Namaste Tribe! We had an amazing AMA session with Matthew Spoke, Founder & CEO of Open Foundation, in WazirX Telegram group as a part of Grand AION Giveaway on Friday, 11th September 2020. Here’s a quick summary of the session.
Hi Matthew, thank you for joining us today. To start, could you introduce yourself and Aion?
My name is Matthew Spoke, I’m the Founder of the Open Application Network, the project that supports Aion. The Open Application Network is a public blockchain protocol with its own cryptocurrency called Aion.
You can learn more about the protocol and Aion here: https://theoan.com/
Our primary strategy with this protocol has been to build a healthy public network with solid crypto-economic designs, that could support the creation of Open Applications that solve platform problems within online economies.
Our focus is effectively in 3 areas right now.
- we’re always working on supporting the Aion community and the Aion asset through liquidity and accessibility. This is why we’re so excited to be working with WazirX as an example.
- The OAN is a live operating public blockchain and requires occasional fixes, improvements and tooling to keep it healthy and to keep the community engaged.
- 8 months ago we started building a new business called Moves that is using the OAN and Aion to solve a platform problem in the gig economy.
In November last year, we announced our new strategy under the new name the Open Application Network.
The major change in our focus became shifting away from only solving technology problems, to solving real-world consumer and economic problems.
Our thesis with the OAN was that we could build very interesting solutions on top of existing “platform economies”. We define platform economies as modern digital marketplaces. Think of Shopify, or Youtube, or Netflix, or Uber. These are good examples. Rather than trying to build “decentralized apps” to compete with these markets, we decided to work on improving the economics of these existing markets. We call these types of products “Open Apps”. Moves is our Open App
Just like any business getting started, the biggest risk is product-market fit. Effectively we need to prove to our target customer that we understand the problem they’re facing, and our product addresses it. Since the beginning of this year, this has been our focus.
We need to understand independent workers, the challenges they’re facing, and the unique economic characteristics of the gig economy. We feel very confident about the track we’re on and the feedback we’re getting from early users. To summarize why we’re focusing on the gig economy with Moves, you just need to pay attention to what’s going on in the news around the world with companies like Uber and their peers.
The gig economy has provided a very important innovation to the world by creating a better way to connect supply and demand for particular skills. BUT the economics of the gig economy are skewed to the disadvantage of the independent worker, in favor of the gig platforms. Now, we’re starting to see push back.
The product strategy driving Moves is our approach to answering this question. Very soon, Moves will have two market-facing products focused on two different customer segments.
The first is the product facing independent workers. You can get a small glimpse of it through our Alpha here: https://movesfinancial.com/. But there are significant changes and updates coming to this product.
The second is a product we’re building to connect capital to our independent workers. This product is not yet live, but we expect to have a public Alpha in market within ~6 weeks or so. This product will be crypto-facing. I can’t share too much of the details yet, but we are announcing it more formally next week.
Within both of these products, Aion will be used as the asset to create economic alignment between various stakeholders in the gig economy.
My observation from the last 6 years working in this industry is that most blockchain businesses or projects have no idea what problem they’re trying to solve… so they simply keep building technology in a vaccum. Especially in the period of 2016-2018, we saw dozens of protocols being built with no reason to exist. They didn’t have a particular niche they were focusing on, or a particular strategy, they were just trying to build a “better mousetrap”.
Our team now, using the technology and experience we’ve built over these years, is focusing on a real world problem and real world customer.
There are a few key driving characteristics that impact the Aion market, its supply, and its demand. We’ve done a lot of work on this with Prysm Group https://www.prysmgroup.io/
First off, in November, the Aion supply releases from our original ICO vesting schedule end. This means that the amount of new circulating supply hitting the market drops by a factor of 8 in November. You can read a good blog post from someone in our community about this here: https://blog.goodaudience.com/eots-aion-eighthing-f125b8f7ef18
Another factor is to understand our monetary policy and inflation mechanism. Too many protocols have lost sight of long term monetary policy because they want to promote HUGE returns for staking, but all this leads to currency inflation on their protocols. The OAN inflation is quite simple. Every block, 4.5 Aion is generated for the miner or the staker who created the block. Over the course of the year, this represents inflation of ~3% (although this number is probably closer to 2.5% today because block times are slightly slower than their historical average) but because the block reward is fixed, the inflation as a % of supply reduced every year, indefinitely. This will drive inflation to levels below 2%, and eventually below 1%. That’s the “supply side”.
The Open Foundation owns a treasury of ~115-120m Aion. If you want specifics, we’re the only project in the world who voluntarily publish our financials every quarter for the last 2 years. You can see those reports here: https://theoan.com/about/
I want to make sure I answer the “demand side” of the question. Our work with https://www.prysmgroup.io/ and https://flipsidecrypto.com/ was to help answer this question. Effectively, they helped us break down the different demand functions that impact $ of Aion. You can watch a great presentation on this at Consensus earlier this year here: https://youtu.be/Fzlcw_K1os4
Its too early to make a specific announcement, but we are building a mechanism to significantly constrain our own treasury over a long period of time, to provide added confidence in the market supply. I think our monetary policy is a huge differentiator because many protocols are too loose with this. They optimize for short term gains, by designing bad long term economic systems.
I can’t say I consider us having many competitors. Of course, in terms of technologies, there are other protocols on top of which you can building smart contracts BUT our strategy is unique in this market.
Although we are not putting much focus on recruiting developers right now, because our focused on building Moves primarily. BUT, that said, we built a very healthy set of tools for devs to use to build Open Apps using the Aion Virtual Machine.
Including some very good community tools to support well-known IDEs like IntelliJ. You can check out our dev docs here: https://developer.theoan.com/docs/custom-kits/ or if you want to dig into our github here: https://github.com/aionnetwork
I’m not sure I can elaborate much on Custom Kits beyond what’s in the docs. But at a high level, the OAN was built to support templates for smart contracts that we call Open Kits. That said, a developer can just build their own smart contract directly using this guide.
The honest answer is we’re only interested in products that are solving real-world platform problems. The OAN is the best protocol if that’s your focus.