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You know what incubators and accelerators mean: interest. They say that bear markets are for builders, and the bitcoin ecosystem seems to be getting ready to work. One of the main catalysts is the success of the Lightning Network. The little engine that could went from being constantly mocked to being a key element in the El Salvador story. Nowadays, the Lightning Network is the bitcoin ecosystem’s absolute star and one of the reasons money is pouring in.
The three accelerators and incubators that this article will consider couldn’t be more different from each other, but they share the bitcoin-only ethos. And an unhealthy interest in the Lightning Network. From a Jack Dorsey-funded initiative, to a corporate ultra-deluxe opportunity, to a bunch of technically minded individuals that opened their doors in the name of bitcoin. Pick your poison, there’s probably an accelerator for you here.
The TBD Open-Source Incubation Program
The Jack Dorsey-funded organization that’s working in the decentralized bitcoin exchange TBDex can probably help your bitcoin project. They recently announced the TBD Open Source Incubation Program, but there’s not much practical info on it yet. “TBD Incubation projects are managed by community contributors. They advance the decentralized web and accelerate development and adoption of the Web5 platform,” the company wrote.
They did specify that the program was focused on Open-Source projects and said that TBD will “soon be announcing our first Incubation project!” The announcement also promised that “when projects reach maturity, they may apply to be promoted out of Incubation into a central project,” so the TBD program might turn into an accelerator over time.
BTC price chart for 11/03/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
The Wolf Startup Accelerators Focused Exclusively On Lightning
This is the corporate one. This is the deluxe one. It’s run by “Stone Ridge, owner of an alternatives asset manager that has raised more than $40B since inception and parent of bitcoin company NYDIG.” Among other things, they offer, “transportation to NYC and lodging for the duration of the 8-week program are included from anywhere in the world.” The program is exclusively focused on the Lightning Network.“Wolf accepts applications from individual founders and small teams at the pre-seed idea stage up through those ready for a Series A financing round.”
— Wolf (@_WolfNYC) October 26, 2022
The investments are also deluxe, selected developers get a $250K guaranteed seed funding, so they can focus all of their attention on the project. Also, “at the end of each program, one team will be chosen by a panel of judges to receive an additional $500K in funding.” That, plus all the knowledge you and your team can collect in those eight weeks.
The Pleb Lab Co-Working/ Accelerators
In contrast, Pleb Lab is “a co-working / accelerator in Austin, Texas at the heart of the financial district. We support outstanding projects and teams in several ways.” They are bitcoin-only, with a focus on “the Lightning Network – an essential step towards decentralized finance.” Their other focus is free and open-source development, “the FOSS ethos is at the center of what we do here at Pleb Lab.”
What does the Pleb Lab accelerator do, exactly?
“Working directly with Bitcoin & Lightning startups”
“Granting workspace among other brilliant Bitcoin developers at Pleb Lab”
“Providing startup advisory and mentoring”
“Providing business development, marketing and strategy”
The Austin bitcoin scene is growing by the minute, and Pleb Lab is right there in the middle of it. Apparently, one of its best characteristics is to be in the same room with other bitcoin developers trying to solve similar problems to yours. As you might imagine, they all help each other. This one is not a competition and there are no obvious prizes.