DappCon and the growing ecosystem for a decentralized world

19 & 20 July 2018 — Berlin — the amazing hub for blockchain development — was the host of an event aiming to gather the DApp-society and discuss the future of the decentralized applications and the whole ecosystem around them.

Based in a former train station, the whole atmosphere created the feeling that a new upgraded world is being built on top of the old one. Plus, there was a not-so-hidden unicorn (see if you can find it in the first pic), so believe it or not — everything is changing these days.


DappCon at Postbahnhof

So, great coffee, even greater ice cream, two stages and a workshop space, nice terrace for networking and a lot of people gathered together for two days to talk about decentralization, blockchain, Ethereum and the infrastructures built around them.

A big thanks to Gnosis — the host — for the organization. Everything was pretty good, the lectures and discussions were going just in time (a big admiration considering the chaos in other conferences where talks last twice the predetermined time), the atmosphere was inspiring. Also, a really-really nice touch was ‘women in blockchain’ discount :) (100 euros for us and 265 for everyone else).

Both days presented around 60 lectures in two stages as well as quite interesting workshops in a dedicated space. Amazing people gathered from Gnosis, Ethereum Foundation, ConsenSys, Golem, Status, Kyber Network, Magmo, Herdius, Alethio, ChronoLogic, Bluzelle, eth.events project, VariabL, Midas, Livepeer, Fluence.one, Solidified, Token Analyst and a lot more. Each of them presented the amazing pieces their companies contribute to excel the Ethereum ecosystem.

Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to attend all of the lectures, I had to choose only some of them. Needless to say, I listened those being mostly related to the project we are working on — Wetonomy (it’s a toolkit that will give teams, companies, and organizations the ability to collaborate, share profits, finance ideas and award contributions, all governed by smart contracts on the blockchain. Check it out if interested, it’s really cool(GitHub repo/ Blog)).


DAY ONE

Arriving in time to register, to get a coffee and to take a seat for the first lecture just confirmed my beliefs that the dev society is a sleepy one — there was waaay more empty seats than occupied and most of the people started coming around the lunch break. Still, the Postbahnhof (where everything was taking place) offered a soothing and pleasant atmosphere in the morning before the buzz begins.

Solidity Team : Solidity 0.5.0 — moving a bit away from JavaScript and working on a safety-first design of the language

Solidity team was presented by Alex Beregszaszi and Dr. Christian Reitwießner both talking about the new stuff coming with the release of Solidity 0.5.0. And the updates look quite promising. Changing the language to be a bit more detached from its JavaScript basis and its limitations, Solidity design starts to be more explicit, easy to grasp and most importantly — more secure. The list of new updated stuff on the table begins with new inheritance rules, contract metadata, SMT Checker, a written-in-Yul new ABI Encoder, required types for the variables + block-scoped variables and lot more. Check out the presentations: Updates from the Solidity Team and Solidity 0.5.0.

Gnosis: DutchX

The DutchX is an open, decentralized protocol for trading ERC20 tokens based on the Dutch auction mechanism that calculates the most fair value for the tokens. And anyone participates in the auction with the same rules, can expect fair price and even can build on top of the exchange. Sellers can submit their tokens at any time and will participate in the next available auction. Buyers submit their bid when the current price reflects the price they want to pay (and only till the auction closes) and will pay the final market clearing price. Aiming to create a more fair and decentralized exchange, Gnosis is overcoming the shortcomings of the standard order book procedures.

During her talk, Christiane Ernst announced the DutchX contracts are live on the Ehtereum Mainnet. And more than that — next steps are in the direction of governing the exchange by a DAO (DAOstack more precisely) and giving an appropriate compensation to the users that facilitate the liquidity.

Maker: What’s to Come

Maker is a smart contract platform on Ethereum that works on top of Dai — cryptocurrency which is price stabilized against the value of the U.S. Dollar. It works on a dynamic system of Collateralized Debt Positions (CDPs), autonomous feedback mechanisms, and appropriately incentivized external actors. Matt Richard presented pretty good future for the development of the platform — DAI Dashboard — stable coin system, Oasisdex 2.0 — on-chain OTC market for ERC20 Tokens, auction ui, MKR governance Dashboard and of course, Maker.js — a JS wrapper to facilitate working with Maker system. Furthermore, focusing on security and stability, the platform moves from single-collateral to multi-collateral Dai.

What seems to be a bit more inspiring to me though is the philosophy behind 20% principle — the Maker Foundation will allocate an amount of MKR from the fund equal to 20% of the total MKR supply to finance charitable initiatives. At first, the most appropriate choices will be navigated by the foundation, but this process will become decentralized and completely governed by the community through a framework based on data-driven impact analysis. Great initiative!



DAY TWO

DAOstack: Holographic Consensus, Scalable DAOs

DAOstack is an operating system for collective intelligence and a toolkit for scalable decentralized collaboration. It enables members in an organization, no matter how many they are, to make decisions together without the need for a single meeting point/boss/point of failure. And the whole process counts on reputation (a non-transferable asset) rather than tokens.

Matan Field, an inspiring mind in the area, presented the DAOstack approach for handling the problem of keeping the resilience and scalability of such organization, i.e. Holographic Consensus. An idea for matching the decisions made by a small group on behalf of a greater majority that would reflect the most voted choice if enough attention was available. All of that presented as a novel prediction game in which anyone can place predictions backed them by stake and vote based on their best knowledge and predictions. Needless to say, one of the most interesting lectures for me since it’s a concept quite close to Wetonomy.

Gnosis: The Road to Futarchy (predicting the future)

Futarchy states that we should “vote on values, but bet on beliefs”. Something we at Wetonomy do accept as our own values. It’s an idea becoming easier to implement with the existence of blockchain and DAO-s. The process based on the idea should be something like — raise a question, members vote on its outcome based on their best knowledge and then the decision with the highest bid is followed. And of course, an evaluation of the result afterwards. The whole process would be ideologically neutral depending only on the opinion of the voters.

What Martin Köppelmann’s talk was focused on was the futarchy as ‘a form of governance where only those policies are accepted for which prediction markets have clearly estimated that they will have the most positive effect’. And the steps of the implementation of the idea being 1: values formulation, 2: information sharing and 3: policy recommendations. The main benefits coming from the process is the implementation of the explicit values of the group and the finding good and efficient policies corresponding to the needs of the organization.

Aragon: Create value without borders

Those guys seem to rock the stage of developing a fully functional great DAO-s. Structuring the whole platform as easy-to-assemble Lego pieces, they provide a great basis for creating decentralized organizations or building custom ones on top of aragonOS/aragonJS. And what I love even more is that they are growing a dedicated and enthusiastic community around the project and the idea of decentralized organizations as a whole. Our crew (@comradecoop) is definitely a fan of the platform (even so that we decided to build Wetonomy on top of it).

DAppNode: How to Create true Decentralized DApps

DAppNode is a tool, a layer of decentralized hardware infrastructure, that enables users to host decentralized apps without the need for third-party components, but rather on their own environment. Built with the help of Aragon, it counts on its smart contracts and creates an infrastructure for DAPPs to run service 24–7 in a decentralized way.

Eduardo Antuña presented both the DAppNode device manager that enables every user to work with the tool and install it in a couple of steps and the package installer that allows you to plug in whichever package you want. I do love the idea and it seems to me that the software is pretty easy and natura to work with so that even not-so-deep-into-the-dapp-world users can benefit.

Tendermint: Blockchain apps

Tendermint is a software for securely and consistently replicating an application on many machines. It consists of two main components: a blockchain consensus engine and a generic application interface. The later (ABCI — Application BlockChain Interface) being the cherry of the cake, allows for building state machines in any language. And rather than working as a monolithic machine, Tendermint decouples the details of a single app, the consensus engine and the P2P layers as an interface implemented as a socket protocol.

Ethan Buchman (definitely the fastest speaker I’ve heard on the conference:)) mentioned a couple of cool things mainly built as the Cosmos SDK — their application framework — that abstracts the low-level components, enables the creation of composable modules and allows for capability-based security. With it comes a lot of functionality — Handlers and AnteHandlers that keep the communication between the layers structured and secure the access through the context, mappers or keepers that refine the access and per block execution logic (BeginBlock and EndBlock) that enable plugging in the life cycle in a periodic basis. Other elements worth mentioning are the modules Cosmos Hub (it connects to zones and keeps a record of the total number of tokens in each zone) and Ethermint ( the high-speed implementation of Ethereum).

DAY TWO — PART TWO

Party ❤


At the end of the conference, you get the impression that a lot has been done in the Ethereum ecosystem, but much more is yet to be developed. And even though the path may lead to some unpredictable obstacles and brings uncertainties for the process, the whole concept of working on something that will change the organizations, the way people communicate with each other, the security of the systems is more than intoxicating. Great initiative of Gnosis to gather together a lot of philosophers, innovators and all inspired by this adventure. Looking forward to the next DAPPCON ❤