What Are The Core Values of the Satoshi Standard and How Did We Stray So Far?
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For many, the passion of building, creating, and engaging with the blockchain lies in the core principles of its founding father, Satoshi Nakomoto. These include, not in any particular order, its decentralized nature, where no single individual handles the transactions, instead, the power is spread equally among all of the users across the entire network. This knocks out the need for a middle man, or an intermediary, which means transactions and data transfer can be faster, safer (as its tamper proof) and ultimately cheaper.
Every transaction is automatically verified and authenticated on the blockchain and distributed among a vast network of computers or nodes across the globe. The data stored on the blockchain is unimpeachable, unlike a computer server which gives hackers a single point of entry. In addition to this, the blockchain provides anonymity to its participants and governance rights.
Unifying communities on the blockchain
Self governance and voting rights are a major feature which many projects and protocols in the space try to achieve. It is achieved by giving holders a stake in the future and direction of the project. Making the future of the project democratic. Which sounds like a beautiful dream, but for many, it’s more of a slogan than a reality. Put it this way, if you run a project and you have given your users voting rights and you know that they are choosing the wrong path, do you step in and try to steer the ship? Or do you stick to your ethos?
One project has taken absolute democracy to the extreme and it makes for an interesting story. There’s an ecosystem called the Manta Network. Now the Manta network is a privacy preservation layer for the blockchain, a real prince charming in fact, helping to ensure one of Satoshi’s white paper dreams of anonymity and privacy for users. Manta Network is currently the only decentralized private payment and exchange based in the whole magical land of cryptography. No chance for the baddies (IRS? Banks?) to come in and stomp on heroes' dreams.
Manta Network works closely in the Polkadot ecosystem, and their canary network, Calamari just won an epic jousting tournament in which it managed to secure a parachain slot on Kusama. A price for any hero.
Every hero needs its powers
So let’s cut to the juicy part. Manta Network, like most heroes, needs capital to expand, develop, grow and improve. With this in mind, it had everything lined up for its IDO this week. An IDO, similar to an ICO, is a way to bring financing for the company. But rather than using a venture capital firm it issues initial DEX offerings to get capital from private investors. These individuals never actually own a stake in the project, but they do get to sit at the table and hold a stake in the DEX tokens, which automatically gives them voting rights and powers of governance.
All sounds good so far, but what happened next is quite remarkable. Manta spoke to their community through a variety of media channels from Reddit, to Discord, to Telegram, and half of the community were up in arms about the IDO. That’s because bringing in outsiders for this tight-knit community of users goes against all of the principles they had believed in.
Now Manta, clearly the good guy in this story, has decided to backtrack on the principle that their community comes first, even before raising huge amounts of capital to develop the company. Manta had organized a vote, but sadly bots got in the way, with spammy votes which threw off the democratic process and the vote was stopped. So they are pushing off the IDO until they can have a full and open discussion with their community so that everyone can decide and agree together.
The point is, in a short time, we have come a long way from Satoshi’s principles, and he isn’t around to monitor the actors in the realm, and if he were he would be some kind of leader or father figure, which clearly isn’t very Satoshi-like at all. But nevertheless, without this kind of father figure, the blockchain which is created and developed by humans, in the way humans do, takes the projects away from the initial ethos to a whole new direction. The blockchain though, true to its nature, is thirsty for this kind of openness and frankness, and along comes a project, Manta, that makes a powerful decision to put the voice of its community above all else. Now that is the Satoshi way!