RetroPGF Experiment #1: $1 Million Dollars for Public Goods

Optimism PBC Blog
Published in
2 min readOct 5, 2021


Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we are donating $1m of network profits in our first experiment on retroactive public goods funding.

Our first experiment!

The core idea behind retroPGF is to level the playing field between profit-maximizing startups and nonprofit/OSS projects. Profit-seeking entities have an advantage in their potential for an exit, drawing early investment funding and providing incentives for employees. The goal of retroPGF is to create a system that provides the same benefits for nonprofit and OSS projects.

One of the most difficult parts of retroPGF is creating a “results oracle” — the process that decides which projects receive an exit. We want to experiment with many iterations to refine this mechanism, and today, we are embarking on the first.

For this MVP, a group of 24 “badge holders” (8 Optimists and 16 Ethereum community members) will quadratically vote on an allocation of $1m, operating off of this badge holder manual. At this early stage, funding will mostly be directed to projects based on the value that they have provided to the Optimistic Ethereum ecosystem. The process will be conducted entirely off-chain, with Optimism distributing whatever allocations are chosen from our own wallet.

Over the course of the next month, the Optimistic Ethereum community is invited to nominate projects that they believe should receive a portion of this funding. The 24 badge holders will discuss these projects out in the open, via a public read-only discord channel #retroactive-public-goods here.

This experiment begins today (October 5th), and ends one month from now (November 5th). After the experiment concludes, we will retire the current badge holders, publish a post on our learnings, and re-design the system based on our findings. Nothing about the funding system is guaranteed to remain the same for the second experiment.

  • To nominate a project, click here.
  • To follow along with allocation discussions, click here.

A very special thanks to all the wonderful badge holders participating in this first experiment — the first experiment of many as we fund public goods and realign incentives on the internet! We couldn’t be more excited.