Nick Almond is the founder at finance.vote, which is a soon-to-be-launched cryptocurrency network focused on governance and voting technology with a focus on decentralized finance, or DeFi, to start. Almond describes himself as a newcomer to the crypto space and joins from the world of academia, where he has spent the past 20 years of his career. With a background in physics and having taught cryptography, Almond is now seeing his two worlds combine.
“In many ways, universities are a bit like decentralized organizations. So I got really interested in governance and organizational theory research, and that’s what led me down the merger of this cryptography and governance stuff,” he said.
Almond explained how the platform is designed to address some of the deficiencies in the cryptocurrency space, which he says remains in the early innings, especially as it relates to governance tooling. He said they are just starting to see the integration of governance dynamics in networks with soft human interaction. In some cases, there are voting dynamics in DeFi networks but he describes the governance as “rather immature” and “high risk.”
“The decisions that happen in Dao [are] going to change smart contracts and have really catastrophic impacts on the networks if they go wrong,” he explained.
Almond added that they’re also trying to build voting tooling and they are testing that out in a prediction market type setting to begin. Finance.vote wants to introduce new voting tools into the space and start to improve the way governance is done in DAOs.
He talked about the DAO proposal system, saying that the proposals are all over the place. His project is trying to create a trajectory into proposal formation, which he says some networks have already been able to overcome with high barriers to entry that filter out the proposal system, such as Uniswap and Compound. Almond said,
“We’re calling it second layer governance. We’re trying to build these dialogic spaces, somewhere between a forum and a DAO, where people can coalesce and form ideas through dialogue, which move into the higher-stakes decision making systems that layer one DAO is.”
Almond mentioned that finance.vote is a community-focused project, one that unlike bitcoin — which is after governance minimization as an ossifier system — is looking to integrate humans into the picture. He explained,
“It gets exponentially more complicated the more you add in the complexity of humanity into it, the more nuanced thes system needs to become. And we’re stepping into that direction a little bit by creating some new kinds of spaces and using voting as a way to collapse opinion and dialogue into something that can be stored on a blockchain.”
He went on to explain that they use quadratic voting to turn dialogue into numbers, which has the opportunity to add more nuance into the voting system. In crypto networks, token whales and coin voting can override the decisions of everyone else. Almond uses the recent example on MakerDAO about repaying users who got liquidated in a market crash. The token whales said no, as it would dilute their holdings. Finance.vote is looking to solve the issue of power.
Finance.vote is not the only prediction market out there. Augur is popular, but it is different in that it is a broad spectrum prediction market. Users can ask any question on it, and there are not enough users at the moment to provide a market for all of the decision making. Finance.vote is limiting decisions to things within the existing markets rather than creating new markets, giving users a chance to vote on which tokens will perform the best over a period of time.
Almond described how his experience as a teacher has helped to shape his vision for finance.vote, saying,
“There’s a real power in collective intelligence. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And I’ve seen it at the institutional scale. So I’m really excited about what happens if we do that online. What happens when we start to be able to do this. And for me, voting tools is the way you can start to harness some of that potential. But I’m under no illusions that this is just going to predict the future of markets from the outset.”
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