Gitcoin Testimonials: Balance

How the future of open source banking is being built using Gitcoin

Published in
6 min readJun 19, 2018


One of the most important things we see that open source can help the blockchain community is improving UX and usability for dApps. One project that is working to improve this is Balance.

We’re thrilled to be in a position to help projects like Balance easily get the developer time & attention they need to make progress on their project.

The Balance project began with the idea of the Balance Manager wallet. Richard Burton and the Balance team realized that the current way we view our token balances could use a little work. It’s also relatively difficult for a novice user to understand these legacy interfaces. This sparked the idea to create the Balance Manager; an easy to use interface where you can view, send, and receive tokens in your Ethereum address.

Balance Manager interface

In addition to making token interaction simple on desktop, the Balance team wants to help bridge the gap between our mobile-centric world and the world of decentralized applications. To do this, they’re currently working on WalletConnect; an open source standard for establishing an encrypted link between distributed applications on the web and mobile wallets.

Around the end of 2017, the Balance team came to a realization. There are tons of new financial protocols sprouting up every day. These protocols take the ideas of the legacy, closed source financial system and are rebuilding them with open source. Noticing this trend, the Balance team has decided to work with some of the fabulous open source financial projects to develop an all-in-one open source banking interface. Some of these integrations include Dharma for loans, 0x protocol for simple and easy token exchange, 1protocol for interest, and Bloom for credit scoring.

Balance and Gitcoin

To date, Balance has been one of the top five funders of Gitcoin bounties. Recently, we caught up with Richard Burton of Balance to discuss his experiences with Gitcoin and how it’s helping them progress the project.

Richard first came across Gitcoin via a Twitter thread. As a small team, the Balance folks were in need of a way to simply connect with and delegate tasks to worthy developers.

Richard: We design our products as a core team in person at the Balance studio. Gitcoin remote engineers have been helpful in completing work on features that our core team does not have the time to work on at the moment.

The Balance + Dharma Integration

Most recently, Richard and the Balance team decided to delegate the task of building out a prototype of the loan feature powered by Dharma protocol. Loans are a key component of legacy banks today and will be essential in the future open source financial system.

Shortly after posting the bounty, Richard connected with bounty hunter Travis Mathis. As a business owner and serial startup developer, Travis typically has a full workload that was getting tough to manage. After discovering Gitcoin, he found that it could be the perfect avenue to alleviate some of these issues.

Travis: I got interested in Gitcoin because of the ability to work autonomously and get paid for committing to open source projects. I’ve been running a business and working at startups for the past decade and I’m just looking to get better control over my work life balance. Being able to sustain my lifestyle on commits would be an amazing change.

In pursuit of maintaining a steady income from open source, Travis was looking for larger Gitcoin bounties. With a value of 6 ETH, one of Gitcoin’s largest bounties to date, the Balance bounty caught Travis’ eye.

Travis: It was a bounty that I felt was priced accordingly. This one, given the scope of the work, seemed sufficiently funded and I felt it was something that could be accomplished in a couple weeks. It seemed like a fun challenge and, I’ve done a lot of React work, so it was right in my zone of expertise.

After chatting briefly on the Github issue, both Richard and Travis decided that it was a good fit for the task at hand. This turned out to be right call as Travis turned the bounty around in just 6 days.

Travis: The experience was great. Balance is a great group to work with and Richard is very flexible and a good person to work for. He also funds and tips very well (and there was an additional tip in the end on top of the already large bounty).

Likewise, Richard was equally content with how the job and experience working with Travis panned out.

Richard: Travis has been incredible. He understands the space, loves the product, and has been great to work with. We now have a working prototype which will hugely inform our new design for Balance Loans.

Dharma Protocol

In addition to speaking with Travis and Richard, we caught up with Brendan Forster of Dharma Protocol. He gave us his take on the integration of Dharma with Balance and the bright future of their partnership.

Brendan: We are really excited to see Balance integrate Dharma into their portfolio manager. Richard tweeted that he’s working to drive out bad debt using good simple, intuitive user interfaces. We think the Balance team has taken a huge step towards that goal.

This integration also demonstrates the ease with which decentralized finance tools can be built using Dharma Protocol — the Balance + Dharma integration was built without Dharma involvement, by a single developer, in less than 2 weeks.

Screenshot of the Balance + Dharma integration

Projects like Balance and Dharma are working tirelessly to #buidl our open source future. At Gitcoin, we’re honored to play a small part in this journey and work with great folks like Richard, Brendan, and Travis.

Inspired by the work you’ve seen here? Pick up a bounty from the Issue Explorer, join us on Slack, or keep up with all things Open Source in the links below.



Analyst at Multicoin Capital || Twitter @bennybitcoins