PotLock and NEAR Foundation Partner to Accelerate Public Goods Funding (PGF) – NEAR Protocol

PotLock and NEAR Foundation Partner to Accelerate Public Goods Funding (PGF)

March 8, 2024

NEAR Foundation is proud to announce the inaugural launch of Near Public Goods Funding (NEARPGF) together with PotLock, a new quadratic funding (QF) platform on NEAR. NEAR Foundation is allocating $100,000+ in initial funding to pilot funding campaigns conducted through PotLock. This initial contribution aims to empower promising and impactful projects building within the NEAR ecosystem.

Launched in late February, PotLock provides an opportunity for developers and innovators to showcase their projects and for the community to financially support the projects they believe in. By leveraging QF, resources will be allocated more democratically, ensuring projects with widespread community support receive the necessary financial backing to continue building.

The partnership between NEAR Foundation and PotLock will advance innovation across the NEAR ecosystem. From funding open-source developers and AI contributors, to startups in Africa building on NEAR, the goal of the partnership and of NEARPGF more broadly is to catalyze the building of public goods in the NEAR ecosystem.

Through this partnership, NEAR Foundation and PotLock aim to transform public goods funding into a collaborative, community-driven process. This vision reflects a joint commitment to cultivating an ecosystem where innovation, public utility, and equitable opportunities are at the forefront. By demanding greater accountability and measurable impact from funding recipients, while simultaneously providing a platform for fair compensation and recognition of contributions, the NEAR Foundation and PotLock are setting a new standard for public goods funding within the NEAR ecosystem. 

QF Rounds (AKA: “Pots”)

PotLock’s QF rounds focus on specific areas for growth and innovation within the NEAR ecosystem. The verticals for this round include:

  • Africa Round (March 5 – March 24th): Managed by NEAR Africa, this $3,000 round aims to empower communities and startups across Africa. It seeks to drive regional development, attract new donors, and strengthen existing projects with transformative potential.  
  • Retroactive Builders Round (March 18th – April 7): Managed by Build DAO, this $30,000 round rewards builders in the NEAR ecosystem who previously developed open-source projects without compensation. 
  • Open Source Round (April 22 – May 5): Overseen by Banyan Collective, this $22,000 round targets a broad range of open-source projects, aiming to support initiatives that contribute to the public good of the NEAR ecosystem.
    AI Round (April 22 – May 5): Managed by Edge Intelligence, this $45,000 round aims to seed and support strategic open source AI builders and contributors. 

Understanding QF

Quadratic Funding (QF) aims to revolutionize the way projects receive support by emphasizing the importance of community engagement and collective decision-making. Here’s how it accomplishes this:

1. Broadening Participation through Small Contributions: QF encourages participation from all community members by giving significant value to numerous small donations rather than relying solely on a few large ones. This approach diversifies the funding base, allowing a wider array of projects to gain support.xr

2. Enhanced Support with Matching Funds: Donations are not just contributions; they’re leveraged through a matching fund. The unique aspect of QF is the use of a quadratic formula to determine the amount of matching funds a project receives. This formula is designed to ensure that projects with a wider base of community support receive a larger portion of the matching funds, thus rewarding projects that appeal to a broader audience.

3. Preventing Manipulation with Advanced Verification: To maintain the fairness and integrity of the funding process, PotLock utilizes NadaBot, an innovative identity aggregator built on NEAR protocol. NadaBot’s role is essential in verifying the uniqueness of each participant’s identity, effectively countering attempts at Sybil attacks where individuals could try to exert undue influence by creating multiple fake identities.

Through these mechanisms, QF seeks to make the process of supporting public goods and initiatives more democratic, ensuring that funding is distributed in a manner that truly represents the interests and priorities of the community.

NEAR’s Strategic Funding Objectives

The NEAR Foundation’s collaboration with PotLock aims to revitalize the ecosystem and drive innovation through the following objectives:

  • Equitable Compensation: Ensure fair compensation for creators of public goods, focusing on undiscovered or under-resourced contributors to recognize their value within the NEAR ecosystem.
  • Cultivating a Supportive Ecosystem: Foster a culture that recognizes and rewards contributions, reducing dependence on grants and promoting a self-sustaining community spirit.
  • Innovative Funding Framework: Implement a proactive funding approach to stimulate ecosystem dynamism, by exploring novel funding strategies to engage projects across NEAR Social, NEAR Horizon, and DAO tooling.
  • Enhanced Visibility and Community Engagement: Increase awareness and participation in public goods and impact initiatives, driving community engagement and spotlighting meaningful projects within the ecosystem.
  • External Support and Dynamic Sponsorships: Attract external partners to support these initiatives, enriching the ecosystem through diverse partnerships and sponsorships.
  • Community Empowerment: Assist smaller NEAR communities in launching and managing their own funding cycles, ensuring widespread impact across the ecosystem.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of funding allocations and its overall impact on ecosystem growth.

By achieving these objectives, the NEAR Foundation envisions a stronger, more innovative ecosystem where equitable compensation and broad participation drive further development in the Web3 space.

How PotLock Facilitates Funding Rounds

PotLock operates in distinct phases, each essential to the QF cycle:

  • Activation: Once a “Pot” is initiated, participants can donate to a Pot, with their contributions matched by funds from the NEAR Foundation. Donors are recognized on a visual sponsor board.
  • Application and Review: Projects submit applications to participate in the funding round. A designated authority, known as a Chef, reviews these submissions for eligibility and potential impact, selecting which will proceed to the matching phase.
  • Donation and Matching: Approved projects receive direct contributions from verified donors, amplified by the QF model at the round’s close, ensuring widespread fund distribution and community engagement.
  • Payout: After the matching phase, funds are distributed to projects, followed by a cooldown period before the next cycle begins.

PotLock leverages an advanced asset-locking mechanism, allowing funders to securely store their digital assets in vaults protected by smart contracts. This feature is crucial for projects seeking funding, as it assures both security and accessibility of funds. 

PotLock fosters transparency and verifiability by providing real-time insights into fund movements and allocations. This transparency builds trust by ensuring that funds are used ethically and effectively. 

For a detailed understanding of each step and to participate, visit the PotLock’s documentation and tutorial sections.

Getting Involved

To participate in PotLock’s QF rounds, follow these steps:

  1. Project Submission: Submissions are now open! Submit your project on the PotLock platform for the upcoming funding cycle here.
  2. Community Engagement: Stay informed by joining NEAR’s Telegram group for discussions, following updates on Twitter or LinkedIn, and subscribing to the newsletter for the latest information.
  3. Fund Projects: During open funding rounds, verified humans will review projects and contribute to those they believe will positively impact the NEAR ecosystem.

All NEAR community members are invited to engage with NEARPGF by submitting projects to PotLock that can leverage NEAR technology or by contributing to the funding rounds supporting ecosystem growth. Broad engagement and participation are key to identifying the best projects that will drive innovation on NEAR and expand decision-making about resource allocation to a wider pool of NEAR believers.

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