Current Media: November 2018 AMA with Dan Novaes

Caleb Reynolds
Nov 22, 2018 · 13 min read

Hey Everyone 👋,

This is Dan Novaes with Current.

Thanks again for tuning into our November AMA series. We have a bunch of AMA questions not only for our Chinese community but also some that have been left in our inbox from our last post. We wanted to go through and clarify any additional questions for people and give an update to how Current is progressing and include some of our thoughts on the industry as a whole. So with that, I’m just going to jump into questions and answer them one by one!

How many employees are there at the company? How many of them are full time and part time?

We have about 20 different employees at the company right now. We’re constantly hiring, but we have a pretty high standard for who we look for. The teams right now are mixed up with the majority of them being based in Chicago, IL. We have a board member in a Gibraltar, where the token issuer is located, and a team in Mexico that is primarily consisted of developers. We’re always hiring, so if you know of anyone that would be interested, feel free to go to our website and apply because there are about eight or nine open roles that are listed right now.

What is the current office location for the company and what is the legal subject of registration?

Our headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois; in the United States, and are subject to U.S. laws and compliance. The token issuer is based in Gibraltar, but there’s an inter-company agreement between the Gibraltar company and the U.S. company. Because of this, we must comply with both countries and their different laws and frameworks.

Why can’t I create an account in the CRNC portal?

The CRNC portal is something that we sent to our private backers, so if you have a signed SAFT with us, you have already received an invite. You can see your pegged value, your allocation of CRNC, and the bonus periods.

If you don’t have a SAFT signed with us, then you are unable to get access to the portal just yet.

Airdrops will be done via CoinList, and we’ll be sending invites to the CRNC portal after you’ve passed their KYC process. If you have any questions, you can feel free to email, and we’ll get you sorted out.

Why has a CoinList airdrop not been implemented?

We’re still in contact with CoinList. We’ve been holding off a bit just because of some of the things within the regulatory environment and also some structures on how we set up with CoinList. The distribution is still planned to go through CoinList, and our airdrop will be done through their platform.

We both decided that due to the regulatory uncertainties we were going to need a little bit of extra time. We anticipate having something in place in the next quarter that would allow us to facilitate the airdrop through the system.

Current has raised $36 million, what has the money been used for?

This is actually something that we posted in part one of our transparency series from the first week of October. I would reference that; there’s disclosures on how much money we’ve spent this year, our runway and burn rate over the next few years, salaries of key executives, token allocations and a variety of other things. We intend to show what we are doing with the money, how it has been spent and our projections as we move forward.

As the company grows, we will continue to post those details on a quarterly basis so people can keep track of how we’re allocating capital and that’s in tune with some of the things that we think companies in the space should be doing in regards to self-regulation. It’s essential that a company reports these details so the people that are buying their token, or that will be a part of the network have an idea of what is going on with the internal workings of the company.

We think that’s where the space is ultimately going, and there’s a lot of stuff that came out last week from the SEC that suggests that these entities are going to need to register as a public entity.

Why did Current decide to change the Telegram channel to an announcement only channel? Don’t you think it’s worth the expense? Will Current open its Telegram channel back up to the community?

It’s not that we’re having a problem paying for community operations, but the questions that we’ve been getting in the channel were pretty much the same question over and over 98% of the time, day by day. There’s a cost to maintaining that channel 24/7 that we’ve already answered in a blog post.

We find that a lot of people don’t take the time to read the posts themselves and we prefer to do things like AMAs and so on and so forth. Also, we projected that in the course of the next couple of years, we would save approximately $500,000 without it. We’re considering opening the Telegram channel up again once there’s a meaningful discussion outside of tokens not being issued yet. Usually, the main question is “When token, when token, when token?” We’ve tried to be very transparent in our post to the community so that people know why the token distribution has been delayed. It’s not that we just these things up, there are regulations around how things are done with the government that we must abide by.

For now, you can reach us either through Twitter or via email. If you still have questions, we’re available. There’s always someone on the other line that’s able to answer these questions for you.

The Current app isn’t very smooth. What is the future plan for its development?

I’m just assuming that whether you’re on iOS or Android. So one of the critical things that we’ve been working on over the past few months is getting our android app up to par with the iOS app. We started out with a good base of iOS engineers, and our CTO is by trade an iOS engineer. So there’s a big head start there. A few months ago we hired two different android engineers to have a total of three in our team, and we’re hiring another.

We feel that in January we’ll likely be at parallel where the android app will be similar to that or the iOS app because right now android it’s still kind of in a Beta mode. Another thing that we’ve done is re-architecture the IOS App. What that essentially means is that we changed the framework that it was designed from Objective-C into Swift, which is the new language that Apple iOS apps are recommended and that has made it a lot smoother and quicker to develop. That takes time though, and the reason that we did that is so we can handle the infrastructure as we scale and the number of users that we likely will see as we grow. This allows it to be a must faster app with more feature sets that we could put into it now. The Android team has also been working like crazy while we’re doing that to kind of get them to the same point. I think they will see a lot of updates in December where we intend to release earning to everyone, which basically means that anyone can earn within Current when they consume media and at least on iOS and we tend to do that around the same time, whether it’s December or January for android as well.

How is the app going to achieve mainstream adoption worldwide? There’s many apps that compete with it, how do tokens give it a competitive advantage?

One of the key ideas that we had was to transfer our music service to an entirely free music service that people can instantaneously get access to free media; independent of what country they live in, and whether or not they pay for a premium subscription plan. That was one of the critical factors for the decision to shift from Spotify or Apple Music to radio.

Today there are really two business models within media services. There are subscription-based, and there are ad based. We’re a hybrid, which is an incentive-based model. Our general thought process is that for the people that don’t pay for premium services, which is the majority of people, there are a few hundred million people that are willing to pay anyone media service, but there are 2.4 billion people that have smartphones. As you can see, the majority of people are not willing to pay or can’t afford premium subscriptions, and we’re focused on this subset of people. It’s the idea that if they’re not paying for any single media service, they’re not necessarily loyal to any one media service.

We believe that by having an incentive-based model that allows people to consume content and get rewarded for their attention, their data and their time, that it’s a much better business model. There’s value to the user, and there’s value to the platforms that integrate with the technology because those users can then in turn use what they earned to pay for the premium services.

That’s mostly what our goal is, to create this new type of business model that is focused on the incentive based economy which right now isn’t very prevalent in any media service. This is how we intend to compete and provide the backbone of that infrastructure not only within our platform but several other media platforms around the world.

Is there any way a user can contribute content to the app and so when and what are the incentives for such users and how will these users earn when their tracks are played?

Right now, we’re still on V1 of the platform in the sense that we aggregate a variety of curated radio stations. As we grow, we plan to have ways for users to contribute, whether that’s sharing with friends, or curating a variety of stations that they can earn on. It’s just a matter of time until something like this would be available, but as of right now, the main focus is: you listen, you earn and then you can earn more from a variety of other opt-in activities. Curation right now is not going to be at the forefront of our focus for the next few quarters.

It looks like the SEC has posted new guidelines for crypto based companies in regards to being considered a security. How does this affect Current? Does this mean that you will need to refund investors money you raised?

We actually think that the “new” guidelines aren’t necessarily that new, to be honest. A lot of the guidelines that have come out we started seeing at the beginning of the third quarter — in tune with our primary school of thought and the things that we posted on. For example, part two of our transparency series talks about how we believe regulators may be viewing the industry and what likely will happen. This includes disclosing things like internal financials, subjecting yourself to being a public reporting entity. This kind of thing is what we’ve seen in countries like Gibraltar where Current is based. Because Current issued a SAFT to all investors, we essentially signed up to be a security from the beginning. We complied with US security laws, meaning we filed a Reg-D form with the SEC as an exemption and we also did a Reg-S offering with our international backers. At the end of June, we provided every backer an updated contract that basically had all the additional disclosures of our sale that they had to approve to stay in the deal or we would buy back their SAFT during that period of time. This option was available for 30 days. So we’ve tried very hard to be compliant with the rules and the frameworks around security laws in the US and also are looking at other jurisdictions like Gibraltar as a forward-thinking first mover into the space which allows us to think about what self-regulation looks like for us as these further clarification from the regulators come to light.

The timeline for distribution has been delayed several times. If the attitude of the US government towards ICO never comes clear will there be an end?

I think this is in tune with the last question. Again, we don’t think that the intention of the US government or any regulator is to prevent technology from being developed, that only hurts the economy. I think that right now, what they’re doing is trying to protect people from getting scammed and losing money. I believe that it’s been more evident than ever in the sense that we’re seeing some case law like that with Paragon or Airfox. These cases came out last week, accusing them of running an unregistered security sale under the guise of a utility token, and now they’re paying the price.

Fortunately for us, we planned ahead and are confident that we won’t run into these same issues. A lot is coming in the space, and we’re convinced that going into this next year we’ll be able to make a lot of movements. Recently we’ve even been able to give a few timelines that we feel are reasonable for us to conduct our distribution.

When is token distribution and listing, what is the deadline?

Again, I would read our last transparency post that goes a little bit more into what we’re focusing on within the network and what the next phase of the network looks like. In 2019, we’re going to see a lot of progress in the space because there’s been a lot more clarity that’s being given by some of these cases that have come out in this quarter.

We intend to distribute tokens sometime in May of this next year, and we’ll see if we can do it even sooner. Either way, we’re all hands on deck on this, and it’s crucial that every backer knows that the team, myself, my co-founders, the people that have been working at this company for years are all tied to the same goal. Our compensation is linked to this, we’re not doing this for a monthly salary because we could all be doing things that likely pay us more than what we’re currently doing. We’re working towards building a big vision, and that takes time, and you can’t be short-sighted and make foul moves without hurting everyone.

The reason that we’ve created transparency posts is so that people know: where is this money being spent? What are they doing with it? Are they out partying? Are they taking trips? No. We aren’t being fiscally irresponsible, and we are posting these reports to prove this, so that’s something that we’d like people to keep in mind.

What is holding back token distribution? Current’s lawyers seem worried about legal sanctions all the time. If there’s no token distribution after deadline, then what?

Again, the delays have all been based on concerns about the regulatory environment, and once you do token distribution, if you do it incorrectly, there’s no going back really, and that would cause chaos for everyone.

Would we prefer to have done it if the rules were more clear? Of course. Did it make sense to do it? No, it didn’t make sense. It’s not because we just decided that it didn’t make sense; we have to think about every single person that invested their capital and about this business and the network as we move forward and how do we execute that? We don’t intend on any more delays, but again, you have to move quickly in this industry as the space changes very rapidly.

It makes it difficult to meet every single deadline because something may just drastically change and the space has changed quite a lot in the last year regarding the clarity that we’ve been given and how different governments are treating regulation.

If we don’t want to wait any longer, will Current repurchase our SAFT?

We made the repurchase available over a 30 day period between June 30th until July 30th to all backers with a SAFT. The documents included full disclosure on everything related to the sale up until that point as well as the possibility of future delays. We are at this time unable to offer that option again because if we had a rolling refund period than we would never be able to know what our projected cash flow is or what our estimated budgets are a, we constantly would never know how much capital we have on hand.

The last question is: Current has broken promises and delayed many times. Will there be compensation?

So again, these promises were not things that we broke just because we wanted to break them. Every deadline should be looked at as an estimate. There are so many variables, whether it be due to regulatory changes or development, all we can do is adapt. As I stated earlier, in our first part of the transparency series, our compensation and time are tied to the tokens.

If you read into that, I think you’ll see that we aren’t just doing things and delaying things for the hell of it. That’s not really our intention. We’re doing our best to adapt to the industry and be as compliant as possible because the companies that do that are the companies that are going to create real value.

The thing that we can control right now is creating something that people want, and if you create something that people want, you create value. If you create something that people don’t want and then you shortsightedly launch a token…well, we saw tokens go down 98% along with a variety of other things in the industry that were being propped up by speculation. Due to the lack of thinking long term, a lot of people have lost a lot of money. This is one of the things that we’ve been thinking about because we don’t want the same thing to happen to Current and all of our backers.

So with that we’re going to close off here. We’ll also be publishing an update on the product and a variety of other exciting things that we want to share.

Going into December and Q1 2019, we’re going to be a lot more active in the press and our marketing efforts because we can fully deliver on the value proposition to a much larger subset of individuals.

We’re going to keep the Google Form open, and people can submit more questions after this AMA. As previously mentioned, we’re going to be doing one of these every four to six weeks to keep the community updated.

Thanks for supporting Current, and hopefully, these will provide further insights moving forward.

If you have any feedback or ideas, don’t hesitate to hit us up on any of our social channels, as it will be sure to drive what we write about going forward. Additionally, if you’d like the chance to have a question answered by Dan in an upcoming AMA, you can submit questions through this Google Form.

To stay updated on our company updates and announcements, give us a follow above, and don’t forget to follow us on: Twitter | Linkedin | Current Media Website | CRNC Website

Caleb Reynolds

Written by

The CRNC Token

Current is a blockchain-enabled media network that rewards users for streaming media.

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