Trent's Unplanned Ocean Protocol AMA
Below you will find the transcript of some highlights of the Telegram AMA on the Ocean Protocol Official channel, conducted by Trent McConaghy (Founder at Ocean Protocol).
Question: Are you happy with the ocean protocol progress so far this year? Got the expected results or better/worse?
Answer: I'm happy with the progress of the product offering: starting with v3 live later last year we were able to iterate rapidly on the live market. And it keeps getting better and better. From v3 last year we had crazy good traction. It quieted down because gas prices went crazy and rug pulls burned a lot of people. We fixed the first, and v4 fixes the second. As for progress of traction: we still don't have the crazy levels of last year, but I'm fine with that, people got burned, so I look forward to v4 where it will be much safer. Data farming on the heels of that will help catalyze traction further. And that's just bottom-up traction. For top-down traction we have many enterprise, consortium + govt engagements. Lots of them we can't talk about because NDAs; and they have long sales cycles. But we will announce loud and proud as they come online. And there has been _tremendous_ progress this year, built on the v3 product (and extending further with v4). As for progress on price: well I leave that to speculators:)
Question: Are you able to give us some insights on the v4 incentives for publishers, curators and consumers? How can we prepare ourselves to generate the most value right upon launch?
Answer: The same ways that you could potentially create $ in V3 are there in V4, but optimized if you will. (1) You can publish raw data (raw data, refined data, aggregated data, ML models as data, etc; and the "algorithms as data" in C2D is new since spring). Publishing is a great way to monetize, you just have to find people who love your dataset. (Like yours, Moritz!) (2) Then there's curating / staking. The staking action is like V3 in terms of how you use it. But it will be better because the token dynamics are much improved: no more risk of rug pulls, and impermanent loss is greatly reduced too. (3) Then there's consumers. That's from the foundation started in v3, but with the continual improvements. Data Farming will help incentivize everyone towards quality data since the objective function is towards exactly that. (4) Then there's running your own market. This is also built on the foundation started in v3 too but since the foundation has improved so much over the last year, it is just a much slicker experience: multi network, C2D, etc. And V4 makes it much easier to monetize, because you can charge fees on swap and consume. Four all four of these, our driving light is "help people make $$" and our work throughout 2021 is all about optimizing that. When the real volumes come then it will really take off (V4 + Data Farming is a strong hypothesis for real volumes, among other things).
Question: Another one! How does forking the Marketplace (e.g. BDP, with their own native token) create value for the Ocean Token ?
Answer: Great Q! We encourage teams to fork the marketplace (github.com/oceanprotocol/market) because we want them to get strong. They can make money without their own token, as a % of tx fees. And having their own token is an opportunity to potentially get stronger, sooner, and pull in a community. All of this is fine with Ocean because the baseline way that Ocean gets its value is to take a % cut of each transaction done in Ocean. In v3 it was 0.1% on consume for baseline. In v4 it will also be 0.1% on swap. Then, also in V4 it's an extra +0.1% if the marketplace encrypts its metadata (to silo for itself, a double edged sword). And an extra 0.1% if the marketplace has its own token. All these fees are Network Revenue, which go towards buying & burning OCEAN on the open market, and towards OceanDAO.
Question: I personal really like the idea of the OceanDAO this year and I'm really excited on its progress. Its a great way to push the ecosystem forward in my opinion, so congrats on that!
Answer: Thank you! :) Yes we've spent a lot of effort on it. We see it as critical to the future of the Ocean ecosystem. It's much better if you have 10, 100, 1000 teams all working to drive value to OCEAN rather than just one core team. OceanDAO has already funded on the order of 100 teams and there are tremendous things already coming from many of those teams.
Question: Another question i have is compute to data related: if somebody builds an algo that copys the data and list that algo on the marketplace everybody could run this algo over data sets where the owner wants to keep the data Private and therefore only allows compute to data on it. But when the algo copys the data everybody could see it.
But in my understanding compute to data is build to keep the data private.
How do you make sure this stuff doesnt happen (with "bad" algos).
Answer: This is a great Q. This was a big Q for us as well when designing C2D. The answer is: the dataset owner can _choose_ for themselves which algorithms/scripts to allow. So if they look at the script and see an ftp call or some other copy trick, it's a "no".
Question: Referencing your interview with Fractal - how will airdrops play a role and how can we best leverage to receive maximum rewards?
Answer: Airdrops are part of the mechanics of Ocean Data Farming. You can think of DF as liquidity mining, but tuned to reward for consume volume of datasets. Airdrops will come weekly for anyone providing liquidity to datatoken pools. Size of reward is a function of amount staked and consume volume in the pool. We've spent a lot of energy planning for DF. The blog post from last year introducing it is still mostly accurate, link at the bottom of this message. One change is that we now measure consume volume in OCEAN, versus a _count_ of # consumes. https://blog.oceanprotocol.com/announcing-ocean-data-farming-26c036d12f20
One more thing. DF is gonna be _super_ generous. Stay tuned ;)
Question: Will third party markets / applications also earn a market fee on adding liquidity to Ocean Market pools (in addition to swaps). Given that we’re building a mobile wallet targeting curators, we believe this further incentive will benefit Ocean Market’s liquidity greatly.
Answer: This is a cool idea! We investigated it for v4, but it's a jump in complexity. We decided that the incentives from consume fees (and! new! swap fees!) will be already be a big jump in strength of incentive, so held back from doing further things. And there are even other further things, like referrals. One step at a time:)
Question: Could you elaborate a bit on data NFT?
Answer: Happy to elaborate. Summary is: V3 represented both copyright _and_ licenses to consume the data with ERC20 "datatokens". V4 splits them apart: copyright (non-fungible) is represented by ERC20 "data NFTs"; licenses are represented by ERC20 datatokens. This allows us to harness all the awesome new tools that have emerged for NFTs in the last year, and give more flexibility for management of the copyright / exclusive license. It also opens up for more use cases, such as the physical "object of value" NFTs that we're doing with Wisekey. People could even create digital art markets using Ocean Market tech; then they get all the cool Ocean functionality like staking/swapping on NFTs, not to mention zero rug pulls:) Details here: https://blog.oceanprotocol.com/nfts-ip-3-combining-erc721-erc20-b69ea659115e
Question: We all hope for more exchanges, is this still something that the Ocean team is actively working on or is the ball completely in the hands of the exchanges?
Answer: We are highly cognizant of the desire for more exchanges. And we agree! However we simply can't talk about it, that's just how exchanges operate. The way I see it: as we grow traction by piling on top-down use cases (enterprises, consortia, govts) and bottom-up use cases (Ocean Market, 3rd party markets, OceanDAO projects, Data Farming) then we'll cross each exchange's magic threshold and it will become a no brainer.
Question: Another question, would it be possible to stake/add liquidity on forked marketplaces using Ocean if the marketplace retains Ocean as the default token? What if they don't?
Answer: In v3 Ocean Market, and v3 forked marketplaces, the whole market is configured to use exactly one token, it's homogenous for that market. For Ocean Market, it's OCEAN. For others, it could be OCEAN or the project's own token. Under the hood (backend), every single pool has its own smart contract deployed of OCEAN/other <> datatoken. So in the backend you can only stake/unstake whatever the pool holds (OCEAN/other or datatoken). The frontend makes it easy to stake in just OCEAN (for other 3rd party project tokens). ||||| For v4 Ocean Market and v4 forked marketplaces, every different pool could have a different token; it's heterogenous. In Ocean Market the defaults will be OCEAN the upcoming OCEAN-backed stablecoin (which itself is gonna be very cool:). In 3rd party markets, it's up to the people running those to choose what defaults. And for the backend, you can only stake/unstake in OCEAN/other; you can _not_ stake/unstake in datatokens (this is part of the trick to avoid rug pulls). |||| To summarize: if a pool only supports OCEAN <> DT1, then you can only stake/unstake in OCEAN or DT1 (v3), or OCEAN (v4). Similar if you replace OCEAN with a 3rd party project tokne.
Question: Are you able to give an indication of how many major NDA's are in place or is that under NDA itself? Just want to judge how many major players are building with you guys. Thanks for doing an AMA, there's been a few unhappy holders on Twitter recently, hoping they see you making an effort to be more available.
Answer: It's NDA's all the way down :P. To be serious: we have made a point of only working with a limited handful of enterprises / consortiums / govts (<10) because any more would completely overwhelm our core team, and we have been reluctant to grow our core team to serve them because it starts to get too centralized. Though of course consortiums have way more orgs (Gaia-X about 300, Catena-X about 25). Rather than letting ourselves get overwhelmed or getting too big & centralized, instead what we do is refer / encourage other enterprises / etc that come to us, to talk to our service partner providers like Altoros
Question: What are your views on the current state of the Web3 data economy within the crypto-sphere and what’s your opinion on adoption / growth within this segment? Is it a trend that is still in its infancy? What will be the catalyst to shift attention towards it?
Answer: It's still in its infancy. And there are many different sub-markets for different functionality. For the storage sub-market, it's been wonderful to see Filecoin and Arweave take off (and Sia has excellent usage too). What really drove Arweave was NFTs, interestingly, people don't want their art files to go away (nice use case!). For oracles, it was cool to see Chainlink take off as DeFi took off 1.5 years ago as its usage was for DeFi contracts to get prices. While we have some initial product-market fit, Ocean traction hasn't taken off yet, so we must contemplate the most likely hypotheses where there might be traction; for Ocean it includes [top-down] helping enterprises unlock their data (independently, and via consortia), [top-oown] helping govts retain data sovereignty (govt-driven —> Gaia-X), [bottom-up] helping our growing community of builders find killer use cases such as data coops / data unions, 3rd party data marketplaces serving very particular needs, and more; and finally [Defi] use cases to help yield-chases get better APY via more data -> better models. We've been making great progress on the first two in 2021 and that will extend into 2022. For the third, I'm particularly excited about our planned efforts for this in 2022 on the heels of V4/Data Farming
Question: When you will accelerate marketing about ocean ? This project is great
Answer: Ofc we have a steady stream of announcements on twitter etc about progress we're making. Blog posts, podcasts, weekly Town Halls, discord, etc. Every crypto project has its own personality, composed of the personalities of the founders, the team around the founders, and the broader ecosystem (and ideally at some point the personality of the ecosystem = the only thing that matters). We see the shill projects but we aren't shills. We see the dog tokens, and I love dogs and DOGE, but that's not us. We have a longer-term goal, aiming to rewire the economics of data for the planet. We are taking disciplined execution to realize that vision. Execution is all about traction in the near term, and continuing onwards to the long term, and growing an ecosystem along the way. It's a big lift! But this is what truly matters. But as we pull it off, it will transform everything, for the better. And to loop back on your Q about marketing: beyond the steady stream of announcements, town halls, etc: part of OceanDAO is about funding teams to do outreach! So for anyone reading this: if you love the vision of Ocean and want to spread the word in your own way, please do!! Your personality and life can contribute to the growing mosaic of personalities around Ocean. And you can even get grants for it. :)
Question: Roadmap has better staking options and data farming for Q4. Are we still looking at that time frame?
Answer: V4 includes solves rug pulls and greatly reduces impermanent loss, for much safer staking. Data Farming at scale can only happen when staking is safer; so it will come on the heels of V4. V4 is slated for Jan 2022. We originally had slated it for a bit sooner, but sometimes good things take a bit longer. I am super excited about what V4 & DF will unlock:) https://blog.oceanprotocol.com/ocean-product-update-2021-6875bc1f804f
Question: I think the biggest issue for the community is IL and possibility of losing tokens on markets. I know u mentioned v4 will solve some of this. Any specific details.
Answer: Actually we do have details, posted publicly, but we just haven't packaged them in an easy to digest format yet (= a nicely laid out blog post), and because of that we haven't promoted them much. The big trick is: publishers don't get to be datatoken whales, instead, they get some datatokens vested over time. And most datatokens are controlled by the pool; they're minted when you stake OCEAN; and burned when you unstake; the amount minted or burned is just the # such that datatoken price stays the same. For more info right now: The most "precise" details are the v4 contracts branch in the github repo oceanprotocol/contracts. But something that is already markedly better to digest (but still not for the faint of heart!) is my talks with the Token Engineering community about the TE work we did for V4. Here is a video: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=TDG53PTbqhQ&ab_channel=TokenEngineering Here are slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1JfFi9hT4Lf3UQKfCXGDhA27YPpPcWsXU7YArfRGAmMQ/edit#slide=id.p1 . There's an OceanDAO grantee team that is verifying v4 incentives using agent-based simulator TokenSPICE https://github.com/tokenspice/tokenspice. And of course we will put out a blog post at some point, to make it all much easier to digest.
Question: Is initial data farming (not at scale) something that may be released prior to Jan 2022
Answer: Hello! We strongly considered putting data farming (not at scale) prior to V4. But we decided that it's simpler for our planning, our team's focus, and for communication with the community to do everything sequentially. So it will be V4, then (soon after) DF not at scale, then (soon after) DF at scale. The point of DF not at scale is to onboard the community to learn about DF, how the mechanics work, etc without that much at stake; and to iron out any technical kinkds.
Question: Has Ocean done any tie ups with academic institutions? What are the benefits of Web 3 projects tie up with academic institutions.
Answer: Some Ocean ecosystem projects engage directly with academic institutions, such as ResilientML and Opscientia. One particularly good way to engage - and they're starting to do this - is to help poorly-paid AI/data science PhD students start to monetize the data and algorithms that they're developing. And there are many other opportunities too. Some examples: https://oceanprotocol.com/technology/data-science
Question: The idea of Data-NFT seems huge. Are there any particular use cases already identified?
Answer: Yes. (1) One example is when a team wants to work on building up a dataset over time, without starting to create licenses for it yet. Another is teams doing NFTs already (data .. or otherwise! :) but they can't solve easily/well (2) licensing, or (3) ERC20-powered price discovery, or (3) staking. Another is (4) now the base IP shows up as an NFT with an image in any wallet that supports that; this is a much bigger list than a year ago. (5) Transfer of the base IP from the original copyright holder to some exclusive licensor, e.g. like Michael Jackson selling master tapes to a music label (with data equivalents). (6) Wanting to do >1 different licenses for the same base IP, e.g. one-day licenses, 1-week licenses, and C2D licenses. The list goes on and on.
Question: What would you say to those holding ocean for so long. We saw the price hit almost $2 before retracing to 30c. Will ocean finally make the waves that it truly deserves?
Answer: Price is a function of fundamental value + speculation value. We can't control the latter so much. So we focus our activities to drive fundamental value add. Which is all about traction; therefore traction hypotheses; therefore pursuing the promising hypotheses and doubling down on the ones that work. (And simultaneously removing known impediments, such as high gas fees -> removed via Polygon etc, and rug pulls -> removed via V4 one-sided staking).
Question: I think Bruce said a long time ago that liquidity providers in MP should get revardet after all the rug pulls. Im still providing liquidity in there. Was this just me dreaming that he said so, or do you have some plans to do so?
Answer: Data Farming rewards are going to be really generous. Those with experience in identifying great datasets and staking, and with Ocean in general, are going to have an edge. That's what we can promise. :)
Question: What do you say to the people who question oceans marketing plans or lack thereof. The people want to know.
Answer: A couple weeks we announced both Moonriver and EWC deployments, yet one day after, there were messages like "wen announcements". The marketing team releases a steady stream of announcements. So to me this meme of "no marketing plans" is simply misleading. So what I say is: before expressing this sentiment, look around: follow Twitter, this channel, Discord. You want to go deeper, come to Town Halls, comment in OceanDAO forum, look at the github, etc. If you still feel the same, explain why, the marketing team is always happy to take feedback:)
Question: What are you most excited for as it relates to ocean? Ocean Discord the way it’s currently setup, is primarily for technical questions and dao conversations (which is useful).
Answer: TBH there are just a ton of things. OceanDAO has been growing and maturing and really created something special, I just love being part of that emerging community, everyone is really focusing on creating value for Ocean together via building, outreach, etc. The OCEAN-backed stablecoin is gonna be super cool, will be a great staking opportunity for community too, it's really the first bigger piece of our DeFi traction pillar. V4 & DF will be tremendous for bottom-up traction. And I really look forward to being able to share our progress on top-down engagements in enterprises, consortia (gaia-x, catena-x), etc. And in 2022 we'll finally spend more time on the third traction pillar (DeFi) and that's gonna be super fun because we'll be leveraging TokenSPICE and doing heavier AI/ML on top of Ocean.