The ICO officially ended on the 15th of March and the ATLAS team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our community for the continued support and funding that we received over the past month. It has been an incredible journey and we will continue providing you with consistent updates as we work to co-create the final version of the platform.
Following the end of our month long ICO period, in which 5 million WORK coins were available to the public to buy and given that we did not reach our minimum ICO target that the team set internally. In addition to the current blockchain/ICO market conditions, the ATLAS team has come to realize the limitations in the growth of our community. The Atlas project has been developed and brought to market with no prior funding, no ICO pre-sale, no seed funding and no venture capital funding and this has limited the team’s ability to generate enough awareness during the recent ICO period. The experience of going through an ICO has educated the whole team and the learning we have gained from it will positively benefit us all in the future.
In addition to the limit in growth and awareness, the current regulatory environment facing blockchain/cryptocurrency projects has become increasingly challenging. The SEC recently announced that all cryptocurrency exchanges now have to be registered as national securities exchanges and all assets trading on these exchanges will be classified as securities. Within the same announcement the SEC outlined its future plans in continuing to “focus on platforms that offer trading of digital assets and their compliance with the federal securities laws”. This statement is in line with an earlier post by the Wall Street Journal outlining the “dozens of subpoenas and information requests” issued by the SEC to “technology companies and advisers involved in the red-hot market for cryptocurrencies”. Within Asia, Singapore has followed suit in issuing its own statement with the MAS outlining that it will assess each ICO on a case by case basis. Needless to say the regulatory environment facing ICOs has not yet normalized, and it has become increasingly difficult to launch a platform that efficiently conforms to the volatile legal framework for blockchain projects as the cost barrier to entry in terms of legal fees / SEC registration and basic consulting around this dynamically changing and fast moving industry is high and it goes back to what we stated earlier about the importance of pre-ICO funding either with seed funding, accelerators or incubators or with some venture capital to have a successful ICO.
The Atlas team have reflected on recent experiences, the team have discussed the current challenges and upcoming challenges around regulations. Our belief in ATLAS and it’s long term vision as laid out in our Whitepaper has encouraged us to find a solution to grow the community, awareness and excitement around what we are doing without capital. The Atlas team has grown by 6 new team members some of which have extensive digital marketing and blockchain experience, one with a well known blockchain /cryptocurrency project from Asia. These new team members will be leading our IBO campaign.
Not meeting our ICO minimum target has in a way forced us to approach the project in a continued lean, agile, open source and collaborative way. It has now given us more time to work on addressing the security and quality issues identified during testing. It has also given us the freedom to pursue traditional funding sources with a bigger, more skilled and experienced team. Approaching new funding opportunities with an operational live blockchain, a growing mining community, our Atlas Wallet and a more well developed feature rich beta platform, which assures future potential investors of a secure and high quality blockchain solution.
The Atlas team continue to build on our core pillars of ATLAS that have continuously guided our strategy from the platform’s conception. ATLAS has always aimed to be an ecosystem for freelancers to shape the future of work and it has always been our intention that this ecosystem is supported by the foundation of a strong engaged community that improves upon and grows the platform. Not a community filled with non-engaged fake profiles and bot generated followers on social media. The process of building such a community is not something that is achieved overnight, or even within the time frame of an ICO. The Atlas team realize that an ICO in the current market has not proved a suitable alternative way to raise capital through selling crypto assets such as the Atlas WORK coin as a means to scale our community and execute on our Whitepaper more quickly. It by no way means an end, we have delivered on what we set out in our whitepaper so far and we have grown the Atlas team. We continue to execute of the Atlas whitepaper and we will continue build the Atlas project.
It has become necessary to grow our community in a different manner, and especially one that can exist within the continuously changing regulatory environment. And as such, the ATLAS team believes that the best course of action is to refund the current WORK Coin purchases from our ICO in order to initiate the distribution of the WORK coin crypto asset via an Initial Bounty Offering (IBO) and mining. To those unfamiliar with the system, an IBO, as CNN describes, is a “limited-time process, by which a new cryptocurrency is made public and distributed to people who invest their skills and time to earn rewards in the new cryptocurrency.” This will enable ATLAS to grow its community more organically, while generating value via both creative work and through atlas development such as Atlas coin integration into existing wallets, exchanges and platforms to help increase the distribution and usage of the WORK coin. To help facilitate development and growth, Atlas is restructuring the bounty program and learning from other successful projects. Instead of a bounty program our new marketing team members are engaged in launching our IBO to officially be part of the distribution system for WORK coin and beta user growth as mentioned in our previous newsletter. From Marketing to Development, different tasks will be dispatched to our community through our Atlas.Work beta helping to ensure it is flawless and is of high quality when we let the mass public access it. This gives the opportunity for people to acquire WORK at an early stage via online engagement if they do not want to mine WORK coins.
Regardless of the challenges outlined already we learned and we continue to execute on our Whitepaper vision and road map, the ATLAS team still strongly believes in the platform’s capabilities and the increased teams strength and experience to continue delivering. In addition to establishing a dedicated team to manage the IBO, the developers are still hard at work in developing the platform and giving the community a working product to support our growth. As some of you may be aware, the Atlas live production blockchain was launched on the 15th Feb 2018 and has had a steady growth of mining nodes joining. The Atlas team committed to bring a new blockchain project to the community. We launched the Atlas Blockchain, the code can be found on our github repo, we launched the Atlas Wallet which allows users to fully transact with WORK coins. The team decided after closed beta testing not to publicly release the beta during the ICO period as our development team had concerns around quality and security. Moreover, we are also releasing the first episode of our Developer Dairies shortly after this article. The new series will give the community closer insight on the platform’s development, currently in its alpha stage, and how they can contribute by testing the security, providing suggestions, and even directly helping development via the upcoming IBO. Testers will be able to sign-up, create an account, post and apply for jobs and transact with ETH and WORK.
In addition to the development, the team is currently in negotiations with private investors to provide capital that we can use to further develop, market an scale the platform.
As we outlined in the previous newsletter, we plan on taking a step by step approach in developing the platform, with the test net and main net released back in February we are pleased to bring to the public the next part of our platform. While we are excited to bring you newer features, we realize that it is critical to not compromise on the security and quality of our platform; much less one that hasn’t yet been validated by the community. The public testing of this alpha platform is the beginning of this validation, and we hope that with your continued support, we can co-create a platform that will enable us to reach new frontiers in the future of work.