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  • Bobby Bola

Life of a Delegate — Reflections on Season One at Optimism

Season 1 has ended, and we at StableLab, would like to take the time to reflect on the past four voting cycles and highlight how Optimism and the community can move forward.

As a recap, the objective of the governance fund is to enable token holders to allocate OP tokens to projects that will incentivize growth in the Optimism ecosystem. Optimism Foundation put guidelines in place to guide OP token holders in making their decisions on grant proposals. Still, this responsibility will and should be handed over to the DAO over time.

StableLab's Participation

Across the season, there were 38 proposals over four voting cycles, with a breakdown of the cycles below.

Within these 38 proposals, the token house approved 41 project grants and rejected 18 proposals. Voting cycle 1, included a batch vote, with 23 projects included within this batch vote meaning why there were more project grants than proposals. Besides this case and xTokenTerminal & Gamma strategies, every other proposal was for an individual project.

StableLab's governance participation in Optimism
StableLab's governance participation in Optimism

In our case, StableLab voted 16 Yes’s and 22 No’s with our voting history and reasoning in our delegate thread. For a more simplified breakdown of our votes for each cycle, see below.

Optimism Voting Season
Optimism Voting Season

One key issue with proposals was a lack of information, making it harder for delegates to make an informed decision since each delegate has different time commitments, allowing some to dive deeper while others vote on little information. A significant improvement to this workflow is the introduction of governance committees and an improved grant proposal template, which we will expand on later.

Season One: Voting Cycle Feedback

Governance Update #2 provides a good overview of the problems faced by the community, and we echo these concerns as there were too many proposals, especially voluntarily. Specifically, voting cycle #2 was a large number of proposals, and we believe such a large amount can deter individuals from getting involved in the governance process.

Voter apathy is a prominent issue within decentralized governance, and when possible, we should minimize the obstacles that come with participating in decentralized governance. We don’t necessarily mean to reduce the workload/number of proposals but to find a more effective way to allow voters, especially individuals, to continue to participate in OP governance.

We also recommend using a tool like Messari Governor keep track of the proposals in preliminary discussions and the active vote. The discourse and discord can be overwhelming, so Messari helps minimize participation friction.

Optimism on Messari Governor
Optimism on Messari Governor

Messari has also presented a great overview of delegates’ participation rate, showing that only 25 of the top 50 delegates have participated in a large majority of the votes. In this case, that is a large amount of voting power going unused. Check out Messari’s ‘Governance Fund Observations’ for a greater breakdown of voter participation.

There could be various reasons for the lack of participation, such as many proposals, lack of incentives, or other reasons. Still, we encourage delegators to use this information to re-delegate to those who actively participate in Optimism governance in a meaningful way. For more information about delegates, our recent piece explores the importance of active delegates.

To The Future

Now, Optimism enters a reflective cycle to improve key areas of governance before the start of the following season to improve governance participation from both the community and delegates. We welcome the changes outlined in a recent reflection piece by Optimism and believe that this is a great opportunity for the community to contribute to improving the governance processes and frameworks within Optimism.

At StableLab, advancement is one of our core pillars. We have documented some of our thoughts within the forums on major changes, such as introducing governance committees and improving the grant proposal template. We look forward to participating in season two.

Get in touch,
  • If you would like to support us in our governance efforts,

  • If you and your team need guidance on governance related matters, or

  • If you are a founder who is building something interesting in web3

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