Skip to content

Rootstock Grants Program: FAQs #3

By Ongun Ozdemir - Venture Associate

Rootstock Grants Program: FAQs #3

The Rootstock Grants Program has been hugely successful in bringing incredible founders, emerging developers and a vibrant range of cutting-edge projects into the Bitcoin sidechain’s ecosystem. 

And right now, a fifth wave of this scheme is currently underway — meaning builders with bright ideas have an opportunity to get involved. As well as receiving a cash injection to bring their vision to life, successful applicants also receive technical and marketing support, access to a dynamic ecosystem of dApps including DEXs, bridges, and trading platforms, as well as support from a growing community.

Got an idea for a project? Apply to the Rootstock Grants Program now.

But if you’re sitting on the sidelines and deliberating whether to throw your hat into the ring, you may have some questions. What type of projects receive grants? What does the application process look like? Are there any top tips for success?

Ongun Ozdemir, who leads the Rootstock Grants Program, recently held an in-depth session to answer some of these burning questions — and had some valuable insights.

Past waves

The fourth wave of applications saw the number of grants given out or agreed in principle more than double. And interestingly, over 70% of projects awarded funding were early submissions, meaning they submitted a week before the final deadline.

Whether you specialize in infrastructure projects, remittances or Ordinals, there can be a home for you in the Rootstock Grants Program. The judges’ guiding compass is this: how much value would your idea bring to the ecosystem, and could it unlock novel use cases?

In the past, alumni have gone on to raise institutional capital, supercharging their growth and success even further. Occasionally, RootstockLabs has also provided funding so entrepreneurs could join accelerator programs and achieve their full potential.

Making your pitch

Once all of the applications have been filled in and the deadline closes, every single project undergoes a thorough round of due diligence to form a shortlist. Invites are then shared to pitch days, where a panel of judges comes together to learn more about each concept.

Each pitch takes about 20 minutes. While the first half of the presentation sees aspiring developers set out what they would like to build on Rootstock, the second half is a Q&A that allows the panel to ask any burning questions they have. The four to six judges in attendance later have a vote — and the grant will proceed if the project secures a majority.

Read the guide to prepare your milestones for the pitch day.

Organizing the grant

This is where the exciting journey begins for new arrivals in the Rootstock Grants Program. Careful consideration is given to milestones, meaning funding is gradually released as key objectives are met. As well as ensuring incentives are aligned, the goal is to help each of the 40 projects currently within the program meet their targets punctually. 

Support is also provided in the form of marketing, with RootstockLabs setting aside a separate budget to support each and every project.

“Our first wave was about nine months ago,” Ongun says. “Those projects are going live now and starting to raise capital. They’ve been paving the path. We’re really, really keen to push the envelope and provide a route to success for anyone who wants to build on top of Rootstock.” 

FAQs from the last AMA session

Here’s a rundown of some of the other questions commonly asked about the Rootstock Grants Program.

Are some projects automatically enrolled?

No — the vision is to ensure that every developer who wants to build better on Bitcoin goes through a fair process.

Winners of Rootstock hackathons are highly likely to receive an invite to pitch.

Is any support offered before pitch day?


Once a project is accepted, a member of the RootstockLabs team goes through pitch decks with a tooth comb so they’ll have the best possible chance of resonating with the judging panel.

Is feedback offered to unsuccessful applicants?


Projects that fail to advance beyond pitch day will be given feedback on the judges’ remarks — and a transparent explanation of why they may not have been fit for the Rootstock ecosystem.

Whether a crucial piece of information was missing from their presentation, or the concept wasn’t framed in the right way, it’s hoped this will help founders build upon their proposition.

Do you already need to be a part of the Rootstock community? 


While having an understanding of Rootstock’s purpose and infrastructure can be advantageous, great care has been taken to ensure no one is excluded from the grants program.

Are there any restrictions on who can apply?

Everyone can apply. 

And it’s important to ensure that projects within the grants program can achieve regulatory compliance.

All applicants also go through Know Your Customer checks, and developers in certain jurisdictions may need to provide extra documentation.

What did other grantees have to say? 

Asami, a blockchain-based content rewarding platform, received a lot of support to launch by getting involved in the Rootstock Grants Program.

The project’s director general, Nubis Bruno, explains: “We got a grant, we got advertising and we also got a lot of spiritual support as well, which is something that founders need. Asami exists thanks to Rootstock. If you want to build something in an ecosystem that’s healthy toward developers, and want to help Bitcoin grow, I would suggest you join.”

Read about Nubis’s entire experience as a grantee. 

It all starts with an application

It’s an exciting time for the Bitcoin Layer 2 space — and RootstockLabs has huge ambitions to find new ways to support founders, developers, and entrepreneurs in the months to come. There are healthy amounts of organic traction and interest coming from Ethereum developers right now, making it the perfect time to launch a project.

Ongun says countless “serendipitous connections” have been made within the ecosystem — with first-time founders benefiting from a whole community at their fingertips.

“And if you don’t get grant funding — there are still avenues we’re working on for you to succeed on Rootstock,” he adds. “We’re seeing incredible interest to build on Rootstock, and my personal goal is to make sure that, if someone doesn’t get a grant, there’s still a pathway to success.” 

Recommended reading

Explore previous Grants FAQs from the past AMAs here.