Blockchain is the new wave of innovation. This space is inundated with great minds and outside the box thinkers. Many of them aren’t interested in fame and fortune, they just want to create something that could set new precedents and change lives.
It’s been ten years since the Bitcoin whitepaper was released, but only five since the launch of Ethereum, the likely catalyst of the enormous exposure the blockchain scene was able to garner. Ethereum made it simpler to join the game and transpose your specific skills into this world while leveraging the power of blockchain. Most smart people don’t have the skills required to create their own blockchain from scratch, and Ethereum was the first platform that you could build products on the blockchain without a vast developer skill set.
This is important because it opened the door for a new variety of thinkers from countless disciplines to enter the scene and use their discipline expertise to craft products that solve real problems, thanks to the powers of blockchain.
Times have since changed, but the message remains the same – development skills are not the only talent required to succeed in this niche world. At the core, creating a successful blockchain product is so much more than development. It’s just like creating a product in the traditional sense. You need designers, lawyers, marketers, developers, business consultants… the list goes on and on.
Today, what we can see is the importance of team diversity and commitment to product research. It’s not enough to just build a product with a small team. At the very least, a diversified set of advisors would be recommended so the product can be tried and shaped by various industry experts.
Even better is the approach taken by Kleros, known as the Fellowship program. In this program Kleros finds industry experts from around the globe to contribute to the advancement of their decentralized discipline.
The Fellowship of justice
Kleros is a decentralized arbitration system that is designed to be able to solve any kind of dispute using advanced crypto-economics and game theory. In short, Kleros will assign a case a number of decentralized jurors who are financially incentivized to rule the case fairly.
Two times a year Kleros runs their program, known as the Fellowship of justice, in order to find candidates from all over the world that are interested in progressing the power of their platform. The program has been very successful, with each iteration requiring a thorough due diligence process, including interviews, to process the sheer volume of applications and find candidates that were most suitable for the position.
Successful candidates then join the program and become interns for 2-6 months. In this time they contribute to the growth and progression of Kleros with respect to their professional discipline. The candidates will work with relevant core members of the Kleros team and conduct research that is specifically geared to further the Kleros vision.
So far the program has had three iterations, with the most recent beginning very recently at the start of April 2020. In true decentralized spirit, candidates are sourced from all over the world and are able to contribute remotely, or work from Lisbon if preferred. Each group of Fellowship candidates has been incredibly diverse, including entrepreneurs, high level attorneys, arbitrators from a number of specific disciplines, law students, economists, business and more. You can view the candidates selected for the third generation of the Kleros Fellowship here and judge for yourself.
What does the Fellowship mean for Kleros’ vision?
Kleros envisions themselves building the future of decentralized justice. Currently their platform is very impressive and certainly presents the capability to solve a variety of disputes while being completely decentralized.
However, as previously discussed, a working product isn’t enough to break the mould and have a worldwide impact, which is where the Fellowship comes in. With a constant flow of contribution and consulting from top minds sourced from different disciplines and cultures, one would assume that Kleros will be able to continually build and improve their product and move closer to their goals.
Therefore, it’s a very promising sign to see the Fellowship continuing through multiple iterations, and the professional interest in the Fellowship noticeably increasing each time. Cryptocurrency is filled with projects that have big goals, but the teams are disillusioned. They don’t really know how to get there. In Kleros’ case, they know they have big goals, and they are actively getting the world’s best minds involved to help them shape their product for success. One can only assume that constant effort from the Fellowship will have an astoundingly positive impact on Kleros as a decentralized arbitration system. There are very few crypto projects that have so many high level people involved.
One part of the Fellowship that specifically stands out is the flexibility. Kleros had an applicant in 2018, Tian Zhao, who applied for one field but ultimately joined the Fellowship for something different.
I initially applied to the cryptoeconomics track given its close proximity to the design discipline, however there wasn’t a fit for it. After a couple conversations however, they determined that they’d create a new track for me so that I can focus on digital product design (UX/UI Design/Research).Tian Zhao: My Kleros Fellowship Experience as a Digital Product Designer
This flexibility shows a real passion to grow the cause and also an impressive due diligence process that is designed to find real talent, not just meet numbers or agendas.
Networking is key
Beyond the Fellowship, Kleros is actively working to penetrate the LegalTech world and spread word of their visions. Members of the Kleros team have presented at some of the best Universities in the world, including Oxford, Stanford, Berkley, Columbia Law School and more.
When your vision involves building tools for the future, it’s extremely important to have a deep involvement with universities because that’s where the early adoption of innovations typically happens.
Furthering the academic cause
Kleros also has a handbook, titled ‘Dispute Revolution: The Kleros Handbook of Decentralized Justice’. This book is an important symbol of where Kleros’ priorities lie, which is research accessibility and discussion.
The book is full of household legal academics, including Colin Rule, who is sometimes referred to as ‘The Godfather’ of dispute resolution having created eBay’s ADR system some years ago and adds weight to the top minds backing Kleros as an online dispute resolution platform. The book was created to fuel further discussion about the innovative technology they were working on, hoping to spur further interest and teach people more about the power of decentralization. It’s not something you’d typically find a cryptocurrency project releasing, but that’s why it’s so interesting.
This book touches on the key things that make Kleros important and explains more about the nascent industry and how decentralized justice could disrupt traditional dispute arbitration. If nothing else, the handbook shows that Kleros is solely interested in advancing their technology and educating the relevant fields with what they are working on and why it’s important.
A redesigned, updated and further edited version of the handbook is soon to be released, so keep your eyes peeled.
By Alex Aves
You can follow Alex on Twitter here.
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