Fortress DAO AMA Recap
Welcome, OHMies! Today we bring you yet another AMA. Recently we had the pleasure to meet a dev of Fortress, an Olympus fork on the Avalanche chain which is among the most popular ones in our community, and since AVAX is trending right now in the crypto world, we thought it would be interesting to talk to people with already launched forks on that blockchain.
Below you’ll find a transcript that summarizes both questions and answers from the event:
Q: For those of us who might not know about Fortress DAO can you give us a quick review of what the project is and maybe what makes it unique?
Fortress Dev.: At the lowest level, Fortress DAO is an “Ohm fork” i.e. a fork of Olympus DAO in terms of how the tokenomics function (a rebase token that you either stake or mint via bonding). I think that most of us here should be aware of this, and I suspect that’s what motivates the latter half of your question, given that there has been a massive proliferation of Ohm forks in the last 2–3 weeks — probably well over 50 projects in various stages of development if I bother to count.
I think that if we step back and take a more general view, we can ask more broadly: what is the end goal of Olympus or of an Olympus fork anyway? You can continue to accumulate ever-increasing amounts of money in the treasury, but ultimately there has to be some underlying reason for capital inflows.
I think that what the crypto ecosystem has been converging upon as an answer to this question largely separates into two distinct ‘rationales’: 1. Viewing the Olympus model as a ‘reserve currency’ 2. Viewing the Olympus model as a way to bootstrap a large treasury prior to making productive investments I don’t think that these are necessarily distinct. For example, Olympus itself started out by framing itself as a reserve currency, but in recent weeks they have also started to use the DAO-as-VC framing increasingly more. They have also used treasury funds to help build out products such as Olympus Pro.
It’s not clear to me a priori if there is necessarily a “right” answer to the question of why Olympus-style tokenomics should or can be indefinitely sustained. However, I personally prefer reason #2 more than reason #1. That’s not to say that reason #1 is necessarily wrong, and I’m open to the possibility that I’m missing a large part of the story here, but intuitively I don’t see why we would necessarily transact in the token of any given Ohm fork any more than we might exclusively transact in BTC, ETH, AVAX, SOL, etc. Clearly, we do use all of these tokens as base units of account to some degree, and none of them has emerged as a dominant currency for the Internet era. Why would Olympus tokenomics support the emergence of an Olympus-style token as the reserve currency? That’s a question to which I don’t have an immediate answer.
Q: This sounds like something you’ve put a significant amount of thought into. Not something all Ohm forks can honestly lay claim too.
Fortress Dev.: I think that reason #2 is compelling because it provides a concrete justification for how Olympus-style tokens trade at a value premium relative to their treasury backing, i.e. via the DAO-as-firm model where you value company equity not based on the amount of cash in their treasury but also based on the net present value of their future cashflow. To get to the point directly: I think that Olympus tokenomics is basically a very clever way of raising money in a decentralized, community-accessible manner starting from ground zero, and that Olympus forks can correspondingly distinguish themselves from each other in terms of their long-term plans for their treasury, i.e. how they mean to put treasury assets to productive use.
I predict that as we continue onwards, we will continue to see Ohm forks pivoting their messaging in this direction. Wonderland, for example, has aligned itself almost fully with this viewpoint. Daniele has explicitly said that at some point APYs will go down and the Wonderland treasury will operate as a DAO-controlled investment firm focusing on specific sectors such as NFTs and gaming.
That brings me to the specific differentiator of Fortress.
We see ourselves as a DAO-as-VC investing in DeFi products and bringing that value creation to the community. We believe that DeFi will continue to experience unprecedented growth in the near future but that this growth is often inaccessible to ordinary people. By accumulating a large treasury and by building out a community with an expanding network of connections throughout DeFi, we want to bring DeFi value creation to the masses at large.
That can mean many different things, including:
- yield farming opportunities
- building out new and innovative DeFi platforms ourselves
- investing in promising DeFi protocols at very early stages
- expanding cross-chain and doing this everywhere!
We also don’t plan on limiting ourselves to a strict definition of what ‘DeFi’ constitutes either; should we see a highly profitable opportunity we won’t be shy to consider it even if it doesn’t fit perfectly in that bucket.
Q: With grand ambitions like this it brings me to my next question. Who is the team behind Fortress DAO or at least how many are in the core team?
Fortress Dev.: That depends on exactly how you define the core team, and maybe one way to get to the narrowest definition is to ask who’s on the multisig, the answer to which is: there are currently 6 people on the multisig and I think that’s a reasonable definition of what constitutes the core Fortress DAO administrative team. You could also take a more expansive view and include additional devs, advisors, marketers, etc. and that perhaps gets you to 10–12.
Most of the team prefers to stay pseudonymous. We come from quite a wide range of backgrounds and the team is very global!
Q: Are you considering either offering or partnering to offer loans based on collateral similar to abracadabra?
Fortress Dev.: Yes, we have considered this as a potential addition to the Fortress DAO platform. Personally, I think that it would be great to be able to wrap your sFORT into wsFORT which then can serve as collateral for a stablecoin loan.
We’ve thought a little bit about how to best accomplish this and likely the most efficient way would be to partner with Abracadabra to support wsFORT collateralization. Obviously this would entail a meaningful partnership between Fortress and the Dani ecosystem and would entail discussion with them — I of course cannot make any commitments on their behalf. I can, however, express that we are very interested in having those discussions, and have started trying to reach out to them!
More generally, we have some ideas around building out new stablecoins that we think could be major value-adds to the Avax DeFi ecosystem. We need to build these ideas out a bit more before we begin to discuss them in great depth — note that it’s been just five days since we launched! — but I anticipate the community will find these ideas very compelling.
Q: What do you think is a realistic goal for Fortress in a year? It can be any goal a price target, a new feature, a certain number of partnerships, treasury at a certain value, whatever you’d like to pick.
Fortress Dev.: I think that the most important part of building successful projects is to set realistic expectations and goals. That being said… just to be 100% honest, I would personally consider it a major success if Fortress is still alive and kicking in 1 year from now. I doubt there are many among us right now who aren’t worried that the bull market is going to come to an undignified end some time in the next several months — and given that small DeFi projects like Fortress are at the far right end of the risk distribution, these are also the assets that people will liquidate first should we begin to experience any broader market pullbacks. How many projects have been started up in the euphoria of raging bull markets only to completely vanish from existence6 months later? Probably more than you think.
However, there’s a silver lining here: we’ve already accumulated >10m of risk-free value (RFV) in our treasury (stables + stablecoin components of LPs). That money isn’t going anywhere. Even if we enter a bear market and enthusiasm for Fortress disappears wholesale, there’s simply no reason why we wouldn’t be able to keep utilizing that money for productive investments.
So, aspirationally, here’s where I hope Fortress will be in a year’s time:
- treasury RFV well over 100M
- multiple built-out platforms including branches on other chains, new stables/lending platforms that deliver yield in innovative ways, and community-focused games/NFTs
- among the top 5 Olympus forks in terms of overall name recognition and popular awareness
- demonstrated track record of providing consistent value to FORT holders
Q: What can the community at large do to be helpful in the continued growth of Fortress DAO?
Fortress Dev.: I think that the #1 most helpful thing the community can do to sustain continued growth is to continue fostering a warm, helpful environment in our Discord to welcome new investors — which is very much already the case! A really wonderful and supportive community has already formed around Fortress and I’m continually impressed by how people who are more knowledgeable are happy to help out those who are relatively newer to crypto.
It’s difficult for projects with negative vibes to really flourish — people lose enthusiasm, the team itself loses enthusiasm and becomes disconnected from the real needs and wants of the community, and potential investors/partners naturally prefer to see engagement. In contrast, though, if we can maintain the sort of positive community that we’ve already built, I think we will derive a lot of value from that alone.
Q: A lot of us are aware that 150k was just ear marked for marketing. Has the team made any progress in deciding what the might look like? People also kept mentioning to just copy what Hector DAO did, someone might shoot me if I didn’t add that.
Fortress Dev.: As you mention, we recently passed a DAO proposal to allocate $150k of treasury funds for marketing purposes. We are in the initial stages of building out what that looks like, but here is a brief overview of what our plans include so far:
- bringing on full- or half-time marketers dedicated to Fortress
- partnering with well-chosen media/marketing companies and engaging in targeted marketing campaigns, especially those focused on building recognition in the Avalanche community
- development of games that naturally foster community engagement as well as bring in new people
- engagement of well-chosen influencers on Twitter and YouTube to promote Fortress through targeted content
We are looking specifically to Hector as one of multiple models of what successful marketing campaigns look like. We do want to be a little careful about how this money is spent, i.e. we don’t want to indiscriminately throw money at every person who shows up and asks to shill Fortress in return for cash — after all, it’s often said that the best of such people are often those who you have to approach, rather than those who come approaching you (not to criticize those very committed community members who have offered their services, of course; I just mean those who indiscriminately go to every project and solicit their services). At the same time, however, we’re well aware of the importance of capitalizing on our recent momentum, and we don’t plan on taking too long to get things started.
Q: Ultimately all these forks are about the same. How are you going to make this unique in a fun way, making money is great but having fun and making money is another level. Would you consider some kind of geocaching treasure hunt at castles/forts located all over the world for ppl to find clues for treasure for example.
Fortress Dev.: I think that’s indeed a very fun idea!
I would want to caution a little bit that you can get into somewhat complex territory when a DAO starts doing things in the real world that interacts with the legal jurisdiction of different countries in specific ways. Therefore, as a general comment, I think we would have to carefully consider how we want to structure community engagement events and activities.
Personally, I believe strongly in community engagement and involvement in DAO governance, and I’m beginning to develop some ideas about how that participation can be gamified in a fun way. These ideas are still fairly undeveloped, and I suspect it will take time for them to be built out (if they end up being realized at all), but I am hopeful that we’ll be able to come up with innovative ways to keep everyone engaged with Fortress long-term.
Q: Wen addition of AVAX-FORT LP, MIM-AVAX LP, and TIME bonding options per recent community proposal?
Fortress Dev.: Very soon! This is the #1 priority of our development team. We have been slightly delayed due to timezone conflicts, travel plans, holidays, etc. but rest assured that we are well aware of the importance of adding these bonding options.
Q: You mentioned investing into assets to utilize treasury, as a FORT is pretty much as “brick-and-mortar” as it can get do you also consider investing into real world assets to yield returns ?
Fortress Dev.: I think that again we would have to carefully consider the legal implications, which I suspect may ultimately prove to be a gating factor (who in the non-crypto world has even heard of a DAO? very few, I suspect). However, I would not rule it out in principle.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Fortress Dev.: My favorite foods are actually Valencian paella and dim sum!
Q: Many recent forks has new features, such as Play-to-Earn, NFTs, GameFi, or even full-fledged Owned Liquidity AMM. FortressDAO seems to be just another forks without any added features. How do you plan to compete with newer DAOs? Do you plan for further utility for $FORT?
Fortress Dev.: We have extensive plans in this direction, but it will take time to build them out; remember again that we’ve only had 5 days since launch and less than 3 weeks since the project was conceived to begin with! This is just the first step in a (hopefully) very long process.
Q: As you already know, there are many OHM forks launching on AVAX. What are your plans to have the competitive edge against competitors?
Fortress Dev.: I think that the proliferation of forks is not in and of itself a problem. We will distinguish ourselves by the quality of our work, the commitment of our team, and the kindness of our community. There are of course forks which are very respected (for good reason), like Wonderland; however, the mere fact that there are 10 new forks a day is not something I’m concerned about at all. 30% of them don’t materialize, 30% of them are hard rugs, 30% are soft rugs, and it’s only the remaining 10% or less which potentially evolves into a quality product.
Q: What’s the opinion of the team about the last price action we have experienced. Any suspect of any bad actor taking advantage of something to induce selling pressure or is it just the market? Is the team planning any buyback or burn in the near future?
Fortress Dev.: The team is considering various courses of action at the moment. However, a general comment: it’s not wise to overinterpret intraday or intrahour movements. I would ask the following question: how does the Fortress price action compare alongside the price action of other high-quality Olympus forks, either on Avalanche or on other chains? What outcome do you probabilistically expect in 1 week?