I’m Joel Dietz, Swarm founder. I have put together a document that I’m circulating privately at the moment in order to collect critical feedback and decide if it is worth running.
My main consideration is this. I’m interested in Counterparty becoming a healthy and growing ecosystem. This means that it needs all of the following:
(1) Excited developers building on the platform
(2) Business potential, either current or future
(3) Competitive advantage vis-a-vis other platforms offering the same or similar services
(4) Engaged community promoting the platform
Obviously I’ve already committed a lot of time and energy to this ecosystem, but it’s not entirely clear to me that it is growing at the pace necessary to be competitive.
First, developer evangelism while perhaps better than any other 2.0 project on the Bitcoin blockchain is not nearly at the same level as other off-chain projects (NXT, BitShares, NuBits, Ethereum). I estimate that there are something like ~10 developer actively building something on the project and none of the bigger players are releasing back open source code.
A good example of this is Swarm, we’ve had a strong desire to contribute back open source code but have been inhibited by the fact that there is a strong internal competitive nature to the ecosystem. Compare the slogans of the different folks now working around the ecosystem: cryptoequity (Swarm), smart securities (Symbiont), cryptoequity (Overstock), smart corporations (Koinify).
Can you tell what the difference is? Probably not. I certainly can’t. Although Swarm was the first to describe or offer any of this, it makes for a fairly cluttered ecosystem.
Also, if you look at the stats you’ll see that although Counterparty has greater than 80% of the transaction volume among Bitcoin blockchain projects, the market capitalization of Maidsafe (on Omni/Mastercoin) is greater than all Counterparty projects combined.
The net result that I’ve observed is that many of the companies in the space are less committed to Counterparty than they once were. For example Koinify, who even now has a board seat on the Counterparty foundation, is not doing any of their announced upcoming sales on Counterparty. The only one they did, GEMS, was from someone who had already decided to use Counterparty in advance of the sale.
So in general people are making only a loose commitment to the underlying technology and ecosystem, which makes sense from a business perspective but is disappointing to me since in general when I started with Counterparty I invested a fair bit of effort and time in an effort to see the whole ecosystem grow.
My general feeling about Counterparty at the moment is disappointment. I don’t have a specific desire to invest a lot of time and energy promoting something that is going to ultimately turn into a second place solution. I do have a large desire to open source code and provide other resources back to the community, but don’t feel like I can do that in the current environment with the risk of taking a major economic loss on my part as a result.
In any case, all of these are factors in my decision to run or not run for the Counterparty board. If they can’t be resolved, I honestly don’t think Counterparty has a future.
Also, although I think it is nice to have a “community director,” what is really needed is not simply some idea of ‘community,’ but some more long-term strategic planning to build out the whole ecosystem. In my opinion so far that’s been neglected – and the XCP price shows it.