Martin Saps

Outlier Ventures Labs

May 20, 2019


This means they must be active developers, administrators and participants of networks. We call this Outlier Labs, and it has been our commitment to the space since 2014 and includes a multitude of activities such as: building apps, hackathons, dev cons, running network nodes and applied academic research.

Recent work:

Decentralised data to decentralised data markets – H2O

App website:


At the end of 2018 Outlier Ventures Labs released H2O, or Haja to Ocean. Ocean Protocol enables the creation of a decentralised data economy. It is agnostic to where the actual data is stored. OrbitDB is a decentralised database spearheaded by Haja Networks. With H2O, we demonstrated how data in a decentralised database can be enriched using machine learning algorithms and traded on an Ocean Protocol marketplace.

Autonomous Economic Agents with verifiable credentials – ANVIL

App website:


Next in line of Outlier Ventures Labs’ integration projects is the Agent Negotiation Verification Interaction Layer, or ANVIL. Fetch.AI is a decentralised world where agents perform useful economic work. Sovrin is an open ledger, technology stack and governance framework for verifiable claims exchange, enabling self sovereign identity and cross-silo authentication. ANVIL enables the real-world verifiable claims of Sovrin to be used by autonomous economic agents on Fetch to bootstrap trust in negotiations. Imagine an electric car negotiating with a charging pole, receiving a zero-knowledge proof that the pole has been produced by a manufacturer that the car trusts and has recently been inspected by an organisation that the car trusts, all in a fully automated, privacy-preserving manner.

What we do

1. Applied learning

  • All our technical analysts are coders and practitioners. In short, they are doers vs thinkers.
  • We’ve done this on many levels from simply auditing and running code all the way to building actual DApps on top, sometimes even to MVP level and beyond.

2. Running & building code

  • A lot of the teams we work with are very early stage, typically pre-token, and sometimes before there is much code at all. We are often actively involved in running early code, testing and evaluating it.
  • Our engineering team submits issues as we encounter them, play with APIs and inform the developer documentation required to scale community. Increasingly we build apps ourselves to evaluate and demonstrate the potential of our portfolio’s tech. To begin here’s our GitHub – we always welcome pull requests.

3. Operating nodes

  • Running nodes for all our portfolio networks is one of the first steps we take at Labs as they reach testnet and mainnet stage.
  • We also help out by making onboarding new nodes easier for others (including the legal considerations), as we do it ourselves and iron out issues that come with any nascent piece of software and document the process.

4. Staking, baking & keeping: active network participation

  • We work with each of our portfolio teams to support their networks and be an active participant beyond just capital – we go beyond simply holding tokens and waiting for the reward.
  • We are on the verge of a number of large proof-of-stake networks going live in the crypto space, or migrating to it. Network participants who stake their tokens get rewarded. Doing that securely and with high availability isn’t easy. It requires intimate technical knowledge of the protocol, and great system engineering, which is why we’re seeing a rapid growth in the amount of staking-as-a-service businesses as well as custody providers starting to offer network participation services. For crypto VCs, it can often make sense to take this capacity partially or wholly in-house, considering their holdings. At Labs we work internally and cooperate with excellent teams to manifest secure network participation tools for all of networks in the Convergence Stack.

5. Collaborating with world leading technical academia

  • We started a 3 year research programme with Imperial College London at the beginning of 2017 which has been yielding great results for us and our portfolio from IOTA to Ocean Protocol.
  • We have a full-time PhD student named Dominik Harz permanently sat at South Kensington Campus to enable us to effectively interface with professors, post and undergraduate students within their Computer Science Faculty, who you can follow on Twitter on @nud3l_.

6. Realising Portfolio Synergies

  • We try to both educate and promote the benefits of each technology across the portfolio and also help them collaborate in a structured way – it’s a benefit of having a well defined technical thesis on Web 3 very deliberately, they have natural synergies with one another.
  • They will often organically collaborate with one another without our direct involvement, as was seen with IOTA and Sovrin, but we also try to both educate and promote the benefits of each technology across the portfolio and also help them collaborate in a structured way through the Convergence Stack.
  • This is best done through finding tangible use-cases with enterprise partners from our network. It is no surprise therefore that enterprises from Bosch to T-Systems are often working with several combinations of our portfolio at any one time.

7. Combined Hackathons & Dev Cons

  • Many of the projects we have been working with for anything from 1 to 2 years are opening up testnets and code before their network launch in 2019. We are organising a series of highly technical events that bring them together to explore synergies in interesting ways.
  • This includes chainhack::24 in London, hosted by Imperial College which showcased Fetch.AI, Sovrin, Ocean Protocol and Haja Networks.

8. Sourcing Talent & Ecosystem Funds

  • We hope the hackathons, developer conference and relationships with places like Imperial College act as a recruitment pool for technical talent for our portfolio. But we have gone one step further and creating a job opening aggregator from across our portfolio on  



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