EVMavericks were born, almost as if by pure necessity, by the culmination of an evolutionary force out of the powerhouse culture that is Ethfinance. For those unfamiliar, r/Ethfinance (and its predecessor r/Ethtrader) were the breeding grounds for many prominent & upcoming thought leaders, influential voices and giga brains at the “Layer 0” of Ethereum: DCInvestor, David Hoffman from Bankless, Anthony Sassano from the Daily Gwei, Superphiz, Liberosist (Polynya), the list goes on.
In spite of the success Ethfinance has enjoyed in recent years, it too had tumultuous beginnings. Its predecessor r/Ethtrader was the home for many Ethereans but in short order and as if almost overnight, the moderator team became fragmented. The lead moderator stripped several other mods of all authority without notice, and created division within the team for his questionable approach to the distribution of Donuts (reddit points with monetary value) within the community.
As if “prophetic”, this rift led to jtnichol, AdamSC1, and other moderators to form a new subreddit, leading an unprecedented mass “exodus” of over 10,000 users literally overnight, of which I was one of them. And thus, Ethfinance was born; culled from the hundreds of thousands of users of Ethtrader, a refined remnant of believers in the decentralized permissionless maxims of Ethereum.
Fast forward to 2021, Vitalik Buterin publishes a paper titled “The Most Important Scarce Resource is Legitimacy”. In it he gives examples of how a social community “force” was able to successfully stave off a bad actor on the STEEM blockchain (Justin Sun) through social consensus alone by creating a fork of Steem, removing Justin Sun’s tokens, and having all other users migrate over. He also alludes to the fact that this social force is also what collectively determined the Ethereum chain to be the “legitimate” chain, and Ethereum Classic to be the fork following the DAO hack.
All things being equal, within the blockchain ecosystem the motto “code is law” is generally a well-received and respected concept. However, it became very apparent that even code had a Master it was indebted to, a Master embodied by the enigmatic social force we have come to know as “Legitimacy.”
It would logically follow then that “Layer 0” and “Legitimacy” would no longer simply be buzzwords but actual forces of nature within the blockchain. They themselves become an application, a “money lego” of the system they seek to govern. And just like any money lego, its power can be drawn upon, harnessed, optimized, integrated and mobilized for the improvement and advancement of the Ethereum ecosystem.
It would also be true then, that social consensus, especially amongst an intellectually informed, appropriately aligned and motivated group of individuals could stand to be a great and potent force for good within the broader Ethereum community. Thus, the idea of EVMavericks was born; joining together the virtues of Ethfinance with the power of on-chain cohesion and coordination.
To put it simply, EVMavericks were created as a way to capture and “imbue” legitimacy on-chain.
The name EVMavericks was inspired by the Ethereum Virtual Machine moniker:
The Ethereum Virtual Machine is the engine that powers the Ethereum protocol, and so Ethereum Virtual Mavericks would be what power the Ethereum community.
The term Maverick was chosen to embody the spirit and vision of Ethfinance, namely a community of leaders; trailblazers who stand firm in the ethos of crypto and share a common vision for the future. "Maverick" also means an unbridled animal, or "free.” Looking around at the crypto landscape seeing apes, penguins, etc all these communities that relied entirely on hype, future promises, all without purpose or vision, It was clear that the power of a community led by ideals was being drastically underestimated. Thus the lion image was born, a fearless and free animal, to represent the core of who we are.
Once the idea was set in motion, and the collection of NFT’s created, a way was needed to capture the “essence” of our community.
Through a novel and ingenuous approach, all subreddit data was scraped and analyzed to build a list of the top users of Ethfinance that would be eligible to claim their EVM’s as recognition for their contributions. As a tribute to our fallen brother EZPZ, the full pride would be comprised of 1,324 EVMavericks.
Although not perfect, the beauty of the distribution and methodology was that it could not be gamed, it was not something that could be attacked by bots or manipulated. Through several years, every regular Ethfinancier was slowly earning his right to an EVM, without ever knowing it. It was something akin to Bitcoin’s “immaculate inception,” unburdened by outside agency, incentives or influence.
However it was not all sunshine and rainbows.
In the early beginnings, strife arose. Mistakes were made by myself and others, differences of opinion, miscommunication and lack there of led to debates over royalty structures, intellectual property rights, intentions of the project, even stirring up old wounds from the Donuts debacle suffered years prior. EVMavericks almost did not survive.
But we have. And we will.
Our industry is currently plagued by a short sighted, blind, Darwinian approach to investing in decentralization. The working theory being that the most sound technical projects will win out in the long run, and while that may be true, the status quo allows for much greater risks along the way than is necessarily required. This is primarily due to disproportionate financial incentives existing that encourage unsustainable, centralized, or ponzi structures as opposed to their decentralized, sound counterparts. The plain fact is that honest decentralized systems almost always cannot compete with ponzi-like or unsustainable ones by nature. Almost nothing legitimate can.
So if we cannot effectively through financial means incentivize adoption of sensible and sound protocols, we can instead through social means “delegitimize” the protocols that are not.
Terra Death Spiral: Many tried to warn users of the “broken” mechanism to establish the UST peg should Terra enter a death spiral that it would eventually become unsustainable under the right conditions, but the short term returns were too great and therefore enough incentive to ignore sound logic and warning.
Solana & Centralization: The Solana chain has repeatedly halted, restarted, and shut down for extended periods of time. Solana has an extreme centralization issue and while that reality exists, users should be well aware that their funds and assets have a significantly “above 0” risk of being compromised. However, incentives to use Solana because it is fast and cheap seemingly outweigh sound logical warnings.
Lido & Staking Provider Centralization: Lido is approaching a 33% node share of the Ethereum beacon chain. Lido was able to achieve this by having all of their nodes run by only 22 operators, as well as giving users a readily available liquid staking token derivative. Any single entity exceeding these levels would be encroaching on the territory of becoming a bad actor. To quote Superphiz the “most obvious outcome of allowing centralization on the beacon chain is an attack against the chain.” The incentives to utilize Lido as a centralized solution for the individual are great, but no parameters exist to protect the chain itself from the existential threat of these centralizing entities outside of the voices of the people themselves. We are the decentralizing parameter of the chain.
These are just a few examples but all of these protocols (Terra has already fallen) if left unchecked and unchanged, may pose great harm to the crypto community and its future.
But why fight or endeavor at all? Simple.
Decentralization and censorship resistance are the mechanisms through which the people take back their sovereignty of value and money, and thereby freedom.
Make no mistake, Bitcoin came into this world as an act of war, against a corrupt and broken financial system.
If we do not fight for the values and survival of decentralization, then who will?
We are the voices of the one crying out in the wilderness make straight the way, we are the Paul Reveres riding in the night warning the British are coming, we are the ones we have been waiting for. No one “else” is coming to save us.
This is why EVMavericks were created, to be the force that counter balances toxic systems and incentives and actively fights for the future and sovereignty of our money, and by definition our freedoms.
Those who would imply any sort of necessary social governance highlights the inherent flaw of a system would by definition choose to sooner enslave themselves to an unfavorable economic paradigm, for the sake of the system and keeping its “law.” However man was not created to serve the chain, the blockchain was created to serve man.
As of this writing, the Mavericks are 1,000+ holders strong, with a thriving community emboldened by our ability to rise out of the ashes of the fire endured at the onset of our formation.
While on the brink of extinction, very much like Ethfinance once was, rather than being crippled by adversity the Mavericks have overcome and in a short time have formed a fully fledged DAO (ManeNet DAO), launched an inspired inaugural podcast, successfully put together a proposal and raised funds for a future Stake-a-thon initiative through the Ethstaker grant, experimented with fractionalized NFT’s (Roary) introducing innovative liquidity to non-fungibles, developed a robust and thriving alpha channel, helped amplify the voices of those in our company championing client diversity as well as staking provider diversity to bring the conversations to the forefront, and most importantly have given a unified voice and identity to a powerful and influential body within Ethereum.
But we are just beginning. I would never bet against a community whose ethos, intellect, and resolve is as cohesive, resilient, and tried by fire as ours.
Make no mistake, decentralization will not arrive at our doorstep as if by carrier pigeon or Amazon prime, it will have arrived through much adversity and opposition.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
They have ignored us, and they have laughed.
Join us in the fight.
May this Lionpaper serve as both a testimony and a challenge to the realizing of our potential, and the future indelible mark the Mavericks will leave on Ethereum.
Our mission as ManeNet DAO
To advance the decentralized Ethereum Web3 ecosystem by aligning shared member incentives with funding, developing, and promoting public goods and education.
ManeNet DAO envisions a world with a long-term, self-sufficient, and regenerative cryptoeconomic landscape. We see an ecosystem with a greater symbiotic effect between its protocols and users; one that enables sustainable and reliable public goods funding for projects that need it most.
ManeNet DAO emerges from the culture of open-source software, the foundation of Web3. ManeNet DAO treasury allocates funding towards public goods that honor this ethos, through avenues such as Gitcoin. We want to set an example for future Web3 communities: contribute to the infrastructure that underpins this space while still providing value to your members.
The current technological landscape of Ethereum is a world of opportunities with increasingly complex innovation. ManeNet DAO will host and distribute knowledge so the community can remain on the cutting edge on this new and exciting frontier. The foundation of our community has always been education. We have a history of teaching each other, and we want to extend our tradition of discussion amongst intellectually honest peers to a wider audience.
We value decentralization in all aspects: of the network and of power. ManeNet DAO actively supports a distributed Ethereum and works to amplify its resilience, as well as incentivize decentralization in existing and future projects. We believe that decentralization is a means to provide freedom, fairness, and open access to every person.