What’s new with the Stacks Grants Program?
Critical Bounties, Decentralized Mining Pools & More!
Published by Foundation Team on March 21, 2023
Grants are a key building block of the Stacks ecosystem. As the ecosystem grows, we're always looking to ensure the grants program grows along with it to best serve builders and the critical needs of the network.

The further technical clarity generated by the sBTC and Nakamoto whitepapers, as well as the recent sBTC Roadmap produced by the sBTC Working Group is exciting because it allows us to be surgical in applying grant resources toward critical needs over the next several quarters with a clear eye on a successful sBTC launch. To accomplish this, we're planning to heavily focus on Critical Bounties, or RFP-style grants, over the next several quarters to help get the highest priority tools/technologies into the hands of builders and users eager to take advantage of sBTC.

Read on to learn more about the kinds of projects and teams that will be the focus of Critical Bounties and how you can help us further build out the list of ones that are ready for funding.
2+ Years of Stacks Grants
Q3 2020 to Q3 2021
  • $1.07 million in applications received across 87 applications
  • $700k in grants awarded across 50 grants ($14k per)
  • Stacks on Chain, StackerDAOs, LNSwap, ALEX, Ryder, Arkadiko

Q4 2021 to Q4 2022
  • $12.5 million in applications received across 285 applications
  • $4 million in grants awarded across 125 grants ($32k per)
  • MultiSafe, Stacks Degens, Trajan, Droplinked, Alexandria Indexer, Clariform, Liquidium, EcosystemDAO, BitFlow, Web3 Startup Lab, Stacks Labs
What are Critical Bounties?
As previously mentioned, Critical Bounties are RFP or “request for proposal”-style grants focused on an area that is critical to the success of the overall network. Unlike direct grant applications, in which teams request funding for projects that they themselves propose, Critical Bounties solicit teams to build out projects that have already been outlined and deemed valuable to the network by other organizations, entities, or community members.

Critical Bounties are a powerful and effective way for the community to collaborate on identifying the highest priority tools and technologies for the ecosystem. With sBTC and Nakamoto on the horizon, there are numerous infrastructure and core protocol-level building blocks that will need to be put in place before builders and users can fully engage with sBTC. As such, we will be leaning more on Critical Bounties to get the community the resources they need to continue building.
Critical Bounty Case Study: Decentralized Mining Pools
The initial iteration of the Critical Bounty process started in Q4 2022 with a survey that was used to solicit high-impact ideas from the developer community. From this survey, we identified that Decentralized Mining Pools were both a critical need for the continued healthy decentralization of the ecosystem and an activity that would be unlocked by the upcoming Stacks 2.1 upgrade.

Upon converging on this Critical Bounty idea, a team of advisors was assembled to help shape the RFP. These later went on to help review proposals, select the grant recipient, and sit on a working group overseeing the execution of the project, which is still underway. The bounty was awarded to the StacksDegens team.

The Degens were presented with a very challenging problem that will require the development of several chunks of new and novel technology. During the application process, the Degens reached out to the members of the advisory board and other relevant core engineers to ask questions, test their theses, and have holes poked in their technical and business logic prior to submitting their application. The result of this high level engagement was a comprehensive solution that can at once: solve the stated problem, be consumer-ready, and be open-source and ready for other builders to fork and build on.

If you would like to follow along with their progress, please visit their documentation here.
Moving Forward
We’re excited to see how Critical Bounties continue to unlock impactful ideas for the Stacks ecosystem, especially in light of the upcoming Nakamoto release. While direct grant applications will remain open (and applications that align with current priorities will always be considered), the grants Cohort model and review committee will be paused until further notice in order to make more time for the Critical Bounties process.

Although Critical Bounties are more involved than direct grant applications when it comes to researching ecosystem needs, they are one of the best ways galvanize the community around the most important projects (and this often leads to more projects!). That is why we highly encourage all community members to contribute to the Critical Bounties process, regardless of their background.

To suggest a Critical Bounty idea, review or vote on current Critical Bounty ideas, or review the Critical Bounty Case Study documents, please check out the links below!
⚙️ Critical Bounty Process
  1. Gather Critical Bounty Ideas (Open Now: Submit your idea here!)
  2. Idea Selection (Open Now: Review and upvote here!)
  3. Scope Critical Bounty RFPs for High-Priority Ideas
  4. Publish RFP
  5. Award Critical Bounty
Thanks for for being a part the grants program's evolution!

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