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Announcing the Aleo Network Foundation
December 20, 2023

Announcing the Aleo Network Foundation

Launching the Aleo Network Foundation: A new chapter

Today marks a significant milestone: the launch of the Aleo Network Foundation. Aleo is the first permissionless, programmable, privacy-preserving network in Web3, with application categories like digital identity, decentralized finance, and privacy-preserving machine learning. The Foundation hopes to play an essential role in nurturing and supporting the Aleo Network's growing and decentralized open-source ecosystem. 

At Aleo, we aim to build a private web experience powered by cryptography. We envision zero-knowledge (ZK) as a cornerstone of the future internet, much like how HTTPS became fundamental for online commerce. However, building this future requires collaborative efforts beyond any single company or organization's capabilities.

Our mission and structure

The Aleo Network Foundation will help guide and support the network, focusing on open-source governance, developer engagement, and promoting zero-knowledge cryptography applications. Structured as an independent non-profit 501c4 organization in Wyoming, the Foundation will operate independently from the commercial entity that has developed Aleo thus far.

The creation of this new organization marks a turning point for me personally, as I will be transitioning from CEO of Aleo (in its previous structure) to become the Executive Director of the Aleo Network Foundation. In addition, I'll be appointing a board of directors in the coming months to help me lead and govern this ecosystem. This change symbolizes our commitment to Aleo's broader mission and how important we feel it is to create two fully independent entities.

Our key initiatives

Developer Education: We will build upon the success of our previous programs (such as our DevRel Ambassador Program and Education Grants Program) as well as other existing developer initiatives to launch a comprehensive program to educate developers on Leo, enabling them to build groundbreaking applications leveraging zero-knowledge cryptography.

Grants Program: The ultimate goal of our developer education initiative is to encourage and inspire developers to write ZK programs on Leo and deploy them on Aleo. Thus, we will expand our Developer Grants Program, with an initial allocation of 150M tokens to support innovative projects. Initiatives like the "Marketing Launchpad" exemplify our commitment to nurturing and showcasing grantees' work. 

Product Incubation: Starting with zPass, the Foundation will develop in-house products, serving as blueprints and inspiration for the community. These projects have the potential for future spin-offs, further enriching our ecosystem.

Governance

Governing the Aleo protocol responsibly is another core focus for the Aleo Network Foundation. We aim to facilitate constructive technical discussions among the broader open-source ecosystem, engaging internal technical experts and external community advisors. A dedicated technical advisory board will play a pivotal role in guiding these conversations and ensuring that we remain committed to the ideals and mission of the Foundation. 

Starting after mainnet launch, there will no longer be a core “engineering team” but a community of developers, designers, researchers, engineers, and other contributors who collectively will drive the future direction of Aleo. The Aleo Network Foundation’s role is to be a facilitator, not a leader. Therefore, we will reinvigorate the ARC (Aleo Request For Comment) process to create a transparent, efficient, and democratic path for updating the Aleo protocol. 

A personal note 

Reflecting on Aleo's journey over the past four years, I am immensely proud of what over 80 core contributors, hundreds of ambassadors, and our vibrant community have achieved. This collective effort has been nothing short of extraordinary.

But the true impact of Aleo requires a broader, more comprehensive approach to encouraging the adoption of zero-knowledge cryptography. As we enter this new era with the Aleo Network Foundation, I am excited and humbled to work alongside this incredible community. Together, we're not just building technology — we're rebooting the internet to create a future where the connection between digital and physical identity is seamless and protected, where sending money globally is as effortless as sending an email, and where privacy and security don’t have to be in tension with personalized web experiences.

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