Grab a drink and settle in, this will be a long one.
I had a really hard time preparing for the Eden election. The multiple projects I really want to see happen are huge in scope and narrowing one idea down to a size that fits within the available budget wasn’t easy. I ran on a platform of onboarding and account creation - but to me this project is a tiny fraction of what we need for success. There is so much more work to be done, much of which I wish I could have formed my pitch around. It just wasn’t possible.
This post is meant to help share a bigger vision. It’s about what my teammates and I see ahead of us when we think about what we need to do in order to help EOSIO reach its full potential. It’s an attempt to get you (the reader) to see our vision, recognize the hurdles in our way, and contribute however best you can.
I am going to outline five projects that I feel are crucial to success - all of which I had considered running on during the election. Each of these projects are things my team and I (and others) have discussed at length and feel need to become a reality. By no means is this list comprehensive of what the ecosystem demands overall, it’s focused on our efforts primarily and isn’t meant to discount the initiatives led by other teams.
After listing these projects, I will follow with what I believe accomplishing all of this will require. If you’re not interested in the project details, feel free to skim over the project headlines and jump to the conclusions towards the end.
With Anchor’s focus shifting towards key management and serving as an authenticator, we need a home for all the useful tools that Anchor desktop offers today. Our new web wallet can serve that purpose and offer features similar to what myetherwallet is to ETH. We are building this product with a fun and welcoming brand, with the goal of being the fastest and easiest way to use the blockchain. Account creation, tokens, balances, and tools to help all users earn a return on their tokens. Beyond the basics we also plan to have systems for advanced users allowing them access to permissions, resource management, governance and direct interactions with smart contracts. All of this will start by integrating with Anchor but is being designed independently to allow any other compatible wallet - and potentially wallet-less solutions.
A crucial missing piece of the ecosystem right now is how we connect people with the many apps running on the network today. DeFi products, exchanges, games, social platforms, etc. Think of it as an “app store” that people can visit and discover new apps they would be interested in using. This platform can be independent of any specific wallet, decentralized where possible, source its truth from on-chain sources, and provide mechanisms to help prevent malicious actors from redirecting unsuspecting users to fake applications. Users will be able to browse applications by category and securely connect with the apps they wish to use. Further additions to the platform could include crowd sourced reviews/ratings and potentially even metrics to get a sense how popular applications are. The primary goal is to help people discover whatever awesome apps exist using the blockchain.
Building web-based applications on the blockchain can be very difficult. A developer today needs a deep understanding of which APIs to call for specific data, how to add support various wallets, and even going so far as to help their users manage their own account. Wharf is our solution for developers to reduce all those complexities and let them focus on building the best application possible without needing to be a blockchain expert. Wharf’s goal is to handle all of the specifics of wallet integration, resource management, and account creation. The application developer just needs to request a user to log in or sign up, the UX flow is handled in a standardized way, and a self-describing account object is returned with well documented helper methods to interact further. Other chain-based entities can be loaded in similar way and will come with their own set of documented helpers, giving the developer access to all the data they need without requiring domain-specific knowledge.
As soon as we hit a stable release for Android, we’ll have covered all the major platforms. The next step with Anchor is a version 2.0 that unifies all versions (Desktop/iOS/Android) into one simple to use authenticator interface. Desktop will be completely redesigned to be more like mobile and the focus of Anchor will be key, account, and app management. We’ll make sending and receiving tokens on the go easier with mobile to make EOS more usable as a currency. We will explore social account recovery systems to help protect your account. A known contact system will be added so you can keep track of those you interact with the most. Integrations with the App Registry and Discovery platform (more below), continuing to open-source all of the technologies for other wallets to use, and so much more. Anchor, while very powerful today, is in its infancy still as far as we’re concerned.
Each of the five projects I outlined above represent massive amounts of work. If I had to make an educated guess, I’d estimate that each project is in the “thousands of man-hours” range - potentially tens of thousands to completion. Each will also require advanced knowledge to create solutions that are easy for both users and developers to use (which doesn’t come cheap). Aside from the quantity of work and associated costs, it will also require leadership and a coordinated effort by experts in their respective fields.
To put it simply: realizing each piece of this vision is going to require time, knowledge, cooperation, and funding.
Thanks to years of experience we have the knowledge. Cooperation is arguably at an all time high right now thanks to both the Foundation and Eden. What we lack now is time, which at its core stems from a lack of funding. As with any business, funding is what allows teams to grow and onboard new members, bring them up to speed with the knowledge they need, and increase the amount of man-hours dedicated to these types of efforts.
The reality we face today is that currently Eden doesn’t have sufficient funding available for large scale initiatives like the ones I listed above. Eden, at current treasury levels and market prices, would lead to an estimated USD value of somewhere around $75,000 USD over the course of 3 months before the next proposed election.
After accounting for overhead, ramp-up time, and recruiting - that funding could potentially give us somewhere between 500-750 hours (~12-18 weeks, single developer) of solid development work. This is enough for smaller projects, much like the one we pitched (which is still very important), but falls short when considering the larger budgets required to really push the ecosystem forward with grand initiatives focused on the public good.
Multiple potential solutions are on the horizon for larger budget projects, but all have yet to prove themselves in this large of a capacity. Just to name a few:
- The size of the Eden budget could be increased through donations to the treasury.
- Pomelo could potentially meet these needs through grant matches and donations.
- The Foundation itself could create dedicated runways for organizations like ours to allow for the creation of projects like these.
Each of these are potential opportunities, though none are guaranteed, and none of them are available today in a large enough capacity.
In my opinion, we need to start on all of these initiatives as soon as possible. Simply put, starting yesterday would have been best, but starting today is still better than starting tomorrow.
Getting the team and these projects to a proper starting position isn’t going to be just the flip of a switch. Even with unlimited funding, it’s going to take time to find the right people with the proper skillsets, shared visions, and bright minds that are capable of navigating this unpredictable space. Realistically for Greymass to launch more than one of these projects within the next year, without burning out our entire team, I need to start growing out the team today.
With what funding is currently available to us (through BP rewards, Eden treasury, company reserves, etc) we are starting with a small expansion of our team, likely just a few people. Currently Greymass consists of 3 full time developers (myself included), a project manager/marketer, an artist/designer, and one additional part-time developer (who volunteers time and is unpaid). Everything we have accomplished to date has been done by these incredible individuals despite all of the time constraints we face. This small expansion will certainly help, but achieving meaningful progress on multiple fronts will require much more time than we have available.
With Greymass, we will continue to seek funding through all of the means available. We will explore any opportunities we’re presented with in an effort to grow our team and accelerate (while not degrading quality) the previous work we started and the future work we’ve outlined here. Finally, as we have the past few years, we will continue to operate within our means as long as possible.
My hope, should you have reached this point in this rather lengthy post, is that you now have a better understanding of the a small fraction of the overall work we have ahead of us. I also hope that if you’re capable of contributing in some way, be it your own skills, your own team or resources, or even financially - that you’ll seek a way to do so. If we as a community are going to succeed, it’s going to take a team effort.
We are at a turning point in our history, one of the most positive shifts I’ve seen to date, and we need to do everything in our power to accelerate and build upon this newfound momentum.
If you’re interested in joining Greymass, send us an email. We are still figuring out what exactly we’re looking for but we’d welcome you to help us figure that out. email@example.com.