How to market a decentralised, open source organisation

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By: Dave ‘EvilDave’ Pearce

Origins of the Nxt Foundation….

One of the great strengths of Nxt, and of the wider Nxt community, is that it has always been intended, from the initial Nxt concept onwards, that Nxt would be a strongly decentralised community.

A very useful guide to the basic principles of decentralised organisation can be found in ‘The Starfish and the Spider’ by Ori Brafma:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starfish_and_the_Spider

A decentralised organisation may be fine for certain applications (such as an activist movement) but for a software system that needs to interface with the wider business community, how can decentralisation work effectively ?

This issue cropped up very early on in Nxt development, giving rise to further questions:

  • Nxt is a brilliant system to build business applications on, but how does a business get in touch with a decentralised movement like the Nxt community?
  • How does a business enter into a legal agreement with Nxt, or receive support?
  • How can Nxt be promoted to businesses, or carry out PR ?

The answers to all of the above led to the set-up of the Nxt Foundation, which (if we go back to the ‘Starfish’ analogy) can be seen as a specialised organ for Nxt, like an extra leg for the starfish.

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The Foundation was created to act as a sub-section of the Nxt eco-system that is responsible for linking the decentralised, open-source community of Nxt with the very much centralised mainstream business and finance world. In effect acting as a gateway between the decentralised crypto world and the centralised mainstream worlds of business, finance and governance.

The Foundation was initially (informally) set up in mid 2014, by a group of veterans of the fledgling Nxt community. The main personnel involved are: Tai ‘Tai Zen’ Duong, David ‘EvilDave’ Pearce, Bas ‘Damelon’ Wisselink, Dirk ‘LocoMB’ Reuter and Ian ‘Chanc3r’ Ravenscroft. As befits a decentralised orgainisation, the initial founding members represented a wide range of viewpoints and possessed a very wide range of skills.

This group first met in real life as representatives for Nxt at the groundbreaking BitCoin2014 conference, held in Amsterdam, and worked so well together that they decided to carry on under the then informal banner of the Nxt Foundation.

Initially simply a loose group intended as a contact point for businesses, the Nxt Foundation proved themselves to be very useful to Nxt, and began to evolve into a fully fledged business unit with wider ranging responsibilities.

The Foundation was registered and incorporated at the start of 2015 as a non-profit business in the Netherlands, under the title of ‘Stichting Nxt/Nxt Foundation’ with the goal of supporting Nxt development and expansion.

Since then, the Nxt Foundation has continued to function as a contact point for businesses who wish to work with Nxt , and has also taken on other responsibilities: the purchase and maintenance of essential software, such as SSL and code signing certificates, developer licenses and hosting for Nxt-core related sites.

Most recently, the Foundation identified some areas that needed to be improved within Nxt, and set up the Tennessee project to address those areas.

Entering Tennessee…..

Towards mid-2015, it became increasingly obvious that Nxt needed to change to meet the demands of a rapidly changing crypto-currency market: many mainstream players were entering the market, bringing with them from the mainstream business/finance world a more professional approach to project management and a much more aggressive approach to PR and marketing.

A decentralised (and somewhat under-funded) project that relied on volunteer work, like Nxt, could not compete on an equal footing with the professional marketing and PR employed by this new wave of crypto projects.

Individual projects based on Nxt, usually with a defined project leader or a small group of leaders, could easily choose for themselves whether or not to follow this trend, or how to respond to the changes in the market, but for the Nxt core (and the wider Nxt community) a solution had to be found to address this situation.

Thus the Tennessee project was proposed: the Nxt Foundation analysed and explained the current market situation to the community, and asked them to donate to a Foundation- administered fund set up purely to professionalise and improve two basic elements of the Nxt core project: Marketing/PR and the user experience. The estimated budget to run Tennessee for a year (on the basis of two part-time employees) was approximately $70,000 or 10 million NXT.

tnsse-crowdfunding-nxt

This sum was raised via crowdfunding (using the Nxt Monetary System) inside 2 weeks, and Tennessee went live at the start of November 2015.

TNSSE has now been officially in existence for just under 4 weeks and has, so far:

Organised salary payouts for the 2 main (part-time) Tennessee personnel for the following 12 months, ensuring that there will be a coherent marketing/PR presence for Nxt over that time.

Hired a media contact consultant, the UK-based John Mcleod, on a contract basis, initially for 3 months with the possibility to extend that period. John’s function is to pro-actively seek out and cultivate both mainstream and crypto media contacts for Tennessee and Nxt.

With John’s help, Tennessee has created and published 2 stories on aspects of Nxt over the last week:

https://news.bitcoin.com/interview-nxt-foundations-dave-pearce/

http://allcoinsnews.com/2015/11/21/nxt-foundation-positions-platform-to-entirely-replace-legacy-banking-systems/

And one radio interview:
https://www.mixcloud.com/Resonance/password-18-11-15/

These three pieces are just the start of the media campaign. TNSSE allows Nxt to build up longer term relationships with media outlets, and these relationships will lead to more regular information about Nxt appearing in crypto (and more mainstream) media.

Tennessee has also began the process of overhauling the Nxt web presence, with www.nxt.org as the first site to be updated, using Farla Webmedia as an external contractor.

An important feature of the new www.nxt.org site will be an easy to use helpdesk system, which will give Nxt a unique advantage over other crypto-currency projects.

The Nxt Foundation/Tennessee has also begun to work out a conference attendance strategy for the following year, with a proposed Nxt-centred conference in the first half of 2016, and a Nxt presence at the upcoming d10e event in Amsterdam:
http://www.d10e.org/#amsterdam

So, coming back to the original question: how does a decentralised community promote itself to the outside world ?

Nxt has shown, with the creation of the Nxt Foundation and subsequently the Tennessee project, that organically created specialised systems can be set up to fulfil this specific function, without sacrificing any of the openness and decentralisation that give the Nxt community a great degree of both flexibility and strength.

NXT Solutions – financial decentralization

Financial freedom

The last twenty years has heralded the transition from analog to digital systems.  Most of us have no idea how people used to obtain information before the existence of the Internet.  Every person born today will use digital replacements to obtain the information that used to be delivered by centralized sources such as newspapers, television, theaters, books, radio, etc.  Each of these analog information delivery systems have been based on a model of centralization.

Thanks to the evolution of technology, the cryptocurrency movement has today the ability to decentralize the operations of the world financial system with amazing new features.

The introduction of the Internet has heralded an information revolution.  Freedom of sharing, large neutrality, and universality are key values at the core of our digital world today.  By design the Internet allows the instant and viral spread of information, while also providing a permanent record of the data transmitted over the network.

Legacy financial markets today share similarities to the pre- Internet era. Large banks, international exchanges, rating companies, or even the central banks, are similar to the news corporations, the book publishers and the moviemakers of the analog era. These financial markets still operate on an analog model of centralization; still providing possible single points of failure.

The primary advantage of centralization is that is allows for centralized control.  The creators of the current financial system allege that our current system was designed and built for the good of the many.  However the fact remains that the power and control of the world financial systems remains in the hands of a few people now grasping to retain control of the status quo.  The current legacy financial system was built in the past with outdated tools and technology.  Thanks to the evolution of technology, the cryptocurrency movement has today the ability to decentralize the operations of the world financial system with amazing new features.

This evolution of finance driven by cryptocurrencies will bring the ability to engage in finance to people that have been denied this ability by the centralized status quo.

The cryptocurrency movement, and specifically the Next (symbol NXT) currency, values the interactions of many small, vested, players than the decisions of a small, yet powerful, number of entities.

Over past few weeks  the Bitcoin (symbol BTC) currency suffered the abrupt closing of its largest exchange, Mt. Gox.  Bitcoin lost $1 billion in market capitalization in about 48 hours between February 24th and February 26th, accounting for about 12% of its total market value.

What lessons should be learned from the Mt. Gox default of February 2014? The first large payment default of the digital financial market era has illustrated that even within decentralized systems, power and resources will congregate if not given a reasonable alternative.  The total loss at Mt. Gox is approximately 774,000 Bitcoins, or $335 Million USD and could have been prevented with adequate internal controls within the Mt. Gox exchange.  The centralized exchange Mt. Gox failed to provide adequate internal controls and failed due to theft, becoming a single point of failure due to the reliance on a model of centralization.

Defaulting, in the traditional world, is a very common thing. It has happened dozen of times, and over again.  Countries, corporations, wealthy individuals have defaulted. Not that nobody cared, but the world survived.

The financial markets, traditional, or cryptocurrency based, are built on trust. Trust underlies all traded assets, whether Dollars, Euros, or Bitcoins. When any reasonable market player starts to worry whether her asset will still be worth something tomorrow, that market player will attempt trade it against something safer very soon.

The features of the Nxt Cryptocurrency Ecosystem include 100% Proof of Stake system, Decentralized Asset Exchange, and Automated Transactions on which logic can be built.

The Bitcoin market lost more than 10% of its market capitalization in 24 hours, largely due to panic resulting from the Mt. Gox Bitcoin Debacle.  Yet many rational people are purchasing 400€ Bitcoin, providing support to the market (outside of Mt. Gox).  Despite the bankruptcy or corruption of one major centralized cryptocurrency exchange and despite the machinations of politicians worldwide using such descriptions as “evil tool”, “used by criminals”, “largely speculative”, and  “relying on manipulated markets”, people worldwide continue to purchase cryptocurrencies to escape the analog financial system rife with single points of failure.

The underlying value of cryptocurrencies that makes them resilient even in the face of attempts by corrupt politicians to suppress them is decentralization.  Cryptocurrencies are still young and evolving to break their ties to centralized models of finance.  This evolution of finance driven by cryptocurrencies will bring the ability to engage in finance to people that have been denied this ability by the centralized status quo.

Today, Bitcoin is only the first step in the direction of decentralized global financial interaction. It is today paying the first mover price. Tomorrow, a new generation will follow. It is being led by Next (symbol NXT), which offers more decentralization than Bitcoin. It has the same basics, but Next has a lot more to offer to its users. The features of the Next Cryptocurrency Ecosystem include 100% Proof of Stake system, Decentralized Asset Exchange, and Automated Transactions on which logic can be built. The Next Cryptocurrency Ecosystem facilitates super fast transaction confirmations. Another feature is Transparent Forging, which allows the network to know which single node is about to create the next transactions block, eliminating unnecessary computing load on the network. More decentralization means less control by the few, and more resilience of a system that empowers those who own a stake in its success.

Very few in the eighties would have imagined what the Internet is today. We are building a new financial world and as many have wrote recently, it won’t be easy nor quick. But one day, the world will be contemplating an entirely digital and decentralized financial system that is deeply different than what it is today. The Next Cryptocurrency Ecosystem leads this revolution in establishing a decentralized financial system.

This article was written by frmelin. 

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