Learning the key concepts and primitives of a system are essential to understanding its potential and limits. Once a technology becomes mainstream, we often forget the numerous concepts that stack on top of one another in order for us to understand exactly what something new is.
Take the Internet for instance. There are concepts like browsers, routers, WiFi, IP addresses, urls and websites. There are also higher order concepts like email, spam, and instant messaging. There are even higher order concepts like handles, profiles, messages and comments. It's very difficult to understand why something like spam matters if you don't understand what email is. Similarly, it's difficult to understand what email is if you don't know what a web browser is. If you attempted to string together a bunch of these concepts in a sentence to the average person in 1993, they surely wouldn't have had a clue what you were talking about. This is important framing when endeavoring to understand Zero.
Like the Internet, crypto, blockchain and distributed computing (or what is commonly referred to as 'Web3'), introduce many novel concepts that are worth taking the time to understand deeply. Among these are concepts like wallets, cryptographic keys, mnemonics, contract addresses, DAOs, bonding curves and NFTs (to name only a few). An explanation of these concepts is outside of the scope of this Zine, however if any of them are foreign at first glance, it may be a signal for further learning. Time is speeding up – and more discipline, energy, and focus will be required in order to stay relevant with the changing order.
In this Zine, we will introduce three of the primary concepts that make up Zero.
Concept 0: Zero (Ø)
The story of Zero is an ancient one. Once hailed as 'a dangerous idea' — scholars, scientists and mystics alike battled over its significance for millennia (Charles Seife (2000) 'Zero'). Despite its initial rejection in the West, from this void emerged the very foundations of modern mathematics and scientific progress.
Zero (or 0, Ø) itself represents both the widest available possibility space and the most fundamental primitive that is Zero. Zero itself is recursive, fractal, and Infinite. Zero is the fundamental substrate from which everything in Zero is created. It represents all constituent concepts, components, communities and raw material that give rise to its existence. In simple terms, 'Zero' is used as a general reference to all things Zero, and can be used to create more Zeros.
If the scientific notion for a Googol is 1 x 10100, the scientific notion for Zero is 𝑥n = ∞. Zero is not a company, and therefore is not bound by conventional practical limits. It is an idea, one in which anyone can own or run with. You can't create a copy of Google or Facebook. There are legal, operational, and technological boundaries that prevent that from being possible. You can however, create your own Zero.
It is important not to confuse Zero with 'zerØ', for one represents a concept and the other represents an instantiation of a concept. Instantiations of Zero are formally referred to as 'Zero Hosts', and are tasked with providing end-to-end services that make interfacing with Zero easy.
'zerØ', and in particular zer0.io, is a reference to the first publicly available instantiation of Zero, which is managed by The Last Entity, Inc. In order to achieve widespread resilience and diversity, individuals are permitted (and highly encouraged) to run and operate their own Zero Hosts, providing they abide by the Zero Constitution and governance protocols.
Concept 2: Infinity (∞)
If you were to imagine Zero as a body, you can imagine Infinity as its life force. Practically speaking, Infinity is a utility token on the Ethereum blockchain that is used to facilitate transactions within Zero.
Unlike many cryptocurrencies that generate value through 'fees' that must be paid in a native currency (as is the case with Ethereum's gas), Infinity generates value by enabling a network of tokens that is based on a 'fractal fractional' reserve system. The purpose of this system is for it to operate auto-poetically (i.e. in a way that is fully self-sustaining), and to push any and all excess value generated by the system back to those participants responsible for creating value. Value can be generated by a number of means, and does not need to be distributed using standard templates for compensating founders, employees, investors, contractors, partners or members (in Zero, we refer to users as 'members'). Instead of selling member data in exchange for member attention (i.e. advertising), Zero's economy is based on the exchange of digital (and especially 'virtual') goods. Digital goods (or tokens) can represent code, design work, animations, 3D art, music, functionality, bandwidth, compute, real estate, system usage and/or any form of member content.
Infinity enables communities to easily launch tokenized economies on Zero in minutes. This could be a group of 3D artists, a guild of programmers, a remote company, a community of parents, a school or digital government wanting to more effectively coordinate resources online. Tokens launched on top of Infinity are referred to as 'Network Tokens'.
With each purchase or sale of Infinity or any Network Token, Infinity is algorithmically minted or destroyed, and funds are either sent to or returned from the Infinity reserve. The reserve and token accrue value as more capital is held by the reserve. This process makes Infinity's supply elastic and infinite, as well as immediately responsive to real world supply and demand. This particular pattern in Zero is referred to as a 'Dynamic Token', which introduces the novel concept of a dynamic reserve within a traditional bonding curve. This enables the token and governance system to efficiently manage the amount of reserves needed to stabilize the token price, ensure liquidity, and provide a sustainable long-term mechanism for funding the entire Zero ecosystem.
Unlike an ICO, the Infinity market capitalization at t=0 will be zero (i.e. $0). This enables genuine price discovery to occur in order for the market to properly value Zero. This is in stark comparison to how ICOs were structured in 2017. During that timeframe, projects often chose an artificially high offering price and utilized scarcity tactics (like auctions, hard caps., and short funding windows) to drive up the amount of capital they brought in.
This in turn artificially (and temporarily) inflated token market caps, which gave startups way more capital than was needed or responsible. These were mostly 'fiat', or 'fixed-supply' tokens, in which none of the actual capital generated by the sale was used to 'back' or stabilize the token economy. In most cases tokens generated as a result of token sales were just sent to a contract controlled by the project founders. As a result, most prices tanked immediately after the ICO mania subdued, and still have not recovered.
Zero utilizes the opposite approach in terms of how the token economy and funding model is architected. The economy starts at $0, but is immediately liquid as capital begins to move into the system. This is achieved by tightly coupling Infinity to an existing and highly liquid underlying reserve currency. As the economy matures, Infinity lessens its dependence on the underlying currency (like a plane taking flight), and frees up excess liquidity to support in the growth of the overall economy. This structure is fractal, meaning all Networks on Zero can use this architecture recursively, to launch virtually any type of digital community or token.
Given this entirely new possibility for automated liquidity at scale, many industries and asset classes will rapidly begin to tokenize (sort of like companies waking up in the late 90s and realizing they needed a website). We are about to witness the emergence of an entirely new type of digital economy, one in which nearly anything and everything can be valued, traded, and monetized.
Concept 3: Trinity
'Trinity' represents the system responsible for the management of Infinity's reserve as well as general governance across the Zero stack and ecosystem.
As the Infinity reserve grows in value, Infinity's reserve ratio can be adjusted by the Trinity through a special contract call. This process enables excess liquidity to be 'transferred' from the reserve to Zero's governance system, where it can then be redeployed to further grow the Zero ecosystem. This governance mechanism is incentivized to create value for the network, resulting in a positive feedback loop, where capital generated is able to be efficiently redeployed to those most capable.
Trinity is made up of three primary DAOs, each of which have their own process for managing Zero's collective resources:
- The Community: This represents all members across all Zero Networks (also categorized as Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes).
- The Guild: This represents all builders who are actively creating on Zero. E.g. writing code, designing software, growing Zero, etc.
- The Council: This represents a minimum of six and maximum of twelve publicly elected Zero officials. 50% of these officials are appointed by the One Foundation, Zero's New Zealand-based charitable trust, and 50% are appointed directly by the Community.
Each member is an authorized signer of the Trinity, which is a gnosis multi-sig on the Ethereum blockchain. A reduction to Infinity's reserve ratio, as well as any fund transfers to the Trinity's DAOs, requires a minimum 2/3 vote by the Trinity signatories.
The governance process for each DAO is established locally. As funds move from the Infinity reserve to the Trinity, and then from the Trinity to the Trinity DAOs, a holonic structure of governance emerges, enabling local groups to determine the appropriate (local) distribution model for funds under their stewardship.
In this Zine we covered the three primary concepts behind Zero: Zero, Infinity, and Trinity.
First, we spoke about the notion of Zero itself, and its first instantiation, zer0. Second, we discussed Infinity and its unique properties, including its bonding curve, dynamic reserve, and starting market cap. of $0. Third, we spoke of the Trinity – Zero's primary governance system which is made up of three primary DAOs: the community, the guild, and the council.
There are many more nuances, specifics, and details we could continue to explore, however this feels like the right place to stop (for now). In subsequent posts we will explore each of these concepts in more depth, as well as introduce related concepts that will make these concepts make even more sense.
If you are still craving more detail after this, please check out the Zero Whitepaper.
From Zero to Infinity,