Note: I wrote this in December 2021, on the eve of Socean's upcoming IDO. I put the brake on that IDO, but the things I wrote here still resonate with me, particularly the mission and the values.


Finance first came into its own in the 15th and 16th century, when literal venture capitalists would fund ship captains to go on risky journeys to the new world. While the journeys were so dangerous that many never returned, the ample rewards more than paid for the risks. This is a true example of a win-win situation. Without this financial arrangement, the crew of the ship would not have had the funds to embark on the journey, and investors would not have made multiples on their returns. To us, that’s what finance is about: bringing capital and people together to build shared prosperity.

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Over the centuries, however, finance has strayed from its original vision of mutual gain and has become a rent-seeking, zero-sum game. The worst excesses of finance came to a head in 2007: people were seduced into buying houses they could not afford, pension funds were conned into purchasing high-risk CDOs, and the world plunged into a deep depression that took years to recover from.

At Socean, we want to rediscover the true purpose of finance that was lost over time.

Socean began as a side project that quickly grew into something more. A few months ago it was a tiny side project between two friends. Today it is a thriving community with dozens of active contributors, 7,000 active users, 5,000 Twitter followers, 100M TVL, 5.5M in venture funding, and an IDO just on the horizon. We’ve therefore had to think hard about our vision and mission. What are we building here at Socean, why are we building it, and why should you join us?


What sort of world do we envision? How will the world be meaningfully different if we succeed?

We envision a truly decentralised world with no barriers to collaboration and value creation. When these barriers fall, people start building together and increase value in the world.

We believe that DeFi can make that happen. The first generation of DeFi solved the problem of capital: people can hold and transfer value without kowtowing to a centralised institution. But holding and transferring value is only the first step; the next step is to create value.

How do we create value? At Socean, we’re interested in a particular type of decentralised finance: the positive-sum kind. A lot of finance is zero-sum: in derivatives, for example, one person’s gain is another’s loss. Degenerate speculation is another zero-sum game; somebody is always left holding the bag.

In contrast, positive-sum games are win-win. The Socean stake pool, our flagship product, is a good example: stakers get staking fees AND secure the Solana network for everybody else. Everybody wins. We’ve also seen how DAOs enable decentralised collaboration and value creation--another example of a positive-sum game. Positive-sum games engender cooperation and create value, which is why we’re particularly interested in building them.

There is a battle of ideas between centralised, zero-sum, traditional finance, and the decentralised, positive-sum future. We need to convert the nonbelievers by working together to build a better, happier, and wealthier place than the centralised status quo. We need to build, and we need to build now.


We spent many months iterating on our mission. As our knowledge of the space grew, our understanding of Socean’s potential and our ambitions for it grew too. After many discussions, we settled on a mission that would appropriately capture the scope of our ambitions.

Our mission is to increase value in the world by building decentralised, positive-sum financial products.

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This mission may sound a bit abstract, but every part of it is important to us. Here’s why:

Decentralised. DAOs are the future of collaboration and human endeavour. We love that DAOs allow anyone to contribute and get rewarded, no matter who they are or where they live. DAOs tear down artificial barriers and gatekeepers.

Positive-sum. We want to abandon the net-zero or negative value games currently omnipresent in finance, and instead rehabilitate it into something that makes all participants better off.

Increase value. This is why we’re here; we genuinely want to make the world a happier, better place.


These are the values that our founding team holds and pledges to uphold for the future. They act as our North Star, navigating us through choppy waters to make sure we are never led astray. We will need a strong set of values to guide decision-making, especially when the protocol decentralises.

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Positive-sum. This is the value we hold most dear. We will benefit everyone instead of selfishly maximising our own payoffs. We collaborate, not crush, other protocols. Above all, we build only products that make all users better off, thus encouraging a culture of collaboration, not competition.

Anti-greed. Many teams in crypto want to make a quick buck. But we’re builders, not grifters. We promise to put the long-term health of the ecosystem above our own personal gain. We contribute to Solana’s upstream codebase rather than forking our own. And we build our IDO to give everyone a fair price.

Long-term. The transition to a decentralised world will take time to manifest, and it’s important for us to keep an appropriately long-term view. We should not concern ourselves with short-term wins or losses. Instead, we should focus on consistently shipping good products, growing the community, and building a better, wealthier world.

Question everything, improve everything. All too often, projects slavishly copy popular ideas/memes to try and chase trends. Instead of copying ideas without critical thought, we carefully evaluate them from first principles, change the things that don’t make sense, and then build them out to maximise total value. This ensures that we bring true value to the community and the world.

How do we put all this into practice?

What can we do now to achieve our vision? Recall that we want to increase value in the world by building decentralised, positive-sum financial products, and move towards a truly decentralised world.

We will continue to iterate and improve the Socean stake pool. We are committed to doing so because stake pools are positive-sum; stakers get rewards and secure the Solana network for everybody else. The better we make the Socean stake pool, the safer Solana becomes.

We will conceptualise and build new positive-sum financial products. We have some in the pipeline (and will announce them soon), but we are constantly looking for innovative new ideas -- please let us know if you have any.

We will pioneer thoughtful tokenomics mechanisms to strike the right balance between incentivising contributors now and ensuring long-term protocol health. We will experiment with various governance mechanisms and figure out how best to run a DAO. We will start working in public by publishing our roadmap and opening up our internal discussions.

Our mission, vision and values may change as Socean grows and transforms, but we hope this document will serve as a North Star to keep us on the right path.

One last thing. We’ve already onboarded several outstanding community members. And as of today, we are officially opening the gates to anyone who wants to join us. If any part of what we’ve written resonates with you, and you think you can contribute (in any capacity!) -- please reach out to us either on Discord or by filling in this Google Form.