Introducing Vest Labs
The late philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Bauman once stated the following: Debate is never finished; it can’t be, lest democracy be no longer democratic and society be stripped of or forfeit its autonomy. Democracy means that the citizens task is never complete. Democracy exists through perseverance and unyielding citizens’ concern. Once that concern is put to sleep, democracy expires. This is a generalization applicable to the ethos of many modern democracies. Hence it is applicable to the founding of democratized systems unbounded by physical means. So what do I mean by this?
Enter 7th century BCE. This is when Athens emerged — the birthplace of democracy. It was by no means a good system but the first of its kind to check power by means of the people. In the next thousands of years, civilizations attempting democracy rose and fell until arriving at our modern democracies.
Enter the late 1900s. This was the advent of the Internet. The Internet gave way to the availability of information, which in turn gave way to the building of new systems. Some of these systems inherently threatened the unyielding concern of the individual promised within a democracy.
Enter the early 2010s. This was the starting point for the idea of decentralized Internet systems. Although in relative infancy, such systems incorporated collaborative debate, citizens’ voices, and protection from malicious actors — all core aspects of a true democracy.
Now finally enter the year 2022. Web 3.0 has been around for a bit and there are innovations in governance, markets, economies, cryptography, and more. These all maintain the promise for a fairer system that the early Internet once promised. Pessimistically, we may face the same issues with democracy layered on the Internet. Optimistically, Web 3.0 may lead to a fairer system. Only time will tell. But for now, we internalize such optimism.
In light of this belief, we are most interested in how novel crypto markets and decentralized applications enable the potential for a fully democratized financial system. One of the more subtle reasons is the fast iteration cycles that result in constant improvements alongside transparency in the pursuit of decentralized models. This is especially motivated by the opportunities to improve capital efficiency for crypto markets such that liquidity moves freely, allowing markets to be more representative of human nature, psychology, logic, and current events. That is, understanding human nature can be akin to understanding the reasoning behind trades. Thus, being able to speculate and trade on any asset in a permissionless manner is a core necessity to truly capture the belief systems of different groups of people.
Whether on existing ecosystems or newer ones, people in the space are building exchanges. We’ve seen them be centralized, decentralized, or something in between. This is a consequence of the many insights to be had in the crypto markets as seen in development of new oracles, primitives, and more, tailored towards the desire to empower individuals to trade on their set of beliefs. We see this as a signal for the acceptance of new ways to market make crypto on previously untapped assets and are most excited by the ways in which individuals and groups will lay the groundwork to democratize finance.
This brings us to the founding of Vest Labs, a crypto research firm building useful primitives to enable a fairer system for all traders. The name came from the word vest, meaning to confer or bestow (power, authority, property, etc.) on someone. Our team aims to do just that for traders. We will make our first stride by building a decentralized perpetual futures exchange where traders can speculate on almost any asset.
In terms of background, we are a lean team of individuals who love intellectual challenges. Our advisors include computer scientists, cryptographers, physicists. We are backed by visionary venture capitalists, quantitative trading firms, and global institutions who share our vision for a fully democratized financial system. As we get closer to launching our private testnet, we hope to get feedback from the community regarding user experience, mechanisms, and more. From this we will iterate while providing a transparent look into the development of our exchange and the ways in which individuals can get involved.