Our Team, Our Vision: Part Two

At Delphi, we are trying to do things a little differently than most other companies and projects in the space. From both philosophical and practical standpoints, we feel that there are many good reasons to take special care when it comes to disclosing information about the various contributors and members of our team.

As we said in The Oracle Wars section of our Master Plan article:

The next battleground for decentralization will undoubtedly be around oracles (after all, control of the oracle amounts to control of the entire contract, when execution depends on external data in any way). In other words, oracles represent a “centralization chokepoint” threat to many different types of smart contracts, including those for prediction markets. Though we’re not seeing antagonistic oracle-based control exerted today, if any of the decentralized prediction markets start to enjoy any sort of significant success (whether this is Augur, Gnosis, Delphi, or another project entirely), it will inevitably prompt efforts to compromise or centralize the oracles involved.
We won’t risk letting our hard work go to waste by ignoring this threat. Delphi’s focus will be totally dedicated to the oracle component. Our strategy on this front will allow us to bootstrap our oracle networks, receive revenue as we grow, and benefit from the efforts of other projects in the industry.

Anonymity, and the revelation of identity, is a trapdoor function. It’s easy to tell the world who you are, and impossible to un-tell it. Once information is public on the Internet, it is effectively permanently so.

However, we also realize that a lack of information about our team can hinder or slow down the project’s growth (and perhaps limit its potential), not only through social controversy (e.g. accusations of dishonesty or intent to scam), but also through introducing severe difficulties in terms of operational security and ecosystem outreach.

Some of our early supporters have expressed concern that we would be forsaking or abandoning a crucial part of our vision by “coming forward” and revealing team identities, and this makes perfect sense. On the other hand, without knowing more about us (and what motivates us), and without any faces whatsoever to hold accountable for following through on our plans or promises, we understand the reluctance, skepticism, or dismissal that many will feel towards us and what we’re trying to do.

After much thought, we have reached the conclusion that this doesn’t have to be a binary decision; we can (hopefully) get the best of both worlds. Similar to the strategy used in other privacy-conscious projects like Monero and Mimblewimble, we have decided to adopt a “hybrid” approach, where the identity of one or more team members is made public, but a significant portion of the team remains pseudonymous (at least until there are compelling reasons to do otherwise). This eliminates vulnerabilities regarding full dependency on anonymity, but still positions us to be able to follow through with our project and vision as faithfully as possible.

This coming Monday (October 30), I (the primary author of this article, as well as the other Medium articles, the whitepaper, and forward-facing communications on reddit) will be coming forward, putting my name on the Delphi Systems project, and hosting an AMA on reddit to answer the many questions that I’m sure the community has. A few other team members involved will likely be sharing a little bit of information about themselves, as well, to help give a sense of what makes us tick.

We realize that even this won’t please everyone (unfortunately, doing so is usually impossible). But we hope that this does help free up the discussion, increase transparency, and make our future communications and operations a little easier and smoother on a number of fronts.

I look forward to meeting you all.