Skip to main content

6 posts tagged with "retroactive public goods funding"

View All Tags

What’s been the impact of Retro Funding so far?

· 14 min read
Carl Cervone

This post is a brief exploration of the before-after impact of Optimism’s Retro Funding (RF) on open source software (OSS) projects. For context, see some of our previous work on the Optimism ecosystem and especially this one from the start of RF3 in November 2023.

We explore:

  1. Cohort analysis. Most RF3 projects were also in RF2. However, most projects in RF4 are new to the game.
  2. Trends in developer activity before/after RF3. Builder numbers are up across the board since RF3, even when compared to a baseline cohort of other projects in the crypto ecosystem that have never received RF.
  3. Onchain activity before/after RF3. Activity is increasing for most onchain projects, especially returning ones. However, RF impact is hard to isolate because L2 activity is rising everywhere.
  4. Open source incentives. Over 50 projects turned their GitHubs public to apply for RF4. Will building in public become the norm or were they just trying to get into the round?

As always, we've included source code for all our analysis (and even CSV dumps of the underlying data), so you can check our work and draw your own conclusions.

A deeper dive on the impact metrics for Optimism Retro Funding 4

· 11 min read
Carl Cervone

Voting for Optimism’s fourth round of Retroactive Public Goods Funding (“Retro Funding”) opened on June 27 and will run until July 11, 2024. You can check out the voting interface here.

As discussed in our companion post, Impact Metrics for Optimism Retro Funding 4, the round is a significant departure from the previous three rounds. This round, voters will be comparing just 16 metrics – and using their ballots to construct a weighting function that can be applied consistently to the roughly 200 projects in the round.

This post is a deeper dive on the work we did at Open Source Observer to help organize data about projects and prepare Optimism badgeholders for voting.

Reflections on Filecoin's first round of RetroPGF

· 10 min read
Carl Cervone

Filecoin’s first RetroPGF round ("FIL RetroPGF 1") concluded last week, awarding nearly 200,000 FIL to 99 (out of 106 eligible) projects.

For a full discussion of the results, I strongly recommend reading Kiran Karra’s article for CryptoEconLab. It includes some excellent data visualizations as well as links to raw data and anonymized voting results.

This post will explore the results from a different angle, looking specifically at three aspects:

  1. How the round compared to Optimism’s most recent round (RetroPGF3)
  2. How impact was presented to badgeholders
  3. How open source software impact was rewarded by badgeholders

It will conclude with some brief thoughts on how metrics can help with evaluation in future RetroPGF rounds.

As always, you can view the analysis notebooks here and run your own analysis using Open Source Observer data by going here. If you want additional context for how the round was run, check out the complete Notion guide here.

Onchain impact metrics for Optimism Retro Funding 4

· 16 min read
Carl Cervone

Open Source Observer is working with the Optimism Collective and its badgeholder community to develop a suite of impact metrics for assessing projects applying for Retro Funding 4.


Retro Funding 4 is the Optimism Collective’s first experiment with Metrics-based Evaluation. The hypothesis is that by leveraging quantitative metrics, citizens are able to more accurately express their preferences for the types of impact they want to reward, as well as make more accurate judgements of the impact delivered by individual projects.

In contrast to other Retro Funding experiments, badgeholders will not vote on individual projects but will rather vote via selecting and weighting a number of metrics which measure different types of impact.

The Optimism Foundation has published high level guidance on the types of impact that will be rewarded:

  • Demand generated for Optimism blockspace
  • Interactions from repeat Optimism users
  • Interactions from Optimism users with high trust scores / onchain reputations
  • Interactions of new Optimism users
  • Open source license of contract code

The round is expected to receive applications from hundreds of projects building on six Superchain networks (OP Mainnet, Base, Frax, Metal, Mode, and Zora). Details for the round can be found here.

At Open Source Observer, our objective is to help the Optimism community arrive at up to 20 credible impact metrics that can be applied to projects with contracts on the Superchain.

This page explains where the metrics come from and includes a working list of all metrics under consideration for badgeholders. We will update it regularly, at least until the start of voting (June 23), to reflect the evolution of metrics. The first version metrics was released on 2024-05-16 and the most recent version (below) was released on 2024-06-24.

What builders can learn from RetroPGF 3: separating the signal from the noise

· 17 min read
Carl Cervone

RetroPGF generated a considerable amount of noise, both during and after the main event. Now that the results are in, we need to find the signal. These are the messages, intended or not, that will likely reach the wider community.

We can learn a lot by plotting and analyzing the distribution patterns of tokens to projects. In domains where the signal is too weak (ie, impact > profit) or too strong (ie, profit > impact), the Collective should be more explicit in shaping the distribution patterns it wants to see and then making tweaks to the RetroPGF process and game design.

In this post we will take a look at:

  1. 30,000 foot view: the signals that everyone in crypto should pick up on
  2. Box seat view: the signals that badgeholders and engaged community members should pick up on
  3. In the arena view: the signals that live players and builders should pick up on

I also want to make sure I don’t bury the lead:

  • Less than 20% of the RetroPGF 3 allocation went to projects that directly contribute to sequencer fees.
  • Every badgeholder and citizen who wants the best for Optimism probably feels that this allocation level is too low.
  • This is not a sustainable trend, given that sequencer fees are the long-term revenue engine for this whole experiment.

Many factors likely contributed to this outcome. In a previous blog post, we discussed how the round’s game dynamics could make it difficult for voters to express their true preferences.

Analysis on the 300+ OSS projects applying for RetroPGF 3

· 8 min read
Carl Cervone

Open Source Observer is a platform for measuring the impact of open source software (OSS) contributions. We launched a few months ago with a commitment to open source everything. Here is our hello world post on the forum ICYMI.

This report is a shallow dive on the 300+ open source software projects participating in the latest round of retroactive public goods funding (RetroPGF 3). It combines both off- and onchain data about projects.

The report itself has two objectives:

  • Kickstart more rigorous analysis on the effectiveness of RetroPGF as a mechanism
  • Snipe some data nerds to join our data collective

Let’s jump in.