Proposal: meTokens - The DeFi "Fair Launch" of Personal Tokens

Thanks so much everyone for having us on yesterday’s call! It was awesome to be able to share with MetaCartel all the progress that meTokens has been making. For anyone who was not on the call, feel free to drop your questions below in the thread and I’ll be sure to answer them as quickly as possible.

meTokens

An automated market maker to create, secure, and exchange personal tokens

Problem

It is easier to predict who will be a successful person than it is to predict what will be a successful product or company (Source: Naval). Unfortunately, there is no way to invest in people directly even though they are the source of all value creation.

Solution

Economically sound personal tokens. Investors should be rewarded for staking money on a person early on if, later, they become more productive or popular.

Conversely, people who are staked upon should experience an acceleration in the rate of their attainment of success as a direct result of their token holders’ involvement.

Overview

Product

  • Create your own meToken
  • Invest in others’ meTokens
  • Spend your portfolio of meTokens with their issuers on goods and services
  • Redeem your meTokens for their underlying collateral
  • Know that everything is economically secure

Progress

meTokens launched an alpha version of the protocol on mainnet in April 2020 as the first official project to come out of the Raid Guild. The initial deployment operated as a proof-of-concept to validate the hypothesis that collateralized personal tokens, issued by a novel “discount” AMM, could feasibly operate on-chain. The experimental design proved functional and garnered a loyal initial user-base.

While technically functional, the alpha revealed a significant number of opportunities for improvements, including:

  • Vault-AMM partitioning - coincidentally, an innovation also converged upon simultaneously in Balancer V2’s upcoming release
  • Dynamic bonding curves - a new AMM primitive which dramatically expands upon Billy Rennekamp’s original proposal from 2018
  • Governance & liquidity mining - meTokens was originally designed to avoid governance at all costs in favor of pure self-sovereignty. However, since Apr 2020, enough experiments have taken place throughout DeFi to recognize the increased efficiency and coordination that can take place when a governance token is incentivized and distributed correctly without compromising user security

Each of these innovations has been rolled into a completely new version of meTokens, which is currently in the final stages of development, along with a brand new, more content rich, social dapp platform. All of which will be made open source upon release.

Differentiation

meTokens are critically different from any other personal token design because their supply and distribution is managed entirely by a custom built AMM, not a centralized issuer. The AMM ensures that all meTokens are properly collateralized with real underlying value, and that this value is predictably skewed in favor of a single address recipient - the “owner” of the meToken.

The owner of the meToken is provided with no special administrative privileges, which allows meTokens to remain uniquely trustless - an important feature when considering how meTokens ought to achieve composability with the rest of DeFi.

Ask

9,500 DAI & your help

Funds

meTokens has taken 0 funding to date. It has all been built out of pocket and through generous early contributions from Chris Dixon, CarlFarterson, MetaDreamer, Ven Gist, Darren Mills, Sam Kuhlmann, and the rest of the RaidGuild family.

The requested funds will serve as a bridge to launch the new, ready-for-prime-time version of meTokens. Expenses include:

  • Design and branding - proposal from Raid Guild members Lucas, Bingo, & Tom
  • Governance, airdrop, & liquidity mining contracts - proposal by Crypto_Unico
  • Compensation to additional MetaCartel & RaidGuild volunteer contributors (TBA)

None of this grant will be retained by the core team members. It will be spent immediately to get the product closer to shipping.

Help

We would like to invite any and all community members who are interested in contributing to reach out in the comments below or on discord. meTokens needs to be a community owned protocol and we are happy to reward community members with governance tokens and additional funding in exchange for contributions. Current tasks in the pipeline include:

  • Integrating 3Box, Ceramic, theGraph (and building a subgraph)
  • Solidity contributions, code review, or audits of the meTokens-core codebase
  • UX Design to review or contribute to the figma boards and meTokens-interface codebase

Furthermore, in the event this proposal is passed and meTokens opens a Community Contribution Offering, MetaCartel members will be included in the whitelist of contributors.

Team

  • Chris Robison - Founder, Architect // Twitter
    Formerly contributed to Mastercoin, Hoard, OMG Network, and Golem Foundation. Cohort alumni of ODF5 and GitCoin KERNEL II. Spoke at multiple ETHGlobal events, the Ethereum Community Fund, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, DevCon and more.

  • CarlFarterson - Solidity Dev // Twitter, GitHub
    DAO maximalist: auditor of WhalerDAO, KarmaDAO host, lead dev for SaltAndSatoshi, and founder of Web3 Best Practices code review distributed group. Presently contributing as an AMM engineer at Arrary.Finance and firmer technical writer at ConsenSys Diligence.

  • Geronimo - Full Stack Web3 Dev
    Previously worked as a software engineer at a handful of mobile app startups prior to crypto. Formerly has contributed to Celsius Network, CoinMetro, and CoinList.

Additional Resources

1 Like

This has my full support, I’ve seen @CBobRobison and his team heads down building since ETHdenver, starting with RaidGuild and watched them continue building with the right focus and the right architecture in mind.

I believe MeTokens are going to bring huge value to the creator economy and thus drive the creator economy futher into Ethereum :money_with_wings:

2 Likes

Listened to the presentation last week and agree that yall are moving in the right direction.

One thing I’d like to discuss is the overlap with ideamarket.io product, and some concerns I have with them, which I didn’t see answered. I’ve used with their app, and from a patron’s perspective the “pitch” is the same as yours- investing in long term success of a single person.

First, I think you’re doing a good job putting the meToken creator in the cockpit. This is something that I don’t like about with ideamarket, since it feels like the beneficiary’s funds just “land” in their wallet without their input. I also think you’re doing a great job keeping the token mechanics simple, and foresee many people learning what a bonding curve is from your app (yay education win!)

The first concern I have is the “now what” question. After you deposit funds into an IdeaMarket and get your tokens, now what? It gives the feeling that they aren’t doing anything. Its boring. Its very 2019 Defi. The same applies here for meTokens. There needs to be an answer for “now what”. Whether that’s staking/locking/pooling it doesn’t matter, as long as it gives the feeling that the meTokens I bought are doing something and not sitting idle in my wallet. This is something that we are striving for at Spendless, and I believe is important for all new defi projects.

And my final concern is that L1 is just not the place to be right now. Gas fees are just too damn high and I would hate to see user adoption hindered by this for such a great new product. When IdeaMarket launched, it cost $400+ gas to create a new market. Not fun at all. Plenty of great on-ramps to L2s now, and you don’t seem to be dependent on any external protocols for the initial product. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to build on L2. If your answer to this is “bridging”, then you’ve just added unnecessary complexity to something that doesn’t need to exist on L1.

Looking forward to seeing where things go! +1 for Raid Guild :crossed_swords:

2 Likes

Awesome questions @pi0neerpat

Mike from IdeaMarket reached out to me last September via TG to discuss using bonding curves for stocks and commodities. After being in contact, he cancelled our meeting and pivoted the project to personal tokens. So on that note, I believe it’s best I don’t comment publicly on their model, except that I understand your concern.


One thing I will admit is going to be tremendously difficult for meTokens to overcome is that I branded it early on as a “personal token” project (and to some extent I still believe this may be the best path forward). I branded it this way at the middle-end of 2019, before “personal tokens” or “social tokens” became a trend early last year. The consequence of this is that it is now easy to overlook what makes meTokens special because most people got exposed to the idea of personal tokens through the models of other projects, which are very much like how you described - reminiscent of older, more primitive DeFi projects (or even pre-DeFi projects). When people hear the term “personal token” now it becomes very easy to quickly dismiss it as something basic.

If I were to break the project down to a more fundamental level, I would actually describe meTokens as dapp for payment derivatives; not for personal tokens (per se). The reason why this was simplified to just be called a “personal token” project is because people get paid. Ergo, people are the best initial demographic for whom to create payment derivatives. However, you could just as easily imagine creating payment derivatives for groups or companies, like e.g. Quantstamp for solidity audits, RaidGuild for front-end development, or MetaFactory for sweet, limited edition DeFi swag. You could even create similar derivatives for protocols or commodities, like eg, using an oil future to go fill up your tank at the gas station.

Payment derivatives are a necessary, but currently neglected, part of the DeFi economy (and actually in all of economics as a whole - they currently don’t exist anywhere afaict). All economies are bascially based on (1) earning money and (2) spending money. DeFi, however, is currently only focused on innovating upon the side of the market that deals with (1) earning money (yield farming, lending protocols, leveraged trading, etc). Virtually none of it creates efficiencies around (2) spending. This is the BIG opportunity for meTokens (and Spendless :wink:)

Right now the DeFi community spends their hard earned yields on things like:

  • Employees
  • Contractors (eg, DAO Raids)
  • Exchange/website listings
  • PR/Promotion
  • Advisory Stipends
  • Conference organization
  • Hackathon prizes
  • Audits & Bounties
  • DAO pledges/tributes
  • NFTs

But none of this can currently be paid for with leverage. That’s what meTokens enables.


meTokens plugs into the rest of DeFi to complete the full economic loop of earning & spending. As you’re earning yield with yDAI, for example, you can commit it as collateral to speculate upon the future demand of the labor of your favorite web3 dev tool builder.

When I hold your meToken, the “game” to be played is very a different one than the earning games of DeFi. meTokens is a spending game. It becomes a game of who can spend at the best rates for the most value. The custom AMM automatically creates discounts in the pricing of a person’s services based on natural market behaviors. It’s like if DeFi could calculate for Gamestop exactly when they should start running sales on their old inventory. If you can time your spending correctly using this market functionality, you can get an awesome amount of value from another person at a discounted rate. The best part is: that person still get paid their full, fair market, expected rate. Not the discount rate paid for by the spender. The discount is subsidized by market fees from speculators.

For folks who want to just hold their portfolio of meTokens long term, however, have no fear. There will be familiar DeFi games for you, too. Can’t leak the alpha quite, yet. But it’ll be fun and HIGHLY social.


On the topic of L1 vs L2. I believe Andrew Lee said it best:

Screen Shot 2021-03-29 at 10.29.57 PM

Regardless, as described above, meTokens are actually dependent upon and become more efficient when connected with the rest of DeFi. For this reason alone, meTokens need to be on mainnet L1. The only thing I’m genuinely interested in moving to L2 at this time is governance. Although, I believe this is a little premature atm.


Looking forward to seeing where things go! +1 for Raid Guild :crossed_swords:

Thank you :pray:

1 Like