Despite the furious back channeling, discord spamming, unrelentless tweeting, Velodrome team (apparently the frontline of Optimism governance) has yet to explain a very simple thing. This misunderstanding (some would say FUD) was evident from the very start, has been elaborated on, and actively deflected with irrelevant, out-of-context screenshots from these other venues. This form of engagement that Velodrome prefers has drawn praise from some quarters as “hustle” or “being passionate” and self-described as unavoidably part of “an inherently political process”:
I do believe it is worthwhile to cut through the noise. Very rarely can one find the original causal force that starts a complex mass moving. But sometimes you can find one screenshot:
This “feeling” (less than one day after the draft proposal was posted) that value will entirely flow back to Mainnet is the initial, powerful impulse that has led to this wide-ranging discussion happening in multiple venues of social media. Everything since then has been some form of elaboration or deflection on this basic feeling.
So let’s put aside all the noise. Let’s put aside the silly inaccuracy about pool2s in the tweet, which he repeated here, and let’s put aside the various leading questions asked by Alex Cutler in his posts here, including his strange screenshot of Mainnet pools, before he finally decided to “weigh in”.
Let’s talk about this feeling that value will flow back to Mainnet. Why would someone feel that 2 basis points of volume going back to Mainnet will result in everything else going back to Mainnet?
On the face of it, this is an absurd claim.
Rather than address why 2 basis points of volume is so crucial, they ask a related but quite different question, which is easier for them to defend. In behavioral economics, this is called the substitution heuristic. When faced with a hard question you can’t answer, you substitute a similar, but different question that is easy to answer. It is quite deceptive and easy to pull off and funnily enough, not always done to you by others but by yourself. Why? So that your smoll brain can avoid facing reality.
Instead of asking the relevant question, they substitute with:
- do you believe it’s right for value to flow back to Mainnet?
- do you believe Optimism should incentivize value to leave Optimism?
- do you believe people should be voting on Mainnet for something that affects Optimism?
- do you believe Curve should be doing more on Optimism?
- do you believe people should be allowed to use Curve on Mainnet if they use Curve on Optimism?
- isn’t it better to not use Mainnet at all?
Note how many of these questions have to do with beliefs, particularly about seemingly deep issues that when actually pondered are quite vapid. For example, “do you believe Curve should be doing more on Optimism?” Obviously more Curve LPs will come if there are more incentives. So the practical matter is, if you want Curve LPs to come, you give them more. And why do you want them to come? Because the more of them, the better the trading and more traders come too. There is no deep philosophy here.
That doesn’t matter if the purpose is to deflect of course. Then the more absurd the better, as people get distracted from the real question:
Would 2 basis points of all the volume Curve brings to Optimism going back to Mainnet result in everything else going back to Mainnet?
So remember, next time the Velodrones ask you, “Something something value on Mainnet?” just ask them to answer this first. This is in fact the most pertinent question if you are interested in making money trading on Optimism, not in holding some vague idealistic philosophy that happens to very coincidentally align with defending one protocol’s moat.