Gitcoin, the open-source crowdfunding platform, has ignited controversy by announcing a partnership with the oil and gas giant, Shell, with a focus on environmental initiatives. However, within the crypto community, this move is raising eyebrows and criticism.
Shell’s involvement will entail aiding in the development of “open-source climate solutions” through contributions to Gitcoin’s grants program, along with a hackathon in Q4 that will emphasize blockchain’s role in energy-related use cases.
This announcement coincides with Binance’s recent blog post outlining how blockchain initiatives can contribute to a worldwide transition to green energy.
The financial support from Shell amounts to a total of $500,000. However, Gitcoin co-founder and environmental advocate Kevin Owokci deems this contribution as “a paltry sum,” given Shell’s substantial role in exacerbating the climate crisis.
Owokci has voiced his concerns about “greenwashing,” a term used to describe when organizations prioritize appearing environmentally conscious over effectively addressing environmental challenges. He asserts that Gitcoin should not engage in greenwashing by openly collaborating with Shell and thereby enhancing the latter’s reputation.
Lefteris Karapetsas, an Ethereum developer, shares similar reservations, likening this partnership to assisting Shell in its greenwashing efforts.According to Owokci, Shell should be contributing “tens of millions” to Gitcoin’s funding rounds as a form of “war reparations” due to the company’s historical impact on the climate.
While Owokci appreciates Shell’s contribution to Gitcoin’s climate-focused rounds, he believes that actively promoting a partnership with Shell is detrimental to the Gitcoin brand he has tirelessly nurtured. He sees Gitcoin as a platform that learns and evolves from its mistakes.
Kyle Weiss, Gitcoin’s Executive Director, acknowledged that the partnership’s terms could have been more unfavorable if he hadn’t exercised caution during six months of negotiations with Shell.
Some of Shell’s initial demands reportedly included the ability to retract funds and obtain Know Your Customer (KYC) data on other participating organizations. Weiss revealed that the decision to collaborate with Shell was met with internal contention, emphasizing that it was not ideal based on Gitcoin’s principles.
This partnership has even drawn comparisons to controversial international alliances, with Ethereum educator Anthony Sassano likening it to the United States aligning with North Korea. Sassano argues that the collaboration contradicts Ethereum’s core values and principles.
We're happy to share that we've entered a collaboration with Shell to accelerate open-source innovation in the energy sector. Together, we're driving sustainable solutions and making a positive impact on the world. Let's dive in!https://t.co/QG7QMOHN1t
— Gitcoin 🟢 (@gitcoin) August 14, 2023
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