A Guide for First-Time Funders, especially those new to web3
Do This First: Get Ready to Donate
Gitcoin Grants offer a novel way to fund startup projects. Quite a few large projects got their start from a Gitcoin grant. We appreciate your interest in participating and hope this guide will help.
Gitcoin uses an innovative, democratic quadratic funding model which favors donations from a lot of small contributors over large amounts from just a few people. To donate to a Gitcoin grant, you will need to have a cryptocurrency wallet such as MetaMask and some tokens to donate. That sounds simple enough but the process to get to that point involves several steps and to the uninitiated can seem overwhelming. This guide is meant to make the steps more straightforward although admittedly it is still a fairly cumbersome process due to the realities of the blockchain that are outside of Gitcoin’s control (but are continually being improved).
There are two parts to this document. Part I is Prepare to Donate, and Part II is How to Donate. You may want to tackle each one individually vs. all at one time:
PART I: PREPARE TO DONATE (FOR NEW-TO-CRYPTO USERS)
Create an account on a centralized crypto exchange
Create a personal cryptocurrency wallet
Transfer cryptocurrency from the centralized exchange to your wallet
Create a Gitcoin account
CREATE AN ACCOUNT: CENTRALIZED CRYPTO EXCHANGE
A centralized exchange is necessary to convert fiat currency such as $USD or €Euro to a cryptocurrency. An alternative to using a centralized exchange to get cryptocurrency is to find a friend who has some cryptocurrency that they are willing to give you or trade for cash.
Several centralized exchanges can be used, but for this example, we’ll use Coinbase, a well-established and trusted exchange that is available in many countries and states around the globe. Creating an account is straightforward although you will need a government-issued ID during the verification process to ensure you are who you say you are. There are multiple steps to the verification process (verifying ID, email, phone number, personal information) so count on a few minutes to complete the process. The verification process typically takes 2-3 minutes unless there is a problem in the confirmation process.
Once you have a Coinbase account you will need to purchase some cryptocurrency that can later be used to fund a Gitcoin grant. Gitcoin allows the use of many different cryptocurrencies. For example, you can purchase DAI for the amount of your contribution (DAI is a stablecoin that’s pegged to $1 USD) along with some ETH to cover the transaction fees (also referred to as “gas fees”). Purchasing DAI + ETH will prepare you to donate using the Standard Checkout (Ethereum Mainnet) which is often the easiest way to contribute(See Part II of this guide).
Once the transaction is approved you might need to wait a few days until your funds are available to be transferred if you are using a linked bank account. You will be notified by email when the funds are available to transfer and you can also view your available balance on your Coinbase account.
CREATE A PERSONAL CRYPTOCURRENCY WALLET
To easily donate cryptocurrency to a Gitcoin grant you will need to get a noncustodial cryptocurrency wallet. There are different options available but for this guide, we will use the popular software cryptocurrency wallet called MetaMask. A cryptocurrency wallet is used to store the public and/or private keys used in cryptocurrency transactions. In other words, it is the platform or interface that can be used to transfer and keep track of cryptocurrency that is stored on a blockchain. The video below provides a good overview of the process to install and use MetaMask.
Note: When you create a MetaMask wallet you will get a secret recovery phrase which is 12 randomly selected words. This phrase is effectively the keys to your wallet so keep it in a safe place and do not share it with anyone. If someone asks for your secret phrase there is a good chance they are up to no good. Because this is a noncustodial wallet, technical support can’t help you recover your password or your seed phrase. If you lose your seed phrase, you can lose access to all of the funds in your wallet with no way to recover them. (It’s also important to know that the recovery phrase is different from the MetaMask password. The password is used to log in to the MetaMask app. You will only use the secret recovery phrase if you lose your password/install another MetaMask app.)
TRANSFER CRYPTOCURRENCY FROM THE CENTRAL EXCHANGE TO YOUR METAMASK WALLET
Once your cryptocurrency (DAI/ETH/MATIC) is available for transfer and you have a MetaMask wallet, you are ready to transfer it from your Coinbase account to your MetaMask wallet.
If you are using MATIC, you will need to add the Polygon network to MetaMask. A step-by-step guide to doing that is available here. Once Polygon is added to MetaMask, you can do the transfer following this guide.
For your first time it is best to transfer a small amount just in case you did something wrong and the transfer doesn’t work. The transfer process isn’t complicated but you need to get it right or you can lose your currency. Depending on how many other transactions are going on it can take a few minutes for the transaction to take place.
CREATE A GITCOIN ACCOUNT
Welcome to the world of crypto! Now you’re ready to put your cryptocurrency to work. To create a Gitcoin account, go to the Gitcoin website and follow the instructions to create an account. You will need a GitHub account but if you don’t have one you can create one as part of the Gitcoin account creation.
PART II: 3 STEPS to DONATING TO GITCOIN GRANTS
After completing the steps above, you are now ready to donate! Head over to the Gitcoin Grants website and sign in. If you don’t have a Github account, you will be prompted to create one.
Once you are signed in, connect your Metamask wallet by clicking on the Metamask Fox icon in the top right-hand corner of your browser and following instructions to connect to the Gitcoin Grants site.
Note: Be aware that if a page you are waiting for isn’t loading, select the Refresh icon at the top left of your screen. You may be stuck in a Catcha Loop and will need to click the “I am not a robot” button to proceed.
Step One: Explore Grants & Add to Your Shopping Cart
Scroll down the Gitcoin Grants website page and view all of the Matching Rounds e.g., Climate Solutions, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Advocacy, etc.
Click on the “View All Grants” button at the top of the page, or on one of the Match Rounds banners such as Climate Solutions.
If you selected the “View All Grants” button, then you will see a page with a “Grant Round” button in the left corner. If you click on this, you can also choose to view the grants in: 1. Main Round, 2. Cause Rounds, or 3. Ecosystem Rounds.
For the sake of this tutorial, let’s say you select the Climate Solutions projects. When you go to the Climate Solutions page, you will see the Matching Partners for this round.
Have fun reading about the projects — there is something for almost every interest and passion — and when you find one you’d like to donate to, click the purple button that says “Add to Cart.” In the top right of your screen, you’ll see a little picture of a cart, and the number of grants you’ve selected.
Step Two: ALLOCATE crypto & experience the magic of Quadratic Funding
Start the checkout process by clicking on the Shopping Cart button in the top right-hand corner of your screen. You will then see a box where you can choose your “Amount/Currency.” We recommend funding using DAI because it has a 1:1 relationship with the dollar i.e., you won’t need a calculator to figure out how much you are donating. You can give the same amount to each of your projects by selecting an amount at the top of the page and then clicking on: “Apply to All,” or you can go down your list and customize the amount for each project.
As you adjust the amount given, you can see the estimated match amount that they will receive, how fun is that?
Note that some projects are in multiple matching rounds and so will receive more matching for each DAI donated.
If you choose to go through each of your grants and add how much you’d like to give to each unique project; you’ll see that the automatic amount is $25 DAI, but you can adjust this lower or higher. This is one of the fun, gamified ways to figure out how much you’d like to give to each project!
One beautiful thing about Gitcoin Grants and QF is you can give even a small amount and it can make a real difference.
Now you are ready to look at the Summary of your funding in the box on the right-hand side of your screen. As shown in the picture above, you’ll see a “Give Back to the Gitcoin Match Pool” box with different percentages.
We encourage everyone to give to the Gitcoin Matching Pool and become a partner in Gitcoin Grants funding (you can adjust this percentage).
Note: The specific amount you will pay is shown as your “Grant Contribution” and the “Total Contribution” amount is your total impact including the estimated match.
Once you are happy with the summary, you are ready to select the purple “I’m Ready to Check Out” button and proceed to the next step.
Step Three: FUND, support & amplify (and sleep better knowing you made a difference in the world)
When you select the purple “I’m Ready to Check Out” box, it will ask you to choose your method of checkout as shown in the image above. There are three different options:
Standard Checkout (Ethereum Mainnet): This is the easiest and most straightforward method with the drawback that gas fees can be high. You will need to have enough DAI in your Metamask Wallet to pay for your donations and enough ETH to cover your gas fees.
Gas fees are the amount of Ether (ETH) required for an Ethereum blockchain network user to conduct a transaction on the network.
Try to find a time when gas fees are lower—this is usually in the evenings and on weekends. Metamask shows you an estimate of the gas fees and will try to get them lower than what it shows. Also, you can use the Advanced Options to set a limit for your gas fees. Learn more about gas fees and how to adjust them here.
It’s less costly and more efficient to donate to multiple projects at one time than to do individual donations at different times.
Polygon Checkout: Polygon is the option for more advanced users. You will need some Matic (Polygon’s token) but then you will pay much lower gas fees than with the Standard Checkout. Also, using the Polygon blockchain is a more energy-efficient way to transact. There are three ways to use the Polygon Checkout:
zkSync Checkout: zkSync uses Ramp Network to easily load DAI directly from a credit card. Ramp is supported throughout the world but not in every jurisdiction. Check here to see if your location is supported. Many prefer the zkSync Checkout option because although there’s a small one-time transaction fee (approximately $8-$10) and after that, the gas fees are low AND it’s easy to buy DAI with your credit card via Ramp Network. Also, using the zkSync checkout is a more energy-efficient way to transact than using the Ethereum Mainnet. Here are the steps for zkSync:
Choose the zkSync checkout option after clicking on the purple button that says: “I’m Ready to Checkout”
Connect your wallet by clicking on “ETH Connect” and then select “Metamask”
You’ll need to click on the “Signature Request” button to approve the Metamask transaction
On the right-hand side of the page, you can buy DAI with a credit card using a third-party service called Ramp. There are two options to select from: 1. The green “Top Up With Ramp” button to add DAI to your wallet, or 2. The green “Buy with Ramp” button to fund the specific amount for your projects. We recommend the former and then you will have more DAI added to your wallet—perhaps to fund even more projects?!
Once you’ve added DAI to your wallet, you can click on the “Complete Payment” on the zkSync Checkout page. Click on the Metamask “Sign” button in the Signature Request pop-up window. This will approve the transaction. You will receive a “Done. Thank you!” message that shows your funding is complete.
Now that you’ve funded your grants, when you return to the Gitcoin Grants page you will see two more optional but important steps:
You can select the “Share on Twitter” button to help amplify the projects you’ve supported.
Make sure you’ve created your Gitcoin Passport. Gitcoin Passport is one of the ways we make sure malicious bot accounts aren't able to take advantage of our matching fund. We let people prove they're human by adding 'stamps' of where their identity can be confirmed such as Twitter, Google, SMS, or Web3 services like ENS, POAP, and BrightID. The more stamps an account has, the more matching funds it can unlock with each donation. To learn more, read this: Introduction to Gitcoin Passport.
Finally, when you make it this far, celebrate! Then take the time to further support your favorite projects by:
Following their Twitter account(s)
Joining their Discord(s) and offering to get involved
Using this link to set up your collection and help others learn about the projects you support: Create a Collection