Why gCC invested in Agoric

Agoric Update:

Big updates from Agoric!

  • just launched Phase 1 of the Agoric Beta
  • currently in Phase 2 of our Incentivized Testnet
  • incentivized testnet had 6,300 applicants!

The beta extends alpha with some key future elements of the Agoric economy.

Beyond the Bet launch, Agoric has built an Ethereum Ecosystem Bridge, Oracle Support, Core Economy and Security System Structures (Staking model), and several DeFi components (legos) including examples of loan contracts, options, and an AMM in preparation for the march towards Mainnet.

Why we invested: The Team

It might get repetitive to hear but it doesn’t make it any less true. The Team.

As early stage investors we are always obsessed with the team and establishing conviction on teams. Agoric was no exception, but the team here is undoubtedly world-class and if anyone can achieve their “eat the world” level ambitions, this is the group to do it.

 Agoric’s team worked on smart contracts before the Bitcoin white paper was published, for example this seminal paper called Capability-based Financial Instruments by Mark Miller from October 2001, published in the 4th International Conference on Financial Cryptography which cites the seminal work of Nick Szabo in 1997 entitled Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks.

And chief scientist Mark Miller is one of the key creators and contributors to JavaScript along with Brendan Eich. He was also instrumental on the ECMAScript standards committee (TC39) in providing the foundations for development of Secure EcmaScript a standards track evolution that will make full capability programming available in JavaScript, seminal security work that is an essential underpinning of the programming model in Agoric.

Emphasizing the contributions of Agoric Chief Scientist Mark Miller in no way should detract from the contributions of founders like CEO Dean Tribble who has been a long time collaborator with Dr Miller and an accomplished technologist and computer scientist.

A nice quote from Agoric co-investor Zooko Wilcox, a thought leader in his own right, on the thought leadership of this team.

How we met

Evan met Dean in February 2019 at Stanford’s Blockchain Week, where he recalls the following:

“I met Dean at a post-conference event after he spoke on the last day of the conference. We had a discussion around the limited number of developers that could build securely on Ethereum at the time, the security tradeoffs of identity-based access models, what needed to happen to open this space to a larger developer base, and how Agoric was going to do it. Oh, and we talked about whiskey too. I gave him my card, and he reached out to set up an initial meeting a week later.”

After this initial meeting, Miko spent time with Dean and Mark and enjoyed learning about some of the shared history going back to Sun Microsystems and the mid to late 1990s expansion and consumerization of the Internet. Since JavaScript was born from a business deal between Netscape (Marc Andreesen’s company) and Sun Microsystems, we had a number of people and memories in common. More importantly, this established the Agoric team as deeply experienced and from the deep technology culture of that time.

Here is a link to an interview on the MikoBits show between Miko and Dean Tribble.

The Thesis: API Economy

Increasingly all Enterprises have become technology platforms and blockchains provide both a payment reconciliation ability through tokens as well as an automation function in smart contracts. We believe that the peak of the “API economy” is yet to come and will only be achieved by incorporating these technologies.

In order to fulfill this vision of a complete API Economy, we looked for the following key elements:

10x Expansion of Smart Contract Developer Base: Solidity is still the domain of highly specialized developers and security audit firms. Smart Contracts help automation payment behavior in the API economy and Agoric can expand the developer ecosystem by multiple orders of magnitude by bringing JavaScript, one of the most popular programming languages in the world as a first class language to smart contract development.


Combinatoric Reusability: True Money legos: The Agoric framework is based on the ultimate in both security and composability, which enables an exponential expansion in safe code reusability. Much like Node.JS and NPM contributed to the explosion of the popularity of JavaScript, Agoric’s framework contains both an NPM like modular reusability as well as a security framework for JavaScript that has already been in production at Salesforce.com in the AppExchange.

This combinatoric reusability thesis is supported here by Zaki Manian of Tendermint who called Agoric “Node.js for DeFi”.

We see Agoric as a combination of Node.js, React Framework and most importantly NPM, the Node Package Manager. Instead of resorting to the security and combinatoric complexity of Solidity, security assertions in Agoric depend on the framework and hence produce much more dynamic reusability and therefore developer productivity.

Analytic Data from the space

About 1% of the world’s programmers are proficient in Solidity and Rust, while JavaScript is the world’s most widely used language with over 80% of developer market share. Allowing these developers to access the world of smart contracts, build and re-use modules, and most importantly, do so safely, will expand the applications (and users) by orders of magnitude. 

The future

The present-day dominant programming model for blockchain is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and Solidity programming language. Obviously ETH has the most mature toolchain and developer ecosystem of all blockchains and is home to most significant DeFi and NFT projects.

Since we are still in the early days of blockchain, there is great opportunity to further develop and innovate in terms of the final programming model. We think that composability is one of the secret weapons that catapulted JavaScript to the top of the world’s programming languages and the ability to gain composability without sacrificing security is the secret that Agoric will bring to this landscape.

Enterprise B2B payments can largely be automated, and the infrastructure for automating payments will be smart contracts. This will provide a blue ocean of opportunity for Agoric and the vast sea of Enterprise JavaScript developers will enable Agoric to accelerate into this opportunity. We see the future of B2B as automated and we see the future of automation as inseparable from payment. Hence a secure, Enterprise friendly, highly composable blockchain and smart contract programming environment is needed and we believe Agoric will be the winner in this.

Author: Miko