finance.vote: Q1 2021 in review
We’ve just rounded out the first quarter of the year and I thought it time to give you all a detailed update of (almost) everything that’s happened since the start of the year and finish up with where we’re going next.
TL;DR warning: there’s quite a bit of reading and founder musings here. I started writing this without much desire to reign in my word count, so be warned. There’s a section at the end for those that are attention deficient. You’ll find it easy enough. Go now, and save your ape time for something more apey.
It’s been an exciting time. Not just in this project, but across the whole cryptospace. For those of you who were around in the bear market you will have seen the difference in energy and output of the space since the doldrums of late 2018, 2019 and early 2020.
Around this time last year, everything was thoroughly rekt. DeFi was on its knees after getting flash loaned to bits and the corona crash had spooked nearly everyone out of the market.
But then, a recovery. Unlike the booming stonks market, this bull market actually made sense. A decimated social and economic context out in the real world, turned the money printers on, drove people to their homes, on to the internet and into decentralised work.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the legitimacy of the use case for decentralised tech has 100X’d at least since last year.
The result has been an influx of new capital, mooning market prices for the major cryptocurrencies and thousands of new projects funded, finance.vote being one of them.
For the benefit of those (a little bit) late to the party finance.vote was brought into being in early September 2020, by a group of investors who saw promise in the ideas that we presented in a KarmaDAO pitch.
As the founder, I went from being a crypto obsessed academic, preparing for a new year of building educational systems in the depressing new world of socially distanced higher education, to full-time crypto over night.
This was on paper a madlad move, as a recent dad with a high profile associate dean job, which I’d spent over a decade climbing the greasy academic pole for, going all in crypto was a scary prospect. But, it had to be done. I’d spent too much time obsessing over crypto to not fully dedicate myself to and pursue a dream of building decentralised governance systems.
It was actually DAOs, or more specifically, “the DAO,” that made me understand the power and potential of blockchain to fundamentally uproot the very nature of civilisations. By 2017, crypto was all I was reading about and all I could think about.
The use of tokens as incentive alignment mechanisms, and the permissionless, global nature of the crypto networks could allow the creation of new organisational structures that would change the way we coordinate as humans for productive goals. It just doesn’t get bigger than that.
finance.vote is the result of 5 years of obsessive research and designing of token economies with a specific emphasis on governance and social coordination. It is the protocol that’s needed to take DAOs to the next level.
If you want social coordination you need consensus. So far, consensus in the blockchain space has largely been at the low level protocol level. Nakamoto consensus, driven by the Proof of Work algorithm is still the most secure mechanism in the space for maintaining a shared reality between distributed participants in an adversarial environment.
But if you want more social layer coordination though, outside of the crypto economic battle ground of adversarial curators of automated software, you need voting technology.
Voting takes dialogue and turns it into numbers, and storing numbers is what blockchains do best.
We specialise in quadratic voting because that creates the potential for far more nuanced capture of the preferences of voters. It also holds the potential to break the plutocratic nature of the token-based voting systems prevalent across the space current, which alienates the vast majority of participants from having a meaningful voice. Our goal is to use these systems to find new ways of giving power to distributed participants in DAOs.
At the end of May we will introduce vote mining, which rewards users for voting, breaking vote apathy (a big problem in the space). Details next week. Rest assured everyone’s who’s been voting with us is going to be happy.
A dApp suite
Probably the most used software packages in the world, are the cloud based tools found in Google and Microsoft product suite. They contain tools that allow collaboration and productive organisational work to take place and there’s a reason that these companies dominate the stock market.
An equivalent collaboration environment is inventible for the decentralised world and we’re building it, in the form of the finance.vote dApp suite.
The tools required for DAOs look very different from those in the centralised work. For a start, they don’t run on centralised databases, for us the blockchain is the database.
They are open, not gated and coordination is achieved via incentive alignment rather than inter-organisational authority. In DAO world, there are no bosses, line mangers or generally people to tell you what you what to do.
You play the game or don’t, it’s up to you.
Each of the .vote applications in our dApp suite form an important function of the decentralised organisations of the future.
Our prediction and market discovery pillar creates apps for discovering the price of digital assets, since it’s highly likely that this is what DAOs will mostly produce and importantly want to hold.
Our second layer governance system utilises both token weighted voting, decentralised identity and voting history based reputation to build an internal power structure that will promote social consensus formation.
Our social trading pillar is designed to explore the potential of digital asset trading as a collaborative rather than a solo-only zero sum game. Here we will ask the question: can a distributed community out trade the market?
By the end of this month we’ll have FIVE products on mainnet (auction.vote, markets.vote, bank.vote, yield.vote and influence.vote). In this opening phase of the network we’ve prioritised building, since each of these products work synergistically and act as the entry point into our ecosystem. We can’t be a dApp suite, without a suite.
Also, we’re at the phase in the market where tokens trend towards vapourware and empty hype in an effort to rush into a bull run. I think we’re now well positioned to stand out from the crowd by being the ecosystem with real on-chain adoption with real innovative products.
I don’t want to sound like a crypto hipster, but we had a launchpad before it was cool. We built auction.vote to find the listing price of our token. It uses a novel auction design we call the exponential token auction, price goes up quickly as does the supply, and then it comes down, progressively quicker, block by block until all the tokens are gone.
There’s some very cool features to it. It discovers the price of tokens by giving people a range of buying prices throughout a progressive iterative auction. Each buy is zero slippage. It bootstraps liquidity by collecting Ether and pushing it with a token pair directly to Uniswap, completely non-custodially.
The auction for FVT was probably the most exciting day of our lives, it had a gas race at the beginning and the end and it took about a month for my blood pressure to return to normal after it. And because of that, I know for sure, we’re on to something.
I’ll leave an open invitation here for any up and coming projects that want to find a fair price for their token listing. That means you’re not looking to scamgineer your way to a 100X listing pump by throttling demand through a tiny public sale, leaving your community to get rekt for months on end, as your market slowly bleeds out from a ludicrous initial overvaluation.
I digress. We also have another novel auction design we call the binary search auction, that is designed for finding the price of single assets i.e. NFTs. We think we’re breaking some serious ground on auction theory with these two auctions, not that anyone cares.
This month we’re on the hunt for some high value NFTs to try out our white glove crypto auction house experience. I promise you, we’re gonna surprise you with what this ends up looking like.
Over time, what gets auctioned and the parameters for how we do it, as well as the token economics for how the finance.vote protocol captures that value, will be negotiated by you the token holders.
The whole DeFi boom was driven by quantitive easing, and by that, I mean rampant money printing. In an effort to progressively decentralise themselves away from centralised management keys, pioneers like Compound and yearn.finance released governance tokens pretty soon after the “Black Thursday” corona crash in Q2 2020.
The result was tokens mooning, which at the time hadn’t been a thing we’d seen in crypto for yonks. Before we knew it tokens were back and everyone proclaiming that tokens were dead had to eat their hats as DeFi summer proved that, in fact, people fucking love tokens.
Just like where we’re heading in the real world, the winners in modern monetary theory world are those who manage the money printer best and that means finding effective ways to manage token velocity and getting your freshly printed money to those who provide the most benefit to the economy. For decentralised markets one of the most beneficial outcomes is liquidity provision. This is what yield.vote is all about.
yield.vote is a full stack liquidity mining solution. It allows projects to issue reserve tokens to network participants for staking their token (effectively taking them out of supply — reducing token velocity) and incentivising them to provide liquidity by issuing tokens to those who stake their LP tokens (creating market depth).
I watched the DeFi summer boom with great interest as projects splurged their tokens into the market at ludicrous rates. Frankly I couldn’t believe it lasted as long as it did, but sure enough rapid token emissions often billed as “fair launches” all crashed with many not returning. A lot of that was due to whales coming in collecting their free money and then playing the dump race games with their whale buddies. If token rewards are simply flowed to the people with most capital, then Justin Sun takes it all.
A lot of this was down to desperate attempts to capture short term liquidity, but even legitimate projects like Uniswap found themselves stuck with wondering what to do when their liquidity programme ended. Their governance conversation on this is an interesting read and shows what decentralised governance deadlock looks like.
yield.vote aims to solve a slew of these problems. It uses our voting tech to break governance deadlock by offering users the ability to tune future iterations of the pools by vote. It builds liquidity provision incentives by promoting users to burn tokens implying an economic cost to the action creating permanent liquidity in the trading contracts in the process and gamifies the whole experience to bridge the gap further between the everyday crypto user and decentralised financial activity.
Our basic pool recently filled 10m FVT in 155 seconds and pays users a healthy yield for leaving their tokens locked in the contract and at a fixed yield that doesn’t wobble around like crazy throughout the staking period.
Our basic pool is a kind of first come first served deal, and even I couldn’t get in to it after hitting “Deposit” on opening time. We had a salty user or two rage quit in our TG after this, which ironically nicely proves the use case of our resident and tycoon pools.
These new pools utilise Harberger Taxes, which has until now been a mostly theoretical idea proposed by certified galaxy brains Glen Weyl and Eric Posner, who’s book Radical Markets has informed so much of my thinking.
The idea of booting people out of their homes in the real world after a bid at self assessed valuations is obviously, well radical. But the cryptospace is where radical is the norm and we’re doing economic and social experiments that could only happen in the digital world. It should be wild.
markets.vote is our “always money in the banana stand” product. It is our launch product and was on mainnet pre token genesis, giving FVT “day one utility”. It will probably always be our tentpole dApp, since it provides an on-going incentive for participants to use our voting system and will be our mechanism for “curating the cryptospace”.
And that’s important. In a market where any tom, dick or harry can mint a token, the main problem is finding signal in the noise. As we generate adoption on markets.vote and migrate across chains (more on that in a bit) we’ll have a consensus curated list of the best tokens on each of the chains. This is will provide an important service to the space, particularly for newbies who are best steering well clear of the rug pull zone of new tokens. Stick to our token lists and you’ll be relatively safe. You’ll also get an insight into what our users think is going to perform in the future, or generally how bullish / bearish the sentiment is in the market.
In this quarter we pushed markets.vote to a new level of decentralisation by integrating with Chainlink oracles. Prior to this, we were using Uniswap oracles, which occasionally gave us some whacky results. To do this we had to build our own proprietary oracle system, that called Chainlink aggregators at the weekly closes and returned the data to our system providing the 7d changes in price that would settle our vote markets. We designed this settlement system that can be challenged.
This month we’re integrating with Chainlink’s Keepers programme, which means that proposed winners will be auto-proposed by external actors (in this case Chainlink node operators), who perform the necessary actions on our smart contracts to settle the markets. One step closer to fully decentralised!
We recently released our v1.0 of the markets.vote dApp, which now has integrated wallet connect, multi-chain functionality, full voting histories, integrated NFT art. This is now in a nice position to gain the adoption we want on multiple chains
markets.vote has insane potential. It’s actually a new kind of trading, that provides users with the opportunity to declare a weighted market preference across a list of assets. You can go all in on one token, or hedge your bets quadratically over a range of them. So far, it has a low stakes free to play dynamic, but our v2 markets will have a DeFi staking mechanic that will allow you to make probabilistic staking bets and find new ways of gaining exposure to the market.
We also have a dynamic index of tokens balanced by consensus each week. In this quarter we’ll be exploring how to use that data in a meaningful way in the market. We have some bonkers ideas that we’re just doing the modelling on, but all of this system links to a future DEX design that could introduce a new way of accessing the market and provide the possibility of DAO based collaborative token investing.
I couldn’t be more excited about the launch of influence.vote. This is the beginning of our second layer governance system and where things start to get governancy, which zooming out is what all of the finance.vote ecosystem converges to.
The idea of the second layer governance system is to create a modular layered system of decision making, that abstracts the messy world of human dialogue and deliberation away from reality shifting protocol changes (layer one decisions — new or altered smart contracts) in a second layer that facilitates the curation of discourse and user generated content.
The best summary of influence.vote we’ve landed on so far, is “decentralised content curation,” which is more exciting than it sounds. Content is king and currently this is done predominantly by centralised algorithms. We’re interested in the efficacy of content sorting mechanisms that occur purely by consensus and what the economic models are that are required to incentivise participants to do it. All of which will be tuned by FVT holders.
It will also be used to tune our economic policy. For example our identity system issues DITs with three variables: base price for identity (the floor value that the identity decays to), the decay rate per block (the rate at which the price of the identity galls back to the base price) and the price bump factor (what the price increases to after a buy).
In influence, we can have a range of possible scenarios and quadratic voting will be used to sort the possibilities by token weighted preference. Top one wins. This will enable users to not just use our system, but direct the token economics that maximally benefits the token holders.
In addition to the DIT mechanics, initial influence votes will be used for curation of our vote markets i.e. what token gets added to the respective vote markets lists, the future iterations of our yield.vote staking pools, what chains we deploy to next and important stuff like which memes are the best.
influence.vote will start with raw quadratic voting (purely determined by your token stake) and then will integrate our ID system to utilise the .vote consensus mechanism. This is our way of introducing hierarchy into token weighted voting that isn’t purely down to plutocratic power. I have no idea how this will play out, but I’ve been mentally playing the chess pieces of this mechanism in my head for a long time and at the very least it’s gonna make for an interesting cryptoeconomic game that plays with the concept of influence and financial power.
influence.vote is what I’ve been dreaming about for years and I can’t wait to see how users respond to it. We’re going to start will crowd based research on what’s the best long tail tokens to include into ecosystem, but if you can curate analysis on tokens you can curate analysis on anything…
Those who didn’t witness the last bear market haven’t seen the trust models of token systems fail when we move out of “only up” territory.
The reality is, that your favourite token team might seem like a lovely crew now, but when times get tough, they’re probably gonna dump their reserve token bags on you, either to survive, or just because they don’t feel like grinding their way through a crypto winter.
The sensible paradigm to assume is that if tokens are able to be sold, they will be.
Bank.vote, is not a bank, it is a time-locked vesting vault system that will ensure that tokens locked, stay locked until they’re supposed to. This means that token emission schedules can be designed out into the future and what is proposed in the whitepaper, is actually what happens. In crypto, you don’t trust, you verify. It’s kinda the whole point.
bank.vote will be where people will go to in our DAO to get paid and the rate at which they get paid will have to-the-second resolution. Not only that, all they will need is their ID to claim.
The system will use our “cliff-linear” vesting system and will give FVT holders the ability to not only fund proposals they think will benefit the token economy, but design the vesting schedules that those participants receive their allowance on with a couple of simple parameters.
Pretty early on in our journey, “do partnerships” was about the most common advice that we received. I get it, you get marketed to their projects, good PR etc. But I also noticed that some projects were doing completely empty partnership announcements, with no actual intention of doing anything collaborative whatsoever. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Real partnerships take time. I spent years working in, and building consortia for large research projects and the reality is that real partnerships and collaborations take time to develop, months, sometimes years. Trust needs to be built, alignment needs to be found, deals need to be made. If a project is throwing out 5 partnerships a week, frankly, they’re chatting shit.
However, I know full well, that partnerships are fundamental to decentralised systems. Composability and interoperability is the name of the game and we’re actually hunting for projects to collaborate with so we can tune our launch dApps to their needs, producing maximum possible value for the cryptospace.
This quarter partnerships are my top priority and I anticipate spending a lot of my time talking to the best projects out there and finding out how we can work together. If we do projects then will be real. Watch this space. We start announcing next week.
Those of you who’ve been in since day one, will have seen us progress from the angry token flipper stage of the community through to a vibrant and diverse community of engaged individuals.
We now have two token gated groups. Our “citizens chambers,” which require a decentralised identity token to enter. The BSC group is very new, but the Ethereum group contains around 70 people, many of which have been with us through thick and thin since very early. They are the finance.vote OGs.
Token gating is a super interesting component of Web3 environments and will only progress further. It creates the context where people are filtered by engagement, separating the users from the passive speculators and marauding bots roaming the crypto dungeons looking for dupes who “wanna chat?”
The result has been a close nit group of people that genuinely support the project and each other. One event sticks out in particular, where one of our members suffered an unfortunate hack, losing his hard earned crypto that had been accumulated over many months. Within 24 hours, he had been supported through recovering the remaining tokens (including his citizen ID) and in one of the most heart warming events I’d ever seen, had almost his entire lost stack donated back to him in what might the first community backstop. It was at this point I knew our community was something very special.
And this is what it’s all about. The ability for totally anonymous people to come together and collaborate. DAOs are collections of people not just the technologies that underpin them. Without engaged people they are nothing. Everything we do, puts community first as will be exemplified by our governance framework which we’ll release very soon.
It’s getting towards time for Discord and now we’ve got the right people around, it’s going to be migration time.
If partnerships are hard, building a real team of amazing people is the hardest thing there is and is the key to success of any enterprise. My two co-founders Naomi and Yuvi are people I consider good friends and geniuses in their fields. They are literally world class and it took me years to find them.
I went to hundreds of crypto meet ups, talked to thousands of people in the field, hunting for collaborators that were on the same wavelength and most importantly that I can trust implicitly. In this game, there are more charlatans than you can imagine and I had be badly burned on a few collaborations early on in my crypto journey and unfortunately, this internet money game tends to bring out the worst in people.
I met Yuvi at a crypto party in Ibiza. I had impulsively jumped on a plane in 2018 to go to a meetup over there after being invited by a mutual friend. Over 3 bleary days of partying, Yuvi and I had several braingasm conversations and we’ve talked practically daily since then. Yuvi is crypto free folk, he lives out in Bali in paradise working only on things that he loves and believes in. He’s a true crypto OG, was writing some of the very first smart contracts and all round an alien level intelligence. This project became real when he agreed to go all in with me on it, which took an insane level of convincing. We’re super lucky to have him.
I met Naomi through some mutual connections in a London crypto meetup and we instantly hit it off. At the time I was working on a quadratic voting system for “Proof of Learning”, a decentralised peer assessment system (going to get back to this one day) and she got it, instantly. For about a year we’d periodically meet for a whiskey fuelled chat about all things crypto. Naomi must be one of the only people in the world that understands crypto and user experience, whilst also being a next level creative. All of our beautiful products are aesthetically and conceptually built with her hands.
Both Yuvi and Naomi are 1 in a billion and are the reason we are able to ship products so quickly. Together we’ve extended our team to some 15 or so people, all of which are super cool people and I feel cosmically lucky to have found them. In this next quarter we’re scaling again and doing so in a way that’s fitting for a decentralised organisation. By the end of this we’ll have thousands of people working for the DAO and we’ve already started putting the net out to find the best minds in the cryptospace.
When we started out in September last year it cost around $5 to vote in our vote markets. By early 2021, some votes were costing nearly $200 effectively turning Ethereum into the whale chain.
An extremely high gas environment was always one of the possible outcomes of scarce blockspace chains such as Ethereum. The idea being that the Txs are so valuable that rational economic actors will still pay the elevated prices due to the outcome value of the Tx being worth it. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
Fortunately, unlike 2017 there’s more L1’s you can shake a stick at and we’re gonna go to all the best ones. We were one of the first to welly straight into the multi-chain space and I’m convinced it will be the theme of this next era of crypto.
I conceptualise this as the equivalent to the new world era of civilisation. Intrepid explorers venturing into new lands dealing with the wild westy outcomes you might expect. Most of that is down to dealing with some of the shonky early stage infrastructure you’d expect on bleeding edge of emerging technology. To get where we are we had to build our own bridge, which we’ll open up soon. But now we’ve got it we can go everywhere EVM compatible with ease. Beyond that we’re looking to explore the Polkadot ecosystem. We go there when it, and us are ready for adoption. But rest assured I’m putting the ground work in there.
We’ve generally not played “the game” in the space so far, making our own path rather than the tried and tested playbook of paying “top shillers” to endorse us, which I am sure will transpire aren’t the benign fluffy characters that some might think they are.
Not that I don’t respect the work of influencers. I consider the influencer market to be the biggest growth industry in the world and we’ve introduced aspects of our system to create a context where influencers can build their own presence in the system and leverage their network effects to mutual benefit.
Now we’ve got the first phase of our stack ready to, go it’s time for us to ramp up signalling efforts and in particular Naomi and I can shift our focus from designing apps to designing experiences with them.
It’s relatively easy from the vantage point of a passive token holder to scream WEN MARKETING, but very rarely has anyone generated a better idea than that. We’re building relationships with collectives like Killmex, who add genuine value to the space with their market insight and soon our vote markets will have a social trading functionality that will allow influencers and followers to adopt them, generating their own trading groups, eventually they will be able to collaboratively invest in alt coins, sharing alpha to build a dynamic index of exposure to the space. Think “guild wars” style trading games.
We’re also decentralising the marketing process, putting significant rolling bounties on user generated content, which has already generated some fantastic examples of crowd curated content. This is the real route to genuine network effects. This activity will roll on indefinitely and our DAO treasury will emit tokens to users who do this important work of parsing DAO activity in the group.
Outside of that, this quarter I’ll be focusing on levering myself into scenarios where we can present at events, set our own events up, do podcasts, educational content and get some mainstream coverage. It’s time to transcend the crypto dungeons and let the world know what we’re all about.
READ YOU APES!
I get it, no ones got time for five thousand words of rambling. We’ll be doing simple breakdowns of everything we do from here on out.
Here’s the rundown:
The first part of our dApp suite is now complete.
5 dApps on mainnet this month.
- markets — prediction markets meet voting
- auction — fair launchpad + NFT sales,
- bank — the future of france.
- yield — farming 2.0
- influence — snapshot voting.
More multi-chain, more adoption.
Our obelisk phase is near completed, next phase is all about marketing, partnerships and adoption. With a few more dApps for good measure.
Community comes first. Tell your friends.
Airdrop to all voters at the end of the month.
Team is great and will get more great.
TL:DR, TL;DR: we’re just getting started.
finance.vote is a decentralised organisation that creates governance dApps for DAOs. They specialise in quadratic voting technology and price discovery, with a prediction market, a decentralised auction house and a suite of gassless multi-chain voting tools designed to upgrade governance across the DeFi space.
The finance.vote dApp suite is the decision making tool kit for the future of decentralised finance. It is governed by FVT holders, who control our roadmap, monetary policy and the funding of the platform.
Join the DAO
markets.vote (Prediction Market): https://markets.vote
Join our Unofficial Telegram Discussion channel: https://t.me/financedotvote
Join our official token gated community: the Citizens Chamber. You need to mint a decentralised identity token to join.
Join our Community Call: at 3pm UTC every Friday in the unofficial group.
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/financedotvote
Follow us on Medium: https://financedotvote.medium.com