I head over to Imperial College London to find out about Vega Protocol and their smart products.

I own a few Ethereum, so thought I could take a little time and look at some of new applications being built on top of the platform. London is after-all a great centre for technology and innovation, so why not see what is coming up on the bleeding edge of Ethereum?

Only the big news hits the headlines, but the mainstream media doesn't report on all the hard work going into the small start-ups that are aiming to disrupt industries in a big way. There are a lot of very smart people putting their intellectual power into some very cool projects.

Vega Protocol + Smart Products
Enter Barnaby Mannerings and Dave Hrycyszyn of Vega Protocol. They say you should always remember the first time you hear a new term. I heard "smart products" for the first time yesterday. Smart contracts are last year, and Vega demonstrated that smart products are now firmly in.

Smart products are financial products where the contract logic is build into the products themselves. Rules, penalties, agreements and conditions are packaged into them and executed automatically.

They are developing a fully decentralised exchange (DEX) for these smart financial products without the need for a middleman. Such as awesome idea.

2018-06-21-10_07_56-Vega---Creating-a-world-first-fully-decentralised-derivatives-exchange.

The principle idea is that everyone should be able to develop their own smart product and offer it to the market. Also, that any transaction fees from running the exchange are shared amongst the market participants and not middlemen. There is therefore an incentive to use this platform (lower costs) rather than traditional ones. (higher costs)

They went on to explain about achieving 100ms transaction times and using TenderMint as a platform to replicate a consensus network. Next they demo a script buying and selling from an order book and a cool looking dashboard with the stats, a bit like ethstats, showing key metrics.

Just like with horse racing they say back the jockey not the horse. I came away from the talk thinking they clearly know what they are talking about. Barnaby Mannerings has over 10 years experience in the financial sector, specifically working with exchange infrastructure.

Barnaby was also an early Bitcoin miner and participated in the Ethereum ICO. He also explained how he built his own match-making engine in GO, and that you can run it off your laptop pretty easily. Yes, they know their stuff!

Show me the money
They opened up the floor to questions, there were some technical questions about how the transactions achieved consensus. Then the $50K dropped, how are they gonna make any money if they are not taking any of the middlemen fees?.

There were two revenue streams in the pipeline, the first was from licensing their product to financial institutions, allowing those institutions to trade with one another via the Vega DEX protocol.

The second was to issue their own token, an ERC20 token for payment of transaction fees on the exchange. If the Vega Dex gains traction then the demand for their token increases and the value would rise.

They don't have a white paper yet, so these details may change, but both look like potential winners.

Conclusion
The project looks great but there is obviously a lot of work ahead before they release a polished exchange. In the meantime I'd advise heading over to Vega Protocol and signing up for their mailing list to get notified when their white paper is available.

It's also worth looking at their time line, it looks very ambitious, with a main net Beta coming on line this year. Exciting stuff.

Definitely one to watch.