Quadratic Trust

Anne Connelly
3 min readSep 7, 2021

Making it easier to support open source

The concept for Quadratic Trust came from a simple idea:

How can we make it easier to support open source projects?

With quadratic funding, you can support projects with money. But not everyone has money to spare, and projects can also benefit from non-monetary support like advice, connections, or time. With increasing access as our primary outcome we wanted to focus on two non-monetary supports — awareness and building social capital.

It takes time and effort to build up a trustworthy reputation. And when someone who has already built up social capital in the community publicly shares their support of a project, it can lead to that project being more trusted and help them to grow their own community.

While different communities can use any metric to determine how much social capital a member has earned — from years in the space to events attended to code deployed — for this pilot, we have used Twitter as a proxy.

The initial concept of Quadratic Trust was to have people tweet about a project. The number of likes each tweet got would then feed into the Quadratic Funding mechanism and help the project earn a portion of the matching funds.

This lead to some big questions:

  1. How do you incorporate non-monetary support into a monetary system?
  2. How much is a tweet worth? 1 cent? 10 cents?
  3. How do you avoid paid likes?

To simplify the concept for the pilot we made some workarounds:

  1. Making the pilot separate to the primary quadratic funding round with its own reward structure.
  2. Using a ranking system to determine winners instead of a direct tweet-to-money ratio
  3. Using a person’s twitter follow count instead of likes

And this brought us to our current prototype.

From Sept 8–23rd, go to www.quadratictrust.com and share the trust you’ve earned with projects you care about and help them grow.

The number of followers you have on twitter is used as a proxy for the amount of social capital you’ve earned in the community, and is the number of voting credits you receive.

Use those credits to vote on people or projects in the space that you support and share some of your social capital with them by tweeting a message about why you think they’ve earned your vote.

The vote credits will be pushed through the quadratic formula to determine the number of votes the person receives. For example, one vote costs one credit, two votes for the same person costs 4 credits, three votes costs nine credits and so on.

The person or project with the most votes at the end of the process will win a special prize.

A few rules:

  • You can’t vote for yourself
  • You can only submit votes for a twitter account once
  • Once your votes are submitted, the results are final

Quadratic Trust gives value to the voices in our community and makes supporting your favourite open-source projects easier.

Try it today!

Special thanks to Ivan Molto, Yuet Loo Wong, Melvin Alvarez, and Kevin Owocki for their work to bring Quadratic Trust from idea to reality.