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Get the Rootstock Grant: Builders’ Step-by-Step Guide for a Successful Application

Published on: 7 December, 2023

Rootstock has a $2.5 million grants program for entrepreneurs who want to build their next dApp on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. 

Every quarter, developers can pitch their projects for a chance to receive a slice of $2.5m. Dozens of winners have already been chosen — bringing DAOs, self-custodial payments and DeFi to a wider audience.

But what is the criteria for the grants program? How does the process work? And what are the benefits of building on Rootstock? Here, we’re going to give you a step-by-step guide for submitting a successful application.

Got a novel idea? Fill the 5 minute application form for a chance to get the Rootstock grant.

And read along to understand the process.

1. Make sure you’re eligible

Developers from around the world are welcome to throw their hat into the ring, with no geographical limits in force.

However, remember that the goal of the grants program is to bring cutting-edge new use cases to Rootstock and support new builders on the network. 

If you’ve previously built something on Rootstock though you’re still able to apply if the funding is for a new project or protocol. 

2. Understand the criteria

As you begin to work on the application, paying close attention to the metrics used during the reviews process is crucial. The more boxes you tick, the greater the chance of success.

Rootstock has made its criteria transparent, allowing your project to put its best foot forward when scrutinized. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Does the project embrace the IOV Labs vision of Everyday DeFi — where your dApp will enable cheaper, faster, and more inclusive solutions with seamless user experience? 
  • Will you be building your dApp natively on Rootstock, how will it benefit Rootstock’s users and ecosystem, and does it have the potential to be chain agnostic?
  • What will the impact of your project be on the ecosystem? 
  • Does your team have a track record of success in bringing projects to fruition? 
  • Are your ambitions realistic, and can the goals you set out in your application be achieved if a grant is awarded?
  • Is your project self-sufficient — and can it scale? 
  • Have you focused on the user experience, stayed true to the principle of Everyday DeFi, and prioritized product quality? 
  • How innovative is your project, and has it been done before? 

3. Fill in the application form

Once you’ve grappled with these questions, it’s time to assemble the application. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll be asked — beyond the usual bits about your name and contact details:

  • Your education, professional experience and background in start-ups
  • How much time you’re currently devoting to the project each week
  • The name of your start-up and its current state
  • Whether you to intend to create user-centric utility, generate sustainable yield with RBTC and real-world assets, or bridge Rootstock to other chains
  • What your project adds to Rootstock — and your proposed go-to-market strategy
  • Key metrics about your project, including the current number of active users
  • How much funding you’re seeking — and how it should be split across three milestones

A few additional pieces of supporting documentation are also expected. They include a downloadable link to your pitch deck, and an accompanying video that’s up to five minutes long.

4. Follow best practices

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when applying to the Rootstock Grants Program:

Leverage your network for a referral

Some top tips to bear in mind include the power of referrals, as a recommendation from an existing member of the Rootstock community can ensure your application is seen as early as possible.

Show don’t tell 

Any prototypes, mockups or visuals to accompany your pitch will really help bring your idea to life. Some entrants even choose to attach a short video demo showcasing the potential of their project. The more you can do to make your project feel ‘real’ the greater chance you have of success. 

Submit your application early

Another tip to keep in mind is that early submissions will have more time to meet with the Grants’ team, get 1-1 support from mentors, and have the opportunity for iterations. Evidently having a better chance of getting the funding.

Prepare your deliverables & milestones

Preparing the milestones provides a clear roadmap for project execution, helps demonstrate the feasibility of your objectives, ensures accountability, and ensures better communication with our grants team.

Take a look into the Rootstock ecosystem

Does your project require a wallet, an off ramp, a marketplace, oracles, stablecoins? Check out the dApps built on Rootstock to see if you can leverage them to fulfill your projects’ needs.

5. The review process

Once the application is submitted, Rootstock’s dedicated grants team will perform an internal review. If your proposal is of interest, you’ll be invited to discuss the proposal further.

That brings us to what happens if your project is accepted in the grants program:

  • You’ll take part in a pitch day
  • Due diligence will be performed, along with Know Your Customer checks
  • A formal grant agreement will be drawn up that codifies your milestones
  • A thorough security check will take place to ensure your project doesn’t leave the Rootstock community vulnerable to threats

Success stories

A plethora of cutting-edge projects have already made their way through the grants program. They include Asami — which empowers content creators by giving them greater freedom over monetization and the ads that appear alongside their work. RskNFT demystifies the process of creating digital art, while Footprint Analytics delivers a user-friendly approach to data visualization for crypto projects. These projects are now busy building on and integrating Rootstock. 

Take a deep dive into the projects that were funded in 2023 here. 

Why you should build on Rootstock

Rootstock is supercharging the Bitcoin network — and better still, our infrastructure offers plenty of familiarity for developers who have built on Ethereum before. That’s because the same Solidity tools and libraries you’re accustomed to can be used on our blockchain.

The perks don’t end here. Rootstock delivers lower transaction costs than both Bitcoin and Ethereum, eliminating pain points for your users. Our blockchain can also handle a substantially higher number of transactions per second — 300 TPS compared with ETH’s 27 and BTC’s 7. This, when coupled with a rapidly growing user base and a passionate community of multilingual members, makes Rootstock a welcoming place to get innovative.

Make 2024 a year to remember — and get applying to Rootstock’s grants program.