AMA with Alexandra Tinsman

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On May 30, 2019, NEM Foundation President Alexandra Tinsman conducted an AMA compiled of questions gathered from the NEM community. Please see the video here.

1 June 2019: Post updated with transcription of answers below.

Hi everyone I’m Alex Tinsman, and I’m the President of the NEM Foundation. I’m going to be answering your questions. This is the AMA for May 30 2019. So we have around 30 questions or so, and it’s a lot so I’m going to try and get through to them as quickly as I can.

List of questions answered in the AMA

  • Due to a market fall, XEM prices fell sharply. Today the minimum values charged by the transactions are attractive to projects installed in Blockchain NEM. But it does not attract new investors nor is it attractive to consensus nodes, which are the essence of a blockchain. I believe that raising the minimum transaction value to 0.075 might be a way of increasing the value of the NEM. How does the board position itself on this?

This, this question is really about a conflict with the token economic system. So on one hand, you know you have businesses that you know they want a public chain with very low fees right? The lower the fees, the more data you know, basically that they can use on the public chain but harvesters what harvesters want are higher fees so that they can earn more, right? So there is a lot of excitement around earning really good rewards. It’s going to drive investors.

So I think it’s really a chicken and egg problem. Keep in mind that the foundation also can’t set the fees on the chain. So that’s really in the domain of the core team. But I think that the right approach is really just to see what will happen and we would just adjust based on business adoption and get a sense for how businesses are using it. And then we can we can pay it accordingly. But you know we need to be able to support them. But we also are not quite sure what we’re dealing with business adoption with Catapult in particular because we’re waiting for it to come out on public chain. So I think if we will see a lot of new investors then we can adjust as if we see a lot of businesses adopting it first and we can we can adjust it for that. It’s really a great question, it really is but it requires ongoing discussion.

  • A specific date of Catapult?

Our roadmap is still targeting Q3/Q4 and hasn’t changed. You can check out the roadmap on Nemberia and in RED. Those are our telegram channels and at the very top (pinned). You can also go to the forums and read the road map there. But we have to be bug testing so I can’t give you a date because there is a lot that goes into that. I’m not going to give a date and then have a lot of it, not have it ready for everyone to be using because we have bugs. So we’re working with the core team on that. And when it’s ready it’ll be ready but it will launch in Q3 Q4.

  • When XEM will have more fiat pairs on Binance and other exchanges?(USDC,PAX,TUSD). Are you working on it ? Do you have an ETA? May

Yeah we have business development teams that are working with exchanges always. And you’re never going to know because you can’t actually disclose if you’re working with an exchange or else the exchange will pull you.

  • What happened to all the country head? (SIC)

Well we moved we moved to a different structure. We’re now product focused and some of those country heads became leads in the new product focused organization. It’s a good thing because we now have a better a better foundation to move the ecosystem forward, and do it in a more efficient and effective way. And we’re creating tools to help scale the ecosystem through the learning portal which is going to be the on ramp for businesses, and the lone wolf developers, and universities, to be able to really have a centralized view of looking at how to get into NEM and how to get into our system and build. So rather than have boots on the ground which is what we talked about last year, having people on the ground to help you every step of the way which is really expensive! And for every Biz Dev person you need a couple of trainers. That’s difficult. If you had a portal, an online portal 24/7 that was modular that people can go to, have courses and to get certification and to get connected with service integrators in their area, as well as brand ambassadors in their area, as well as resources in their area, and take classes and learn about NEM to continue that education that scales. And, in addition to that, we can have an affiliate program where companies that are building on them, providing a service to them, can be easily discovered and you can do a revenue share model from having an affiliate program with this learning portal that we’re creating. So yeah, the global restructure was a good thing. It doesn’t mean you don’t have people in the regions, you do. But now we’re looking at how do you multiply that by thousands and thousands. How do you… how do you scale bigger?

So instead of being so focused on just a small part of the region, you now can expand to everywhere 24/7 and truly be open source. And I think that’s pretty powerful.

  • For us Europeans we have very little access to NEM, do you plan to establish yourself more in Europe, to be available on Kraken for example?

Let’s see somebody from Europe is asking about do we plan to establish ourselves more in Europe. And what about Kraken. We never left Europe.

Europe has always continued even as soon as we changed and evolved to be a product focused organization. So, Kristof Van de Reck still leads Blockchain for Europe, leading the initiatives that are coming out of Europe, working with governments, and massive businesses and partners to help foster block chain in Europe. So that has… none of that has changed. He still continues. And in fact we’re still working with Kristof as a brand ambassador for them. So he continues all the great work that he did before. We still have Paul Riger who’s working as an, independent…. become independent contractor but really it’s an… it’s a consultant so he’s managing some of our partnerships and also working in specific product focused areas like security tokens, and the learning portal, and partnerships so also we still have quite a large dev team that is in Europe and still is working with partners. So it hasn’t gone away it’s just kind of changed with the reporting structure and then the focus - for the focus from where we see we’ll have the most impact for Europe. That’s why we want Kristof to stay leading Blockchain for Europe to have those opportunities.

As far as Kraken, man I would love to see us on Kraken. I’m a huge fan of Kraken and I’m going to go back to the conversation that I had earlier with you guys. I would love to talk about exchanges and whether or not we are working with exchanges but I can’t talk about that because then we don’t get on those exchanges. So yes I would love to be on Kraken and now I’m not going to tell you if we’re going to be.

  • What’s the medium to long term vision, also, the short to medium term price prediction. What and who can supports these points?

Again with your speculation. I don’t do price speculation.

  • NEM is being loved by the Japanese community, is there a plan for the NEM to be included in the Bitflyer list?

Yes it is. We started there and everybody knows I have a crush on the Japanese community. It’s one of my favorites. We discuss exchanges with our exchange team I’m not gonna say anything. I’m just gonna tell you. We are always working with exchanges.

  • What’s happening with the 300 companies that tested catapult?

My understanding is they’re still building. We work really closely with Tech Bureau but we don’t know the companies that are building, and with Tech Bureau because again, they’re on NDA’s and can’t really talk about projects that are on NDA’s, plus, Tech Bureau and Foundation are two totally different companies, so they’re not going to willingly share all of this stuff that they’re… that their clients are building on their platform. They are a turnkey solution for permissioned chain. That’s what they do really well.

  • Last year Q1 NEM ordered 20.000 XPOS devices from Pundi X. In November after ULTRA 2018, there was a lot of excitement about their speed and use case for festivals etc… Alexandra announced this Q1 that Catapult will allow NEM cross chain payments with ETH and BTC. How do you see the future of XPOS devices using NEM?

We’re having conversations with that team now. So you’re right we have these machines. They should be getting placed in retail shops. There should be a strategy around it. And now we’ve been having that discussion around what that looks like. So we had to hold some of our partnerships for a while as the foundation restructured. But we’ve gone back and we had a dedicated biz dev team now and they are working with partners like the to have a better strategy around these devices. So I can’t share anything right now but I’ll tell you that we’re currently working with them on this this very question so, its very timely. But I don’t have an answer for you yet.

  • Poloniex has delisted 9 pairs until now because the unlisted currencies being thought of as unqualified as securities.Within these currencies - some like NXT have been PoS. Does Foundation think there is any possibility of xem being delisted from any tier 1 exchanges? Please explain why.

No I don’t. We don’t really control the decisions of the other exchanges to list NEM. But we give them the best support that we can we offer to train them on multi sig where we work very closely with exchanges. We also don’t pay exchanges to list NEM. We never have. So the exchanges that we work with. Ah, good. And you know I don’t see a reason why we would be delisted. But again there’s not…. I can’t control if we get delisted for regulation issues in the future, that’s not something…… that’s not something that foundation owns, but it’s something we’re aware of. But I don’t see a risk right now.

  • NEM has a very unique market in Japan both online and offline. Many within both of these communities have kept active without support from Foundation. Also to note that many NEMbers have kept positive even throughout negative events like hacks, foundations financial issues and the crypto winter in general. That being said, many of us are upset by the connection between community and the previous NEM Japan. I believe that a decentralized approach - one that connects the core devs, foundation and ecosystem together is the way forward. After all of this, I’d like to ask how Foundation will or would like to proceed with operations in Japan.

Yes it is. Many within both of these communities have kept active without support from foundation … kind of. We’ll talk about that. I disagree with that statement.

After all of this I’d like to ask the foundation will you proceed with operations in Japan. Thank you for for asking this.

Japan is one of my favorites and my favorite regions because that’s where NEM began and we have such a passionate community. And you’re right, you do need a better level of support and you deserve a better level of support than then what you’ve had. And I think that comes down to one big issue which is the Japan community is very innovative. They’re very vocal, very passionate, but there’s also a specific culture in Japan. And I look to Foundation having failed the Japan community before. Why not. I think working better with the Japan community is to designate their own Japanese lead. So I think what happened is Foundation’s pick a person to help lead Japan that maybe didn’t have the right resources, or skill set, or was spread too thin, or you know there was just a lot of challenges that made it difficult for them to succeed in that role. And… Hiroki had that role before and I have such affection for Hiroki. He did the best he could considering what he had to work with. But I think it’s not really fair to any of these regions to not have better resources and tools to scale.

So Japan has done a great job with NEMBook (NEMLog) which is does the most transactions of any project on the NEM blockchain which is pretty amazing. And there’s Poli Poli and there’s Raccoon wallet.

There’s many, many innovative companies that have come out of Japan. I do think you should have a lead. I think we need to put the call out to have the Japanese community help us find who that leader is. I don’t necessarily think it should be picked by this Foundation. I think it should be picked by the community. I think NEM is owned by the community. And when you have specific leaders that basically come up from the community they should be recognized and we should be taking a look at the skill sets that they bring to the table to help change the direction of basically adoption and awareness in that region.

  • Are NEM, Mijin, and Comsa all being developed by Tech Bureau? If so, do Mijin and Comsa use the same source code?

I asked Nate about this. Nate who works over at Tech Bureau also has a PMC, he works on our PMC. Nate basically said that the first version of Comsa said was on the one Mini but it will be ported over at some point - they don’t have a specific timeframe of when, but it will be sometime after the public network goes live.

  • I understand that regions are now gone, however I’d like to know how many countries NEM has offices/teams in. On top of that, what is happening in these locations? I am asking since it is difficult to keep scrolling up through chats, blog or twitter and would like to know if there is somewhere I can route people that are newly interested in NEM.

So we haven’t lost any regions. We still have community members and foundation members working in every region that we have before just we don’t have as many. I don’t know the regions off the top of my head. By the time I post this on the forums maybe I will look. At how the team look on my behalf. I don’t know off the top of my head but there’s no region that doesn’t have people in it now. Every region still does.

So I’m asking since it’s difficult to keep scrolling through chats OK so they just want to know where they can root people in the region. I think that’s - that’s fantastic. So the learning portal that we’re working on for that on ramp that I talked about earlier, it’s going to be localized in different languages. It’s where you can send people to learn more about them and to get into the wider eco system. It will connect you with brand ambassadors and service integrators in your area. So there’ll be a widget in the website basically where you can come in to do training or you say oh you know I’m a I’m a small business looking for blockchain development with somebody who can help me. And then they basically get connected in the widget to a service integrator in their area, or brand ambassador, and these people are vetted in advance by the foundation saying yes, you are a partner of the NEM ecosystem and we can refer. Refer people to them. It’s a smarter way for us to scale again to go back to just having one or two people, boots on the ground is not going to scale. We need an onboard… an onboarding platform that is more centralized and can get people the information they need when they need it 24/7 and connect them like all different facets of the ecosystem. So that’s what we’re building. So I would say send your friend to the Web site or if they have questions they can ask and help can we can get them routed to the appropriate person that we have available on the foundation. Until we have the portal built and then - then they can do it themselves.

  • I have seen 3 council members leave so far. Can you please tell us their reasons of leaving?

I can but this is going to be a longer answer because it’s going to be a more human humanized answer. So I think people stay in roles or leave roles for a lot of different reasons and sometimes the role becomes too much and it’s, not a position that maybe you want to do, so people are get burned out there. Sometimes the role was just never the right fit in the first place and that person is asked to leave or stay.

They are going to be happier in the long term if they are matched with different opportunities and sometimes the role changes and so it’s not a great fit.

So it really just depends.

I would say in the case of Nelson Valero, and in the case of Hiroki Koga, and in the case of Mark Price. They all left for different reasons which is, and I’m going to be honest with you, you don’t go through a massive reorg with one hundred and fifty people and not expect that you’re not going to be changes from top down. There always is. That’s the nature of business.

  • If I am not mistaken there were plans to put a CRO in place to become a profitable entity. What is the status on this and how far in the process is Foundation?

We’re interviewing we have we have someone who’s really good that we’ve been chatting with and I’m super excited about that possibility, and the Foundation has been in full force. The Malaysia blockchain center has brought in around $300,000 in annualized revenue just for this year. They’ve brought in $18,000 just last month alone, we have a bunch of contracts that are happening now, and for the first time we are really seeing significant revenue coming in from training, from doing courses, from doing strategic partnerships. I’m pretty excited about our affiliate program that we’ve put into place. So now for the first time we have new leadership. We have strategy plans that correlate with supporting budget with full visibility to the core team and to the trust on what we’re doing every step of the way. So we are seeing profit and this is before even getting into a CRO. So for me I think this is pretty awesome. But yes. Are we interviewing a CRO. Yes we are. Do I hope to have them by Q3. Yes I do. OK.

  • What is the community to you? (To Alex)

Well the community is the reason why we have men. It is where NEM was born. It is where NEM thrives and it is the future of community is the power to contribute in meaningful ways individually and together. And that’s actually one of the reasons why I was most attracted to NEM because I thought if someone like me could contribute to a platform like this then that tells me there’s hope for the future. Right? I don’t look the part. Every time I go to a conference or speaking, I don’t look like what you typically would think of as someone who’s contributing to blockchain and I think I think that’s good. I think breaking boundaries and not in the mold and saying this is, there is a place for everyone. I think we need more of that so I think community is NEM and I think I’m thankful for this community.

  • Compared to Bitcoin or Ethereum, NEM has a very low developer count. Is there a plan in place to increase this count - other than online trainings?

Yes. That’s another thing, is there’s so much stuff I want to share with you guys. But I have to not. If I could I would just share everything. But then the team is saying there has to be a strategy to the approach of how we do things right. But I will tell you that the Foundation has a fully stacked tech team. Now I think we just only have one position left but we hit the ground running.

We reached out to community and developers that did really well in our system. We knew we could count on and help and had them help us build things and then now we have this RFP portal and we have more devs and SI’s coming in to help us build things. And in addition to that we’re working with the core team on building out a bigger team and we’re interviewing our CTO, our future CTO. We’ve been working through all these things on the back end. So if you see me act calm and collected and excited it’s because I know it’s coming I’m pretty excited about it.

So yeah. Do we have a low developer count? No I mean we don’t have thousands like maybe Etherium, the developers that we have - its quality not quantity. And it’s also we have a plan in place. We have for a while now. We are executing on the plan when we’re ready to talk about it.

  • There is a bot selling 500xem very periodically - is this Foundation?

It’s not the foundation. I don’t know what that is.

  • I am currently using a version of the NEM wallet from April 2019 - am I okay to keep using this? Will there be announcements on newer versions?

Yeah. You can use it. We wouldn’t have our wallets up if there was an issue with them. But once the new wallets are basically developed, we announce them and then people use them and any tools that we are giving you have been vetted appropriately and shouldn’t be putting you at risk.
So yes you can continue to use it.

I want to thank everyone for so many questions to the AMA.

I’m pretty excited about the future of NEM and I hope I’ve been able to pull back the curtain and talk about some of the things that have been going on in NEM. And just to let you get to know what we’re doing and what we’re working towards and have you get a sense of what we’re doing, what we’re building, and where we’re going. So it’s been exciting with Catapult launching in few months. So again thanks for your participation. If you have any questions I’d love to hear them and we’ll be doing this, like I said monthly, so if you couldn’t get your questions answered now, you can always reach out to us on the forums so thanks again. - Alexandra

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