Inside the Centrifuge

Ein dickes Brett — auf Deutsch

People have started asking, why Centrifuge? Apart from what you’re solving (which sounds intriguing), what’s it like to work there? This got us brainstorming about our culture, about navigating ambiguity (start-up vibes, anyone?) and what defines us as a workplace. I couldn’t quite articulate it then, but one thing is for sure: what we’re trying to solve is exciting and very complex. More than once we have heard that our endeavor is a “dickes Brett”–a thick piece of wood auf Deutsch–something huge and challenging and with this, comes an effervescent atmosphere!

Let’s zoom out for a second. The web has made social cooperation a powerful force on a global level, giving the capacity for a cooperative, crowdsourced approach, providing the basis of a new knowledge economy and a democratized access to information. This was the genesis of the internet that Tim Berners Lee developed at CERN, with a core tenet of decentralization. However, during the past decades, the centralisation of powerful networks has resulted in a small number of corporates, not only having access to vast amounts of data about us but also owning and controlling it, commercialising these walled data gardens and sometimes, using it to the detriment of users.

This is where Centrifuge appears. A year ago a small group of people came together (Maex, Martin, Philip, and Lucas) and laid the foundations for Centrifuge- a company with the vision to Change the rules of global trade to foster economic opportunity everywhere. That is, enabling any company, anywhere, to play on a level playing field. Centrifuge strongly believes in the power of a decentralised Web, more in keeping with the Internet’s early promise than with the monopolistic landscape it has become, and with it, decentralised finance. Tens of billions of dollars are not utilised by marketplace operators, with centralised instances controlling the flow of information. We would like these assets to exist freely, rather than proprietary companies or apps bringing them to market. We hope for a future of data sovereignty, equal access to financial resources and breaking down the data silos and walled gardens in which data of the financial supply chain currently resides.

Centrifuge is building an operating system that will allow any business, regardless of its size, to transact on a global network while maintaining ownership of their data, including their validated company details, their reputation, business relationships, and subsequent transactions. For this purpose, we are building a peer-to-peer network for decentralized data exchange in combination with the use of a public blockchain for document notarization, maintenance of corporate identity, and the ability for DApps (Decentralised Apps) to interact with documents in the form of non-­fungible tokens (NFTs).

Throughout the twelve months following the initial meeting, Centrifuge has blossomed into a real company, the team has been expanded to 15: from a diverse range of backgrounds from economics to psychology, mathematics, and engineering. We have architected and built infrastructure, open-sourced it, ran tests and simulations on our token design and monetary supply. We have been “forced” to move out of our beloved Full Node (tear) into our own new office in Glogauer Strasse (we’ll be having a party soon, shhh!). We are fostering and nurturing partnerships and are thrilled to be part of a growing decentralized finance community forming in the #defi ecosystem. The dickes Brett doesn’t feel so intimidating after all.

With all of these thoughts in mind, below is an early reflection on Centrifuge culture.

The Centrifuge Cultural Compass

No Boundaries

We want to build a culture of deep curiosity- one that nurtures intellectual exploration above all. We want to give space for ideas to flourish, explore tangents and for releasing ourselves from rigid thought patterns.

Autonomy and Accountability

We nurture a high sense of responsibility to ourselves, to our team members and the mission carried out. We work on our own terms, but keep our eye on the collective goal.

Knowledge Sharing

We believe that a collective brain is more valuable than individual ones, so we foster a culture of sharing and transparency. From weekly all-hands, monthly book clubs and quarterly personal feedback to cooking up big group lunches, encouraging transparency and knowledge sharing is crucial at Centrifuge.

Enthusiasm!

We want people to be excited to work for Centrifuge and respect that people get out of bed for different reasons. We are flexible with schedules and allow our employees to climb, dance or do yoga when it suits them. We aim to build an inclusive company- hiring people from different backgrounds with a passion for something outside themselves, whether for alternative governance or techno, community activism or decentralisation.

Together with our Code of Conduct, this is our compass. We believe it is essential to have a constant reminder of what we stand for and why we are doing what we are doing. We want to keep a strategic as well as an ethical focus point that guides our development and community.

Thanks for being a part of our journey!