NEAR Development Collective (NDC) for the Ukraine Humanitarian Round

Howdy here, posting this on behalf of David Casey, Exec Director of Funding the Commons due to link restrictions for new users on the forum.


  • Funding the Commons, is currently running a Ukrainian Refugee impact program and would like to run a quadratic funding round
  • They are requesting $50,000 worth of NEAR, in which they will provide 25% of funding themselves (all money to go towards the pot)
  • They will be rallying sponsors for this program as well as media attention
  • This is first NGO campaign of this size on NEAR and through Potlock


Hello NEAR Digital Collective,

We at Funding the Commons are thrilled to present our initiative - The International Refugee Solidarity Fund (IRSF) - to the Near Digital Collective (NDC) for grant consideration. Our mission aligns with NDC’s core values, emphasizing empowerment, transparency, and decentralization. Through this application, we aim to harness the power of quadratic funding to offer humanitarian support to displaced individuals in Ukraine, while pioneering new real-world use cases for the NEAR blockchain and Potlock. By mobilizing the international donor communities of 7-10 hand-selected Ukraine-based humanitarian organizations with proven records of both fundraising capability and on-the-ground impact, we aim to drive web2-based donors and funding networks towards Potlock and NEAR through quadratic matching incentives, while driving user adoption and awareness on the ground in Ukraine, introducing quadratic funding to Ukrainian communities as a web3-based alternative to successful crowdfunding technologies like Monobank’s Jar.

Project Overview:

The IRSF Ukraine pilot seeks to deploy NEAR based public goods funding infrastructure for humanitarian aid, crypto education, and to create income-generating opportunities for Ukrainian displaced persons. The IRSF if focused on prototyping blockchain-based public goods funding infrastructure (and specifically Potlock) applied to real-world public goods use cases. Currently, we are underway with a pilot training Ukrainian teachers how to use crypto and developing a basic curriculum in Ukrainian language. The teachers will be sharing this knowledge with their communities.


  • Kick off Applications at Funding the Commons (April 13-14) [Program has started]
  • Matching Round live [3 weeks] - 3 weeks after money is in the Pot

Impact Goals:

Our primary objective is to make a tangible impact on the lives of those affected by the conflict in Ukraine. By integrating NEAR’s technology, we aim to provide:

  • Direct humanitarian aid.
  • Crypto education to facilitate access to a basic income through micro-work.
  • Introduce NEAR + Potlock to Ukrainian communities and aid networks for future community-driven funding rounds.
  • Generate positive stories on the ground about the impact that was funded through Potlock, which can be broadcasted across the web3 ecosystem

Alignment with NDC V1 Priorities:

Our project directly supports NDC V1’s focus areas by:

  • Expanding the adoption of NEAR by both funders and recipients through practical, real-world use cases.
  • Empowering NEAR projects through high-profile use cases that will drive attention and adoption.
  • Contributing to the NEAR ecosystem’s growth by showcasing the utility of blockchain in addressing humanitarian challenges.
  • Bring inbound for traditional Web2 organizations to integrate NEAR as identity and funding solution

Key Metrics for Success:

  • Increase in account retention over 8 weeks as Ukrainians and local supporters engage with NEAR.
  • Lowering the account acquisition cost as we onboard Ukrainian humanitarian networks, individual displaced persons, and their funders and donors.
  • Increase the amount of external funding that flows on-chain through Potlock and the NEAR Ecosystem through inbound capital via donors, external sponsorships and LTV of new onboarded users.
    • $100k target in individual contributions from Potlock launch campaign
    • $25k in external sponsorship funding
  • Enhancing the median number of dApps used, specifically focusing on Potlock for public goods funding. Individuals will be interacting across the open web stack of platforms, including wallets, DeFi, social, public goods funding (Potlock), KYC/anti-sybil (, etc.
  • Social engagement growth, measured through increased interaction on NEAR forums and social media channels, further fueled by stories, art, interviews, and other mixed media documenting on-the-ground impact of the funding

Budget Request:

We seek $50,000 to kickstart the Ukraine Humanitarian Round, covering:

  • $40,000 Matching funds for the IRSF Ukraine Pot directly into contract
  • $10,000 Seed funding for refugee wallets (matched

Funding the Commons is committed to provide matching funds to augment this budget, at 25% of the funds provided, up to $12.5k (i.e. if NDC provides a $50k grant, Funding the Commons will match $12.5k). Funding the Commons is also committed to providing financial support for Ukrainian language crypto instructors and on-the-ground videographers to document stories about the impact of the funding (value: $10k-20k).

Examples of confirmed participating projects:

Organizer Background

Funding the Commons was incubated by Protocol Labs (Network Goods) in 2021 as an independent project and a bridge between builders and researchers to establish new mechanisms for public goods funding leveraging open source technologies. Funding the Commons. The International Refugee Solidarity Fund is a new initiative launched by Funding the Commons in Ukraine in March 2024.

Funding the Commons is a groups individuals and organizations building new models of sustainable public goods funding and value alignment in open source networks. Our goal with Funding the Commons is to bridge the public goods community across Web2, Web3, research, philanthropy and industry. We do this by convening builders and practitioners, researchers and academics, and funders and philanthropists, catalyzing innovation in public goods via conferences, hackathons, and builder residencies. We have organized 8 conferences globally. Funding the Commons provides small grants and financial support to open source developers in the pursuit of building and integrating the public goods funding stack.

Funding the Commons receives financial support in the form of grants, public goods funding, and sponsorships from Protocol Labs, Optimism (retroPGF), Filecoin Foundation, Drips, Golem Foundation (Octant).

Vision: We envision a world where the incentives that govern human coordination at scale push our species to develop an economy that prioritizes public goods above all else. This world has top global talent innovating on public goods, supported by well-developed impact evaluation systems tied to continuous streams of project capital.

2024 Deck: FtC General Sponsorship Deck - 2024 - Google Slides


Conclusion: Our initiative embodies the spirit of empowerment, decentralization, and community engagement that NDC champions. By supporting the IRSF’s Ukraine pilot, NDC will not only contribute to a noble cause but also demonstrate the practical, impactful use of blockchain technology in public goods funding. Together, we can rebuild lives, empower communities, and showcase the strength of the NEAR ecosystem in fostering positive societal change.

We are eager to bring this project to life with NDC’s support and look forward to potentially shaping a brighter future for those affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

Thank you for considering our application.

Best regards,

David Casey

Director - Funding the Commons

I like that you want to support the Ukrainians.
But I would like to know where I could request financial support for Ukrainians inside Ukraine?
I live in the city of Dnipro, and it is regularly hit by missiles.(Literally next to my house, a missile flew into an apartment building.) I would prefer that some of it be directed to Ukrainians who are currently in Ukraine. Or to support the army. Thank you.


Hello, thank you for you proposal! As a Ukrainian living in Ukraine, I am also a member of HoM that will review your funding proposal. After a detailed examination of your proposal, I have several questions.

  1. Which specific segments of the population will receive assistance, are they refugees located in Europe, or people near the front-line territories?

  2. How exactly will the funds be distributed, and what kind of assistance will you provide them? Could I please see a detailed budget?

  3. How exactly do you intend to onboard people in NEAR?


Hello, for many people from Ukraine this is definitely good news and many need it, I hope you understand the grief people are facing…

But there are several questions. How will this happen, what will be needed for this, who, how much and where will be able to receive this help and the main question is how this will help for the development and implementation of NEAR. I quote your words: this will demonstrate the practical and effective use of blockchain technology in financing public goods. Or how are you going to introduce a person to Near Protocol if, for example, he is not familiar with crypto at all, but he found out for help.

And so, the idea is of course a very good one, but I also want to remind you that now, due to such a difficult situation, many “cunning people” still want to make money from other people’s misfortune, and therefore, under the pretext of such beautiful words as: help for refugees, a noble cause, development and implementation NEAR in impactful use of blockchain technology in public goods funding, there is a possibility that people will see only words, promises and nothing more. And the maximum that will happen is that the money will be split “between a couple of people” with fake people on display for report. Can you answer the information above? Thank you.


Hello YoNota,

We are in solidarity with you. One of our team members is from Dnipro, so we understand how difficult the situation is currently. We would like to clarify that 100% of our assistance is targeted directly to support internally displaced Ukrainians who have been forced to move or otherwise experienced hardship as a result of the ongoing aggression. This excludes Ukrainians who have crossed an international border, since many countries in the EU are already providing support to Ukrainians who have entered those countries. In terms of direct support for organizations in Dnipro, we plan to solicit recommendations from the community for known non-governmental organizations doing impactful local work on the ground.

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  1. We would like to clarify that 100% of our assistance is targeted directly to support internally displaced Ukrainians who have been forced to move or otherwise experienced hardship as a result of the ongoing aggression. This excludes Ukrainians who have crossed an international border. In terms of direct support for organizations in Dnipro, we plan to solicit recommendations from the community for known non-governmental organizations doing impactful local work on the ground.
  2. Funds will be distributed via Potlock to a cohort of pre-vetted Ukrainian NGO’s making impact on the ground. Impact can be humanitarian, or education. For example, we’ve already selected Leleka Foundation and Hearts for Ukraine as the two first qualifying non-governmental organizations. Both the internal population of Ukraine and the international expat Ukrainian community will be engaged to help direct the funds via Potlock’s quadratic funding mechanism, utilizing the wisdom of the crowd to allocate funding in a decentralized manner. The impact made by the funding will be documented in the form of visual media (i.e. short videos, or photo essays). We plan to solicit recommendations from this community for the most appropriate organizations. Assistance provided will be knowledge on crypto financial literacy.
  3. We intend to select a number of non-government organizations engaged in education, and incorporate a basic education of the NEAR blockchain ecosystem. The non-government organizations, Ukrainians in-country, and Ukrainians abroad will all become familiarized with not only the NEAR blockchain but the Potlock quadratic funding platform, as an applied public goods funding technology with many real-world impactful applications. The reason that we selected NEAR for this pilot is because the blockchain platform is more abstracted and designed for a simplified onboarding and user experience. Our aspiration is that other communities fundraising for Ukraine-based initiatives will also utilize Potlock to drive future fundraising efforts.
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First of all, as a Ukrainian - I completely disagree with your lexicon. Conflict instead of war - yeah, you will reach a proper result.
Second, very interesting question - you have choosed NGOs. But - what is your role here? Ukrainian people, who familiar with crypto, well know awared where they can donate tokens - to Mr. Sternenko or Back Alive.
Third - me personally, who taking care about two families who is internally displaced persons - I can say that none of them not interested in any kind of education about crypto. Both fathers are on the front line now and their kids never asked me about some type of investments.
Fourth - your request is kinda tricky, I would say. Because in my opinion - how can you help internally displaced persons? By teaching? They lost their houses, they lost stability in his life. It’s a real-life survival game.
Fifth, the most interesting for NDC. You stated that your goals - expanding, empovering, contributing, traditional organizations - none of them related with NDC core values.

And the last.
As a Ukrainian, I think your request is very speculative on the topic of the tragedy that is happening in Ukraine.


Governance forum is still not letting them post, here is their reponse

  1. How will this happen?
    1. The process will involve community curation and selection of vetted non-government organizations, a quadratic funding campaign on Potlock allowing NEAR community members, international donors, and Ukrainians in-country to help direct the flow of funding to where it is most impactful, and an impact monitoring system enabling the tracking and measurement of the impact of the funds, both using quantitative and qualitative measurement methodologies.
  2. What will be needed for this?
    1. The necessary components (other than the funding) are a vetted cohort of highly curated non-government organizations, a curriculum for crypto financial literacy (which is already under development, and is incorporating previous DIIA and NEAR educational materials), follow-up monitoring of spending of funds, and an impact measurement and documentation strategy for publishing “proof of impact”.
  3. Who, how much and where will be able to receive this help?
    1. We would like to clarify that 100% of our assistance is targeted directly to support internally displaced Ukrainians who have been forced to move or otherwise experienced hardship as a result of the ongoing aggression. This excludes Ukrainians who have crossed an international border, for aforementioned reasons (available support in EU countries receiving Ukrainians). We plan to solicit recommendations from this community for known non-governmental organizations doing impactful local work on the ground. Funds will be transferred on the NEAR blockchain from the Potlock directly to the non-government organizations inside Ukraine.
  4. How this will help for the development and implementation of NEAR?
    1. This will help attract more users to the NEAR blockchain by prototyping a new use for Potlock (humanitarian aid and education whose impact can be measured) showcasing real-world solutions, utilizing the NEAR blockchain and Potlock for soliciting donations from the Ukrainian expat community, Ukrainians in-country, and international crypto community, showcasing Potlock as a tool for other Ukrainian fundraising networks and communities to raise funding as an alternative to Monobank’s Jar (which does not enable international donors without a Monobank account to contribute), and finally, generating visual media documenting the impact of the pilot that the Funding the Commons team will promote via our social media channels, and reporting on this pilot at future Funding the Commons conferences.
  5. How to deal with corruption and graft?
    1. The blockchain is the ultimate ledger, so all funding will be clearly and transparently distributed to the vetted organizations participating in the Potlock campaign. The vetting of organizations will be very important, so that the funds are guaranteed to go only towards legitimate organizations with a proven track record. Our financial administrator will directly follow up with each organization to ask for an account of how the funds were spent, and the results will be published to the extent that is possible.

You’ve just copy-pasted big portion of text from initial proposal and not answered on any of my questions and, for sure, just ignore everything.