2019: The Year of Decentralized Money
Yokwe dear friends and partners,
This New Year edition of the SOV newsletter will bring you up to speed with all the news from 2018 and outline our plans for 2019.
In early 2018, we relocated to the Marshall Islands to kick off the project and to help craft the Sovereign Currency Act of 2018, which officially declares SOV as legal tender of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Since leaving the Marshall Islands, the team has been working on the strategy to launch SOV in 2019. This has involved challenging but exciting work in many different fields. SOV combines technological innovation and national and international law, economics, and politics.
Despite this complexity, we have made significant progress in finding partners, investors, and developers to build the SOV.
The SOV Team
We’ve recruited an amazing team, among our leadership are:
- Dr. Peter Dittus, our Chief Economist. Peter is the former Secretary General of the Bank for International Settlements (the “central bank of central banks”) and a critical voice on the current global financial system.
- Paul Wehner, our CTO. Paul is an MIT graduate who won the 2018 EOS Global Hackathon in Hong Kong. Paul is responsible for building the technical components of SOV, including the all-important Yokwe protocol, which will ensure SOV is compliant with international anti-money laundering regulation while maintaining privacy for individual users.
- Jim Wagner, our VP of Engineering. Jim is another MIT graduate who led the technology team at FØCAL, a platform for designing computer vision algorithms and applications.
- Uri Ben-Ezer,our CFO. Uri is the former partner and COO of Northwind Group, a real estate asset management and development company, which he grew from its inception to $500 million of AUM in 4 years.
Developing the Marshall Islands into a global financial center for crypto
We recently hired Steve Tendon, thearchitect behind Malta’s transformation into a ‘Blockchain Island’. Steve’s legal and regulatory work in Malta has been a huge success, and the SOV’s status as legal tender means the opportunities for the Marshall Islands are even greater.
We envision the Marshall Islands evolving in a similar way to the Cayman Islands: a territory which now incorporates 75% of the world’s hedge funds despite having a similar population to the Marshall Islands. In just a few decades, GDP in the Caymans has grown to $3.2B USD, with enormous benefits for all citizens. In a similar manner, we plan to develop an ecosystem in the Marshall Islands, which will attract existing and new banks, exchanges, and startups to operate physically and virtually from the Marshall Islands and grow a new industry there with a friendly and inviting regulatory framework, served with a native sovereign cryptocurrency.
The Aijar Jenlik Foundation
Aijar Jenlik is an old Marshallese proverb which means “to encourage and advise those working on an important task so it is performed in a manner that would be impossible to destroy”. We have drawn great inspiration from this as the SOV project has developed, and we’re hoping to channel some of this resilience of spirit into the creation of the Aijar Jenlik Foundation.
The foundation’s primary goal is to help fund projects and support the SOV ecosystem. For example, anyone who wants to establish a startup, an exchange or a crypto bank in the Marshall Islands will be able to apply for investments and loans from the foundation. We hope in this way to create a thriving ecosystem of blockchain financial services based around SOV, both in the Marshall Islands and globally.
The Aijar Jenlik Foundation (AJF) will be funded with 7.2M SOV units, which are 30% of the initial circulating supply.
We’ve formed several important partnerships in 2018 to ensure the technological and legal success of SOV.
On the technological side, we’ve partnered withTangem, who is helping us issue SOV crypto-cash to circulate within the Marshall Islands. This will ensure that all Marshallese citizens can use SOV, even those living on islands with limited infrastructure. We’ve also partnered with ID PASS to help us provide an identity and pre-paid card solutions across the 1000+ islands in the Marshall Islands.
On the regulatory front, we’ve partnered with Tusk Ventures — who helped Uber win their regulatory battle to operate in New York — and Guidepost Solutions, a leading fintech compliance firm in the U.S. They will be helping us engage with key stakeholders and navigate the various regulatory issues we face in launching SOV responsibly.
Spreading the Word and Engaging with the Media
We’ve finalized the SOV White Paper and Tech Paper. We’ll be making these public in the near future. However, if you would like to review them and provide feedback now, please get in touch explaining your interest.
Media attention is growing and becoming more nuanced. Recently, Bloomberg Businessweek, the leading global financial publication, published a 3000-word story on the Marshall Islands and the SOV. They sent their reporter to Majuro, and the result is one of the most extensive features on SOV and the challenges the Marshall Islands is facing.
2019 and Beyond
As with all crypto projects, we get a lot of questions about funding and how to contribute. We are taking a measured approach here: building long-term wealth and prosperity takes focus, patience, and a clear analytical approach. As the 2018 ICO craze proved, rushing to raise funds at the expense of everything else can cost much more in the long run.
The crypto markets are much softer than this time last year. As such, it’s clear we need to shift strategies from attracting standard investors to forging partnerships with powerful allies that have a vested interest in seeing that sovereign crypto money succeeds.
Several blockchain platforms raised hundreds of millions of US dollars in 2018, and are now fighting for dominance. As we’ve seen with smartphones and PCs, typically two platforms survive and win 90% of the market. And as the IMF and other observers have noted, cryptocurrencies issued by sovereign countries will play a major role in the future of crypto markets. Therefore, the blockchain that facilitates the first sovereign crypto money will be well positioned to achieve market dominance. This is why we are now focusing our effort in creating partnerships with a handful of those powerful and well-capitalized blockchain platforms, to provide a strong anchor for a coalition around the Marshall Islands.
We are committed to launching the SOV during 2019.
The global economic and monetary system is taking the world to the brink of social and environmental destruction, with runaway systems exacerbating climate change, rising sea levels, and atrocious inequality.
Many of these problems have manifested in a severe form in the Marshall Islands, making it both the frontline and a proving ground for the technologies which we need to save our world.
SOV will be the world’s first cryptocurrency as legal tender, and will bring long-term prosperity to the Marshall Islands and the world in a responsible, sustainable, and environmentally friendly manner.
We hope that you’ll join us.
The SOV Team