Summer 2017 the idea for Project Aiur was born, stemming from a frustration of being forced into a corporate B2B sales-corner by the financial bottom line-minded Venture Capitalists we were pitching to. Being an impact focused company, we realized that selling B2B SaaS to big corporates, while a great business model, would not move the needle for the frustrated individual researcher, and would not bring about the necessary change in a broken industry.
Now the Project Aiur whitepaper is out, and it has out of necessity taken a quite different path than the Iris.ai core commercial business. Here is how the two; Iris.ai, the commercial entity and Project Aiur, the not-for-profit to Iris.ai, community-owned initiative are related to each other.
1. Company structure
Project Aiur is what it says: a project. It has been ideated by Iris.ai to create an open, community-governed AI Engine for Knowledge Validation.
Project Aiur is initiated and jurisdictionally operated from Iris.ai BG EOOD, the Bulgarian subsidiary of the Iris.ai group. We have our main development office in Sofia, Bulgaria, which is both a member part of the European Union and one of the more favorable crypto jurisdictions within the EU. As Jacobo says, it’s not only about the yogurt.
However, it is worth noting that our goal for Project Aiur is for it to be an autonomous decentralized organization. The legal framework for this is not yet in place in the EU but within a few years it should be, and full legal ownership of the project, not the company, will be transferred (on paper, as it for all intents and purposes will already be) to all token holders.
2. Token ownership
Project Aiur has implemented a 2% ownership cap of tokens. This also applies to Iris.ai the commercial entity, however, in order to facilitate a smooth setup of the project, Iris.ai will hold 50% + 1 token so we can make swifter decisions either the first 18 months of the project, or until the community is self-managed, whichever comes first. After this ‘Phase 1’ we will redistribute (directly or indirectly) 48% + 1 of the tokens out to contributors, token holders and academics so Iris.ai the commercial entity also only holds 2%, or whatever lower cap is set by the community as the project evolves.
3. Community management
As described above, Iris.ai will manage the community for the first 18 months, until all quirks in voting, community management and operations are sorted out. If this is found to happen sooner than 18 months, we will happily redistribute our tokens at that point.
4. Building the Knowledge Validation Engine
Iris.ai the commercial entity will be the first provider of software, building out the roadmap described in the whitepaper. Subject to full community scrutiny, when milestones are completed we will be paid market rate for the work done. Any other software development companies with the appropriate quality level of deliveries can contribute to the building, again subject to community scrutiny. Iris.ai has no desire or capacity to build it all ourselves, we simply guarantee there is someone here ready to build from the get-go.
5. Intellectual Property
All code developed as part of Project Aiur, going into building the Knowledge Validation Engine described in detail in the whitepaper, will belong to the token holders and will be subject to a license with a degree of restriction favoring community members. It can not be duplicated outside of the Aiur community, but it can be utilized by anyone in the community as the core for any third party tools.
6. Business model – for Aiur
For any utilization of the KVE build through Project Aiur, users will have to pay AIUR tokens. Either directly to the community for directly querying the core engine, or via third party applications utilizing the engine. This does not directly give financial rewards to the holders of AIUR tokens, however as the quality of the engine’s intelligence grows and more companies and universities want access to the engine, it is our expectation that the value of the AIUR tokens, isolating other macro factors, should gradually trend upwards over time. Anyone who has contributed to the community, either earning tokens for manual contributions or through participating in the initial crowdsale, should see the value of their contributions validated.
It is worth noting here that the R&D industry, with a $1700Bn yearly budget, spends about $138Bn yearly on so-called ‘digital enablers’. Tools like the KVE holds massive market potential, and Iris.ai’s market experience has shown a number of big clients who are looking for this type of tool, in an API solution they can connect to their internally developed solutions. We have validated both the need and the business model.
7. Business model – for Iris.ai
Iris.ai will be building its future commercial tools on top of the Aiur platform, and you can as such think of us as a third party client of and contributor to the Aiur community. For us at Iris.ai, we will not have exclusivity but we will have a unique first mover advantage on what’s being developed in Project Aiur.
8. So why is Iris.ai doing this?
Project Aiur is a not-for-profit endeavor for the Iris.ai founders. However, it is vital for the success of Iris.ai that Project Aiur exists. The main reason is that we need the Knowledge Validation Engine to exist so that we can continue working towards our goal of building the world’s leading Artificially Intelligent Science Assistant. However, we’re of the firm belief that such an engine cannot be owned by a commercial entity, even by ourselves. So enabling a community to build it is for us a necessary step for our long-term success.
Finally, most important of all, we started Iris.ai as a commercial entity but with a clear impact mission. All of our investors are impact investors, caring about a double bottom line – both the money it makes them and the positive impact the business will have on the world. Initiating Project Aiur is, the way we see it, the most impactful thing we can do for the world of science. It’s not the easiest path we could have taken, but it’s the one that makes us be happy to get up in the morning.