Highlights: October 20, 2020 AMA Session with Ampleforth Co-Founder Brandon Iles and the AmpleSense DAO Founding Team

Today, the AmpleSense DAO founding team held an AMA featuring Ampleforth Co-Founder Brandon Iles. The themes of the AMA were:

  • Collaboration between the Ampleforth Foundation and AmpleSense DAO
  • The need for active and proactive community engagement
  • What’s to come in terms of developing the Ampleforth and the elastic finance ecosystem

Note: AMA participants are referenced by their handles:

– @brandon (Ampleforth Co-Founder Brandon Iles)
@davoice321: (AmpleSense Co-Founder)
@solomonsollarsnsense: (AmpleSense Co-Founder)
– @crypto-kav: (AmpleSense Co-Founder)
– @fudbuster: (AmpleSense Co-Founder)


1) The first question is on the collaboration between the AmpleSense DAO and the Ampleforth core development team / foundation.

Based on the questions coming in for this AMA, the expectation from the community is that the core development team take the main lead in terms of developing use cases for Ample.

Yet, as can be seen with other assets like Ethereum, there is a robust community-led effort to leverage Ethereum for many different applications.


Does the DAO and the Foundation view the community as playing an equal role in Ampleforth development?

@brandon

Yeah, great question. The Ample’s value, being a monetary asset, comes from a shared understanding of value, and that only comes from a strong and active community, not from any individual or single group.

It’s really amazing to see this kind of organization happen organically within the community of Ample holders. It shows people care about what we’re working on, so we’re excited and happy to help encourage that how we can. That said, AmpleSense is an independent community run effort with its own plans and timelines (and we can’t speak to any token beyond Ample itself).

As core contributors to the main protocol, our primary goal is to foster a vibrant and varied community and ecosystem–one part of which are DAOs like AmpleSense.

@fudbuster

I would say that the core development team has provided us with an asset that is a very versatile building block, and now it’s up to the community to innovate and use this every imaginable way possible. From interactions I have had with community members I can tell that there is a lot of creativity, skills and other potential that could be used to achieve great things if we all work together.

@solomonsollarsnsense

To add to Davoice’s sentiment. One of the main qualities that drew me to getting involved with the DAO was the understanding of how community plays a role in the overall success of a chain or token. Putting the bulk of Demand/Utility/Product responsibilities on the AmpleForth core team is like asking a mom and pop shop during 1776 to be responsible for building all of America. Simply doesn’t work that way.

We’re not the Dutch East Indian Company yet and we certainly cannot get there if we don’t few ourselves as trying to start up a worldwide digital economy. Therefore its going to take independent community initiatives to help the AmpleForth Protocol get there. One of them is AmpleSense.

@davoice321

This has actually been something we’ve been dealing with quite a bit. There’s a general sense that the community can play either no or a limited role in protocol development. And that the core development team should be responsible for all activity, while the community takes a back seat.

One of my personal visions for the DAO is that it enables the community to feel like they have a seat at the table when it comes to evolving and driving the protocol. That means coming up with ideas for implementations, working to drive adoption and so on.

The message the community should have is that the core development team is vital, but the community is just as vital and can operate in ways that help to move things ahead in robust and effective ways.

What I’ll also add here is that this feeling of community disengagement or powerlessness actually has an impact regarding sentiment on the protocol. If you feel like you have no agency and things just “happen” to you then it’s going to be difficult to think that you can play a role in Ampleforth’s future. We want to work to see how we can change that feeling and let everyone in the community know that they CAN play a role and their future (in terms of this protocol) is in their hands.

2) The second question is a bit off topic. KuCoin has come up in multiple questions in the question thread. I want to give Brandon an opportunity to share any comments that he may be able to regarding the hack. Or any updates that you may be able to share.

@brandon

We gave an update in our previous AMA (linked here: https://www.ampltalk.org/app/forum/announcements-22/topic/ampleforth-community-office-hours-10720-150/). I’d add more but… we still don’t have any any new info!

The most relevant new developments are the steps we’re taking to the real long term solution–continuing the path toward decentralization. We’ve accelerated the work that was already in progress, and some pieces are becoming visible already.

3) The theme of “Progressive Decentralization” has been embraced by the DeFi community. Do you have a putative roadmap for what I will call the “Progressive Financialization” of AMPL? The initiative with Aave is a very important one. Are there similar steps planned ahead?

I’ll pop in to answer this question also even though it was posed to @Brandon :).

In our official launch announcement, we addressed this issue and were happy to see that the Ampleforth Foundation and core development team are very much focused on decentralizing the Ampleforth protocol. In fact, they have already created a space where the community can vote on proposals and other matters here:
https://snapshot.page/#/ampleforth

For the DAO, it’s important that everyone has confidence that the Ampleforth Protocol will be decentralized and censorship resistant and this is something we’re happy to see a priority of the Ampleforth Foundation and team.

@brandon

If you haven’t seen our own roadmap page, I’d recommend starting there:
https://www.ampleforth.org/roadmap/

There’s a balance between continued development within one ecosystem, and branching out into new ecosystems. I think the most probable path to success will be to push both forward at the same time.

Within one ecosystem, there’s a natural ordering: liquidity, lending, derivatives. Then, there’s tension between integrating into existing platforms vs building out bespoke platforms for the unique characteristics of AMPL. The nice thing about being an open project, is that not everything depends on us. We’re already seeing outside groups attack different pieces of this.

4) What are specific ways that the Foundation and DAO can work (together and separately) to increase organic demand and diversify use cases for Ample outside of speculation and derivatives trading?

@solomonsollarsnsense

This is a great question. And I’m sure everyone on the leadership will chime in. Let me add my 2 $ense.

The immediate possibility on collaboration could be a Geyser that provides both KMPL/AMPL as liquidity rewards. And or a KMPL/AMPL Vault that makes sense for both organizations once an Elastic Lending product has been established (not needed for a Elastic Vault but it helps). Now given my view, it is important to stress that these are two independent organizations that comes with structural ways of engaging with the external world. In that sense remember a vote.

On the AmpleForth side and a vote on our side (AmpleSense DAO) would need to take place and get approved. This means there are no guarantees any of this happens. These are only ideas that can be proposed and pursued. How quickly a collaboration happens is ultimately up to the community.

@brandon

I’d say two things: 1) Community outreach and education, and 2) Platform development.

Software / protocol development is a long-slow grind, which is obvious to other devs but often forgotten by others. Growth from platform development tends to be “spikey”. Community growth sets the foundation everything else to builds off of.

@davoice321

This is one that we’ve thought a lot about.

From a DAO perspective, one of our first votes will be on what areas the DAO will prioritize in the short term. All of this needs to be put into an official proposal and voted on by the community, but there are a few things we’ve been focused on from the very beginning (more in my next comment.)

The first and biggest challenge has to do with user / investor education. Ample is a simple and complex protocol at the same time. People are confused about rebases, changes in their wallet balance, etc.

One of the questions related to this is whether there needs to be segmenting of investors so that those with a higher risk tolerance for Ample at this stage of its development can self-select and be more aware of the risks (and benefits) of investing in Ample at this time.

An important question is whether everyone should be investing in Ample at this stage, how do they self-select in ways that help them weather the uncertainty with Ample currently, and how to educate and help people self-filter.

The second has to do with stabilizing demand for Ample, given that the protocol is very demand-sensitive.

We’ve seen that if demand increases by only a small amount we see the protocol respond, and vice-versa.

The Aave proposal was a good first step in terms of creating additional use cases for Ample (lending).

But the DAO will be working to experiment with other demand drivers. Not all of these experiments will work, but it will be important to have different products, services and options on the market at the same time so that we can begin to understand what uses cases work best for Ample and provide users / investors with options about how best to manage and use the asset.

I think that overall, these might be places where the DAO and Foundation can collaborate.

5) This question is a combination of a lot of questions around Roadmap that has been asked. @Brandon and @AmpleSense can you talk a bit about any initiatives that you have planned for the short or medium horizon?

Questions were asked particularly around:

a) Will we see in the future any version of AMPL non-USD (CPI/target price) based?

b) Will the future Geyser programs implemented be different? With for instance lower yield but longer duration

c) Where do we stand regarding the multichain/cross-chain bridge? Are there projects with whom you already started working on this or others you are watching?

d) What features can we look forward to from the foundation or the dao by EOY (if any)

But I’m sure the community would love to hear about any other initiatives as well.

@davoice321

I’ll tackle the DAO-related question and my colleagues can jump in too.

d) What features can we look forward to from the foundation or the dao by EOY(if any)

The DAO’s activity is going to be heavily influenced by what people are posting to the Idea Incubator. That is how we learn about new ideas and can work to vet them and get more insights about them before they are voted on for funding.

The Idea Incubator is here: https://forum.amplesense.io/idea-incubator/

With that being said the DAO leadership team has a lot of ideas for products and services:

1. Is the concept of creating elastic “vaults” featuring kMPL and other assets (Solomon will address this)

2. Another is creating a lending platform where kMPL (and other tokens) can be utilized as a collateral asset to borrow Ample. Although Aave may come online there is a lot of room for additional borrowing activity for Ample. Just like ETH is not limited to one platform for borrowing and lending, neither should Ample.

All of these proposals will be put through the process of community review and voting: Idea Incubator –> AmpleSense Progress Proposal –> Community Voting –> Approval and Implementation

@brandon

a) The specific benchmark that AMPL targets is, I think, mostly secondary. Since ample is designed to be a base money, it’s more a matter of whether that benchmark is stable over time (and measurable).

b) We haven’t tied ourselves to anything specific, but I’d say that’s likely. An easy analog is Bitcoin’s emission curve. Otherwise, the structure of the geyser programs will be determined more by the surrounding ecosystem. We want to make sure that these develop at the same pace (for example distributing platform tokens that are accrued in parallel).

c) We’re looking at this ourselves very directly, but other groups are as well. For example, I saw that someone is already building a bridge to NEAR, through a bounty: https://github.com/near/bounties/issues/30

6) Will the Ampleforth foundation and Amplesense DAO ever collaborate on a feature? Or will the development effort always be separate?

@fudbuster

I think the DAO is always open minded about collaboration as long as it makes sense, and helps everyone involved to more effectively achieve their goals.

@davoice321

I think the community can see (based on this AMA!) that we’re very committed to collaborating with the core development team and foundation on initiatives. :).

In the governance documents, which I encourage everyone to read, we spell out the collaborative nature of the DAO / Foundation relationship (https://forum.amplesense.io/governance-docs/)

I would also invite the team to submit their ideas for wild and crazy Ample implementations to the Idea Incubator! We might be able to gather an A Team of people to work on projects that the team would love to see come alive, but don’t have time to implement themselves!

7) How does Ampleforth envision its role in developing the ecosystem around Ampleforth protocol? e.g. Will it be developing platforms for elastic finance or seeking partners to help create the elastic finance platform? etc.

@brandon

It’s already becoming a mix of all of: direct work from the core contributors, other independent groups, and work funded through bounties (not too dissimilar from Ethereum, for example). I think this is the healthiest and most robust model long term.

7) Can the DAO/Foundation expand on what the Ampleforth ‘Vault’ is and why it will be useful?

@solomonsollarsnsense

Happy to take this one.

A general Primer on Vaults in general can be seen here: https://youtu.be/<wbr>9vTaNl2_B8A

Elastic Vaults or AMPL Vaults are simply the addition of a Rebase token and or mechanism as an additional input for either dishing out value or collecting value on behalf of vault deposits. Vault depositors from AMPL automated strategies get profits (in other words community participants (us))

Here’s an Elastic Vault model coming to market from CORE:

All farmed yield market buys CORE. All the yield from staked funds will go to market-buy CORE. This creates a positive relationship for both parties. CORE holders will always benefit from yield bearing activities done on the CORE smart contracts. Even when farmers sell, a transfer fee on sales of CORE tokens are returned to the farming pools. This means buying pressure will generally be more intense than selling pressure.

Some excellent ideas that have been submitted around what we term elastic vaults can be seen here:

1. https://imgur.com/037Gh9O

2. https://imgur.com/TI7L0lF

3. https://forum.amplesense.io/ideas/ideas/negative-rebase-insurence/

4. https://forum.amplesense.io/ideas/ideas/should-the-dao-support-the-development-of-liquidity-amplifier-pools/

Some sort of kVault along these lines is something we have on our minds. It is still being fleshed out. The key for us would be devising “actions” people can take around these “kVaults” or AMPL Vaults that reward them in fees and potentially KMPL and or AMPL. AMPL/Elastic Vaults and other vault types will be a hit in the coming years. What I think is needed before or in conjunction with Vaults would be Elastic Lending. Its not absolutely necessary but would greatly AMPLeFi the Vaults.

8) With the Aave lending proposal on the table, do you think the proposed lending solution by the Amplesense DAO is still a priority if the Aave proposal is approved?

@davoice321

Short answer: Yes!

Personally, I think we all should be thinking of AMPL like we think of other base assets like BTC and ETH.

BTC and ETH aren’t limited to one lending protocol, one use case, one type of user / investor, and one use case.

Neither should AMPL. So, yes, we’d like to still propose the lending protocol, and we expect people to ask questions about how it might fit in a world where Aave in in place.

But if ETH can live on Aave, Compound and other lending platforms so can Ample!

The benefit of having a platform launched by the DAO is that it can be focused on providing features the community is most interested in seeing rather than relying on other platforms for functionality,

@Fudbuster

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. While Aave has some great products for lending and other money market services, it doesn’t make any sense to have all your eggs in one basket. The lending solution Amplesense DAO intends to develop is going to be customized to suit the needs of the Ampleforth/AmpleSense community, most importantly the benefits for kMPL holders. Having several alternatives for different segments of the market leads to wider adoption and is just common practice in business. If you cast a wider net you get a better catch.

9) One of the biggest challenges of Ampl adoption has been the stigma of negative rebases. Other than wAmpl and the geysers, are there any other mechanisms in the pipeline that can protect investors from negative rebases?

@brandon

It’s interesting to see the history of crypto so far: I’d say it’s generally characterized by long, slow declines broken up by quick upward spikes. Ample does follow different rules, so it can still likely move differently, but I’d be surprised if this characteristic went away while it’s still so young. Volatility, especially during times of stability, is actually one of the features that brings people to crypto to begin with. Volatility can’t happen only in one direction!

I think it will be really interesting to see when lending platforms become active. Lending, for example, trades exposure to rebases for income from interest. Borrowing, can leverage exposure. So this gives Ample holders more options. Denominating liabilities would also move the ecosystem forward.

@Fudbuster

I would say that the best protection against negative rebases is to make sure investors are well informed about how the protocol functions and what the purpose  and expected effects of the negative rebases are. Simply perfecting methods to explain the concept in a nutshell for people of different tastes and means would have a huge impact IMO.

@davoice321

I’ll first comment on this from a personal perspective.

As someone who has invested in Ampl, I like everyone here is impacted by negative rebases. It’s not easy seeing your token balance change day to day, and also looking at how demand changes the asset.

And, it’s also cold comfort to some that “your share of the network” never changes your capital investment has depreciated significantly.

The point I made in the wAMPL proposal is that mature financial ecosystems have various ways that people can get exposure to assets.

Hedging and reducing risk is one. Other forms of the asset are others. Income generating assets are a third.

The key is that mature ecosystems have various ways that investors can get exposure to the asset while minimizing downside risk.

I know that there are some who respond to proposals about reducing the risk of holding Ample at this stage very negatively, but it’s something that I personally feel has to be addressed. Not only will that drive demand for the asset, but also allow people with different risk profiles to gain exposure to Ample with limited or less downside risk.

Some people have suggested ideas in the Idea Incubator such as Negative Rebase Insurance, which has gotten a lot of interest from the community.

Again, and this is me speaking personally, I feel that it’s vital for different flavors of Ampl to exist for people with varying risk profiles.

Some will be okay with having naked exposure to Ample. Others will want instruments that allow them to be exposed to limited upside and downside for less capital risk.

I’ll (and others) will be proposing different ways to tackle the negative rebase aspect (and take full advantage of positive rebases) on an ongoing basis.

-End of AMA-

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