Purpose of this post
Community feedback on a blockchain infrastructure index before developing the idea further. Please feel free to provide any comments or simply indicate whether you are generally for or against the idea.
Blockchain Infrastructure Index
The index would track Ethereum-based governance tokens issued by projects that are developing or controlling key aspects of distributed technology infrastructure. The index would primarily comprise providers of ‘middleware’ (and middleware-like) products and services, which are uniquely positioned to be both – (i) the construction crew; and (ii) the toll-booth operators – for the future of Web-3 and blockchain technologies.
An Index.Finance token tracking the Blockchain Infrastructure Index would provide a token-holder with exposure that is not limited to the Ethereum ecosystem, decentralised finance, or even public blockchains – as middleware technology is inherently cross-platform and likely to be equally necessary for Web-3 and blockchain deployments regardless of industry or setting.
Infrastructure categories (with example projects and protocols [note-1])
- oracles (e.g. Chainlink, UMA and Band);
- data discovery and analysis (e.g. the Graph, Dune Analytics); and
- user gateways and API management (e.g. Metamask, Zapper, Zerion);
- combining or interacting with different blockchains or sidechains (e.g. Layer 2s, bridges and wrapping protocols (Loopring, Matic, Keep Network, REN, etc));
- developer architectures and services (e.g. Gnosis, Keep3r, MythX, etc);
- governance architectures and services (e.g. Snapshot, Aragon).
[Note-1: Not all the projects in these examples have issued governance tokens – they are included as examples for discussion about the index only].
Anyone that has been involved in the privatization of a city’s power grid will tell you that the ‘wires, pits and posts’ are much more valuable than the powerplant. I believe middleware infrastructure is in some way the ‘wires, pits and posts’ of a blockchain’s ecosystem. Given enough size and the ability to deploy meta-governance across its constituent protocols, an INFRA fund could even guide the development Web-3 and blockchain tech generally.
‘Infrastructure’ is used in the title because it is better recognised than the term ‘middleware’. It would be great if the index could include elements that are not middleware, but I couldn’t immediately come up with any. Any ideas to include other parts of blockchain infrastructure in the index would be welcome.
For obvious reasons, indexes created for crypto-assets to date have been heavily finance-centric. As we all know, blockchain and Web-3 have applications outside of the finance industry. Unlike the big Decentralised Finance players such as Uniswap or Aave, established middleware players may just be ‘cutting their teeth’ on DeFi before moving to focus on the development of decentralised [insert any industry other than finance here].