Silicon Prairie Online Is A Minnesota Moonshot
Silicon Prairie Online creator David Duccini is poised to change the mechanics of money from Minnesota.
The consummate technologist has kept his eyes glued on two moving targets for the last few years while patiently waiting for that window of opportunity. Between the maturation of blockchain technology and the legalization of investment crowdfunding, this prophetic entrepreneur sits at the confluence, ready to strike gold.
“The first things I set out to do was bridge the gap between the blockchain’s distributed database feature and a corporation’s capitalization (cap) table,” he explains, referencing the legal document that outlines founders and investors changing percentage of ownership, equity dilution, and value over time. So in the summer of 2016 he formalized that idea, starting stacking the build, and swiftly became the second MNvest crowdfunding portal operator registered with the State of Minnesota, foreshadowing that vision:
"Our longtail is putting issuers and shareholders on a their own private ledger to facilitate the issuance, voting, communications and eventual liquidity…”
What began with the blockchain-based cap table has since transformed into a grand plan for key escrow service, anti-counterfeiting, a peer to peer liquidity exchange, investor relations services, a broker-dealer license, even becoming a bank…and there’s probably more cards that he’s not showing quite yet. Ultimately though, he wants it all, and isn’t afraid to admit that “nothing is off limits,” in the most not Minnesotan sort of way.
Discussed at length, the system is smart, and not in the smart vs. dumb technology sense — it’s actually designed with the type of forethought that one should expect when going up against the canons of capitalism, seeking to democratize the flow of money. The ‘if that then this’ scenarios go well beyond the code of computer, extending into the nuances of ownership and management, a place where the complexities of law meet an untested technology in the uncharted waters of digital asset management. To authorize shares, issue, transfer, and redeem – each element of the lifecycle brings about its own unique set of high stakes considerations. From an underlying security perspective, he says to have implemented the most sophisticated method of checks and balances known, though no technology is bomb proof.
“It’s subject to the same level of risks as any piece of software,” he says bluntly. “But there have been no ‘double spend’ attacks against the blockchain yet. A securely scalable, perpetually legal, and transparent framework is at the crux of Silicon Prairie.”
The approach, the technology, the timing is all there. So why not Silicon Prairie Online?
The lack of legal precedent with blockchain as it relates to corporate case law is the biggest risk of it all, by default, as it’s just so new. Another potential snag is the State itself, which tends to lean towards preserving the status quo when push comes to shove. Silicon Prairie Online could circumvent or even eliminate the so many incumbents and middle-men within the financial sector, some with deep lobbying ties to the ministry of money. The Commerce Department’s resistance to peer to peer intrastate equity crowdfunding is a harbinger of what Silicon Prairie’s success could face. After all, deregulation is just code for ‘We’re going to allow this to happen, though only with our regulatory hands in the middle.’
But he’s thought through what he can, at least for now, and is prepared to boldly introduce Silicon Prairie Online starting on a intrastate level and then broadly on a national scale when that time arrives.
And this is where it gets meta.
Silicon Prairie Online actually became its own issuer back in February, meaning that in addition to being an officially recognized portal for other businesses to raise money using blockchain functionality, Duccini decided to use the platform to fund itself and test his tech. That’s right, the portal became the issuer, and it’s all totally legitimate.
Over $100,000 in SAFE notes have been pledged with $80k+ in escrow to date, accumulated from over thirty different unknown Minnesota investors who are betting a minimum of $1,000 on Silicon Prairie’s future (while also believing that a pre-revenue valuation of $10 million is reasonable). On that note, the company intends to eventually earn income by charging issuers, white labeling, and managed service agreements.
“We’re still in the dot com days of blockchain and crowdfunding. It’s coming around the corner fast though and I’m going to ride the river, from Minnesota all the way down to Texas,” he purports, putting the Silicon Prairie in Portal and Exchange. “Mining for money along the way.”
As Silicon Prairie wraps up its seed financing while testing for any difference between theory and reality, it’s quietly building a pipeline for future demand with ten plus Minnesota companies already lined up to launch their own campaigns once the service becomes fully available.
When compared to the other approved equity crowdfunding portals, Silicon Prairie is a Falcon 9 aiming for the stratosphere, nothing short of a Minnesota moonshot with the potential to transform lives. Duccini has his copilots — and soon to be shareholders — but the bottom line is he’s the captain and the shotcaller of it all, at least for now. A successful trip means matching the merits to the vision and staying course for however long it takes, which always boils down to the same key question: can he execute?
“Watch me,” he says with the confidence of madman on a mission.
[Updated] The Equity Crowdfunding Poll Results Are In