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Category: Think Tank Page 1 of 39

Publishing in the Decentralized World

I’ve been lurking around what’s possible when you want to publish content across a peer-to-peer network, and not on a central server or one owned by a hosting company.

And I’ve been watching the new wave of “domain/name” registrations on the blockchain, as an alternative to using central registries as we are currently used to.

UnstoppableDomains recently approached me, asking if I would consider publishing content with a new domain wmougayar.crypto. They kindly offered that domain to me.

Yesterday, I took the dive. I connected my Metamask to a new account on UnstoppableDomains, claimed my domain and registered it on the Ethereum blockchain, chose a template, published it on IPFS, then wrote my first blog post.

The whole experience was like being into a new world. I compared it to publishing my first website in 1995, or my first crypto transaction in 2013. You only get it when you actually do it.

To read my journey on the decentralized web, head over to wmougayar.crypto, but here’s the catch. If you’re on Chrome and desktop, you need to install this special Extension. If you’re on Android and mobile, you can use the Opera mobile browser where the capability for browsing .crypto domains is built-in. Both experiences become seamless.

This is clearly a v1 of what’s possible, and certainly, this experience is not optimized for mainstream adoption yet. But like most new technologies, they often start being a bit awkward and are mostly used by early adopters.

To read my post on the other side of the web, head over to wmougayar.crypto and let me know what you think if you do take the same dive in publishing one.


Introducing $WAM, my Social Money Experiment

It’s no secret I’m a fan of creative usages of crypto-tokens, and the resulting mini-economies they create. As a refresher, please refer to 2 seminal blog posts I wrote 4 years ago:

The Theory of a Blockchain Circular Economy and the Future of Work and

The Relationship Between Cryptocurrency Tokens, Value and Work.

Since then, I’ve had direct experience and involvement in the first social currency that showed a decent adoption, Steemit, as well as with Kin, another large-scale cryptocurrency for socially-minded mobile apps. 

[disclaimer, I was an early advisor to/holder of STEEM, and am currently on the Kin Foundation board, and hold KIN]

While both Steemit and Kin reward the end-user for their activity, the user is required to use their common currency, STEEM or KIN. There is nothing wrong with that model, as it fits a wide range of use cases. Kin, for example has been adopted by 57 mobile apps, and garnered more than 4 million monthly active users in that ecosystem who participate in a variety of earn/spend social actions.

This brings us to wondering: How about a personal token for a brand or individual that is tied to their unique online presence, and one they directly own, control and use to coordinate how value is created across their community’s touch points? 

That’s where Roll comes in. Roll is social (crypto) money that a personal brand can use to incentivize a variety of earn/spend activity for their community. Think of it like a personal loyalty points program, with the difference being:

  1. you receive and manage your points as crypto-tokens in a special wallet, which means that you have custody of these tokens, and no one can take them away from you or arbitrarily force an expiry date.
  2. you can spend them inside the community where you earned them, or across other services in the crypto universe- that’s the equivalent of using your United MilagePlus at a hotel or restaurant seamlessly.
  3. you can exchange them for another cryptocurrency like ETH or BTC without asking anyone for authorization, so the equivalent would be to redeem your mileage points for their actual face value in dollars/euro/etc, with the additional twist that these points might appreciate in value based on a various demand/supply factors related to the economic strength of that specific currency. 

To get this started, Roll has minted 10 million $WAM tokens, and that supply is fixed. It will never be increased nor change. Roll holds 12% of that supply, and I was given 2 million initial $WAM that I plan on distributing across the community I touch via this blog, social media or events I produce, such as the Token Summit. Every month, for the next 3 years, I will be issued a new number of $WAM that I can continue deploying. 

How do you start? 

You can earn $WAM via an action you take, or via a redeem code I share with you. 

Specifically, here are some options to consider:

  1. Redeem code: Just click on this link, and if you complete the steps which include signing-up for Roll (or downloading the App), you will find 100 $WAM auto-magically appear in your wallet. Note this is available only to the first 30 that respond within 3 days. So, it’s a one-time offer (and I will receive your email from Roll).

  2. Subscribe to any one of the 5 blockchain-related news content portals that I’m personally curating. Each new email subscription between June 10-15 that doesn’t un-subscribe for at least 1 week will receive 50 $WAM into their wallets. 

OnCoins – General blockchain market news

OnEthereum – Ethereum ecosystem news

OnDeFi – Decentralized Finance news

OnStablecoins – Stablecoins and Digital Currency news

OnDGov – Decentralized Governance and Decentralization news

3. Leave a comment on my blog with an idea on how to “spend” $WAM, and I will send you 200 $WAM. One idea could be to redeem them as a discount for a future Token Summit ticket, or potentially for early access to my next book, or something exclusively available to token holders, but I’m looking for creative/interesting/valuable ideas. 

As a sidepoint, last week, during a virtual presentation on Decentralized Autonomous Associations, I pre-announced $WAM and offered 100 $WAM to the first 50 users that subscribe to the Decentralized Governance news portal, and they will be receiving their $WAM shortly.

$WAM is an ERC-20 token. This means that the Roll wallet allows you to send your $WAM to another ERC-20 compatible wallet you may already own, and in the future, you will be able to trade it on the Roll Exchange (similar to Uniswap).

How do you spend $WAM? 

Currently, the “Spend” options for $WAM are limited, which is why I’m asking for feedback in point #3 above. Another spend idea  is that $WAM could be used as a currency to purchase a digital asset on the OpenSea marketplace.


Sign-up to one of the curated news portals. Start here: OnCoins.org

Redeem the special code to earn $WAM if you sign-up and download a Roll wallet

Learn more about Roll. Here’s a great podcast the 2 founders, Bradley Miles and Sid Kalla. (Some of you may remember Sid as a speaker at the first Token Summit in 2017 when he was an analyst at Smith+Crown)

Or, download Roll for iOS on the Apple App store and Roll for Android on the Google Play store, and get familiar with it. 

Finally, here’s a handy FAQ on Roll.

Let the good times Roll with $WAM. I had to say it 😀.


Decentralized Autonomous Associations (DAAs): A Variation on the DAO Concept

There is no shortage of experimentation in trying to apply blockchain technology to organizational dynamics [this is different than governing technical blockchain protocols, reference: Let’s Be Clear About What is DAOable and What is Not. Decentralized autonomy in organizations (DAOs) is one popular metaphor that has seen a surge of entrepreneurial activity especially in the past year.

Recent interpretations of the Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) concept have lead to several implementation approaches, including notable ones by Aragon, MolochDAO, MarketingDAO, MetaCartel, LAO and others.

The differences between each DAO implementations abound, but the most common denominator is the desire to inject smart contract technology into how organizations/processes are run. And each one of the above named examples (and other unnamed ones) assumes a different set of assumptions as a starting point.

One new variation is the concept of Decentralized Autonomous Associations that takes roots from the Swiss Association legal structure (recently popularized as the choice for the Libra structure).

In my opinion, any successful “decentralized autonomy” initiative needs to be able to simultaneously satisfy the three key pillars:

  • Technical
  • Organizational
  • Legal

The Swiss Association has lower startup hurdles than a Swiss Foundation. In the context of the DAA, the autonomous activity focuses on certain membership-related functions, which is a realistic scope that doesn’t risk slipping into the abstract during implementation.

Swiss legal firm MME (who pioneered the implementation of the Swiss Foundation structure for launching blockchain protocols) has documented a process to allow DAAs to exist, aided by a set of smart contracts that Validity Labs has started to codify.

Along with Luka Müller and Thomas Linder of MME and Sebastian Bürgel of HOPR Network (formerly co-founder at Validity Labs), I will be discussing the DAA and many of its aspects tomorrow Thursday May 28th at 10:30AM EST / 16h30 Central European Time during a Zoom virtual session. You can register (free) by using this link.

I’m interested in diving further into the DAA concept. I don’t pretend to have all the answers pertaining to how this might evolve, but it’s definitely an area that deserves experimentation and implementation.


The Blockchain Doesn't Solve Anything About the Coronavirus

In the past few weeks, there has been a flurry of news at the intersection of blockchain and the coronavirus. 

As someone who watches the industry news diligently (via OnCoins), I curated a related collection of such new, and they range into four buckets of activity:

  • Scams and fraudulent activities
  • Lending computational resources
  • Devising blockchain-based solutions 
  • Donating funds or material 

Here is the collection of 18 articles, (and I will continue to add to it if you’d like to save this link.

Focus on Blockchain+Coronavirus: Global Crypto Community Comes Out in Full Force Against Coronavirus

Certainly, the first category (scams) is unfortunate and unwanted. 

But the second and third categories are not going to yield anything significant. They are opportunistic publicity-seeking initiatives that are diverting blockchain projects from their original goals of working on blockchain-specific solutions.

The fourth category is a perfect one. This is where the blockchain industry is donating funds or specific material to help mitigate the effects of this terrible virus situation. I wished that most of the activities focused on that, without the diversions of #2 and #3.

The Coronavirus is a medical issue, and it will be solved and resolved by healthcare professionals and researchers, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies. Frankly, the blockchain doesn’t add anything to these efforts that is not already available via more efficient and existing means. It is a stretch for an industry that is already stretched and continuously challenged to prove its usefulness on a daily basis.

I wished the blockchain industry would stay focused on blockchain technology and its deployment rather than become distracted by dreaming solutions to the Coronavirus.


Re-launching OnCoins.org as the Techmeme of Crypto/Blockchain News

If you know me well, you know that I’ve had an obsession with content aggregation and curation. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I remember, which led to one of my previous startups, Eqentia (founded in 2008) as a content aggregation/curation/publishing platform.

Fast forward to the crypto era, I found myself struggling in keeping-up with the news in that sector. So, in 2014 I bought the domain Oncoins.org and started aggregating news for my own. In 2015, I opened the site to the public, Announcing Super News Aggregator, OnCoins, and the first iteration of that site was born. At the time, I was using Feedly as an anchor, and the site was polling about 144 feeds and going through ~200 articles per day.

Today, after several more iterations since 2015, and the most major one done in the past month, I’m re-launching OnCoins as a true Techmeme-like destination for the crypto/blockchain sector. OnCoins monitors more than 500 sources, and we developed the required tools and processes to enable efficient curation, surfacing of Top News and linkage to related stories.

On Oncoins, content is categorized into four major buckets:

  • Top News, typically, under 8 headlines for a given day
  • Other News, anything else that is not a Top News but worthy of following
  • Long Reads/Opinion, where the longer or opinion pieces go
  • Markets, where the financial/exchanges related content will live

OnCoins visitors can signup to a daily email that will consist of a recap of the past 24 hours of news. For now, we plan on sending it at the end of the day (EST).

In addition to OnCoins, and to demonstrate the power of the platform we have built, I have also launched a companion site: Eth2020.org, a separate site that is entirely focused on news related to Ethereum and its huge ecosystem.

Please head over to OnCoins and Eth2020 and see them for yourself. If you like it, visit often during the day, and sign-up to receive a daily email.

If you are interested in a similar type of website for your own ecosystem (in crypto or not), please email me to discuss.


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