Pairwise: Simplifying Choices, Amplifying Voices

Project Description and why it’s classified as a Public Good:

Pairwise is an open-source dapp that streamlines community decisions and aggregates these choices into clear recommendations. By converting subjective preferences into objective outcomes, Pairwise minimizes the cognitive burden of traditional voting. It stands as a decisive effort to redefine digital democracy.

How does it work?

Organizers can set up a space and initiate a vote, presenting users with a straightforward choice between two options. Instead of overwhelming users with myriad choices, Pairwise breaks it down: Is spending 10k on fireworks a good idea? Maybe. But when asked to choose between spending 10k on fireworks or food, the decision becomes clearer. By the end of the process, you’re left with a ranked list, complete with percentages, reflecting collective preferences. The underlying algorithm draws inspiration from the ELO system used in games like League of Legends. For a deeper dive into the algorithm, refer to the Colony paper.

How does it support Public Goods?

Pairwise, being free and open-source, stands as a public good, enhancing decision-making in public good DAOs and projects. It’s universally accessible and complements other governance tools.

Use Cases:

  • Grant Proposals: For organizations swamped with grant requests, Pairwise streamlines prioritization by comparing potential impact and feasibility, optimizing funding allocation.

  • Community signaling: Beyond just voting, Pairwise offers decentralized curation.

  • User Research: DAOs can employ Pairwise for a playful “hot or not” style feedback on designs or features, capturing community preferences efficiently.

Video Demo

If holding ETH on a wallet can play with it and rank the best anime!

Main Project Funding Sources: It’s only being funded by grants

  • ENS Small grant Public Goods round 5 ( 1 ETH )
  • ENS Small grant Public Goods round 7 ( 1 ETH )
  • ENS Small grant Public Goods round 9 ( 1 ETH )
  • Gitcoin (1.5k USD )
  • Optimisms RPGF ( 7805.18 OP )
  • Optimisms grant ( 95K OP locked )
    • The allocated funds are not intended for this specific roadmap. However, elements of the operational proposal could potentially be repurposed, thereby conserving resources within the overall budget.
  • Dorahacks (0.64118904 BNB + 1000 USDT )

Seeking project-specific funding or funding for general operations:

Specific funding

Project Roadmap and Milestones (only for project-specific funding):

Funding Request and Budget (only for project-specific funding):

We’re requesting $20,000 to successfully complete Milestones 1 and 2, producing a game-changing product. Pairwise It’s a step towards enabling digital democracy. The last three milestones focus on making it fully decentralized and establishing a public good space for communities to engage in governance.

Team Information, including backgrounds and roles:

  • @FreshelleT - Treasury and contract engagement
  • @markoprljic - Design lead. Head of Design and Business Developer at General Magic. “Magic Marko” is a top notch designer and has been practicing his art on web2 and web3 projects for over a decade.
  • @moe_nick - Project Manager. Products & Fintech Enthusiast. Product Manager, ex-MyDigipay, ex-Tadbirpardaz, ex- Finnotech
  • @pourcheriki - Developer. More info: Github Lead Front-End Developer. Cherik has been leading the front-end design on a variety of products and features in the Giveth Galaxy for the last 2 years.
  • @amin__dev - Developer. More info: Github Software Engineer/Developer/Architecture Lead Developer at Giveth
  • @VitorMarthendal - Magically supports cadCAD and general full-stack development for consumer-facing blockchain-based products: Github
  • @thegrifft - Advisor. Co-founder of Giveth, Commons Stack, General Magic, Dappnode
  • @mathsguy - Maths PhD (Category Theory, String Topology / CUNY), then worked on Ethereum, EthSwarm & Colony. Now playing around with math animations using Manim and learning theoretical CS. Wrote the original paper Pairwise is based on.
  • @kronosapiens - Programmer-at-arms @joinColony, prev. ML @Foursquare Pilgrim. Closet anti-positivist. Arts & sciences. More info: Github Created the initial implementation of Pairwise
  • @gichiba - Technical Writer at the Ethereum Foundation More info: Linkedin
  • @ZeptimusQ - Transparency and accountability advocate. A passionate representative focused on decentralized governance. Fundraising & Business Developer at General Magic.

Social Credibility (development progress, awards, notable GitHub commits, referrals):

Discord contact: ZeptimusQ

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Do you have a commitment to open-source (i.e. every open-source license accepted by the Open-Source Initiative) technology and sharing results publicly?
  • Have you provided transparency about how exactly funding will be used?
  • Are you advancing values of freedom and privacy (no surveillance and handling of personal data)?
  • Are you supporting decentralization in various fields (for example building Web3 projects)?
  • Have you provided social media channels to the extent that we can confirm social proof of your project?

Octant Community,

We’re excited to share with you the latest developments in the Pairwise, driven by your generous support. Our journey has been filled with both challenges and groundbreaking achievements, and we’re immensely grateful for your role in this adventure.

Progress and Allocation of Funds:

Development of the Optimism Version: A major focus of our efforts and funding has been on developing the Optimism version of Pairwise. This isn’t just an update; it’s a complete game-changer in DAO voting processes. Pairwise serves as tooling to create lists in RetroPGF, tackling the distribution of 30 million OP tokens across more than 600 projects. The challenge of choosing the best projects is enormous, but Pairwise makes this task manageable and engaging by allowing badgeholders to create curated lists by comparing projects two at a time. This approach is not only simplifying decision-making but also transforming it into an exciting experience enabling a more expertise driven signaling. Check it out at!

Github repos:


Categories (built with AI)

  • Accounting of Funds Received:

    • ENS Small Grants (Rounds 5, 7, 9, 10): 3.3 ETH
    • Gitcoin Grants: 1.5k USD + 5k ARB + 390 UDSC
    • Octant Grant: 6.05 ETH
    • Optimism RPGF: 7805.18 OP
    • Optimism Grant: 95K OP (Locked, pending release)
    • Dorahacks: 0.64118904 BNB + 1000 USDT
  • The funds, including the crucial Octant grant, have been strategically used for development, testing, and enhancing user experience. The Octant funding has been particularly vital, helping us to survive and progress during the lock-up phase of the OP grant.

  • Cross-Version Synergy: The learnings and advancements from the Optimism version are being integrated back into the public good version of Pairwise. This ensures that both versions evolve and benefit from shared development efforts.
  • Future Plans with OP Funding: Once the OP funding becomes available, we will focus on enhancing the public good version of Pairwise. Insights from the RetroPGF experience will guide us in refining Pairwise into an even more effective tool for community decision-making.

Future Roadmap:

We’re not just envisioning a future of digital democracy; we’re actively creating it. The prototype, a testament to our progress, is available for you to explore at

Request for Continued Support:

As we venture into the next phase of development, your ongoing support is essential. Pairwise has the potential to redefine community decision-making and governance in the digital space, and we’re dedicated to realizing this vision. Your role in this journey is invaluable, and we look forward to sharing more milestones with you soon.

Thank you for being a part of Pairwise’s growth.

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Update Pairwise Development

We are eager to present our updated plans for Pairwise to the Octant community, expressing our gratitude for the funding received during epochs 2 and 3. Our commitment to improving digital democracy and simplifying the decision-making process in DAOs drives our progress, guiding us toward our goal. Given the alignment with the RetroPGF trend, we are updating our roadmap to better reflect our current direction.

We have been working on developing a new version of Pairwise, tailored to support RetroPGF (Retroactive Public Goods Funding). RetroPGF rewards projects contributions after they have occurred, reducing bureaucracy and fostering a free-market environment where public goods projects compete to make the most impact in the ecosystem.

Leveraging our experience as RetroPGF tooling on Optimism, we have gained valuable insights and will continue to refine our project to meet the broader ecosystem’s needs. We understand that each community may prefer a customized front-end; for instance, if you are funding builders on Optimism, you wouldn’t want the front end to prompt applications for building on Arbitrum or any other ecosystem. With that in mind, all our code is open-source, allowing anyone to fork and build upon our work, showcasing the true spirit of open-source collaboration.

Looking Ahead

  • We aim to enhance the Pairwise experience by introducing a mobile interface that supports pseudo-anonymous voting. We believe that the optimal Pairwise experience should be accessible on a phone, complemented by easy login options via email and a desktop version for delegating voting power on desktop. The rationale for pseudo-anonymity is to ensure that voters can make independent decisions without feeling pressured to vote for their friends, while also preventing the potential for biased voting if the process were fully anonymous.

  • Users have expressed a desire not to keep voting for projects they are not interested in funding. To address this, we plan to implement a Tinder-style pre-voting filter—bringing a familiar swipe mechanism to governance. This approach will allow users to quickly sort through projects, engaging only with those they wish to support.

  • We also recognize that badgeholders have contributed significantly without receiving rewards. Our goal is to transform this experience into one where voters earn points for their participation, which can later be exchanged for community tokens, adding an element of reward and enjoyment.

  • We are committed to revamping the voting flow to make it fun, enjoyable, and highly effective. [ The algorithm is very similar to the Elo rating system which is the dominant way of doing this work in the default world] and it works!

Anti-Gaming Measures and Transparency

  • The Pairwise voting process is not like snapshot, it will be very easy to track how users use the application using traditional analytics tooling and separate authentic users from bots and people who are just clicking through to promote their own projects.
  • If the ballot submission looks like they are only farming the reward or just voting for their own projects without putting in an authentic effort to judge other projects, we will not give the reward to that voter, but we will still count the ballot.
  • We will maintain complete transparency in the reward calculation and distribution process. Everything will be public.

The product progress can be viewed in our latest prototype, available here.

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Our last voting session on Epoch 3 did not attract as many participants as we had hoped. We’re eager to hear your thoughts on overcoming these obstacles.

Progress Update:

Development updates: We have been developing all the features mentioned in the previous post. We had scheduled an internal launch on June 10, with the official release set for June 23. This launch will include all the features mentioned previously mentioned

Experimental Voting Round: We are initiating an experimental voting round on Optimism, designed to simplify and gamify the RetroPGF experience. The goal with this experiment is to run a full Pairwise round and compare the results with the oficial ones to nurture Retro funding initiatives. More info on the experiment here

User testing: We are actively doing user testing with different types of users (badgeholders, web3 gov people and new to web3 folks) we still going for more interviews but feedback found and already designed can be seen here

Audio Enhancements: We’ve hired a sound engineer and have developed some initial sound designs for Pairwise. While these are still in the alpha stage and will need further refinement, we’re excited about their potential. We believe that integrating high-quality sound effects will make the voting experience more engaging and enjoyable, helping users signal their choices enabling digital democracy.

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I love the Tinder swipe idea, that you shared before, I think thats a really solid way to solve that problem.

Can you dive a little deeper into the features mentioned in the previous post. Do you mean that June 10th is the target date to release everything mentioned?

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Thanks, James! I’m also stoked about the filtering phase. It’ll be fascinating to see it in action during real voting soon!.

Indeed, by June 10th, we plan to internally launch all these new features and will have a teaser to share. The official launch is scheduled for June 23rd, and you’ll be able to explore the updates at Here’s what you can expect:

  • Mobile-first version
  • Filtering phase
  • New flow
  • Account abstraction with pseudo-anonymous voting and feedback
  • Category comparisons
  • A desktop version to connect voting power

We’re also working on introducing new metric-based designs and implementing the sound features on the web app, though these aren’t guaranteed for the initial release.

Raw teaser, this might be completely different but we are thinking about it!

Thanks for sharing @Zeptimus. I went through the thread on too and I like Jonas’ point:

explore the research question of how the outcomes of the Pairwise voting system compare to the outcomes of Retro Funding 4 voting using impact metrics.

It’d be interesting to see!
And I’ll definitely be curious to see the teaser after June 10th, as well. :slight_smile:


Aren’t these two separate things though @Zeptimus ?

AFAIK users are choosing their preferences with Pairwise, and Retro is trying to quantify impact. Isn’t this in a way apples and oranges?

We are conducting an experiment to quantify the impact using Pairwise while the RetroPGF core team experiments with metrics. The goal is to see how projects rank in Pairwise compared to metrics.

We are also experimenting with giving different stakeholders a voice to signal their preferences. All data from the Pairwise is intended for research purposes only and will not be used to distribute funds during this round.

The idea is to compare badgeholders’ bucket results with the official ones, and also to see what other groups such as recipients, delegates, or holders say, and how those differ. The goal is also to promote project discovery, as public goods are meant to be useful, and marketing plays a significant role.


Got it, thanks for clarifying!!