Thales of Miletus
The story of Thales, the first known person to exercise an options contract.
Θαλῆς ὁ Μιλ�?σιος
The search for alpha is not exclusive to our time. The Ancient Greeks prized creativity and critical thinking just as we do today, but even then few could harness these skills to create tangible gains. The great thinker Thales of Miletus possessed these abilities and used them to demonstrate the everyday value of philosophy while simultaneously profiting from his brilliance.
Born in 640 BC to noble Miletians, Thales was motivated by astronomy, geometry and philosophy much more than the pursuit of wealth. Despite the doubters who mocked his poverty and useless philosophy, Thales wished to spend his time pondering natural phenomena. One day, Thales drew upon his knowledge of the heavens to speculate that the upcoming olive harvest would be particularly bountiful. He believed that the highly desirable commodity could provide him the financial freedom he desired if he had control over the most efficient method of olive oil production, the olive press.
This opportunity provided very little downside and a huge potential for upside. He quickly summoned his meager savings to rent all the presses in the region prior to the harvest season, betting against his fellow citizens who had no interest in bidding up these rights. When harvest season came and every olive farmer needed to produce oil for the hungry markets, Thales made a fortune renting out his presses at favorable terms, becoming the first person to exercise an option contract. He became wealthy but also demonstrated how philosophy could be valuable in practice.
As Aristotle once said: “Thales proved that it is easy for philosophers to be rich if they choose, but this is not what they care about”.
Do you see it now?
In an act of tribute, the Thales team has adopted the oil press as the inspiration for our logo. The round stone reflects the shape of the crescent moon while a drip of oil represents the flow of profits available to those clever enough to capture them. Thales provides access to permissionless parimutuel options markets that operate completely on-chain. We believe the future of finance requires this level of transparency, decentralization and censorship resistance and the Thales protocol offers this to any user willing to seize the opportunity.