The Optimism Collective's round 3 of RetroPGF is happening! Now we're going through the voting phase until December 7th.

RetroPGF Round 3
The Optimism Collective’s third round of Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) will take place in fall of 2023. RetroPGF 3 will allocate 30m OP tokens to reward contributions

If you're a badgeholder wanting to learn more about The Red Guild and why support us, this article's for you ❤️

You can find our application for the RetroPGF in these links:

Retro PGF
Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) Round 3 will take place this fall and will distribute 30M OP to reward contributions that have supported the development and adoption of Optimism.
Optimism Agora
Agora is the home of Optimism voters.

We're also part of the EthernautDAO's list:

Optimism Agora
Agora is the home of Optimism voters.

Who are we

The Red Guild is an autonomous collective helping enhance the security of the Ethereum ecosystem and those who contribute to its long-term success.

As a small team of hackers, educators and advocates, we’ve taken a public-good approach to web3 security, putting our skills in favor of the community.

We envision transforming security research and advocacy into a public good initiative in favor of the Ethereum ecosystem. This will complement the private profit-driven efforts of others in the space.

The truth of The Red Guild
The true lore of The Red Guild, and why it matters for Ethereum.

We conduct security reviews, responsibly disclose vulnerabilities, and produce free educational material in articles, interviews, videos, talks, workshops, awareness campaigns and challenges. We engage with LATAM communities, sponsoring meetups and hosting local events for web3 devs and security researchers.

We've worked on The Red Guild full-time for almost a year as our full-time job. We have never sold private security services nor accepted funding from VCs. All we've done has been for the communtiy, open and accessible to the whole ecosystem.

How we got to know the RetroPGF rounds

Up until some months ago, The Red Guild was funded by grants from the Ethereum Foundation. In the meantime, we've been seeking for complementary sources of funding to sustain our project in the long-term. And now that our grants with the EF are done, we're more actively looking for alternatives.

We tried community-driven grants like CLR.Fund and Gitcoin Grants, but the experience, to say it nicely, didn’t meet our expectations.

After sharing and openly talking about those experiences in conferences and meetups, we were advised —by other LATAM communities that have been actively contributing and participating in the ecosystem— to explore the RetroPGF rounds of Optimism, which could better align to our values and support (at least part) of our activities.

Our contributions and impact

No doubt our work hasn't been exclusively aimed to the Optimism Collective. Yet we're convinced it contributed to educating web3 security researchers and developers on security topics that are relevant for Optimism-based applications to stay safe.

🕵️‍♂️ Security work

  • Participated in bug bounty programs to responsibly disclose security vulnerabilities (like this one).
  • Reached out privately to developers to share weaknesses, flaws or security concerns.
  • Opened public GitHub issues for non-exploitable bugs or to suggest best practices (like this, this, this, this or this).
  • Participated in crowdsourced security contests from relevant projects in the ecosystem (such as this for Optimism).

Here's a list of public reported issues, ranging from critical vulnerabilities to other flaws and weaknesses.

⚔️ Challenges

  • We continued developing and maintaining the most beloved DeFi security challenges in the ecosystem! Damn Vulnerable DeFi.

If you're a true OG optimist, the Wallet Mining challenge might be for you 😁

🦜 Talks

We attended several events to spread The Red Guild's ethos:

  • A live talk at ETHBarcelona discussing how we think about security for the common good of the ecosystem. And the challenges that come with it.
  • A live talk at Ethereum Argentina sharing our approach to security at The Red Guild.
  • A live talk at the DeFi Security Summit, sharing our view on why security matters and the reasons beginners should join the space.
  • A security panel in day 2 of LABITCONF conference (sadly no recordings, but here's a tweet with some photos from one of the panelists).

⚒️ Workshops and walkthroughs

  • 1.5 hours-long workshop on security testing with Foundry, for a local university in LATAM. We also delivered a refreshed version of this workshop at Ethereum Argentina.
  • A ~1.5 hours-long walkthrough of the Account Abstraction reference code, going deep into the contracts and bundler implementation.

😵‍💫 Hacks explained

🎙️ Interviews

  • Our interview with Patrick Collins sharing our smart contract reviewing process (full video here),

📜 Articles

(we write a lot, probably too much, these are just some highlights)

  • Some (like this or this) related to our security research activities and vulnerability disclosures.
  • Some (like this) explaining in detail how we approach security spotchecks, a kind of unsolicited security review we do at The Red Guild for projects that catch our interest.
  • Some (like this) explaining how we use available open-source tools for our work.
  • Some (like this) sharing our past experiences with auditors in the ecosystem.
  • Monthly updates openly sharing all of our activities with the web3 community.

🫂 Events

Over 250 people from various cities learned about Optimism for the first time at GEERS. The topic was featured at least twice in the talks. Particularly in a talk by Joxes on "The Importance of Participatory Roles in Governance".

🧑‍💻 Education

🥷 IRL security awareness

  • A 2-day-long undercover campaign at Ethereum Argentina running red-teaming-like activities to raise security awareness in all attendees.

If you're a numbers person, then here's a snapshot of mid October 2023 showing some metrics from our tracked, public content. Honestly we don't pay that much attention to them. We take them with a pinch of salt. Because we tend to be cautious of using vanity metrics to measure our real impact.

The Red Guild - Content metrics snapshot
Metrics THE RED GUILD - CONTENT METRICS A brief snapshot of metrics for part of our public, tracked educational content up to October 12th, 2023. Stars in public repositories Damn Vulnerable DeFi,<a href=“”>…

And by the way, The Red Guild has done all of this, and more, with only 3 full-time members 😉

How was our application process

This is the first time The Red Guild applies for the Optimism Collective's RetroPGF rounds. Overall the experience has been good so far. We've got some experience applying for other community grants such as Gitcoin and CLR.Fund. So we can say that the AX (applicant experience 😛) for this one has been, at the very least, better.

Our approach is usually the same. First we see the kind of information they are requiring from our activities, we copy the form fields to a shared Notion page, and write our whole application in Notion. After iterating on it multiple times and peer-reviewing it, we may share it with an outsider for additional feedback. Finally, we'd open the "official" form, move our texts to it, and hit submit.

With Optimism, we did struggle finding out how exactly to fill out the online form. We couldn't see at once all the information we had to provide. So we had to first fill it up with random stuff and advance right until the end (without submitting it, of course) to know exactly everything we'd need to provide.

Also, each field in the form had hidden limitations in the text's length. This meant that we had to first find the limit for each field (you'd LOL hard if I told you how we did this), and then adjust our texts to each particular field. This was somewhat inconvenient and slowed down the process. But well, it wasn't a blocker really.

Other than these, the experience was nice and we'd comfortably go through it again in the future.

Some community love

Here's some members of the community sharing appreciation for The Red Guild's work:

🤯 OMG The Red Guild is awesome 🤯 I so want to vote for it

Go for it dear badgeholders:

Retro PGF
Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) Round 3 will take place this fall and will distribute 30M OP to reward contributions that have supported the development and adoption of Optimism.
Optimism Agora
Agora is the home of Optimism voters.