Aeternity's Top 3 Hits and Misses

I’ve been pretty quiet around here but I’ve been an ardent Aeternity supporter since the early days. I’m going to call out what I see as Aeternity’s big hits and misses so far. I think the project is at a pivotal moment right now and the team needs to make some big decisions about direction and vision for the protocol and the project. I think it’s a pivotal moment because market conditions are ripe for projects that position themselves well, and also because Aeternity has a solid foundation to build from, but the team must provide clearer commitments on what they are going to focus on and invest in next, and when they will deliver on those commitments.

I believe in Aeternity because I think it strikes a beautiful balance between the robust, tried and trusted foundations of blockchain security and cryptonomic incentives, whilst also embracing and delivering some of the most cutting edge innovations to address the painpoints and performance bottlenecks of previous generations of blockchain protocols. Aeternity does this whilst expanding the utility of the platform by integrating decentralized oracles as first class objects in the protocol, and positions itself for mainstream adoption by leveraging the ubiquity of mobile computing. This remains a very cohesive and exciting vision in my opinion and the team has already delivered results on most of this vision from a technology standpoint.

Here’s what I see as Aeternity’s Top 3 Hits to date:

  1. Survival - Aeternity has overcome many challenges that could have crippled the team and caused the project to collapse in the early days of development. But the team demonstrated a steely resilience to adversity which will continue to serve them well in the future. Whenever the stability of the project was threatened the team responded decisively and became stronger and more resolute in the process. There is a self-belief and relentless will to succeed in this team. They refuse to be denied.

  2. The Calibre of the Team - I’m not going to roll call the entire team. Suffice to say this project has assembled a formidable ensemble of some of the most highly qualified academics and professionals in their respective fields. For any newcomers who are wondering who is really driving the technical development of this project, please take a moment to review the team section on the Aeternity website. There are at least six PhDs and many industry leading experts and pioneers who made significant contributions to the development of the building blocks that Aeternity is comprised of. There is always room for improvement in the composition and structure of any team, but Aeternity has the right people onboard, and without them we would not have a beautiful, rock solid Aeternity mainnet and base aepp today.

  3. Delivering a High Quality Aeternity Mainnet and Base Aepp - Do underestimate the value of what has already been achieved. The strength of every house lies in its foundations. The team understood this from day one and they have prioritised investing in the security, reliability and performance of the mainnet. There were several delays and some community members became frustrated because they perceived a lack of progress but the team’s uncompromising commitment to quality first has paid off. There have been no mainnet security incidents to date, no contentious hard forks, rollbacks or unplanned outages. The base aepp is intuitive to use and aesthetically beautiful, and the performance of the protocol and state channel technology is blistering and flawless. Never forget how far we have come and all the hard work that got us here.

Here’s what I see as Aeternity’s Top 3 Misses:

  1. Managing Expectations - I remember when Aeternity first encountered substantial delays to its mainnet delivery commitment, and the ‘two weeks’ meme was born. I think the team may have taken a lesson from how they managed that issue, and unfortunately I think it was the wrong lesson. The attitude the team has adopted since then seem to be ‘tell them what we’re going to deliver but don’t commit to any specific timeframes’. If you don’t make public commitments you can’t be criticised for missing them. I’m sure there are plenty of internal milestone commitments, the community just doesn’t have visibility of them. I think this was a mistake. Everyone who works within the framework of a project has a responsibility to make specific commitments for completion of their work. These commitments aggregate up to milestone dates for sets of deliverables, which align to roadmap commitments. Commitment is the vehicle for progress from the micro to the macro level in projects. If there is a breakdown in this chain of commitment at any level, there will be a breakdown in delivery following it. Missing commitments is not the end of the world. The appropriate response is to acknowledge the miss at the earliest opportunity, explain the reason why it happened in simple terms and provide a provide a revised estimate for completion. This keeps the community excited and focused on the development pipeline and maintains trust and transparency in the project. Conversely, if the community perceives a lack of specific time-bound commitments to future goals, they tend to disengage and feel less enthusiastic about the future of the project, and crucially, they tend not to make any solid plans around those milestones or tell others about them. The corrective action for this problem is to established a culture of commitment (which I’m sure already exists internally in Aeternity) and to publish time-bound commitments to future goals based on a periodically updated roadmap, roughly once per quarter. This will help to manage community expectations and will provide clarity of direction and timing for the community to plan and communicate around.

  2. Excessive Inflation of Supply to Incentivise Mining - I understand why this decision was made. Every blockchain is at its most vulnerable during the earliest days of mining because it is far less costly to obtain more than 50% of mining power for a fledgling blockchain with a small centralised group of fickle miners. Incentivising miners to maintain the health and security of the chain is essential, so I always expected some inflation. I also don’t think this decision should have been left to a community vote initially. Nick Szabo provided a good analogy for this in relation to the bitcoin block size debate; ‘It’s like a public debating and voting on the graphite reactor settings that prevent a nuclear reactor from overheating and shutting down. There are certain things you should let the engineers decide, and this is one of them for bitcoin’. I feel the same way about the initial mining reward. It’s a security parameter so I have no issue with the team making the decision, but I suspect they were overly cautious and got the balance or risk and reward wrong in this instance. Sometimes there is an assumption that changes to the supply of a coin are net-neutral in terms of market capitalisation because as the supply increases the value of each coin decreases proportionately, but it’s rarely if ever proportionate. Supply increases are generally met with negative sentiment in the market which results in disproportionate devaluation, which causes negative community sentiment, which results in additional devaluation. Whether it is community driven or a unilateral decision by the team, I like many other community members would welcome an adjustment to the mining reward algorithm to limit inflation.

  3. Initiatives and incentives to Grow the Community - I recognise that the team is not solely responsible for growing the community, we all have a responsibility to spread the good word about Aeternity and drive adoption. There are small things we can all do that collectively can make a big difference. I convinced my wife and a couple of friends to participate in the Aeternity contribution campaign back in 2017; something they still thank me for. But I didn’t let them off the hook by contributing on their behalf, I used it as an opportunity to educate them on the use of private keys so they could maintain control of their own tokens. I kept them updated on the progress of the project and insisted that they install the base aepp when it was launched. We now use Aeternity to settle small regular bets and debts between ourselves. One of the things I would love to see on Aeternity is a ‘Pint of Guinness’ token, which would be a sort of stable token that uses oracles to track the average price of a pint of Guinness in Ireland. I could use it to make bets with my friends about sports events and settle them with virtual pints. Anyway, I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent. I understand that the team was restricted in the extent to which they could market the Aeternity platform before the mainnet launched, but I have been somewhat disappointed with progress in this area since the launch. I don’t have any complaints about the team’s marketing in terms of their presence and sponsoring of events and conferences, Starfleet, Aeternity ventures etc. I think some really good work has been done here and I congratulate the team for what they have achieved. I think the area where there is room for improvement is online campaigns and incentives that generate interest across the broader crypto community. A while ago I suggested on the Telegram channel that Aeternity could devise a crypto treasure hunt, where crypto enthusiasts could follow a series of clues and solve puzzles to incrementally ultimately unlock AE coins. It could take them on a journey across the crypto landscape; one clue might lead them to find an Aeternity transaction that included some embedded GPS coordinates, which would lead them to somewhere on Google Maps that’s significant to blockchain, which would have a tag that reveals a clue to lead them to a particularly crypto kitty whose name…you get the idea. This kind of thing that can go viral and continue to generate interest as long as there is buried treasure that no one has solved. There could be a dashboard where anyone can see which treasures have been claimed and which remain buried. Aeternity could also launch some custom limited edition tokens to recognise community contributions or achievements. I am the proud holder of an Ethereum Unicorn token I received for donating to the Ethereum Foundation many moons ago, even though the token has no real utility or value today. I also think the airdrop for BTC and ETH holders was always a good idea and I’m sure it will attract interest, so hopefully there will be some news on that soon. In general, I think there are lots of untapped creative opportunities to grow the online community and I think the team should be more active in this area.

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Hey @murt9000,

I can’t thank you enough for your support and commitment and for the time you dedicated to write all this :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Thank you so much for recognizing and appreciating the resilience of æternity and the team - the crypto winter was a real challenge and, unfortunately, many projects did not survive it.

The æternity team is amazing indeed :blush: And we are happy to say it’s constantly growing and developing! New members join, new roles emerge and we are always in the quest of delivering the best technology possible!

Thank you for appreciating the quality of the technology first rather than the delivery schedule. We always aim at delivering the most stable and secure code possible even though we may be behind the schedule sometimes.

I see what you mean when talking about announcing commitments and future plans - we will definitely work on that.

Concerning the block reward - this will most probably be the topic of the next community vote. Many community members are worried and we hear them well! We are committed to give you all the power to make that decision - as you said, we are all in this together!

Thank you for these great suggestions and ideas on how to grow the community, we will definitely discuss them and probably implement some of them :slight_smile:

And I so much appreciate your personal efforts to spread the word about æternity and use it to execute your daily transactions :hugs: If every community member had that consciousness and personal responsibility for the success of the project, we would be unstoppable!!!

I’ll make sure all your ideas and suggestions reach the rest of the team!

Love,
Albena

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Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed opinion!

I personally support this and I also recognize that there is a widespread support for this throughout the community. I see this happening through a community governance initiative.

Regarding marketing/communications, I also agree that our inbound communication and updates have been consistent, but there is much to be desired in the “outbound” communications field. We will announce a general initiative soon (hopefully this week), which I believe will incentivize the community to help with these efforts. It should help with the marketing/community building efforts.

Regarding tokens - there numerous things that could be done with those and you have mentioned some. The primary enabler of this kind of initiatives will be token support in the AE wallets that is not yet there. I hope this will change soon.

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For block reward limit I feel it is waaaay too late. Later we do it, less important it is because most reward coins were already minted. From the perspective I feel like first year there should be tiny block reward which would increase when there will be a real usage of Aeternity chain. On the beginning miners were paid for securing chain that nobody uses.

What do you mean with this - “most reward coins were already minted”?

Given the supply curve, which falls off heavily in the first 2 years, most coins have already been or will be distributed by the time a change proposal will take effect.

I totally agree with the sentiment. I was against the very high mining rewards but was overruled.

My plan was to have another go at it; reduce the rewards and probably add more points to the protocol where tokens are burnt.

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I really think that huge block reward is day by day taking the project to the edge of destruction.

It is like a non-stop cycle where miners mine the coin, sell them on market for cash (or keep the return in other coins)
The market need is less then the supply provided by this huge block reward
Other players see this and they either don’t touch AE, or even sell their holdings
Fewer miners mine AE, but block reward stays the same
someone will eventually switch their mining rigs from Ethereum to AE, gain >50% hashrate, overwrite the chain and
Project ending

Though I’m not selling my holdings of AE, as I still have hope that the team will do something about it, but with this trend this is how I see it.

I really like that the team is concentrated on technological advancement, but the economic results from constant devaluation of the network is something you need to keep an eye on.

At least you should fill this gap with decent marketing activities, sponsored by the block-reward-initative to revert this non-stop cycle to the upside.

It gives people a feeling that AE is very unprofessional.

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I agree Vlad, token support in the base aepp, airgap wallet and waellet will open a lot of opportunities. When is that support expected to be delivered? For the base aepp at least?

Thanks for the detailed reply Albena. It’s great to see the team really posts attention to the thoughts of the community. Aeternity is a fantastic project with a very bright future.

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Yani is foolish, kick him out…

Why are you mad?..

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Hey @Aetothemoon, please refrain from offending people. This kind of statements doesn’t help the discussion in any way - either give some arguments or don’t say anything at all.

Best,
Albena