Working Together: Beyond Zero Sum Crypto, Towards a Shared Web 3 Stack

Jamie Burke
Sep 23, 2019 · 6 min read

After $23+ billion of investment into ‘blockchain’ since 2013 the outcome still only represents sub 1% of all developer activity on Github and just 3% of comparable Nasdaq tech stock. Maximalism has wrongly taught us crypto is zero sum however the market as it is, is simply not worth fighting over. A tribal and toxic culture hurts our collective reputation in the eyes of the 99% and limits mass adoption and our ability to grow the pie. It’s our mission to break down silos and foster greater collaboration across the ecosystem and is why we’re bringing together hundreds of participants for a hackathon and developer conference called Diffusion Dev Con in Berlin, October this year. Entrepreneurs and developers will join 20+ protocols, their core teams, as well as investors and large enterprise customers from around the world to build, partner and finance Web 3.

450 signups so far (with 3 weeks to go)

23 Protocols and counting

336 attendees: 266 developers & 70 general attendees

38 mentors: 15 VCs & enterprise

Supported by 16 volunteers

SIGNUP NOW (Limited Places Apply)

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To dismiss any utilisation of crypto beyond Bitcoin and the use-case of ‘money’ misunderstands both the power and function of the innovation but also the internet itself. ‘Alts’ only serves as a false narrative because in fact most tokens aren’t alts to bitcoin at all, they often aren’t even alternatives to one another. In many instances, they and the protocols they help coordinate can be highly complementary and synergistic, with the sum much greater than the parts.

At Outlier we see the protocols we invest in spanning the wider internet and therefore in an OSI like framework beyond just a ledger or settlement layer, but rather connecting hardware and IoT through to networking, routing, storage, compute and learning, forming a literal stack which together solves real and known industry problems for our enterprise partners.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have their place but alongside a collective of other protocols elegantly optimising for different problems to form a new ‘open data economy’ from across IoT, Big Data and Machine Learning. And if anything, serving as an ‘alt’ to the current Web 2 paradigm and the incumbent platform monopolies that dominate it.

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Introducing The Convergence Stack

We call this ‘The Convergence Stack’ (#CSTACK): made up of 20+ protocols, which now represent 50m lines of open source code that we believe if it weren’t for tokenisation may well have been proprietary. But there is so much more to be done if we want this to make any meaningful impact on the world and drive real world adoption at scale with the qualities we all want to see manifest around privacy, security and more equitable value distribution.

It is our strong belief before we can touch the lives of 99% of consumers we need to onboard 99% of developers through the diffusion of these innovations. And whilst do our bit to help make these technologies more usable and interoperable we need SDKs, APIs and a whole lot of Middleware to come into existence. We need these technologies to be integrated and usable with legacy systems such as ERPs.

All this represents a huge commercial opportunity to entrepreneurs, their investors and enterprise customers and partners as we build a marketplace of new BaaS offerings around and in between these core protocols.

We need to support and finance the entrepreneurs committed to building their businesses in the Web 3 paradigm despite its challenges.

  • Join the world’s elite developer community from across cryptography, smart contract, machine learning and IoT hardware.
  • Hack for prizes, and earn bounties as you contribute to community developer resources.
  • Access mentors and technical teams from across The Convergence Stack
  • Experience award winning incubation advice moving your ideas from proof of concept to investable businesses.
  • Become investable and meet top VCs from Europe, US and Asia
  • Meet the world’s leading crypto exchanges
  • Build you and your company’s profile with media coverage and endorsement from the biggest players in the space.
  • Focus on building with all your food (BBQ’s, salads, snacks), beers and drinks covered for the weekend.

SIGNUP NOW (Limited Places Apply)

Themes, Hack & Workshops

We will be running several streams but are still open for new suggestions. Due to demand we have created a parallel stream of workshops and panels for both developers and non-developers to capitalise on the wealth of experience at the event.


Today machine learning is extremely concentrated. Data, algorithms, and trained models are owned by a select few global Internet giants. Techniques like federated learning, differential privacy, homomorphic encryption, and tokenisation enable us to build secure, privacy-preserving, and collectively-owned machine learning. There is an opportunity to create software for an AI economy that supports a more equitable data economy.


Storage refers to how and where information is stored and the rules governing how it can be accessed. Instead of data being stored in the ‘cloud’ on the servers of a select few companies, new storage architecture aims to store data on peer-to-peer decentralised networks. We think the introduction of price and market dynamics for storage opens up a whole new innovation area for edge software that is only just being explored.


We need to make sure telecommunications networks do not become a point of trust in the convergence stack. With open-source hardware projects working on networking equipment, the software that runs on the equipment in the next component that needs to be decentralized. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) are making networks more flexible and configurable. We want to support projects that are working to deliver networking software is both open-source and cryptographically secure.


Middleware is a bundle of APIs sitting below the interface layer providing services to developers to make it easier and faster to deliver applications and marketplaces. Middleware in this context is a coordination mechanism. If organisations are a collection of people bundled to solve a customer problem, middleware is a collection of APIs bundled to solve application-specific software problems. This turns low-level generalized protocols into application-specific tools. We want to support projects that make it easy to deliver new market solutions utilising the lower level protocols and software in the stack for things like 3d printing and robotics.


User experience refers to a range of interfaces that make interacting with decentralized protocols and technologies more convenient and intuitive. UX includes things like browsers and mobile apps that dominated Web1 and Web2 but also emerging interfaces that will become more important such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), voice interfaces (VUI), conversational interfaces (CUIs) and NFC tags. We think there is a huge opportunity for startups to onboard billions of Internet users with well-designed experiences to make interacting with blockchains, tokens and smart contracts not just easier but delightful.


  • A Stack for Good: Learning, Storage, Networking, Middleware, UX
  • Bringing DeFi to the IoT and AI: Learning, Middleware, UX, IoT, AI, DeFi, Ethereum, Fetch.AI, IOTA, Sovrin or RightMesh
  • ETHBerlin & The Dept. of Decentralization track: DeFi app, UX, Cosmos, Polkadot, ETH 2.0, Libp2p
  • Web 2.5 — Onboarding the Rest of the World: Learning, Storage, Networking, Middleware, APIs, UX, DApps
  • Token Engineering Track: cadCAD, Python, system dynamics and token models
  • Machine Learning in the Decentralised World: Learning, federated learning, differential privacy, homomorphic encryption, Storage, Ocean, Haja, Enigma,
  • Shaking up the Model, Data and Compute in Different Places: Storage (Access Control), UX, Middleware, Learning (Agent Based Systems)
  • The Usable Stack: UX, AR, VR, VUI, CUI & NFC
  • Hyperledger and the Convergence Stack: Storage, Middleware, UX, Hyperledger, Sovrin
  • The Odyssey Serendipity Network: Collaborative knowledge networks

Become a sponsor

At Outlier we committed to underwrite the cost of the event making tickets as cheap as possible. However, we have been lucky to secure a handful of sponsors which means we can make it even better and increase prize pools.

Before you ask..

Yes it’s our plan, if it proves a success to expand the event to other key regions around the world.

And yes, moving forward we will look to roll-out a virtual component to be more inclusive to those that can’t travel.

Diffusion 2019

All the latest news and updates from Diffusion 2019

Jamie Burke

Written by

CEO & Investor at focused on the convergence thesis: where blockchain is foundational to Web 3.0 a more decentralised and automated future.

Diffusion 2019

All the latest news and updates from Diffusion 2019

Jamie Burke

Written by

CEO & Investor at focused on the convergence thesis: where blockchain is foundational to Web 3.0 a more decentralised and automated future.

Diffusion 2019

All the latest news and updates from Diffusion 2019

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