Outlier Ventures Weekly Brief Issue #35 View Online

It’s all go this week, as it always seems to be with us. Last week it was Base Camp, and the week before it was the Convergence Alliance. A hackathon in Berlin on 19th and 20th of October focused on building on top of some of the most exciting web3 protocols. The first to be publicly announced include Fetch.AI, Cosmos, IOTA, Chainlink, Sovrin, Evernym, Haja Networks, Agoric Systems, Ocean Protocol, Enigma, FOAM, Rightmesh, Alkemi and SEED. More will be announced in the run-up, just like Glastonbury. Have a look at the details and sign up here.

As blockchain technology matures, we are approaching the time where real-world products can be built and scaled. Distribution. Distribution. Distribution. We have sunk millions of hours and billions of dollars into protocols and now it’s all about getting people using this stuff. Normal people do not care about self-custody, or token economics, “trustless” or decentralisation, and I’m sorry to say, even sound money. (Let’s be honest, 99% of people don’t understand the term). The things that mattered to pioneers and early adopters do not matter to the early majority. I have never heard normal people complain that Facebook isn’t decentralized or that Slack isn’t “Trustless”. Sadly, I am not convinced privacy or security actually matters to consumers (more secure is actually increasingly a powerful value prop for business though). Hit me up if you have data to suggest otherwise.

Faster, cheaper and easier-to-use. That’s all that matters and that’s the opportunity and challenge for Web3 today. This week I stumbled across Fairdrop which is a great example of a simple and easy-to-use file sharing service. Great product and certainly competitive with WeTransfer. Now the challenge for Fairdrop is distribution. How will customers discover it and when they do why would they use it? If privacy is an important factor in your purchasing decision, then Fairdrop is on to a winner. But how many people who want to share files will care enough about privacy to switch? Probably not that many if they are already using WeTransfer. So how many new users are there? How big is this market and how much are these people willing to pay? This isn’t really about Fairdrop at all. It’s a broader question for the crypto industry as it grows and has to appeal to users with different priorities. Personally, I think to achieve million+ users, security and privacy will not be the selling points. Look at Brave “the fastest browser” or Coinbase “the easiest place” or Zerion “DeFi made easy”. The world is hard and crypto is complicated. If Web3 is to become a reality, we need to make people’s lives easier, not harder.

That’s a long-winded way of saying, sign up to Diffusion 2019 and let’s make real stuff that people will use. Real talk.

Reading: The Psychology of Prediction by Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund
Listening: This Is Where It Ends by Alice Boman
Using: InstaDapp (Need MetaMask to use)

Peace, Lawrence


Fetch.AI - Network for the autonomous agent economy

Like the Postman, Fetch.AI continues to deliver. The team released its alpha Mainnet this week. Named Apus, it provides the foundation for their technology stack to work together.  It constitutes of an open block explorer and the release of Eth - a programming language for synergetic and smart contracts on the Fetch.AI ledger. For developers looking to explore Etch and its applications, we suggest taking a look at the team's developer documentation here.

FOAM - Crowdsourced Mapping And Location Services

FOAM has had an eventful week. They launched FOAM ToolsA custom block explorer for the FOAM map. It includes tools designed to help validators with voting. It also comes with integration with 3Box for social profiles. A developer grant programme is now live, attracting multiple exciting applications. In terms of accessibility - the team has integrated with Uniswap and 0x to enable conversion of tokens without reliance on an exchange. The team is also pushing to launch a governance dashboard that gives clarity on important upcoming votes and a method to track key KPIs as defined by the community. More in The Information here.

Chainlink - Delivering Trusted Data To Blockchains

De-Fi products require two things for functioning at scale. One is scalability, the other is verifiable interaction with off-chain data for price feeds. Zilliqa and Chainlink have come together to create a collaboration that tackles both issues with one go. The move will allow De-Fi applications built on Ziliqa to retrieve and query real-time data from exchange price-feeds, stock prices, weather forecasts and even voting results. This lays the groundwork for the product to be used in building prediction markets, derivatives and even insurance products. More here.

Seed - Marketplace For AI Components

The team at Seed has released its updated roadmap on the website. In terms of immediate focus, the team will develop their wallet, conversational user interface store and the blockchain between August and October The plan is to launch an Alpha by early October. Mark Stephen Meadows also did a live AMA session on Twitter explaining what is Seed and why it is needed. Watch the entire clip here to learn more about the project.

Cosmos - A network of independent, scalable and interoperable blockchains

The interchain foundation (the team behind Cosmos) has announced a collaborative research effort with Agoric to improve cross-chain interoperability. The scope will involve Agoric's team developing and delivering a new Inter-Blockchain communications protocol in partnership with developers from the Cosmos network. The digital asset ecosystem requires bridges that enable value transfer between protocols. The collaborative effort should accelerate the speed at which this becomes a reality. For more on how Cosmos works, we suggest watching this interview with a core developer from the team. If you are a developer, make sure you take a look at their SDK over the weekend. 

What The Team Is Reading

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