The pace of innovation and development surrounding the IOTA Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to accelerate. The time has come to give our growing community a home. Today we are excited to announce the launch of the IOTA Ecosystem!
The IOTA Ecosystem will be a platform to house the community of developers, startups, hobbyists and initiatives all over the world working towards the distributed and decentralized future we all aspire to create (think developers.google.com, but for open-source DLT applications built on the IOTA core protocol). From proof-of-concepts, utilities and libraries, to educational resources, media, philanthropic endeavors, and more, the IOTA Ecosystem will be where everyone involved in the broader IOTA community can meet, collaborate, learn, inspire, develop and build.
The Ecosystem Development Fund (EDF)
To foster, propel and sustain a great Ecosystem, significant resources are required. Fortunately, the IOTA community had the foresight to appreciate this need and the generosity to do something about it.
The Ecosystem Development Fund was a community initiated effort. Separate and apart from the donations the IOTA community gave to fund the IOTA Foundation itself, some members in the IOTA community believed it would be important to establish a fund to support all the effort it takes to build a truly great Ecosystem. With donations from many community members, over 20 TI — valued at over $200,000 USD at the time — was raised. Now these funds carry a market value in the tens of millions of dollars and thus have incredible potential to power the Ecosystem for years to come. With these resources, the EDF will be the cornerstone of the IOTA Ecosystem. Supporting initiatives and development both large and small, the EDF will power the IOTA Ecosystem to be a long-lasting, formative and powerful hub of education, innovation and development around the IOTA core technology.
Defining the purpose of the IOTA Ecosystem and the EDF — how resources will be managed and governed, its transparency and accountability, its monitoring and evaluation, etc. — is critical to its ultimate success. While we have many details still to work out, we are beginning to close in on a framework which will define the IOTA Ecosystem and the EDF going forward. Because the IOTA community is at the center of this initiative we wanted to share some of our thinking now to allow the broader IOTA community the opportunity to provide thoughts, suggestions and insights.
The IOTA Ecosystem will be a hub of education, innovation, tools, collaboration and development for the IOTA distributed ledger protocol.
Bringing together practitioners, developers, hobbyists and enthusiasts building IOTA applications into all aspects of the economy including the for-profit, not-for-profit, academic, and governmental sectors, the IOTA Ecosystem will be ground-zero for permissionless, distributed and decentralized technology striving to build a more inclusive, resilient and prosperous world.
With so many IOTA community members contributing new resources to the IOTA Ecosystem it makes sense to establish a home where all these contributors can collaborate, learn from each other, where their work can be featured, reviewed, and built upon. As the IOTA Ecosystem grows and new people join the community, it will be important to have a place where trusted resources and developers can be easily identified. In the spirit of the open-source and permissionless distributed technology community, the Ecosystem will be collaborative, inclusive and decentralized. The IOTA Ecosystem will be a platform for:
- Educational resources in the form of tutorials, videos and interactive tools
- Developer resources including new libraries, modules and second layer applications
- Matchmaking organizations and startups with IOTA developers who have the right expertise and reputation
- Articles and blog posts related to the development of proof-of-concepts, pilots and other exciting happenings going on around the Ecosystem
- Hackathons and other IOTA Ecosystem sponsored competitions and events
- Philanthropic initiatives for positive social and environmental impact
- A landing page for the EDF with a portal for applications and a window into the EDF to make our work completely transparent and accountable
The EDF’s role will be to support any and all work which contributes to the Ecosystem. The IOTA Ecosystem is too broad a community to be limited in its focus and so the EDF will be agnostic to both industry and geography. Support will be given to all aspects of the IOTA Ecosystem including, but not limited to, education, awareness, public utilities, proof-of-concepts, pilots, philanthropy and development. The EDF does not aim to pick winners and losers, but rather foster an open and collaborative environment where work can be shared and improved upon. Through a reputation system, the community will be responsible for evaluating the quality of the contributions and determining the trustworthiness of the Ecosystem’s community members.
While the IOTA Foundation will lead the IOTA Ecosystem, we aim to have its development, management and governance be a community driven effort. Through broadcasted proposals and direct voting on the Tangle, the broader community will be able to nominate new initiatives, vote on important decisions, and help guide the Ecosystem’s maturation. As the Ecosystem grows and expands, we will be calling on community members to manage various focus areas of the Ecosystem as well as propose and develop new ones.
Additionally, to ensure the IOTA community has their voices heard with respect to how EDF funds are spent, we are working on building a program where community members can nominate and vote for new proposals and initiatives through a procedure that takes place entirely on the Tangle. Moreover, we would like to organize competitions where a group of prospective project proposals can be presented and then allow the IOTA community to vote for their preferred candidate demonstrating the power of the Tangle for democratic systems of governance. The precise details of how this will take place and are still being worked out, but we hope to have them finalized in the coming months.
The IOTA Ecosystem and EDF will be committed to making itself completely transparent and accountable to the IOTA community. While the nature of any DLT makes it inherently transparent, the IOTA ledger makes it possible to take accountability and transparency much further.
A decentralized reputation system will be implemented where anyone in the IOTA community can share their voice in favor or against the trustworthiness of Ecosystem contributors and the quality of their work via transactions on the Tangle. This will make accountability in the Ecosystem fully transparent and devoid of capricious third-party intervention.
Additionally, by memorializing EDF funding agreements with ‘Proof-of-Existence’ transactions on the Tangle, anyone will be able to verify that agreements the EDF enters existed in a certain state at a certain point in time. The IOTA community can thus hold both the EDF and the benefactors of EDF funds accountable to their commitments.
To be able to learn from our successes and failures, all Ecosystem initiatives and financial support awarded by the EDF will have a series of metrics and indicators that can be used to monitor and evaluate the Ecosystem and EDF’s effectiveness and performance over time. These could include both qualitative and quantitative measures to evaluate project results, initiatives, and the like. This data will be broadcast on the Tangle so that everyone can evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make recommendations and vote for changes to improve the IOTA Ecosystem and the EDF for years to come.
As we work on building the ecosystem.iota.org platform, we welcome all IOTA community members to share their thoughts, suggestions, and concerns. We welcome anyone to apply to the EDF, and remind you all proposals will be evaluated in the order received. It is also important to mention that because the EDF Fund’s were donated separately from those which endowed the IOTA Foundation, we still have some remaining regulatory hurdles to sort out with the help of our lawyers before the EDF can officially begin funding new projects. We expect this to be completed in the very near future.
Because of the extremely broad array of needs for the IOTA Ecosystem, everyone in IOTA community has something they can offer. The EDF will consider projects both small and large. The easiest way to ensure your project will be funded is to first build something on your own. Some examples that you can reference are the various proof-of-concepts, media, utilities, tools and tutorials that community members have developed in the past. IOTA community members who demonstrate their ability, commitment, and enthusiasm to build something useful for the IOTA Ecosystem on their own will put themselves in a good position to be awarded with financial support to continue their work.
The innovations and ideas we have read about in the 100+ applications which have been submitted to the EDF through our earlier partnership with F6S, as well as the proof-of-concepts, media, education, utilities, tutorials, and development we have seen all around the IOTA Ecosystem has been both impressive and inspiring to see. We are extremely excited for this next chapter of the IOTA Ecosystem and cannot wait to get to work together with the entire IOTA community to build the future of permissionless, distributed and decentralized technology.