Gitcoin RetroPGF Discussion

Hey everyone,

Announcing an initiative FireEyes is pushing forward that we’d love Gitcoin to play a role in!

In the past few months, :fire:_ :fire: has been watching the impact of the latest retro PGF round for Optimism and how this has created a massive increase in incentivization, innovation, and community engagement within the Optimism ecosystem.

We want to see this impact delivered to other projects, and given the relationship between :fire:_ :fire: and Gitcoin, we want this post to start a community discussion on running a similar round for Gitcoin.

The reason that we bring this forward is to be able to reward the builders and community members who have utilized the Gitcoin protocol already and help to show people who are considering starting to contribute that the DAO may continue to incentivize this value provision in the future!

Here’s the article where these ideas are outlined in more detail and where different strategies for distribution and voting are outlined, obviously each protocol is different and we should take purposeful steps to make sure each retroPGF round is as high impact as possible.

So with that said, how could we maximize the impact to Gitcoin with a retroPGF round, and what considerations should we make as we build out a proposal for this idea.

Why or why not?!

This post aims to serve as a conversation starter around retroPGF mechanisms and how they could be applied to the Gitcoin community. If you’re interested in joining this discussion please post your thoughts below and we can build a discussion from there!


Just to start the convo off, I’d love to note that the Gitcoin community has been experimenting with Retroactive Public Goods Funding already.

Some links:


love to see this – thanks for getting the discussion started @James !

one of the things I think is missing in the retroPGF (and overall grants) space is sharing needs and best practices between orgs that are all running grants programs. an initial and high-value effort from fire eyes could be getting commitments from the orgs you mentioned and coordinating them to share needs/challenges/values/learnings. i lead product for grants stack and would be happy to build something for this initial group that meets those needs if they’re up for it! as @owocki mentioned, we’ve been started using RPGF ourselves and would love to participate in the grants manager capacity as well to share needs, learnings, gripes… etc! :slight_smile:


@James thanks for your interest. I would welcome the opportunity to connect with you and discuss more this concept. Looking forward to connecting.

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Thanks @James I support this multi-DAO initiative 100% and it’s great to see FE stewarding this ecosytemwide. I’m happy to support you all in this endeavour in all the DAO where I am active.

That being said, there are some obvious challenges with the existing RPGF allocation mechanism.

  • While in this pilot round, technocrats are making allocation decisions, the expertise of these folks usually tend to be concentrated around tech products and thus the resulting allocation is skewed towards tech products.

  • Another challange is inclusion criteria for accepted projects, i.e. should projects which have received VC funding be included? This is an ongoing discussion in OP gov.

  • Should submissions with the same brand name be under one application or should they be evaluated separately? Both approaches have pros and cons

  • The current RPGF model focuses on PGF for ecosystem ‘x’. While this is a good start as compared to the status quo, should general PGF be included as a subcategory inside these rounds?

  • While the initial round can be governed by insiders, how can we open up this allocation to others without letting nepotism get in the way of allocation decisions.

I do believe that some of these distribution challenges can be addressed by testing allocation strategies being developed at Gitcoin and on top of the posts mentioned before I’d encourage FE to check out this post as inspiration while designing RFPs for these.


Funny you mention that @meglister!

@owocki and I have been chatting with @Jonassft about bringing a group of grants operators together to share learnings on our grants programs. This kind of community of practice is very needed in this domain and @James I’m curious if you’d like to get involved somehow. ff to DM me or connect w/ me on TG (viriya_laura)


these are EXACTLY the kinds of questions that I’d love to pull a group of grants operators to brainstorm and experiment with! thanks for seeding @jengajojo !


Yes! It’s something that we started to see in this rounds. People it’s oriented to what’s more impressive and more innovative and no what all this is about. I’ve was listening to a The Defiant podcast with the one of the co- founders of Maker DAO Rune Christensen, and says that something that’s it’s happening inside our boundaries is that we are to “techy” and not oriented to the real problem that it’s intended to be, and maybe it’s because all the people that works in the bear markets are not the ones that really need this technology and this opportunities, some of us have jobs, family and other income, and we are here for the mission, but this it’s not enough for some external viewers.
Real impact it’s very difficult to observe but as this proposal said and how the tendency it’s going, it’s easier to compensate with retro funding, but we wont innovate if we are not proactive.
Thank for your participation Jenga, i always admire how you give structure to complex ideas.

Master of masters, haha when i saw that cube i imagined more as the “Dark Side of The Moon” album, and what happens if we rotate that cube, maybe the refraction of the light it’s going to be brighter and without shadows. I mean, if we only observe this as a cube, there isn’t going to be a middle zone, and de deviation of the projects its going to be hyperconcentrated in the ones of more social capital and best advertising, and it’s going to eclipse the emerging and little projects, maybe we need to focus in little projects with big impact.
Just some toughts :stuck_out_tongue:


Here is the Gitcoin Grants Stack RPGF landing page that just launched :slight_smile: Introducing RetroPGF on Grants Stack

Also, a group of us built (one of the two main UIs for Optimism RPGF)… We are considering (with Jonas’ blessing) open sourcing it and making it available for anyone to do RPGF with.


That’s awesome. :clap:

Looking forward to the tools :toolbox: for RPGF being accessible to everyone. Retroactive funding is a big challenge to achieve for any ecosystem.

What we have observed in the retroactive funding for Optimism is a variety of issues with the scale of the process.

Badge holders are a critical part of the process which also creates a point of centralization and vulnerability.

As we have already witnessed bad actors on Layer 2 completely bypass any sort of filter to remove them from the program.

You can read about how this problem has affected the grants ecosystem here.

This is a huge problem for the RPGF program that must be addressed before running a round of retroactive funding.

According to members of Optimism in charge of the most recent round there were 149 badge holders.

There is a badge holder review channel where the project in question was brought to attention by a delegate on Optimism who is a badge holder. You can read this statement where it was also discussed that a unanimous vote :ballot_box: was made to remove the project from the round after reports had been made during the initial filter review process.

That means that this project made it past every single one :point_up: of the badge holders & successfully reached quorum to receive funding.

During the early stages of the allocation process a review is executed to determine whether low quality projects or spam need to be removed from the round. As well as determining if there are any bad actors who should not participate.

There is a reporting period in which folks submit any reports about projects that have violated the rules. As well as a judging process that allows badge holders to review any appeals that are made.

So not only was the project 1) reported by individuals who were examining projects and 2) a well known badge holder who is also a delegate on Optimism. Who was told the project was removed by a unanimous decision.

  1. A group of 3-5 badge holders reviewed the appeal that the project submitted & were accepted into the round.

To us this shows a giant coordination failure amongst badge holders. As well as a system that is easy to game.

What has yet to be determined is who the badge holders are who approved the project during the review of the appeal.

Was this collusion by a group of badge holders who are benefiting from a share of the rewards that this project is receiving?

So far only one :point_up: of the volunteers has spoken up who were on this list.

More recently this same team was removed from the Arbitrum grants round on Gitcoin by two other grant round operators after being harassed & threatened by the project lead. So there has been very thorough documentation on all of this activity prior to this round of RPGF.

Despite all of the information being provided to the badge holders it is now clear that this system has flaws that need to be fixed.

1st off we have come up with a solution for badge collusion & just in case a project has somehow made it past the initial filter & appeals process. This also solves a number of other problems with the 0 vote :ballot_box: being used in a way that is more transparent for all parties involved.

You can read more about our creative solutions to many of the challenges we face with retroactive funding mechanisms.
Another of which is that some of the applicants had zero skin in the game. So having a prerequisite of funding history with transparency & accountability would improve the process to make things easier for the badge holders.

This also helps to ensure that funding from past grant rounds was used properly.

In the case of the above project that had been reported over 300,000 $OP tokens have ended up being completely lost through Optimism’s traditional grants program.

During the initial investigation this project successfully made it into RPGF round 2 to receive funding as well as this current round 3 despite any of the information that was publicly available over the past year since the grant funds went missing.

This is a giant oversight by the 100 + badge holders who are part of the program.

Let that sink in for a minute.