Gitcoin Deactivates Grant for Farsi Speaking Communities Due to U.S. Sanctions


Gitcoin, an organization that helps fund open source projects around the Ethereum blockchain, has deactivated a grant due to it being directed to individuals from a sanctioned country. The grant, called “Free Smart Contract Development Course for Farsi Speaking Communities,” was directed and organized by an organization called Women in Blockchain Farsi. The move created a huge backlash on social media against this decision.

Gitcoin Defunds Farsi Speaking Community Grant

Gitcoin, an organization that promotes open-source software and other innovations around the Ethereum blockchain through the use of grants, has deactivated a grant due to legal issues concerning U.S. sanctions for other countries. The grant, titled “Free Smart Contract Development Course for Farsi Speaking Communities,” was directed to make the instruction of Farsi speakers on Solidity (Ethereum’s smart contracts language) much easier.

The course, that was organized and directed by an organization called Women in Blockchain Farsi is now without funds to continue its work. Prior to this, Consensys, another Ethereum software company, had also banned 50 Iranian students from attending coding classes due to them being located in U.S.-sanctioned countries last month. Women In Blockchain Farsi criticized this take, stating:

The grant is for Farsi speakers, the assumption that whoever that speaks Farsi then they must be living in Iran and they must be sanctioned is absurd.

Gitcoin’s Take on the Issue

Gitcoin argues that they were obligated to react this way and had to act because of law and jurisdiction. It seems that the organization was not aware of the grant reach and deactivated it as soon as it could. On this, Gitcoin stated:

This grant was brought to our attention by a reporter who is running a broader story about Ethereum and sanctioned nations. We are a US-based organization that complies with OFAC and US law. US sanctions laws apply to all US persons, wherever located.

The organization further explains that keeping this grant as it was could have jeopardized the whole operation, exposing them to legal actions from government institutions. Gitcoin also stated that they are focusing on a more decentralized grants program with their DAO at the front, that will allow them to offer dGrants that will be able to sidestep these legal hurdles.

However, this has not been well received by users on social media, who have criticized Gitcoin’s move to stop funding the grant directed to Farsi-speaking communities.

What do you think about the deactivation of the Gitcoin grant for this program? Tell us in the comments section below.

Ross Ulbricht’s debut NFT sold for $6.2M at auction

FreeRossDAO buys the Silk Road founder’s NFT created from prison and auctioned off via SuperRare to fund future efforts to free Ulbricht.

After announcing the launch of his “Genesis Collection” nonfungible token (NFT) auction, Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of dark web marketplace Silk Road, has sold his first NFT for $6.2 million or 1,446 Ether (ETH) at auction.

The auction kicked off at Art Basel Miami via the SuperRare platform. FreeRossDAO, the decentralized autonomous organization set up to help free Ulbricht from imprisonment, placed the winning bid. The FreeRossDAO website states that the DAO aims to “advance prison reform” and to “share Ross’s work with the world and give everyone a unique opportunity to own a piece of it.”

Ross Ulbricht’s “Perspective” $6.2M drawing from the “Ross Ulbricht Genesis Collection” of NFTs.

The first NFT sold, called “Perspective,” was drawn in prison using graphite pencil and is part of a 10-piece collection of writings and artworks made by Ulbrict throughout his life. The collection also includes an animated video made by audiovisual artist Levitate and with a voiceover by Ulbricht about his time in prison.

All proceeds raised from the “Genesis Collection” will go towards the Art4Giving fund, a donor-advised trust created by the FreeRossDao as a legal entity to fund new legal proceedings and raise awareness, according to the organization.

FreeRossDAO plans to fractionalize the NFT into ROSS governance tokens and distribute them pro-rata in return for donor contributions. ROSS holders will be able to vote on proposals and participate in the guidance of FreeRossDAO.

Ulbricht’s NFT ranks among the largest sales within the last seven days, as recorded by NonFungible.