The Optimist Awards

The Optimism collective is distributing 10 million OP tokens (currently valued at $25 million) in the largest ever retroactive public goods funding experiment!

The idea is to award tokens to projects based on their “preexisting (retroactive) impact, not future impact!”. You can think of it almost like the opposite of a grant. Grants are given to projects that show promise of future impact, the Optimist Awards go to projects that already have proven an impact.

Specifically, the Optimist Awards are looking for projects that have created a big impact but have not been properly rewarded by normal market forces. In other words, they look for places where capitalism has failed, where impact has not resulted in profit (read the criteria for yourself here).

The intended outcome is that the world will get more public goods! Both because they will be better funded but also because more people might consider it a viable path if the Optimist Awards exist.

How Winners Are Chosen

The Optimism Awards happen in two phases. In phase one a category for the awards is defined and projects are nominated. This phase has already happened.

In phase 2, a collection of ~80 individuals vote to allocate the total awards between nominated projects.

I am one of those individuals and this is why I need your help! Specifically, I need help assess which projects have had big impact + low funding. I also would like feedback on my methodology.

How you Can help 😇

This list contains all nominated projects, if you have information about any project, write a comment on this list! Specifically, if you know of projects that are high impact and low funding, comment!

My Voting Methodology:

I am explicitly not looking for potential impact, potential impact should be funded by grants, not by The Optimism Awards. I am not looking for projects that are high impact and high funding, in those cases, capitalism is already working. I am also regrettably not looking for projects that are low impact and low funding. These are often very well intentioned projects that deserve recognition and funding but outside the scope of the Optimism Awards. 

I will have three caveats. First, I am looking at impact relative to other projects in the category. In absolute terms, I don’t think an education project will ever compete with an infrastructure project so each category will get an allocation of votes and then impact is measured within that category. Second, I am willing to consider secondary and tertiary impact. It’s possible a project has very little direct impact but may have spawned a very large secondary or tertiary impact. Third, I will be thinking of impact broadly, not just through traditional ROI metrics but also cultural impact, vibes, etc.  

Open Questions:

Someone proposed the idea of normalizing impact to specifically consider the Optimism Network. That would mean if a project has had a big impact generally but only a small portion of the total impact happened on the Optimism chain, then it would not rank highly. I think there is merit to this idea.

I’m also considering how to account for projects that have a low total impact but high relative impact. For example, a single person who perhaps has had a very large impact compared to their hours contributed but a small impact in total terms. Someone like this likely should still be awarded.

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