The Optimism Collective is a large-scale experiment in decentralized governance. Our Vision is to sustainably fund those public goods that improve upon the well-being of the Collective and beyond. This Working Constitution enshrines governing provisions and principles that, we hope, are calibrated to the ambition of this Vision. It lays the foundation for a fair, democratic model of decentralized governance that’s built to last.
1. This is a “Working” Constitution. It is exceedingly unlikely that a fixed model of governing the Optimism Collective, defined at the outset of this experiment, can appropriately navigate the Collective’s future challenges. The problem space is too large. So we start from humility, beginning with a Working Constitution that is:
- A commitment to experimentation. In its lifetime, the Collective will undertake a series of governance experiments. These experiments should help the Collective understand the balance and power dynamics within its ecosystem, and allow the Collective to define itself, evolve, and grow iteratively over time.
- A transitory document. The Working Constitution will remain in effect no more than four years from the date of its adoption. After that, authority over governance will be ceded to a permanent Bedrock Constitution (that incorporates the lessons of the Collective’s prior governance experiments).
2. OP Citizens and OP Holders will equally coexist within the Collective. The governing structure of the Collective must balance short-term incentives with its long-term Vision. Too often today, simple token-based governance systems deteriorate due to misaligned incentives or excessive consolidation of power. The Optimism Collective will implement structural mechanisms to counteract those shortcomings, beginning with a bicameral governance system that checks and balances the power of OP Holders and OP Citizens.
3. The Optimism Foundation will be a steward of the Optimism Collective and its early governance model. The Optimism Foundation is a Cayman Islands organization responsible for guiding the growth and development of the Optimism Collective. Acting through its Board of Directors, the Foundation may:
- Facilitate the administration of Collective governance;
- Allocate treasury assets to fund public goods, incentivize participants in the Optimism ecosystem, or otherwise further its (and the Collective’s) purpose;
- Amend this Working Constitution; and
- Take other actions that are conducive to its stewardship role.
The Foundation will undertake all these responsibilities in a manner that is consistent with the mission of the Collective, and with a view towards increasingly decentralizing its role over time.
4. Rights of OP Citizens and OP Holders. Subject to the founding legal documents of the Optimism Foundation and the procedures outlined in the Collective’s Operating Manual:
- Future OP Citizens may:
- Allocate Retroactive Public Goods Funding; and
- Exercise such additional rights as are provided to OP Citizens over time.
- OP Holders may:
- Remove a director of the Optimism Foundation; and
- Veto changes to the founding documents of the Optimism Foundation, if those changes would reduce the rights of OP Holders in a material way.
5. Interpretation. In interpreting the scope, authority, and meaning of the provisions of this Working Constitution, the following guiding principles apply:
- Governance minimization. Minimal governance is at the heart of the Optimism Collective. When multiple proposals achieve a similar outcome, the Collective should prefer the proposal with the least overhead. We strive to boil down governance to its essence and to avoid introducing regulation where freedom can achieve the same result. We believe this is key to creating the fertile soil for permissionless innovation.
- Forking. The right to fork and the right to exit are critical to protect individual freedoms. It’s expected and encouraged that if the governance of the Optimism Collective is captured, members of the Collective fork the system and reinstate a new Collective which better serves the people. All of the core software and tooling required to run the Optimism network should be made open source, freely available, and easy to use such that a fork is always a viable alternative.
- Anti-plutocracy. Influence in governance must extend beyond financial stake to value humanhood and intelligent life. The centralizing force of plutocratic token governance is a risk to the health and effectiveness of the Collective, and must be balanced with Citizenship.
- impact=profit. The primary function of the Collective is to minimize the discrepancy between collective impact and individual profit. We believe this to be the most important target in the pursuit of solving global coordination problems and creating a better future. Our economy is an expression of our collective needs, wants, and ethics. We harm ourselves when we do not adequately, fairly, and consistently reward positive impact.
6. Always. Stay Optimistic