Luis Cuende is the co-founder and Project Lead of Aragon,
a project for disintermediating the creation and maintenance of
companies and other organizational structures. Aragon believes that
blockchain and the Internet are changing the incentives for companies to
exist, and they are building tools for the next generation of companies
that will take advantage of these changes. Previously, he cofounded the
blockchain startup Stampery, and created the world’s first Linux distribution with facelogin.
Hi Luis, thanks for chatting with us! Tell us a bit about your background, and how you started Aragon?
I started writing software when I was 12 years old. Back then, I created a simple Linux distro with features like facelogin, and in the process I fell in love with free software. I created a couple of startups when I was 15, and when I was 16 I discovered Bitcoin, and the first thing that came to mind was “this is not possible!” A couple years later, I read the whitepaper, and was blown away. After a couple years growing a Bitcoin startup, I saw that Ethereum was gaining traction, and realized the world needed a way to organize companies on the Ethereum blockchain. That’s when I started Aragon.
Will Aragon have a token?
Yes, we will have a token. Aragon will work for free for anyone in the world without requiring a token. Those Aragon companies can provide services and make decentralized orgs mainstream. It will make it easy for people to create decentralized organizations, to invest and work with them. Within this network of Aragon companies, we will provide upgradeability, a decentralized court system for arbitration, and a lot of services that can only be provided at scale. Using the Aragon network token will be a way to bring governance to the whole network. It will also be a price for Aragon companies to subscribe to the network.
Since we first created the product without any kind of token sale, that’s been a common question lately. We wanted to get the product out there and see in which ways a token model can improve it. We figured out that to make decentralized organizations widespread, there are a couple hurdles to overcome. The first one is making organizations upgradeable, so they can last for the next couple of decades. The second one is providing a way to resolve human disputes that smart contracts don’t cover nor understand.
After a lot of imagination, we came to a conclusion. What if there was some kind of virtual jurisdiction that Aragon organizations can run on top of? We call it the Aragon Network. It provides Aragon organizations with services that can only be provided at network scale. Such as automatic upgrades or a decentralized court.
The token will give holders the ability to govern the Aragon Network and pay for its services. You can read more about it here.
We just announced the token sale this week. It will begin the 17th of May, and last a whole month. We were heavily inspired by Ethereum’s token sale, and tried to architect it as similar as possible, while adding some new features such as vesting for founders and early contributors. We think vesting is a must for token sales.
How does the decentralized court concept work?
In our mind, it works at 3 different levels. The network will assign 5 random judges, all bonded to the network. The judging will work as a prediction market, in which judges bet on which party is right or wrong. If they judge incorrectly, the bond will be taken away. When somebody opens a lawsuit, they will post a bond, and if they don’t agree with the judges decision, they can increase their bond, to make their case public to a whole network of judges who act like another prediction marketplace. If you don’t agree with that decision, you can increase the bond further and go to the Supreme Court, the top 9 judges by reputation. The judges’ reputation will be earned through the accuracy of their “predictions” in other lawsuits. We’re trying to see which other services can be leveraged for Aragon companies. Other projects are building decentralized courts, and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we are in touch with that projects in the space we can partner with.
I saw that Aragon has a major focus on making its product accessible to a non-technical audience. Can you describe some of these features?
We have created our own desktop client, so you don’t have to run a full node or download any browser extension. I’m a perfectionist, so I’m always trying to make user experience pixel-perfect. This whole ecosystem must make it even easier for our users.
I think a big problem is the complete lack of information and user friendly documentation, and this is something the entire community needs to improve. For people like my mom, if you don’t present clear documentation with pictures and drawings they don’t get it. But this is progressing, Ethereum moves fast. For example, 4 years ago, there wasn’t even good developer documentation about Bitcoin!
Do you have any thoughts on the WeTrust project?
I know you guys launched a few months ago. You’re trying to make something that is easy to use, and I like that. It’s easy to explain your concept to people. That has to be the number one priority. When people read your website, even if they’re not a technical Ethereum person, they know you can make trusted lending circles, and all they have to know is that there’s something called blockchain that makes it possible. It uses the blockchain, but is not centered on it.
Thanks for chatting with us and for the kind words, Luis!