This blogpost talks you through the plans of Lisk Center Utrecht; what we are, what we are doing, what we are going to do, and why we need to crowdfund.
We have a good story and it gets even better
The story of Lisk Center Utrecht until now really stays with people; a community-driven initiative, where community members from all over the world donated to a physical hub in the Netherlands to further develop the blockchain ecosystem.
They love the community-driven initiative. It is a new way of working, a new way of innovating; It is the decentralized and blockchain way.
So, what do we actually do?
We divided our activities into seven categories; event management, community management, marketing & content creation, public relations, operations, financials, and technical stuff.
1) Event management
Organising meetups, brainstorms and workshops is one of the most intensive and core activities of LCU. We organise and host a diverse set of these meetups. In the future more structure will be given to these activities, more focus on developers techdays, and also more collaboration with the starting Accelerator.
2) Community management
Building a vibrant community. Growing the community online and offline, local and international. Organising community events, connecting members to each other.
3) Marketing & content creation
All efforts that help to create online content, and to share the information from our events with the online community; filming, editing, social media, information sharing, blogs, and more.
4) Public relations
Spread the word. Connecting with relevant blockchain hubs, educational, business organisations and governments. Keeping them informed, organising events together, and connecting them whenever suitable for both parties.
Running the LCU day to day. Making sure we have enough food and drinks. Making sure the cowork space runs smoothly. Managing the entry cards, and much more.
Keeping the bookkeeper happy. Keep an eye on expenses. And creating transparent oversight for the international community what the money is being spent on.
7) Technical stuff
Website, servers, project support, and all other technical and blockchain related stuff.
What is our role within the broader Ecosystems
LCU is part of a local, national, and international ecosystem. And within these ecosystem it performs different roles.
Within the Lisk Ecosystems we think that the LCU is the facilitator for decentralized projects being set up, a meeting spot, a hub from which new people will get onboarded to the Lisk Ecosystem.
Within the Dutch Ecosystem LCU is the place to get in touch with blockchain knowhow, meet like minded people, get in touch with online communities and new projects. LCU wants to be the blockchain hub of the Netherlands and is therefore connecting everybody related to the blockchain space.
With this approach LCU becomes an interesting place for a diverse set of people; students, freelancers, SMEs, educational institutions, businesses, and governmental organisations.
LCU Foundation; a non-profit
The LCU foundation is a non-profit organisation. The reason for being a non-profit is because it has a broader function (than profit) within the ecosystem; it is the foundational layer to build upon. LCU facilitates other initiatives to flourish.
The challenging part of a non-profit is that it will not be able to make a profit and therefore needs different kinds of funding than just investments with a ROI.
The upside of this is that the LCU itself will be able to support all kinds of different initiatives and that donations for the development of blockchain in general are much more easily raised.
What is the organisational form?
The LCU foundation is a centralised organ that works with a foundation board working at the LCU itself. The idea is that this centralised organ will support decentralised efforts.
The LCU tries to remain a lightweight organisation supporting as many initiatives as possible. Therefore we started without employing anyone and currently everybody is still working against a “small volunteering fee” (since three months we receive 800lsk per month from GDT).
The downside is that it is impossible to work fulltime against a small fee like that. And that’s the reason professionalisation is needed to create other business models besides the donations.
The other challenging part of this lightweight organization is that the LCU itself is not always able to create new content; we think that here we can make a difference with the ecosystem approach.
How will we create a realistic business?
To run an organisation like this we need to employ people. At first this will be ourselves and with a structural salary we should be able to run the organisation.
The goal is to create an independent organisation that is able to fund itself through the initiatives it develops. Partly, but not only, dependent on donations. We have identified a couple of financial income streams hereafter;
Together with local community members we are setting up a startup accelerator. It is a program for startups to get the right training and workshops to accelerate their business. The accelerator, at first, focuses on blockchain related projects within the Media domain.
The accelerator will provide some revenue for the LCU in exchange for community building, management, use of the network, trainers and the location. This will be a recurrent financial stream if the accelerator will be successful.
Possibly we will ask for a small fee for external meetups that are being organised. We aim for low barriers as it is our aim to disseminate as much knowledge as possible, but a small fee for the LCU should be doable. As long as the meetups can be open and accessible.
The LCU is an ecosystem facilitator. At the LCU multiple blockchain platforms are seated and we think that this co-innovation efforts are essential to the development of blockchain in general.
A future financial stream is to connect with other blockchain platforms to raise donations in exchange for them using the facilities of LCU.
This will always be a relevant income stream for LCU. Especially donations from projects, people who have had the benefit of using LCU in one way or another.
How to make sure the finances are in order?
We are creating a professional organisation that works as a community hub. Every year we will have to adhere to regulatory standards and provide the information on how we spend the money. In addition we will keep the community informed of what we do.
And what are our short- & longer term plans?
A small grasp out of our coming efforts.
Together with the governmental organisation InvestUtrecht we will organise a series of five meetups around five different topics; health, smart cities, supply chains, identity, media. We are talking with multiple large, international organisations and community members to make this a collaborative effort.
We would like to organise more technical deep dives with the local community. A recurrent LCU Tech Dev Day will be hosted. This will be a co-work/workshop/hackathon-like-event focusing on all blockchain platforms in order to attract regular and new developers to the LCU. More information will follow.
We will support the HU Blockchainlab with a research program “blockchain governance” next school year. Through using the LCU location, the network, personal feedback and the host for meetups we provide the needs for this research project. In addition, more students will be using the location during their projects.
Helping the accelerator to startup their activities and streamline their activities with the LCU itself.
More relationship building with different blockchain hubs throughout the Netherlands.
Facilitating students and projects leading up to the Odyssey hackathon in april 2020.
Two Creative business students will start a growth hacker program at LCU. They will help with lead generation, optimization and analytics.
Why do we do a crowdfunding?
Currently we are starting up the Lisk Center Utrecht, we are open for only five months. Within this short time span, no structural additional income stream has been setup, yet. But we are working on a diverse set of solutions like we already mentioned.
In addition it suits perfectly with our principles of decentralisation; crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.
So, we ask for donations to be able to fund the startup phase of LCU until it is able to fund itself. And secondly, it is to show the world that the Lisk blockchain ecosystem is doing it differently than everybody else.
How will we spend the money?
We will use the donations to cover the operating costs of the LCU for 2020. The money will be used to cover LCU expenses and not to fund personal initiatives and projects unrelated to LCU. We will stay in touch with the Lisk Community in order to change our strategy if necessary.
The end goal of Crowdfund2020 is 50K lisk to cover at least all operating costs for 2020 and maybe even some of 2021. With a fully funded operation it will give possibilities to spend enough time on LCU to get it off the ground.
Why do we need you?
To show to the world that the Lisk Ecosystem is ready to support the development of blockchain technologies and business development. Which helps to give the Lisk Ecosystem a positive and professional image.
Help us in more than one way
Through online media presence, the organisation of activities, the sharing of knowledge, and through donations: https://www.liskcenter.io/donation/
The Lisk Center Utrecht Team