ENS RetroPGF Discussion

Hey everyone,

Announcing an initiative FireEyes is pushing forward that we’d love ENS to play a role in!

In the past few months, :fire:_ :fire: has been watching the impact of the latest retro PGF round for Optimism and how this has created a massive increase in incentivization, innovation, and community engagement within the Optimism ecosystem.

We want to see this impact delivered to other projects, and given the relationship between :fire:_ :fire: and ENS, we want this post to start a community discussion on running a similar round for ENS.

The reason that we bring this forward is to be able to reward the builders and community members who have utilized the ENS protocol already and help to show people who are considering starting to contribute that the DAO may continue to incentivize this value provision in the future!

Here’s the article where these ideas are outlined in more detail and where different strategies for distribution and voting are outlined, obviously each protocol is different and we should take purposeful steps to make sure each retroPGF round is as high impact as possible.

So with that said, how could we maximize impact to ENS with a retroPGF round, and what considerations should we make as we build out a proposal for this idea.

Why or why not?!

This post aims to serve as a conversation starter around retroPGF mechanisms and how they could be applied to the ENS community. If you’re interested in joining this discussion please post your thoughts below and we can build a discussion from there!


Hey James!

I like this idea. I still believe tho, that we are in an early experimentation phase regarding retroactive funding in the space. From our side of Public Goods we have been experimenting with our Large Grants program.

Few things to consider from my perspective:

  • We shouldn’t reinvent the wheel, I see the article regarding a front end for this platform, and I think just forking or partnering with Optimism to see how we could implement their already built model, would save us time and money.

  • Currently we are thinking about bringing some academic insights into the Grants Program that we are running, with the folks of MetaGov, because I do feel before keep moving forward with any new grants program, we should take a step back and go through what worked and what didn’t work for our different funding streams that we have implemented in the now 2 years of the DAO. I think there is a lack of community input at times on this processes and it would be healthy for us to gather some info first.

  • The collaborative, or potential collaborative effort across multiple ecosystem, seems also aligned with what Funding the Commons is trying to built, so I feel there is a major need of cross-pollination.

  • A funding streams for ENS builders I think is necessary, not only in retroPGF format, but it should be reliable, transparent and accessible without the hussle of major governance or code needed for its existence, and I would prioritize this funding stream above a major retropgf experiment.

  • We should also think what happens afterwards, once funding is distributed, how do we keep the narrative going (outside the funding process).

Thank for you for putting this up!


I won’t speak to the good/bad of retroPGF as a granting mechanism, Eugene can speak better to that. But the proposal to bring it to scale is very interesting. Would be an operational challenge. In the extreme, I wonder if widespread use of retroPGF could support new business models among providers in the ecosystem. The key is some sort of predictability & scalability. Grant-supported business models are not particularly stable or scalable, and I usually wouldn’t expect funding from RetroPGF to be any more stable than funding from a normal grant program. But perhaps at scale that could be different; perhaps a world where everyone was doing retroPGF could more easily sustain and scale certain kinds of ventures. Imagine paying for your AWS through a retroactive mechanism :smiley: I mean, it’s not that far off, effectively all the “free credits” giveaways is them doing work for you for free until you decide to pay them.

Effectively, scaled retroPGF might be more efficient economically. Would need to be verified with research, might be suitable for some combination of Eugene + Block Science.

Context: was recently discussing this with Fabien of Snapshot and a couple others, in the context of trying to support more infrastructure-style business models (as opposed to “platform models”) via a few approaches, e.g. monetizing API calls.

Oh, side note. Now that we have a grants standard (first rollout will be Gitcoin/Allo and Optimism, ~Q1), if there’s enough interest in scaling retroPGF it may be useful to spin up a new standard / shared specification, e.g. to support more permissionless adoption.


Ty for the responses here @vegayp & @thelastjosh

Agree entirely - was just chatting to Kevin from Gitcoin, a good chunk of the contract backends & UI Gitcoin built alongside Optimism - Both parties are keen to see the use grow so happy to share! +1

+1+1, this experiment feels like an excellent way to engage a wider group in the grants process.

We’ve been conducting different forms of grant distribution/funding streams since the DAOs inception - Creating space for anyone to apply and a wider group of people to review sets ENS up to step into a new realm of grant distribution and be the 2nd project ever to lean into this meme. Also similar to Josh’s points below we’re able to help scale retropgf grant models.

+100000, Lets go! ENS retroPGF inbound.

Keen to get feedback from other delegates, working groups and ENS core!

1 Like

Thanks for this @James! As an advisor in Optimism, I definitely see the value of RPGF as well as its current challenges. I definitely appreciate the conversation starter and would actually probably have a little bit more to add to this once I have completed the retro on the latest Optimism round.

I know Metagov is working on even broader aspects of funding mechanisms together with what Eduardo highlighted so a potential scope out based on some of their insights would be interesting to explore.

Collaborating cross PG realms is definitely beneficial and disseminating learnings to continuously iterate on better versions is always a good idea!