On August 9, Aragon One and Giveth, two blockchain enterprises aiming to revolutionize organizational structure through blockchain technology, announced a joint project to develop the Aragon stack.
Aragon is a project aiming to decentralize and revolutionize organizational structures using blockchain. The Aragon Foundation is a non-profit entity, which will oversee the project's development. Aragon One, the group teaming up with Giveth, is the only other group currently working on developing the Aragon project, and is a for-profit company comprised of Aragon's foundational team.
While the "for-profit" part might raise some red flags, Aragon One is straight-forward about this fact and states it plainly on the front page of its website. Apparently, the foundational team wanted to decentralize Aragon's development process and separate the non-profit oversight entity from the companies and teams working on development.
It is early yet, but the collaboration is a step toward building enough participation to create a decentralized network of development teams.
Giveth – most well-known for its Ethereum Dapp, built to allow transparency and accountability between charitable organizations and donors – considers itself a decentralized altruistic community (DAC). It's Giveth's mission to harness blockchain for altruistic purposes.
In many ways, the groups are a natural fit; the most notable differences in message seem to be rhetorical. Giveth embodies a feel-good, friendly, upbeat image. It calls community members "unicorns," and bright, cheerful imagery decorates its webpage: flowers, bangles, sunshine and woven friendship bracelets. Aragon's mascot is an eagle, and its advertising has more of a Matrix vibe, with suspenseful music, high contrast, and shadows: it has a more explicitly anti-establishment feel.
The logo for the joint project, Aragon DAC, cleverly fuses the seemingly incongruent messaging with a jaunty teal eagle-unicorn that somehow manages to look businesslike set against a solid blue backdrop.
On a more substantive note, Aragon DAC will be led by folks from Giveth, with help from Aragon One, and will begin with two projects (or in Giveth terms, 'campaigns'): one focusing on development and the other on helping non-developers experiment with using the Aragon stack.
The development campaign will be led by Quazia, the social coding lead at Giveth, and Chris Remus, the product manager at Aragon One. Quazia describes the collaborative effort of social coding as a "zesty combination of R&D and a coding bootcamp, with a hint of community outreach."
Kris Decoodt, communications lead for Giveth, told ETHNews that the Aragon DAC's development campaign will focus on the end user's perspective, "especially on how the technology is now used by 'early adopters.'" He provided an explanation of the team's approach that sounds very much in line with the big-picture vision of a more transparent, decentralized organizational structure.
He stated that the team will adopt an agile (rather than waterfall) methodology, which will allow the team to develop around user experience and community feedback, rather than based entirely off a predetermined roadmap. The mission guiding the team's development is to create tools to allow Aragon Network Token (ANT) holders to participate in decision-making processes.
In addition, the development team will focus on "creating lots of documentation for developers, [such as] tutorials with hands-on components to illustrate the development process or the use of new features," according to Decoodt.
Tatu Kärki, head of communications at Aragon One, discussed with ETHNews the "stack" Aragon DAC will be building on. He described the upcoming Aragon Network as "the first ever digital jurisdiction," and stated that, as such, the company "figured out that in this nascent space that is Ethereum and decentralized apps, we had to build the tools to make these a reality." In other words, the team is trying to create an entirely new, web-native organizational and governance structure, and the existing tools won't do the job. That's what Aragon One and Aragon DAC are working to address.
Kärki stated that none of the existing Aragon stack is ready to use, but also emphasized that all of these developer tools are completely open-source – free and available to anyone.
At the moment, he said, the stack consists of "the aragonOS smart contract framework," a React-based front-end toolkit for decentralized apps called Aragon UI, aragon.js scripting, and Radspec for human-readable transactions on Ethereum.
Community R&D Campaign
The project to help engage non-developers is also referred to as the community research and development campaign. The team working on this will be led by Griff Green, Giveth's governance circle lead, and Aragon One's lead researcher, Luke Duncan. This campaign also focuses heavily on user experience and making the Aragon project accessible to teams, organizations, and businesses of all sorts.
"Of course, these decentralized organizations, tools, and dreams of a better world are nothing without people using them. And the Community R&D campaign is a perfect fit to find out what exactly it is that the users need and want to have in place to realize the full potential of their decentralized organizations."
According to Decoodt, some things the group will focus on are:
- "Creating documentation to aid these end users (so, not the devs!) in designing, creating and deploying their own DAOs.
- Helping to actually manage community forums for Aragon users to work through problems and create issues [suggested improvements].
- Helping out to create and foster a culture that lends itself to collaboration, decentralization, and working toward constant improvement with a playful attitude.
- We will also integrate the Aragon technology into the Giveth Dapp with the first goal being to truly decentralized ourselves.
- We'll document all our governance experiments using the Aragon and Giveth technology, especially with a focus on nonprofits that will live on the Giveth Dapp."
The symbiotic relationship, grounded in shared values and missions, comes at a crucial time of development for both projects, which are relatively young (even for blockchain). Giveth's Dapp is still in beta and this is Aragon's first foray to include developers outside of its foundational team.
For Giveth, Aragon provides means for its "true" decentralization, which is a foundational value of the community. And for Aragon, Giveth provides a platform for fundraising, and a team to work toward developing the decentralized network of purpose-based organizations it hopes to create.