The week’s positive spin: XRP isn’t a security! Larry Fink is blockchain’s BFF! Lummis & Gillibrand and will bring sanity to DC!
The week’s negative spin: Binance laid off thousands. Celsius is in shackles. DCG pulled an Enron.
The reality: Blockchain inches forward but remains in the trenches. International macro remains murky. And odds are you remain a bystander to the events triggering the unceasing cascade of Cryptotwitter bombshells. Perhaps with investments hinging on outcomes, but by and large an observer far from the front lines, not an operator…
Unless you’re a builder.
Builders have a sixth sense for the Historical Moment. Some are born with nerves fine-tuned to its resonance. Others cobble together an HM detector from a lifetime of hard knocks and bookworming. Either way, when a builder senses the Historical Moment sparking electricity in the atmosphere, they seek out the front line and charge forward, determined to execute, influence, to be part of IT.
When the Historical Moment arrives, builders thrive.
In blockchain, there are near limitless ways to build. Launching new products, protocols, platforms. Grassrooting community. Sculpting culture. Red-pilling concepts. Collectivizing consciousness.
You write a blog, you’ve built. You host a weekly spaces on Twitter? You’ve built. You invest in an early-stage long-shot but potentially revolutionary startup where every red cent extends their runway? Believe me, you’ve built (and helped builders).
So look around. Take note. A Historical Moment has set up camp on your doorstep. A boiling planet. AI. The Fourth Turning. Longevity breakthroughs. Web3.
When the HM relinquishes timeline dominance and generational tumult quells into a new normal, which “normal” do you want wake up into?
And have you been building to make it so?
This is our second to last of our initial batch of FAQs — it’s time to spend our allotted writing hours spiffing up the final polish on the white paper. As always, we’ll jot down one longform reply, one medium length, and one pithy confession at the end.
Long Answer: Is Pakt Open Source?
h/t Some of our favorite Pokemons at Ava Labs
Both yes and no, for now. But in time, yes, completely and wholly.
The philosophy of open source is one near and dear to our hearts. Without it, our beloved internet wouldn’t exist. Ideas, data, and progress want to be free and uncaged, romping towards each other in realms unbound, meeting, mating, and mothering ever-mutating mutts like Linux, Mozilla, and Wikipedia that grow stronger with each community-contributed evolution.
However, if you’ve read any non-Disnified story about genies you know how dangerous it is to get everything you want.
Open source’s lack of traditional commercial profitability for the initial value creator (aka dev) gave rise to a Web-connected world in which the user isn’t the owner, they’re the product.
One of the core tenets of open source is “treat your users like they’re co-developers.” This altruistic-sounding edict is one of those good-intentioned paved roads leading southbound to you know where.
Riddle: How can a user be a co-developer if they can’t develop?
Answer: They’re boiled down to data.
This is the ultimate value that the user provides in their relationship with open-sourced platforms, and by proxy to their builders. They can’t contribute code. So they contribute their lives as a data-driven case study that begins with their first login and ends with their final logoff into the original Cloud. And at first, this surprisingly wasn’t so bad.
When the internet was toddling along in the late 90s, early 00s, this open-access for Open Source tradeoff proved a win-win. The builder community was small. Everybody knew everybody. You could let your code kids “play out in the street.” Hackers were few and far between. We were all growing up together. “Tech” was a budding industry of NorCal nerds bequeathing unprecedented interconnection to normies. By and large, there was trust, and we were all the better for it.
Now tech is industry. No longer a toddler, but a titan. No longer a community, but the world’s markets, driven by stock prices frenzied over by capitalist sharks and clandestine SkunkWorks, often penetrated by international corporate espionage. Hacking is the business model — our consciousness has been commodified, our attention captured, and our data scraped by AIs. Most sinisterly, Silicon Valley peddles devices to our kids that they prohibit their own from using.
The era of Kumbaya code is over.
Today’s unfortunate but inescapable reality for blockchain builders: if they want to responsibly steward a future driven by innovative tech they need to protect their platforms’ economic incentives. To build a future with tech it is no longer enough to simply be a technologist — one must be an economic operator.
Yet we must not lose the esprit de corps that bands builders together to innovate. Further complicating matters, the intellectual idealism that catalyzes technological scenius tends to recoil at the impure calculations of cold commerce.
Pakt navigates this tightrope strung above the piranha tank with a balanced step-by-step. The left foot: traditional Open Source. The right foot: Business Source Licensing.
Business Source Licensing (originally conceived of by MariaDB) allows for free non-production use of source code. After a preset period, the code becomes fully open source. While the default is 4 years, Pakt will halve it to two. Lastly, Pakt can bestow Additional Use Grants that allow limited production use as they see fit.
Some of Pakt’s components will be Open Source from the beginning, others will be BSL. For instance, any templates or mods created in-house by Pakt will be Open Source, ie the Afro.Fund Fair Open Access Market template. The moment it goes live, the community can build on, remodel, and utilize Afro.Fund’s template however they see fit.
Conversely, Pakt Core — the protocol that deploys and manages Chainsites, Templates, Mods, and Pakt’s APIs — and Pakt Suite — the full collection of Pakt’s base-level functionalities (including the Global Smart Contract Tool, Dynamic Profiles, Non-Custodial Escrow Wallets, Pakt Score, Chats, Soulbound Identity Layer, et al) — will be protected by a Business Source License. After two years, full open source access will be released to the community.
The intention undergirding this protective approach is to securely grow Pakt’s value so that early gains form —
- An initial economically robust foundation that supports…
- Long-term growth co-created by the community that in time…
- Elevates Pakt to a self-sustaining Operating System that requires no central builders steering ecosystem development
By setting a two-year “ticking clock” towards open-sourcing our first go-to-market components while simultaneously providing non-commercial code access, Pakt seeks to erect a castle wall around a “builders community” that can safely experiment, express, and explore innovating the future together.
We can’t promise to recapture the magic of Web 2.0's open-sourced utopia genie wish fulfillment. But we will absolutely install information sharing frameworks that position the Web3 community to lastingly grant their own wishes from collective strength.
Medium Answer: What if the global legal framework for Web3 changes again?
h/t to fellow founders asking where to incorporate
Founder 1: What if DC doesn’t adopt an innovation-friendly approach to blockchain and instead seeks to put the world on a US CBDC global ledger?
Founder 2: What if Rust overtakes Solidity as the primary smart contracting language, thus changing the nature of digital assets and thus their attendant laws?
Founder 3: What if a new industry standard of licensing replaces open source and BSL entirely?
Pakt: When the rules change, we adapt.
In fact, radical change is kinda becoming our thing. We’ve already left our motherlands’ inhospitable environs to spin up a hacker house in Kenya. But Pakt won’t change its core principles:
The quality of our connections determines the quality of our lives. Pakt is building an Operating System for On-Chain Connection that leverages blockchain’s smart contracting, transparent accounting, decentralized access, immutable reputation layer, and incentive architectures to improve our connections, and thus our lives.
Pakt will build where this is possible, with partners who share the vision, likely born of exigent need. In time, we fully expect blockchain building will be possible around the world, in league with the best and brightest visionaries, who will solve the needs of today en route to broadening the potentials of tomorrow.
Brief Answer: This post was particularly florid, what’s gotten into you?
I’ve been reading The Night Manager by John le Carré
Stay battle bright,
The Pakt Crew