Grants Council Reviewer Nominations: Season 4

I’ve been a part of the Builders Subcommittee in Season 3 and previously the Tooling Committee in Season 2. We had the pleasure of reviewing dozens of applications and spent hours discussing what to look for, which projects would bring the most value to Optimism, and how to evaluate applications to ensure fairness, effectiveness, and accountability. I think we did a good job, and I would like to continue that work, building on the experience we already have.

Council sub-committee: Builders

If you are a delegate, please provide the link to your delegate commitment: Delegate Commitments - #147 by kaereste

If you are a delegate, please indicate what % of votable supply is delegated to you:: 719.83K OP, 1.88% Delegated Votes according to Tally | delegate.l2beat.eth

If you are a delegate, please indicate your voting participation rate in OP governance to date: 67% (Delegates of Optimism DAO 2), we have missed some early votes, yet now we have a role among our team (me) dedicated solely to governance activities, so we’re increasing our rate right now (up from 62% last season, 100% since creating a dedicated role).

Please link to your voting history and any voting rationale you’ve shared:

We’ve been also discussing our voting rationale on #governance channel on our public Discord + we organise monthly Governance Community Calls for our delegators. We are happy to explain our voting strategy or rationale in person as well if anyone’s interested (you can DM me).

Please outline any other contributions to the Optimism ecosystem to date:

L2BEAT is by definition ingrained in the L2 ecosystem. We’ve been early fans and supporters of Optimism. On our website we present detailed information about Optimism (Optimism – L2BEAT) including project milestones, live TVL and activity tracking. We have created the risk framework for both L2s and Bridges so that first of all we keep the users informed about the risks they’re taking but also we push the protocols (including Optimism) to strive for a better, decentralized, permissionless and trustless future. We are running an Optimism node in a validator mode and we’re actively monitoring if everything is running correctly.

We also actively engage in governance discussions during Bi-weekly delegate calls, on forum and on Discord.

Do you have a technical background? If so, please elaborate:

Yes, I am fluent with code and software architecture. I used to be a developer and sysadmin a long time ago. I also have a UX and product management background. For the last 15 years I’ve been working as a product manager/product owner. I am used to scheduling and planning IT projects and working with the development teams. I’ve been responsible for project delivery in various projects ranging from ecommerce through financial services to AI systems.

As L2BEAT we have a very experienced technical team with deep expertise in L2s and crypto development.

Have you previously served on a Token House Council or committee? If so, please specify which:

Yes, the Tooling Committee in Season 2 and as a reviewer in Season 3 Grants Council Builders Grants Sub-committee.

Please demonstrate any experience you believe is relevant to this role:

I have a decent experience with non-crypto granting programs (mainly EU and government funds but also private pre-accelerator programs), both from the perspective of grant receiver as well as grant operator, I believe this might be useful in this role. No matter if I get elected or not, I’ll be sharing my input on how to facilitate proper grant distribution.

As L2BEAT we have a good overview of existing tooling in the L2 ecosystem and we have some vision of what’s lacking and what would be interesting to have. We will be sharing those views as RFPs and will engage in discussions to help the relevant teams deliver the best results possible.

In the Grants Council in the previous Season we have already established a good framework for working with proposers to have the best proposals in our intake. I’ve been active in direct outreach, which has resulted in some very successful applications. In this season I would like to continue this work to establish patterns and procedures that can be followed in future programs.

Please demonstrate expertise relevant to your Council sub-committee: (if applicable)

I have lots of experience in working with teams to properly plan and schedule projects. While reviewing the proposals I will be working closely with proposers to make sure their proposals are both realistic and focused on delivering the most value to the Optimism ecosystem. I’ve been already working on the Tooling Committee in the previous season and been engaging in productive discussions with the proposers, hope to continue this in the upcoming season.

I believe that the grants council should be more involved in the discussion with projects while fine-tuning the grant proposal so that the proposals are either abandoned early or are written properly so that they are more likely to pass. Especially that going forward we won’t have an open voting but just a Grant Council approval, it is crucial to have a healthy and open discussion on what are the Council’s expectations and goals.

Members of L2BEAT team have been involved in the development of many web3 tools, including Earl.js, DethCode, TypeChain, ethTx, TokenFlow and others. I believe that we have the necessary experience and knowledge to make a valuable addition to the Council.

Please describe your philosophy on what makes a good Governance Fund grant:

A good grant is one that is deliverable in the proposed schedule and budget. I prefer smaller budgets and timeframes with a specific plan for execution. It’s easier to pivot and adapt on a smaller scope than on the very ambitious, multi-month project.

A good Builders grant not only focuses on delivering the product itself but also on getting early traction, involving external contributors or having the product integrated with other projects in Optimism. The best proposals are those that not only make very good use of the part of the cake they receive, but that make the whole cake bigger - through cooperation, enabling (but in practice, not just in theory) others to build in the ecosystem or through education and helping other bridge the gap and make their first steps.

It is essential that all proposals include clearly defined and quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs). This will enable the evaluation of the project’s impact in the future and provide future grantees with valuable insights and lessons learned from the execution of previous projects.

When it comes to software, we are firmly committed to supporting open-source, decentralized, and permissionless systems that prioritize the security and privacy of the users. While we acknowledge that certain compromises may be necessary in certain cases (such as with most Layer 2 solutions today), we will always give preference to proposals that align more closely with these values when presented with multiple options.

What types of grant applications do you think will help achieve Intent #2?

This season I would like to see much more experimentation with novel use cases and technologies:

  • more gaming-related projects,
  • novel uses of NFTs,
  • smart application of AI (in governance for example),
  • experimentation around OPStack and Superchain
  • new metrics/patterns/dashboards/guidelines to analyse onchain activity
  • integration and cooperation between different OP-chains
  • new tooling to make building in Optimism easier and more effective
  • advanced developer tooling (like more sophisticated block explorers, etc.) that enhance developer experience and makes it easier to build, test and deploy software on Optimism
  • tools and resources that facilitate maintenance of Optimism rollup, like tooling that helps run an in-house Optimism validator node and monitor for the issues, in the future the possibility to submit fraud proofs

Please disclose any anticipated conflicts of interest:

I don’t think there are any existing personal conflicts of interest. If there are any during my tenure, I will immediately reveal them.

As L2BEAT, we are running a research and analytics platform for the L2 ecosystem ( 1) so obviously any competing project could be considered as posing a conflict of interest. However, in all cases, I will work closely with the projects for their best interest and best interest of the Optimism and Ethereum ecosystems.

Furthermore, as L2BEAT we might be applying for Optimism grants as well - in such cases, I will abstain from voting and will not engage in the Council discussions on this specific proposal.

Please verify that you agree to abide by the Code of Conduct 2: Yes

Please verify that you understand KYC will be required to receive Council rewards at the end of Season 4: Yes

Please verify that you are able to commit ~20 hours / week to reviewing grant applications and other Council operations: Yes

On top of the standard form, I would like to present my perspective on what I would like to achieve in Season 4 as a reviewer.

First of all, I understand my job as a Grants Council reviewer is not only to do a fair assessment of the applications that are submitted for the next Grants cycle.

I believe it starts with spreading the word that we have such a grant program and reaching out to all perspective builders who may be interested in building innovative and useful things on top of Optimism. I’ve already reached out directly to prospective projects last season and it proved to be very effective, this season I’d like to double those efforts.

In addition, I would like to schedule a quick 1-1 call with each applicant to explain what we are looking for in these applications, how we evaluate projects, and how the proposal can be improved to better fit the goals of this grant program and the overall vision of Optimism. I found such calls very helpful last season, I’ve also practiced it in other grant programs I’ve been involved with in the past, and I’d like to experiment with it this season in this Grant Council. Of course, this requires a significant amount of time, so I’m not even proposing that this be a standard practice for the entire Council, but rather my own experiment - and of course I’ll share my experiences from this experiment with others so that we can decide if and how to include this as a practice in future grant programs.

Finally, in reviewing applications from previous seasons, I have noticed that there are some similarities between certain “types” of grant applications. I would like to try to help applicants learn about previous similar applications so that they can excel in their own proposals.

There are also two other areas where we could improve in terms of Grants Council results. The first is working on practices and schemas to hold applicants accountable - we already made a big step forward in this area last season with the introduction of the Benchmark Framework, now we should evaluate how it is working and try to improve it. The other is to popularize the impact of our work. We should make it more visible how much impact Optimism Grants have already made, and we should be proud of all the great projects we’ve helped build. We need to make sure we have some space to brag about grantees. While both are probably outside the scope of this Grant Council focus, I will keep them in mind and try to provide some feedback on both.

In summary, if I am selected for next Season’s Grant Council, I will focus not only on selecting the best project to fund but also on experimenting with our processes and helping to make those processes better and more efficient in the future.