Announcing Gitcoin Labs

R&D for Busy Developers

Three weeks ago, we announced that Independent Ethereum Developer, Austin Griffith was joining Gitcoin as our Director of Research.

Austin has been doing part-time work in the Ethereum ecosystem for several months, producing screencasts of his research on MetaTx’s, EIP 1337 Subscriptions, and, most recently, Burner Wallets.

I am on the working group for EIP 1337, and I got to know Austin through my work with him on the reference client for EIP 1337. During our time working together, I saw that he is the real deal — he BUIDLt the very first mainnet subscriptions product on the blockchain.

We are excited to expand upon Austin’s work in the ecosystem, and to formalize it into Gitcoin Labs, which will be a service that provides Research Reports and Toolkits for Busy Developers.

Gitcoin Labs provides Research Reports and Toolkits for Busy Developers.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for Gitcoin Labs in late 2018 / early 2019.

First, Do No Harm

First and foremost, we are going to continue Austin’s work in the ecosystem. Expect to see more bleeding edge tools coming out of him as his research picks up speed due to him now being full time in the ecosystem. Some things we have on the roadmap:

  • Burner Wallets
  • Universal Logins
  • Counter Factual Instantiation
  • EIP 1337
  • MetaTxs
  • State Channels
  • Plasma
  • Sharding
  • Casper
  • Seamless UX

An Investment in Ethereum’s Competitiveness

Our investment in Gitcoin Labs is also an investment in Ethereum’s competitiveness as a dApp platform.

A lot of people think that since Ethereum is the most decentralized smart contract blockchain, we can win over more end-users to our ecosystem. They also think that, since it’s obvious to us that Ethereum is decentralized and decentralization is important, it’s obvious to end-users too.

I think that’s wrong. I have a thesis that in order for Ethereum to compete with other smart contract platforms, the community will have to focus on usability. The median end user doesn’t care about decentralization unless they see that it provides tangible value for them; they care about ease of use and ROI on their time.

An Investment in Gitcoin

Our investment in Gitcoin Labs is also an investment in Gitcoin.

Gitcoin was once known for being a bounty platform but is now making investments in expanding into other product categories.

We think that the research that Austin is doing is going to:

  1. Inform the product work we do with bleeding edge research.
  2. Lead to partnership opportunities with A-list projects in the space.
  3. Bootstrap a torrent of interesting research bounties on the Gitcoin platform.
  4. Expand upon our repository of 15 tools for the Ethereum ecosystem.
  5. Elevate the Gitcoin brand and community to the next level.

One specific thing I believe Gitcoin Labs can produce is a tool to help busy developers stay abreast of the latest Ethereum research. For example, a cheat sheet of advanced Ethereum concepts with ELI5 explanations next to them.

Advanced concepts like:

  • VDFs
  • Curved bonding
  • Gnosis safe
  • Counterfactual Instantiation
  • MetaTx
  • Plasma

Our Roadmap is Open

If you would like to see Austin’s research roadmap, hop on over to Github and click ‘Star’ on this repo. Got something you want to add? We want to hear from you!

In Conclusion

The founding of Gitcoin Labs is one of the longest-term bets that Gitcoin has made on Ethereum, but it is also one with the highest upside. I am optimistic about this investment’s impact on the future of Gitcoin’s product suite, and also about Ethereum.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this long-term focus would not be possible without the backing of ConsenSys. Thank you to the Mesh for putting us in a position to make this investment! 🙏

Want to Work with Gitcoin Labs?

Gitcoin has an open Principal Engineer position. You can also contribute to these bounties via the links below:

To learn more about Gitcoin, click below. We welcome you on our journey to grow open source while changing the way we work.