RetroPGF 1
Welcome to RetroPGF Experiment #1, where we're pioneering a groundbreaking approach to funding public goods! We're excited to announce our commitment to donating $1 million of network profits in this inaugural experiment. At RetroPGF, we're all about leveling the playing field between profit-driven startups and nonprofit/open-source projects. Our goal is to provide the same benefits and incentives for those who contribute to the greater good of technology.
Experiment Overview
Our first experiment is focused on creating a fair and effective system for allocating funds to deserving projects. We understand that this process is challenging, and we're dedicated to refining it through multiple iterations. In this MVP (Minimum Viable Product) phase, a group of 24 "badgeholders" will use quadratic voting to decide how to allocate the $1 million. These badge holders consist of 8 Optimists and 16 members from the Ethereum community. The allocation process will primarily consider the value projects have contributed to the Optimistic Ethereum ecosystem.
Process and Timeline
Over the next month, we invite the Optimistic Ethereum community to nominate projects that they believe should receive a portion of this funding. The 24 badgeholders will openly discuss these projects via a public, read-only Discord channel named #retroactive-public-goods. Your participation is essential in shaping the future of this initiative.
  1. Badgeholder selection

    In RetroPGF Round 1, 24 badgeholders, made up of 8 Optimists and 16 Ethereum community members, were selected to vote on distributing retrofunding to nominated projects.

  2. Nominations

    Anyone could nominate a project via a form submission by providing a project name, project lead name, project lead e-mail and impact description.

  3. Voting

    Badgeholders were provided with a badgeholder manual (opens new window) and asked to evaluate and vote on nominated projects via's interface (opens new window).

  4. Payout / Distribution

    Projects received rewards based on their received quadratic votes.

Probably the most obvious property of the RetroPGF 1 results that can be seen without any comparisons is the category of the winners, every major Optimism RetroPGF winner was a technology project. Curious about the outcomes of our first round? Here's a quick summary:
Nominated Projects
Projects Awarded Funding
Median Funding
Top 10% of Projects received over
For a detailed list of funded projects and their allocations, please check it out on archive page. For Vitalik's review of the round, click here.
Reflection and Learning
Below is a summary of the crucial lessons and valuable insights gained from the first round of RetroPGF. For more in-depth information, please read more here.
  1. The Fairness Ratio and Public Goods Definition
    The Ethereum community expanded the definition of public goods, focusing on outcomes rather than strict economic characteristics. This shift led to projects like Etherscan, although not traditionally public goods, receiving support due to their contributions.
  2. The Fairness Ratio
    The concept of value created vs. value captured (Value Created / Value Captured = 1) played a crucial role in allocation decisions. Projects like Etherscan, despite extracting value through ads, were considered to create more value than they captured.
  3. Conflicts of Interest
    Many badge holders had affiliations or connections with nominated projects, raising questions about conflicts of interest. Strategies for badge holder voting were often influenced by their areas of expertise.
  4. Nominee Curation
    The nomination process lacked detail, with proposals often failing to describe how the nominated project benefited the public good. A significant number of proposals were accepted.
  5. Missing Transparency
    Some information about Round 1 was not publicly available, including the full allocation of rewards, the badge holder manual, and nominee curation details.
Improvements for RetroPGF2
These enhancements aim to make RetroPGF2 more effective, inclusive, and transparent, ensuring that public goods contributors are duly rewarded. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the world of Retroactive Public Goods Funding!
  1. Badgeholder Expertise
    Implement a two-phase process for nominations, separating the identification of projects that contribute to the public good from quantifying their value. Use a token-curated registry model to curate high-quality nominees, reducing the burden on badge holders.
  2. Improving Nomination Process with Optimistic Curation
    Instead of expecting a small group of badge holders to have expertise across the entire ecosystem, elect badge holders with strong knowledge in various areas. This approach ensures that expertise is leveraged to benefit the ecosystem effectively.
  3. Managing Conflicts of Interest
    Establish clear guidelines and increase transparency regarding conflicts of interest. Rules in the badge holder manual can forbid voting for one's own projects and require transparent disclosure of potential conflicts.