This post is from an email that I sent out to my newsletter. It has been heavily forwarded I wanted to share it here.

This week has been very interesting. The apocryphal blessing/curse “may you live in interesting times” is in full play.

I have 2 quick things to discuss here – with the hope that it may help you understand things a bit better and that you can help your own community:

  • Many have reached out about the Sovrin Foundation’s notice that it is shifting to a fully volunteer-run mode that has added to the pile of interesting things. I cover my thoughts and opinions here. 
  • The world is in a very different state than we are used to. As leaders, we need to step up but knowing what to do is hard. I have a tool to share that I received from my coach. It is called The “Scary Times” Success Manual and I think you will find it helpful. I certainly did.

Sovrin Foundation Status

For clarity, I am writing as Darrell, founder of Continuum Loop. My opinion as CTO of CULedger isn’t any different but I don’t want you to think that I am speaking for CULedger. I am speaking as a member of the Sovrin community. 

I’ve been inundated with questions and queries about the current state of the Sovrin Foundation and what it means for Sovrin. People and companies that I advise are extremely concerned and want some information. 

The fundamental question boils down to “should I keep using Sovrin”. 

I am a hard yes on that one. 

I’ll be relatively short in this note as I want to get some key thoughts out early. More will come but this note should serve to get some thinking going and, hopefully, allay some of your concerns.

For those that have reached out I have been sharing an evolving statement along the lines of the following:

First off, this note isn’t about how we got here – it’s about where we are right now and where we’re heading. We are staring at a situation where the Sovrin Foundation is not in financial shape to continue operating as we are used to. That’s raised your question.

Sovrin is still the only identity ledger that I would bet on. This is a freaky place to be for sure. I’ll admit that I am not overly surprised – nor am I deeply concerned in the short-term. 

What’s really cool is that the ledger is still running and the volunteers are still there and largely speaking Sovrin carries on. 

Short-term I see few immediate changes. The Stewards that I know, including those of clients (e.g. CULedger), will continue to run. The ledger transactions will continue to work.

Over the past six months to a year, we’ve seen a trend where Sovrin was being recognized as more of a meta-network – a governance model that could be applied to different networks to meet specific needs. 

In the medium- and long-term I believe we will see several networks form – all using the same (Sovrin) protocol and the same governance approaches with some tweaks. We will likely see a pure business one that meets a few business-centric bars, a more crypto-centric one that may use tokens, and a few more (FIndy, LISSI, etc.). The logical home for the “meta-governance” is whatever the Sovrin Foundation becomes – or whatever rises from the ashes. 

Another key point is that the investment that the community has made remains available to use. The key intellectual property has been created in the open-source realm and we can leverage it immediately and evolve it. 

The Sovrin Governance Framework, arguably the best on the planet, is released Creative Commons.

The Hyperledger Indy and related codebases are open-source. 

These incredibly valuable assets were intentionally created to live on regardless of who is running the network. They are community assets. Arguably no paid group could have created these gems. 

In short, the Sovrin Ledger will keep running. The Sovrin Foundation ran a node and provided some of the technical operations. Those things that need to be assumed by community members will be. We will spread out the effort to keep things running while the Sovrin Foundation gets itself figured out or a new player will emerge. We will all be asked to step up and I hope that you’ll join us. 

That’s the beauty of the decentralized way that the community works. The Sovrin Foundation plays a key role but the Sovrin ecosystem doesn’t fail if the foundation does. Some leadership is certainly lost and we need to work together to fill the void that this situation has created, but we aren’t really any different than we were last week.  

So that’s where we are and where we’re headed. 

But many of you are wondering what you can do. I will list a few things here that may apply to you and may not.

  • Stewards – keep your node running and be ready to respond to outreach. 
  • Developers – keep pushing. I’ve seen the rest of the underlying tech that “competes” with Indy and bluntly, you don’t want to be there.
  • Companies – there are incredible people that have been directly impacted by the Sovrin Foundation situation. Some of the best talent on the planet is staring at a pretty dark situation – and they are invested and passionate in this space. Think about how hard it is to find talent. 
  • All – reach out to each other. Share facts, not FUD. Think about the fact that things are still running just as they were and we still have the results of our investment available. That is amazing.

I will close by saying that we’re at a crossroads where we get to double down on what has been working and do a better job in areas where things have been a bit muddy. The Sovrin community is incredible and we can help each other. 


The “Scary Times” Success Manual

I tell the people at all of my clients and companies that I advise that executive coaching is a crucial thing. One of the major investments I make in myself is that I have hired a top-flight coach.

I work with one of the world’s best coaches at Strategic Coach and we happened to be at our quarterly session this week. We dive deep into our business and personal lives and what I really like is that we are given tools to use. 

One of the tools had a huge impact on me and I realized I needed to share it with the leaders that I serve.

The tool has a blunt name – The “Scary Times” Success Manual – and it is only 2 pages long.

It provides a guide for the leaders out there, and we are all leaders. I found it immensely helpful to read through and think. With everything going on we need to provide the confidence to people that we will make it through. 

Use and share this at will. We need leaders that are focused on spreading confidence and reducing panic.


Closing

We’re all feeling some pain right now. Don’t close down. Reach out to each other – especially those that need it. 

Keep being awesome folks. 

cheers,

Darrell

 


Also published on Medium.

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