Edgeware: the nature of this blockchain community…
What is the Edgeware blockchain and community for?
It’s very clear to me what Edgeware is for, and something for which it has always been.
Sometimes it can be a challenge as a decentralised blockchain community in the crypto world to all come to a consensus about how to define what we’re doing, because we’re involved in being part of a new kind of social technology, a sort of organism that has its own currency. Even though Edgeware says on its website as of today that its headline is:
Edgeware is a smart contract chain with a community-managed treasury, decentralized proposal system and network of DAOs.
Yes it is that, I guess that’s what it does. But what is it for?
What lead me here
What lead me to Edgeware was Polkadot. Polkadot is a blockchain that is designed to connect with other blockchains quite easily. Polkadot create an open source programming framework called Substrate. And so I dropped my bags, and spent a good 6 months learning Substrate. What really amazed me was “on-chain governance” which entails a sort of democratic voting function on the chain, which is a way for humans to come to a consensus on a decision, and that decision will be executed on chain, guaranteed. Proposals might be a treasury funding proposal. A treasury is a portion of the supply of all the chain’s tokens, which are managed by the community through democracy. I was so astonished by this decentralised governance that I thought more people who are interested in decentralising systems and governments and institutions in general would be interested in this. So I approached political parties and groups and said “oh btw you talk about decentralisation, well there is this technology that really enables this. It’s not just an idea it’s a real world tech implementation of these ideas that enable communities to govern and come to consensus in a decentralised way. It’s very fookin cool, here’s how it works…” Here is a governance experiment called DGov that I was inviting people to earlier this year.
As I was learning substrate I kept coming across this other chain called Edgeware which was in the Substrate docs. Edgeware at the time was one of the only other live substrate chains other than Polkado and Kusama. Edgeware was like Polkadot’s secret love child, but run by a community of misfits who came together to create a substrate chain with an Ethereum clone built on top of it.
The founders of Edgeware, Commonwealth Labs, had also built a very cool thread forum platform called Commonwealth that allows a blockchain community to connect their forum to their chain. There was some interesting threads where the Edgeware community would talk about proposals, ideas and plans. And so reading the forum fuelled my intrigue.
Edgeware is not perfect. From whatever angle you come from, (mine is product management and being a startup founder), you can find ways it could improve. And interestingly that’s what attracted me to Edgeware. I could see that they didn’t yet have their identity figured out, and they were in need of new developers. “Smart Contract Blockchain”, i thought was like a common mistake i see blockchain communities make. They confuse what their tech is as their purpose and values, and make it their headline messaging. How on earth does Smart Contract Blockchain appeal to anyones heart and mind? “That could improve” i thought. A sound analogy is like 25 years ago starting a website and calling it a website.
Website: “We are a website.”
Me: Yes I get that you are a website, but what do you get up to and how does it benefit me?
Website: “We do website stuff.”
Me: Oh you make websites for other people?
Website: “No not really.”
Me: OK fun.
In the same way a “smart contract blockchain” is a far too vague and broad, and doesn’t really indicate what it is for. Nevertheless I was interested to join, so it worked.
I thought it would be a great way to come, learn and get some experience about how to participate, contribute and be part of a decentralised on-chain governed community.
Fast forward some months, and i’m contributing and influencing to how Edgeware is shaped both technically and culturally. Larger places with already huge communities, feels like they having everything already figured and your voice can feel like it gets drowned out. Edgeware have an eclectic group of people, some very successful people in the old web 2.0 world of centralised (spits “tfooo”) things, and some just very keen and enthusiastic about this new realm.
Getting involved in Edgeware
In Edgeware I came as this Substrate developer with L plates, very much dealing with imposter syndrome, thrown straight in offered titles that were way above my level of experience. “Woah steady on” I thought. “Slow down with these titles”, technical lead was not really something i wanted to be at that moment. I just wanted to stay in my comfort bubble and explore and become more accustomed to Substrate, the general Rust language, and perhaps making a funding proposal as i was learning and researching about bridging, relay and parachains, and perhaps soon I would come up with some magic to implement cool concepts that would benefit Edgeware. So i raised a grant. Straight away the next day I get Thom Ivy an Edgeware steward and leadership figure, to ask me if I would lead the parachain integration Edgeware wanted to create with Kusama relay chain. “Here we go”, i thought, i get some funds to do my research, and people want more responsibility than I wanted. I said “let me think about it”. I took a nap for about 20 minutes and then thought what the heck am I afraid? Not being able to integrate a parachain. I never did it before, but then again not many people have. But great engineers learn on the job. So I said “of course, let’s do it.”
Fast forward a few months to now, and i’m working on parachain integrations, but also taken on technical co-founder role of Edgeware’s parachain, called Kabocha. Kabocha translates to pumpkin. is the artist Kusama’s favourite thing. (By the way Kusama blockchain is named after the artist, who is this weird and cool japanese artist, who pioneered polkadot art.)
So what is Edgeware for?
From my experience, Edgeware is for is a community for budding founders to come and participate in a blockchain community, learn, gain experience, be thrown in the deep end, and then get funded build something. It’s a launch pad accelerator, incubator thing. It’s like YCombinator but decentralised, owned and run by the community, but way more dynamic.
See the thing regarding What is the Edgeware blockchain for? People go straight to the blockchain thing like its meant to do some special fixed mechanism, like that’s the valuable thing, but their missing the point. We have this incorrect fixed idea that technology like blockchains are fixed and static, with a special magical mechanism, when actually it is a social technology that dynamically changes based on the will and the values of the people that are building it. Yes mechanisms open the door to very interesting and awesome things, but what’s more important is the values, narratives, stories, intentions and culture of the community who are using such a technology, as those things will be moulded into the technology dynamically.
With a Substrate chain, straight out the box, you get on-chain governance. The ability for the community to vote to upgrade the chain’s software or to fund a treasury proposal.
When Edgeware knows itself, it will self-actualize.
With a Pokemon analogy, Edgeware is not yet a Charizard, or a Raichu (I like Raichu), it’s more like a Pikachu or Charmander. Soon though i think an evolution is ripe. It will evolve when it knows thyself, and when it does then it will get new powers, and all of its powers will increase.
And so that is, in essence, the nature of Edgeware, a place to incubate founders, which is also its purpose. Which is a very sort of Zen mensch thing to think, and I love myself for that.
To find your purpose, be aware of your nature, get more powers, and then contribute with your potency.
Community developer for Edgeware
Technical founder of Kabocha