We need to talk about undisclosed financial interests

In the course of this season, some investigation surfaced a few links across several Mission proposals, ultimately resulting in a few revelations. There’s been discussion on one of these revelations throughout several threads, so I’d like to centralize that here.

Here is the background:

General Magic, led by @Griff , has been connected to several mission proposals, some of which Griff himself voted to advance. Examples of these connections are as follows (all direct quotes)

  1. General Magic provides grantwriting services to many of these proposals, charging 7-50% of the total grant ask to e.g., DAOstar, Unitap, BrightID, Metagame, Fair Data Society, and Dappnode – often conditional on the grant’s passage
  • Although the claim has been that part of this is to help add capacity for an onerous grant process, the pitch also states that part of the value added is “our vast network of connections from the Giveth Galaxy, and Public Goods space.”
  1. General Magic provides contract work to grant proposers:
  1. Griff, a delegate with approval power, is providing upfront funding to several of these proposers in anticipation of grants being approved.
  1. Griff is directly a team member of several proposing projects, almost all of which put in proposals this round.
  1. Griff used his status as a delegate to put forward to a vote the following selected proposals, several of which (not all here) are affiliated:
    REGEN Score
    ITU Blockchain
    Rumbo Optimista
    Bankless Dao
    Bankless Academy
    Optimistic Womxn
    Espacio Crypto
    Bankless Academy 2

So there are a few questions to ask:

  1. Does Griff or General Magic have a financial interest in getting all of these applications approved? If so, what are the implications with regard to the Code of Conduct and general governance practices?
  2. If there is a financial interest, has it been properly disclosed to Optimism Governance?
  3. What are the terms of this upfront lending to these projects? Do the lenders have an opportunity to capture financial gains though these structures?
  4. Are affiliated proposals whose approval for a vote depend on him actually eligible for voting?
  5. What sort of policy do we / ought we to have regarding this type of third-party work and disclosure?
  6. Do such pay-for-propose schemes impose a ‘tax’ on governance distributions, effectively inflating governance asks?

A lot to talk about @jackanorak

Want to have a call? We can record it and post it here?


I think it’s best simply to discuss entirely on here, as this isn’t a conversation just with me


I think a video that we post here would be a lot more efficient… I am not a fast typer, and honestly my calendar is booked, I will need to do it by video, either by recording it with you or without you. That said, you have been the only person to bring up this conversation.

No one else has reached out to me in public or private (that I know about) about this… so if there are others, they are all working with you about it it seems, and I am out of the loop.


Is it not a little ironic to project a shadowy cabal when being accused of running a shadowy cabal?

To be honest theres a buncha weird aspects to this that need to be addressed, especially given the amount of proposals, the scopes, the grant recipients and the intermingling. Like the grant writing fees is especially concerning given that none of the grants mention this, which is misleading at best and fraudulant at worst since they state usually they are for dev, community or expenses but if the funds are going to grant writing, then obviously not being used for those purposes.

Also specifically brought up token loans before multiple times to the foundation/others as had been pushing for it to be addressed as to whether this is considered fine as it definately has benefits for helping teams actually build, but after seeing a pretty clear push against it from the Foundation atleast, and seeing this seems to be pretty prevelant aswell as directly stated by you for projects you’re involved with, hard to assume good faith here rather than asking about it openly

These token agreements on loans, fees for grant writing and not disclosing any of this is highly questionable. This becomes worse as a delegate/someone that can approve projects. Are you willing to disclose the details for these loans, any discount on the loans, optionality in keeping collateral and conditions of the loans?


To be clear @Pr0, I’m not making any accusations - just repeating facts that Griff and affiliates have provided and raising what I think are critical questions

As a delegate, this information is definitely concerning. It looks like these actions violate the self dealing clause of the code of conduct below. This would be the same thing as me helping one of my portfolio companies write a grant, promote them in the forum, approve them for voting, then also take a portion of the grant they received. Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, happy to be proven wrong here.


We all need to operate a way to ensure the grants program is fair and equitable for everyone, otherwise we are no better than traditional organizations.


I agree with @jackanorak I think it is something that should be discussed here in the forum.


What I say here is my own opinion and has nothing to do with Grants Council.

Hey @Griff I’m interested in these answers. Thank you for the transparency you have so far we have much to learn from this.


I think there is enough interest within this thread to keep it here. So we will wait for your answer


Would specifically want to see the loan agreements and grant writing agreements/conditions/benefits given the site explicitly mentions relationships. Think those alone would give a lot of clarity since its not really only about self dealing but also the actual requests/uses and implied uses.

Hi Griff, saw you comment on other thread, here, and I appreciate the transparency.

But I would like to echo points raised by Jack and await your answer.

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Sorry for the delay, I would love to talk more about this if more clarity is needed, I feel like synchronous communication would be a lot better than forum posts tho, a quick call that can be recorded and shared here would go a long way IMO.


Hi Griff, I took the time to check the video.

As stated in your video, you are working with a lot of projects and you disclosed it after the fact.
GaaS looks like conflict of interest between Griff (delegate) for Optimism and General Magic services.

The ENS example doesn’t apply unless you are a delegate on the ENS DAO and you voted in favor of the swag shop.

It has now

This needs to be disclosed since it actually breaks the policy updates done today.

There is a conflict of interest if you are able to temp check, move something to vote or even altogether approve

More projects would apply for grants, more % that GM takes?

As a personal note, the issue with videos is that they do not get indexed in the forum so there is no way to reference your answers.


Firstly, it’s essential to remember that our efforts stem from noble intentions. Instead of competing, public good projects should cooperate. While disagreements are sometimes inevitable, they provide an opportunity for finding common ground, a process I appreciate. I personally favor video over forum posts as they provide a more human connection. In a text, the tone can be misinterpreted.

Here are some areas of concern causing uncertainty, my interpretation of their causes, and possible solutions:

Concerning GM Fundraising writing

  • Small teams or individual developers find grant applications challenging.
  • It is tough to stay updated with all grant opportunities.


  • As a Collective, we need to define rules for an unprecedented situation like this. My personal belief is that everything around such agreements must be textually expressed in any mission or grant.
  • We should simplify the process for Alliance participation.
  • More opportunities under Optimism should be promoted to attract those outside the Optimism ecosystem.

Public goods are a niche sector, and overlapping involvements in multiple projects are common. Therefore, generating best practices and reporting potential conflicts of interest is crucial.

Concerning Lending

  • The OP is locked for one year.
  • Many teams can’t afford to work without upfront payment and wait for a year to be paid with a governance token lacking a demand motive beyond governance use.


  • Make Grants / Missions liquid and RetroPGF blocked as suggested by Griff.
  • There have been intriguing proposals to generate APR with the OP delegated. Despite legal barriers, it could be beneficial to find a solution that doesn’t affect the legality or creates demand beyond governance.

These issues amplify the uncertainty already associated with the requirement for four approvals and votes.

Regarding my involvement with Espacio Cripto and H.E.R. LATAM, I must say that the Mexican community is tightly-knit. In my spare time, I strive to provide them access to these opportunities. I’ve done the same for other projects and aim to expand my help scope. My hope is for more countries to apply here in the future. Optimism is unique, and it would be phenomenal to see its reach extend globally. Ideally, the application process will be simplified to the point where no external help is needed.

Let’s progress, find common ground, create agreements, and make public goods victorious. Stay optimistic!


I don’t have any deals written, and am surprised that this breaks any policies as this is very aligned with at least the idea behind RetroPGF:

From: Retroactive Public Goods Funding. Note: The Optimism team has long been… | by Optimism | Optimism PBC Blog | Medium

The results oracle can send rewards to any address. Here are a few possible ideas for what kinds of addresses it can send rewards to:

  • A single individual or organization that was primarily responsible for making the project happen
  • A smart contract representing a fixed allocation table splitting funds between multiple individuals and/or organizations who had contributed time and/or funding to the project
  • A project token, whose supply is distributed among one or more individuals and/or organizations who contributed time and/or money to the project, but which can be traded

The idea from that blog post was that teams could find creative ways of funding their project.

As I said in the video, I don’t have any actual deals in place with any teams, but I am the main donor for many of these teams, and I verbally committed to making sure their salaries will get paid so they can complete these projects, during the lock up, and there would likely will be a deal with me to get the OP as that would be logical. But for all of those teams, I was listed on the grant as a member of the team and that is fully disclosed.

I just now found this:

Which sounds like that is also forbidden.

I mean this is really a tough one to navigate. We can abide by this I think, if we can clarify this:

It also includes entering into any arrangement that transfers to another person or entity, in whole or in part, any of the economic consequences of owning the OP tokens.

There are some projects that are an Alliance between multiple groups, and there was an expectation that one group would get a specific # of OP for their part and the other group would get a specific # of OP for their part… is that ok?


Alright so I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt here 1-2 / 4-6. The language around the conflicts for voting with own proposals vs affiliations/how deep those affiliations are and the scope of the relationship as far as self dealing/personal gains vs the gains of affiliated companies. While yes you do not gain any funds directly companies you have stake/affiliation do which should be treated as the same, but in some contexts this may not be clear and so fine am willing to accept it wasnt malicious. But the loans and the response given is a huge red flag. Effectively the response was, look its business so its private, you dont think it should be disclosed anyway and that you have no idea about any of the details about these deal, effectively the SBF defence
‘‘This is probably the most important thing to mention, and what enabled the projects I founded to apply for a larger percentage of the grants than other teams. I am working with those teams to loan them funds and take the OP that is locked as collateral so that they can have the short term liquidity they need to pay their employees. Honestly, this is a huge risk on my part, but it’s ok, I’m an Optimist. I want all of my teams to work with Optimism. Also I do believe in the long term value of the OP token and am hoping to work with the community to add utility to the OP token, see my comments in Economic Co-design of Gas Fees for the OP Stack for more details on my thoughts here.’’

I dont see any way in which you’d not have any details about these deals, that you have no claim on the collateral of these loans and that they will retain the OP, which having an agreement that says I will loan x USD to you for 12m, at this interest rate to be repaid in USD after selling the OP, or should the OP not be worth the loan value to sell all the OP to repay in USD is no different to, just give me the OP if the values under the loan amount. And saying ‘but we’ll make it and i dont really feel like they should be in the open’ with the context that you’ll disclose aslong as its good for the projects and in their interest. This is in my opinion the core problem and the biggest red flag here because it shows that if you’re not granted approval to do this you’ll do it anyway privately.

‘and there would likely will be a deal with me to get the OP as that would be logical’
This directly goes against you having just said you will not receive their OP allocations.

‘I mean this is really a tough one to navigate. We can abide by this I think, if we can clarify this:’
This makes it even more clear to me that you’re going to do this anyway, saying that you will abide by it you think just says oh well if i dont like it i wont follow this and do it anyway.

This needs to be seen btw with me being the largest supporter of having these tokens be unlocked anyway, because bad actors WILL act in bad faith while honest actors are given hard restrictions that affect them more, effectively rewarding private, effectively malicious and misleading deals that go against the ToC.

There is no loan agreement, it was something that would be sorted out when we get the grant. If you knew me, you would believe me, I am not a business man, I am a very engaged philanthropist/impact angel investor trying to get my projects engaged in the Optimism Ecosystem.

The agreements that are in place are salary agreements for several of the people (not all) in several of the projects, they get regular monthly salaries from the Giveth DAO or General Magic. Then, after the 1 year lock up, portions of the OP would be split up between people in the project and the orgs that pay their salaries so that the have the economic security they need to pay rent and be available to do the work.

Most of the Giveth & General Magic teams hail from low income countries like Turkey, Columbia, Philippines, Mexico, etc around 80% of the Giveth team is DEI. These are not teams that can just not be paid for a few months sabbatical and can wait a year for payment. We are trying to bring web3 to this part of the world, and regular salaries are an important part of that, so that is how we are structured. In general, I backstop these teams and would make deals to make their financials easy.

The details about the one year lock up and how it is supposed to be executed is still murky for me, but all the teams I am associated with will follow whatever direction is expected, with an understanding that OP is governance rights, despite the emergent market value (my new catchline).

I am just making an effort to be overly transparent, and I’m glad I am as it is helping me understand the space that we can play in. It sometimes feels in these public forums that I am talking to traffic cops and not DAO members that are assuming positive intent and understand we are all just trying to navigate in this big experiment, and I hope that you can understand that the Giveth and GM teams are also experimenting within the experiment!

I’ve been around the block and understand this is how forum posts go, and that there is a silent majority that is more understanding and not excited to take sides in what could be perceived as tense public discussions.

Any team that I would have expected to get some OP allocation for any contribution, I was a member of the team and listed explicitly in the proposal.

I think the ToC are very murky, and I am trying to be overly transparent. I am in no way a bad actor in the space. I have helped to rescue 100’s of Millions of dollars worth of crypto multiple times as well as starting project after project in the public goods space. I would appreciate an assumption of positive intent.

I just clearly had different expectations from what was stated in the terms of these grants (because I thought Optimism was about making investment strategies for Public Goods as is stated in this blog post and that is naturally what I am trying to experiment with), and am happy to have ridiculously public and transparent dealings for where the OP goes that follows the expectations of the Foundation or any other stakeholders.

I hope to build public goods focused economies that are modeling the Impact = Profit mantra, as was done with the Token Engineering Commons but maybe I am running too fast for that in the OP space. I am happy to slow down, and play by the rules.

Again, there is no deal anywhere with any of the teams to provide financial capital in return for OP. I have been very transparent and straight forward in these conversations, apparently to my own detriment. I was expecting to make some deal around the OP that would help these teams, but I never did and I won’t do it if there is clarity given that it is against the rules.

IMO, just to be practical, I think it would be great to enable people who contribute financially to making sure that projects can be executed on can be rewarded with OP as well (this is one of the places where I would add value to these teams), financial contribution is a contribution that should be considered alongside labor, expertise and time, but if that is not an option, we can abide by the clarity given, and I won’t create any deal for being rewarded with OP for financial contributions.

The other thing that needs clarity is…

When the 1 year lock up is over, the OP can be split up amongst the team members correct? And different team members can receive different amounts based on their contributions to the project?

For instance, in the RetroPGF marketing proposal, Bankless Academy has their role, and the Giveth & General Magic teams have their role.

Are we allowed to set expectations between the teams on how much OP goes to Bankless Academy for building the course, and how much goes to Giveth for running the booths, coordinating the sponsorships in person and supervising the content production & how much goes to GM for doing the design work, brand guidelines, shooting/editing videos and doing the general project coordination?

I assume that is ok, and want to confirm, because this is how I assumed Alliances would work, that they would form for the life of the project and after the year they could split the OP amongst the contributing teams.


What I say here it’s my own opinion and has nothing to do with Grants Council.

First, let’s stop the negative vibe. Accusations and a hostile environment will drive away many delegates and make everyone feel they have to take sides.

We have a very active delegate, I don’t want to lose that, being as transparent as he can. Let’s try to envision all of us sitting at a table, peacefully talking about how to make Public goods better. Here comes someone who took action and maybe now (after spending his own money) broke a rule.

I believe:

  • It’s ok if you want to give financial aid
  • it’s ok to represent those projects as a delegate
  • It’s not ok to give approval for a vote or vote for them
  • It’s not ok to vote on this project as Badgeholder for RPGF. (this didn’t happen but is good to add it here)
  • It’s ok if you provide financial aid to a project, they accomplish the critical milestones And after 1yr lock, you get some OP from that project.

btw I know Griff can dm multiple delegates with power enough to make a proposal pass to vote. You might do it next time to act by the rules.

I don’t like the 7% to 10% tax for helping a proposal. This means every proposal will have 7% to 10% OP added on request. I believe a deal on future project revenue could be better aligned. Or an alliance mission requesting a fixed amount of OP to help any project make a better proposal on grants could be a better path.

I’m not taking any sides here. I do thank the time, effort, and transparency Griff, Jack and the collective are taking. I acknowledge he broke a rule. I also value him as a delegate.

In the end, the mission will get fair treatment on the token house and grant proposals will be fairly scored by the council. No harm other than Griff’s financial risk so far and a lot of good feedback for future form/mission templates.