EthCC 2019


I learned so many interesting things at EthCC.

I learned about—

  • Continuous Funding
  • DAOs which are trying to bootstrap themselves into existence

    • DAOStack's Genesis, Edgeware etc.
  • the idea of an intermediary layer to arbitrage between fiat and dev coins
  • Social Architecture by Pieter Hintjens
  • bonding curve tax
  • the importance of seeding DAOs correctly, some thoughts on how to
  • holographic consensus
  • Budgeting Boxes
  • Colony's reputation model
  • Polkadot's blasé attempt to render Ethereum useless (maybe?)
  • the importance of DAO seed organisations having a firm plan/resolve to remove themselves from governance

    • Frodo & the ring metaphor

I have a vision emerging which is to facilitate a self-owned, community-governed entity which makes cryptoeconomic returns into a global commons. For the first time in modern tech history, I believe there's a possibility that the returns from major tech advances could be shared more evenly.

Vanguard for the crypto-age.

Placeholder seems convinced that governance is where capital will consolidate around in this next phase of IT.

My assumption before was that that meant accumulation of financial capital – i.e. tokens – would be the most important thing.

However, that currently doesn't look like the case. The actual case would seem to point towards the idea of reputation being the most valuable asset in governance, because everybody is – rightly – afraid of plutocracy.

Maybe the reality lies somewhere in between. Perhaps plutocracy is fine and even desirable in organisations which rely more on machine work. And plutocracy is less desirable in organisations which depend more on human work.

An investment fund as I picture it would depend much more heavily on human work.

Maybe the answer is that it shouldn't operate as a fund. That is, it shouldn't actually make investments.

Instead, it could act as an investment service provider. It could create simple, trustworthy investment opportunities for retail investors.

So the big promise, the big vision of what I'm talking about is in building and opening up access to the world's best investment knowledge, tools and returns. Treating these things as shared resources – an investment commons.

Currently most of the best investment knowledge and tools are locked in little rooms in San Francisco and New York.

That includes tacit knowledge and techniques which you only have access to in geographically and socially closed communities.

The idea of this DAO will be that all that knowledge and those tools are made open and free to all.

How does this work though, economically?

Well, I think there are several main parts—

  • the work group
  • the governance group
  • the user group
  • the investor group

The work group participates in activities to do with generating investment opportunities and evaluating them.

The governance group is reputation-based and responsible for making decisions about how the DAO is organised and how it operates. They also are responsible for implementing investment decisions on behalf of the DAO.

The user group purchases access to the knowledge and tools generated by the work group.

The investor group buys exposure to the investments of the DAO.


I believe that longer term the most important aspect of founding successful DAOs will come down to how they are seeded.

At EthCC last week I asked Matan Field, co-founder of DAOStack, how you keep a new DAO from flying off in a million directions – how you keep it incentivised towards one goal?

His answer was really good and I'll need to go back to listen in depth, but he said essentially he feels it comes down to 3 things—

  • early distribution of reputation
  • cultural Schelling Point
  • staked with GEN

Honestly, now that I see them again I can't remember what points 2 and 3 mean. I've mostly been thinking about 1.

As far as I can tell, the most current implementation of scalable governance opts for reputation capital over financial capital, in a bid to avoid plutocracy.

Somehow I sense this is problematic in itself – what's stopping vote buying? – but that's where the best of the current thinking seems to lie.

Questions I've been thinking about since EthCC

  • how do you seed a DAO?

    • get it headed in the right direction
    • once in that direction, keeping it there

Copyright 2019 Jay Bowles Product Development Ltd.