Foundry — Why it, or something with its ambitions, needs to exist

Schalk Dormehl
6 min readJul 30, 2020


Recently, legendary builder, founder and investor, Marc Andreeson (creator of Mosaic, later to become Netscape, later to become Firefox) penned an article “IT’S TIME TO BUILD”.In it he makes a passionate plea for why we as a civilization need to desperately pick up the pace and produce new products, services and technological innovations. Of the causes of not building he writes:

The problem is desire. We need to *want* these things. The problem is inertia. We need to want these things more than we want to prevent these things. The problem is regulatory capture. We need to want new companies to build these things, even if incumbents don’t like it, even if only to force the incumbents to build these things. And the problem is will. We need to build these things.

It is not a commonly held view, but one we believe to be true, that the pace of technological innovation in the “atom-space” has actually been slowing down significantly over the past 50 years. Peter Thiel’s “0 to 1” makes this case quite eloquently and we won’t rehash all the arguments here, but it does seem clear that “electrons” have been leading the charge in progress and “atoms” have been increasingly inert. As a few examples, take that commercial flight is now slower than it was 20 years ago due to the decommissioning of supersonic commercial aircraft, or that motor technology has only been incrementing instead of innovating (until the very recent success of Tesla) or that space travel stalled and then began moving backwards (again until the recent success of SpaceX). The list can be extended into almost all physical science realms like medicine and engineering.

Software however has seemingly been making up more ground than anything else. Computer software and hardware advances have in many respects outstripped the predicted progress of even what shows like Star Trek : Deep Space 9 envisioned in the 90s.

Here is a Tricorder from Star Trek : Deep Space 9 (set in 2350)

Here is a Samsung Flip Z (released in 2020)

It might be that the slow down in “atom space” innovation is due to some inherent changes in culture or inherent limit of the current structure of scientific information sharing in our current methodologies. It might also be, more simply, because “electron space” has far higher yields for effort at present when compared to “atom space”. IE, getting existing flights to be more efficiently booked and routed requires far less effort and change management than actually building super sonic jet planes and going through the regulatory nightmare of allowing them to go super-sonic over land. The phenomenon might also be temporary and once software has allowed for the sufficiently detailed simulation of physical and chemical processes that we might see another surge in building in the “atom space”.

A deeper problem however would be if the lack of “atom space” building is in fact the result of some form of mega-political change in the past 50 years. We suspect this might be case and that, as Andreeson suggests, regulatory capture (the process by which the status quo is maintained via legal means) is at fault. That those who built yesterday have been keeping tomorrow at ransom to secure their relative economic advantage. It could also be that the more productive world the builders made, has enabled larger governments, which has enabled governments to increasingly meddle in the spheres of human activity where no government presence is actually required or desirable. Either way the effect is the same; it is legally perilous to build.

Now it is not universally perilous to build. There are many countries where many of the impositions to protect incumbents and to extract taxes have not (yet) been codified into law. There are also a few jurisdictions that are hold-outs against the unfettered growth of the regulatory machinery. These however typically have one of two severe drawbacks. Either A, they are extremely highly developed and their populations advanced to the point of charging a very significant premium for products and services (like Singapore) or they are significantly underdeveloped and don’t have the human capital (in terms of funding markets, education, the support economy, etc) to be able to build that which is needed. Both situations pose significant obstacles to building.

Another obstacle to building is irrational fear of externalities. Probably the best example is nuclear energy. The hysteria of the 70s and 80s about the potential (but largely imagined) downsides of nuclear energy, has almost entirely sealed off nuclear as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. This in spite of being the cheapest, cleanest and most cost effective form of power generation we have developed. Imagine if the hysteria had never taken root. It is likely that the world’s carbon emissions might now well be net 0 and all power would have been available in abundance with existing nuclear generation techniques or advanced micro generators.

But what if we could somehow overcome these obstacles? What if the we could route around the interference? What if we could build without fear?

Enter Foundry

Foundry is a digital autonomous organization (DAO). In essence you can think of it as a company with an automated company secretary who never retires and a bank account that can never be closed. The implications are significant.

  1. Foundry cannot be shut down and will always execute the distribution of funds in accordance with the active token holders’ wishes. As long Ethereum survives, likely so to will Foundry.
  2. Since executive control of the treasury funds is in the hands of the token holders, Foundry is jurisdiction-less. That is not to say Foundry token (FRY) holders might not have liability for actions taken by Foundry, but Foundry itself will effectively be incorporated “everywhere and no-where”
  3. Foundry itself will not be tax liable in any jurisdictions. While the same cannot be said for FRY holders, the DAO itself will simply not have any components that are taxable by any currently know method. This has enormous implications for compounding profits if they are correctly reinvested.
  4. Foundry can source funds from anywhere through its perpetual sale.
  5. Foundry can source talent from anywhere through it’s proposal mechanism.

If the causes as to why we’ve stopped building in the “atom space” are really regulatory in nature then Foundry, or something very much like it, is a necessary tool to break free from jurisdictional restraints. Foundry can fund any project that can make a believable commitment to funnel profits back into Foundry’s treasury, liquidity or buy back mechanisms.

To be clear, Foundry’s intent to route around regulatory capture is not to be confused with “breaking laws”. Like Bitcoin, Foundry is a strict propertarian system that aims to protect life, liberty and property and be a boon to humanity. It will aim to get building done where it can happen in the most unencumbered fashion.

Initially we expect Foundry to dabble mostly in the blockchain privacy and DeFi space. Foundry already owns two projects, DAIHard and SmokeSignal, both focusing on routing around censorship, the prior in finance and the latter in speech. More such projects in the DeFi space are already being unofficially proposed as funding targets.

Later we expect Foundry to fund increasingly “traditional” investments if it succeeds in accumulating capital on the blockchain and increasingly sophisticated means are found to represent its interests in “atom space”.

Foundry is an experiment in what people can build when some of the restrictions and threats are lifted, and they are free support projects regardless of political popularity. If you want to join us in this experiment, join our community and add your voice to the others steering Foundry into the future.

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Schalk Dormehl

Opposite of woke - slept if you will