Impact markets are a charity analogy to private equity. Instead of prospectively giving grants to projects they hope will work, charitable foundations retrospectively give grants to projects that did work. Investors fund those projects prospectively, then recover their money through the grants. This offloads the responsibility of predicting which projects will succeed - and the risks from unsuccessful projects - from charitable foundations to investors with skin in the game.

To test this new model, ACX and the Manifold Markets team are running a prototype mini-grants round for forecasting projects. Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal.

Updates since the last post:

1: An anonymous donor has offered another $20,000, which would increase the pot size to $40,000. I’ve told them I’m only going to take their money if I believe there are $40,000 worth of good projects to spend it on at the end. So the final oracular retroactive funding pot size is somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 , subject to the restrictions mentioned earlier.

2: Sixteen people have submitted projects! (click to be linked to market home page)

The deadline for further project submissions is tonight, so get them in now if you have them!

3: Manifold continues to approve accredited investors. If you’re an accredited investor (approximately: you make $200K+ per year, or have $1MM net worth), and you feel like you understand impact markets, you’re welcome to participate in the investment phase.

4: …which is starting now! Bid for equity on projects that you expect to succeed - and in six months when I give them retroactive grants, those grants will go to you in proportion to how much equity you hold. Some restrictions apply, see original post for details. The auctions say they’re closing March 8th, but we’re running a little behind schedule and might keep them open until March 12th instead.

5: You can also ignore everything we’re doing and use Manifund’s impact market for any other kind of charitable project you want. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that we or anyone else will ever retroactively fund these, and you’re kind of operating on blind faith here. Two people are already trying this:

Feel free to buy or trade equity in these projects, but remember that nobody including me has any story for why they might ever make money, and this would be a strange thing to do from a profit-maximizing perspective.

6: Current planned schedule (may change quickly) is:

  • Tonight: Deadline for project submissions

  • March 12: Auctions for equity in existing projects close

  • March to September: Accredited investors may buy or sell impact certificates among themselves.

  • September 1: I decide who judges are, we solicit information on how projects have done, and begin making final impact decisions.

  • Mid September: I announce who’s receiving final retroactive oracular funding, and pay off investors.

Thanks to all participants, and you can leave any questions in the comments section.