What is the Ethereum Foundation?

Ethereum is a type of cryptocurrency, but also a network upon which different applications can be developed. The ability to be programmed is what sets Ethereum apart from a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

The Ethereum network was created in 2015 and since then thousands of applications have been created and deployed using Ethereum as a base. Separate from the network is an organization that provides grants for new applications on Ethereum.

The Ecosystem Support Program, which is the direct provider of grants, is a branch of the Ethereum Foundation, which exists to facilitate and fund the development and expansion of the technology of and using Ethereum.

Grant size: 
Varies on grant type
Bern, Switzerland

The Ethereum Foundation Grant Program

The Ethereum Grant Program is a program that provides funding to support the development of the Ethereum ecosystem. The program provides grants to individuals and organizations working on projects that align with the goals of the Ethereum community, such as improving scalability, security, and user experience. The program is run by the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the development of Ethereum.

Grants are given to support recipients in building things vital to Ethereum’s success, without the need to commercialize their work, so that these resources remain free and open to all. 

Small Grants are intended for things like:

  • Prototypes
  • Experiments
  • Fast deliverables
  • Small scope
  • Community events


Large Grants can be awarded for larger or more complex ideas, high-cost ideas, or mature ideas. These types of grants can be very different depending on the scope, size, and length of the project, for example, 200k USD for a team of dedicated developers covering a year-long roadmap. Applicants will be able to cooperate with the Ethereum Support Program to figure out what amount is right for a project.

Application Process

ESP grants are separated into two categories, small grants, and project grants, each with a different process and criteria. 

The small grants (30k USD or less) have a lean application process which takes around two weeks. The larger grants (more than 30k USD) have a much more intricate process which is highly dependent on the application but generally takes around two months.

Both kinds of grants follow a similar process, however, there are some small differences. The requirements for each type are the same.

What is the Ethereum Small Grant application process?

A Small Grant will follow this process:

  1. Application – a single online form.
  2. Evaluation – application is considered.
  3. Decision – unless clarity is needed, usually two weeks’ time.
  4. Activation – sign an agreement and send funds.
  5. Completion – share results.

What is the Ethereum Project Grant application process?

An Ethereum Support Program (ESP) Project Grant will follow this process:

  1. Apply – there is a short and long forms to fill out.
  2. Evaluate & Refine – if determined in scope, some deeper consideration.
  3. Decision – this can vary depending on size and complexity.
  4. Activation – an agreement is signed and funds transferred.

What are the requirements for an Ethereum Grant? (Small or Project)

  • The work which is performed using the funds must be aligned with the mission and scope of the Ethereum Support Program.
  • The results must be open-source and freely available

Please note: application is also open to for-profit companies, but the specific funds would need to be used for a non-commercial purpose.


The Ethereum Support Program (ESP) encourages individuals, teams, and organizations of any experience level with Ethereum or Web3 to apply. Any area of expertise is welcome, as the applications on the network are extremely varied. Projects can be at any stage of their roadmap when they apply, but previous work still needs to be funded.

The Ethereum Support Program (ESP) will not work with any illegal activities, DeFi products (like trading), any projects with a token launch planned or public funding planned art projects or charities that do not fall within ESP scope, or token/investment-focused events.

Advantages for Applications

Everything that goes into the application of either type of grant should cover all the information needed to evaluate the purpose of the grant. Focus on delivering a clear “how” and “why” of the project, as those are the core messages. Any application can also benefit from these tips:

  • Be specific
  • Be thorough
  • Show effort 
  • Give a motivation
  • Think broadly
  • Identify the output
  • Be realistic
  • Be flexible (more so for Project Grants)

Office Hours (Support)

Applicants can get direct support from members of the Ethereum Foundation’s Ecosystem Support team for help with the application. If the guidelines seem unclear or a project has extremely uncommon elements, applicants are encouraged to contact for:

  • Non-financial support (guidance; resources)
  • Questions or feedback before submitting an application
  • Clarity on the scope and how a project fits

Please note: Office Hours are intended as support and do not receive pitches.

Additional Information

  • Applications are not public but they are also not considered confidential. The reviewers may need to share information with advisors, so any confidential information in the application should be clearly marked as such.
  • KYC is required but not public. That means that funds cannot be transferred without someone identifying themselves, but their identity does not need to be shared with the entire community outside the Ethereum Foundation.
  • Transactions are made in Ethereum (ETH), DAI (Ethereum-based token pegged to USD), or Fiat currency like Euro or USD.
  • Applications are reviewed weekly and given full consideration each.
  • Applications that are denied can be further developed in a community event like a hackathon, posted in the community forums for more discussion, and even reapplied after making changes.