Black Sky Nexus - OVO Grants app

Applicant

Project: Black Sky Nexus
Twitter: BlackSkyNetwork

Project Manager: stellarmagnet
Twitter: stellarmagnet
Discord: stellarmagnet#2769

Gnosis Chain Beneficiary Address: 0x0ea4eAE4881f0825f4E09D7A5e8dAb54774f4884

What

Black Sky is an emerging DAO on a mission to minimize dystopia and maximize harmony within the cosmos. Our aim is to organize a large-scale network of individuals who utilize crypto technologies to initiate change towards mitigating the damage nation states and corporations have imposed on the human experience.

We are currently a small collective of writers, researchers, artists, engineers, technologists, and DAO contributors who are launching Black Sky Nexus, a wiki and zine, for the purpose of developing relevant resources to promote greater engagement and community around the following topics: large-scale networks of cooperation; open source resources for new crypto explorers; the role of technology and privacy in the evolution of human rights; how crypto can benefit the arts and vice versa; new modalities for healing the ecosphere; humanity’s relationship with the cosmos.

The zine and wiki will be translated into languages outside of English based on demand, prioritizing languages associated with authoritarian regimes to assist individuals in autocratic societies achieve greater financial freedom through a crypto-focused internet resource and publication. Initially we plan to provide support for English and Mandarin.

For detailed elaborations on some of the primary topics covered by Black Sky Nexus, review our full proposal: Black Sky Nexus Proposal

Check out a preview of Black Sky Nexus (English only at the moment): Issue 00000000 | Black Sky Nexus

Why

With the mainstream adoption we are seeing in cryptocurrency, we are also seeing the loss of cryptocurrency’s cypherpunk roots and the more paradigm-shifting benefits that can be enabled if a more well informed crypto counterculture existed.

Additionally, the crypto community has created many resource guides in the form of blog posts or Notion spaces, but these resources cannot be easily edited, enhanced, or expanded upon by others beyond the original authors.

Black Sky Nexus aims to be a resource that can engage both newcomers and wisdom keepers alike, to discuss alternatives to venture funded organizations, plot out futures where we have minimized dystopia, and to offer educational guides on overlooked topics such as privacy, and so much more.

Black Sky Zine will include resources from the wiki, in-depth inquiries, informational articles, embedded NFTs, in addition to comedic or sci-fi extrapolations, taking inspiration from Mondo 2000, The Whole Earth Catalog, EXTROPY, and CCRU.

Black Sky Wiki will curate, host, and develop open source resources with the goal of becoming a leading internet source on providing guides in which experts can continually contribute new knowledge as the crypto community and blockchain technologies each evolve. The Wiki will initially focus on resources for those interested in learning about cryptocurrency, contributing to or founding DAOs, creating NFTs, and having more privacy or anonymity.

How

Distribution

Articles and resources will be added to a digital “pre-print” zine on a regular basis. Black Sky Nexus will initially be created using an open source tool such as MKDocs or mdBook, with articles and resources written in Markdown so it’s easy for other people to edit the resources. It will be hosted on a centralized server yet will also be mirrored on IPFS (or other decentralized storage systems) for decentralized access.

In the future, it might be important to build a tool that is more catered towards maintaining a decentralized wiki and zine hybrid publication, that’s easier to contribute to than updating git files, although this is not our immediate priority.

Note: We are currently using Docusaurus for the preview that is currently live, but would like to move away from using a product maintained by Facebook.

Licensing

Grant funding received will be used to commission original content that will be licensed as CC BY-SA 4.0. In general, the majority of written content for the zine and resources will be CC BY-SA 4.0. The only exception may be for pieces that are curated such as works of writing or original graphical art that may be showcased, where the copyright is actually managed and retained by the artist.

We also see some content eventually becoming CC0 where it seems attribution isn’t necessary and there are many contributors to a resource.

Languages

The initial languages supported are English and Mandarin. As more funds are raised for this project and the community grows, Black Sky Nexus hopes to be able to target other languages, especially ones associated with authoritarian regimes to assist individuals in autocratic societies achieve greater financial freedom through a crypto-focused internet resource and publication.

Physical Zine (Future Plan)

Black Sky Zine plans to become physically distributed as a way to develop into a financially sustainable project. The physical zine will be printed with eco-friendly materials, where possible and financially viable, and sold online. Language translations and shipping locations for the physical zine will be prioritized based on demand. Physical zines will include at least two pages of cut-out pages that includes the QR code that links to a copy of the free digital zine issue that people are encouraged to continue sharing and passing on, creating a physical viral mechanism.

To be able to better manage costs related to the print initiative, one idea is that once there are at least 1,000 interested customers for a particular language/region, an order can be placed with a regional printing partner.

Progress & Validation

Black Sky Nexus has been bootstrapped to date. We just have released a preview here which provides a taste of the type of content we want to produce and research: https://nexus.blacksky.network/

All of the content is maintained as markdown files and hosted on Github:

We are in the process of fine-tuning some of the content before we share it for broader reach on social media. We are also considering moving towards a self-hosted Gitlab instance to reduce the reliance on Github (until the project transitions to something more decentralized). Funding can definitely help make everything better!

We are currently in talks with leaders of Gnosis Guild, discussing broader ecosystem-wide wiki projects, and got requested to apply for a grant when they open their program in a few weeks. We aim to collaborate and synergize with the community surrounding ZODIAC.WIKI, as opposed to duplicating efforts.

Team

We are currently a growing collective of writers, researchers, artists, technologists and DAO contributors. The main editors of Black Sky Nexus are Stellar Magnet, E. Øss, and Sun Deep. Additional contributors are Giulio Prisco, @Typto, Wadada, and Koldghost.

Read our team bios and learn more about Black Sky here.

Beyond the team members listed, contributing to Black Sky Nexus will be open to members who join our Discord community and have the appropriate knowledge and skills. Join Black Sky’s Discord.

Funds

We are seeking funding from DAOs, foundations, private donations, and NFT sales to produce the initial content for Black Sky Nexus and to build a community of contributors around the project. The initial project budget is $130,000 but we are applying for 10,000 xDAI in funding from the OVO Grants program to cover part of Milestone A of the project.

If it’s not possible to successfully fund the entire project from the initial wave of grant applications, the scope can be reduced to deliver less articles - see the Funding Milestone table in the next section.

Ideally enough funding will be received in total to produce 24 articles, which is an estimated amount of content to create a 100 page print publication in the future. This would include:

  • 4 in-depth research reports (20-30 minute read)
  • 20 medium-length general articles / resources (5-10 minute read) - which can include informational articles, interviews, open source resources/guides, comedy, and sci-fi.

Budget Details

Project duration: 26 weeks (6 months)

  • 20 medium-length articles/resources: $1,000-2,000 each (avg: $1,500) = $30,000
  • 4 in-depth research reports: 120hrs each @ $75/hr = $9,000 each = $36,000
  • Supplementary media (Graphics, Design & Video Editing): 360 hours @ $50/hr = $18,000
  • Project Management & Production: 240 hrs @ $75/hr = $18,000
  • Marketing, Social Media: 200 hours @ $50/hr = $10,000
  • Copyediting: 152 hours @ $50/hr = $7,600
  • Mandarin Translation: Avg. $400/wk= $10,400

Funding Milestones

Funding Milestone Total Deliverables Estimated Completion
A - $60,000
  • 2 in-depth reports
  • 6 medium-length articles
  • English & Mandarin
14 weeks
B - $97,230
  • 3 in-depth reports
  • 14 medium-length articles
  • English & Mandarin
20 weeks
C - $130,000
  • 4 in-depth reports
  • 20 medium-length articles
  • English & Mandarin
  • Decentralized Hosting
26 weeks

Estimated Completion is based on the date in which we receive sufficient funding for the milestone.

What the Funds Are For

While Black Sky Nexus hopes to cover a wide variety of topics, we would love to hear feedback on your topical preferences, while also hoping to retain our autonomy so we can act more creatively as necessary.

Research projects(s)

Recommended Ecosystem Action Items for Greater Privacy in Ethereum

Black Sky Nexus will complete a blockchain ecosystem analysis and survey, to provide recommendations on the next steps that should be considered to bring greater privacy in Ethereum. We hope to answer the question: should there be crucial protocol level changes that are adopted sooner rather than later? Or should the greater emphasis be in equipping Ethereum developers with more tools, SDKs, and patterns to develop private applications?

First, we will analyze technologies and teams that are at the cutting edge of developing or enabling private applications or L2s on Ethereum and the tradeoffs being made.

Next, we will analyze more privacy-native smart contract chains such as Mina, Espresso, Aleo, etc. and how they solve for the tradeoffs (if they do).

Based on the two analyses, we will create a survey that will be completed by at least 50 individuals, including Ethereum protocol developers, Ethereum dapp developers, Ethereum L2 developers, and privacy developers external to Ethereum - to properly gauge the sentiment on the preferred path that the Ethereum ecosystem should adopt.

Development Guide to Increase Decentralization of Crypto Tools and Maintain Cypherpunk Roots

Black Sky Nexus x HashCloak collaboration

MolochDAO was the first organization that funded Tornado Cash and now Chainanalysis oracles are being added to the product. It is likely we will continue to see these dark patterns emerge if the ecosystem standard includes a front-end hosted on infrastructure that is operated by a US company (see Uniswap).

It’s important to equip Ethereum application developers with new development patterns that will enable open and easy access to these important tools, that have great UX and aren’t integrated with protocols like Chainanalysis. The crypto community should not be trying to appease to the military industrial complex. We believe that desktop apps are the solution that will enable the tools being funded and developed within the crypto community to uphold cypherpunk ideologies.

We want to create a guide that will explain how to create not only more privacy preserving apps with such a development methodology, but also apps that are less at risk to regulatory capture. We will use Tornado Cash as a case study in creating this more generic guide. The main areas we plan to optimize for in this guide are:

  1. Decentralization
  2. Privacy
  3. User Experience

Hopefully this can eventually lead towards an SDK for people to easily build decentralized desktop apps or a team that wants to take on building a truly decentralized version of Tornado Cash.

Blockchain Network Decentralization Rating

Leveraging the work from Nic Carter’s master thesis on “A Cross-Sectional Overview of Cryptoasset Governance and Implications for Investors” and responding to this Moloch DAO RFP we will analyze the top 10 blockchain networks with smart contract capabilities, based on market cap, and assess the dimensions of decentralization to come up with a rating system that can be applied to the networks.

We will release each analysis as completed, per blockchain, and then compile the results into a final report.

We will also create one page infographics and entertaining videos to make this content accessible to the general public and to educate people on the importance of decentralization.

The results of this work will be hosted in Black Sky Nexus’ open source repos, where further analysis can be applied for more networks and can be a living resource that is continuously updated and refined.

Dystopia Minimization Framework

Technology has the property of always being a double edged sword. How can we better guide technological development to minimize dystopian outcomes?

We propose the development of a Dystopia Minimization Framework or DMF. The initial idea is that the DMF will contain a list of 20 qualities that a project or idea can be evaluated against. 10 of these qualities are considered “dystopian” whereas the other 10 are considered “utopian” qualities. Each dystopian quality that is valid for a project will get -1 point, and each utopian quality that is valid will get +1 point. The DMF score is a sum of these points. Hence if a project / idea scores -10 it would be highly dystopian, whereas if it scored +10 it would be highly utopian, whereas 0 would be neither.

This project will involve:

  • Defining the 20 qualities
  • Defining the recommended score to be considered a project / idea that minimizes dystopia

We hope for the DMF to be a tool that other teams can use before deciding to implement an idea and that a community grows around enhancing the framework. One potential path can be a DAO where projects apply to receive a “Dystopia Killer” badge, to more virally signal an intention to minimize dystopia (inspired by the organic foods movement).

Open Source Guides

  • How to anonymously contribute to a DAO
  • How to anonymize Ethereum
  • How to start a cooperative DAO
  • Conflict resolution resources and methods
  • Privacy considerations for transacting in cryptocurrency
  • Operational security resources for holding cryptocurrency in personal custody

This list is not comprehensive, nor final, yet it provides a general idea of our vision.

Articles

  • Funding cooperative DAOs by streaming yield from DeFi collateral
  • Survey of zero-knowledge cryptocurrency protocols, apps, and tools
  • The Zcash Community Advisory Panel’s Role in Governance (and what Ethereum can learn)
  • When DeSci meets ITAR and OFAC: how can science truly become decentralized?
  • Crypto, energy, the environment, and freedom
  • Deep Dives: Large-scale networks of cooperation with TAOs
  • Present day manifestations of “Cyberdelic” culture and early internet predictions
  • Maintaining the countercultural roots of cryptocurrency
  • How can crypto advance extraterrestrial research?
  • Metaphysical applications of blockchain technology
  • The potential of a decentralized space program
  • The ways in which cryptocurrency can increase the accessibility and adoption of alternative healing methods
  • How crypto counterculture can make “starving” a less common prefix for artists
  • Strange Transmissions: speculative fiction projecting Black Sky into the future
  • Galactic DNA Test: Discover your Planetary Heritage, and other fictional product advertisements
  • Crypto Advice Column: I think someone in my DAO is hot and I want to date them, is that a bad idea?

This list is not comprehensive, nor final, yet it provides a general idea of our vision.

Additional Resources, Links, etc.

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When official proposal? Can’t wait to vote yes for it!

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Hello OVO Grants / DAOSquare community: thank you so much for approving our grant request!

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