In this episode a former Data Engineer from Facebook interviews Ocean Missions founder Scott Milat about what led to the creation of Ocean Missions and what the project hopes to do with on-chain data analysis.
The following is a rough transcript which has not been revised by Ocean Missions. Please check with us before using any quotations from this transcript. Thank you.
[00:00:00] Jake: Hi my name is Jake. I was a data engineer at Facebook for two and a half years. I worked on a machine learning.
Basically helped measure the performance of the models. Yeah, I’m super passionate about data. I’ll have a lot of views on that. I think that people should own more of their data and kind of fight for it. I think the whole data economy could work a little bit better for everyone. And so that’s why I want to get involved in.
And ocean missions as a way to kind of support that ecosystem. So I’m just meeting Scott for the first time. I’m about as new to ocean missions as any new person. So just keep that in mind. But yeah, I’m super excited to learn more about getting started on ocean missions.
[00:00:46] Scott: So. Have been working alongside the ocean Dell for just about six months now. And that work has led me to creating ocean missions.
Prior to that, I worked on a corporate side.
[00:00:58] Scott: With regards to software development and going back further, advertising it was very much ocean protocols values and, mission, which sort of drew me to the protocol. I had heard Trent talker and a few times on number of podcasts and it really piqued my interest.
And so I was really interested in coming at ocean protocol from quite a commercial perspective initially. You know, I, I believe in, and I’m excited about the vision and mission of ocean protocol. But I also am aware that, you know, we don’t just wake up one day and then everyone is, you know, magically in control of their own data.
And having the ability to monetize it and do all these, these interesting things that needs to evolve in some way. And. You know, the realities of how things get adopted in the world is that if they have, a high commercial importance they tend to attract resources. And as a result, they, they can grow.
So the quicker and the more effective we can be. Getting adoption of ocean protocol in some meaningful ways. The sooner I believe that we can start to tap into some of those more long-term valuable use cases that the protocols hoping to achieve.
So that’s really how I came to focusing on ocean.
[00:02:29] Jake: So do you want to dive into, what is ocean missions? And I guess you just talked about like what led you to start it. But maybe talk a little bit about that, that journey more in detail.
[00:02:39] Scott: Yeah, for sure. So I looked across the board spectrum of what could be done with ocean protocol and, and it is quite generalizable.
I mean, it could essentially be you know pursued in, in any vertical. And those opportunities are all still pretty much there for anyone to come along and start working on them. And I decided to focus on, on chain data. As the vertical, because I believe it has, it’s basically one of the lowest hanging, if not the lowest hanging fruits, when it comes to usage and adoption Even inside of that, you know, on chain data itself, once you start to open it up is huge.
It’s a massive industry in of itself. It’s got some established players, it’s got a whole bunch of, you know, there’s the ones that have been around for a long time, like cipher trace and. Companies like that. And then there’s, you know, the likes of Dune analytics, there’s nansen.ai, AI you know, there is chain link.
There is the graph. So there’s, there’s a whole lot of interesting projects already inside.
[00:03:45] Scott: Blockchain data space and what I’m really trying to, to try and find out with ocean missions is, you know, where is the space for , a data marketplace inside of all of that? Where’s the place for, community created and owned data assets.
Yeah. If we have the ability for a data, data, scientist, or developer to come and build a data asset that can then be traded on the ocean marketplace. Then what does that unlock in terms of collaboration across, you know, a community of people all working towards achieving the same goal?
I mean, it’s, it’s basically opening. up that DAO concept to data ownership. So I honestly we’re things are right now. Like I would love to say this use case is 100% the best use case for ocean missions and for, you know, ocean protocol inside of the blockchain data space. But the reality is, is that’s not yet defined.
There’s still a number of questions around where that might be, you know, is it in NFTS, is a DeFi as a crypto? Is it DAO? Is it something else? There’s there’s now so many areas within on chain data that you can go. And also importantly , where is the demand coming from because where the demand comes from will.
Also indicate where, where those opportunities or those first early opportunities are that may come from the sort of retail investor or buyer, or it might come from, a commercial, a small number of large commercial outfits. So again, those things are still to be worked out.
[00:05:32] Jake: Yeah, that was actually one of my biggest questions when I really started to try to get involved in ocean was like, what kind of data do people need?
Like ocean is like, has this data marketplace, which a marketplace naturally has like a supply and demand. So what did the supply and demand look like? And I think Ocean Missions mentioned is a good, good way to figure that out. So So, can you talk a little bit about ocean missions, more tactically, and like, how does it work?
Basically like the process from start to finish, if you for each of the roles that exist in ocean missions, I guess.
[00:06:06] Scott: I mean, there’s, there’s sort of two ways that that missions can come in and now like a mission is, is really , a small data project or, I mean, a medium-sized data project something that’s well-defined and is , something that either one person or a handful of people can work on together to achieve One of the ways that those missions can come in to ocean missions is via, someone who is looking to acquire a certain type of, of data.
Robin is a, is a great example of that from data union. He’s also within the ocean DAO ecosystem. Basically, he has a large data asset on ocean market currently. And there’s a number of people who have been staking on that data asset. And he really wanted to understand
of the sake is inside of that data asset. If they were to withdraw their funds today, how much would they have? Would they be up from when they put their money in? Would they be down and so on and so forth? So that was one nice specific use case. He wrote a great mission brief that was then put into the ocean missions.
And from there, one of the ocean missions members came along, picked up the brief and was like, cool. You know, I think this is something that, that I can take on and that I’m keen to, to pursue. It had a bounty of, I believe, 500 USD C on it. And so the guy who came to take it on Winan got in touch with.
Just clarified a few final questions and ultimately delivered a solution for him.
Um, the other way that, that missions. Um, so that so far they have come from myself.
[00:07:52] Scott: So there’s different things that I’m, sort of experimenting with and seeing which, which missions get picked up and which ones don’t.
So far, definitely the ones that have downed he’s attached to them have been picked up faster. And. They currently are coming from me, but there’s really nothing stopping those use cases coming from within the community itself. So if there is a group of people who have goal or an objective in mind, and they believe that, you know, building and owning a data, right.
Inside of this ecosystem is going to have some form of you know, long-term value. Then there’s nothing stopping that, that group of people coming together and building that. That’s definitely something that would be awesome to see. And the, the sort of other piece of it is, is coming back to that demand is one of the things that I’m doing in the background is really looking at the demand side and trying to help essentially the entire community you know, move closer towards that demand because we know we have the ability now to deliver.
Even though we’ve done it on a small scale, Talented people. And so the ecosystem so I have really high confidence that, you know, if you pointed us towards a task and there’s, there’s no doubt that, that we could, we could definitely achieve it.
[00:09:08] Jake: Yeah. So, yeah, I love that investigation into the supply and demand sides.
One of the areas that I really. think would be cool is that, that community dataset idea that you brought up and I’m assuming that that means that like, there are multiple contributors to this dataset and they kind of share in some of the value that that data sets provides. So do you want to maybe talk about your vision for that?
Since you mentioned it on the supply side, now we can get into more about the demand side.
[00:09:40] Scott: Definitely. So. Basically, let’s take a, a use case where say three people come together online, they connect and they are keen to pursue a particular data asset. So what we’ve tried to do is to provide just some basic sort of templates and guidelines there around how to.
Connect with one another, come to some, some agreements with each other just around you know, how, how the project’s going to sort of go ahead and sort of how rewards would be distributed amongst the community. I’ve, I’ve attempted to add some mechanisms there so you can sort of tweak. To, to your liking.
These mechanisms are still, you know, kind of in their very nascent stages. And, and if there was a group of people were interested in doing that, that’s something I would more than happy help out and, you know sorting those types of arrangements and agreements is something that I’ve done commercially a lot.
So, so it was definitely an area I’d be happy to, to help with. But basically once you have sort of. Both in terms of technically what it is that you aim to pursue and you have a good, you know, agreement and understanding of, of who’s going to contribute what and how you’re going to, to share the rewards.
It then just becomes a matter of delivering, delivering your first iteration of the, of the product and building on it over time. So, so way that. Kind of ownership and control of their data set can be shared is really where things start to get quite interesting. Built into ocean currently is a crude mechanism.
Where you could achieve that today. So you and I, for example, could come together, create a data token, split the tokens 50 50 one person would ultimately be the publishing address for that. And so that would be on a, you know, a trust basis between you and I at the state. But there’s sort of nothing stopping in the future, being able to implement something like the gnosis safe, which is a multisig wallet, and that could be shared by you and I.
So basically you and I go into a nurses, safe environment where we’re essentially both signatories on an Ethereum address. And we use that a theory of address to publish the data. Both you and I have equal rights in terms of approving transactions with regards to that. And so therefore you can’t run off with it.
I can’t run off with it. We both basically have the rights and permissions that we have agreed on and sit and. We are literally building this data asset together. It can grow over time. Basically the way that ocean protocol is set out is that it just points to an encrypted URL. So we can continue to update and improve that data set over time.
And our kind of the value of that data set is going to increase. As it becomes, you know, assuming that it’s valuable to begin with and we’re adding more value to it over time, the value of it should increase. And therefore we’re basically building out our own digital asset. And that’s, that’s more or less the, the kind of concept of that shared ownership model.
[00:12:53] Jake: Yeah. I really liked that. Especially the, the decentralized way to do it, I guess, with the smart contract. So, so that’s a little bit about the supplies. Do you want to talk about, you mentioned that you’re kind of like investigating the demand side. What are you finding there so far and where do you see?
What do you see the I don’t know. Where do you see a gun?
[00:13:14] Scott: I think that is the fundamental question and I still don’t know, but I will tell you what has just even happened today. Is interesting. I am kind of currently trying to attack this problem by looking at basically what are the things we know, right.
We know that someone needs to have demand for this data. And we also know that they need to have, well, they need to be crypto savvy to begin with, right. Because that’s who we’re choosing to do. And we also know that they are willing to pay for it because there’s a lot of data out there that anyone could just go and acquire.
You know, more and more things are coming online each day. And so trying to kind of flip the switch into what is data that someone’s willing to pay for. And who is that person? It really starts to refine down the possibilities of, of who that might be now. Following that logic I’m thinking about, okay, is it crypto investors or investment firms that are coming into web three real heavily?
You know, they’re, they’re wanting to allocate large amounts of capital into the web three ecosystem. They have limited resources. If we could start to build valuable data sets that could. You know, investment insights for them, then them paying 20 grand to, to access some, some insights for something where they’re going to allocate a, you know, $10 million, for example, I mean, I’m completely making these numbers up, but it kind of gives you a sense for, for how that that need may kind of emerge.
So that’s, that’s sort of one piece that’s kind of that more traditional. Business to business type environment the other one is, is the conversation I had today with one of the projects also inside of the ocean, DAO who is building some really interesting uh, Around land assets and inside of the metaverse NFTs et cetera, et cetera.
So coming up with land valuations and things like that then. Is an entirely kind of different based and interesting one because there, I mean, year there might be some big time investors or, or players there that you would be targeting also. And maybe that’s an interesting niche to, to pursue. Then there’s also the, the kind of retail guys.
So the person who. You know, maybe wanting to buy some land assets or whatever inside of the metaverse. And they’re looking for valuation data to get a good reference on, on what that, what they should be paying. You know, pursuing that as, the first point of entry is a possible.
It could be an interesting one. It could be the right one. I don’t know. So yeah, these are kind of the, that’s kind of, honestly, this is exactly where things are at right now. So, you know, as much as I do,
[00:16:20] Jake: I do see a lot of those, like I dunno, I get that vibe that you’re putting off about, like a lot of the activity in the crypto ecosystem is like, obviously people are crypto, crypto native, so they’re the people that are.
Products in crypto are already into crypto. So it makes sense that like on-chain data would be the place to start and providing that for people investing in things like that. I kind of explain it. It’s an interesting case because like this data is public, so pretty much anyone could get it for.
But they have to spend like time doing that. So it’s like, how can we package it up? So that’s the money that they paid for it is worth, is it worth it for them? And like the example I give is like, okay in the early two thousands or whatever, you could technically get any file such as a song or video for free by like torrents.
So people thought that that CDs in the music industry was going to go out of business or they weren’t going to make any record sales. But then this thing called Spotify came along and now people pay 10 bucks a month because it’s so easy because Spotify made it so easy to access that quote unquote free content.
[00:17:34] Scott: Definitely, I think this is an area that. For whatever reason, a lot of developers, particularly. Fall victim to and seeing, okay, this stuff’s free. It’s easy to get your cool. It may be easy for you to get, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for anyone else to get also your afternoon that it takes, or a couple of days that it takes to get.
That’s also worth something. Right. And so if I can just go click, click and get, get some valuable information, then you know, that is usually valuable in and of itself. You know, one of the, experiments or, or sort of ideas around this is, is that idea of packaging. So, you know, could you theoretically provide.
[00:18:24] Scott: Ethereum full node, for example profitably through ocean. I mean, there’s, there’s 1,000,001 different ways to already access an Ethereum full node. But just from a commercial point of view, it’s interesting to undo. Like it’s interesting to think through the logic of, okay. If it costs me X to, host this.
You know, and if I sold access to it at Y price Z at times, at what point does it actually become profitable? Because if that’s a formula that works, then that suppler replicatable and scalable
[00:19:03] Jake: so I guess we’re getting close to time. So maybe one of the last questions is , do you have any tips for people getting started? Doing ocean mission?
[00:19:13] Scott: Yeah, there’s a couple of aspects, obviously it all really starts.
A valuable use case. And so. You know, if you have a use case in mind hit me up. I’m thinking about these quite a lot. You know, I, I’m not necessarily able to, to give you the, the golden information, I’ll give you as much information as I have, but you know, your guess is as good as mine in these sorts of things.
And I’ll continue to update the community. As I, as I sort of go deeper into this But yeah, I think the other aspect to it is, you know, just working with on-chain data. So one of the things we’re doing is, is going to be sharing a tutorial soon. They’re just kind of makes it a bit easier to, to get up and running because for a lot of people, you know, actually just working with, with on chain data is, is something new.
And so just getting familiar with their process. You know, starts to, to get the ball rolling. And yeah, I mean, it’s going to be a journey who knows, like, I don’t, I don’t know exactly what, which use case we’re gonna be targeting first, but I think once we know it’s going to be all on pretty quickly, so I’m definitely excited for that.
[00:20:23] Jake: Yeah, same. And then I guess the last question, unless there, unless you have anything else that you wanted to mention. It was basically like how can we in the ocean mission, the community, people on discord, people who are watching this getting started how can we, how can we help the the best to help Ocean mission succeed?
[00:20:40] Scott: Just come in and get involved, you know like ask questions honestly, like the, the value of asking questions is, you know, underestimated when people ask questions in these environments, it, it just helps one in terms of like, we can help provide the right information for people, but two it also just helps me know where gaps are because you know, I’m sitting here staring at a computer screen all day.
Thinking that hopefully I’ve answered these questions, but like, I actually don’t know. And often times there’s these sort of big gaps that you just overlook. So, that’s honestly probably a pretty good place to start.
That’s awesome. Yeah. So just really get involved in like, and engage, I guess, one of the best ways to help.
Cool. Anything else you wanted to mention?
No, other than a massive thanks to you. I’m definitely keen to, to learn more about what you’re thinking and sort of ideas that you have. I mean, I think coming from, from Facebook and doing the work that you’re doing, you’re almost like perfect use case 1.0 of someone.
You know, can really charge and drive forward this future data economy and yeah, definitely excited to see, you know, how we can help you with inside this, this ecosystem to and achieve the things that you’re wanting to achieve.
[00:22:00] Jake: Yeah. I’m, I’m super excited about it. I think that’s like from a high level especially since you’re focusing on blockchain data
It’s a huge open database that can that’s houses like financial transactions and smart contract function calls. And that is basically like the Facebook server or like the Google server or, you know, Lyft, Uber server, all these things are running and you can basically get access to a lot of that data.
So. This is like a data engineers playground for all of this super interesting, impactful data. That’s, you know, you just need to package it up. Like you mentioned put a bow on it so that people can get some value from it. Basically solve that problem. So,
[00:22:51] Scott: absolutely. I mean, the way I think about it is that if you believe.
Web3 is the future and the public open Web3. Then imagine if you just had access to like every infrastructure item of the industrial revolution, as you know, railways were being built, as factories were being built, as roads were being laid. And you just had the ability to just look at all of that information, like.
I mean, say to him, boy, you know, it’s, it’s insane. There’s is just so much opportunity. There is ridiculous. It’s about trying to find it. That’s the hard part.
[00:23:33] Jake: Yeah. Yep. And just keep progressing. I think they’re all for sure. For sure. Awesome, man. Thank you so much for your time.