Open social graphs and the ownership opportunity (/memo)
0x6e20
May 31st, 2022

Marbel is a web3 native communication platform. We built Marbel as a better way to foster collaboration between DAO members while allowing them to build their digital identity with their contributions. DAOs can host hubs for their communities, where each tokenized community features a Discourse-like discussion board. This is a one-pager that summarises the core premises, product, functionality and growth prospects.

The problem: DAOs are missing a native coordination layer

The current coordination infrastructure used by DAOs is relying too heavily on web2 solutions. Solutions that look like enterprise SaaS instead of multiplayer. Why is it?

For once, the lack of alternatives makes the switch impossible. Communication tools like Discourse and Discord have been filling the gap for crypto communities with increasingly apps and bots to power their communities or API calls to offer their centralised content.

We all know saw what happens when the tools we use depend too heavily on centralized players (See Aave Founder being blocked by Twitter or Bankless DAO channel being blocked by Youtube).

Crypto-native communities deserve crypto-native software. User databases are siloed, there is no cross-chain reputation and solutions are missing on new frontiers enabled by crypto.

And we’re early. DAOs remove the barrier for the five billion internet users to trust and coordinate capital with anyone on the internet. According to DeepDAO, there are 4.8k DAOs with $10B treasury and only 1.7M token holders! More crypto-first coordination tools are required.

  Check a user on the MakerDAO Discourse.

The same user on multiple Discourse forums will lose all this information and start from scratch.

The solution: Marbel and incentives

We’re ready to go one extra mile. We can reinvent the way people communicate, develop and coordinate ideas. Marbel is an opportunity to build a decentralized communication layer on top of the onchain social graph.

By building Marbel, we add social, collaborative, and productivity components that, otherwise, would exist in different off-chain silos. Tools for feedback, voting and decision-making will emerge for every user.

On our initial PoC we developed an implementation that leverages Lens protocol to create a place where community members can share and discuss relevant resources for the community. We also show what sets of information are to live on the blockchain and what others are to be stored in IPFS.

Live demo (testnet)

Vision

Social protocols will define how people organize and how culture flows by allowing digital-age coordination at scale. Open social graphs are the crypto-native approach to rearchitecting the traditional tech stack.

Moving from Enabler to Grower

Community tooling has evolved immensely in the past 2 years. But there is a clear distinction to make when it comes to incentives. Marbel is designed to fall nicely under the Grower label. Marbel helps contributors take the next step, with modules to increase the value of the end-user.

The ability to own your contributions and bring your badges with you means that people can now build their reputation on their own terms. The days of waiting for someone else to decide whether or not you are worthy of recognition are over.

With an open state database, everyone can see who has contributed what, how often they contribute, and how much value those contributions have created for others. This approach was not possible before because it would take too long for someone else to verify the validity of one's contributions using conventional methods like peer review or other forms of verification by third parties.

Join our discord if you want to collaborate with us:

Core Overview

We choose to build on Polygon due to its low-cost transactions. This is because even with Ethereum rollups where transaction costs are over $1, low-value transactions such as following and upvoting would not be economical.

Moreover, we expect to use content management protocols like Ceramic (content storage on top of IPFS) and Lit Protocol (privacy via content access control) to manage and store content file data.

Using a social graph protocol like Lens allows us to use the implemented core primitives in a composable fashion.

Lens is extendable and EVM compatible, which means that developers will be able to add features on top of the core primitives that will expand even more the capabilities of Marbel. This approach is clearly distinct from social graph protocols like DeSO and the full stack application dm.xyz

The Marbel loop

Our strategic starting point is in the discussion for protocol DAOs. We believe Protocol DAOs are the most resilient and active in the ecosystem and dominating that niche will be a great starting point.

Part of our core metric is developing liquidity over scale early on. Building enough value for crucial DAOs to migrate operations to another platform at once.

Key features

On-chain interactions will also bring novel ways to interact with DAO members. Specifically, we envision this is a novel approach to community aligned metrics where contributors will be able to prove and benefit from being actively involved. Developing an on-chain reputation through these interactions will play a key role for the participants of any digital economy.

Applications like Discourse monetize through subscriptions. Marbel, however, isn’t limited to the direct selling of licenses or subscriptions. Marbel modules will be pre-configured to serve different functions, such as targetted airdrops based on the social graph, sentiment analysis on the community or access to gated sections.

Communities have to rely on tools like SourceCred to encourage and activate their community by rewarding their most active users. Opening up collaborators to earn cash implies that economic value is not derived from speculation, but rather from commerce. This evolves into tipping capabilities or even curate2earn dynamics.

Once the social graph is formed, the relationships are unforkable, which cements the social graph in the network and attracts other protocols to service the revenues and utilize potential undercollateralized aspects.

Challenges

At this point, there is no doubt about how powerful are the open social graphs. Owning your engagement and identity is a no-brainer for anyone starting the journey in web3. WE’ve identified 2 challenges that will need to be overcome in a relatively short time:

  • Technological challenges. Any meaningful social network would produce significant transaction amount that far exceeds the current chain throughput. Because with Lens the state of every retweet, post comment, etc, is a transaction, there needs to be a sustainable model of gasless transactions through relayers. There are some open questions whether subnets or token incentives can balance out these costs.
  • User Experience. Web3 has for long relied heavily on the desktop experience. But we know that mobile is by far the preferred way to access communication. Finding the optimal balance between connecting identities and engagement in DAOs will also revolve around clean and intuitive products.

Final thoughts

With Marbel we see a legitimate opportunity to bring the next wave of users to crypto. Contributors who are genuinely interested in collaborating and working with others and be accountable for it.

Marbel it’s an opportunity for DAOs to finally engage with their community in a meaningful way. Social and crypto are powerful and so are the gamified ramifications of including an open graph of our contributions.

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