finance.vote: Q2 Review
There’s never a dull day in crypto and this last quarter has been a tumultuous one across the whole cryptospace. For now at least, the bull run is on pause and we’re in a period of consolidation in the markets.
This phase of the market is going to flush out a lot of the dead weight and in this update I want to provide some assurances that we’re well positioned to both withstand the tough market conditions but also thrive in an environment where the going gets tough.
Market up, or market down we’re going to keep on building the next generation of governance infrastructure for the cryptospace and increasingly there’s going to be more and more opportunities for you to join in and get involved with us.
This update will go through some market context, including where we’re at with each of our live dApps and also provide you with an opportunity to ask us more questions on whatever you want to know about on the project.
This is the start of our first “DAO Week” and in the spirit of radical openness we’ll be laying out in raw detail every aspect of the project from our branding to our technical development. This is a reflective moment for us as a whole project and the week is an open working week for the team, but where everyone is welcome to get involved. Enjoy.
It’s a good place to start to have a macro look at the market context. Since in Q2 we were reminded that crypto doesn’t only do up only mode. The crypto markets have a habit of providing max pain and when they move they move quickly. A great many of us experienced the real pain of watching a lot of money disappear in front of our eyes.
So why did this happen?
Well, things got silly, very silly.
Here in the FVT community many believers in the project watched as utter shitcoins mooned 10,000X around us.
It was disappointing all round. For me, on an existential level. I had hoped the market had progressed passed the utter shitcoinery of the 2017 hype cycle. It was wrong, the market was WAY DUMBER than I had possibly imagined.
Fundamentals really mean nothing in a crypto bull market. But this is why bull markets end.
At peak bull market greed takes over and everyone just starts scamming each other. It’s the classic, “ this is why we can’t have nice things” phenomenon.
So, the same thing that happened in the last cycle will happen again. The market will purge the shitcoins, trend back to fundamental value and probably quite a way below and then the new cycle will resume.
So the question is, have we already flushed out enough shitcoins for us to get back to the financial revolution?
Here’s the Bull Case, Bear Case from my perspective. Not financial advice. Ever.
The dog tokens are still around and with stupid valuations. 80,000% APY hyper-inflating shitcoin farms are still blowing up, and forks of forks with unaudited sloppy code are still getting hacked regularly. Clearly, we ain’t done yet.
On a more macro level things are getting somewhat back to normal in the real world and people are spending less time at home chasing DeFi ponzi games.
Nevertheless, things are not quite what they were, not by a long shot. Productivity is down, people are scared and that impacts the likelihood that people are going to put their money into very speculative assets that they’ve just realised can go down even quicker than they go up.
The FUD this time is far more real. China really are clamping down on Bitcoin mining and some of those will give up the ghost rather than relocating to some new location to play an exponentially difficult economic game. That means liquidating some of their assets.
Elsewhere, regulation of crypto is back on the radar of nation states, who take notice every time there’s a possibility global crypto adoption could happen. This time it feels a lot more geopolitical, with an actual nation state adopting bitcoin as legal tender, which honestly might do us more harm than good at this point in the development cycle.
The feeling of the 2018 bear market is raw for some and the thought of a 3 year bear market again is terrifying. That sentiment propagated through crypto twitter like wild fire, sending everyone depressed INSTANTLY. The “it’s all over” feeling is what makes everyone sell, in a kind of self fulfilling market prophecy.
The reality is, it’s very possible we could go bear for a prolonged period of time, especially if we break down on the current tight trading range and start looking like we’re gonna test the previous cycles ATHs.
Regulation could spook the market again and it’s looking like centralised exchanges are going to get their collars felt with Binance in particular on the run. There’s certainly plenty for bears to get their teeth in to.
It feels geopolitical this time, because it is. The vision of non-state money is proving to actually be real and the market cap for that is perhaps far larger than we tested at ATH’s, which is basically the same as a single tech stock (yep, APPL is $2.24 Trillion now). There’s no reason to think the total crypto market cap couldn’t go much higher in the near future, it’s just a matter of time.
Bitcoin feels like it could trend to a digital gold equivalent that can ossify around simple settlement use case, acting as most basic money. A money that can be used by anyone, anywhere in the world. That is a truly phenomenal thing.
Ethereum proved that it can generate on-chain revenues in the hundreds of millions a day and can act as a base layer for a genuine decentralised economy with it’s own emerging financial system. The token economics of Ethereum aren’t ossifying, they’re improving. EIP1559 is happening very soon and makes the system more disinflationary giving it comparable SoV properties to Bitcoin with more utility. This is before the system itself upgrades to ETH2.0 and the monetary effects of this upgrade are already evident as large chunks of the token supply are locked up in the beacon chain.
There’s other strong fundamental changes to the space with some Ethereum challengers looking like they might actually deliver, the likes of Polkadot and Solana look like serious challengers in the space.
Also, we saw the rise of multi-chain space which gave us some adoption head room by playing it a little fast and loose with trust models. This was a level up in the blockchain space, which again is starting to look like a rich tapestry of digital real estate.
DAOs are becoming a common narrative in the space and people are starting to understand how much they could disrupt not only the cryptospace, but organisations in the real world. It’s hard to conceptualise how things might change, because seldom do people get to see many organisations from a detailed point of view, which is going to mean DAOs are always going to be difficult to understand. But soon we will start seeing decentralised organisations do things that traditional organisations don’t do, then we will see them doing what they do, do, better.
I became convinced in about 2016 that the technology developing in the wider cryptospace would change the world, and I’m even more convinced now in fact, it feels like it is happening now.
The retail that were gonna be liquidated have been liquidated and people with actual trading theses have started scaling back in. If we do in fact break upwards from this range convincingly and start challenging recent ATHs again, it will be proof that this was a pause in the bull run rather than another multi-year bear, which unlike last time has serious technological catalysts to drive forward a new wave of adoption.
And it is about adoption. True mass market use cases of crypto are on the horizon. NFTs are vectors for mass adoption as mainstream celebrities realise they make real money from selling JPEG’s. No one is saying tokens are dead this time, despite the crash and tokens with real utility are emerging. That just wasn’t the case last time. The part could start again, very soon.
Last time I talked about taking eyes off development a little bit to focus on marketing. We did, turns out it’s a slow game of building brand presence, data analysis and building content workflows that are quick and efficient. Not the answer people like to hear, but that’s what it is, an organisational process that develops over time.
It’s hard work and finding good people that can help you with it, is like finding a restaurant in Benidorm without paper table cloths.
In the bull market average work goes to high premium and… Jesus I saw some shoddy shit get thrown around for TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
We’ve come to recognise this relentless fee to make any noise at all as THE DUNGEON TAX. It’s the general cost of operations down here, pay to access a AMA room, get an article in the shitcoin times. Bribe a lad with a Telegram announcement channel. Any access to eyeballs.
The quick and easy way to do this, is to lash money at influencers. We spoke to some of these early doors and they wanted what I was getting for a years HARD GRAFT in academia for a 1 minute YouTube video. I just couldn’t do it.
There was a few that were more reasonable and then… they started getting paid 10X more than the already obscene prices that were on the table in November of last year.
After something close to a community revolt we ended up paying one (remaining nameless) and we ended up with 3 soulless tweets that had zero impact and a recent backlash against these guys ended up getting us included a name and shame list, which annoyed me no end.
Anyway, we’re talking to some of the real ones. We want legit knowledgeable people to advise us on the market. Ideally, people who’ve done a couple of cycles.
We’ve made some amazing content recently. You should check out our amazing sizzle reel:
And the keynote I did at the DeFi summit:
They both do a good job at painting the picture of where we want to go next.
So marketing machinery is being built, with a partnership with Zebu. We know this team personally and they’re great energetic people. We’re in safe hands on that front from here on out.
finance.vote and the Market
Some projects are in trouble. They did blow a lot of their finances on buying Ivan on Tech a new car and won’t survive this downturn. We’re doing well though. We’ve been very economical with our spending and we have sufficient runway to build out a good deal of our roadmap and facilitate the spin up and utilisation of our DAO treasury.
Having said that, we don’t have bottomless financing. We’re running a tight ship and we think it will be important for you as users to understand the payoffs and costs of development so you can get a feel for what’s possible with our current resources and make informed decisions about what apps you want us working on.
So, in the next phase, we’ll be open sourcing our financing and treasury processes in anticipation of opening up access to our main DAO structure the DMF (decentralised monetary fund). This will be the central nervous system of the finance.vote ecosystem and will be controlled by our token holders.
Much of what we’re building fits together to create the means to effectively spend and manage a treasury of digital assets, not just for us, but anyone that wants to set up a DAO. So our treasury stack is something you’ll want to keep a close eye on over the next phase of the project.
So, bull market or bear market, we’re not going anywhere. If it’s bear market time we’ve got the resources we need to survive and in a bull market we get a large treasury to spend and we think we’ll do that very effectively.
So in this quarter we’re focusing on the community a bit more. I personally have spent countless hours talking to a growing and totally awesome community in our Telegram chambers.
If anything, I’ve spent a bit too much time (for my health and sanity) talking directly to the community. I do that because I genuinely love talking with the people in there and over the last quarter the crowd has got super cool. Clever, intellectual conversation about DAOs and the future of the cryptospace, plus ape chat of various flavours.
Communities are what makes successful cryptocurrencies. If you have any intentions whatsoever in being decentralised, you have to be pouring significant resources into developing and supporting your community to understand and get involved with decisions about the technology.
This focus on community is permeating through our decisions about our development trajectory. We’ve had another quarter of barely sleeping as we build products at lightning speed. But our energy can only be spent once and in this space there’s a million things you can do in a vast open design space of possibility.
From here on out the community are going to be given more voice, more say, more influence and more responsibility to you the FVT token holders. To do that, we’re making a transition to Discord, which is where the work will take place on building the finance.vote ecosystem out in a community centric manner.
In the next phase we’ll be bringing in our wider governance framework which links the launch team with the DAO community and encourages you to get involved in shaping the future of the project. There’s lots to do and money to be earned for carrying out all kinds of tasks that the projects requires.
We are pivoting our development trajectory in two ways for the next quarter. We’re going down a couple of gears on output and restructuring our development team, spending a little bit more on dev ops and creating a strong management layer, whilst tidying up technical debt in the core applications that we’ve landed on in the first iteration of the dApps suite.
If you’re building new stuff (as opposed to forking stuff) it’s hard work. A lot of it comes down to having the right people on board and managing a broad team, with strong quality assurance processes.
In the next phase we’ll be further opening up the behind the scenes development processes and looking for a much broader set of contributors. We’re training smart contract engineers internally and for those of you who are keen to get involved in learning more in this area we’re looking to get people involved. So keep an eye out for our new documentation suite and get ready to dive into some deep technical rabbit holes.
The finance.vote dApp Suite
We’re converging on a suite of applications that has the potential to be the Google app suite of the DAOs space, providing projects with all the token economics and governance infrastructure they need to become a successful sustainable decentralised organisation.
We’ve got 5 dApps now and I’ll overview at a high level what each of these applications do now and what they promise to do in the future.
In this quarter we launched influence.vote and I couldn’t be more happy with where this is heading. This is the opening of our “second layer governance” suite of dApps that provides new and more nuanced tools for making decisions in decentralised systems.
This governance suite was the kernel of the initial idea for finance.vote. A much needed upgrade to the decision making tooling for decentralised systems.
The other four dApps are very much about DeFi and the necessarily components for building a healthy trust minimised economy. But, influence.vote is more social than financial primitives. It’s about social consensus and detecting preferences from a distributed pseudonymous people.
Influence is social consensus technology. We’re going to be hosting a series of events, where we seek social consensus on things. Some of these might be token economics decisions about the network’s monetary policy, some might be democratic voting experiments.
Episode 1: A London Mayor Electoral Experiment
This quarter we deployed this tech during the London Mayoral Elections. This turned out to be an exceptionally stressful but fun little project that involved us minting an NFT for each of the candidates and recruiting (not quite) #100Londoners to vote in a quadratic vote that asked people to declare their preferences on issues they cared about when voting in the election.
We got about 65 people recruited (including one of the actual candidates) and it was HARD WORK. And expensive. Gas was a nightmare then and the team personally qualified each of these users and distributed the NFTs manually to them. A reminder that this tech is very early.
Still, the outcome was super interesting. I highly recommend that you read the full report on the influence.vote website.
The data generated by this vote was exceptionally interesting and I believe showcases the potential of these tools for drawing out signal from a range of complex social issues.
What’s interesting about this is that we generated a priority list of issues that Londoners felt were important. This is high signal to noise information on what those people felt about those issues and it feels like real consensus. The outcome of the vote feels super sensible and the stuff that seems to trigger people the most on Twitter ended up at the bottom of the list.
I know this is an important data set, I’ve collected data sets like it for years as an educational researcher and picking up mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) data can take absolutely ages, our team did it in a few days with some NFTs and influence.vote. I’m convinced that decentralised auditable polling technology could be very very important.
Episode 2: Token Economics Governance
This is an on-going episode. We’ve been using influence to make decisions about which pools to deploy our Resident Pool on.
Our first governance decision determined that we should start a new pool on Sushi swap, we should distribute 1m tokens per pulse, with a pulse length of 2 weeks, which again seems to be a sensible decision and a great starting point.
This activity is important because this is the process that can effectively decentralised liquidity incentives. Rather than teams deciding liquidity mining programmes, this process presumes its will run in cycles and can be dialled up and down as required. This is an important step towards users meaningfully controlling monetary policy by token weighted voting.
We’ve had a frustrating time with markets.vote in this quarter, with our BSC implementation failing to display identities and account histories. This is mainly due to BSC archival nodes being essentially non-functional and we’ve had the run around from basically every node infrastructure provider in the space.
We’re having yet another run at this at the moment and we’ve been assured that these archival nodes are close to functional now, but we’ve been hearing similar for 3 months. So, we’re at a crossroads. Wait around for BSC infrastructure to sort itself out or redesign our markets contracts to be less reliant on blockchain events. We think we’re going to shoot for the latter.
Navigating the multi-chain space, like most things in blockchain, is difficult stuff. The infrastructure on these new chains is nascent and we’ve ended up having to build a lot of it ourselves, including a bridge which transitions our token from the Ethereum chain out to the others. We have liquidity on BSC, polygon and Ethereum now and we’re now comfortable that the bridge is secure enough to open up to users. So bridge.vote coming soon.
This quarter we continued our Chainlink integration and we were one of the first (if not the first) project in the space to utilise the new Chainlink Keepers contracts, which now automatically update the market winners in a completely automated fashion. This means that markets.vote is almost completely decentralised, with some work left to do on funding the contracts directly from the DAO treasury which we’ll integrate in the next phase of the project.
Soon we’ll link markets to influence so we can have ongoing debates about what tokens should be in our voting lists. This will trend us to being a unique source of user curated token lists on each of the chains across the multi-chain space, which in a world of endlessly proliferating shitcoins is going to be a very useful thing.
In the next phase of the project we’ll launch markets 2.0, which will include leaderboards, more markets, staking mechanisms and an upgraded reputation system that shifts the utility of markets.vote into becoming a useful component of DAO treasury management.
In this quarter our partner Olyseum became the first project (outside of ourselves) to use bank.vote as a mechanism for vesting their tokens. We expect many more to follow over the coming months.
Why? Because as I mentioned in the previous update, when things get tough in the market trust models begin to fail and tokens get dumped in the market. Increasingly people are going to want assurances that tokens are going to hit the market on the schedule outlined in the whitepaper (if they even have one).
Beyond simple token vesting, we’re very close to finalising bank 2.0, which is going to act as a decentralised payroll system. This new version of bank uses something we call Merkle Vesting, which will allow the DAO to assign a token allocation to someone and they will be able to claim their tokens from the bank and decide their own vesting schedule. Longer schedule, more tokens.
This means that we can pay out potentially thousands of people from the DAO, without having to pay gas and also manage the token velocity in the market. This is another crucial component of DAO treasury management and a key foundation making DAOs scale to vast organisations.
In this quarter we released resident pool, which utilises Harberger taxes to broker access to liquidity mining slots and links to our governance system (see influence.vote section).
It’s a gamified system, which makes it not only fun but tuneable to build liquidity and market depth in a decentralised fashion.
Overall, we’re super pleased with how this has played out over 8 weeks of pulses. Slots have filled up and burn rates have trended towards an equilibrium point generating real protocol revenue for the network.
In the future, yield.vote can be used to build decentralised liquidity on all the spin off blockchains that are popping up without the need for treasury funds.
We also spun up our Basic Pool for our partners iTrust and will be opening up yield partner pools for many more projects in the future.
Again, since the market has got dicey a predictable backlash has emerged against the various IDO platforms that engineer inflated token prices on launch.
Consequently, it’s getting towards time for a fair launch, decentralised token listing platform and auction.vote does this by generating liquidity through a token sale, locking those funds in bank and discovering a fair price for listing in the process. We’ve been waiting for this moment and in the next phase we’ll be kicking off token launches again. The market is getting close to ready for it.
The auction.vote development trajectory has been far from static though and the sister auction design to the liquidity bootstrapping system, the “binary search auction” has been built and ready to auction NFTs.
The potential to engage in real price discovery for NFTs could be exceptionally important for the space. Since the NFT bubble popped (again), people have found themselves holding NFTs and unable to find a buyer on increasingly saturated market places.
The NFT version of auction.vote is close to a “crypto Christie’s” style auction house. An event based system, which instead of a human auctioneer utilises a smart contract that brokers the sale of NFTs.
Not only have we designed a new mechanism for decentralising auctioneering, we’ve developed a 3D metaverse that can act as both a gallery space but also an integrated auction experience. We’re super excited about this and the auction house, which takes the form of a futuristic spaceship is going to be ready for auction events in the next quarter. A demo of the new build will be showcased on dApp day this week.
Up Next: Pyramid Phase
Over the next month we’ll be wrapping up the first phase of the finance.vote project, Obelisk. In this phase the goal was to introduce you the users to a set of tools so that you can get a feel for how they work and what their potential might be.
In the next phase, we will be handing over the control of these applications to you by opening up and developing the second layer governance suite.
This is the next phase in our “path to decentralisation”. Unlike other projects we’ve not pretended to be fully decentralised from day one and instead laid out a multi-phase approach where power is progressively handed off to token holders in a way that ensures it is meaningful rather than surface level control.
In this next phase you’ll see token weighted and NFT voting come to prominence. More DAO members elevated to paid team members (you can be one too) and probably a bit less of me taking centre stage. Part of that is because I’ll be taking a much needed break over the summer and also because it’s time you got to know our extensive wider team a bit better.
Those of you who step up and get involved in this next phase of the project will become leaders of the network in the future. Our goal is to become one of the first major sustainable decentralised organisations, with every aspect of the network genuinely governed by a direct digital democracy powered by our voting technology and token economy stack.
What else do you want to be updated on?
Those of you who’ve been hanging round in our DAO will know that there’s even more going on than what’s contained in this update. So we’ll continue to add to this article based on your questions that arise in our DAO week event this week. Jump into our discord to ask some questions and we’ll update them here.
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