During the Binance Blockchain Week, Eric Zhang joined a panel moderated by Leslie Lam, they talked about a decentralized hacker movement, DoraHacks’ infrastructures, the newly launched BNB Grant DAO, and advice for people who want to start a career in blockchain. The following is the text version of the talk.
Leslie: Eric Zhang is the Founder of DoraHacks, a global hacker movement and hackathon community. Today, DoraHacks is one of the largest multichain Web3 developer incentive platforms in the world having funded over 2000 open source projects with over $15 million in grants, bounties, hackathon prizes and community contributions. Prior to DoraHacks, Eric was a graduate of Computer Science from Oxford University, Eric has had a deep interest in creating a decentralized hacker movement globally, and using crypto-native tools to fund breakthrough technologies in Web3 and beyond.
Leslie: What does a hacker do and how would you characterize the hacker ethos? What does it mean to decentralize the Hacker Movement?
Eric: Around 1977, Eric Raymond, an early open source advocate, posted an article called “How To Become A Hacker”, summarized 5 characters of hackers:
1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
2. Nobody should ever have to solve a problem twice.
3. Boredom & drudgery are evil.
4. Freedom is good.
5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.
These characters still echo the hacker’s etho today. But there is one difference — in the 90s, we didn’t have a centralized Internet, now we definitely have a centralized Internet. So when we talk about a decentralized hacker movement, in a nutshell, it means breaking through the monopoly of Web2 companies and provide the freedom of innovation to everyone, and most importantly, the freedom of innovation to grassroot hackers and open source developers.
If we can do it, we can build a global hacker movement that is everlasting and never going to stop. The world is going to be different. To achieve this goal, we need to not only build decentralized communities, more importantly, we also need to build decentralized technologies that fundamentally change the way how hackers and open source communities coordinate and get funded.
Leslie: Can you talk about the infrastructure around funding, grants and bounties that DoraHacks has developed for the Web 3 ecosystem? And tell us about the BNB Grant DAO DoraHacks recently launched.
Eric: Across the DoraHacks platform, we provide a set of critical tools to decentralize funding, developer incentives, and community governance. We have quadratic funding which is super popular, we have zero knowledge quadratic voting (MACI-based protocol), infrastructures for hackathon organizers around the world to host virtual hackathons, and multiple versions of bounties where hackers can get rewarded from solving problems, and we are constantly designing and building new infrastructures.
One thing I want to highlight today is the BNB Grant DAO, which has only been launched for one week. The goal of BNB Grant DAO is to leverage the DoraHacks infrastructure and build a community where new hacker projects and ventures can get continuous support and funding.
How it works is that every season we are hosting a quadratic funding round together with a hackathon, which allows the BNB community to contribute and vote for your favorite developer projects, and eventually help distribute a large matching funding pool to a large number of BUIDLer teams.
So right now we are in the first round, if you are a developer who is building something interesting, or if you are someone who wants to support early-stage projects from the BNB and multichain ecosystems, you can join the BNB Grant DAO at dorahacks.io/bnb, and find every detail.
Leslie: What’s the most important lesson or tip you’ve learned from your blockchain career so far?
Eric: I don’t have a particularly long career, so probably I don’t have a lot of experience to share. But two things that I feel strongly about. First, be persistent and resiliant across cycles, I think that’s important. Then focus on things that that have long-term value and you love to spend a lot of time on, probably at one time you will find yourself become a contrarian, which is likely to be a good signal.
I also highly suggest everyone to participate in a hackathon at least once, no matter if you are a developer or not. It might be a life changing experience.