[READY] [GF: Phase 1 Proposal] Optimistic Railway

so, i am happy to hear that optimistic railway wants to be with optimism eco.
i support you.

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This proposal does not fit into Gov Fund Phase 1: Voting No

Value-add: Very small
Amount: High for an early project
Op distribution: Bad - Almost only internal development
Co-incentives: Not applicable

We don’t see OP Phase 1 as the right place to get very early project funding - especially if there is no direct value-add as you’d get from fundamental infrastructure, new tooling or apps that grow the ecosystem.

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We are building contract-level tooling and infrastructure that connects dapps of all kinds. This is in alignment with the governance fund and we are directly adding the value that you just mentioned, which indeed grows the ecosystem.

In response to your topics:

Value-add
We very much disagree that is a small value add. Our railway will allow dapps of all kinds to talk to one another and transport users in new and useful ways. This will improve the development experience as well as the user experience for countless dApps to come. Connected metaverses has been a promise of web3 that has yet to be realized, and this is a component that can move that forward in a big way.

Amount
The amount received is contingent upon us actually delivering what we say we will. This is based on early feedback we received and is specifically to address the worry of these funds being misallocated or our team being unable to deliver what we promise.

OP distribution
We believe the biggest value we can presently deliver is in actually building this infrastructure, since it doesn’t yet exist, which is why 90% of the distribution is allocated to core team and services. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t plan to give back in a big way to our community (see co-incentives below).

Co-incentives:
These are absolutely applicable. The Optimism foundation recommends matching as follows:

the Optimism Foundation recommends that each project submitting a Governance Fund proposal include a commitment to match OP token incentives with their own project incentives (when the project has the capital and capacity to do so).

We 100% plan on delivering at least 2X the value of what we receive in this grant back to the community, as soon as the project has the capital and capacity to do so, namely after this initial phase of development is complete. One of the primary ways we will contribute this is through by paying user fees (such as gas) to travel through hubs (dApps) along the railway.

It sounds really nice, but also sounds ambitious. It would be good to see this team’s ability to deliver at some level, with something like an existing demo for example.

Our team recently won a top quality prize at the Chainlink hackathon for our on-chain game, Hexploration:

You can take a look at all of our code for that project and this here:

And here is a demo of the Optimistic Railway tech in action:
Watch the video

Hello @studiomax, from the Optimism community we appreciate all the intentions to build on it, I think most can agree on that. However, the project you describe is in very early stages, what about continuing to work and then applying to some retroactive public good funding? Or request less funding to keep targeting RPGF.

Additionally, 0x will receive funds (from Phase 0 check here) and will be dedicated to grants, in part for NFT and gaming. This, can represent an opportunity for you? Just giving some feasible ideas, let us know what do you think.

At this stage, I do not approve of the proposal.

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I’m voting Yes. Happy for Optimism to take the risk with funding development of new concepts, although I’ll remain skeptical about your ability to execute on a relatively ambitious and well-defined plan till your goals as listed above are delivered.

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Voted: Yes. Optimistic project but we need to encourage and support such projects.

Pro:

  1. Will be open source
  2. Early in development phase
  3. Open Source
  4. Asked for 400K, which is little high but willing to lock the fund for 6 month and only need other half after showing significant progress.
  5. Incentive matched

Cons:

  1. Full dev budget
  2. Not live on OP Chain

Suggestion:- A POC would help. As you will be using this budget for dev, I will highly recommend you make a ledger of your spending, ideally on-chain verifiable.

If you some input here, I would really appreciate that.

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Thank you for your nice response. Excuse us for the short initial feedback.

Overall, value-add in the near-to-medium term is limited in our view. There are better ways for startup funding. This round of funding is meant to increase growth and adoption of Optimism and we don’t see that. We wrote “Co-incentives are not applicable” as we saw your promise but know that there won’t be an actual possibility of adding tokens or cash for your project.

Hope you understand our reasoning and that you stick around, keep building and apply for another round once you got a bit more to showcase &or traction. Best of luck!

If there is a road map?

This is an interesting idea but for such an early product, it is too large of a request. Once you have a more developed product then it’s worth applying again and maybe for a smaller amount.

Thanks for sharing this proposal. I like that this project is ambitious but given that it’s so early in development and there is not platform usage yet, it’s not clear to me that this is the best use of funds for Optimism at this stage.

@linda @Bobbay_StableNode I do appreciate the feedback. It’s been very difficult to convince the community without already having a fully built product. We have been available for weeks posting here and on discord, asking for feedback and answering questions and making adjustments to the proposal, but unfortunately all this new feedback is coming after the proposal is finalized and up for a vote. This granting has seemed very unfriendly towards projects that aren’t already fully built, which really leaves us and any other new projects in a tough spot. It doesn’t make sense to focus 100% of the grants on existing built out products, as this is leaving no room for any innovation or development specific to the Optimism space. We have the skills and ideas to move the space forward, but without some funding for development, we simply cannot devote the time required as we have bills to pay and need to focus on other paid work. We know this is “risky” and have done everything in our power to assure the community we will develop and deliver as promised, and we have committed to forfeit half of our funding if we can’t deliver, which we thought addressed the concerns of asking for “too much funding”. Again thanks for all the feedback, it would have been much more helpful before the voting began when we were in the draft phase.

I would strongly encourage you to change your votes to Yes and give us a chance. We will prove ourselves, but we do not have the capacity to fully build this product first and come back for funding after the fact. If we cannot obtain funding for this phase, we just don’t have the time or capacity necessary to work on this, as much as our hearts are in it. And we are still completely open to new suggestions on ways of proving ourselves every step of the way. We built out the concept and an early tech demo for free on our own time and would hope the code and demonstration would be a clear indicator we are more than capable.

Thanks again, please take a chance on us so we can set the standard for early stage funding, which is an essential component to building out any ecosystem.

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I definitely understand your perspective and this is one reason why I strongly prefer to have a team dedicated to focusing on grants, similar to dYdX grants (I voiced my opinion on this in the gov-voting-cycle-1 Discord).

Unfortunately, with dozens of projects asking for funding this cycle it’s impossible to do a deep dive on every single one and being able to see live products with traction is going to be a far easier way for delegates to understand that this is going to be a more tangible way of seeing the funds further the Optimism ecosystem. Otherwise there is just very little to go off of when making decisions.

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I see your perspective, it is a notably difficult challenge to assess all of the proposals, but putting so much voting power into a No vote because you don’t have time to look into a proposal seems pretty unfair to the project that took all this time and work sharing their vision, asking for support, and being fully available to respond to any questions well before the vote commenced (as well as within that 2 week voting window).

With power comes responsibility and delegates are expected to take the time to assess proposals, ask questions, and give feedback if they are unclear or unacceptable in any way. Is there any information we can provide or assurances we can give that would allow you to change your vote?

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To clarify, I’m not saying I didn’t have the time to look into this proposal. I read through your proposal and all of the comments before I made a decision otherwise I would have abstained from voting. I’m saying this in response to when you asked why I didn’t give this feedback before it went into a proposal and my thoughts in regards to your comments on why you are receiving pushback from the community before it is a live product.

I’d like to say this is a thorough proposal and personally I really like the idea of Optimism Governance funding the development of some ambitious projects from scratch. I must say though that the overhead which comes with tracking the technical progress for a project like this is a bit of a deal breaker for me.

I think a better approach to securing OP funding, rather than asking for half now and half locked until some deliverables are made, is to make small applications for just enough OP to build out the project layer by layer. For example the initial proposal could ask for 50K OP tokens to get the project started and build out the foundation. Then you can easily reference how the initial 50K was used and re-apply for another funding round which would likely get approved even easier since there is already evidence of a productive use of funds. Each new funding application would be easier to approve since it would contain an overview of how the previous funds were used, until the project is eventually finished.

Incrementally funding an initiative like this seems like a much more viable way of building a project from scratch using OP funds and generating trust among delegates that Optimistic Railway can in fact deliver on their ambitions.

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Appreciate the thoughtful suggestion. That might be the solution. Again, would have been nice to get that feedback in the weeks before the proposal was finalized so we could have maybe done that adjustment before the voting began, but better to get the feedback late than not at all.

Hoping we can get this current proposal through, but if not, the smaller incremental grants sounds like a viable option that would require a little more overhead with all the consecutive proposals, but sounds like could do a lot to building trust within the community and delegates.

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yeah my apologies for not responding earlier, that’s on me. Will do a better job of monitoring all proposals and discussions as of now.

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I do share your frustration and believe me we have made some progress from last proposal voting round, at least this time there few quite active here and going forward it will be even better. Personally, I am keeping track of all possible places where we can improve going forward.

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