IOTA Ecosystem announced: The new nerve centre of IOTA development
IOTA Ecosystem isn't just a place to develop IOTA applications. It's a major application in its own right.
"Ecosystem will be ground-zero for permissionless, distributed and decentralized technology striving to build a more inclusive, resilient and prosperous world," announced the IOTA Foundation. To grow and sustain the system in the future users have donated 21.7TI (about $37 million worth of IOTA). This will be used to reward developers, creators and other contributors in the Ecosystem.
Although the IOTA Foundation is still running the show, Ecosystem has been set up to be as sustainably transparent and decentralised as possible.
"While the IOTA Foundation will lead the IOTA Ecosystem, we aim to have its development, management and governance be a community driven effort. Through broadcasted proposals and direct voting on the Tangle, the broader community will be able to nominate new initiatives, vote on important decisions, and help guide the Ecosystem’s maturation. As the Ecosystem grows and expands, we will be calling on community members to manage various focus areas of the Ecosystem as well as propose and develop new ones."
Yet another crypto utopia
Like many decentralised communities, IOTA has decided to create a self-managing democratic digital utopia. Unlike most, it can use the tangle system to have a better chance of succeeding.
Ecosystem is being designed to allow for transparent management of funds, and an almost completely community-directed experience. To this end, it will incorporate tangle-based features including:
- A voting system
- A program to nominate new proposals and initiatives
- Contributor competitions
- Community-directed funding and rewards systems
- Transparent benchmarks, performance criteria and accountability metrics for Ecosystem contributors
It will also include a reputation system.
"A decentralized reputation system will be implemented where anyone in the IOTA community can share their voice in favor or against the trustworthiness of Ecosystem contributors and the quality of their work via transactions on the Tangle. This will make accountability in the Ecosystem fully transparent and devoid of capricious third-party intervention."
It's safe to assume that the reputation system will be abused by many community members to the fullest extent possible, as a tool for undermining confidence in one's rivals and stamping out competing projects wherever possible, especially when there's money or ideology at stake.
On the plus side, this inevitable systemic abuse will be completely transparent and hard to keep getting away with.
All about the money
The Ecosystem Development Fund (EDF) consists of 21.7TI (worth exactly US$37,445,490.158 at the time of writing), previously donated by community members with the eventual goal of supporting Ecosystem.
These funds will be distributed by the community, to the community.
"To ensure the IOTA community has their voices heard with respect to how EDF funds are spent, we are working on building a program where community members can nominate and vote for new proposals and initiatives through a procedure that takes place entirely on the Tangle."
Projects will be assessed on the Tangle in line with tangible performance criteria.
"By memorializing EDF funding agreements with 'Proof-of-Existence' transactions on the Tangle, anyone will be able to verify that agreements the EDF enters existed in a certain state at a certain point in time. The IOTA community can thus hold both the EDF and the benefactors of EDF funds accountable to their commitments," the Foundation explains.
"To be able to learn from our successes and failures, all Ecosystem initiatives and financial support awarded by the EDF will have a series of metrics and indicators that can be used to monitor and evaluate the Ecosystem and EDF’s effectiveness and performance over time. These could include both qualitative and quantitative measures to evaluate project results, initiatives, and the like. This data will be broadcast on the Tangle so that everyone can evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make recommendations and vote for changes to improve the IOTA Ecosystem and the EDF for years to come."
At the time of writing, Ecosystem is not yet able to begin funding projects.
"...because the EDF Funds were donated separately from those which endowed the IOTA Foundation, we still have some remaining regulatory hurdles to sort out with the help of our lawyers before the EDF can officially begin funding new projects. We expect this to be completed in the very near future."
The Ecosystem features
Features you'll be able to find on the IOTA Ecosystem after launch include:
- Resources in the form of tutorials, videos and other interactive learning materials for users and creators.
- Developer resources including new libraries, modules and second layer applications.
- Matchmaking organisations, partnered startups and other people with the kind of expertise and reputation you're looking for.
- News, articles and other posts related to the development of pilots, new applications and other updates.
- Hackathons and other IOTA Ecosystem sponsored competitions and events.
- Philanthropic initiatives for positive social and environmental impact.
- Updates on current Ecosystem work and EDF status, for transparency.
- A landing page. At the time of writing this appears to be the only fully functional feature.
Ecosystem has a number of intriguing implications that might significantly expand the potential applications of IOTA beyond its current scope. For example:
Wider application of Tangle benefits
The measurable and transparent performance criteria of all EDF-funded projects could be applied to other philanthropic initiatives. Ecosystem could be a ready-to-go gold standard for charitable organisations, and a place for groups to take their work and fundraising plans.
An exceptionally efficient workflow paradigm
Ecosystem's built in transparency, incentive system and decentralised community-driven management structure has the potential to be a new workflow paradigm, able to minimise duplication of effort, assign tasks to the best team for the job and use a type of crowd wisdom to effectively prioritise tasks and determine strategy.
"Organic machine learning"
Ecosystem is looking a lot like a kind of crowd-sourced machine learning system. It's built to evolve, learn from its successes and mistakes as a community, keep building on previous developments and generally become more effective over time.
Depending on how well it works, IOTA Ecosystem might be one of the first systems to effectively and organically apply crowd wisdom to its ongoing development. Combined with the above benefits this might translate into exceptionally quick development of an exceptionally varied and high quality range of IOTA applications.
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Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM