[Wormhole][FINAL][STIP - Round 1]


Applicant Name:

Wormhole Foundation

Project Name:

Wormhole Foundation

Project Description:

The Wormhole Foundation is dedicated to supporting open-source, decentralized technologies that securely and seamlessly connect Web3.

The Foundation is the steward of Wormhole.

Wormhole is a cross-chain messaging protocol, and supports Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol (CCTP) for minting and burning native USDC for cross-chain transfers. Across all of its products, Wormhole has transmitted over 620 million cross-chain messages and tens of billions in token transfers.

Team Members and Qualifications:

Wormhole Foundation is one of several contributors to Wormhole. Other contributors include xLabs, Jump Crypto, 19 Guardians – comprised of the leading validator companies (e.g. Staked, Chorus One, Figment) – and two more Labs teams that will soon be publicly announced. The Wormhole Foundation will handle the execution of this grant.

Team members:

  • Dan Receer – Operations at the Wormhole Foundation. Prior to Wormhole, Dan was Chief Growth Officer at a leading Polkadot-based parachain Acala for two years and spent two years in a Growth role at Web3 Foundation where he contributed to the launch of Polkadot. Before Polkadot, Dan led marketing for Wanchain and also spent four years on global healthcare brand teams at Eli Lilly & Company.

  • Robinson Burkey – Strategy at the Wormhole Foundation. Robinson has dedicated nearly a decade to leading growth for early to mid stage companies. Prior to joining the Wormhole Foundation he led BD and Ecosystem Programs at Acala in the Polkadot Network. Before Acala, Robinson was an early leader at DoorDash where he spent four years on growing new business verticals across North America.

  • Cathy Yoon – General Cousel at the Wormhole Foundation. Prior to joining Wormhole Foundation, Cathy was the Chief Legal Officer at MPCH Labs, a venture studio focused on applications of multi-party computation. She has also held roles as the general counsel for The INX Digital Company, Inc., co-head of the fintech and blockchain practice group for a major law firm, the general counsel for a blockchain advisory firm and its affiliated broker-dealer and as managing director and senior counsel at The Bank of New York Mellon.

  • Maher Latif – Research at the Wormhole Foundation, leading protocol and mechanism design research. Prior to joining the Foundation, Maher spearheaded research initiatives at Jump Crypto and with the Money Markets group at the Federal Reserve Board.

  • Nikhil Suri – Nikhil Suri - Product Lead at the Wormhole Foundation, leading product/engineering efforts. Prior to the Foundation, Nikhil was an engineer at Jump Crypto, where he worked on initiatives such as Silo, the leading open source custody solution. Before Jump, Nikhil helped build global payment systems at PayPal, and got his start in crypto interoperability working on the Interledger Protocol.

Project Links:
Wormhole: https://wormhole.com/
Portal USDC Bridge: USDC Bridge: Native Cross-Chain USDC Transfers
Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol: Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol (CCTP) | Circle

Contact Information:







Do You Acknowledge That Your Team WIll Be Subject to a KYC Requirement?:



Detail the requested grant size, provide an overview of the budget breakdown, specify the funding and contract addresses, and describe any matching funds if relevant.

Requested Grant Size:

1,800,000 ARB maximum

Grant Matching:


Grant Breakdown:

This grant targets the importation of 100,000,000 USDC to the Arbitrum economy. Rewards target an ~5-8% annualized rate of reward for users that utilize Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol (CCTP) through Wormhole and its partners to mint native USDC on Arbitrum.

~5-8% is chosen because it is competitive to real-world and DeFi alternatives such as Coinbase USDC rewards and the DAI Savings Rate at MakerDAO, while still reflecting the relatively low level of risk to users.

This reward is meant to be available for a maximum of 3 months, and accrue weekly. That translates into a maximum 2% total return for users over the course of 3 months. At the time of writing, 1.8m ARB is required to provide that for 100m USDC.

Users that utilize Wormhole and its partners to mint USDC with the CCTP and hold their USDC will be eligible for ~5- 8% rate of return, with reward accruing every 7 days. This reward period will span 12 weeks (approximately 3 months). Users will be free to move their USDC if they choose, but only USDC held in their bridged address will be eligible to accrue rewards as a mechanism to prevent abuse of the bridging subsidy.

At the end of the 12-week rewards period, unaccrued ARB rewards will be returned to the Arbitrum DAO Treasury address (0xf3fc178157fb3c87548baa86f9d24ba38e649b58). Note that users may choose not to claim their ARB rewards within the 12-week window for various reasons, and that accrued rewards will remain in the distribution contract for at least 365 days, at which point the unused portion will be returned to the Arbitrum DAO Treasury address.

Funding Address:


Funding Address Characteristics:

This is a 2/3 multisig with private keys securely stored.

Contract Address:

To be determined.


Clearly outline the primary objectives of the project and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to measure success. This helps reviewers understand what the project aims to achieve and how progress will be assessed.


The objective is to onboard 100,000,000 natively issued USDC from other chains.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

The single goal of this grant plan is to incentivize 100,000,000 USDC to migrate to Arbitrum from competing ecosystems over a 12-week period, and should be judged on whether that goal is met.

How will receiving a grant enable you to foster growth or innovation within the Arbitrum ecosystem?:

This grant allows for targeting USDC users in other ecosystems to migrate their assets to Arbitrum. Alternatively, it also provides an incentive for users holding USDC.e to bridge back to Ethereum and re-enter Arbitrum with native USDC, which will speed up the migration from one asset to the other and shorten the period of liquidity fragmentation between the two versions of USDC.

Justification for the size of the grant:

This grant targets the importation of 100,000,000 USDC to the Arbitrum economy. Rewards target an ~5-8% annualized rate of reward for users that utilize CCTP through Wormhole and its partners to mint native USDC on Arbitrum. This reward is meant to be available for a maximum of 3 months, and accrue weekly. That translates into a maximum 2% total return for users over the course of 3 months. At the time of writing, ~1.8m ARB is required to provide that for 100m USDC.

Execution Strategy:

Wormhole will track USDC minted onto Arbitrum via Circle’s CCTP. Addresses where the USDC remains in the minting address on Arbitrum will be eligible for rewards. A distribution contract will be updated weekly with ARB token rewards, and the allowance for each address.

Grant Timeline:

From time of first tranche receipt, estimated timeline:

  • Announcement of rewards program and building awareness: 2 weeks
  • Build, test, deploy rewards contract & UI: 1 week (concurrent with above bullet point)
  • Incentive period: 12 weeks
  • Prepare report on grant plan results: 4 weeks (requires 30 days’ data post grant)

If this proposal is greater than 1M ARB, please provide details on any funding tranches or milestones your application aims to abide by:

Milestone Descriptions:
Milestone Goal Milestone Metric Source of Truth
Migrate 40,000,000 Total USDC 40,000,000 native USDC is minted on Arbitrum through Wormhole and its partners via Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol 0x2703483B1a5a7c577e8680de9Df8Be03c6f30e3c; USDC minted with CCTP via Wormhole
Migrate 80,000,000 Total USDC 80,000,000 native USDC is minted on Arbitrum through Wormhole and its partners via Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol 0x2703483B1a5a7c577e8680de9Df8Be03c6f30e3c; USDC minted with CCTP via Wormhole
Migrate 100,000,000 Total USDC 100,000,000 native USDC is minted on Arbitrum through Wormhole and its partners via Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol 0x2703483B1a5a7c577e8680de9Df8Be03c6f30e3c; USDC minted with CCTP via Wormhole
Follow up report on results Provide a report summarizing the results of the grant program Arbitrum governance forum

Provide details about the Arbitrum protocol requirements relevant to the grant. This information ensures that the applicant is aligned with the technical specifications and commitments of the grant.

Is the Protocol Native to Arbitrum?:

Wormhole has integrated 29 different blockchains, including Arbitrum

On what other networks is the protocol deployed?:

A full list of the 29 chains integrated by Wormhole can be found here.

What date did you deploy on Arbitrum?:

Wormhole deployed to Arbitrum in July 2022.

Protocol Performance:

The Circle Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol has successfully bridged more than 130 million USDC to Ethereum alone. Avalanche, which already hosts a smaller concentration of native USDC than Arbitrum, has successfully bridged more than 50 million USDC, suggesting that 100 million for Arbitrum should be possible given the larger ecosystem and incentives.

Wormhole (and its token bridge, Portal) is a top 10 cross-chain transfer/messaging protocol. It also was one of only two bridges to receive a passing grade in the Uniswap Bridge Report, and is trusted by Uniswap governance to provide cross-chain governance messaging.

Protocol Roadmap:

Wormhole’s strong solution to the bridging trilemma earned it the top spot in the Uniswap Foundations Bridge Assessment Report. However, Wormhole is continuously looking to improve its trust assumptions and looking to ZK as an additional security measure atop a validator set. Tentatively, the Wormhole ZK roadmap expects the first live production milestone for light clients in Q1 2024.

Audit History:

Wormhole has had numerous audits and boasts a large bug bounty. For full information, please find that here.

SECTION 6: Data and Reporting

Provide details on how your team is equipped to provide data and reporting on grant distribution.

Is your team prepared to create Dune Dashboards according to program requirements for your incentive program?:

Yes, or a publicly available equivalent.

If not, how does your team plan to report grant data?:

A Dune dashboard is likely to be how information is publicly reported.


Reality has shown that Stargate has a much greater influence on the Arbitrum ecosystem than Wormhole.

I think Incentive should only focus on a single Bridge project.

Very sad but I cannot support your proposal


GFX supports this proposal. Wormhole ranks well in the risk category by L2beat. While Stargate admittedly has a large presence on Arbitrum, this grants wave is an opportunity to recruit many of the bridges to Arbitrum to subsidize capital flowing onto the chain.

This is a solid proposal. It targets bringing in more native USDC, which will also ease the transition from bridged USDC to native USDC. Stablecoins are the lifeblood of a vibrant DeFi ecosystem, and any proposal that is tailored to bring in more stablecoins - particularly from other chains - has our attention.

GFX contributed to helping the applicant tailor this proposal to increase the number of users and amount of assets interacting with Arbitrum


Thanks for putting up this proposal.

How is this benefitting the Arbitrum ecosystem if the $USDC is just sitting in a contract idle? How does the DeFi ecosystem at large benefit from this initiative?

Moreover, would this only work for $USDC bridged via CCTP through Wormhole or any other bridge interface that is integrated with CCTP?


For reference, this proposal seeks to reward users that use Wormhole for bridging USDC via CCTP.

Given that there are multiple highly liquid bridging options into the Arbitrum ecosystem, this proposal seems redundant. This proposal appears to directly benefit Wormhole, with the impact on Arbitrum itself being somewhat marginal at best.

The migration of USDCe to native USDC is a naturally gradual process, as can be seen by other chains such as AVAX. Incentivising people to mint and bridge it seems pointless, given that it is the utility of USDC within apps on the chain that will ultimately determine the adoption of it. Incentivising apps like GMX that have a huge amount of USDCe TVL is a far far more efficient way to approach this - but ultimately that doesn’t seem to be the objective here. The objective appears to be creating as much value for Wormhole, rather than Arbitrum.

I will be voting against this proposal for several clear reasons:

  • It primarily benefits Wormhole, this overall issue is not one that needs to be solved tomorrow and this is a terrible way to try solve USDC migration
  • It adds little value to Arbitrum; it brings in no new users, it doesn’t focus on the growth of the native dapps or protocols. This is a waste of money.
  • There are multiple cheap and easy bridging solutions, I struggle to see why Wormhole should be rewarded to lead this initiative, considering it isn’t necessary in the first place.
  • This initiative if done properly should include multiple bridges and protocols, the fact that this is solely on Wormhole suggests that this is a grant proposal that is entirely in your own interests, rather than the ecosystems.

Stargate is already the bridge of choice for many into Arbitrum. Not to mention there are several other bridges that have both low fees and are just as reliable.

I don’t see why the DAO should offer incentives for Wormhole specifically, when it even isn’t the dominant bridge. If we want to offer incentives for bridging (similar to Optimism), then it should go towards the bridges that people are already actively using.


Reserved for comment on Wormhole’s proposal.


Hello @Wormhole_Foundation thank you for submitting! Your submissions meets all requirement to be considered for a snapshot vote. However, please note that the Funding Tranches piece of the incentives framework has been replaced by funds being streamed biweekly.


Hi @Wormhole_Foundation , @axlvaz_SEEDLATAM.eth here, part of @cattin @seedlatam delegation.

I have some questions about your proposal:

Do you have a mechanism in mind to prevent whale farming, such as a transaction or address cap?

or how do you plan to prevent a sybil attack?

If I understand correctly, will only addresses that mint USDC in arbitrum and keep USDC in the address for one week be eligible?

While 100M USDC revenues are really good for the ecosystem, it would prevent it from being exploited only by the big whales.

USDC’s inactivity for a while at the address, does not generate interaction and therefore fees for sequencing. I would like to see a proposal that benefits the Arbitrum ecosystem more as 100M USDC is really an excellent number.


Thank you for the questions, Lito! We’re really glad you asked them, because we didn’t have room in the proposal template to really do them justice.

The USDC is not meant to sit idle very long. Unfortunately, it’s the simplest and most effective way to prevent abuse of the bridging subsidy. If it was an amount paid at the time of bridging, for example, someone could simply bridge the same USDC back and forth, inflating the numbers and draining the incentives. While we agree being idle is not ideal, this arrangement does make the USDC sticky to Arbitrum. Once users have their USDC on Arbitrum, hopefully they will find the broader Arbitrum ecosystem interesting and keep that capital here. But we are only a cross-chain messaging protocol, so there’s not a lot we can do beyond getting the USDC onto Arbitrum. We will bring the horse to water, but it’s up to the dozens of really great projects here to get the horse to drink, so to speak.

Only for Wormhole and Arbitrum protocols that have integrated Wormhole.

You are correct that there are a number of protocols aside from Wormhole that support CCTP. The value add of Wormhole is introducing a new user and asset base to Arbitrum, while bringing over native USDC (rather than a wrapped token).

You’ll notice from this dashboard that most cross-chain protocols that received ARB airdrops have struggled to utilize them to grow Arbitrum, with many prominent ones still sitting on the tokens or simply selling them. We think Wormhole can effectively attract new users and new assets to Arbitrum, and the grant proposal details that we will ensure any unused ARB is returned. The ARB will not be sold for stables, nor will it be held by the Wormhole Foundation longer than is needed to distribute to Arbitrum users.

So while yes, CCTP is not unique to Wormhole, it is Wormhole Foundation that will be doing the difficult work of putting this opportunity in front of users who might be interested in coming to Arbitrum for the first time, or giving it another try with the ever-expanding offerings on this L2.

In fact, we think it would be amazing if all protocols offered ARB incentives. Quite a few of those protocols with unused ARB already could join Wormhole in doing so, and bring on a “stablecoin summer” for Arbitrum.


Hi, Axlvaz. Yes, this would be the minimum period to hold USDC to be eligible for rewards. This rewards longer term and more mutually aligned users with the Arbitrum ecosystem to benefit from the rewards.

Nothing would prevent users from immediately using their native USDC. The requirement to hold the USDC is only for rewards, which are intended to be modest and appeal to (relatively for crypto) risk-averse users. As stated higher in this reply, Wormhole is a protocol to enable cross-chain messaging and in this instance USDC transfers, but at the end of the day, our proposal is meant to get long term and mutually aligned users to come into the Arbitrum ecosystem.


This proposal really just seems like renting TVL. I don’t see how paying people to hold their USDC on Arbitrum brings long term value to the ecosystem.

Once users have their USDC on Arbitrum, hopefully they will find the broader Arbitrum ecosystem interesting and keep that capital here

This proposal incentivizes users to not buy into ecosystem projects.

In my opinion, if we want to bring users over for safe yields like the DSR, we should incentivize projects like Maker & Frax to have a presence here directly so native DeFi protocols can build around them.


I do not align with this proposal, the numbers stated are large and maybe true but i am genuinely struggling to see value return to the Arbitrum Ecosystem for essentially renting this liquidity for ~3 months.

The DAO should consider a concentrated approach when approving grants for bridges. My bet is with Stargate to give the most bang for its buck, it is heavily utilised and has a large foot printed established in this ecosystem already.

We don’t need to back multiple bridges when Stargate is so well established.

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It looks like the bridges backed so far haven’t even used their initial airdrops. Stargate still has 1.5m ARB, for instance.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Wormhole, Stargate, Hop, Across, and others all have different footprints, so they have the opportunity to entice different users (and their assets) to try Arbitrum.

The incentives are going to be attractive enough to entice plenty of users back into Arbitrum.

We do not and should not be prioritising a large chunk of that at bridge level.

Yes to backing a clearly chosen bridge. No to funding all of them.


Just wanted to mention that, as voted by the DAO, Stargate is currently incentivising liquidity using 70% of it’s ARB tokens and this is, naturally and purposefully, a gradual process.

The other 30% of tokens were earmarked by the DAO for an Arbitrum-focused grants program which has had quite a number of applicants thus far. Looking forward to seeing how the DAO hands out grants for this ecosystem!

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Hello @Wormhole_Foundation ,

Now that your application has been marked eligible, please be advised of the remaining steps in the application process to be completed prior to the Review Period Deadline:

Please complete the following steps required for your application to proceed to Snapshot:

Once you change your proposal title to final, please tag an Arbitrum Foundation Forum Moderator (@ stonecoldpat @ cliffton.eth @ eli_defi) by the Review Period deadline to notify them of your proposal’s readiness.

Once marked as [Final], your application post will be locked by moderators and you will no longer be able to edit your proposal.

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@Wormhole_Foundation Here is the updated process for changing your title.

To change your proposal to final, please tag an Arbitrum Foundation Forum Moderator (@ stonecoldpat @ cliffton.eth @ eli_defi) by the Review Period deadline to notify them of your proposal’s readiness to proceed from [Draft] to [Final] status.

Once notified, the Arbitrum Foundation Forum Moderator will adjust your title from [Draft] to [Final] status. Once marked as [FInal], your application post will be locked by moderators and you will no longer be able to edit your proposal.

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Firstly, thank you for your proposal and for showing a keen interest in the Arbitrum ecosystem.

Introduction and Rationale

Wormhole aims to drive liquidity to Arbitrum by incentivizing the migration of 100M USDC into the ecosystem. The proposal requests a maximum of 2.5M ARB, which is 5% of the total 50M ARB available for grants. Wormhole, a well-established cross-chain bridge protocol, has shown its effectiveness by integrating with 29 different blockchains and transmitting over 620 million cross-chain messages. The proposal holds great promise for boosting Arbitrum’s liquidity, especially by attracting USDC holders from other ecosystems. We’re optimistic about its potential impact, although we have some reservations about the requested grant size.

Major Concerns

Concern Regarding Grant Size and Security

  • The requested grant size is relatively high at 5% of the total grant pool.
  • Wormhole has experienced exploits in the past.
  • Our recommendation for change: We suggest a lower initial grant request, possibly with additional tranches released upon meeting specific performance milestones.

Minor Concerns

  • The proposal may attract mercenary capital, given its high reward rates.
  • Our recommendation for change: Introduce more stringent eligibility criteria or longer lock-up periods to better align with Arbitrum’s long-term goals.


Castle Capital appreciates the efforts put forth by Wormhole and the increased liquidity they aim to offer to the Arbitrum ecosystem. We support Wormhole in receiving a good proportion of the available ARB, although we feel the initial ask is slightly elevated. By adjusting the grant size and taking steps to mitigate the risk of attracting mercenary capital, we believe Wormhole’s proposal would be more aligned with Arbitrum’s long-term goals.

We hope that our comments are constructive and are viewed in a positive light, contributing to the success of Wormhole’s integration into the Arbitrum ecosystem.


Thank you for the support and feedback! Following a number of productive discussions with community members, we’ve scaled back our target grant size from 2.5m ARB to 1.8m ARB tokens. We believe this reduced size still strikes as an efficient yet effective incentive to consolidate the fragmented USDC liquidity in the ecosystem – furthermore, this provides the grant distribution voters greater resourcing flexibility when considering other grant opportunities. The requisite edits have been made to the original proposal above.

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