Pseudonymity in Web3 explained

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Joining me is a person whose real name I don’t even know. He goes by the pseudonym Artorias. He’s not exactly running a company; he’s running a DAO, which means that he and a group of other people got together and they decided to do something that they couldn’t do on their own.

 

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Artorias

Artorias

Cult DAO

Cult is an investment DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization. Its members invest in projects that help bring about decentralization of power.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, there’re Freedom Fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And joining me is, um, a person whose real name I don’t know. He goes by Artorias, who’s not exactly running a company. He’s running a DAO decentralized, autonomous organization, which means that he and a group of other people got together and they decided to do something that they couldn’t do on their own.

In this case, their DAO is called. Cult DAO and their goal is to invest in organizations that they believe in Now because of the name cult and because I didn’t know what he looked like and all that stuff, I was a little shy about doing this interview. Not shy, I was a little skeed out. Frankly, their, their logo is a face of someone without eyes and drops of blood coming down one eye.

I think that’s one of their logos. Their iconography in general is a little bit off putting. But I started looking into them and I realized, yeah, it’s a little bit shocking, the iconography. But at their heart, what they’re trying to do is create a decentralized technological environment. That I think a lot of people who are listening to this podcast believe in one where there isn’t a Mark Zuckerberg controlling things and one where there isn’t one bank or a collection of banks controlling money and all that stuff.

You, you know, you know it if you’ve at all been exposed to any of the crypto language. What’s interesting here is that this group of people whose names are often hidden behind, uh, pseudonym. Whose faces are hidden. We’re still able to get together and as you’ll see, they raised a bunch of money and have deployed it very quickly in these investments.

And the way that they did it, I think is interesting. And so I’m presenting this interview to you, which I recorded originally for origami. Origami is a company that creates Dows like this. In fact, if you’re at all interested in how to create a Dow, you should know I’m doing a podcast series with them, which you can find by going.

Join origami.com/podcast where you can hear stories that are maybe a little bit intimidating the way that this one was to me, but for sure there’s some eye-opening information in them that’s different and, and frankly, that’s why I started Mixergy. I wanted to talk to these startup entrepreneurs who were different, and now that they’re not so different anymore, I’m going out and I’m exploring what is different and working, and Dows are, and that’s why I’m doing it with origami.

The organization has started out by creating a Dow for Y Combinator alumni, so they, they’ve got a good pedigree and a good background in, in the world that we know. Okay, I should say this interview is sponsored by lemon.io. If you’re at all looking for a developer for blockchain technology or frankly for anything else, you should know that lemon.io/mixer g should be in your.

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All right, with no commercial breaks in the middle, here’s the interview, arturis. Why can’t I see your face? Why can’t I see who you.

Artorias: So we have a, um, we have a concept in, in Dale, which is that it, it doesn’t matter who you are, and the face behind the mask is not important. And that’s why the future of this project isn’t defined by who the founders are.

We’re just, we’re just, nobody’s like everyone else. So we don’t want people to, to focus on who we are. We want people to focus on what we’ve built, and that’s why. We don’t feel it’s necessary for us to show our faces to people. You know, people can trust us through our actions.

Andrew: I talked to you on Discord about how I read about a funding proposal by someone whose project was called Zeit.

They were going to create a stable coin community. Said, well, we don’t know enough about you. And the person said, yes, I know. I wish I could remove the anonymity, but I have to stay anonymous cuz anonymity is, is what I believe in. But if I wasn’t anonymous, you’d see that I created a company that made over a hundred million and so on and so forth, and that person got funded and then eventually they, I guess, took the money out, didn’t follow through on their plans, and the community, as I understand it, got back the money that they funded them with.

If there was an anonymity, you’d know whether that person was lying or not. Aren’t you taking away some of your power by not showing your face and not requiring the people show their faces and their history?

Artorias: I think there’s, there’s always an element of that, but one of the things that is so, um, so beautiful about the blockchain.

Just because you don’t have someone’s face doesn’t mean you can’t follow the breadcrumbs. We were able to see what was going on and, and despite not knowing who this person was, we were able to to reach out and we were able to effectively reverse what had happened and, and get the funds back despite it being an anonymous person.

I think we were, I dunno whether we were lucky or whether it was. The person didn’t really have any true malice behind their actions in that we were able to get it returned. But there’s always, there’s pros and cons to, you know, being anonymous and you, you do hear all sorts of stories about anonymous people with bad intentions and you know, hopefully we are doing something to try and fix that image.

But a lot of people feel they have the right to privacy. And I can understand that and you know, it. It’s a gray area, having to KYC and, you know, show your social security number just to get stuff done or whether you should be able to, to live under a pseudonym as, as some people do. So it certainly is a gray area, but in, in that situation, we were able to, um, to use the power of the blockchain in order to see what was happening and eventually get in touch and, uh, resolve the, the.

Andrew: I saw that, that was such a fascinating read. I saw how he came in not fully knowing how things worked, how the community was helpful and friendly, how he answered questions, how he was asked to do at an AMA and so on. And then I also saw the process of finding him, of tracing where the. Where the money went from one wallet to the other until you discovered who he was and got the money back.

And I guess what you’re saying is, look, we’ve now learned from that experience and we can do the same thing when someone comes and asks for money, asks for, for funding, as we did afterwards to trace this person down.

Artorias: It was almost a turning point in, uh, not necessarily in the Dow, but. In the way that we, that we handled things.

So although int true decentralization, it’s not required to follow certain processes, like people aren’t required to come to our discord to. To seek the funding. A, a guardian who is a top 50 staker can just do that, uh, they can just go straight to the gap and, and do it. But what we found is that generally, uh, creates a bit of mistrust in the community because they’re used to having it a certain way.

People want information before they’re willing to, to vote on something and willing to risk, uh, funds going out of the treasury. So what we found, After that particular proposal with, um, Zenith, we were able to develop almost like a template of how we wanted the proposal system to work, which was that we get the people to come into the Discord to talk to the community, and we open, we open up a workshop on every investment now and then the people that are seeking the funding, they can basically pitch to the Dow almost.

We found that after that we streamlined the process a lot more and it’s ended up being quite, uh, a success in terms of making sure everyone is much more informed on all of the investments that are going out, and people are able to make a much more informed judgment and vote with the knowledge in their heads of how they actually feel about it, rather than.

You know, you, if anyone says, I’d like an investment in my project, here it is. If you were going to an institution, you could never pitch in one paragraph. And so what you really need is to have a discussion. You know, it doesn’t always have to be a face to face discussion, but there has to be a back and forth for people to be able to make a judgment call and.

Decide whether they think it’s right for, firstly for them, but also for the project as an overall. So

Andrew: it is exciting to see how you figure things out in public, and that’s one of the things, frankly for me that’s exciting about just. Getting involved and being curious about crypto, you can see a lot of mistakes, a lot of things that don’t work, and then a lot of people fixing them versus the the web two world where I frankly live where it feels like everything’s so polished now.

Everything is so perfect that it’s hard to imagine somebody coming in unless they can start off being perfect on day one. I almost don’t believe that a minimum viable product, which is what launched Web two. Can actually still succeed today because it’s too basic. Your whole mission at Cult is to bring about decentralization by funding decentralization projects.

How many projects have you funded so far? How much money has the cult community put out there?

Artorias: To date, we’ve funded 105 different products, uh, projects, sorry, and that’s, that’s in a span of about six months. So we are probably looking at one every three days if we’re taking an average. And that’s, Has equated to, uh, just a touch over 2 million worth of investment that we’ve made into, into projects.

And one of the things that is especially pertinent for us, and I feel like is something that it doesn’t really get considered too much, is that this whole time that Colt has been, um, launched, we launched in February, February 1st, and we’ve only ever seen a downward trending market since we launched.

Mm-hmm. . What this has meant for us is that we’re actually making investments into projects at a time where the price of them is way lower than their actual value. You know, we’re not, we’re not, um, investing into projects at the peak of their popularity where, you know, we might not be getting such a good deal, but we’re picking up, we’re picking up investments into companies that.

You know, either just starting out or extremely, um, low value prices, which is, in my opinion, for a long term whole, that’s, that’s a great scenario for us to be in, to be able to have all of these different, um, all these different avenues, uh, and different kinds of projects in our portfolio. You know, I’m really excited to see what happens to them, you know, in a year, two years time when, you know, we potentially get through what’s going on in the, um, the economic world at the moment, which is obviously not the best scenario we’ve ever been in.

But I’m really excited to see when, uh, mainstream reduction comes. How we gonna be positioned at that point? Because I think we’re, mm-hmm. , we’re getting in at some of the, some of the, some of the best times to be making investments than we’ve, that we’ve seen in the last couple of years.

Andrew: I think that’s exciting.

I think the amount that you’ve been able to deploy in such a short period of time is exciting. I also think the way that it came about and the way that this money is formed is, is. It’s interesting. Tell me if I understand this right. Cult. Dow created a token called Cult. Anyone can buy and sell it.

People can use it to buy things, um, online. So I could, for example, um, sell t-shirts and accept US dollars except E and accept Cult every time that cult. The token is transac. 0.4% of the transaction amount goes into the Dows treasury and sits there to be invested. First of all, do I have that part right?

Artorias: Yeah, you could. Absolutely right. Yeah.

Andrew: And the way investments are made then is. Anyone who has the cult token can convert it into a voting token called dult, and then the top 50 owners of Dult get to submit proposals for funding. But, After that, they have no ability to vote. It’s all the rest of the people who have deco tokens who can vote.

And all of that voting happens after a discussion. And then of course, once the money is deployed, if there’s a return that comes back into cult, and cult takes the profit and does what with it.

Artorias: Yeah. So you’ve got that absolutely right. So. The top 50 of the stakers who have dco, they’re the ones that submit the proposals, but they also, it’s important to note that they, they cannot vote on proposals.

So if you, if you have the ability to submit, you can’t then vote on your own proposal. So what that attempts to fix is the issue of. The very, very top portion of holders having the largest sway, which is one of the issues that is faced in, um, a number of other Dows. You know, our, our system’s not perfect either, but it’s one way that we try to mitigate.

Some of that, that one Sidedness of the Dow, but you’re absolutely right in the way you’ve got the, the process. So what happens when there’s a return is that whatever those returns might look like, whether that’s a seed investment in another project, or whether it’s something like Bitcoin or Ethereum, those profits are then used to buy coal on the market.

And then 50% of that is sent straight to a, a dead wallet, a burn wallet, and burned. And the other 50% is sent to Stakers. So decco owners as rewards that they can claim,

Andrew: why is 50% of the return burned eliminated forever?

Artorias: So the reason we do that, and, and it’s the same reason why from every 15.5 ethere.

Uh, investment from the proposal. 2.5 Ethereum worth of coal is burned from that too. So the idea being that what we’re doing as well as making investments and, you know, hoping for a return, we’re also deflating the supply of coal tokens, meaning that over time the, the actual supply is being reduced so that as there is more and more burnt tokens, The buy pressure is increased on that, which helps with the, uh, helps the value of the token.

If there’s less available to be bought in the uni swap pool, for example, then you have to pay a more, a larger proportion of E. So there’s a lot of tokens that do that as an attempt to try and, uh, increase the value. Of their tokens, they just burn, but without having any actual utility behind the token.

So I think we’re a bit different in the, as well as having those, uh, burning mechanisms and the deflationary aspect to our tokens. We’re doing it in a way that is actually useful, which is. That’s part of our Dow process.

Andrew: You, you’re creating a mechanism to encourage the increased value of each individual token.

Kind of like when Apple does a stock buyback on a regular basis. Is that right?

Artorias: It’s more or less that. Yeah. So the idea being that over time more and more is getting sent to that dead wallet that nobody has access to, meaning that the actual supply of tokens in circulation is constantly decreasing

Andrew: and the way that you decide what the return will be on.

Project is when the project makes its proposal, it says how it’s going to, or the person behind it says how they’re going to return the money with a profit ideally, right?

Artorias: That’s right. Yeah. So it’s very open ended mechanics because it’s, the contract itself is very simple, where it’s a case of. If this proposal receives more yes votes than more no votes, then send this amount of cult to this address.

And that’s all done automatically. There’s no, there’s no human intervention. It’s all done by the smart contracts automatically, so it doesn’t require anyone behind the project anymore. Really it’s, it can be completely community run. So in the proposal itself, there are often terms put into place which define.

How the return is gonna be handled. So for instance, we’ve had some proposals where it’s been, we are gonna buy, um, 13 e worth of Bitcoin or another token, and then when we’ve doubled our money, we are gonna sell it. And that’s our returns. And we’ve done that in, we’ve done that in a couple of cases, and then we’ve had other ones.

Where it actually like a seed investment, almost like a, an actual venture capital firm, but we make a seed investment into. A project and then as a return we are given a supply, uh, we’re given a percentage of their total supply tokens. So we’ve had a couple of cases where we now have a portion, um, amount of tokens, just like a regular VC with as like a seed round or a private funding round in, you know, a grassroots project.

And obviously that’s a bit. In the, in the way that you would quantify those returns, because you wouldn’t want to just dump a whole load of projects, tokens on the market and cripple their, their charts. So we, we do other things like, um, we do OTC deals as well for, um, buying and swapping tokens as a way to sort of mitigate the negative effects of selling off our profits, so to speak.

Andrew: All of this, I think got going because of that manifesto that is so incredibly well written. It’s just so passionately well written. Can you communicate to the listeners what cult believes in? What is it that launched this whole thing into the universe?

Artorias: See, the Manifesto was probably the first. That was the first thing about Colt that was released to the public and that.

For many people. I think that was what led them to, to invest because it’s such a, it’s a very powerful, um, piece of literature and it’s quite stark and comes from a place of pain as well as mm-hmm. hope for the future too, so. One of the things I, I really like about the manifesto is that there is a number of different issues, uh, you know, very real issues that are brought up and you might not, you might not associate with all of them, but there are, there are some that will, so when I read it, one of the things that stood out to me was there’s, there’s points about mental health.

Mental health is a serious issue, and it doesn’t get, doesn’t get enough attention, and it doesn’t get enough treatment like it should. And you know, the, the whole point of cold is that we can be better. We can do better. And it’s about the reason we’re so passionate about decentralization is because decentralization means, Bringing power back to the people and not relying on being told what we can and can’t have and what we should and shouldn’t be allowed.

That’s one of the, the issues that we have with centralization. You know, we should be able to make decisions for ourselves, and that’s the reason that a Dows came about is that. You’re allowing people to, you know, have skin in the game and that they invested their hard earned money into a project, they’re allowed to make the decision.

When you talk

Andrew: about mental health, um, what I took away from it was this one line that I copied down for my notes. It says, A functioning society does not have 20% of its population medicated for depression. It’s time to stop blaming ourselves. You are not defective. That is how the economic model needs you to.

They need you to feel as if it is you. That is the problem. And so that’s the mental health part. There’s a part about government. The government is enslaving us and partially it’s doing it to just keep itself going where they have policies that are in place just so that people can get paid to fill out paperwork that is completely useless and they know it’s useless and the people doing it is useless.

There’s a system that just doesn’t work, and it goes from mental. To government, to corporations, and it does it in a much more emotional way than I can communicate here. But the solution is decentralization, and the part that gets me interested is that. In web two, I would often see people saying, if only government had, if only our politicians had, if only the person we think should be elected, had good software, good infrastructure, then they would be able to make changes.

And it’s not enough. It doesn’t seem like that’s the answer. And improving the existing system doesn’t seem like the answer and what you’re saying. What if there’s a better system that we can start from scratch instead of layering on more software onto the existing system? Am I understanding you right?

Artorias: Yeah, I absolutely think so. I think one of the most plain and simple arguments and. Something that it really, you know, it makes me want to tear my hair out is why are we not holding elections on the blockchain already? Because there’s no way that anyone’s gonna tell me that our governments can’t, couldn’t figure that technology out.

If we, if we have millions of people from all ages and ethnicities that can handle that, why can our governments not do it? And. What could be more decentralized and more fair than having a blockchain enabled election where you could see exactly who has voted how many votes, and at the moment we’re, we are just stuck in this very opaque system where we, we can say what we want to say, but when you’ve checked that voting card and it goes into a box, how do we know everything is going where it’s supposed to go?

We don’t. We just. We’re just told what we’re told. Same thing with the banks. We we’re told we have money in the banks. But do you think all of that, all of that cash, that all of all of the clients of that bank is kept in there? I don’t think it’s even 10% of what’s, uh, actually supposed to be there. But that’s another example of us being told what’s going on, but, well, something else is going on,

Andrew: so.

There’s some of the manifesto that I found myself agreeing with. There’s some that I dis disagreed with. There’s some, I was indifferent to. But I still walked away wondering how, how does decentralization fix this? I understand how now you’ve got funding to put into decentralized projects, and I get all that, but what’s the world that you imagine existing?

Do you imagine governments being changed by these investments, by the projects that you’re backing? And if you do, then how I, I guess I’m trying to imagine. How do we go from, where do you want us to go? And then how are these investments getting the world there?

Artorias: So I think the fundamental thing to realize is we’re not here to completely change the world.

We ourselves, cult dow isn’t going to be the thing that changes, you know, the way the world works and, and the government. The idea is that the more we, the more we invest. The whole, the ethos of decentralization, the larger it becomes. And if we can, you know, gather more people to that way of thinking that actually decentralization could be the way that we bring power back from, you know, the very, very few into the money, then that’s bringing about a better world.

Even if we are not, even if we are not the ones that are changing it to start with, but. we’re spreading this, um, thought process that we can make

Andrew: it better. Oh, I guess I understand how decentralization would affect social media. That social media now is controlled by one, maybe three top players. If there is a decentralized social, uh, network that most of us were on, and it was owned by the people who were on it and so on, then it would put the power into the hands of the users who would also be.

But beyond a few examples like that, I don’t see how the world changes. There’s a failure of my vision on this, and maybe that’s where you can come in and help me see what’s the world that you imagine if crypto, if decentralization happens, the way that you envision it? It’s

Artorias: not just about necessarily the power or, or even the money.

It’s the, for me decentralization is, is taking. Some of the human error we’re extraordinarily reliant on people, and as long as you are reliant on people, there will be bad actors. Whereas the, the whole point of decentralization is that things happen automatically. It’s like with like with the smart contract, it’s, it’s code.

It works exactly as it was written to. And it does what it was supposed to do at the right time. When it’s supposed to do it, it does rely on that one single point of failure, which could be a person that has, uh, bad intentions. And that’s, to me what decentralization is in the future. We, we run, we run things as, I don’t wanna say it’s like robots, but in, we build things so that we are not reliant on human nature to control things that.

Essentially, um, human making decisions for other humans, we can, we can take that aspect of it

Andrew: out. Okay. I see how I, I get a vision of how that would work. And one example of that is that when a proposal is voted on in cult, it automatically happens. It’s the code that’s written, the rules that are set. It just happens that way.

Artorias: Exactly. Yeah. Let, let’s say there’s, We needed someone to, to press a button to say, right, I’m gonna allow this through. Someone would just say, I don’t like that. I’m not gonna allow it through. And that element of it’s taken out. We’re not relying on anyone. Or even if, let’s say I fell off the face of the Earth or another developer that worked on it was dead, it, it wouldn’t affect what happens.

It runs itself, and I think that’s, that’s what the world needs to work towards, whereas, so you don’t have to rely on people in certain positions to make things happen.

Andrew: I’m curious about how you got here. The whole thing was the manifesto is what started it. You’re, you’re a co-founder of Cult. The Manifesto was written by Mr.

Omo. Am I right? Yep, that’s right. We don’t know who he is, just like we don’t know who you are. He wrote the, he wrote the manifesto and then what happened next? I’m curious about where the initial funding came from, where the initial group of people came from. , what can you tell me about the origin

Artorias: up to the point of launch?

It was all funded by Mr. IMOs. He basically put up the money for, uh, the liquidity and, and to start getting things built. So what happened was he, he messaged me on Twitter and said, um, Read this manifesto. Um, I’m building something. I, I think you’d be really interested in it. And so I read it and I said, yeah, I’ll be a part of it.

I mean, it wasn’t really a risk for me because there was no, there was no cost involved for me to, to begin because that initial part had all been, was all prepared before I got involved. And then, so that was at the very beginning of January, I would say. And there’s a number of, um, anonymous developers as well.

So I don’t know who any of they are, who any of them are, uh, that were basically building it and. Uh, we launched fire, like a pre-sale platform on February 1st. The total raise was 178 Ethereum out of two 50, so we were, it was very, very small. Not known at all. You know, didn’t, didn’t sell our full, the full allocation of token, so it was a very, very slow start for us.

You know, we sat under a million market cap for. A good six weeks before word really got around and that’s when it took off for me. Went from about $300,000 market cap to a $300 million market cap in the space of about 10 days. Kind of a crazy ride. But the, the other thing that, I dunno if you know that, um, Mr.

Omo, he reached out to a bunch of other people that were, that were known to be public advocates. Uh, decentralization and the idea was that these 15 figures would be, uh, some of the initial guardians. So they were given an allocation, um, that would make them. A guardian. Uh, and since then

Andrew: they, they were just airdrop, they were just given those, those tokens so that they could have, uh, influence on the platform.

Some took, I think, um, Vitalic, the creator of Ethereum, did not Right. Others did.

Artorias: That’s correct. So quite commonly when launching on a presale, you get a lot of people that are obviously just trying to flip for a quick profit. And I think the idea behind it was to have some, some leading folk from that industry and advocates of decentralization so that we could kick the whole investment process off in the right direction.

So, , there were gonna be people with good intentions there at the start while we sort of grew into what we are now. But yeah, uh, Vitalic was one of those. And then as yet, unfortunately he hasn’t staked his tokens, uh, on the platform. So

Andrew: who are some of the others? Where’s, who are some of the initial guardians who got that, uh, those tokens who were helpful?

Uh,

Artorias: so we had, uh, David Hoffman. Of Bankless Dow, Chris Jones from, uh, Bitcoin. T Ho

Andrew: what about the group beyond it? How did, how did you spread the word and get more people to be involved in those early days? It

Artorias: was really a struggle to start with because we were so small and with crypto and web three is that it’s very, very difficult to advertise.

You know, there’s, there are regulations in place that stop you from using a lot of mainstream advertising avenues, so, What became the number one rule for Colt was to talk about Col. And what we had was a very loyal community that would then go out on Twitter and they would just talk about Colt. And then there were people making YouTube videos talking about us.

You know, I think there’s a bit of an element of the shock factor with like the, the name and the logo. It’s quite, it’s quite strong. Branding and you know, yeah, people hear the word cult and they think, oh, that’s a bit, um, bit odd, a bit strange.

Andrew: It is great marketing that way. So if I’m understanding you right, it’s the logo that, to be honest with you, looked a little freaky to me at first, but it stuck in my head.

And so every time I would see it, I would both notice it, but at the same time, , is this something I should be staying away from? So there’s that part. There’s the manifesto that people would clip parts of and post on Twitter and other places because it was so well written and it just captured an, an emotion that they were feeling.

And so that went out. You’re saying it was also the, uh, the original guardians who were invited to participate and their reputation, I think helped in their participation helped. And then the people who were creating YouTube videos and other, uh, promot. What got them involved? Was it, was it you as the original group who were reaching out on Twitter?

Yeah, we, so

Artorias: was it something else? Yeah, so we had a lot of, um, a lot of the guardians, so another one of the guardians that was, was dropped some of the tokens was, uh, or McMillan, who is one of the founders of Nosis who are, they basically developed multisig wallets, so having multiple signers. They were, they were quite vocal on Twitter too, about talking about us and.

I think it just caught on and then it, it kind of snowballed. There were, there were lots of rumors flying around about the identity of, uh, of mystery IMOs as well. And I think that that kind of mystery combined with the name and the logo really, it really seemed to catch people’s, uh, imagination.

Andrew: And is Mr.

Omo famous? Like if we knew who he was without the, uh, pseudonym. Would we know him? Is he famous in the space? Well,

Artorias: I, I wish I could tell you. Um, I dunno, but

Andrew: I’m assuming, I guess what I’m wondering is, was it that person’s reputation or just the material? Because you, you connected with him because you knew his reputation before cult.

Was that why other people

Artorias: join? I, I don’t know who he is. He reached up. Oh, you don’t know who he is. He reached out to me anonymously. I’ve, I dunno who he is.

Andrew: Oh, you weren’t anonymous, but he

Artorias: was so, he reached out so he knows who I am. Got it. He reached out to me, but I received a DM from Mr. Homos. There was a tweet that went out cuz he, he ky cd with a company.

When we did the pre-sale, I didn’t, but he did. Okay. Because that was one of the things that when you, when you launch a pre-sale with, um, uni Cris, if you don’t, you, if you don’t KYC and audit all your contracts, there’s a a big red flag that goes up saying you should be careful. And that’s something that combined with us being already not well known, we figured was gonna be a very hard sell.

So he, um, he KYC. An auditing company called Solid Proof, and they put out a tweet saying it was a very well known. Crypto

Andrew: founder, but he didn’t use his reputation. That was all that, that’s the only benefit that came out. Yeah. Um, I see Out of that’s the only benefit that came out of his reputation. And by the way, for anyone who’s listening who doesn’t know, and I think everyone at this point should know KYC, is know your customer.

Where the, uh, financial institutions, doing business with clients need to and have a responsibility to know who those clients are and to make sure that they’re not shady, bad characters. Um, I think I’m getting this. You talked about the pop, there was then a drop afterwards where the price of cold went up and then it went down.

What did it take to keep the community believing when, when that happened?

Artorias: Yeah, it was kind of a crazy time cuz it, which it just shot up so fast and I think that almost that’s what led to the, um, the drop was. There were so many people that got in, so that got in early. All the people that had got in, you know, between February 1st and the end of March, they suddenly had, just as it all kicked off, had, you know, they were sitting on huge profits.

And I think there was a lot of people that took that time to, to sell and move on, but at the same time, We’ve had, we’ve had a huge amount of retention from our community of people that were around before that big spike too. And I think one of the things that, that we have is, uh, a really strong community.

And there’s something about the manifesto and the message, which. It, it’s become more about what we are doing rather than what is the value. So despite the rough market, you know, we, we launched, we launched a market that’s been going downhill since we launched and we had that sort of meteoric run. And then you have all these people sitting on the profits from that and.

You have that combined with, with the fact that we’re in a bear market and it people are using that opportunity to, to take their money and, and run while they have the opportunity. So how

Andrew: did you keep the community believing and keep those vibes going when people who are sitting on, on an asset watched that asset lose value?

Artorias: Well, that’s the thing is I think it’s, it, it shows that there’s, there are people out there. That actually they do care and that they see, you know, some of it is whether they see the potential of where it could go, um, in the future when the market turns around. You know, I, I don’t like to speculate on things like that, um, but.

A lot of it is because they believe the core message and the vision behind the project, and they want to be involved in this process of helping to push decentralization. Because a lot of the people that I know in the community, they’ve been downtrodden, they’ve, they haven’t had a lot of luxuries in their life and they realized that, you know, we can do something about this and try and make, try and make this a better place.

So,

Andrew: And I could see where the manifesto would help with that, where the mission would help with that. Why is it called cult?

Artorias: It’s an interesting question. So cult has negative connotations. Of course, most cults seem to be, uh, involving indoctrination of. A concept that is taught to them by a leader, but we don’t necessarily have that because although Mr.

Homogenous was the founder, I don’t think he’s there to be a leader, which means we’re a cult without having that person at the top telling us what to do. So we have that. We have that community spirit that comes with a cult, but. The actual message behind it is good rather than, rather than cutting us off from society, it’s about having a, a core community that believes in better.

Andrew: What’s your vision for the future of Dows? Where do you see this all going?

Artorias: I think Dows could well become a lot more mainstream, I think in, in their current state. I think there’s a lot more, uh, refining need needed to be done before they’ll even approach perfection. And that’s because at the moment, the way they work.

Money still talks and as long as a dow is, is based on how much money you have in terms of, so let’s say more voting power, there’s always room for corruption, uh, as long as money’s involved. And if, if we can figure out a way that we can run things as a Dow, but like the underlying, uh, mechanics of it are not necessarily democratic, but more fair.

So, Everyone has the same opportunities at that point. I feel like a Dow can run perfectly, but I definitely see a future in in Dows. Cause I think people that are in a project or that have skin in the game, they should be the ones that get to make decisions rather than being told. What they can and can’t do.

Andrew: The, the issue you’re bringing up is, I feel like it’s best encapsulated with by the idea that there’s a doubt that’s functioning really well and somebody comes in, buys say 51% of all the tokens gets to, uh, gets control of the voting and then says, send the whole treasury. To me, that is like one extreme example.

Problem with plutocracy. I see that there are models in place to eliminate that, to reduce the power of the people who bring in more money than support and knowledge and, and real value. Yeah,

Artorias: there’s definitely ways around that. I mean, one of the ways that we try and mitigate that is by having top 50 stakers of decal able to make.

Decisions in terms of, uh, putting a proposal through, but then unable to vote on it, which means that it’s actually the people outside the top 50 are the ones that get to have, they get to have the final say. But then at the same time, let’s say numbers 51 to a hundred owned significantly more than a hundred plus, you still have that inherent issue of.

The wealthier being able to, to take a, um, a stronger vote. But I feel we’ve improved upon the regular model of it. But at the same time, you have what, um, Vitalic talks about, which is the sole bound tokens where like, like an NFT that you own forever that’s non-transferable, but at the same time, What’s stopping one person buying lots from multiple wallets and taking a, um, a commanding portion that way, I think there’s a lot more to be figured out before it can be called a perfect system.

But as long as people are innovating and you know, working on these kind of problems, then we are progress.

Andrew: I know Origamis been creating Dows, they’ve been adding quadratic voting and other features, and I see the power of all these different structures, but I also understand your point, which is that it’s still not fully solving the problem, which is probably why they’re dows that still have a human component where one person.

The final decision and says, yes, I’m, I’ll be the stop gap and you have to trust me or, or trust, or a group of people are the stop gap and they say, you have to trust us. Am I right about that? Yeah.

Artorias: I think that’s most certainly the case, that until there’s a perfect solution in place, sometimes there, you know, that the argument is that you, you have a trusted person that that can sort of step in and stop any self destruction.

That’s not something that we have in place. Right. But I can certainly understand why, why others might have that for the moment until, until the process is refined and we’re in a place where we can have that 100% decentralization.

Andrew: Right. We talked about how you invested in 105 different projects. Is there one or two that you can bring up that you were especially effective in helping and proud of the.

I know it’s earlier in less than

Artorias: year. It’s, yeah. Um, so one of the ones I’m, I’m really proud of was, is rather an investment. It’s actually a donation, which was, um, we donated to a, a mental health charity called the UNM Minding Project. Um, they’re really good people. It’s just a, just a couple of people, um, in the UK and they work with, they work with people that have got mental health issues.

Don’t seem to be able to get the help that they need from the official channels. So I’m, I’m really pleased we were able to support them and now, you know, they have a since, since then as well. They have a very strong community now where a lot of the, the cold our community are. Very close, uh, closely follow them and support them.

So they’ve grown, uh, quite well in as a result of not just the investment, but also having the community of col exposed to them. They’re now doing really well, which is really nice to see of. We’ve got other ones. Um, this is one that I, I talk about quite a lot cuz I’m a fan of it. But we did a seed investment into a protocol called Sons of Crypto.

And what they’re doing is they’re building completely decentralized version of meta mask. So at the moment, with Meta Mask, the non-custodial wallet, we’ve seen that although you own the funds and it’s your wallet, they can quite easily switch off access to that. And obviously that leaves people in a vulnerable position.

We’ve seen that. They’ve done that. They did that in Russia, they’ve done that in Venezuela. People suddenly realized that that was the only way that they could get to their funds and now they can’t access them. And if we can’t access those funds through a, an intuitive front end, then are we really, are we really in control of them?

So what these guys are building is, it’s called Web three Wallet, and it’s, it runs completely on, uh, web three decentralized. So the servers can’t just be switched off with a click of a button. So I think. The kind of direction that we should be looking in where we are no longer relying on other people to other people’s uptime to be able to access our own money.

So that, that’s another one I’m pretty pleased with. And we, I think we are getting about a 5% of their total, um, supply of their. Token because they outright, they had a lot of interest from um, like standard VC firms and they turned them all down and the only investment they accepted was from Col. Cause they believed in decentralization.

So they believed in what we were doing. Um, and I think, I think they’re gonna be huge and I think we are gonna do really, really well off, off that investment in the future.

Andrew: I can see that and I can see how the values are aligned both ways there. All right. For anyone who wants to go and find out more about cult, don’t do what I did.

I went to Telegram. There’s so many fake telegram groups. Go to cult dow.io,

Artorias: right? That’s right, yeah. And you can find the official telegram. Is it the, uh, the is on that page as well,

Andrew: on the very bottom of the page. All right. Thank you so much for being on here. I really appreciate the time that you’ve given me.

Artorias: Thank you for having me. I really,

Andrew: And there it is. You know, for years, I’ve said at the end of interviews that if there’s something about the interview that you like or you don’t like, let me know. And I’ve given out my email address andrew mixer g.com, and people who email me are often surprised that I respond back and I appreciate.

The feedback, and I’ve asked for feedback on guests in the past. Heck, I gotta tell you that even when I moved to Austin and I loved sitting outdoors in this beautiful environment that we moved into, I would ask, can anyone hear anything in the background when I’m recording outdoors? And I’ve gotten great responses to that.

And so I’m telling you that because I’d like feedback on this. What do you think about this series of Dow interviews that I’m doing? What do you think about today’s guest? What do you think about this whole environment? Frankly, what do you think about the sound of my voice here in Austin? Anything at all?

I’d like your feedback, but specifically about this curiosity that I’ve had. About Dows. All right. And, uh, I’ll close this out by thanking my sponsor. It’s lemon.io/mixergy. If you need a developer, go to lemon.io/mixergy. And as a reminder, my email address is andrew mixergy.com. All right, I’m gonna get outta here.

Bye everyone.

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