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Optimism Launches ‘The Optimism Collective’ Ahead of Token Airdrop

tl;dr Summary: Popular Ethereum layer-two Optimism announce their upcoming airdrop, alongside novel new governance plans known as “The Optimism Collective.”

Optimism is a popular layer-two scaling solution that uses optimistic roll ups to add scalability to the Ethereum network. Their blockchain allows users to enjoy popular Ethereum applications, yet avoid high gas fees seen on the Ethereum mainnet. Optimism estimated that they have saved users over $1.1 billion in gas fees since their mainnet launched in April 2021. Last week, plans for the platform’s long-awaited airdrop were finally revealed, alongside novel plans for community governance, known as the “Optimism Collective.”

Many protocol users had been eagerly awaiting news of an upcoming airdrop. Optimism’s official announcement confirmed the launch of the new $OP governance token, however instead of just one airdrop, it was revealed that there is to be “a whole season of airdrops.” Just 5% of the $OP total supply is allocated to the first airdrop, with 14% reserved for future drops, in a move designed to incentivise ongoing usage of the network. The eligibility criteria for the first airdrop consists of six categories, and looks to reward early Optimism adopters as well as active Ethereum users and community members. No official date was given for the drop, only that it would occur over “the next few months.”

Despite the community excitement surrounding the airdrop, the main focus of the announcement was in fact related to new governance plans. The Optimism Collective is described as “a new type of community designed to reward public goods and build a sustainable future for Ethereum,” with mechanics that are quite unlike DAOs and protocol governance structures seen previously.

The plans carry a heavy focus on rewarding users that have added value to the ecosystem, with significant reference to ‘public goods.’ A public good is defined as “a commodity or service that is made available to all members of a society.” Optimism believe public goods are ‘the foundation of society,” and that their blockchain falls into this category:

“Optimism and Ethereum are public goods. The open internet is for all of us, and it will take all of us to help maintain it.”

The team suggested that in Web3, much like in real life, public goods often go underfunded and under-resourced, as there are often minimal incentives available to drive their development. The Optimism Collective aims to change this, by properly rewarding those that create or sustain public goods.


Structurally, the collective will be split into two “houses,” a Token House and a Citizens House. The Token House, unsurprisingly, is comprised of all those that hold the $OP token. This will initially be filled by recipients of the first $OP Airdrop, and members will be able to vote on protocol upgrades and project incentives, similar to many of the governance mechanisms we see today.

The Citizen’s House will then launch later in 2022. Entry to the house, or ‘Citizenship,’ will be granted by non-transferrable NFTs, with the population of citizens growing over time as the Optimism community grows. It is as yet unclear who exactly will be granted the initial NFTs, but it is likely that the Token House will play a key role in determining this. The role of the Citizen’s House will be “retroactive public goods funding,” in which fees generated by the Optimism network are distributed back to the users and builders of protocols that have added the most value to the Optimism network.


Optimism hopes that the introduction of retroactive funding will incentivize ongoing work on the blockchain, which should in turn drive further protocol uptake, and thus generate more fees. These fees can then be allocated back to those that continue to add the most value, in what Optimism describes as a “powerful flywheel.” The new governance structure will initially be overseen by the newly formed Optimism Foundation, led by two of Optimism’s founders, but the foundation will eventually dissolve to hand over full power to the self-governing houses. Optimism describes the plans as “a large-scale experiment in decentralised governance,” based on their vision to “sustainably fund public goods.”


  • James is a British doctor currently residing in Sydney. When he’s not at the hospital or bringing you the latest in crypto news, you’ll find him in the surf or exploring Australia’s great outdoors.

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