Outlier Ventures Weekly Brief Issue #37 View Online

Make sure you sign up for Diffusion in Berlin. 2 days of hacking, 15 protocols with a combined 25 million lines of open-source code. 

This week I have been digging into the interesting world of IEOs which seems to be changing every day. After some great analysis by my colleague Joel John on the overall funding landscape since 2012, I have been thinking more and more about what fundraising will look like in 2025 for token-based projects. We should always be wary of the ’this time is different’ argument, because the long arc of history shows ‘this time’ is very rarely different. 

That said, before the Joint Stock Companies Act of 1856 in the U.K., the process of incorporation was only possible through a royal charter like the VOC, Hudson’s Bay Company or the South Sea Company. This Act basically meant for the first time in history the average person could set up a business and issue stock in said business. In 1840 the idea of any old Tom, Dick or Harry issuing stock, or a claim on future profits, would have been preposterous. And so the idea of any old Tom, Dick and Harry issuing a token, or a claim on future value of a network has been equally dismissed as crazy and dangerous. This is the tyranny of the present. The idea that it is hard to conceive of a world of radical change. 

But fundamentally we are asking the question: how to fund productive activity in the economy? Are we saying that the joint-stock company and equity are the final inventions in company formation and funding? Is is so crazy to imagine DAOs and tokens as an alternative, low-cost coordination mechanism for the allocation of resources? I think that if we follow that rabbit down the rabbit hole we have to question all of the other assumptions around funding. Why should funding be done in stages? Why couldn’t be continuous based on hitting milestone a la a continuous organisation and MolochDAO? Why should investors be free to hold shares but not contribute to the network? Edgeware’s LockDrop and NuCypher’s Worklock hint at new incentive designs to align stakeholder interests on the network.

Anyway the point isn’t to tell you the answer, honestly, I have no idea how it will play out by 2025. But I do think it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. ICOs were a bit mad yes. I mean BitConnect? Really. But look after the South Sea Bubble of 1720, the formation of companies without Royal Charter was forbidden. Read some Dickens. Those were some serious swindlers and shenanigans. Companies were seen my most as inherently fraudulent. It wasn’t until the aforementioned 1856 Joint Stock Companies Act that public perception began to change and companies were seen as legitimate. 

Tokens, token sales, and DAOs are also a bit mad. But beware the tyranny of the present. 

Reading: How Monopolies Broke the Federal Reserve
Listening: Sleepwalker by Of Monsters and Men 
Using: Signed up to dPhone - “dPhone provides a secure way that all user calls are performed directly between users thanks to P2P architecture and blockchain encryption (BlockStack).”

On to the next one. 
If you are around for Berlin Blockchain Week, hit me up.
Peace, Lawrence

From The Stack

  • We have pulled together this helpful wiki with some key resources for all the projects in The Stack. Interesting mix of Telegram, Discord, Gitter, and Rocket Chat channels I thought. Have a look.
  • Agoric is hiring a product manager. If you'd like to work on the future of smart contracts, apply for the role today - Link
  • A general FAQ around staking in Fetch.AI is out. Read it here for more on how the network will transition into a PoS economy.. - Link
  • Ever wondered what an Uber built on FOAM would look like? Their team just released their open map API examples. Play with it over the weekend - Link
  • Evernym has released more details on their updates to Hyperledger Indy. More on the matter in their latest demo video. - Link
  • The Cosmos team will be at EthBerlin between August 23rd to 25th. Catch up with the team on Friday and Sunday. In case you'd like to play with the latest SDK, it is currently up on Github- Link
  • If you are in Berlin for the blockchain week, make sure you drop in for Haja's workshop as part of the P2P node sessions at #web3 - Link
  • IOTA has partnered with STMicroelectronics, Europe's largest semi-conductor producer. More about the partnership in this blog post from the team. - Link
  • Ocean Protocol's monthly technical update has been released. Catch up on the team's progress in this blog post - Link
What The Team Is Reading

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