this August.
Hackathons are becoming increasingly important to both companies and hackers — a platform for innovation and exposure for the former, and an opportunity for learning, excitement, and funding for the latter. This magic formula causes a burst of creativity as hackers push their limits and create new value over dense nights and weekends. The Ethereum ecosystem has realized this immense potential, and now there are countless community organized Hackathons. ETHGlobal, bitfwd, CryptoChicks are just a few leading the charge.
Currently, there are two common hackathon models.
- Committee centered: A centralized process of a committee who chooses winning teams based on predefined criteria. Judges have little time to review projects in-depth equally, they assess the winners from a short, 3–5 minute pitch, and can be biased by pre-existing relationships, ideals, and past experience.
- Business / enterprise driven: Businesses join together to sponsor the event in exchange for the right to put up bounties for their specific protocol or tech. This dilutes the game in favor of educating developers about the sponsoring business’ tech, watering down the goal of the hackers from building the most incredible working prototype into building something that works on project xyz’s tech in order to woo sponsors and win prizes. This effectively eliminates the creative mojo born out of freely brainstormed ideas under pressure.
Both models are working as intended and they incentivize sponsors to fund and organize such hackathons which would not be possible otherwise. But both present unnecessary compromises and reduce the quality of the competition.
We propose a third model, where the decision making is not by committee, but by hackathon participants, worldwide spectators, and speculators. The goal is better winner curation, reward distribution, and execution beyond the idea stage while incentivizing teams to continue building on their hackathon products.
We believe the blockchain and open-source ecosystems can benefit from decentralized curation of their next great startups, and our ultimate aim is for the dHack to be a novel incubator in this regard.
The Natural Partners — introducing ETHBerlin’s Continuity Fund DAO
Department of Decentralization + ETHBerlin are spearheading innovation in the blockchain and open-source spaces. For ETHBerlinzwei, we would like to support their incredible mission with dHack. Thus, ETHberlin’s Continuity Fund was born.
The Evolution — Incubation and Decentralized decision making
The degree of decentralization in any system encompasses not only its technical architecture but extends to the decision making itself. Today there is a clear need for decentralized decision making, specifically regarding ethereum and Web3 development grants. MetaCartel and 👹 Moloch are a few examples trying to tackle this issue, but still, many teams fall between the cracks and do not receive funding, thus stopping their development.
The idea to facilitate dHack initially started as a way to take a very broad implementation of DAOstack Alchemy, and narrow it down to a specific use-case while capturing a few sources of value:
dHack is an effort to harness the collective decision-making expertise of Berlin Blockchain Week stakeholders. We’ve observed that many DAOs created thus far are plutocratic in nature — the more resources contributed, the more voting power received. With dHack we will try a different governance model. While sponsors do get a share of the Reputation (Voting power), most of the Reputation will go to Berlin Blockchain Week participants.
Continuity and Accountability
We would like to incentivize teams to continue building on top of their hackathon achievements and results while utilizing the community to get feedback and decide fund distribution.
Two issues arise — we either:
- Pay forward: Teams would get paid for their future work as the case is with regular hackathons. This leaves the teams with no economic incentive to continue building, as the reward has already been secured.
- Pay Backwards: Teams would get paid after they’ve completed milestones or achievements, but this poses a risk on the teams, as there is no guarantee they will be compensated for their work.
Our proposed solution is to do a bit of both, that is, to pay the teams forward upon entering the ‘Continuity fund,’ and backward upon hitting certain pre proposed milestones. As they reach these milestones, they can collect more funding.
We will use a DAO, based on DAOstack Alchemy application to decentralize the decision-making process — participants will collect, decide, and distribute the rewards to successful teams. The different stakeholders within the DAO are as follows:
Proposer/Applicant: Competition participants; that is, members, hackers, and teams who apply for the continuity grant. Proposers are those who submit a funding proposal to the dHack.
Predictor: those who participate in the Prediction Challenge, filtering proposals and directing the attention of Reputation holders to proposals they believe the DAO will choose to fund. More on this here.
Reputation Holder: Sponsors, ticket holders, promoters; Reputation Holders are any persons whose Ethereum wallet address contains any amount of Reputation. The more Reputation held the greater one’s voting power.
The following will be the Reputation (voting power) distribution of the DAO:
- 10% for promotional PR — first 50 eligible retweets of why “I should be a judge at ETHBerlin” with an Ethereum address (in order to receive Reputation).
- 30% for ETHBerlin sponsors and fund contributors.
- 60% for Berlin Blockchain week ticket holders and participants — Web3 Summit, DappCon, DAOfest, and ETHBerlin — Reputation will be distributed to attendees of these conferences.
There will be numerous ways to collect and redeem reputation during Blockchain week — Ether.Cards, special events, easter eggs, treasure hunts, DAOstack and DAO affiliate meetups, and many more items that the team at Berlin Blockchain Week and the Department of Decentralization are planning. Additional instructions on how to redeem Reputation distributed through these special events and giveaways will be published in the future.
Frankly, it’s going to be awesome.
In the upcoming weeks, we will follow up on this article and release technical details and explanations on how the dHack works, how to participate, gain reputation, and profit from helping the DAO in its decision making.
Berlin Blockchain Week is a novel and leading gathering in the blockchain space, and this year we’re joining forces to experiment with a new stakeholder-driven decision-making model. We hope for the DAO to live on after the funds have been initially drained, as an ongoing hackathon/incubator. Perhaps, similar to the MolochDAO, large Ethereum stakeholders will decide to contribute funds in order to continue to leverage Berlin’s uniquely innovative collective consciousness to fund more and more projects.
In reality, we don’t know how this will pan out, but doers do not merely discuss their mad plans: they fail more, fail better, and enjoy the journey as it unfolds.
Welcome to dHack!
Got questions? Want answers?
Learn More and Get Involved:
- Join members of the DAOstack team and ecosystem for DAOfest on August 20th during Berlin Blockchain Week. Slots for the event are limited, so RSVP today!
- Developers can dive into the DAO stack with the friendly Hacker’s Kit.
- Join the DAOstack community, or follow on Medium, Twitter, or any of the other channels you’ll find on our website.