$100k Distributed in zkTech Dedicated Gitcoin Grant Side Round

Susannah Evans
Zero Knowledge Validator
4 min readJan 18, 2022


Statistics in this article taken from the GR12 Finale Event, and contribution distribution spreadsheet

Back in December, ZKValidator led a dedicated Zero Knowledge Tech matched funding round in the twelfth Gitcoin grants round (GR12) with the funding provided alongside 9 other teams — Deversifi, Aleo, Dusk Network, Aztec, Penumbra, Geometry, Scholar contributor DAO, Polygon and 0xParc. The funding pool of $100k was distributed amongst 19 projects with amounts allocated with a quadratic voting mechanism — where the number of contributors bears greater weighting than the amount contributed.


  • The zkTech side round was very popular with 53,523 contributions, 11% of all contributions made through Gitcoin during GR12 yet the round accounted for only 3% of matched funds distributed.
  • Zigzag Exchange and Zeropool were the most popular projects in the round earning 87% of the matched funding. For future rounds we suggest implementing a 25% matching cap for a single project to have a more balanced distribution of funds.
  • We hope to run another improved ZK side round, as this initial instance has demonstrated an appetite in the community for funding zero knowledge based projects.
The distribution of funding contributed by each of the matching partners.

Every Gitcoin funding round shows impressive growth in comparison to the previous round. GR12 was no different with a massive 135% increase in total funds distributed, from $2.6M to $6.1M, a 94% increase in community funding from $1.6M to $3.1M powered by an 11% increase in total contributions, up to 375k. Such growth is a testament to the product-market-fit Gitcoin Grants now exhibits, central to achieving the goal of funding open-source public goods of great benefit to the wider community. Herein we will focus on the impact the ZK Tech side round has on benefiting the wider ZK community.

The distribution of matched funding for the top 10 projects in the ZK Tech side round is shown in the graphic. Immediately it is clear there were two very popular projects in the round — ZigZag Exchange and Zeropool earning almost 87% of the matched funding pool. ZigZag Exchange is a decentralised exchange built on the zksync layer 2 rollup and Zero Pool is a dApp enabling anonymous transactions. ZigZag Exchange was such a popular grant that it even made it into the eighth position of the global top 10 for the GR12 grants round raising a total of $245k in contributions and matching combined.

The matched funds distributed, in green, and the matching funds that would have been distributed if a $25k cap was implemented, in orange.

Interestingly for the GR12 main round, which featured 944 grants this time around, a 2.5% matching cap was put in place to prevent certain projects taking a disproportionate amount of fund matching. This meant that no single grant could take more than $25k in matched funds from the $1M matching pool. 20 grants hit the capping threshold by the end of the round meaning that they earned less matching than without this limit but it resulted in 600–700 grants earning more matching funds. Of these 20 projects, 3 were featured in the ZK Tech side round — ZigZag, Zeropool and zkCREAM. If we applied a similar logic to our own side round using the same cap value resulting in a 25% matching cap, this would mean that $36.5k in matched funding would be redistributed. The results can be seen in the graph below, 17 of the 19 projects in the grants round would benefit from a greater share of the matching pool.

The change in matched funding that would have been distributed to each project if the $25k matched funding limit was applied.

In the ZK Tech side round a total of 53,523 contributions were made, which is 11% of the total contributions made in GR12. It is encouraging to see that projects in the round attracted substantial attention and in a relative sense the ZK Tech round attracted 0.54 contributions per dollar of matched funding, the highest across all of the rounds. This signals that there is a healthy appetite to fund ZK projects as open source public goods.

The total number of contributions made for each round within GR12, in blue and the number of contributions made per dollar of matched funding available in each round, in red.

As this was the first time we ran a dedicated ZK Tech side round, we have used this round as a learning experience for improving subsequent ZK focused grant rounds. With consideration of the outcomes from this round, we suggest some improvements for subsequent rounds, namely:

  1. Implement a cap on the total amount of matched funding a single project can take of 25% of the round.
  2. Increase the funding pool allocated in this side round.
  3. Place a greater emphasis on zero knowledge based infrastructure being funded in the side round.

With these modifications, we hope the next side round will be an even greater success and we can continue to support more extensive adoption of zero knowledge technology in the blockchain space.

To stay up to date with ZKValidator, follow us on twitter or if you have any comments or suggestions reach out directly to susannah@zkvalidator.com