The Algorand Foundation has earmarked 250 million ALGO tokens – worth about $50 million at press time – for a grant program that aims to spur development of the Algorand ecosystem.

Announced Tuesday, the grant money will be doled out to companies and developers building out Algorand’s proof-of-stake blockchain over the next two to four years, according to Head of Operations Fangfang Chen. Projects focused on research and development, dapps, education and “community initiatives” are eligible for grants.

The program marks Algorand’s most substantial community investment to date. A previous grant program unveiled last November pledged anywhere from 5,000 to 250,000 ALGO per six-month project, but that upper bound was “the maximum award” the Foundation said it would allow. Those figures are dwarfed by this new program’s first allocation: six million ALGO split three ways. 

The Foundation selected projects by Bloq, PureStake and Reach for the first round of grants. Chen declined to state the allotments breakdown, saying only that grants are “tailored to each project need.”

Bloq is developing multi-chain infrastructure while PureStake is building the “AlgoSigner” browser plug-in. Reach, a dapp development assistance platform, is retrofitting its compiler for Algorand, said founder Chis Swenor.

Swenor said Reach’s eventual integration will lower the barriers to entry on Algorand. His platform caters to first-time dapp developers who lack the experience and deep pockets of “blockchain experts.”

Reach makes dapp coding “safe for all developers, not just teams of blockchain experts with an abundance of funds they can throw at auditing,” he said. “We are helping Algorand reach all developers in the world and not just the blockchain experts.”

Derek Yoo, PureStake’s chief executive, told CoinDesk that AlgoSign “will let developers build Algorand transaction capabilities into their applications, much like the MetaMask plugin does on the Ethereum network.”

He said the funding will cover development and the first year of maintenance and upgrades.

The Algorand Foundation controls the program’s selection and evaluation processes at launch, but that may change in 2021, when Chen said it may shift decision making over to the community.

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