We're back from Aracon in Berlin, which was a blast. Here's a quick video recap
of the 2-day event, though everything was live-streamed (day 1
, day 2
And here's SB's keynote
if you've missed it.
The unbiased commentary from YR is that the community that the Aragon team has managed to create around itself has really proven to be second to none, particularly when it comes to 'layer 2' types of projects (perhaps only 0x would rank higher?). I pin it down to a combination of compelling vision + ability to communicate it effectively, religious commitment to transparency, sense for product + pace of shipping.
A couple of themes that emerged from the conference worth highlighting:
- participation in governance is a big unknown unknown, there does not seem to be a benchmark or standard of success yet. This seems to be a key question mark, particularly so for project whose tokens are purely 'governance' enablers. We'll see all sorts of experimentation to drive higher participation rates in the next 1-2 years ad standards will start to emerge.
- Polkadot as Ethereum's main (only?) threat. Aragon One has announced that they are exploring launching a new chain on Polkadot network, and from the grapevine the level of excitement for the project is very palpable across the Ethereum ecosystem (Ryan Zurrer gave a very compelling overview). Beyond the technical differences between the two projects, this would also be a test of formalized on-chain governance vs Ethereum off-chain approach.
- decentralized oracles are closer than we think. Witnet demoed
the "world's first data retrieval, aggregation and consensus trustlessly performed by a truly decentralized oracle network".
Moving on to this week's issue, a healthy debate emerged around ideal fund structures for investing in this asset class. The debate originated from, or coincided with, a Bloomberg post revealing Polychain's new 'hybrid' hedge fund subjecting LPs to a 7-year lock up period, with Placeholder and Fred Wilson weighting in. The key message for founders there is to ensure you really understand different investors incentives before banking their checks and you plan your fundraising accordingly.
On a related note, it emerged this week that Grin's development funding campaign was off to a difficult start, despite +$100M of 'speculative' VC capital was rumored to have flown into mining operations. It really speaks to the trade-offs that teams have to make in this space and still raises questions about what's the optimal funding mechanism for open source software.
In the meantime #defi continues to show momentum with 'wrapped BTC' going live as an ERC20 token providing an additional liquidity source, and a bunch of other tools and interfaces emerging.