Where we’ve been and the future of Foundry
Where we’ve been
Back in late 2018, Logan shared with Schalk an idea for an unstoppable, global fiat/crypto exchange without KYC, which worked entirely on game theory on Ethereum smart contracts (specifically utilizing Logan's earlier research into burnable payments. Schalk offered to fund the development, and a few months later in April 2019 an MVP was ready under the name of DAIHard. The unhealable hole in governmental currency control was ready for marketing.
But at this point, it dawned on the team that to actively market and profit from DAIHard as identifiable individuals might be an unwise move. A successful DAIHard is a direct, successful attack on the whole concept of KYC, and thus a threat to some significant centers of power. To think this wouldn’t result in backlash would be naive, and who could say what enemies might emerge from the dark inner workings of legacy institutions to make some examples?
DAIHard was unkillable, but those who built it were not. So, Schalk and Logan (now called Team Toast) started designing Foundry: an entity capable of building things like DAIHard--profitable, ethical products that might make enemies--without getting cold feet due to looming threats from powerful institutions.
Foundry would be our gladiator, immune from attack, and inhabited by a restless entrepreneurial spirit that was tired of asking for permission.
During a week vacation in February 2020, Logan hacked together a basic functional version of SmokeSignal, an uncensorable Reddit-like platform, as a frustrated response to the totalitarian flavor of the lockdowns sweeping the world. Upon returning to work, the team decided to begin developing SmokeSignal further as one of Foundry’s flagship products. The goal with SmokeSignal was of two parts:
- Demonstrate Foundry’s values of radical freedom, as manifested in the platform for “radically free speech”: on SmokeSignal censorship is impossible, by us or anyone else, come what may.
- Profit from a 1% fee of all tips and burns spent on SmokeSignal content.
Try out SmokeSignal here.
In June of 2020, foundrydao.com was launched and the sale of FRY began via the bucket sale, set to conclude in January of 2022, 1.5 years later. The funds captured in the sale were slated for three main purposes:
- Market Foundry and FRY to garner more funding.
- Develop and launch the Foundry DAO.
- Build, launch, and market profitable, “radically free” products as a proof of concept for Foundry’s core business strategy.
Of these, #1 has been met with stop-and-go success; #2 has been repeatedly delayed in favor of #3; and #3 has seen a lot of promise (see our demo day playlist on YouTube) but not yet in the form of a direct market fit resulting in significant profit.
In January 2021, Schalk presented a proof of concept of what is now called dETH: a tokenized, overcollateralized CDP that rebalances itself in response to market action, such that the underlying ETH collateral grows at an accelerated rate during bull markets. You can see the performance of dETH or mint/redeem dETH here.
Aside from the clear DeFi selling potential of the product, the profit mechanism is simple and direct: dETH captures 0.9% as a fee for minting and redeeming dETH. This profit goes to the permafrost, which bumps up the $FRY price and permanently increases ETHFRY liquidity.
The clear use case and simple profit model was hard to resist, even though it missed Foundry’s radical freedom theme. Looking nervously at our shrinking Treasury, we decided to put previous products on hold and focus entirely on dETH. As a result, dETH is live today and can be used here.
As we further developed SmokeSignal, we got feedback that it’s not immediately clear how to use it or what it’s for. We took a step back and decided to develop a streamlined version of the concept, more narrowly focused on a particular use case.
This resulted in Permapost, intended to offer a Medium-like use-case, but with the uncensorability boasted by SmokeSignal. These platforms actually share content: any post on one can be seen on the other. But comparing the two, Permapost sells more easily. The name “Permapost”, the landing page, and the app all eliminate significant confusion that plagued SmokeSignal.
Permapost has no direct profit mechanism; in this case, the goal was more strictly about exposure. If a “radically free” post demonstrated the importance of uncensorability, and itself went viral, this would bring such significant attention to Foundry that, via the continuing FRY sale, the Foundry Treasury would see a significant influx of funds.
Foundry’s main website was fairly outdated, partially due to a build-up of technical debt from hiring out the task to Upwork contractors. In parallel with getting more serious about the brand identity of Foundry, we've redesigned the site from the ground up. The rebuild includes integration with a Strapi backend, making future updates to the site quick and easy. This will come in handy as the maintenance of the website is handed off to the Foundry community.
Where we’re going
Now that dETH itself is ready for use, we’re focusing immediately on generating content. This will include articles, more activity on Twitter, and video interviews like we did with Igor of xDai. Our community has quieted down while we’ve focused intensely on development, and we’ll be working hard to revitalize things and start spinning up a more vibrant community.
dETH Marketing and Validation
We're busy marketing and launching PR for dETH. We’ve already prepared a PR package that will be launched shortly.
As the new traffic comes in, we’ll be looking at the behavior of visitors with two goals in mind (or conversions, for the marketing gurus): purchase of dETH and purchase of $FRY. We’ll be doing the typical marketing analysis on this data: looking at where users fall off, what content keeps them around, and where they seem to get confused. During this time we’ll be focusing intensely on making this funnel more and more efficient, with the ultimate aim along the lines of “for every $1 spent on marketing, get more than $1 in sales.” Again, this profit will be directed to the permafrost, which will boost the $FRY price and permanently increase ETHFRY liquidity.
dETH’s Successor (LSPs)
dETH is a tokenized, no-maintenance way to accelerate ETH gains, and we’re happy to have a product that we can market, which could possibly bring significant profit to Foundry. But there’s more to explore in this direction, which Schalk is busy with now.
Where dETH only allows the user to long ETH against DAI, this successor product will allow the user to long any Aave collateral-capable token against any Aave token. We are calling these “Long-Short Pairs” or LSPs for short. LSPs allow the user to do things like:
- Short ETH (by “longing” DAI against ETH)
- Long or short ETH against BTC
- Long or short DAI against USDT
- Long or short MKR against BAT
All of these positions will operate like dETH: a pure DeFi product where the user is hyperexposed to growth but doesn’t have to manage their position directly. The underlying system will protect itself from default by selling collateral, and remain maximally exposed by increasing its debt (of the “short” token) to buy more collateral (the “long” token) when it can. Imagine storing a long position on a ledger!
FRY sale ends
January 23, 2022
On January 23, the last of the 2,000 buckets of FRY will be auctioned off via the sale. We see this as a deadline for two main goals:
- Have a profitable product developed that directs its profit to Foundry and FRY holders. Here dETH seems very promising.
- Have Foundry itself be fully autonomous via FRY governance. Governance is already live, and just needs some tweaks to the interface.
In addition, at this point Logan will step away as CEO of Team Toast, and take a long break from the Foundry project.
Taken together, this makes January/February a crucial point for Foundry, with the central question being one of autonomy. As Team Toast decentralizes the keys to Foundry, the community will take up the helm and drive Foundry further along its path.
Levrly: Brand, DAO, Token, and Sale
Because dETH and its LSP successor are more about DeFi than radical freedom, we’ve decided to separate out these from the rest of Foundry. For this, we’re developing the Levrly brand. This is why levr.ly is the URL for the dETH interface. This can be thought of as a new brand that already has one product, dETH, and will soon have a second in the form of the LSP product described above.
By the end of March, we expect to have launched the $LEVR token and its sale, all packaged with functioning governance. The $LEVR token will capture the profit of these Levrly products, and a small $LEVR premine in the Foundry Treasury will ensure $FRY holders benefit from $LEVR’s growth.
Separating the projects in this way is important, because people who care about dETH or the LSP product might not care at all about radical freedom. This split allows Levrly and Foundry to pursue separate ends without confusing signals between the two.
Schalk has written more about the motivations behind and design of $LEVR here, but here are some important points:
- $LEVR will be sold on a straight-line curve for ETH, starting at 0 ETH/LEVR and ending at 10 ETH/LEVR, implying a total max raised value of 100k ETH.
- This ETH will go to a permanent, un-rug-pullable source of ETH/LEVR liquidity. At no point will the raised funds be in control of private hands.
- Levrly products will use their profit to put upward pressure on $LEVR. As profit increases, the price of $LEVR will experience greater and greater upward pressure.
- The Foundry Treasury will get a small premine of $LEVR tokens, ensuring that Foundry and FRY holders benefit from $LEVR’s success.
- There is no end-date to the sale. It will only end when and if 100k ETH has been raised.
As Team Toast decentralizes the keys to Foundry, the community will take up the helm and drive Foundry further along its path.
And what will that path look like? That will be up to the community of $FRY holders - but here’s what we expect to see.
Foundry will continue to build products or services that bring profit into the Treasury, and this captured profit will be used as funding for further profitable pursuits. In the very beginning, Schalk will likely continue to build out the Levrly suite of products, and the existing free speech products of SmokeSignal and Permapost could be marketed heavily to find a profitable niche for them.
As Foundry gets comfortable as a decentralized entity, it is likely to begin exploring an exciting niche: products that are ethical and profitable, but which would be dangerous for traditional organizations to pursue, for fear of litigation or threats from powerful institutions. Because Foundry has an unfreezable Treasury, and will be directed by a horde of pseudonymous voters, it can essentially ignore such threats--like a bear ignoring bee stings while it takes the hive’s honey. As the Treasury grows and Foundry tests out this niche, we expect Foundry to act more and more boldly, slowly but surely entering the world stage as an entity that can’t quite be ignored. It could begin by breaking the hold of KYC on the world via DAIHard or something similar, and in a year or two may start architecturing economic jailbreaks.
If Foundry moves in this direction, it will be the first of a new kind of entity on the world stage: Something that builds without permission, profits without corruption, and liberates without fear--and in the process, makes $FRY holders filthy, filthy rich.