Semaphore Community Grants

The Privacy and Scaling Explorations Team is sponsoring a dedicated round of grants for applications that integrate the Semaphore anonymous signaling protocol. Semaphore provides zero-knowledge primitives that enable developers to build powerful privacy preserving applications. With this grant round, we’re encouraging builders to try out these tools in real-world applications that matter to your communities.

Privacy matters

Whether it’s talking confidentially with friends, anonymously broadcasting messages, or simply wanting to choose which aspects of our identity we reveal in which contexts, privacy allows us to express ourselves freely and without fear. Privacy is a tool that should be accessible to as many people as possible, and PSE’s goal is to foster a collaborative community to make access to privacy a reality in everyday life.

**If you’re a developer with an idea to use Semaphore for good, we want to hear from you!

Semaphore as a privacy layer

Semaphore is designed to be a simple and generic privacy layer for decentralized applications (dApps) on Ethereum.

Semaphore is a zero-knowledge protocol that allows Ethereum users to prove their membership of a group and send signals such as votes or endorsements without revealing their original identity.

With Semaphore, you can allow your users to do the following:

  1. Create a private identity and receive a provable anonymous public identity.

  2. Add an anonymous public identity to a group (a Merkle tree).

  3. Send a verifiable, anonymous vote or endorsement (a signal).

Semaphore in action

You can integrate Semaphore into other primitives, POCs, or end-user applications. Below is a list of several apps already using Semaphore. They may give you an idea of what to build.

  • Unirep is a social media platform that uses anonymous reputation. Semaphore identities allow users to join with a unique identity, prove they’re eligible to post or give feedback, and choose how much of their stable identity they reveal in any given interaction.

  • Interep uses zero knowledge proofs to verify reputation from an existing account such as Github or Twitter without retaining any identifying information.

  • Zkitter is a decentralized social network based on Ethereum and ENS. It uses Semaphore for anonymous user identities.

  • Emergence incentivizes communities to participate or contribute to online meetings. The project uses Semaphore to preserve the anonymity of group members and was a finalist at the ETHMexico hackathon.


Surprise us with your creativity! But here are a few ideas for privacy-preserving applications we would love to see built out:

  • General

    • Anonymous feedback

    • Anonymous voting

    • Whistleblower protection

    • Anonymous chat for members of an organization or school

  • Professional

    • Prove professional skills, credentials, or certificates without revealing identity

    • Prove one does not have a criminal record without revealing identifying information

  • Medical

    • Privately share vaccination status

    • Privately share medical history

  • Government

    • Privately prove income or residence to access government benefits and services

    • Privately prove the number of countries one can visit with a certain passport

    • Privately share one’s age

  • Cybersecurity

    • Prove a device has the latest security patches and versions without disclosing any personal identifying information

How to apply

Grants are decided on a case-by-case basis. You can apply with more than one proposal so long as each proposal is unique and meets the requirements.

  • Ideas and projects at any stage are welcome:

    • Idea phase

    • Proof-of-concept

    • Work in progress

    • Fully fleshed-out project

  • Requirements:

    • Proposals must be in English

    • Work must be open source with a free and permissive license

    • Published work must be accessible by a URL

  • What we look for:

    • Potential impact on broadening the Semaphore community

    • Quality of contribution to the Semaphore ecosystem

    • Clarity, conciseness, and organization of documentation

    • Novelty in reducing the barrier of entry to zero knowledge and privacy applications

    • Overall quality and clarity of data analysis or data visualization.

  • Application details


  • How can I learn more about Semaphore?

  • I have more questions, where do I go?

    • The best place to ask technical questions about the Semaphore protocol or questions about this grant round is in our Discord server.

    • We will also be at Devcon VI in Bogota. Come say hello if you’re in town! We will be located at the Temporary Anonymous Zone (TAZ) in the Community Hub.

    • You can also email questions to:

  • What if I miss the deadline?

    • The Ethereum Foundation has a general grants initiative called the Ecosystem Support Program (ESP). If you miss the deadline for this dedicated round of grants, but have a proposal, head on over to ESP for a rolling grants process.
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