Tyler van der Hoeven
The previous round of the SCF was a real win: it provided support to 8 great Stellar-based projects, and we are excited to see how they leverage their success to continue to evolve and grow.
When that round wrapped, we took a bit of time to collect feedback from the community, shared a tentative proposal for some tweaks to the process, and then opened the floor for a 3-week discussion period of that proposal on Discord. Based on that discussion, we put together a final SCF structure for the remainder of 2021, which you can check out below.
In general, we plan to continue to take a similar approach to future rounds of the SCF — we will gather feedback, try new things, and optimize the process to try to meet the needs of the Stellar community — and we encourage anyone interested to participate in the discussion. We want to make sure we effectively distribute the remaining SCF allocation for 2021, so the process will likely be similar for the next two rounds, but we will pause again and revisit it at the beginning of 2022.
The next SCF of 2021 will open for submissions at https://communityfund.stellar.org on June 28 and run through the middle of September. In this first round, we will aim to distribute 4M of the remaining 7M XLM fund.
The final SCF of 2021 will open for submissions in the first full week of October, and run through the middle of December and. In this second round, we will aim to distribute 3M + any carry over from the June-September round.
We're opting for a smaller amount for the second fund because it runs concurrent to the holidays, and we want to alleviate some submission burdens and run it on a slightly accelerated schedule to ensure it closes before Christmas.
There was a lot of discussion about incorporating budgets into the SCF, and several suggestions about how best to do it. We opted to start simple: entrants will self-select their project budgets, just as they pick their own features and third-party services. To make requests easier to reason about, projects will denominate their budgets in USD, and the final payouts will be in the equivalent amount of XLM. If that approach doesn't work, we can introduce more complexity based on whatever issues we discover. But starting simple seems like the best way to get the ball rolling and gather more information before attempting to fine-tune things.
Voting will take place on https://communityfund.stellar.org. It will take the form of a simple yes vote for a proposal + budget.
Once the votes are in, we will order projects from highest number of votes to lowest. We'll start from the top, fully fund the first project with the XLM equivalent of its USD request, then the second, then the third, and so on. We'll keep going until we run out of XLM, run out of projects to fund, or are unable to fully fund the next project in the vote-sorted list. Any leftover XLM will roll over into the next round of SCF.
In addition to a simple “yes” or “skip” vote, voters will rank their top three projects from their “yes” list. These rankings will only come into play if there are ties at the end of the allocation process and there isn't enough left in the prize pool to award to all the tied projects. For example, if 5 projects receive 10 “yes” votes and there's not enough left in the pool to match all 5 budgets, the projects will be ordered by their total ranking score. If there are still ties after ordering by ranking score, we will break them by ordering projects low to high by requested budget. The lowest will get paid first. If there are still ties after ordering by budget, we will break them by ordering projects by submission date. Earlier submissions will get paid first.
For now, the SDF ecosystem team will manually select panelists from within the Discord community. Panelists will be required to prove their identity and demonstrate long-standing interest in the Stellar ecosystem. In the future, existing panelists will be given the right to elect new members. The panelist pool will be relatively small for the remainder of this year while we identify the appropriate structure and governance, but if all goes well, it will grow as the SCF continues to evolve and gain momentum.
As always, the Stellar Community Fund is an open-application program, and we encourage anyone building on Stellar to apply! It's a great opportunity to get feedback, to engage the vibrant community of Stellar developers and enthusiasts, and to win grants to kickstart your project. Applications open June 28, 2021 on https://communityfund.stellar.org. We can't wait to see what you build!