Outlier Ventures Weekly Brief Issue #25  View Online

Stack Integration Strengthens as Fetch.AI and Outlier Ventures Become Sovrin Stewards

The last week marked the 9th year anniversary of the first Bitcoin-denominated purchase. It involved a 10,000 BTC transfer for a pizza. According to CBS News, the individual behind the transaction eventually spent over 100,000 Bitcoins (currently worth $850 Million) buying pizzas. While many could point out that he may have missed out on the financial gains he could have had from "hodling" the coins, it needs to be noted that early adopters like him paved the way for Bitcoin to be embraced as a financial tool. Moving on -  this week's newsletter explores the latest stewards to join Sovrin's network, IOTA's latest developments and a study on the impact GDPR has had on the European economy.

Image: Sourced from Sovrin Blog

Fetch.AI, Outlier Ventures Become Sovrin Stewards
Sovrin announced four new organisations as their Stewards this week. Stewards on the Sovrin network are responsible for maintaining consensus in the Sovrin ledger. The new stewards include AyanWorks, Fetch.AI, One Global and Outlier Ventures. The network currently has stewards from 13 different countries around the globe. Fetch.AI will be using the Sovrin network to provide its autonomous agents self-sovereign identities so that they are able to interact with one another in a trusted and secure environment. Outlier Ventures has been an active advisor to and investor in the Sovrin network since its early days. Most recently, we released the ANVIL app in the Convergence Stack with the intention of bridging Sovrin's verifiable credentials and Fetch.AI's autonomous agentsMore on the new stewards in this blog post. 

IOTA Inching Closer To Coordicide
IOTA's coordinator has long been a source of concern due to the relative centralisation it brings to the network. The team is now inching closer to completely removing the coordinator from their system through what is being called a “Coordicide” - the death of the Coordinator. IOTA’s coordinator-less testnet went live on March 5th, and two recent papers from IOTA formalise the research and development that has gone into establishing a truly decentralised Tangle.

Three key mechanisms are used to prevent the acceptance of parasitic sub-DAGs in a coordinator-less IOTA. First, a reputation token, mana, can be issued by transaction submitters to quantify confidence in the receiving nodes. Second, the tip selection algorithm has been adjusted so that the probabilistic random walk along the DAG is less likely to favour transactions characteristic of malicious sub-Tangles. Third, nodes vote out potentially malicious transactions by coming to consensus through aligning their vote with the majority opinion of their neighbouring nodes, creating a consensus shimmer, hence the name.

In addition to the work to kill the coordinator, IOTA have published a number of optimisations to the protocol including automatic peer discovery and adaptive difficulty Proof-of-Work, enabling a wider range of IOT devices to seamlessly integrate with the network. For more on the "Coordicide", we suggest taking a look at this introductory video. For a complete breakdown on how IOTA plans to remove the coordinator, read their whitepaper here. 

GDPR After One Year: Cost And Consequences
This month marks a year since GDPR went into effect. A year on and the numbers don't seem to be painting a pretty picture. Startup investments have reduced, compliance costs have increased and a large number of small and medium enterprises have had to shut down. Alec Stapp recently compiled the numbers associated with taking the regulation to markets recently. It has some interesting figures. For instance, Amazon sent 1700 Alexa voice recordings to the wrong user. In another case, the "Right to be forgotten" was being misused by scam artists and bad professionals to wipe out bad reviews about themselves. All this, while further growing the moats large organisations like Facebook and Google have in the region. Read the entire piece here for more on how broken the web is in its current state. 

Get Involved

If you are looking to engage with our Diffusion Program please get in touch with the respective contacts below:

What The Team Is Reading
A startup that helps people make money will make money itself. Both Viaweb and Y Combinator did this. And so do Airbnb and Stripe. It's not the only recipe for a startup, but it's a good one.
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