Written by Sofiane Delloue
A year has passed since I joined the EOS community. It’s time for a retrospective! This article is for dApp entrepreneurs and investors who still wonder what a Decentralized Autonomous Collective looks like, by deconstructing it through a practical approach, mine. Hi, I’m Sofiane, the founder of NEW LIFE AI and this is my journey as a member of EOS, the self-replicating Decentralized Autonomous Collective that will eat (and heal) the World!
There is always a backstory
In 2017 we launched our app’s minimum viable product. While our user base was growing fast, a friend pointed at STEEM and strongly recommended to think of a model to decentralize NEW LIFE AI. As a techno-libertarian and bitcoin enthusiast, I was amazed and stimulated by the idea of embedding blockchain technology to decentralize our application, and by discovering the powerful concept behind STEEM. I had to find a way to add a “D” to my App and took a big decision: stop growing the business and start digging into the ICOs, decentralised internet, IPFs and all the great inventions popping out from the crypto communities, in order to prepare a pivot and why not run an ICO?
How and why I chose EOS
It’s mid-2017. The ICO craze is full on and I’m still a newbie in this new World of smart contracts, so my first interest is the STEEM solution called Smart Media Token. Meanwhile, I’m browsing YouTube and come across a very interesting project called Waves, which looked almost like plug-and-play to my app, all I had to do was to ask my users to download their built-in wallet. Meanwhile, my knowledge expands and find out that the roadmap for smart contracts is undefined. Which leads me to a more mature platform with a huge community of developers and the majority of tokens issued: Ethereum. After weeks of looking for a solidity developer, we start building the first smart contracts. December 2017: the CryptoKitties explosion leads to the congestion of the Ethereum network, which makes it less viable for my use case which requires a very fast and scalable blockchain. That’s when I get in touch with the IOTA Foundation, convinced that Tangle will solve my problems with micro-payments and scalability.
At that time, the EOS ICO drives attention and controversy within the space, which attracts my interest: “Oh wow” Dan Larimer the guy from STEEM is the CTO? Even more interesting! I’m hooked by Brendan’s talks about the DAC, Brock’s statements on culture, tribes, the starfish and the future of blockchain. If EOS could allow me to build a Steem-like dApp, It’s everything I need! And those guys are awesome, a lot of their ideas resonate, for the Web and for the World. They put words into a lot of concepts I had in mind, intuitively. At that point, it’s obvious, my heart and my brain come to the conclusion that I was right to pivot, and it’s definitely gonna be with the EOSIO software.
A partnership with Block.One ?
It’s January 2018 and the ICO keeps beating records. Since NEW LIFE AI is a growing community of trendsetters in the art and fashion industries, we could bring in the cultural leaders (digital artists, lifestyle influencers, fashion icons) and finally get blockchain technologies in the hands of the people who will make mass adoption happen. With this idea in mind, I contact Brendan via LinkedIn, who thinks it’s a great idea and suggests me to contact the dev relations. After a few attempts, I understand this path is not going to work: Block.one at that point is understaffed; I can’t find an interlocutor able to assess my partnership proposal, and soon with the announcement of EOS VC my offer is flooded in the middle of thousands of dApp developers trying to grab some of the billion dollar investment fund. Who said bootstrapping the first DAC in the history of mankind would be easy?
With my tokens built on Ethereum, I’m still wondering if it’s better to launch an ICO first and then teleport the tokens to the EOS dApp when it’s done, or to wait for the main net to be released. Many people advise me to wait, because “big crypto-funds are coming” and “there is no rush”. At this point, it’s obvious that I will need a team of EOS developers to rebuild our backend and re-issue the token. How to find them? First I think blockchain developers will understand EOS. In fact, they have learned on other platforms and don’t know C++. Let’s find C++ guys then! “I don’t care about decentralization, I have a comfortable salary working for a corporation, and all those cryptos are scams“. That’s when I understood I shouldn’t search for a C++ developer nor a blockchain developer, but an EOS developer!
The hackathon series
It’s April 2018 already and I still didn’t find an EOS Developer. I receive a link to the EOS hackathon in Hong Kong which coincided with the launch of the main net in June. A friend pushes me to go and invests in the plane ticket in exchange for some future tokens. I will have a chance to meet with the community, the crypto investors, EOS VC, the developers, and block.one. After a long trip without sleep, here I am, first in the line at Kai Tak Terminal where my mind is going to be blown, once again!
Block One and Angel Hack are doing a fantastic job at keeping us awake, excited, collaborative and supported.
The theme for the hackathon is mass adoption. I team up with some friends from another startup and we build D3EP, an end-to-end encryption Chrome extension allowing users to share content through social media privately. We make it to the finals but eventually won’t get qualified for the grand finale.
The same scenario will repeat at the Sydney Hackathon with our project GlobeSquare, a gamified decentralized ethical marketplace of farming land, selected to the finals, but no prize!
And finally, the London Hackathon with the project PiedPiper which offers a decentralized VPN following the principle of Tor and leveraging the EOSIO software as a ledger to enable a fair exchange bandwidth between users and providers.
At the SF Hackathon we won’t even make it to the finals, but a lot of amazing takeaways at the end of the series:
I know now that block.one and the rest of the Collective is made of brilliant minds and passionate visionaries. At this point, I’m now sure nothing in the space can get anywhere near what EOS is building.
- Some very insightful conversations with dApp developers, block producers, judges, VCs and the Block One team from Virginia, LA and Hong Kong, and a lot of new friends from around the globe.
- A solid network of developers and block producers to assist us in the process of building on EOSIO
- Some IRL encounters with all the faces of the collective I only knew online, I couldn’t list them without making this article ten times longer
- Being part of this amazing collective of technologists and its unique decentralized governance model
- Testing the concept of DAC practically, and realizing that it not only works but is friggin AWESOME!
Like many dApp developers, we will have to overcome the challenges inherent to any fully decentralized application on EOSIO:
- The cost of RAM on the main net
- The accessibility to EOS accounts for the masses
- The architecture choices to mitigate and optimize the whole process
While our application is scaling on a centralized backend, we’re collaborating with many members of the collective to build the target backend with EOSIO, with an architecture made of a single node, virtual accounts, and mainnet features, depending on the type of jobs and the level of decentralization required.
Having worked in tech for almost twenty years, from early stage to exit, as co-founder and executive, I have never seen such a model of collaboration. The EOS Decentralised Autonomous Collective is starting to release very successful dApps in the fields of gaming and fintech, working as vertical departments of a giant organization that has no CEO, no office and shared ownership with vested interests between all stakeholders, forming a completely free and incentivized network effect without limits or borders.
Without asking permission, NEW LIFE AI is building a lifestyle and culture department, and we have dozens of independent participants we can ask help too, openly or privately using Telegram and other messaging services. We are not colleagues, we are not clients, we are free and independent members of a Decentralised Autonomous Collective. People are not driven by a hierarchy micro-managing them, rather by their personal assessment of the best allocation of their time and intelligence, whether by building tools or dedicating time to projects they care about.
This model is still at its infancy and I’m so excited to see it unfold, leading to exponential outcomes. Welcome to a new paradigm where creativity and purpose are connecting brilliant minds to achieve ethical innovation. This is the future, and it’s just the beginning of a new life.
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