Messari

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Messari
Messari.jpg
Founded 2018
Headquarters New York, NY
Key People Ryan Selkis (Co-Founder, CEO), Dan McArdle (Co-Founder, CTO)
Employees 5-10
Products Cryptocurrency research and data services
Twitter @MessariCrypto
LinkedIn Profile
Website Messari Home

Messari is a startup company that seeks to promote transparency in the crypto space by creating an open-source data library for "cryptoasset" or digital asset companies. This library can be used by researchers, investors, and regulators. Co-founder and CEO Ryan Selkis has suggested the project may eventually be used to create a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for cryptocurrency.[1][2]

Background

Messari was announced in October 2017 as an open-sourced database for "cryptoasset" companies, especially ones pertaining to digital tokens and/or cryptocurrency.[3] In February 2018, Ryan Selkis announced that the project may eventually create, in addition to such a database, a "token to self-regulate tokens," or a self-regulatory, token-powered regulatory organization.[4] The company secured an estimated $1-5 million in seed funding in March 2018.[5]

Selkis has said that the Messari team is modeling their site after Crunchbase, a website known for its comprehensive database of companies worldwide, "from startups to the Fortune 1000."[6][7]

Messari began populating the database with a team of four researchers, who added basic information like geographic location, and the names of founders or early investors of different crypto companies. This information included links to web pages or messaging platforms where investors could find project updates, like blogs or groups on Slack or Telegram. Selkis said that Messari will also track how a team manages the funds it raises, possibly by linking to wallets used to store those funds and reporting the project's balance sheet. These reports will include predicted annual inflation for the pertinent coins.

Messari collects data through a few different means in addition to conducting its own research. It also uses third-party data providers and collecting self-reports from crypto development teams. By March 7, 2018, 40 volunteers from hedge funds, financial firms and universities had agreed to help populate the database.[8]

Overview

Messari was originally conceptualized by Ryan Selkis in October 2017 as an open-source, or publicly-available database for "cryptoassets," similar to EDGAR, the SEC's public database for securities, as well as the website Crunchbase.[9][10] This database contains pages which list basic details about crypto companies, such as their mission statement, the nature of the products or services that they offer, and an explanation of the technology they use. Currently a number of companies have project profiles available on the "Research" page of their website, including Polymath, VeChain, and 0x.[11]

This database is regulated by a system that uses digital tokens, called a "token-curated registry," or TCR.

Token-curated registry

A token-curated registry is a source of information that is run by a select group of people who hold digital tokens native to that registry. Any member of the public can access this information database for research, educational, or personal use.

Although the tokens in such a system do not carry any monetary value and cannot be traded for other digital tokens, having them is still valuable. Being awarded a token in a TCR is a sign of trust from other members; it's like a badge that certifies your integrity and the quality of your work. It also gives you the power to vote with the rest of the token-holding community. Community members who have more tokens than others have more voting power, giving them more say in voting in new members, deciding to change details on a company's page, or removing content.[12]

For example, let's say you're working on a hot new blockchain protocol - that's your product. You want to improve the transparency of your company's activities, and maybe even get a little extra marketing buzz about your product. You decide to submit a proposal to Messari - you pay an application fee, create a page for your company and your product, and submit it to the Messari community of token holders for approval. Messari's token-holders look at the information, do some research to validate everything you've written, and vote on whether to accept you into the community. If everything you wrote is verified and the community members decide that you and your company fit their standards of transparency and integrity, they give you Messari tokens, which allow you to vote on community matters, as well as create and edit content on your company's page. It's also a public mark of quality - like a restaurant being awarded a Michelin star.[13]

Co-founder Ryan Selkis says he expects Messari's community to consist of a "diverse mix of the major global crypto stakeholders."[14]

Architecture

Messari's database is open-source, which means anyone can access it. Contributions are made by members of the Messari community, who are vetted by Messari representatives prior to registration and publication of their data.[15] The Messari community consists of people who fall into four categories, which are described in the company's whitepaper:[16]

Applicants are people who wish to disclose information about a company to the Messari database. They submit project disclosures to the Messari community and apply for inclusion in the community through a smart contract on Messari's database, or "whitelist." They also pay application fees, which - if their application is accepted by the community - are ostensibly used to purchase Messari's native digital tokens. If their submission is accepted, they gain digital tokens and thus the right to publish and modify their project's pages, though the Messari community also has the right to propose alterations to those pages.

Consumers are people who access the database. They represent the typical "customer" or "client" role in Messari's business.

Curators are people who get Messari's digital tokens from other "curators." This gives them the right to vote in favor of new applicants and their project pages, vote for alterations or the removal of content from project pages, and vote for amendments to the TCR's constitution. They set Messari's standards for page content, as they are incentivized to attract "consumers" by making sure a page's content is of high quality. They can also assign "Validators."

Validators are people designated by "curators" to quality-check Messari's "whitelist" for a fee, like a proxy advisor in the equities market. While "curators" have a similar role, "validators" are members whose job it is to do the bulk of data validation for Messari. In other words, their job is to focus on finding problems or pages that need improvement so that "curators" can focus on, in addition to data validation, casting votes and screening "applicants."

Self-Regulatory Organization

Messari was designed to be a free, open database that runs on a system of "automated compliance." Ryan Selkis said that such an organization "may offer the best chance we have at creating a self-regulatory organization for the industry." He has said he expects this token-curated registry, or TCR, to consist of a "diverse mix of the major global crypto stakeholders," and that such an organization "may offer the best chance we have at creating a self-regulatory organization for the industry." As of June 2018, Selkis admitted that at this stage, the project is "subject to change."[17]

John Lothian News

Messari was highlighted in a recap of Consensus 2018 by CryptoMarketsWiki Contributing Editor Chuck Mackie. You can read the article here.

References