[Draft] Attestation-based Optimism Citizenship algorithm

S4 Intent: Governance Accessibility (Intent 4)

Proposed Mission: Attestation-based Optimism Citizenship algorithm

Proposal Tier: Ember

Baseline grant amount: 98K OP

% of total available Intent budget: 3.27%

Alliance: BrightID/Grail

Alliance Lead: Adam

Contact info: email: adam.stallard@gmail.com Discord: @adamstallard

L2 recipient address: 0xdC0046B52e2E38AEe2271B6171ebb65cCD337518

Please list the members of your Alliance and link to any previous work:

  • Adam Stallard (Project & alliance lead) - Founder BrightID. Director Hedge for Humanity. Steward Gitcoin. C. Adam Stallard adamstallard (Adam Stallard) · GitHub
  • Prassana (Integration with Grail) - Serial entrepreneur and executive, with experience leading large scale teams, operations and building startup enterprises. Founder & CTO of Insent.ai before acquisition by ZoomInfo.
  • Bitsikka (Integrations of Mobile/web Apps) - Part of EthStatus community since 2016. Joined the Kernel community as block 2 fellow in 2020. Joined BrightID in 2021 contributing to community operations, twitter posts, documentation, and as a frontline integration facilitator with dozens of BrightID integrations on this track record. Link to previous work Github: bitsikka

Please explain how this Mission will help accomplish the above Intent:

Mission summary.

Create an attestation-based Optimism Citizenship algorithm to help the Optimism Collective governance define who could qualify as Optimism Citizens for RPGF3 & beyond.

Key features of the algorithm:

  • Sybil-resistant. To favor one-person-one-vote.
  • Flexible. Able to adapt to the evolving value perception of the Optimism Collective stakeholders.
  • Scalable. Should work well both for both a small & a large number of users.
  • Privacy-preserving: Users personal information should be kept private.

The algorithm should also be upgradable, composable & open-source.

This algorithm will help to evolve & scale the Citizen’s House as a non-plutocratic governance system that helps to balance short-term incentives with long-term vision. This will help to build the foundations of an antifragile governance system.

A method to provide Optimism citizenship at scale is massively important for Governance accessibility as it increases the votable supply and reduces the concentration of voting power. Two features needed to make an antifragile governance structure.

If this algorithm is successfully passed through the Optimism Collective Governance we plan to create a UX for users to explore citizenship status and help the community further engage & support the Optimism Collective. Moreover, we plan to further integrate a wide set of mechanisms for Optimism Citizens to push the frontier of digital identity.

Blockchain governance challenges

Decentralized governance (DeGov) has risen in popularity in the Blockchain space. This novel concept untapped a world of opportunities for all kinds of projects in both the digital and physical realms. However, the overwhelming majority of DeGov has been limited to token-weighted governance. Since 2021, Vitalik warned about the danger of relying exclusively on this governance mechanism in this post referenced by the Optimism collective governance docs (Moving beyond coin voting governance). The main risks are “(i) inequalities and incentive misalignments even in the absence of attackers, and (ii) outright attacks through various forms of (often obfuscated) vote buying.”

Web 3 projects need to take these risks into consideration to design anti-fragile governance structures. One of the most novel DeGov experiments to address these risks both by the magnitude of the project & by the approach is the Optimism Collective a new model for properly rewarding those who create or sustain public goods consisting of two houses: the Token House and the Citizens’ House. The rationale behind a double governance mechanism is for both houses to balance long-term vision with short-term incentives. If we get things right this will uphold the fairness ratio premise impact=profit.

The Citizens House.

What’s the Citizens House?

The Citizens’ House is a large-scale experiment in non-plutocratic governance (vitalik.ca/general/2021/08/16/voting3.html) and retroactive funding of public goods. In contrast to token voting, the Citizens’ House relies on the concept of identity-based governance to ensure a system of one-person-one-vote.

What’s the current state of the Citizen House?

The Citizens’ House was initiated with a set of 90 voters in RetroPGF 2. However, eventually, Citizenship is intended to be widely distributed to a large group of humans across the Optimism ecosystem with expertise in many different subcultures and industries.

What are the next steps for the Citizen House expressed by the Optimism Collective/Foundation?

The citizenship badge holder system will require nimble experimentation as the Optimism Collective navigates a rapidly evolving space. Currently, Citizenship is determined by (a) criteria set by the Optimism Foundation & (b) a special election from the Token House. The next wave of citizenship will be issued before RetroPGF 3, later in 2023.

What’s our mission?

Our mission is to create an attestation-based Optimism Citizenship algorithm, push it through the Optimism governance process, improve it based on feedback & pass it on a snapshot vote for a following iteration of the Citizen House. We aim to help the Citizen House evolve & scale further in the following seasons of the Optimism evolution.

We were inspired by this Ecosystem Project Idea Optimism Ecosystem Contributions 🔴✨ · GitHub to build a highly sybil-resistant citizenship algorithm that uses attestations to select the set of Citizens at any given time based on the criteria selected by a group of individuals, the Optimism Foundation to start, but it can be scaled to all the current citizens & beyond.

This algorithm will be designed to be flexible, scalable, upgradable, composable, privacy-oriented & open-source. In other words, it should be future-proof; adaptable to iterative governance, a key principle of the collective, rather than just prescribe citizenship criteria.

What will we do?

We intend to use the Optimism Collective governance process & the Optimism Foundation guidelines to design an attestation-based citizenship algorithm. Based on the attestations that would ideally be a better fit to establish identity & citizenship, in other words, identify members of the Optimism Collective who contribute actively to the Collective.

We will analyze the current schemas of the Attestation Station to assess which are compatible with this design. Wherever it’s needed, we will create new attestation schemas that may improve the citizenship algorithm. A few attestations schemas that we have already identified for Proof of Uniqueness & are within the scope of this project are:

  • BrightID - Meets and Bitu
  • Grail ZK KYC.
  • Grail FaceTec.

We feel confident that drawing from the vast experience of BrightID (https://www.brightid.org/), Aura (https://aura.brightid.org/) & Grail (https://app.thegrail.xyz/) building Sybil-resistant & privacy technologies will yield a robust & agile citizenship algorithm. Furthermore, the citizenship algorithm can be boosted by the Sybil-resistant attestations (based on extended Sybilrank algorithm) from:

  • BrightID (Meets and Bitu) - Bitu Verification - BrightID
  • Aura (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) - How Aura works - Aura adds in social and subjective signals (same premises as the EigenTrust algorithm) from local community spaces, where local transparency is expected, but the signals are not necessarily on-chain or recorded in a verifiably sourceable manner. EigenTrust algorithm-based approaches sourcing web3 social media public spaces are also expected to be added as this media gains traction.

By never recording PII data in the attestations off/on-chain, Aura and BrightID maintains a high level of privacy in the global scope.

What comes next?

If the algorithm successfully passes the Optimism Governance process. In the next season, we would like to create a Dapp with citizenship data, where users can explore their citizen status & see how they can contribute further to the Optimism Collective to become Optimism Citizens for the next round. As well as, integrating Aura as a mechanism that helps to aggregate the answers of one or several groups of individuals weighing their answers based on trust tiers to define future citizenship. Such as, Aura could grow organically by including the set of 90 initial citizens as public notaries (Aura players) attesting to people in their network that they trust through Aura.

A closing remark from the Optimism Collective…

This text will be hidden

Here’s to the future

The rise of Ethereum L2 in the coming years represents a monumental opportunity to usher in a new era of the human-centric internet and a chance for truly massive real-world impact.

What a time to be alive!

This chance belongs to all of us. As we build this governance system in the coming years, participating in the community, spreading good memes, and setting a cultural example for the Optimists of the future is more important than ever.

Let’s do this.

What makes your Alliance well-suited to execute this Mission?

  • BrightID, Aura & Grail have been developing nonintrusive, Sybil-resistant technology for several years cumulative pushing the boundaries of privacy first web-of-trust and social network science based Sybil-resistance.
  • BrightID is a social identity network that allows people to prove to applications that they aren’t using multiple accounts. We have been building a nonintrusive, decentralized, open-source proof of uniqueness since 2017.
    • BrightID is the first ever verification used since the early days of Gitcoin Grants before anybody was talking about Sybil-resistance. Adam helped Gitcoin set the standard on Sybil-resistant attestation requirements for pre-grants protocol Gitcoin Grants and continues to do so for the grants protocol.
    • BrightID is also the only Sybil-resistant attestation that CLR.fund has been using since the early days for citizens participating in the Quadratic voting.
    • BrightID was exemplified as a Proof of Personhood solution for non-coin driven governance in Vitalik’s article “Moving beyond coin voting governance” which is referenced in the Citizens House section of the Optimism governance site.
    • Adam has 5+ years of experience working on Proof of Uniqueness with BrightID & launching successful projects & integrations to BrightID.
    • Prassana has worked on the KYC ecosystem in the web2 & web 3 space for over 6 years.
    • Bitsikka has successfully led dozens of BrightID integrations in the last 2 years. He has evaluated many different identity systems including W3C’s DID/VC based systems, and on-chain based systems including SBTs and EAS.

Here are some links to our previous work:

Critical milestones

  • Critical Milestone 1: Forum proposal of a draft of the algorithm to establish citizenship in Optimism on the Forum of Optimism to collect feedback.
  • Critical Milestone 2: Formal submission of the proposal with the algorithm to establish citizenship in Optimism.
  • Critical Milestone 3: Create new attestations related to different citizenship qualities.

How should Token House delegates measure progress towards this Mission?

  • Submit a forum proposal of a draft of the algorithm to establish citizenship in Optimism on the Forum of Optimism to collect feedback by July 31st.
  • Improve the proposal & make a formal submission of the proposal by August 21st
  • Have all the attestations for the Citizenship Algorithm created by September 4th.
  • Get 200+ people making attestation related to citizenship by December 4th.

How should badgeholders measure impact upon completion of this Mission?

  • The final version of the algorithm receives mostly positive feedback & gets implemented for citizenship for next rounds.
  • Attestations related to citizenship get greater adoption than the initial 200 people projected by November.

Breakdown of Mission budget request:

  • Contributors = 90K OP (Attestations SC/Frontend, + Algorithm)
  • External support = 7K OP General Magic.
  • Infrastructure - 1K OP

I confirm that my grant will be subject to clawback for failure to execute on critical milestones: Yes

I confirm that I have read and understand the grant policies: Yes

I understand that I will be required to provide additional KYC information to the Optimism Foundation to receive this grant: Yes

I understand that I will be expected to following the public grant reporting requirements here: Yes


Hi @Adam_S, Lavande from the Optimism Foundation :wave:

Love that you were inspired by Issue #39 on the Contribution Board!

If you look at the suggested features of the issue, you’ll see that they are:

  • Define an algorithm that selects Citizens
  • Write a list of proposed attestations that would make Citizenship algorithms possible

Drafting an algorithim and proposing/creating the attestations that would comprise it would be a great contribution to the Collective. However, your milestones should not involve a governance process as there is not yet a valid proposal type to formalize the set of criteria that will be used to determine Citizenship and there will not be one before the end of Season 4.

Happy to see this proposal, but wanted to flag that it should be adjusted to avoid reliance on a governance process that doesn’t exist yet.


Hi @Adam_S! Wanted to make sure you were aware of the Optimism Season 4 Pitching Sessions to help find the 4 delegate approvals you’ll need by this Wednesday at 19:00 GMT for your proposal to move to a vote.

These sessions are happening in Discord on Monday, 26.06 2pm ET / 6pm GMT / 8pm CET and Tuesday, 27.06 11am ET / 3pm GMT / 5pm CET.

You can sign-up here!

1 Like

Hi @lavande

Thanks for the feedback, we are very excited about supporting the Optimism citizenship process.

We understand that there is no valid proposal type to formalize the citizenship criteria, which would mean cutting from the scope or changing critical milestone #2.

Our overall intention is to draft an initial algorithm, get feedback, improve it & formalize it to have it as a final deliverable.

What would be the best place to submit the algorithm proposal to get feedback & make a final submission?

1 Like

There is no concept of a formal submission, but this information should live on the forum so all delegates can use it as an input in their decision making when the relevant proposal type becomes valid.

Hey @Adam_S can you please give some more details on the expenses?

What is the 90K gonna be used for? Trying to judge if the ask is reasonable.

Also what kind of external support does General Magic give?

1 Like

General Magic’s support is to help us apply for the grant. @Adam_S is actually @Cotabe . He is doing as much as possible to prepare the proposals so we can focus on building.

As far as the 90k for building, we will use those funds to update BrightID node and Grail software so that BrightID “verifications” (Aura, meets) become Attestation station attestations. We will also improve Aura to incorporate signals (or existing attestations) from Optimism activity and existing trust relationships. We will onboard a subset of Optimism citizens onto Aura, so they can help verify the rest of the citizens.


We would love to get more feedback & support if you consider it is ready to move to a vote.

Pinging some awesome engaged delegates here: @polynya @linda @AxlVaz @kvny2046 @jackanorak

Hey I think this is really interesting and needed, but right now I do not believe @lavande 's earlier concern has been resolved. Part of your milestone relies on a process that does not exist yet. I would suggest changing the scope of this to simply proposing this algorithm to the community. Further, I think this proposal jumps the gun a little bit. I think it would be better to create an assessment of relevant sybil-resistant options for the OP Citizens House, then select the best option for Optimism, as opposed to invest in a solution now.

Hey Adam, thanks a lot for the response.

With that said and with @lavande’s and @blockchainatusc feedback I think it may make sense to either revise or rescope the proposal or wait until the criteria to determine what a citizen is are out.

Otherwise optimism would end up spending funds on something that may not be used at all.

1 Like

Echoing the comments of @lefterisjp

The proposal is very well-intentioned, but I think it should be preceded by a prior discussion in the governance about the Citizen House roadmap to confirm if it fits well with the work proposed here.