More specifically, the following categories were targeted as part of this RFP:
- Educational/training resources covering Tezos (e.g. Kauri, CryptoZombies, etc.)
- Tools for Tezos smart contract development (e.g. smart contract testing tools, smart contract templates, infrastructure, tooling around tez as money, etc.)
- Research of core protocol components
- Applications built using Tezos smart contracts (with a special interest in Decentralized Finance, or “DeFi”)
Below is a detailed overview of each new project that was funded as part of this cohort.
Education and Research
In an effort to facilitate a growing Tezos ecosystem, TF is continuing to invest in education and training programs for developers. This cohort of grants provides funding to two well-regarded Tezos development teams to put together educational programs and content. Additionally, TF has deployed capital to research core components of the protocol. Breakthroughs in research will lead to improved security and better tooling and infrastructure in the long run.
COCTI (Certifiable OCaml Type Inference) by Jacques Garrigue, a professor at the Graduate School of Mathematics of Nagoya University. Throughout this project, Jacques and his team will make OCaml type inference more robust, modular, and verifiable by modularizing the OCaml type checker using constraint-based type inference and certifying it using the Coq proof assistant. Furthermore, the researchers will provide technical courses about Tezos at Nagoya University. This project is significant as the certification of the OCaml type inference is an important building block both directly, by ensuring that programs cannot go wrong at the typing level, and indirectly, as many certification techniques for programs rely on those programs being well-typed.
Tezos Kitchen by Stove Labs: Stove Labs is an active Tezos development team. This project will produce a comprehensive and up-to-date curriculum of content where developers can learn how Tezos can be utilized for a variety of use-cases. Users will be able to learn new and existing concepts via workshops, interact with a Tezos wiki, and play around with templates to deploy smart contracts to the Tezos network.
Tezos Labs by Baking Bad: Baking Bad is an active Tezos development team that builds a variety of Tezos products such as BetterCallDev, a smart contract explorer, and TzKT, an advanced block explorer, indexer, and API. In addition to continuing with its existing projects, the Baking Bad team will create an interactive Tezos developer training program to help onboard more developers to the Tezos ecosystem.
Infrastructure and Tooling
Continued investment in Tezos infrastructure and tooling will enable developers of all backgrounds to successfully build developer and end-user applications on Tezos. Tooling and infrastructure development lowers the barriers to entry for baking, Tezos data analysis, and smart contract migration, and facilitates the creation of more end-user applications for a variety of use-cases (DeFi, tez as internet-money, games and collectibles, etc.).
Anyblock Analytics: Anyblock Analytics is a Germany-based blockchain solutions provider that offers methods, tools, and data to integrate business processes with blockchain technology. The Anyblock Analytics team will add Tezos blockchain data to its public index to be queried by anybody free of charge using Elasticsearch DSL and SQL, making data on the Tezos blockchain more accessible to both developers and end-users.
Coinkit Tipbot by Blockcurators GmbH: Blockcurators GmbH operates CoinKit, an on-chain tipbot that can be used across a variety of platforms such as Twitter, Discord, Slack, and Telegram. This project will integrate Tezos to CoinKit to enable tipping via tez, facilitating the use of tez as money.
Data Hub by Figment Networks: This project integrates Tezos into Figment’s Data Hub to provide developers easier access to Tezos blockchain data without having to run their own nodes. Figment Networks is an active member of the Tezos community via projects such as its Hubble Web 3 explorer and Tezos batch payments tool for bakers.
Enterprise Java Connectivity Toolbox by NEOFACTO: NEOFACTO is an IT consulting company based in Luxembourg, Paris, and Brussels. In order to help make Tezos more accessible to enterprises in the financial services industry, the NEOFACTO team will build an enterprise Java connectivity toolbox for Tezos and ensure that it is prepared to be actively maintained in the future.
Formal Verification Framework for Michelson by Runtime Verification: Runtime Verification designs formal models for high-value application domains, then uses the models to develop domain-specific products and services focused on correctness and security. Building off of its previous Tezos work, Runtime Verification will create a formal verification framework for Michelson by extending its existing unit testing framework to handle the case of symbolic unit tests. This project will help make it easier for developers of all backgrounds to deploy secure Tezos smart contracts.
MIDL.dev: MIDL.dev is a staking services company that is building an open-source suite of Tezos infrastructure tools that will make it easier for community members to implement complete baking infrastructure in a replicable and secure manner. In addition to fostering decentralization, the MIDL.dev team will simplify the steps needed to rollout testnet nodes and also provide Tezos snapshots that are fast to download and updated regularly, lowering the barriers to entry for aspiring Tezos bakers.
Payzos: Payzos is a set of plugins for different e-commerce platforms that lets users set up a Tezos-as-a-payment-method for their online stores. Payzos seeks to make it easier to transact in tez, facilitating the use of tez as money and helping to drive Tezos adoption among retailers and online merchants.
sol2ligo Transpiler by Madfish Solutions: Madfish Solutions is a Ukraine-based company with over 3 years of blockchain development experience. Madfish Solutions builds several products for the Tezos community such as Thanos, a Tezos wallet and browser extension, and QuipuSwap, a decentralized exchange protocol for Tezos-based digital assets. The team also develops sol2ligo, a transpiler to migrate Solidity smart contracts to LIGO, and will continue to improve it to make it more useful for developers migrating to Tezos. The sol2ligo Transpiler will make it easier for developers to migrate smart contracts from Ethereum to Tezos.
Tezos Domains by Agile Ventures: Agile Ventures is an in-house software development team and consultancy group that has worked on a number of projects since 2016, most recently TezosLive.io, a collection of Tezos API endpoints. Following its research phase of Tezos Domains (see its series of Tezos Agora posts here), the Agile Ventures team will implement a functional prototype of a Tezos Domains dApp and smart contracts on a Tezos testnet with a sample wallet integration and a GraphQL endpoint allowing clients to query the data within Tezos Domains with ease. The goal of Tezos Domains is to provide a decentralized name service that allows users to use human-readable names within the Tezos ecosystem like ‘alice.tez’ and map them to machine-readable identifiers such as Tezos addresses.
Tezos Reward Distributor: Tezos Reward Distributor is one of the most widely used baking rewards payout tools for Tezos bakers. It helps bakers to reduce the stress of being a baker by simplifying and automating the task of distributing baking rewards to their delegators. With this grant, the Tezos Reward Distributor team will continue to advance this tool, add new features, and support upcoming Tezos protocol upgrades.
TezQuery by Pierre Genevès: Pierre Genevès is a French developer with expertise in recursive queries and prior experience at IBM Watson Research Center, EPFL, CNRS. Throughout this project, Pierre and his team will build a query engine that evaluates not only SQL queries but also powerful (recursive) queries on the graph structure of the Tezos blockchain, making it possible to conduct more advanced analyses of transactions that take place on Tezos.
Verification and Testing Infrastructure for Tezos Contracts by Hakjoo Oh: Hakjoo Oh is an Associate Professor at the Computer Science department of Korea University. Korea University is one of the nation’s oldest (founded in 1905) and most prominent institutions of higher education. With this grant, Hakjoo and his team will build a fully automated tool for verifying and testing the correctness of Tezos smart contracts.
All of the capital deployment outlined above will help developers build novel products and maximize the potential of the Tezos blockchain. That said, TF knows that there is a clear need to simultaneously fund projects that are building products at the end-user level.
PeerPatron by Guillem Rieu: Guillem Rieu is a Paris-based OCaml and Tezos developer leading the PeerPatron project. PeerPatron is a Tezos-based crowdfunding and patronage platform that uses smart contracts to provide a decentralized alternative to platforms like Patreon. In addition to its work on PeerPatron, the team will release open-source tools such as dapp and smart contract templates, ReasonML libraries, tutorials, and full documentation.
Universities for E-Voting by Electis: Electis is a non-profit organization aiming to promote new usage of technology for democracy and voting, with particular expertise on blockchain and enabling concrete voting projects. This grant will help the Electis team to continue with its Tezos-based e-voting application and support its community of over 20 universities from around the world to contribute to the project.
Hicetnunc by Rafael Lima: Rafael is a Tezos developer based in Brazil. Throughout this project, Rafael will build an application on Tezos geared towards users in the e-sports community that will allow them to take part in crowdfunding and crowdsourcing initiatives by creating campaigns to support goals, events, and championships.
Grantmaking Going Forward
The Tezos ecosystem has grown tremendously since TF kicked-off its ecosystem grants program. As a result, we have seen a significant increase in the number of grant applications with each successive cohort. In addition to the increase in volume, we have also seen an increase in complexity and specificity in terms of grant applications and needs. These changes have tested our grantmaking process and forced us to reevaluate how we go about soliciting and processing proposals.
We are implementing a number of changes to our grantmaking process to be able to better support the acceleration of growth and adoption of Tezos going forward. Specifically, we will release a new grant application and management platform that will remain open indefinitely. Rather than have an application period of 6 weeks followed by a review period, grant proposals will be reviewed and processed on a more frequent basis. This should help to more continuously and efficiently process and fund projects that may benefit the Tezos ecosystem.
Specific wishlist items for grant proposals and technical areas of focus will be published when we launch our new grant application and management platform and open it up for submissions on August 31, 2020. We are confident that by learning from our past experiences and adapting to a changing landscape, we can better support and accelerate the Tezos project in its next phases of growth.