2019 Year in Review | æternity crypto foundation

The year 2019 has been marked with historic strides for the æternity crypto foundation and the æternity ecosystem.

The wonderful community surrounding the æternity platform has been working very hard throughout the entire year — and it shows. The æternity crypto foundation is pleased about how far the æternity ecosystem has gone within just the past 12 months.

Lets take a look at what happened within the ecosystem.

First in the spotlight is our fellows at AE Ventures, which was rebranded from æternity Ventures last year. AE Ventures hit the $1.6 million mark in investments in 2019, and has substantially expanded its portfolio of blockchain start-ups throughout the year. One of these start-ups, AMPnet, even secured a partnership with Greenpeace. Another start-up under AE Ventures’ portfolio — Cryptotask, a decentralized freelancing marketplace, went live on the mainnet. which You can read more about the highlights of their year on their blog. It was also in the year 2019 that Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) partnered up with AE Ventures in supporting the growth of blockchain technology in Malta.

æternity Americas was also on a roll, paving the way for a partnership with the Uruguay-based medical and recreational cannabis producer Uruguay Can, which will use the blockchain for tracking its supply chain. Apart from this, æternity goes down in history as the blockchain platform of choice for the first political party to embrace the technology — the Uruguay Digital Party will apply æternity technology for its internal democracy processes.

The æternity crypto foundation is absolutely proud of the community for all its efforts and achievements, and has been relentlessly working towards furthering the ecosystem as well.

As the world welcomes a new year, let’s take some time to look back at what the æternity foundation has accomplished last year. Here are some highlights from 2019.

Call for Proposals

The foundation launched the first call for proposals in early spring of 2019. Among the first batch of grants supported as a result of this call, was the amazing aeknow.org project. As the name hints, AEKnow is an information platform and blockchain explorer for the æternity blockchain, providing updates about development of the protocol, æpps, and the surrounding ecosystem. An interview with the creator of AEKnow.org can be found here.

Emin Mahrt joins the foundation as a Board Member

Emin Mahrt is well known amongst the community as the Chief Operations Officer and later as Chief Product Officer for æternity. In 2019, the æternity crypto foundation welcomed Emin to the æternity crypto foundation Board. Having him on the foundation team, he supported the sharpening process in the direction of supporting open source development projects. You can read more about his vision and ideas as ACF Board Member in his first interview with the foundation here.

Further Expansion of the team

Six new members joined the foundation in 2019. True to the foundation’s values and principles, a diverse and decentralized team of experts was formed, spread out over three different continents and time zones.

The foundation is happy to have attracted significant female power: Yoana Decheva, is the foundation’s Grants Manager; Pegah Ghojavand — one rare find–is a tech-savvy developer who manages the foundation’s marketing; Cecille de Jesus handles proper communications and PR; and Lale Mahrt manages the foundation’s finances and accounts.

Two more additions were made to the team: Adriano Karok manages events for the foundation; and Hakeem Orewole, who will be responsible for technical project management.

Altogether, the æternity crypto foundation has gathered solid forces to further advance its work and support the Board in executing their plans and vision in the coming years.

The first-ever on-chain governance vote: BRI initiative

In May 7–15 last year, the æternity community conducted the first-ever on-chain governance vote in æternity’s history. Over 76% of the participating tokens voted in support of the Block Reward Initiative (BRI), which aims to provide a more sustainable funding mechanism to support continuous development of the æternity protocol in the future.

With this vote, the community decided to allocate 10% of miner’s rewards to the BRI fund which will be dedicated solely for the technical development of æternity. The collected AE tokens from the BRI are held under the governance of the Foundation to be allocated for research and development grants.

Grants and donations

By the end of 2019 the aeternity crypto foundation has received 106 grant applications. Together with technical experts, community members, and through public forum discussions, all of them have undergone a detailed review and evaluation process.

The board of the ACF finally approved more than 30 applications ranging from small æmbassador event sponsorships up to half-year grants for core protocol development.

Here is a snippet of some of the grants that have been given out:

  • CNLABS AG for the security audit focusing on the core protocol and smart contracts;
  • Leuchtturm Solutions UG for work on core components with the focus on state channels;
  • Philipp Piwowarsky and Keno Dressel for the development of the governance application;
  • Karol Skocik and Juraj Hlista for work on the core protocol with the focus on sync, naming system and GC;
  • Stoyan Vasilev for the development of the Base Wallet application;
  • Artur Kratt and Daniela Ivanova for the development of the Elixir SDK;
  • Coinfabrik Ltd. for the development of a State Channels Payment application;
  • Robert Virding for work on the core protocol with focus on the FATE virtual machine.

A full list of all grants can be found on www.aeternity-foundation.org.

Improved funding focus and public communications

The æternity crypto foundation always keeps itself grounded and in touch with the community, taking constructive feedback about its work, processes, and communications, and making sure that steps are taken to continuously make things better.

In 2019, the foundation revamped its branding and image to fit the philanthropic spirit that it represents. A new website was launched with more detailed explanation of the work, funding areas, and application guidelines for those interested in applying for grants.

And because communication is a two-way street, the foundation has increased its presence on the Forum. The public is welcome and highly encouraged to share feedback, engage in conversations, and suggest ideas through our Forum threads. The Forum is also where the latest updates from our grantees can be found.

In line with improving communications, the æternity crypto foundation’s Medium blog published its first piece this summer and has been consistently posting updates about grantees and projects since. Expect the foundation to maintain this constant standard for transparency throughout the year 2020, and all the years to come.

Follow us on Medium to stay informed about the foundation’s movements.

ACF and æternity Universe One conference

One of the main highlights of the year 2019 for the æternity ecosystem was the æternity Universe One conference, which brought together the community, its supporters, and blockchain enthusiasts in Prague from September 20–21. This year’s æternity Universe is the first of what would be æternity’s annual conference — and an impressively unforgettable one, too.

ACF contributed to the organization of the event from the conceptualization and the execution of the æternity Universe One Hæckathon — to the closing speeches and celebrations after the conference itself.

The conference was a memorable event for everyone, including the foundation members who got to meet several grantees in person, as well as many potential partners and supporters. Here is a summary of the foundation’s participation with the conference.

Refining SDKs: “Hack & Play” session, Berlin

In late November last year, æternity’s SDK developers held a “Hack&Play” session in Berlin where they tried building proof of concept applications as if they were external developers using the SDKs from scratch. The aim of this session was to find any issues and roadblocks that developers could encounter when building their applications, and to resolve these issues (if any) as well as refine the SDKs overall.

More information about this hackathon can be found in this post.

The launch of aechina.io

The æternity crypto foundation supported community member Liu Shao in launching the first and largest Chinese resource on æternity, aechina.io. Liu Shao set up the website which translates news and updates, technical information and dev resources into Chinese, making information more accessible to æternity’s Chinese community. Aechina.io also serves as a go-to website for technical support on æternity, and maintains a server through which æpps can be tested on the main and test networks.

Supporting the ecosystem and open source development

Strengthening the ecosystem

With the support of the foundation, the æmbassador network expanded its scope to cover more parts of the world, and onboarded new, highly promising æmbassadors who spread the word about æternity all over the globe. Throughout last year, the æmbassadors organized well over 200 meet-ups, workshops, and hæckathons.

ACF supported two more community-oriented projects — AEknow and the Tipbot project, providing a monthly grant of 1000 AE to be spent on tips for those who make valuable contributions to the æternity ecosystem and stimulate positive interactions between community members.

To further strengthen collaboration in development, the ACF also supports meet-ups and workshops held by developers — for fellow developers. ACF grantees are provided a space for presentations where they can share ideas about their work and research with like-minded individuals. One such workshop was held early in December in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Supporting open source development

Majority of grants approved by the ACF for 2019 are about open source technology development, with particular focus on æternity’s main protocol, æpps, and everything in between these layers.

This year, the æternity crypto foundation has pledged full support of the newly launched Erlang Ecosystem Foundation (EEF). As a founding member of the EEF, the foundation joins industry pioneers like Ericsson, Cisco, Klarna, and Whatsapp in ensuring that the Erlang programming language — on which the æternity blockchain is built — continues to progress and develop indefinitely throughout the future. This ensures that æternity remains ahead by making sure the programming language used to build it does not stagnate and continuously improves.

Supporting culture and community representation

ACF supported YAIR — a platform built on the æternity blockchain that allows artists to better manage rights to their artwork and enables shared ownership of artwork by the public, to participate at one of the most prestigious art events in Europe. YAIR’s BitTower installation was among the most spectacular and memorable pieces at this year’s Ars Electronica.

Apart from YAIR, the ACF supported the local youth team Cyber Security Liechtenstein in attending the European Cybersecurity Challenge in the Romanian capital of Bucharest — for the second year in a row.

Liechtenstein is the home for æternity crypto foundation. Liechtenstein and its local community have been the perfect breeding environment for tech talent, and has been highly beneficial as the nesting ground for the æternity ecosystem. The æternity crypto foundation is absolutely honored to be able to give back to this community by supporting local endeavours, especially in tech and culture.

Wrapping the year up in style, Marion has been invited to speak at the first Digital Finance Forum in Liechtenstein. It has been a great event with notable guests from the technology industry as well as the public service sector, including the Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Adrian Hasler who gave the welcome speech.

The foundation regularly publishes detailed reports on grant awardees. For detailed lists of given grants, please check out the grant reports here.

ACF was established with the primary mission of supporting and sustaining open source blockchain technology and its development. Throughout the year, the foundation has stayed true to its principles, and will continue to do so in the years to come.

The foundation welcomes the year 2020 and the new decade with optimism and a promise to do better and be better in every step and initiative it undertakes.

Potential partners and grantees are also welcome to contact the foundation for proposals to take æternity leaps ahead.

Let’s build æternity together.

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