At Devfolio, we believe in the power of collaboration to affect positive change. Our ambition extends beyond leveraging economic opportunities for budding talent to make room for an ecosystem aligned with matters of public concern.
We're thrilled to take a step in this direction with ETHForAll — our first hackathon focused on public good and governance in collaboration with the Government of Telangana.
No matter where you are on the global map, you can join a community of passionate builders, industry experts, mentors and advisors to collaborate with and build your passion project. Whether you want to explore the vast arena of public goods or build on ideas that go beyond, ETHforAll comes with no restraints and is the perfect opportunity to test your hypothesis.
We unveiled ETHforAll at our most cherished hackathon of 2022, ETHIndia, with special guests, Jayesh Ranjan — IAS, Telangana State Innovation Cell, Rama Devi Lanka — Head of Emerging Technologies Wing, Govt. of Telangana.
Applications are open. Apply now.
What Are Public Goods?
In economics, a "public good" refers to a resource that is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous, i.e., people can't be barred access, and one person's use doesn't degrade another's. The very ethos that decentralisation bases itself on. The best real-life examples of public goods are air, streetlights, etc.
While decentralised protocols may qualify as public goods per this definition, what we need to initiate in popular discussions are use-cases solving for the same.
To shed light on this theme, we’ll dive deep into how decentralised tech can be leveraged to solve global issues. These include mass coordination problems, public goods funding, negative environmental externalities, market manipulation prevention, data security, privacy and many more!
Why The Emphasis On Public Goods?
“Above all, we will need more public goods and more positive externalities. Star Trek teaches us that humanity’s wondrous inventions do not fully realise their potential until they are freely shared.”
― Manu Saadia, Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek
While much of the media discussion around crypto protocols is about wealth creation and the efficacy of decentralisation, a question arises: how can blockchains serve the greater good? One which goes beyond decentralised finance and truly addresses public goods.
For instance, asymmetric cryptography is a use case of crypto that has seen mass adoption. This entails encrypted messaging becoming the norm across all services and apps, thereby protecting consumers’ privacy. However, other examples of crypto’s positive externalities are yet to scale. That said, we are now witnessing a change in tide with private and public funding showing interest in open-source development within crypto. And with that, we must catch this tailwind to reimagine the future to be more equitable and inclusive for all.
With ETHForAll, a part of our ETHIndia online hackathon series, we aim to spotlight the theme of public goods and address the most pertinent issues in our society. At the hackathon, we look forward to individuals and teams building user-centric products on Ethereum and other public and permission-less blockchains.
As we strive for a world self-governed by machines and powered by code, let’s come together to build an unstoppable vision.
Build a garden where everyone is self-sovereign, where hierarchies don’t exist.
Public Goods: A Path To Decentralisation
Open-source software in Web3 is an example of public goods in Web3. How, you ask? Open-source software creates billions of dollars in economic value every year. But people who make OSS do not have a business model. It is free to use by everyone, and it is impossible to stop someone from using it to build their projects, making it both non-rivalrous and non-excludable, hence a public good.
A16z’s definition, “all decentralised networks are public goods” will help better understand.
The classic challenge of decentralised networks is that they are public goods. Without a central entity to control decisions and capture profits, it is hard to incentivize their maintenance and development. Crypto helps solve this problem through decentralised coordination and economic incentives for development. Web3 will put power in the hands of communities rather than corporations.
While decentralised protocols operate as open networks, do they truly embody public goods if they majorly comprise private capital?
Crypto protocols have unique capabilities: unrestricted membership and participation, open APIs, and transparent allocation of resources and power. But this comes with a caveat. This categorisation of public goods is only in the economic sense. The ‘public’ that these goods serve is a small group of people, primarily those involved in decentralised finance.
While blockchain technology has bigger ambitions of solving mass coordination problems, building post-national forms of sovereignty, and a majestic egalitarian society, it is essential to look into the meaning of ‘public goods’ beyond the economic sense of the word.
Currently, the Web3 space primarily caters to people who own tokens in the community, especially the ones who own a large number of tokens, meaning it is a designated public. It is imperative that the word ‘public’ be thought of expansively. This does not necessarily mean that the entire world must be considered the target audience for the purposes of the good. But it must consider those on the margin — the non-technical members, those who don’t own tokens, or any future participants.
To build a public good in Web3, one must consider all the aspects mentioned above. The value of public goods should be decided not just by those with a significant stake in the network. There must be a healthy discussion and consensus between all the stakeholders. The public should be considered expansively, and even those who do not own tokens, or do not have technical knowledge, should be given due importance. Finally, it is also necessary to consider externalities and longer-term benefits of public goods, not just profit.
Introducing Quadratic Voting
Quadratic voting (QV) is a voting system that allows individuals to express the intensity of their preferences rather than just a simple yes or no vote. This is particularly useful in hackathons with a wide range of proposed ideas, and it’s challenging to determine which ones are the most popular or most important to the group.
We are introducing QV as the primary voting system for the main prizes at the ETHforAll hackathon, and here’s why we’re beyond stoked to do so:
- Supports the development of public goods: QV supports the development of projects in the public goods space which may not have as much funding available through a traditional route.
- Increases participation: Anyone can contribute to QV, regardless of how much financial resources they want to pitch in. This increases participation and ensures the participation of diverse perspectives in the decision-making process.
- Ensures fair distribution of resources: QV helps to ensure that the funding pool is distributed more fairly instead of getting concentrated among a small number of projects or individuals.
If you’re curious to know more about how QV works, we recommend watching this video.
Build On The Idea You Want
While our vision for ETHforAll primarily focuses on building public goods and addressing the most pertinent issues in our society, we want to clarify that there are no restraints on the ideas you can build on. So whether you want to build a finance tracker, an NFT marketplace, or a new public goods funding mechanism, we’ll be delighted to have you join us for this building spree.
Here are more reasons worth highlighting to tell you why you must join:
- Win from a $50K+ bounty pool to continue building on your idea or splurge on a pair of sneakers because you deserve it.
- Have impactful conversations with experts, advisors, mentors and companies who’ve been building in this space and know its ins and outs.
- Put an end to your co-founder search by meeting the crème de la crème of the industry. And if you have conviction in your idea, who knows, you might land yourself a couple of investors.
- Receive and flaunt the cool Devfolio schwag and exclusive hackathon merch.
Start the new year with a bang-on project and know there’ll be no going backwards.
Do you want to come and build?
We are happy to hear that! Please fill out the application form.
If you would like to participate as a mentor or are interested in being a sponsor, please get in touch with us at [email protected].
We look forward to seeing you and building together at ETHforAll!
Stay tuned for more updates and interact with the Devfolio community at:
Until then, Never Stop Building 🛠️