Since its inception as a drawing board concept in 2014, Tezos has not just looked at existing concepts and asked "why", it has actively considered alternatives and asked "why not". These alternatives include democratic governance by users (rather than dominance by miners/blockstream), formal verification, an intensely security focused and proven programming language, robust scalability, proof of stake that stubs its finger in the eye of the mighty mining community, opportunities for developer funding through a proposal system, Z-snarks privacy and a dedicated and experienced team in finance, programming and crypto. Many in the industry including Zcash's Zooko Wilcox, Emin Gun Sirer, and Bitcoin "OG" wunderkind Olaf Carlson-Wee have been early backers and advisors.
In a further quirky and awkward move, Tezos completed its ICO earlier this summer without a single ad, sponsored story or gimmicky price traps that some others have employed. It actively discouraged the price speculation, quick flippers and whales that have dominated the ICO landscape of late. Rather than the ridiculous forward looking promises you see in some ICO's, the Tezos reddit forum basically told people that they wouldn't make quick money and not to expect such. While many expected that to negatively affect it, it became the highest grossing ICO of all time.
As the drumbeat of its approach to formal introduction grows louder and louder, it continues to differentiate itself. Today, Tezos announced that it had secured $50 million dollars in VC funding for developers and startups building on the Tezos platform (announcement can be found here: https://www.tezos.ch/august-update.html#august-update).
This approach is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it provides an excellent incentive for developers to look to build on the Tezos platform. Second it shows dedication by the Tezos founders and $50 million dollars is no trivial sum (and this is the FIRST round of money...before the chain even launches....how much will be secured in subsequent rounds?).
A second reason why this is interesting is that it once again sees Tezos swerving left when its older Ethereum brother is veering right. The Ethereum model is to encourage "DAPPS": developer built apps on the Ethereum platform, but using their own coins. Tezos is effectively saying, build on our chain and use our coin - and you can still get funded.
On the one hand, Tezos is not permitting the kind of "flash and grab" shady, but insanely profitable, ICO's that we have seen of late where people seem to be reverting to the old travelling snake oil salesmen who pitch a wonder drug that is really only water. The ICO's that we have seen coming from Ethereum are basically selling guest passes to use their network but maintaining the equity for the system in a different company-this is not only a harbinger of significant future potential issues, its also, in my humble opinion, deceptive and unfair and my experience is that the universe tends to eventually deal with unfairness (call me an idealistic philosopher if you want). Tezos has quite rightly not wanted to deal with that sort of practice and is building a much more supportable, fair and understandable route. It of course does not prevent comapnies from tokenizing their equity if they wish as well.
But that overlooks the arguably more compelling reason for the move: the network effect. Every time someone builds a DAPP on Ethereum, they raise money on Ethereum, dump it and then use a different coin - thus detracting from Ethereum's network effect (it's widespread use - which also affects the accessibility, convertibility and importance in the system of the main coin...as well as the price of the coin).
The importance of the Tezos move should not be overlooked. It remains to be seen if the Tezos model attracts the right projects, but it certainly seems as though it could and $50 million is no small sum to start with when the coin has not even launched yet.
If it isn't clear by now, I like Tezos....I really like Tezos and I have great admiration for the project. As much as I called for Ethereum to rocket in earlier articles (and it has), and as much as I called for a bull run in NEO (and it has went up between 500-600% since then), I have to say that Tezos is another project that I am very sweet on. It's difficult not to be a bit in awe of a project that has built a new system from the ground up, with solid and unique features, common sense and respect, and avoided the flash in the pan, get rich quick tendencies that so many others have fallen for. Further, a set of founders that love their chain more than their control - so much so that they are willing to set it free to the democratic mass is a thing of beauty.
Have a read over this portion of the Tezos fundraiser terms and conditions that the founders imposed on themselves (I won't provide any further comment on them because I think that they are self-explanatory in their fairness):
DLS has taken proactive steps to limit the Foundation’s risk in this acquisition, specifically:
• The Tezos blockchain must launch and operate successfully as a public blockchain for a period of three months before DLS’ shareholders can receive any compensation for their shares.
• It must work substantially as described in our white paper and technical papers and be consistent with the features described to the community prior to the fundraiser.
Only at this point, and not before, DLS shareholders may exercise the right to receive payment for their shares.
Payment Structure and Contrast to Common fundraising practices
It has become common in fundraisers, or in token generation events (TGEs) for founders of entities selling tokens to reward themselves, in addition to their token allocation, via salaries with little or no accountability and oversight and in a manner that doesn’t reflect the viability of their product.
In contrast, payments to DLS are contractually prescribed via the following criteria, which are being shared publicly and in advance of the fundraiser:
• No payment will be made unless and until the terms in the preceding section of this document have been met.
• Once met, DLS’ shareholders will receive 8.5% of the contributions made during the fundraiser.
• In addition, DLS’ shareholders will receive a 10% allocation of the tokens in the genesis block, placed in a smart contract that will vest monthly over a period of 48 months.
These criteria represent a far more transparent and equitable reflection of the reality of the transaction.
Those who know me know that I like to invest in things with value, great teams and long term prospects. As a long term hold, it's very difficult not to be very excited about Tezos. To the moon!