APEX — Behind the Scenes #1

Hey everyone, Jimmy here. I’ve been thinking about the way that the APEX team as well as the community management team has been communicating to the greater community, and indeed yes we have been trying to provide everyone the most up-to-date information on the project, partnerships, developments, and other things that APEXIANs care about. At the same time I’ve come to think that it’s helpful to have another outlet, or format, of communication on a periodic basis, that is less news-driven, less filtered, or even more personal from my perspective. A format that is 100% raw, and enables the community to see what goes behind the scenes — almost to an extent that they feel like they’re getting their own hands dirty, providing a level of unprecedented transparency.

Introducing APEX — Behind the Scenes, which will be a periodic update in format of a Medium article written by myself and other core members whom you haven’t really heard from yet. Today is Behind the Scenes #1.


The Work I Do

Most members of the APEX community probably at least roughly, know who I am and my big-picture role in building this project (of course, that’s assuming they at least know what the project is about, which we hope is as close to 100% as possible, but maybe we’re not quite there yet). Some community members have reached out regarding questions relating specifically surrounding the topic “Jimmy, what exactly do you do everyday?”, which I most likely did not have the time to respond but shall elaborate here.

The best way to describe my daily job at APEX is Chief Navigator, which can be thought of as CEO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), and head of ecosystem building. So in essence it includes management of comprehensive core project operations (technology, product, community ops, marketing & PR, partnerships/commercial), as well as core strategy for technology, differentiation, and growth. And just to clarify, management of core project operations do not necessarily mean I manage them directly — there’s department/functional heads that report to me, hence I supervise, advise, and at times intervene when deemed necessary. Additionally, by also being the chief of ecosystem growth also implies that I facilitate relationships and meet one-on-one with the leaders of key strategic partners and potential partners of the project. And of course, I am also the Chief Executive Officer at APEX Technologies, which serves as the number one most strategic partner for APEX Network in terms of technology and enterprise ecosystem.

There have also been people who’ve asked me my work allocation — so I shall also shed some light here on this. This is the rough schedule of my typical 15-hour workday:

  • 9 am — Get up and resolve some immediate issues/inquiries that occurred in early morning from a different timezone.
  • 10 am — Head to office, while replying to emails, doing research, and finishing leftover work on the way.
On the road, to/from office, to meetings
  • 10.30 am — Coffee and touch base with management team in conference room
  • 11.30 am — Go over TODOs, milestones, and strategy for APEX Network
  • 12 pm — Lunch and read Bloomberg and Quora
  • 1 pm — Start meetings and conference calls
  • 3 pm — Planning and desktop work
  • 5 pm — Talk with tech and product teams for both APEX Tech and APEX Network
  • 6 pm — Talk to community management, PR, and marketing teams
  • 7 pm — Dinner
  • 8 pm — Review ecosystem partnerships, vendors, investments
  • 9 pm — Industry, partners, and ecosystem meetings over whiskey
  • 11 pm — Back to drawing board, take a look at progress, take a look at the big picture and brainstorm
  • 12 am — Check newsfeed and intel on Telegram, social media, and other news outlets
  • 1 am — Sit back and watch some Westworld or Billions

Partnership and Ecosystem Developments

We’ve announced a few partnerships with brands and state-backed entities, mostly in areas of comprehensive strategic partnership with APEX Technologies, in both blockchain and AI — but I’d have to say this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s various strategic partnerships that are much more significant in value though we are not exactly in a hurry to announce (will publicize when we have the right timing and firepower ready). Towards the later part of this year we will also see a wave of two new types of partnerships being developed and solidified: 1) Cross-chain partnerships with other top projects and chains 2) Blockchain technology and infrastructure partnerships, both with blockchain tech companies like Consensys as well as with large multinational companies in various verticals.

The difference between dApp partnerships, where brands and enterprises build applications on APEX Network, and infrastructure partnerships, is that in the latter case we are able to build custom and private chain solutions for these organizations, which give us an extra edge in the industry, and enables us to stay at the forefront of infra-level blockchain technology. In our infrastructure solutions we explore and play with other tech outside of APEX Network, such as sharding and Proof of Authority.

One of our business development managers giving a rundown of our blockchain tech framework to a large state-owned company

Technology Development

In terms of technology and product development, I’m glad to say we’re ahead of schedule, as well as implementing more features than we additionally planned. APEX Network Testnet will be ready by Q4 of this year (which we will also release an APEX blockchain explorer), and MainNet is estimated to be released as soon as Q1 2019. ERC-20 support for the APEX Wallet (CPX Wallet) and identity and data management via the wallet (stored via DHT Cloud, early version of Data Cloud Nodes) will both be implemented by mid Q3.

Currently, we have around 15 staff dedicated to the blockchain team, consisting of software engineers and product managers, and is expected to continue growing to scale APEX Network as well as support infrastructure-level partnerships. Richard himself, along with Rui Xiao, a former infrastructure team leader from Alibaba Cloud, is leading the blockchain engineering team.

I audit parts of the code when I have the time

Community and Marketing

Community and marketing is one of the most important aspects of the project when it comes to continuous growth, increased liquidity, and overall prominence of the project over time. As an honest self-assessment of the past couple months, as the team was focused more on technology and project strategy & positioning, community and marketing is an area where we did not put nearly as much effort, planning, and resources as we ideally should have. This is changing fast, and we started with an initiative to grow the community, which worked quite well as a lot of you have seen, bringing in quite a bit of new community that only heard about APEX lately.

I don’t consider us having really started the “aggressive marketing” (which will be officially kickstarted this month), but rather have spent some time laying the foundation and legwork for our next stage of growth. In the past month, we’ve brought on 1) community growth partners 2) a top blockchain & crypto PR firm, and 3) relationships with crypto media into our arsenal, and continue to develop marketing and community growth partners on a weekly basis.

Stay tuned — you may just see some interesting things come up around the corner.


Exchanges

Exchanges are naturally a topic of discussion and interest of the community, and prior to this week, we did not have enough information to make an accurate enough of an assessment of the “Top 7” exchange situation — but now we do. In early June, we had a mutual agreement with a consistently top 5/top 6 exchange with large maincoin volume, to list in Late June, Early July. In late June, we were notified that the guaranteed listing date will need to be postponed to August for reasons that are unclear. Come the last week of June, we were also sent a new contract with an adjusted price of close to two times that of the original with no clear reason other than to “fit market rate”.

In early July we obtained advisory from our institutional investors and friends and partners from the blockchain space on this matter, and came to the conclusion that this particular exchange typically does not bring much additional volume to altcoins, as the main userbase, being institutions and professional traders, do not focus on coins below the top 15 ranking in market cap. Hence taking into consideration the combination of the particular unfavorable deal at hand and minimal value add in terms of potential volume, we were advised to move on and save the funds for community and ecosystem growth to build up organic demand.

Indeed, the vast majority of volume for any “altcoin” project is brought from the community, and of course, the exchange can help or increase the probability and magnitude in which each and every community member trades on that exchange. But in most cases, users of an exchange are unlikely upon every new coin listing go and pour funds in and start trading the coin. The only 100% positive correlation is between volume and community size and coverage.

Having said that, we are continuing to have conversations with exchanges and to discover pros and cons of each, and to advance cooperation if we deem suitable — it’s apparent that the exchange space is changing fast and it’s hard to say who are the incumbents, leaders, and rising stars within 4–6 months time. In the most short-run, we’ll see how the trading competition on Bit-Z goes.


Long-Term Value Levers

We covered quite a bit of information today, but there is one thing that us (myself, the entire APEX management, the greater APEX team) and you (the community) should be aligned on — and it’s something that everyone cares about. I’m referring to the long-term value levers, or in layman’s terms, what makes the project and coin valuable, desired, and sustainable in the long run.

First and foremost, is utility and value creation mechanisms, which means its actual ability to create usable value. In our case it’s a two-fold system that includes 1) enterprise adoption, which decreases actual circulating supply of CPX 2) node ecosystem, which adds value in network maintenance and allows node holders and operators to reap rewards while incentivizing staking, which also reduces circulating supply drastically.

The second driver of long-term value is the size and scale of engaged participants, which points to size of community and project prominence. Not many projects these days has a community that on a large part is engaged at an in-depth level on the project, and is able to grow and maintain that following in the short, mid, and long-term. This is a key driver for price and value sustainability and organic liquidity at the same time.

If you agree on these two points, then rest assured that this is what APEX Network is pursuing and working on day-to-day. We also hope that you become an “engaged participant” in this project and ecosystem.

Yours Sincerely,

Jimmy Hu

Founder & CEO,
APEX Network

APEX Network