Governance Research and Experiments Lead

Optimism Unlimited

Optimism Unlimited

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Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2024

About the Optimism Collective and Optimism Unlimited

The Optimism Collective leads the blockchain protocol landscape, dedicated to fostering a scalable and sustainable ecosystem. Optimism’s ethos, in sync with Ethereum's vision, tackles pivotal coordination challenges of the digital age. Optimism’s goal is to harmonize private incentives with public good, shaping a resilient future for the Internet. Optimism’s scope spans diverse areas like Gaming, DeFi, NFTs, and Enterprise.

Optimism Unlimited is a subsidiary of the Optimism Foundation that focuses on supporting the growth, adoption, and governance of the Optimism Collective.

Optimism is taking an experimental approach to the design of its bi-cameral governance system. As we develop this novel system, we must confront thorny design questions that require rigorous research across multiple disciplines to answer. A research-based approach to design is crucial to ensuring the resilience of the system, making it a top priority of the Collective.

The Governance Research Lead will have a unique opportunity to manage and collaborate with experts from many fields to inform the design of Optimism governance. Uniquely, the role will have the opportunity to implement this research via a series of experiments run in 4-6 month cycles - much faster than iteration cycles in traditional governance systems.


  • Manage a network of experts to answer our most pressing design questions including but not limited to:
    • Parameter setting (veto thresholds, quorums for different voting mechanisms, smart defaults)
    • Incentive design (incentive alignment in non-plutocratic systems)
    • Political systems design (prevention of gridlock and stagnation in bi-cameral design, how to run experiments in sortition vs. elections, open democracy, and deliberative processes; how to better distribute and measure voting power)
    • Evaluation of the trade-offs between private and public voting
    • How to prevent collusion and design for the inevitable development of bribery markets
    • Many others!
  • Implement an externally facing research program, supported by Collective Grants and leveraging Mission Requests
  • Aggregate and synthesize the output of the above research program to inform individual design components within the full context of the overarching governance system
  • Design a comprehensive research strategy to prioritizes design questions and run experiments on a 4-6 month iteration cycle
  • Manage experiment design, implementation, and analysis
  • Create long term research strategy to ensure relevant governance research is supported and evolves as the organization and design space changes


  • A deep understanding of governance and DAOs and the existing body of related research
  • Relationships with academia and other expert networks
  • Experience overseeing relationships with external contributors and working with cross-functional teams
  • Experience publishing academic papers and working in academia
  • Ability to speak at academic conferences
  • Ability to write and run simulations (in Python, etc.)
  • Preference for candidates based outside the U.S. but not a requirement

What you'll like about us:

  • We take pride in the accomplishments of our teammates and support each other in doing the best work of our careers.
  • Our team is a diverse group of people from a variety of backgrounds and interests. We cherish our eclecticism and consider it a great strength.
  • We have a transparent, feedback-driven and fun-centric culture.
  • We are a team of builders—our founding team has been working on Ethereum scalability since 2015.

We strongly encourage candidates of all different backgrounds to apply. We believe that our work is stronger with a variety of perspectives, and we’re eager to further diversify our company. If you have a background that you feel would make an impact at Optimism, please consider applying. We’re committed to building an inclusive, supportive place for you to do the best work of your career.

This job is no longer accepting applications

See open jobs at Optimism Unlimited .