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

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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Happy to vote in favour of this one, you’ve clearly been working on the project and have made demonstrable progress towards your goals. I think in general the phase 1 proposals were supposed to focus on user incentives, but personally I think that funding development of useful projects is also worthwhile. As others have noted, maybe the distribution/lockup could have been finalized a little more concretely, but I’m not really bothered by how that ends up occurring.

I’ve never played a blockchain based game, but I can imagine that cutting down the number of transactions that need to be signed will be a useful step in onboarding less blockchain native gamers, so look forward to seeing how your team progresses.

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Voted : Abstain

At this point I don’t have enough guidance to vote on token allocation proposals that are entirely used for new protocol development. If your proposal does not pass in this round, I hope you reapply in a future round when there is more alignment amongst delegatees that new project development can be funded by the governance fund.

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I will be voting in favor of this proposal. I think we should be supporting development of projects even if they are not fully developed yet so long as the proposal makes sense and the proposing team shows that they would be able to deliver which is what I think applies here.

PROS

  • Interesting project and concept.
  • Aligns with Optimism
  • Is opensource → biggest win for me

CONS

  • Amount is high for a project that’s still at concept/demo stage (I think this is what put off many other delegates and also had me on the fence)
  • Project not developed yet and unsure of team’s ability to deliver
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Roadmap and Budget:

These are our targets and budget for the next 6 months. The following 6 months will have similar needs, though slightly different, and will be included with our report on the success and continuation of the project once we meet these initial milestones.

For our budget we are paying an average of $2000 USD/week per developer and these expenses will be paid in roughly equivalent amounts of OP tokens. If the value of OP drops, we will not allocate more than 1/12 of the total pool of tokens every month, so it is possible devs may get paid lower than this amount, which is understood, though if this happens, we will attempt to balance those underpayments out if values exceed $0.52 in future months.

Assuming we receive the grant, we will have 200,000 OP tokens for the first 6 months. Right off the top we will lock up 10% until we are able to allocate those directly to Railway users, which leaves us with 180,000 OP.

In order to hit our targets, we have approximately 26 calendar weeks, and a budget 46.8 paid developer weeks, to be allocated as follows:

Core contract development
12 weeks x 1 dev (12 dev weeks)

Collection of example dapps (3 - 4 demos)
4 weeks x 3 devs (12 dev weeks)

Initial community website
4 weeks x 2 devs (8 dev weeks)

Initial developer documentation
2 weeks x 1 dev (2 dev weeks)

Upgrade plan and report
2 weeks x 1 dev (2 dev weeks)

Community setup & maintenance
2 weeks x 1 dev (2 dev weeks)

Report on state of Railway
2 weeks x 2 devs (4 dev weeks)

Continuation plan for Railway development
2 week x 2 devs (4 dev weeks)

Note: this development work will roughly take place in the order listed above, although various goals will be worked on simultaneously by multiple developers. If the timeframe must be extended for any reason, we will have to stretch the existing budget, as unlocking the next set of funds requires completion of these goals.

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I have reviewed this proposal and think it creates a fascinating piece of infrastructure to connect metaverse and gaming worlds. I believe this is a heavy lift, but the payoff will be high if successful.

I believe funding this project aligns with the vision of the governance fund. We are funding prospective public goods (Citizens House will fund retroactive public goods). By making the project opensource, the team is creating a body of knowledge of developers on Optimism.

I have the benefit of knowing some of the team members (I have no economic stake). I believe they can accomplish a bold aim.

I am not deterred by the fact that the project is not fleshed out entirely. If it were, I would expect the team to pursue VC funding at this point. I expect that receiving a grant would serve as a catalyst for enabling the team to build the railway in the most ecosystem friendly manner.

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I’ll vote NO :x: - better suited for RPGF

Project quality: ? - Hard to asses.
Team quality: ? - No track record
Amount requested: High
OP distribution: Bad - funding development

Snapshot vote - Not passed