Fetch.ai decentralises the active parts of the economy: autonomous economic agents representing data, hardware, people, devices and more all co-operating to solve problems for you. From transportation, through energy, self-driving vehicles, supply chains and hospitality, these agents work seamlessly, tirelessly, and get things done free of human intervention.
The decentralised network we have designed and built to support this new economy and its utility token, FET, must also be governed in a decentralised way: it is the network’s users and stakeholders who must ultimately make the choices on technology changes and other important governance decisions.
This is additionally important because it prevents us from making decisions that the community neither want nor support. Getting to true decentralised governance, with proposals and voting, is more important than ever given the risks in the world today. It ensures that we can promise whatever crazy proposals we want, but the community is there to stop us from setting fire to the bridge we are standing on. That’s governance, and the fastest— safe — steps we can take to get there, the better it is for everyone. Even the mere chance that we could make what is arguably a wrong, and worse still, a centralised decision is a risk that we have never wanted: let’s face it, we’d operate a centralised client server database application if we did.
Best laid plans
As part of our incentivised test-nets, and the up-coming mainnet version 2, we are super excited to get the wraps off this process: submission and voting on these important decisions and publishing, refining and implementing the start of this future governance.
To do this, we need to release a new smart-contract for the FET token. For most people, this would be seamless and require no interaction, but we had expected to weave it into staking V2.0 when our mainnet version 2 was released and have been planning on that basis (indeed, our from roadmap has made this this clear for some time).
However, recent events, in particular the KuCoin hack (see item 4 in this blog post — protect yourself), have shown that it is more important than ever to put serious consideration into putting in place some of the upgrades and functionality required for future governance sooner rather than later. As a result, we have been reviewing the issues surrounding bringing forward this smart contract upgrade.
The lightest of clouds, but lined in silver
One of the key issues is that of staking. Version 2 of our staking contract, originally due for release on the 1st October 2020, is a major step forwards for us: it enables participation in incentivised testnets, provides the connection between ERC20 FET and our testnet tokens and development, and is a huge leap towards increasing utility of the FET token for everyone. It’s flexible, powerful, and works for you: but there’s one small catch — if we upgrade the token’s smart contract, we have to stop and restart staking. This would never have been an issue with our previous plan, as we’d have done that anyway when we moved to mainnet v2. But for now should we decide to perform this upgrade, it represents a major inconvenience for our users, particularly the increasing number of developers. As a result, we’ve taken the decision to pause the launch of staking v2 for just a short period of time — a matter of a week or three — whilst we do what needs to be done.
The immediate steps
So what does need to be done? Firstly, nowhere in the history of the human race did any situation ever improve when those involved decided to panic. Knee-jerk reactions rarely lead to good outcomes, and it is vitally important to us — as it always has been — to do the right thing. That’s the right thing from a legal and regulatory perspective, the right thing for all our partners, the right thing for all those that support us at exchanges, and the right thing for our rapidly growing community of builders, supporters and HODLers.
We’re on the case. And we’re on it with the full force of all the expertise that we have and that we have access to. Our new smart contract is ready, and we’re getting it audited so that you have the comfort of knowing that it has been reviewed independently. Of course, you can see it for yourselves, too. We’re talking to everyone we need to talk to and we’re looking at ensuring that what we planned to do anyway is incorporated into this process so we don’t need to do it again in a few months. Indeed, we hope never to do this again. Likewise, we’re taking proper legal advice to ensure that what we are doing and how we’re doing it is correct. This stuff is important: you don’t leap a fence without checking that there isn’t a 100 metre drop on the other side.
Now it gets even more exciting
This is an incredibly exciting time for Fetch.ai. Our new staking, all the amazing things being built using agents in zoning, delivery, hospitality and more, new user interfaces and tools to make it easy for everyone, our incentivised testnets, new partnerships… it’s shaping up to be a great end to the strangest of years.
We will keep you all posted on progress. We’re doing this and reaching a decision as fast as we can, but not so fast that we drop any of the many balls that we have to hold. For those of you holding FET on exchanges and in your own hardware wallets, an upgrade would be seamless for you, except a brief pause/resume in deposits and withdrawals in the case of exchanges. If you’re in our existing Fetch.ai staking that ended a month ago, then it’s worth getting around to taking your tokens out as soon as you can do so.