Grants Council Reviewer Nominations: Season 5

Hello, I am running to keep my place on the Builder Grant subcommittee of the Grant Council, which evaluated an unprecedented number of applications and maintained a sound process. As with last season, I am proud of the work I’ve done with this team – and of the directions I’ve continued to help push it in – and would like to continue this work.

Council sub-committee: (if applicable)

If you are a delegate, please provide the link to your delegate commitment:

If you are a delegate, please indicate what % of votable supply is delegated to you:

If you are a delegate, please indicate your voting participation rate in OP governance to date: (You may link to your profile on Karma, if applicable. If not, you can divide the number of Optimism votes under your Snapshot profile by 87, which is the number of Token House votes through Season 2, and add all possible votes from Agora.)

Please link to your voting history and any voting rationale you’ve shared: (You may link to your Snapshot and/or Agora profile for voting history. You may link to your delegate communication thread, or any other medium you use to communicate with your delegators, to share your voting rationale.)

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

  • Integral contributor to Velodrome’s design and launch, with coordination of OP Labs
  • High level of contributions to OP governance as delegate, commenter, grant council member
  • Aided in the onboarding of some 50-odd protocols to Optimism, made introductions, advised on optimal product and liquidity strategy
  • Advised several OP protocols as they applied for governance grants
  • Published Optimism’s first review of passed grants, which was directly responsible for making builder grants in scope for Governance
  • Led first comprehensive retrospective of OP grants to date, which has already surfaced major insights and revelations of protocols’ handling of OP (Recieved RPGF for this) and inspired other efforts furthering this project
  • Was voice influencing major changes in direction of grants, including the implementation of the Grants Council itself, requests for grants, and increased focus on builder grants
  • Helped conceive and led inaugural RFG process, placing Optimism squarely at the vanguard of governance and ecosystem grant processes
  • Contributed to several governance process improvements including many that went into this coming season

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

I’m technical right up to the point of the actual software engineering of protocols. Conversant in code and design. Deeply involved in quantitative protocol construction and am credibly ‘technical’ in defi. Regularly code to extract insights and perform actions onchain.

Without going into specifics, my professional background is quantitative in nature.

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

Builders subcommittee of Grants Council

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

In addition to the experience leading up to the founding of the grant council, I was an inaugural member of the builder grant council and not only contributed but helped shape several policies and processes related to the work.

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

I am a builder and have gone through the process of going from zero to a major ecosystem player, building something while facing a threadbare budget, maximum skepticism, and vocal detractors. My team has gotten an OP Labs Grant and several follow-on grants from Governance. I believe our team has set the bar on applying for and reporting on grants of this nature, and we continue to blow past every performance expectation set and lead the ecosystem in results.

As a delegate, I’ve voted on grants, and as a member of the Shadow Defi Committee, a self-started group helping to provide context on grants, I’ve helped to push people’s thinking on what grants ought to be used for.

As a Grant Council member, I pushed for a more proactive stance on what sorts of grants we want to give out and introduced a new level of rigor to our selection process. This work directly led to the RFG program.

As an individual, I’ve proposed ecosystem-wide initiatives rethinking how Optimism manages its resources and how OP Mainnet positions itself in an evolving Superchain context, and I’ve staked much of my career in crypto on making Optimism succeed.

In short, I’ve experienced virtually all tasks and perspectives that could go into the construction of grants, and there’s little in the way of subject matter that I haven’t personally worked with, from crosschain messaging to staking to security to new NFT token standards.

I’ve now also been on the Grant Council and have an intimate understanding of how it works and how processes will improve next round.

I initially chose to apply for builder grants instead of growth experiments for three reasons.

  • I already have a track record of independent voting and have advised my delegators that I would always vote and argue against Velodrome’s immediate interest if it was in conflict with what I thought was best for Optimism. That said, it seems that perceived conflicts of interests are less pronounced in this group; more growth experiments are likely to touch velodrome than builder grants.
  • This vertical also plays well into my day job, which has me doing a lot of outreach to builders. In this capacity, hopefully it’s not a stretch to say I’ve likely spoken with more active and prospective builders on Optimism than anyone outside of the OP Foundation. In this way I can help guide builders to the program and get the initiatives we’re looking for.
  • I think builder grants at this stage are more critical for the long-term viability of the Optimism project; establishing a major builder hub is one of the few things we can control in the current macro climate, and it is one that yields substantial network benefits down the road. We must be the single best place to launch a new project.

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

I believe in a structured approach, where the council articulates where OP is and where it wants it to go. It should outline what sorts of people, teams, and activities are needed to get to this desired future, and it should shape and approve grants that get Optimism those people, teams, and activities.

Grants should be designed with justifiable, measurable, and achievable objectives, and they should be reviewable periodically so that the Grants Council can guide them and retain the ability to withhold future grants. They should be scaled appropriately to the objectives (and the objectives’ value to the ecosystem), not to the projects’ size or perceived importance.

Although there is room to take a slight shotgun approach, grants should go to the projects that are most promising in their domains. This requires the Grants Council to have an informed opinion about the likely winning teams in each space.

Just like the best tools are multifunction tools, the best grants will have second-order benefits affecting the largest number of builders. That is, you fund the project that makes other projects more achievable. This is how you accelerate ecosystems.

In the course of a grants program, major things might change. This is crypto. So the grants council should also allow for some opportunism in approving grants.

What types of Mission Requests do you think will help achieve the Season 5 Intents?

Please refer to a thread I wrote some time ago on what sorts of grants I"d like to see.

A more recent thread outlined my overall thesis for Optimism as a builder launchpad:

Top of mind remain a generalized, robust price oracle, further subsidization of typical upfront needs of new protocols such as RPCs, audits, etc., and proofs of concept highlighting the OP stack, Account Abstraction, and new forms of lending (especially with staked ETH). We also need to sort out how the Superchain is going to work ASAP.

That is, we want to fund the things that let builders know that we can offer the best ecosystem to work in, the best tools to work with, and the best funding to derisk experimentation.

Please disclose any anticipated conflicts of interest:

If I am elected, I will review grants that could have a material impact on Velodrome. As I did last season, I will make clear to my subcommittee when a grant seems to be in Velodrome’s area.

They will attest that, as before, I’ve consistently voted in Optimism’s interest, even when doing so would be against Velodrome’s immediate interests. I do so because I want Optimism to win, and in any case I see Optimism’s success as more necessary for Velodrome’s success than any individual grant.

This has continued to be the case season after season.

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

Please verify that you understand KYC will be required to receive Council rewards at the end of Season 5: Yes

Please verify that you are able to commit ~20 hours / week to reviewing grant applications and other Council operations: Yes, though realistically this number often goes way higher, especially for those in more specialized positions.