This is part of a new series profiling blockchain startups.
Blockchain began as a tool for Bitcoin to deliver a decentralized future for the financial industry. Since then, Bitcoin has largely turned into a speculative investment and blockchain is increasingly being adopted by large financial institutions looking to boost efficiency.
However, some companies are till aiming to keep Bitcoin — and by extension blockchain’s original vision — by delivering solutions that create decentralized tools of governance for companies, people groups and governments.
Blockchain Tech News spoke with Jake Yocom-Piatt, project lead at Decred to learn about his company and how it aiming to deliver a decentralized future.
Q. What’s the background of Decred?
A. Decred was created by a group of former Bitcoin developers with two anonymous co-founders, in early 2014, and it was launched publicly in February 2016. I was a fan of Bitcoin and worked with a group of developers to write its first implementation in Go, but we quickly came up against issues with the way Bitcoin was governed. Decisions were made by an inner circle of people who weren’t very welcoming to us as “outsider” contributors.
When we founded Decred, we looked at what was successful with Bitcoin and what we could add by baking in formalized governance from the start. We wanted to create a structure whereby anyone in the community with skin in the game could own and operate the system, make the rules, and determine the direction of the project.
Q. What makes Decred stand out from the competition?
A. Decred is built to last, with a secure, adaptable, and self-sustaining model. Decred’s is a fork-resistant store of value, proven to be twenty times more expensive to attack than Bitcoin thanks to its hybrid PoW and PoS model that layers security and places checks and balances between miners and stakeholders.
By building a proposal-based off-chain governance system and being self-funded by 10% of each block reward, Decred is able to adapt to long-term changes by gaining agreement in the community and enacting changes over a transparent timeline. Both consistent funding through block rewards and the skin in the game model of stakeholder voting make Decred sustainable in the long-term. Where other projects are discussing developer funding, Decred is not only paying developers around the world — it’s also autonomously selecting community leads, its PR firm, and building a decentralized exchange ruled by the collective intelligence of the community.
Decred’s vision is to build a self-directed, decentralized future ruled by collective intelligence. It is built upon the pillars of sovereignty, transparency, inclusivity, privacy and security. Everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake, yielding decisions and policies in the best interest of all — not just a select few.
Q. How will Decred help deliver blockchain technology to the mainstream?
A. Cryptocurrency was created to remove bankers from their role as gatekeepers, with the idea that value could be transferred and “banked” through math over a decentralized community. Decred is staying true to blockchain’s original tenet. By creating a blockchain ecosystem that’s permissionless, fair, and anti-rent seeking, anyone around the world has access to not only participate in transferring payments, but also to vote and participate in the direction of Decred itself.
Decred is building upon this by continuing to target centralized rent-seekers to create a future built upon the pillars of sovereignty, transparency, inclusivity, privacy, and security. We believe mainstream adoption is incremental and our approach begins with providing a participatory environment where those who are tired of these rent-seeking behaviors have another option.
Decred’s model is similar to the way shareholders are able to vote in a corporation, but with less barriers to entry. Through ticket-splitting to make voting more accessible to all, or direct means of participating to earn a living through Decred’s contractor model, anyone with something meaningful to contribute can do so, regardless of their background — and get rewarded. Decred offers sovereignty and voice. We believe every stakeholder should have an explicit vote in the direction of Decred to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Q. What does Decred see as the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology?
A. Governance is the future of blockchain technology. Decred has been in the governance game from the start, and more and more projects are running into crises, realizing they lack a fair and equitable means of reconciling disputes and are talking about adding it to their models.
Decentralized governance is difficult to add after the fact because it involves a party or parties voluntarily reducing their power within an organization. For any entity to be truly decentralized, governance features are key to give a transparent voice to the community. Governance will be a defining step in the industry’s direction long-term. Adaptable projects are the ones most likely to succeed, and Decred has ensured a place at the table by aligning governance incentives from the beginning.