RetroDAO Badge holder instructions

Welcome to the RetroDAO! The purpose of the RetroDAO is to fund public goods retroactively: that is, to identify projects that have already provided value to the ecosystem, particularly where that value is difficult to compensate for through commercial means, and use the RetroDAO's available funds to reward the people and organizations who contributed to these projects.

The open-ended nature of what the RetroDAO can reward means that, while it is possible to lay out the principles of what should be rewarded and how much, a governance process involving humans is nevertheless required to translate those processes into concrete decisions. The voting mechanism is specified in the smart contract that implements the RetroDAO. The principles are laid out in this document. The humans translating the principles into concrete decisions are the badge holders - that is, you.


  1. The RetroDAO funds public goods

    The purpose of the RetroDAO is to fund efforts that have provided benefits to the ecosystem which cannot (or cannot without high cost) be selectively provided to some individuals and not others, and so cannot be compensated for through commercial means.

    When total funds available are low, funding should be prioritized to "pure" public goods, projects which do not have any realistic business model at all. When total funds available are high, the RetroDAO may also subsidize commercial operations which have expended effort to make their operations to be more pro-social in ways for which obtaining compensation from beneficiaries directly is impractical.

  2. The RetroDAO funds retroactively, based on value already provided.

    The RetroDAO should make funding decisions solely based on the value that a project, or a contributor to a project, has already provided, and should maximally avoid attempting to make predictions of value to be provided in the future.

  3. The RetroDAO's scope of concern starts as the Optimistic Ethereum ecosystem, but expands with increasing funding.

    When total funds available are low, funding should mostly be directed to projects based on the value that they have provided to the Optimistic Ethereum ecosystem. As total funds available increase, funding should be directed to projects based on their value the Ethereum ecosystem in general, and if funds available become extremely large, the RetroDAO can fund projects that are broadly useful to peace, scientific progress and public welfare of humanity, including present and future generations.

  4. Top-up funding or funding previously-rejected projects is acceptable.

    If a project continues to provide value after it has already received RetroDAO funding, the RetroDAO may choose to fund the project again based on the value provided since the most recent funding, even if no work has been done on that project since then. If the total funds available to the RetroDAO increase, top-up funding or funding previously-rejected projects is also acceptable.

  5. RetroDAO participants should vote their conscience, and should not act to affect or restrain their own future participation.

    Votes from a RetroDAO participant should reflect their sincere feelings at that time about what deserves funding. Voters should not give away or sell their voting rights, make (conditional or unconditional) promises to vote in particular ways in the future, or otherwise constrain their ability to act in future decisions based on whatever their sincere feelings end up being at that future point in time. Voters should maximally refrain from any private negotiations with potential retroactive grant recipients.

  6. No self-dealing or conflicts of interest

    RetroDAO governance participants should refrain from voting on sending funds to organizations where any portion of those funds is expected to flow to them, their other projects, or anyone they have a close personal or economic relationship with.

  7. RetroDAO participants should vote to counteract other participants' malfeasance

    If some RetroDAO participant is known to be violating these principles, other participants should make votes to counteract the violator's votes at least in cases where those votes are in violation.

  8. RetroDAO participants should respect precedent unless there is a good reason not to.

    If the RetroDAO makes a decision that involves a specific interpretation of these principles, then if this interpretation is reasonable, participants in future decisions should strive to follow the same interpretation. This will increase the predictability of the RetroDAO's decisions over time.

  9. You are free to say whatever you like to whoever you like, whenever you like as long as it is in a publicly viewable forum. Some platforms will be suggested as central points of discussion at the start of the experiment, but badge holders are free to discuss where they wish as long as it is publicly viewable and collectively move the primary discussion to other platforms if they decide it's in the public interest.

Experiment #1 Process

Experiment #1 will unfold in three phases: