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ECF Network

ECF, a tale told

By October 31, 2019March 1st, 2021288 Comments

Roadmap and TLDR

The Ethereum Community Fund, ECF, Ethereum Community Fund, is a non-profit initiative founded by, comprised of, and operated for the community.

ECF was conceptualised at devcon3 in 2017, initiated in February 2018, officially launched (link to blog post) by the funding members MakerDAO, Status, Web3 Foundation, Cosmos, Omisego and Golem, in March 2018 in Tokyo, under the advisor-ship of Ethereum Foundation.

  • 2018 – ECF: grant distribution program

  • 2019 – ECF Network: a coordination program and an open network of funds

  • 2020 – ECF + EveryoneCanFund: decentralised public, open, direct funding platform (under development)


In the year 2018, ECF conducted a trial run as a centralized grant distribution program. Despite the difficulty of coordinating across the groups’ wildly varying interests, ECF was warmly welcomed by the community and kicked off many great projects adding to our ecosystem. Among them, there are non-profit infrastructure projects, educational programs, and even events. Initial funding was provided by the founding members (see donation leader board on home page), a group of projects wanting to provide benefit to the ecosystem more broadly than they were able to do on their own.


Without the contribution from all the participants involved, ECF would not have been able to pull off one of the first grant programs our community needed at the time.

Nevertheless, ECF was facing all the challenges a distributed and decentralised organisation in our industry has been tackling, only it was scaled up to 7 more organisations involved, among which: enormous communication cost, vacancy in leadership and a consensual governance structure, and funding drought were contributing to the development of all the aspects of ECF from low to high level, in its operation of grant roll-out speed, and welcoming in new members.

Members and advisors of ECF came together for intensive long weeks of discussion to finally have reached a better-defined mission of ECF, and by which, ECF needs to be designed in a way that does not have to need to set in stones by lawyers and bylaws beforehand, in that it can be flexible, nimble, responsive and adaptive to the needs of the community.


The challenges we were facing were going to be only larger with more stalling. In the spirit of “If we might stumble, we’d rather choose to fall instead.”, a vote was proposed and passed on moving ECF to ECF Network, wherein,

  1. No funds from members need to be put into ECF to distribute, and as a trial of the network of funds, members get notices on grantee candidates, and fund or grant them directly.

  2. Everyone, every player in the ecosystem should enjoy the option to contribute and participate

  3. Projects of all natures needed in the ecosystem should be getting funding and support equally

  4. Minimal donation only needs to go to ECF for financing its operation, and separate from the funds allocated from each member to grant and invest in projects they’d like to see happen.

Losing control of funds seem a great deal of loss of power to some people, but it was liberation from the heavy obligation to justify ECF’s choice of allocation of funds by allowing members to choose freely whether they see the projects fit.


ECF Network has officially launched again with a letter to the community from the Executive Director of ECF with her plan. ECF again since then had been receiving wonderful projects with a bigger range of scope. And ECF started its second run mostly by volunteers in the community to interview, review, advise and connect projects to the right collaborators.

The efficiency of the human relay model was noticeably low. We are challenged in finding the responsive funds to finance our spotted brilliant projects, and this has been nothing but frustrating, to not be able to provide support to what you care about. We learned a great deal by talking with people who have experience or simply just want to jump into this new industry to build something. We began to seriously consider financing an open platform’s development to open up the funding end furthermore from members and funds in the network, to EVERYONE.


With a continuous influx of grant applications where project quality varies greatly along with the feasibility of helping a project. ECF needs a solution that scales to handle the volume of projects seeking support while auto-filtering projects based on feasibility and other realities by public participation. We went back to visit the most ideal option proposed during the discussion of ECF’s path in the last quarter of 2018, an automated platform that allows non-filtering participation, and ultimately achieved

We sat down with Status and Aragon, with the shared belief that the vision for ethereum community has always been to take back the web, to create the technologies that enable the decentralised Internet and not be subjugated by the existing control structures. We are to make applications that are unstoppable. Much of the job remains unfinished. Internet applications also require storage and messaging, along with other utilities like identity and governance. We propose to bring the necessary technologies together through a sustainable funding mechanism that will incentivise targeted development towards these goals.

#takebacktheweb, as a movement and a community initiative on ECF’s EveroneCanFund direct funding platform to enable ECF to onboard decetralised applications onto a DAO infrastructure developed by Aragon and accelerate them with Status’ embark team’s incubation as one of the first batches of the projects we would like to see funded. Then over time develop the platform to be for direct funding of all-purposed by integrating with all the technologies built by our community.