💖 Optimism RetroPGF Recap & CES 2024

The year of impact is here

Happy weekend friends 💖 

Welcome to Create Your Rainbow - a newsletter created to understand the role of community, culture, and meaning at the edges of technology. 🌈

I bring you insights, teachings, and inspiration for your adventures.

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 💖 What an exciting week in tech!

I’ve always wanted to attend CES but have yet to visit the showroom floor for the world’s biggest tech event of the year. Read below in the main section for my thoughts on Optimism RetroPGF round 3.

This week’s newsletter is all about impact = profit, and we’re not just talking about RetroPGF either.

My personal standouts from CES this year are focused on energy conservation and eco-friendly tech, quality of life improvements, and, surprisingly, camping gear. Why these? As we move into a more AI-forward future enabled by spending more time away from screens and out in nature with friends, media and entertainment experiences, we’ll seek this tech more and more.

  • A series of actually stylish and increasingly helpful wearable rings unveiled this year are giving the Oura ring a run for its money. The Evie smart ring is available for iOS users to purchase now for $269. It handles activity, sleep, mood, and menstrual tracking and comes in silver, gold, and rose gold colors.

  • LG unveiled several fun, groundbreaking tech sights at the show, including a futuristic Bon Voyage “glamper” for some high-tech camping, complete with karaoke and cocktail bar. They are also aiming for a “zero-labor home” of the future with a Jetsons-style AI robot. However, I don’t know how I feel about the marketing term “Affectionate Intelligence,” sounds a bit too sensationalized.

  • Dexcom introduced the Stelo Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for Type 2 Diabetics who don’t need insulin which is projected to bring a more affordable option to 25M people who don’t have insurance coverage for CGMs.

  • And lastly, Mouthpad (yes, you read that right) is a retainer-like accessibility gadget. With this Bluetooth-connected device, control your phone, mouse, tablet, and more with the flick of a tongue.

I am available for freelance community strategy, coaching, or content writing. Wanna chat? Schedule a consultation here to explore how we can work together on meaningful projects that bring joy to readers and love to members of your space all year long!

This week Phil from Bright Moments led Onchain: a Farcaster experiment in long-form content. Farcaster users wrote essays on governance, economics, and culture. Since my essay last year on Expansive Communities was written before channels became permissionless, I wrote a follow-up as part of this essay collection.

I highly recommend the essay to all community builders, especially those implementing decentralized social in their experiments. It explains how to get started, why these channels are important, and their impact.

You can read The State of Expansive Communities on Farcaster, collect it on Base, and subscribe to my Mirror collection at the link below to be notified of updates.

RetroPGF Gets Its Moment

All teams involved in Optimism RPGF Round 3 deserve massive congratulations for their efforts in managing the round of 30M OP delivered to recipients this week. It cannot be underestimated what a heavy lift this was and the incredible amount of coordination the round took on.

After spending nearly 20 hours this week reading conversations in the Optimism Discord from the past 3 months, governance forums, manuals, badgeholder messages and more, I got a solid grasp on varying perspectives on Optimism RetroPGF Round 3 and the retroactive funding ecosystem in general.

I knew Round 3 was coming to a close since adding the Optimism Governance calendar to my personal calendar months ago and having Twitter notifications on for a few OP team members. Super easy way to stay up with what's going on without having to be in Discord all the time.

Speaking of the OP Discord, it's an incredible resource for certain things. Here's what I learned:

  • Beyond asking relevant questions to RPGF teams, the support-nerds are very helpful and always do their best to point folks in the right direction. I don't think we can expect them to know everything. Again, they do their best. Customer Service in crypto is unmatched so long as you're kind and, most importantly, patient.

  • Builders (industry-wide) really need to utilize the resources, read them, and be more patient with teams. Almost every question or concern is answered in the material, previous messages, forums, or a dash of critical thinking.

  • Bickering in Discord for days instead of using the preferred forum is not always the best course of action. Yes, things will go wrong, not your way, or will be missed. Every experiment will require improvements and that's okay.

  • OP Stack builders need more (qualified) mentors. When it comes to funding, it all boils down to how you prove impact. No matter if you're seeking VC, Quadratic, Grants, or RPGF. Small teams need more help navigating this process to get it right or even to simply get noticed. I specify small teams because the bigger, more funded teams have dedicated, more experienced (or influential) builders to facilitate with ease.

Of course, as usual, there was a stream of ranting on Twitter after funding amounts were released. Everyone has an opinion, some well-informed, though others seem to have been simply noise.

By the Numbers

  • Well over 1200 projects were whittled down to 643 by sifting out scams, duplicates, and projects that simply didnt meet the requirements, the teams had their work cut out for themselves.

  • 145 Badgeholders (voters) spent volunteer time going through each of the 643 projects between attending conferences, their jobs, and upcoming holidays at the end of 2023

  • 30M OP went to the 501 teams awarded RPGF 🥳 that's over $112M USD

  • 142 projects did not meet the 17 vote minimum threshold for receiving RPGF

  • The project with the least amount of OP received was in 2 lists on retrolist.app. Meanwhile, Protocol Guild on 19 Lists received the most with 663k OP. RetroPGF Hub has only 4 lists for categorizing and is a much more concise resource.

  • Voting was done by median, which meant if a Badgeholder marked 0 for your project on their ballot instead of no vote, your overall average went down. Making it more difficult to reach 17.

This voting method may seem unconventional or confusing on the surface, leading to lopsided results. In actuality, it's quite innovative, works exceptionally well as is, and will only get better.

Participants and teams in Discord placed a lot of effort and significance on lists; even though there doesn't seem to be an official list source, one could assume that RetroPGF Hub is that source. This meant that anyone could create an arbitrary website, categorize all the projects into their own arbitrary lists, and maybe Badgeholders would use it.

Of course, Badgeholders need a much better system for categorizing impact to reduce cognitive load. However, this list system strewn between multiple websites and spreadsheets only introduces confusion and favoritism among makers of said list. Especially since some legitimate projects were in 0 lists and some initial lists made objectively zero sense.

People adept at curation will be key here for future rounds imo.

Optimism for RetroPGF

There's no doubt that the future of funding for a large portion of crypto communities and beyond is retroactive. This style of funding should work well for institutions, cities, and almost any other organization with a treasury.

It clearly works, is impact-aligned, and shows signs of growing the entire Ethereum ecosystem.

via Kevin Owoki

The above image shows how RetroPGF funds projects that lead to more projects, which seek funding through proposals that then go on to receive their own RetroPGF or Quadratic Gitcoin-style funding, and the cycle goes on and on and on. This is the power of building with impact first.

RPGF doesn't start and end with Optimism either. Communities and DAOs built on Farcaster have been using this system for months to reward impact.

Kevin Owoki released Easy RetroPGF, an app built so anyone can run their own round. Showing how aligned Optimism and Gitcoin truly are and have been. It seems super easy to set up, so I'm excited to see what comes of this.

The Impact = Profit meme definitely works, but what does it mean? This Mirror post from LauNaMu is super helpful in understanding Impact and Metrics.

I am highly optimistic about the future of retroactive funding of public goods in the crypto space, even beyond Ethereum, and believe all communities should implement some form of this impact model to build sustainable mechanisms. The way I see it, impact driven to blockspace or community activations leads to greater adoption, more funding of side projects, and more recognition for individual contributors for the collective. It’s a regenerative cycle that feeds itself!

Hunting and Gathering 🔗 

Key Optimism RPGF Links to Bookmark

Seeking Mission Request Sponsorship - have an idea you want sponsored by top 100 delegates? Tell them here!

RetroPGF Round 3 Badgeholder Manual - resource on how badgeholders are selected and what they do

Optimism Collective Governance forum - hub for everything OP 🔴 

Optimism Governance Docs - official resource for updates, definitions, and how-to guides

Announcement of RPGF Recipients from the Optimism Mirror post

GrowThePie - a highly powerful resource for data across Ethereum L2s, link here is for RPGF Round 3 reporting

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