district0x is the blockchain personified. The company is a blockchain use case haven; rightly so, they’re a decentralized open-source ecosystem.
DAPPs, smart contracts, memes: district0x has them all, and they’re sharing it with the world. Their mission: make blockchain accessible and easy to use … today.
Invest in Blockchain sat down with project manager Alexander Khoriaty to learn more.
What is the district0x elevator pitch?
Take any of the communal marketplaces around today, where the service providers consist of a network of app users, like Airbnb or Uber. Now imagine if, rather than a central entity acting as an intermediary on every decision and transaction in that network, it could instead be governed by users in an open, voluntary system of incentivized voting.
This would eliminate rent-seeking and unnecessary fees, and preserve more value in the hands of network participants, who ultimately generate that value.
We are building a framework so anyone can launch their own marketplace like this – we call them “districts” – of hyperlocal to global scale.
In a nutshell, what is the tech driving district0x?
Our tech stack is completely decentralized:
- We utilize Ethereum for payments, and for the backend processing of core district features (search, filter, rank, and invoice).
- We build each district as an entity in Aragon. Aragon is creating a platform and interface that makes token-based voting and user feedback simple and direct. This provides a system of representation for governance that can operate in sync with our district0x Network Token (DNT), assigning rights and privileges to token holders in any given district or the network at large.
- We distribute each district’s frontend through IPFS. This gives a decentralized method of storing and sharing the interface for each marketplace.
What makes the d0xINFRA framework special?
We are designing d0xINFRA to be open source and extendable. In addition to the pieces mentioned above, we will also allow auxiliary modules (think of these like “plugins” or “add-ons”) that can be used by any district on the network. These can allow other projects in the space (for example, prediction markets, escrow services, or coin/token swaps protocols) to provide functional value to all marketplaces with simple integrations.
Is district0x open source in that districts can be user-generated? Or does development funnel exclusively through district0x’s community proposal process? What are the requirements for creating a district?
Development of districts will go through three phases.
We’re in the first phase right now – we’re building out all districts ourselves to showcase what the smart contract structure can accomplish, while also giving us space to build out the body of d0xINFRA. This will include our own district ideas – Name Bazaar and Meme Factory – as well as a few voted on by the community through our voting dApp.
The second phase will come after d0xINFRA is developed across several districts. Development teams and 3rd parties will be able to access open source code deployed to the Ethereum blockchain and launch their own marketplaces. We’ll have a district registry in place, allowing token holders to regulate which districts are admitted into the network.
The third phase will come much later with the advent of the district creation interface. This is a “What you see is what you get” style interface that will allow users without any development experience to borrow from a library of frontend and backend solutions and build their own marketplace.
What is the process of creating and implementing a district?
Not too different than a standard web application, from a high level.
We start with the backend, building modular pieces and snapping them together like LEGOs. We wireframe out the frontend user interface and attach it to the backend through an Ethereum TestNet.
We then test all functionality and refine as we go. We take the wireframe and apply much more design work and branding to it, and host public audits from well-known developers in the community to check the security of all smart contracts before launching to Ethereum’s MainNet.
district0x is one of the organizations that have truly seem to take the concept of a DAO to heart. Can you elaborate on the relationship between the DNT token and district governance?
We envision a network of marketplaces all built upon the same agreed-upon framework. The token, in the most basic sense, provides a unit of account of representation or “vote share” in a particular marketplace’s public entity. Token holders can stake any amount of their tokens into a district in order to receive governance rights and can vote to make any proposed changes.
The concept of enabling free access to all these decentralized marketplaces is very exciting. Tell us something about the team that not many people know.
Three of us – Joe, Brady, and I – all worked together on the same team at Coinbase, but all have very different backgrounds before that.
Brady (McKenna, community manager) is a musician, Joe (Urgo, co-founder and operations lead) played poker, and I studied physics. It’s amazing to see how well we continue to work together despite this.
In the district0x universe, supporters aren’t ‘users’ but ‘contributors’. How important was this concept of active ownership and participation in the early foundations of the company?
It is the most important part of what we’re doing. We can’t build what we set out to alone. Participation from the community is what drives the value of the entire network.
Our end goal is to build a system that can be completely turned over to network participants and doesn’t need to be maintained by a central team. We can only get there with a constant feedback loop and responding every step of the way.
Is sleep optional in the district0x family? Apart from rolling out new developments, you also keep the community active through your Rocket Chat group and your Weekly District Updates. What is the inner drive that fuels this extraordinary commitment to keeping the lines of communication open?
We were fortunate enough to raise funds from contributors all across the globe. In a sense, complete strangers placed their trust in us to deliver upon the vision that we communicated prior to the fundraiser. It’s an incredible opportunity that was not possible for anyone even a decade ago. It’s easy motivation to fuel the fire.
Value statements are notorious for consisting of little more than generic buzzwords that are not embodied by the company in question in daily operations. Yet when district0x says it’s driven by transparency, it shows in everything that you do. How do you express this value in running the company, and why is this so important to you?
It all goes back to us being completely beholden to our community members. Without transparency into our operations, our contributors and supporters cannot make informed decisions.
We are doing ourselves a favor really. By sharing developments every step of the way, it ensures that contributors can give consistent, relevant, high-quality feedback. If we kept everything under wraps, we’d get bombarded with requests for all the things we’re already working on.
One of the entertaining aspects about crypto – other than the FOMO-hype seesaw, of course – is identifying the rockstar companies. district0x definitely seems like one of those maverick organizations that’ll be on the “Best Places to Work For” list soon enough. Where’s the office and what’s the vibe?
We have no central office – we’ve got two team members in Cali(fornia), one in New Mexico, I’m in Michigan, as well as engineers in Belgium, Italy, and Thailand. We like to stay as distributed and autonomous as possible. We trust all team members to operate as needed to accomplish the goals, we don’t micromanage as long as results are there at the end of the day. That being said, a few of team members have been considering consolidating into a single space in the Bay Area next year.
As far as the vibe of the workplace day-to-day, we’re building a meme marketplace. What more needs to be said? I’ve never had a more laid-back and fun work environment.
If district0x were a person, who would it be?
It’s hard to pick a historical figure who doesn’t carry some kind of controversy these days, but Andrew Jackson comes to mind for his relentless pursuit of democratic ideals and individual rights.
If there’s only one thing that readers can take away from this interview, what would you like that to be?
Everything we’re experiencing across the cryptocurrency space right now is just the very beginning. We’re building a fundamentally new model for internet marketplaces built on top of a nascent technology stack. There’s a long road ahead for the space as a whole, and district0x is no exception. We’re marching down that road one step at a time.