Origin of BitShares - Part 13 - (and the Spawning of Steemit)
Cryptonomex (CNX), the "Godfather" of BitShares and SteemIt, was founded in Spring 2015 to give the BitShares development team a chance to get financial credit for some of their own sweat equity. It was born at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.
During 2015, every hour contributed by the extended team of core developers and volunteer supporters earned a share of Cryptonomex stock. People who contributed funding also earned proportional shares. By hook or by crook, this funded enough labor to allow Cryptonomex to deploy Graphene technology and upgrade to BitShares 2.0 in August 2015. The software has been humming along smoothly ever since.
At last! We had the world's most trustworthy, powerful,
real-time, industrial strength, light-speed financial services platform
with smart contracts, multi-signature accounts and a built-in referral system
ready to attract tasty, fast moving customer's to BitShares by the millions!
Or not. BitShares 2.0 debuted to rave reviews, but that didn't translate into sustained growth in share value and thus life sustaining funding. We reluctantly admitted that technical excellence is not enough. If you build it they may not come. We would have to find other ways to take BitShares to the moon - and that was going to take a lot more money than we had.
By now you may be noticing that Cryptonomex is a lot like our hero Wile E. Coyote. We were, all modesty aside, geniuses at coming up with innovative ideas, but somehow never managed to eat well. You might even abandon all hope for us except for one more redeeming wily characteristic:
Dan and his developers went back to the drawing board and the rest of us went on the road looking for investors. Dan looked at blockchain applications ranging across secure websites, mutual aid societies, and social media. Our Business Development team reached out to Toronto, Shanghai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Cairo, Italy, Amsterdam, London, New York, Sydney, Manilla, and everything from the Himalayas to the Great Smokey Mountains. (Watch for these names in future history.)
In the process we learned several more things:
- Venture Capitalists will give you exactly seven minutes to wow them. Nothing we had ever done could be explained in seven minutes and there were a LOT of things we were able to do!
- No venture capitalist we could find was interested in a business model based on licensing software one sale at a time. To gain viral adoption, software really needs to be free and open source. But, that "free" part was a problem.
- Every single one of our potential businesses had its own regulatory hurdles and a single company aiming to disrupt all industries worldwide was subject to, egad, The Sum of All Regulations.
- And worst of all, we might just have to break down and hire some real executive, financial and marketing talent.
E Unum Pluribus
"Out of One, Many". Facing these realities, we decided to break Cryptonomex into several independent companies, each with its own competent, well-motivated executives, a simple 7-minute pitch for them to explain, and regulatory footprint the size of a gnat. Each would pursue its own style of investors, business model, and marketing plan. And each would reap its own rewards if it succeeded. Cryptonomex shareholders would get proportional shares in each of the independent spinoffs.
Each of the people in this picture is a serial (even parallel) entrepreneur in their own right. You'll find most of them involved in many of these enterprises in one way or another and many are already working on spinoffs of spinoffs. But this chart highlights their primary leadership roles in our first generation diaspora.
Since we have new readers in this forum who may know none of these names, here's a quick who's who:
Daniel Larimer, @dantheman, is the philosophical leader and technical visionary for an entire branch of the blockchain industry. This branch has many technoscary names, so we'll just call it the Dan Larimer School of Thought. This school encourages other entrepreneurs to build independent projects on the ideas Dan has pioneered. This has led to an entire zoo of blockchains including BitShares, ProtoShares, Muse, DACPlay, Steemit and Peerplays. There are many companies building on top of these.
Ned Scott, @ned is the first of a new breed of leadership we have recruited with the business savvy and personality necessary to take Dan's technical ideas and build a strong and profitable business around it. Ned now serves as the completely independent CEO of Steemit, Inc. He first entered the BitShares ecosystem providing Stan with business development assistance - which directly led to our recruiting him for Steemit.
Annemeike Dirkes plays a similar role as CEO of Cryptonomex, International (CNI). She has a long history of managing technology companies and a knack for getting to the bottom of any issue. Business development is one of her many skills and she is currently busy making contacts throughout the FinTech industry.
Ronald Kramer is responsible for forming CNI and recruiting Annemeike to run it. He is also Chief Financial Officer and already working to structure a number of subsidiary companies aiming to bring new liquidity, products, and services to the BitShares ecosystem. You'll hear about them separately.
Fabian Schuh, @xeroc, is perhaps the most famous technical person in the ecosystem after Dan. He is involved in everything while serving as Chief Technology Officer for both CNI and CNF and as a significant Steemit contributor. As part of the Cryptonomex Foundation, and with the knowledge about advanced blockchain technologies that we gained after years of studies, his greatest passion is: Education. He strongly believes that once people understand the strengths of the technology, we will be able to achieve what is thought to be impossible."
Michael Taggart, @michaelx, is Chief Marketing Officer for CNF and CNX and the leading business developer for the entire industry in terms of total value of opportunities he has in the pipeline. He is a master of Internet marketing technology and a leading innovator in that area.
Stan Larimer, @stan, is the Wile. E. Coyote of Cryptonomex. He is currently thinking bigger.
Steemit - The First Cryptonomex Spinoff.
We launched the Steemit team in January 2016 and it became its own separate company a couple of months later. It's history is unfolding in this forum before your very eyes, and their story is theirs to tell from here on.
As for CNX, CNI and CNF? Well, those are tales to be told another time... when we go back to the future!
Coming up Next: Part 14 - The Jump to LightSpeed