In the wake of the Etherum-based Slock.it DAO’s catastrophic failure, new project Wings thinks it can make a DAO that is both better and more secure.
WINGS: A New DAO
Instead of a “simple” venture capital platform, Wings provides a forecasting service. With this service, participants in the distributed autonomous organization (DAO) predict which submitted projects have the best chance of success. The goal of forecasting the success of proposals instead of directly funding them is to weed out the bad projects. Consequently, Wings developers say potential investors have a better gauge on a project’s promise — helping them make better investment decisions.
To encourage people to both make predictions and submit proposals, Wings has built a crypto-token to offer as a monetary incentive. Wings awards tokens based on how accurate a prediction is, or an account’s “forecast rating.” The success of an account’s proposal’s determine this rating.
Bitcoin.com sat down with the team behind Wings to talk about the project, what made them want to build a distributed organization, and how they plan to avoid the failures of Slock.it’s The DAO.
Bitcoin.com (BC):What is the inspiration behind Wings?
Wings (W): We are looking to open the amazing opportunity in launching companies under the DAO structure for the mainstream audience. By enabling the common hi-tech (and actually any other type) of companies to launch backing campaigns with the crypto audience, and solve the inherent trust issues with the legacy crypto funding (ICO, crowd sales, etc…) via the DAO model, we see the crypto DAO backing becoming a powerful early capital channel for new startups, products, and services.
We already had meeting with mainstream companies who working in different industries, we saw interest from their point of view. Blockchain opens for them new opportunities and new channels to earn early capital. We hope to see them on our platform in the future.
BC: Give us a basic explanation of how the system works. How are proposals submitted? How are participants rewarded? Does Wings have any functionality beyond forecasting, does it help projects get actual funding?
W: The first step for a project creator would be to submit a new proposal to the WINGS platform, via an easy step-by-step wizard. The process is similar to Kickstarter, very user-friendly, the creator enters the proposal content via rich formatting editor, uploads media such as photos and videos, and attaches any other documentation, in order to deliver to the WINGS DAO community as a complete and clear description of the project as possible. The description includes the product highlights, unique selling points and competitive difference, the unique technology used, and of course, the team behind the project. At this very time, the creator also has to specify the initial governance system to be used by the new project (which initially will include direct democracy, futarchy, and liquid democracy), and can be later changed by community majority consensus.
Additionally, the creator selects the total supply of coins and the portion to be allocated to advisory funds, whether WINGS token owners will be compensated for their forecasting services by the new project token or a mix of token and portion of collected Bitcoins (or the other currencies), the crowd sale running time and the early bird bonuses rates. If the creator plans to use a milestone-based funding, he also enters the milestones deliverable and funding portions to be released on each milestone completion.
Finally, the creator pays a listing fee in WINGS tokens to list the proposal and initiate the discussion and forecasting period.
The participants are rewarded, In the case of the project proposals, based on forecasting on the proposal success, with the reward given in the new project tokens, and (optionally) in a portion of the collected funds. The closer the forecast is to the correct amount of collected funds, the larger the reward will be given.
The Wings model aims to help the projects during the backing stage by providing them with a decentralized bounty cabinet and a community that will be focused on promoting the backing campaign in exchange for the bounties. This increases the visibility of the project and increases its chances for a successful project backing results.
Wings also aim to provide a full-fledged governance model after the backing campaign has completed, by implementing smart contracts that enable decision-making mechanisms based on a combination of forecast markets technology and liquid democracy. By extensively employing forecast markets mechanics in order to enable the WINGS tokens owners to reach agreements on key decisions.
A liquid democracy will be initially employed in addition to forecasting, allowing for hedging against decisions made by the majority. However, being a dynamic protocol controlled by the WINGS DAO community, the rules could be changed if the community majority forecasts a benefit resulting from this change.
BC: Obviously, any mention of a DAO will bring up memories of the Ethereum DAO catastrophe. How will Wings avoid becoming another failed DAO? Also, why have you decided to announce this project so close to the failure of a similar platform?
W: First of all, Wings idea is different in its core from The DAO, which essentially was a decentralized VC fund. Wings is a launchpad for new projects, with each project having its own unique set of tokens and smart contracts. Thus each and every project are fully independent one from another, and can launch their own backing campaign and later start govern their own activities via the DAO model. This means the projects also not limited to any sum that was collected at the start of the DAO project, nor to a large amount of stakeholders that were involved (as in The DAO case).
Thus, each project launched on the Wings platform will have its own audience, set of backers and bounty promoters, dedicated to its success.
Additional key differences are the security, governance, and decision taking mechanism employed by Wings.
There are numerous security improvements that are going to be employed in Wings, such as formal assurance of the smart contracts code, usage of functional programming (once available) in order to reduce possible bugs, and utilization of last case scenario of emergency protocols, that will allow recovering the funds.
As described above, Wings places a great emphasis on governance, which was one of the biggest issues with The DAO, due to a complicated and inefficient decision-making process. By providing various governance models such as Direct Democracy, Liquid Democracy, Futarchy (forecasting decision markets), encouraging DAO members to participate in key decision-making via forecasting and rewards model, and enabling DAO participants to utilize the most convenient and common method of communication today, namely the instant messaging chatbots, Wings looks to solve that last mile governance issue and make it possible for all DAO participants to equally contribute to the project success.
Last but not least, Wings is planned to be a cross-blockchain platform, able to support both Bitcoin and Ethereum, and any popular blockchain that gains popularity in the future. In fact, Wings starts as one of the flagship apps on the Rootstock platform, with a built-in Bitcoin support.
Due to above reasons, we never saw The DAO as a similar platform, rather as an another method to solve the early funding problem that so many projects had. We believe that Wings will be a robust and attractive solution able with a long-term outlook, able to bring world changing projects to life.
BC: Is smart contract technology really mature enough to reliably support such an ambitious project?
W: We believe that the community has learned much from the recent The DAO fiasco, and the smart contracts technology is advancing now in giant steps, to making the contract code more secure, robust and efficient. By partnering with experts in decentralized virtual machines and smart contracts (Rootstock) and also by being in close touch with experts and application developers from the Ethereum community, we are looking to utilize their experience in order to avoid the common pitfall and create a truly robust smart contract solution.
BC: What is the ideal use case for Wings? Who are the people most likely to use the platform?
W: We are heavily targeting mainstream use, as we believe that these are the main audiences to benefit from the Wings platform. Any entrepreneur or a startup company that is looking to access a new channel of an early capital, can greatly benefit from launching the product or service via the DAO model.
The solutions offered by these entrepreneurs are decentralized in nature and require the use of smart contracts in a decentralized immutable blockchain. To this day most of the solutions coming out of the cryptocurrency space have been to build some of the foundational technologies and platforms. One of the reasons that higher level (think OSI stack) applications based on blockchains whether Bitcoin or otherwise have not results in tons of decentralized applications beyond basic building blocks is that there was a lack of focus on governance and incentives. For example, if we want to create a decentralized Uber how do the stakeholders decide which decentralized insurance DAO to use?
At the moment we are in contact with several such companies, some of them are quite high profile and known in the industry. Our goal is to arrange an attractive companies roster to backers, that will be featured on the Wings platform launch.
Thanks, guys, for taking the time to answer our questions. As DAOs become more relevant in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, we are bound to hear about more DAOs serving different purposes. Bitcoin.com will continue to report on Wings and any other DAO that emerges — both the successes and failures.
Do you think Wings will succeed? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wings, Slock.it.