Gitcoin is an organization that promotes open source software and other innovations around Ethereum blockchain using grants. deactivated the grant due to legal issues regarding U.S. sanctions against other countries. The grant, entitled ‘Free Smart Contract Development course for Farsi-speaking Communities’, was intended to make it easier for Farsi speakers to learn Solidity (Ethereum’s smart contract language).
Women in Blockchain Farsi, an organization that organized and directed the course, is now out of funds. Consensys had previously banned 50 Iranian students attending coding classes last month due to their location in U.S. sanctioned countries. This was criticized by Women in Blockchain Farsi , who stated:
This grant is only for Farsi speakers. The assumption that anyone who speaks Farsi must be Iranian and must be sanctioned to receive it is absurd.
Gitcoin’s Take on the Issue
Gitcoin claims that they were required to respond in this manner and that they had to do so because of law and jurisdiction. The grant reached was not known by the organization and it was deactivated as soon as possible. Gitcoin responded:
A reporter covering a wider story on Ethereum and sanctioned countries brought this grant to our attention. We are an American-based organization and comply with US law. All US citizens, regardless of where they are located, are subject to the US sanctions laws.
Further, the organization explains that keeping the grant in its current form could have caused problems for the operation and exposed them to government legal action. Gitcoin stated that they are focusing their efforts on a more decentralized grants programme with their DAO at its front. This will enable them to offer dGrants which will be able bypass these legal hurdles.
This has been criticized by social media users who criticised Gitcoin for halting funding grants to Farsi-speaking peoples.