Creating a non-profit foundation for privacy as a public good to serve the Secret Network ecosystem and beyond.
Hello to the community!
For those of you reading this whom I haven’t yet met, I am Tor Bair, Head of Growth for Enigma. I am writing today to share an extremely important update for the dedicated supporters of Secret Network — and it’s also a bit of a personal update as well.
First, let me say: I am immensely proud of what we have been building together. There has never been a greater need for privacy solutions inside and outside the blockchain space, and there has never been more awareness of this necessity. The community we have built together fills me with excitement for what is ahead — and all that we have accomplished and overcome to reach this point further convinces me of our eventual success.
Our community is united by a common mission: to advance privacy as a public good, empowering people by providing the tools, technologies, education, and support necessary to preserve their freedom. Achieving our mission will require years of consistent development effort, education, and persistence. Our collective efforts so far in developing and growing Secret Network — a privacy-first, permissionless network for computational privacy — have only been a small step towards our ultimate goals as a community. That is why it is critical to create a sustainable foundation for these efforts today in order to continue our essential work years into the future.
To that end, I am thrilled to announce the Secret Foundation: a non-profit organization dedicated to helping all of us achieve this mission. And as a personal update, I am also announcing that I will be serving as the founding Executive Director and Chairman of this foundation, transitioning out of my current role as Head of Growth at Enigma.
This decision to form the foundation comes after a substantial amount of planning and consideration. I have no doubt that this new direction is the best move to accelerate us towards new growth and adoption of privacy-centric applications. Please read on to learn more about the purpose and initial structure of the Secret Foundation, our path ahead, and how you can join us in our critical mission.
Why Secret Foundation?
The idea of a foundation started with Secret Network’s community of validators, developers, and privacy enthusiasts. The proposal to form such an organization was inspired by foundations in similar ecosystems that successfully promote the shared ethos of the community and drive growth.
The main opportunity for a foundation, especially in our decentralized and fragmented industry, lies in coordinating the diverse contributors in our space and amplifying their efforts. Our professional community is full of talented, intelligent, and committed individuals: node operators, developers, artists, entrepreneurs, marketers, educators, writers, and privacy advocates who share a common cause of advancing privacy as a public good. Every contributor in our community is essential to this cause. Every voice is valuable.
Foundations can have a substantial positive impact on governance, sustainability, and inclusion. My hope for the Secret Foundation is that we will set the highest standard for effectiveness and transparency while achieving sustainable growth. This will require the foundation to help strike the balance between communicative collaboration and decisive action, allowing us to uncompromisingly pursue our common cause and achieve meaningful adoption for privacy-first applications built on decentralized networks.
The time is also right for the Secret Foundation overall. Adoption of privacy solutions and decentralized networks has never been more urgent. An overly centralized internet and giant data monopolies have jeopardized our privacy, our security, and our society. We must scale new technologies that can help us confront and overcome these risks. We must conduct better public education around privacy and the threats we all face when it is undermined.
The Secret Foundation is up to this challenge. By continuing our focus on the intersection of privacy and decentralization, we will help create empowering and valuable solutions that are also sustainable and scalable.
About The Foundation
The Secret Foundation is dedicated to building, researching, and scaling adoption of decentralized technologies for the public good, with privacy at their core. Essentially, our guiding values are Usability, Sustainability, Impact, and Empowerment.
Among other activities, the Secret Foundation will: help establish efficient and effective governance and communication practices for the community (and the foundation itself), produce useful educational materials, and advance research and development of privacy-preserving networks and applications while maintaining a global presence that helps expand their positive impact.
Initially, the foundation will be primarily funded by a donation from Enigma MPC; however, self-sustainability is critical to the foundation’s future. Therefore, we have proposed to the Secret Network community that the foundation will receive a percentage of block rewards in perpetuity in order to fund the foundation’s critical operations. As a neutral ground and coordinating force for our ecosystem, the Secret Foundation is the only entity that would receive this type of network-based funding.
The Secret Foundation is currently incorporated in the state of Illinois applying for 501(c)(6) nonprofit status. The initial board of the foundation is composed of the following three members. (Note: this board and the foundation’s operating team is expected to expand in size over the coming months as the foundation becomes more active and established in our ecosystem.)
- Chairman and Executive Director — Tor Bair
- Director — Guy Zyskind, CEO and Cofounder, Enigma MPC — author of Enigma whitepapers with 1400+ academic citations; formerly MIT Media Lab
- Director — Zaki Manian, Principal Cofounder, Iqlusion — formerly Director of Tendermint Labs
The foundation will also have a membership model, and you can expect more details to be shared on this in the coming weeks.
Going forward, the Secret Foundation will be responsible for communication about the activities of our community and the development of our ecosystem. The foundation has already taken over operation of Secret Network community channels, including the Secret Blog, the Secret Network website, the Secret Forum, Rocket.chat, Discord, Twitter, and Telegram. Please join all of these channels to talk with myself and other members of the community! I’m looking forward to finding more ways to engage directly with all of you and involve you in ecosystem activities.
A Personal Note
Lastly, I want to share some personal thoughts on my own transition, as well as the path ahead for the foundation and network.
It has been an incredible honor to work at Enigma for the past three years. Enigma’s unshakeable commitment to and long-term focus on their vision has been an inspiration to me. I have known and respected Guy and Can (the Enigma cofounders) since our time together at MIT, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work closely alongside them and all of my other colleagues. I look forward to Enigma’s continued contributions to Secret Network and to the cause of privacy more generally, and the foundation will work hard to amplify Enigma’s and others’ efforts.
While I have learned so much from the Enigma team, I have learned even more from the Secret Network community. No matter how our core community has been identified — as Ambassadors, as a Collective, or now as Secret Agents — they have been committed, creative, and dedicated to the vision of a more empowering future for the internet. Many of these community members currently operate their own secret nodes or build applications and tooling for Secret Network. Some have founded their own companies to help grow and sustainably develop the overall Secret Network ecosystem.
To all of you, I say: let’s continue our work together in pursuit of our common mission. You are essential to this project and to the future. Thank you sincerely and deeply for your trust, patience and support.
A committed and collaborative community is the most important thing any of us can build — and it can be a powerful agent for meaningful change. Our community deserves a strong and sustainable foundation to support. I will work hard to build it alongside you.
Always onwards, always upwards!
Tor Bair — Executive Director, Secret Foundation