ICO Analysis: Kleros

Thousands of decentralized applications in tomorrows economy will rely on smart contracts to settle disputes by arbitration. The problem right now is smart contracts are incapable of making subjective judgments or factoring information from outside of the blockchain. Existing dispute resolution technologies are slow, expensive and unreliable. For DApps to gain mass adoption, they need a fast, transparent, reliable and decentralized dispute resolution mechanism that renders ultimate judgment over the enforceability of smart contracts. Enter Kleros.

Kleros is a decision protocol layer Dapp built on top of Ethereum. It works as a third party to arbitrate disputes, relying on game theoretic incentives to have jurors rule cases correctly in a fast, cheap, reliable and decentralized way. As the economy becomes more globalized and digitized, Kleros will become a key piece of legal infrastructure with a large number of applications providing arbitration for virtually everything

Arbitration will happen on apps built on top of Kleros protocol, or in a service provider that will access the Kleros protocol through an API. As the ecosystem becomes more mature, some applications will specialize in finance, others in e-sports, others in sharing economy, others in energy disputes and lots of other use cases.

Below are some project vitals:

  • Escrow: It can be used to have the smart contract reimburse the buyer or pay the seller.
  • Insurance: If an insurer doesn’t validate an event, a dispute resolution process would ensue.
  • Crowdfunding: Backers can send their money to Kleros instead and have Kleros judges determine when predetermined milestones are met before they release some of the funds.
  • Oracles: Kleros can be used as an oracle to bride the gap between the outside world and blockchain.

The following image shows an example of what a future Kleros ecosystem might look like. The imaginary companies FairInsurance will specialize in insurance applications, Enerjustice in energy disputes, and TravelSafe in travel disputes.

The Kleros Ecosystem will serve many different interests, including:

  • Parties: The people who may have disputes to solve, will reduce their counterparty risk.
  • Jurors: skilled evidence evaluating observers will earn arbitration fees for their work.
  • Platforms: According to the team, platforms “will use Kleros because it solves arbitration problems better than the alternatives”
  • Entrepreneurs: DApps in e-commerce, freelancing, sharing economy, crowdfunding, etc. will want to use Kleros because it provides fast, affordable and transparent arbitration.
  • Developers: They will contribute to the development of Kleros’ open source technology.

Token

PNK is a utility token. It’s required to protect the system against Sybil attack and to provide jurors an incentive to adjudicate disputes honestly.

In order for a juror in the Kleros ecosystem to be elected to settle a specific dispute, he must deposit PNK. The more PNK deposited, the higher the likelihood of being selected. Jurors who don’t deposit any tokens cannot be selected to settle disputes.

All jurors ruling a case collect fees paid by the arbitrating parties(in ETH). Token redistribution creates the incentive for jurors to vote honestly by using a Schelling Point.
To learn more about the token economics, check out page 4 of the whitepaper.

In the first token distribution event, 16% of tokens will be sold to the public. Buyers who purchase tokens early will receive a 20% bonus. The bonus decreases to 10% at the beginning of the withdrawal lock period and then goes to 0% by the end of the crowd sale.

The token distribution is as follows:

  • 18% Team Members
  • 16% round 1 of token sale.
  • 4% Airdrop (already occurred)
  • 50%Subsequent Rounds and Juror Incentive Programs
  • 12% Kleros Cooperative Development Reserve

Another 50% will be sold in the future as the team reaches milestones in project development and for juror incentive programs.

Founders and team members commit to work on the project for three years (from the time they started) or would have to reimburse a proportional part of their allocation (or everything if they leave before one year).

Allocation of funds is listed below:

  • 45% Product
  • 25% R&D:
  • 10%Ecosystem:
  • 10.00%Communications:
  • 5%Operations:
  • 5% Legal.

Kleros will be running a unique style of token sale, proposed by Vitalik Buterin, called IICO (Interactive Coin Offering). Learn all about it here.

“IICOs are designed to be more egalitarian than conventional public sales. One of the guiding principles of the IICO model is that it eliminates favoritism and deep discounting. We have declined private sale offers, electing to proceed directly to a public sale in which everyone has an equal opportunity to acquire tokens at the same rate. Instead of making one large sale in one round as most projects, the sale will be done through multiple rounds as we reach critical product milestones.”

The sale breakdown is listed below:

  • Stage 1. May 15 to June 15. 20% bonus and the contributor can manually withdraw the contribution without penalty.
  • Stage 2. June 15 to July 1. The bonus starts to decrease linearly and the contributor can manually withdraw the contribution WITH penalty.
  • Stage 3. July 1 to July 15. The contributor cannot withdraw the contribution manually. Only automatic withdrawals.

Team

The team from France looks young and inexperienced on paper, but in reality, seems highly capable and well connected. They have been to pretty much every major Ethereum conference over the last year, including Consensus in New York this week. Look at all their activity here.

Federico Ast:  Co-Founder. He is very active on medium. I can tell he’s the real deal. Ph.D. Entrepreneur. Blockchain & Law. Singularity University GSP16. TEDx Speaker. Coursera Teacher on Blockchain, etc.

Clement Lesaege: Co-Founder COO . A young man who interned at three different companies from 2012-2016 then was a smart contract security freelancer for one year.

Nicolas Wagner: Co-Founder. A freelance developer since 2013 and another young guy. He was recently a developer for Dether.IO.

Three advisers, including Mitchell Loureiro, who is the Head of Marketing at SingularNet, Steemit, Byteball and Ardor.

Partners include Dether, Ink Protocol and a Thomson Reuters Incubator.

The Telegram has 7,000 members. Twitter has 6,000 followers, but only single-digit likes and retweets.

Verdict

Kleros is a very much needed protocol that connects users who need to solve disputes with jurors who have the skills to fairly settle them. There are many more technical details in this project that haven’t been touched on. Its clear from their explanations that they know what they are talking about, have clear goals, and a manageable roadmap. The team’s inexperience does not seem like a problem, because this project isn’t trying to do too much.

“As the ecosystem matures, Kleros will prove that it can deliver fast, affordable and transparent justice in a growing number of use cases. More customers bring more entrepreneurs, more jurors, more developers and an increasing number of use cases. The community will build the ecosystem on top of an open protocol. And this is how decentralized justice takes over the world” (Federico Ast CEO)

Risks

  • It’s so early in the development of DApps that it makes it hard to visualize enough use cases to make this ecosystem run. -1
  • Lots of inflation – only 16% of the tokens will go to funders. The other tokens will be sold either in the future as the team achieves critical milestones or as an additional incentive for early jurors in the platform.-1 
  • There is no hard cap, as IICO is a market-based method. This means that the revenue from the token sale will be determined by market forces. -1

Growth Potential

  • The CEO spoke at Consensus, which is a big deal. +2
  • They have an MVP you can learn more about here.  And here’s a video of it. +2
  • Early partnerships with top companies, including InkProtocol and Dether and Thomson Reuters Incubator.+2
  • Kleros could easily be integrated with existing platforms (decentralized or not) with users being taken to a dispute resolution screen where they may never know who was arbitrating their dispute. +2
  • One of the Telegram devs stated: “Actually, even Vitalik knows of Kleros quite well. He and our Cryptoeconomics researcher William had a very interesting discussion on  http://ethresear.ch/about Kleros and some of the functions of the protocol.” The link is private, so we cant confirm if this is true, but it seems true. +1

Disposition

Although this isn’t the sexiest of projects, it is one of the most important. It provides a court system for DApp users when smart contracts are incapable of settling disputes, which will be often. No better solution has been presented.  6/10 is our rating.

Investment Details

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Author:
Joshua Larson is also known as the "Bullshit Man" for his ability to spot it a mile away. Avid ICO researcher and contributor. Former professional poker player/backer. Spent 10 years analyzing hand history, stats, and player data. Discovered blockchain in late 2016, and never looked back. He now uses his analysis skills to investigate ICOs full time. What a perfect match, because in today's crazy world of ICOs, information, passion, and diligence = dollar bills!