Over the last few years, Web3 tech has become widely embraced because of the advantages these tools have over Web2 technologies. Capabilities such as decentralization, trustless- and permissionless- access, and the ability to counteract censorship means that Web3 technology is poised to solve many of the problems associated with Web2 and meet many new challenges that have arisen in the last decade. Though the Web3 ecosystem is expanding rapidly, we're still at a very early stage in the future of the internet.
At Protocol Labs, our mission is to drive breakthroughs in computing technology and push humanity forward. This involves collaborating with as many brilliant humans as we can, however, it can still be difficult to get started in the Web3 ecosystem. Those looking to start a new project need to be matched with funding, and those interested in bringing their talents into the space may struggle with the knowledge gap between Web2 and Web3. Here, we will explain the opportunities available for everyone in the Protocol Labs Network.
# Option 1: Get Your Feet Wet by Contributing to Open-Source Projects
# Contribute to OSS
Open source software (OSS) is at the core of Protocol Labs, and we encourage everyone to contribute and participate in discussions, issues, and projects. Although IPFS and Filecoin are the most popular projects, there is a wide range of projects in the ecosystem that you can contribute to, such as libp2p, IPLD, Drand, COD, FVM, and more! Check out the IPFS (opens new window) and Filecoin (opens new window) ecosystem projects and companies, and explore the resources in the Launchpad curriculum (opens new window).
Protocol Labs has a strong focus on creating software that is freely available, forever. When patents are granted, PL has pledged (opens new window) to not be an aggressor in any patent suits, to give inventors the ability to unilaterally grant licenses, and in general use the MIT/Apache-2 dual license to govern copyright and patents for our projects. Learn more in the blog about the Permissive License Stack (opens new window).
# Participate in a Hackathon
Another great way to meet like-minded individuals, learn, and hack is to attend one of the hackathons supported by the Protocol Labs ecosystem, which you can find on the Filecoin Hackathons Page (opens new window). Here, you can see hackathons across the network powered by partners such as Ethereum, Filswan, and more. Subscribe to the IPFS newsletter (opens new window), the hackathon mailing list (opens new window), or the community calendar (opens new window) to stay up-to-date!
# Option 2: Work in Web3
If you're looking to start a new job in Web3, the Protocol Labs Network is a great place to onboard and grow quickly! Many new-hires across the PL Network attend Launchpad (opens new window), and we have the opportunity for those who want to start building to apply to the program (opens new window). It is a six-week onboarding program with training and support for those new to the Web3 ecosystem! Our residents have the opportunity to become Web3 experts, learn the ins and outs of the Protocol Labs ecosystem, and meet other new hires over the course of these six weeks.
The three key aspects of the Launchpad program are:
Learn: Use the Launchpad curriculum (opens new window) to learn about Protocol Labs' technologies. We also hold meetings with core engineers that can answer your questions, and sync with teams and projects across the network!
Build: Work on a project that improves the PL ecosystem. You can hack on an app, contribute to open source, or build and contribute in any other way that enhances the ecosystem. Take a look at past projects (opens new window).
Connect: Meet your peers in real life for a one-week in-person “colo” week, hosted in a new location every cohort alongside Web3 events around the world. The colo week includes activities such as workshops to get hands-on with Web3, attending ecosystem events, and collaborating with other new-hires. Check out other past Launchpad cohorts:
You can get more information on how to apply and what this program entails on the Launchpad website (opens new window).
# Option 3: Start Your Own Project
# Grants Programs
Both IPFS and Filecoin have grants programs, which fund projects that can improve the Protocol Labs Network ecosystem and tech stack.
If you have a prototype that you want to bring to the next level, or an idea for how to support other builders - take a look at IPFS microgrants (opens new window) and Filecoin microgrants (opens new window); these grants award up to $5,000 in FIL, and are expected to be completed within 2 months.
If you want to work on a supported project that can push forward the IPFS or Filecoin ecosystem, then take a look at IPFS open grants (opens new window) and Filecoin open grants (opens new window), which have awards of up to $30,000 in FIL.
Teams across the Protocol Labs Network have also posted a number of projects on the Radius project board (opens new window), where you can view bounties and grants to get involved with & grow your Web3 skillset.
All of these options are a great way to start your journey in the Builder’s Funnel and become an active contributor to Web3:
There are many different ways individuals can engage with Filecoin & Protocol Labs’ Web3 ecosystem
# Accelerators & Funding
If you are building at an early stage, and you are leveraging the Protocol Labs stack (IPFS, Filecoin, libp2p, etc.), as well as being committed to your project full-time, then you should consider joining one of our partner accelerator programs.
We run 25+ programs with 18 accelerator partners. Programs vary in time, length and geographical focus, but all provide seed capital, tools, mentorship programming, and a vast global network to help entrepreneurs accelerate their growth into Web3.
We have established accelerator and funding programs with some of the strongest partners in Web3, including Filecoin Launchpad (opens new window) (powered by Tachyon and ConsenSys Mesh), Filecoin Frontier Accelerator (opens new window) (powered by LongHash Ventures), Filecoin Base Camp Accelerator (opens new window) (powered by Outlier Ventures), Filecoin Techstars Accelerator (opens new window), and many more.
If you are interested in acceleration for Web3 startups, please find more information on the Protocol Lab Accelerator page (opens new window).
To apply directly for investment and funding outside of the accelerator program, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell us why you are excited about your project and how you can make a difference in the Protocol Labs ecosystem.
As you can see, there are many ways of getting involved in the ecosystem. Whatever path you choose, we are excited to support your next steps into Web3!