If you are active in the crypto space, you’ve likely heard of Optimism or at least come across some of the awesome projects being built on it. Optimism has been gaining momentum as of late, and for good reason. They are changing the game when it comes to public goods. This article will delve into the intriguing world of the Optimism ecosystem and its governing entity, the Optimism Collective, shedding light on its revolutionary retroactive public goods model. Moreover, we will explore how you can actively participate and make a meaningful impact in this exciting paradigm shift.

A TL;DR Overview of Optimism

The Optimism Collective is working to change the narrative around public goods. They believe public goods can and should be profitable, and those whose actions positively impact the ecosystem should be rewarded.


In pursuit of their mission, Optimism unveiled the Optimism Mainnet in late 2021, an Ethereum Layer 2 blockchain renowned for its remarkable speed, scalability, sustainability, and budget-friendly nature (hello low gas fees!). The network is community-governed by the two houses of the Optimism Collective, The Token House and the Citizens’ House. The Token House consists of OP token holders responsible for submitting, deliberating, and voting on various types of governance proposals. The Citizens’ House is responsible for voting on the allocation of Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF), the hallmark of the entire ecosystem.

Before continuing, here is a quick refresher on public goods. Public goods are available to everyone. They are non-rivalrous and non-excludable. In other words, no one is excluded from using the resource, and many people can utilize the good at the same time without it’s availability being reduced to others. In the case of web3 and cryptocurrency, access to such resources opens the door for increased adoption worldwide.

Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF)

RetroPGF is the mechanism used to fund public goods and contributions towards public goods within the Optimism ecosystem. The system is funded via the Optimism Mainnet network fees. It’s a refreshing model with gas fees directly supporting those who help Optimism thrive, and it’s a model that is working beautifully thus far, as is evidenced by the increase in funding seen through the first three rounds, as noted below. The increased funding is directly correlated with increased network use due to the cool stuff being built on it.

Since launch, two seasons of RetroPGF have occurred with 11 million OP (1 million during round 1, 10 million during round 2) disbursed to people and projects working to benefit public goods within the ecosystem and the adoption of Optimism. Round 3 is currently open, accepting applications through October 23rd, and has 30 million OP up for grabs.


RetroPGF Eligibility & Application

So, how does one get a slice of the RetroPGF pie? As the name implies, you can apply as a project or individual after you’ve worked on your contributions and they have created an impact (Apply here). If you think about it, this makes a ton of sense, as there is no way to predict a project or task’s impact. It takes the guesswork out of the equation and allows funding to be allocated according to actual data. Contributions only need to have taken place in the past, not during a specific timeframe. You can also reapply for the same project in future rounds, assuming it continues to have an impact within the ecosystem.

Eligibility is split into four categories: OP Stack, Collective Governance, Developer Ecosystem, and End User Experience and Adoption. When applying, you will select which category is most applicable. You can choose more than one category, but it doesn’t increase your chances of receiving funding or your funding allocation amount.


Once an application is submitted and accepted, badge holders from the Citizens’ House review it to determine how much funding will be allocated. The Application Guidelines documentation for potential applicants details the critical elements you should include in your application. Be sure to review it closely to maximize funding!

This sounds amazing, but you may be unsure where or how to get started. Not to worry! If some inspiration is needed or you’re looking to contribute to an established project currently in the space, you can check out the Ecosystems Contributions page on GitHub for contribution ideas. Tasks listed there vary significantly in complexity and area of expertise. Information is also provided on other funding opportunities, including up-front grants, should your project need some runway to get off the ground. Of course, you can also create your own project from the ground up. New ideas are welcomed with open arms.

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

Optimism has emerged as a beacon of innovation in the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The Optimism Collective’s commitment to rewarding those who contribute to the ecosystem has breathed fresh life into the world of public goods, transcending the limitations of rivalry and exclusivity. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore the opportunities that await within the Optimism ecosystem and be part of the change you wish to see in the world of public goods.









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