The Ethereum project seeks to support useful dapps and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, and the goal of the Ethereum Foundation is to empower developers with best-in-class R&D, developer experience, and education.
According to a Wednesday announcement, the Ethereum Foundation has announced the first grants to support dapps and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. A total of 13 projects received more than $2.5 million combined to work on scalability, security, development experiences, user interface study and other derivatives of the ethereum blockchain.
The grants will help the ethereum community better develop distributed applications (dapps) and smart contracts, according to the post. The Foundation also noted the different topics each of the recipients is researching, and said, “we hope that these grants will signal to the community what we think are the missing pieces in the ecosystem that need more support.”
The foundation plans to increase its efforts to support the community to make Ethereum scalable, useful and secure. While the grant program was announced as a strictly scalability focused program two months ago, it decided to broaden the support to projects also addressing usefulness and security.
Teams that win a grant receive non-dilutive funding, technical advice, connections to more users and a platform to share their work on.
Why funding is needed
Scalability, usefulness and security projects have no ICOs or token sales, but simply focus on building useful products and experiences.
Scalability can take the form of deploying sharding, plasma or state channels. It can also take the form of optimizing geth/parity or building alternate clients.
Usefulness takes the form of improving the developer experience or experimenting with new dapps that offer utility to the end user. Improving the developer experience can include static analyzers, linters, development frameworks, mobile SKDs, documentation or Solidity/Vyper development.
Security can take the form of auditing existing contracts to creating tools to eliminate error prone programming patterns to developing alternative second layer languages focusing on security.
New focus: design
The foundation is also starting to engage the design community to address product and UX design problems. Areas in need of improvement for mainstream adoption include key management, Ethereum payments, UX and onboarding flows. The foundation wants to fund design studies and hire designers to connect with teams.
The Ethereum project began with open source developers contributing to the project in their spare time. This has led to a “hackternship” grant for members who propose an impactful side project.
That being said, some of the largest grants went towards scalability research – L4 Research, which earned $1.5 million to work on state channels, while Prysmatic Labs earned $100,000 for work on sharding.