The cryptocurrency, ‘$XEM’ (or NEM) is no longer the same cryptocurrency that you knew in 2018 and before.
It appears that NEM’s new president, Alexandra Tinsman, is the real deal.
This makes a major difference because if NEM is under competent leadership and the community has the same perception of its leadership (which it does currently via sentiment checks on their new president; especially with their timely ‘Catapult’ update), then NEM may not only ascend to its former prominence, there is a chance it could shatter that ceiling.
Why is NEM’s President of Any Importance?
Great question. For those that do not know, NEM was in a state of crisis a little over a month ago:
The NEM Foundation, a community-funded nonprofit established to promote the NEM blockchain, is planning layoffs across its entire 150-person staff in the wake of severe budget cuts and ahead of an imminent restructuring, CoinDesk has learned.
Many thought that this was the end for NEM and rightfully so.
The coin had stagnated in terms of its progress and relevancy for quite some time in the crypto space and many aspects of the project (and slated goals on the roadmap) were simply not coming to fruition in a way the team had promised.
However, the project has done a complete 180 since they elected their new president: Alexandra Tinsman
Who is Alexandra Tinsman?
As stated above, Alexandra Tinsman is the NEM Foundation’s president at the time of writing.
She began her role on January 1st, 2019, after being elected by the NEM community.
You can view her formal announcement for candidacy here: https://forum.nem.io/t/alexandra-tinsman-for-president/20441 (November 2018)
Alexandra Tinsman’s official acceptance of the role of president of the NEM Foundation can be found here: https://nemflash.io/message-foundations-president-alexandra-tinsman/
Her LinkedIn profile can also be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alextinsman/
Before assuming the role of president, Tinsman was NEM’s North American Regional Head for approximately two years.
Before that, it appears that Alexandra Tinsman ran her own consulting firm, called ‘Tinsman Consulting’ for several years. Thus, Tinsman brings a wealth of verifiable professional experience with her into her new role as president.
While running for president of NEM, Alexandra Tinsman released a video on YouTube that outlined three major goals that she has for NEM in the future moving forward.
That video can be viewed below:
In the description of the video, Tinsman notes her three goals, which are as follows:
“ One, we are going to release the catapult road map, including transition plans, economic tuning, and sustainability plans. I promise to release the Catapult road map by the end of the first quarter 2019.
Two, we are going to get our developers the people and support they need to be as good or better than the other top cryptos. We will have measurable goals against this for Q1 and the rest of 2019.
Three, we are going to add transparency and accountability to the foundation. We are going to update and release the bylaws so we no longer have gridlock.”
Objectively speaking, the video shows a surprisingly polished, articulate individual with a well-prepared proposition to the NEM community.
The reason why this is surprising is because the straightforward, non-equivocal and professional nature of the proposition presented in the video linked above stands in stark contrast to some of the other significantly less formal, impromptu videos that have been released by other noted community leaders in the cryptocurrency sphere in recent months.
Below Are Some Examples:
- (Justin Sun) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NkDSivIaHA
- (Roger Ver) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCOjCEth6xI
- (Charlie Lee) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjroEMdklOU
As one can see, the public statements and appearances by the above listed individuals are of a significantly lower quality than what Tinsman provided in her campaign video.
While many may be inclined to overlook such intangibles in their project’s leadership, this should not be done because:
- The issue of whether a given project’s technology is ‘decentralized’ or ‘centralized’ is neither here nor there for most mainstream investors. Instead, the perceived strength of a project’s leadership will be a factor that is heavily factored into a prospective investor’s decision. Thus, a strong leader that is visibly confident with strong oratory and inter-personal skills can be the difference between a project acquiring substantive partnerships that can help accelerate its adoption and a project that eternally stagnates without any clear direction.
- Falling in line with the point made in #1, many projects have missed significant marketing/promotional opportunities due to the fallacious idea that coders, programmers, and developers of a project should also be the ones that are at the project’s ‘front’. While there are some famous instances where this has worked out (i.e., Bill Gates), there are exponentially more cases where this has led to disaster. Specifically, Charlie Lee’s interview serves as a cogent example for why this philosophy has also failed in crypto as well. This does not mean that Charlie Lee is unintelligent, incompetent or incapable — but it does mean that Charlie Lee was a poor choice to represent Litecoin on national television to (potentially) millions of viewers. Roger Ver, whom is actually a great orator and marketer, permanently damaged his reputation by losing his cool during an interview with a member of the cryptocurrency community. His blow-up will be held against him in the crypto community for the foreseeable future.
- While a project’s most ardent supporters may claim to “care about the tech”, most retail investors do not. Many retail investors want to feel secure in their decision to invest in a given project. In order to gain this confidence, many retail investors will look at a project’s fundamental factors, such as their leadership and the project’s professionalism rather than the ‘whitepaper’. This is doubly true for investors that are not necessarily technically inclined.
Thus, it cannot be understated what a tremendous benefit it is for NEM to have an individual like Alexandra Tinsman that can provide a calm, eloquent face to their business operations.
NEM’s Sweeping Changes for the Better Since Tinsman Took the Reigns
As noted above, NEM was essentially on fire before Tinsman got in the driver’s seat.
Apparently, before Tinsman had taken the reigns as president of the NEM Foundation (January 2019), there were few accounting measures employed by the organization (hence her pledge to bring greater transparency to the project). This led to vast overspending as well as an inefficient allocation of funds by the NEM Foundation before Tinsman arrival.
However, without wasting any time, it appears that the NEM Foundation, led by Tinsman, was able to successfully identify and divulge the issue in less than a month after their installment.
The NEM Foundation press release (titled ‘message to the community’) that addresses these issues can be found here: https://forum.nem.io/t/nem-foundation-message-to-the-community/21753
The Foundation did not sugarcoat the situation at NEM at all, stating that:
“ When the new council arrived on January 1, 2019, we opened the books and saw the results of 2018. We saw a lot of talented people who were working hard, but not aligned with the same goals. We saw efforts being duplicated, and inconsistent metrics of success. We saw very little accountability for funds and questionable ROI, leading to a burn rate of 9 million XEM per month. In terms of running an effective organization, the existing structure failed. Maybe that didn’t seem like a big problem when the XEM price was high, but it’s a very big problem as we seek to sustain a viable organization in the ‘Crypto Winter.’”
In the same release, the NEM Foundation also announced the changes that they made to NEM’s organizational structure and operation since the new regime was established:
“ We have completely rebuilt the NEM.io 87 Foundation’s operating structure and mission. We are hitting refresh and starting from scratch. This means a new focus under this new leadership and a NEM Foundation that truly exists to serve and support its powerful community.”
“The NEM Foundation has restructured to eliminate regional teams and replace them with newly created product-focused teams. All Foundation employees and contractors will now report to one of the seven product teams. The heads of these teams are Chief Technology Officer, Chief of Product Management, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Revenue Officer.”
“[We] are greatly reducing promotional spending and we are adding an aggressive set of goals for tech product features, developer tools, and programmers that will help make the NEM platform the best in the industry. We are also adding plans to be sustainable.”
“We are proposing a budget with a burn rate reduced by about 60% from its previous level. This will allow the Foundation to deliver ambitious results with responsible use of reserves. This budget is not yet confirmed, and there are more steps ahead before we have the funding needed for these plans.”
As part of its conclusion, the NEM Foundation also reassured its community, stating:
“ Now the good part. We can solve this. In the face of this bad news, there are amazing possibilities. NEM’s technology is still among the best for developers looking to build business applications, and our new focus is going to push us even further ahead in the industry. Our new features will unlock uses, ready in months, that partners have been asking for for years. Our partnerships and business development efforts will now have full transparency and ROI reporting. Our teams will be aligned on goals. Our Finance and Product Development teams will have plans on exactly how to maximize the benefits of the next bull market.”
NEM Foundation Under Tinsman’s Leadership Responded Quickly to the Crypto Community’s Response to NEM’s Financial Revelations
After the first major announcement was released by the NEM Foundation (January 30th), which detailed the enormous financial hurdles that lay ahead for the project, CoinDesk propagated the news in a scorching report that essentially called the competency and integrity of the entire NEM Foundation in question.
While it is worth noting that news of NEM’s potential impending financial insolvency was not ‘leaked’ but rather divulged by the team, the idea that NEM was on the brink of bankruptcy was a headline and takeaway that spread like wildfire throughout the crypto community. Thus, the team’s stated resolve to quell the situation was essentially buried underneath the more sensational notion that NEM was ‘bankrupt’.
Given the bearish price action of the crypto market over the prior 12 months leading up to that point, it was easy to frame NEM as ‘yet another victim of the crypto bear market’.
It was at this point that the newly instituted NEM Foundation, headed by Tinsman, was faced with its first ‘PR crisis’.
NEM’s Price Also Suffered Greatly as a Result
To make matters worse, the already financially depleted NEM Foundation had to deal with a -17% loss in the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization in the immediate aftermath of the sensationalized media headlines:
NEM Foundation’s Response to Community Scrutiny
NEM came back with a swift response as Tinsman showed off her leadership chops early on into her tenure as president at NEM.
Specifically, the NEM Foundation responded by releasing yet another announcement (January 31st, 2019) just 24 hours after their initial one and in less than 12 hours from the publication of the CoinDesk piece, which addressed concerns brought up in the CoinDesk article while preemptively answering other questions that the Foundation anticipated would be asked by the community if they had not been posed already.
The link to this piece can be found below:
Dear community, To ensure that we continue to promote transparency; below is an update on questions and anticipated question from the media that we would like to publish to provide clarity to the community.
In this post, the NEM Foundation essentially confirmed that poor accountability for funds under the previous leadership had led to and exacerbated the project’s dire financial situation.
This is indicated by the following statement in the announcement by the NEM Foundation:
“When the 2019 Council took office, a financial audit was done and showed the new leadership had low operational funds and therefore could not sustain the burn rate of the previous 2018 operations. Therefore, a new Foundation restructure proposal was created and operations and staff were suspended until additional funding was secured.”
To the Foundation’s credit, they were extremely transparent about their financial situation in stating [as a response to the mock question, ‘Is NEM Foundation really bankrupt?’]:
“ No, the current Foundation is not bankrupt. We are running low on XEM and FIAT funds. The 2019 Foundation is currently preparing a plan to achieve funding for the rest of the fiscal year and the restructure was place as a cost-saving measure.”
Overall, the announcement was candid in its responses to the mock Q&A that it provided for its members. The questions were hard-hitting and the responses were direct.
Yet, at the same time, the NEM Foundation was tactful enough in its responses to its mock Q&A to avoid throwing the former NEM Foundation members and president (Lon Wong) ‘under the bus’ for their apparent poor management and oversight of the NEM Foundation’s funds.
NEM Foundation’s Funding Proposal
Just 5 short days after the NEM Foundation had quelled fears about its ability to remain solvent in the near future, the NEM Foundation published the following proposal for its community:
Dear community, An opportunity is presented to hear your voice through a proof of importance (POI) vote in support towards a funding request for NEM Foundation. We have completely rebuilt the Foundation’s operating structure and mission. We are hitting refresh and starting from scratch.
In the proposal, the team provided more in-depth information regarding its ‘proposal deck’, information about the deck, as well as instructions on how community members could vote.
Again, this served as yet another example of how proactive the new NEM Foundation has been since its inception on January 1st, 2019.
NEM Curated a Solution to Deal With Their Financial Difficulties in March
In an announcement that was released by the NEM Foundation on March 9th, 2019, more information was given to the community about the financial solutions that NEM had been able to source up to that point in time. The announcement also contained updates on the ‘Catapult’ update for the NEM protocol, as well as information about the “set up of the transformation team”.
That announcement can be found here:
Dear community, We would like to provide an update now that we are in the process of smoothly shifting to the new structure now that funding has officially begun. We are excited for what the future holds and sincerely appreciate your patience the past few weeks.
The team also had this information shared on CoinDesk on CoinTelegraph as well (the two most popular crypto news publications in the space currently).
NEM Releases Their Catapult Roadmap On Time
On March 29th, 2019, NEM successfully released their Catapult roadmap (which was actually ahead of schedule as most had it slated to be released by the end of the month on March 31st, 2019).
The community response was notably positive in many of NEM’s communication channels with many praising Tinsman’s effective leadership skills.
Below is an example:
The Impact of Alexandra Tinsman
In light of the major accomplishments and progress made by Alexandra Tinsman and the NEM Foundation, it seems fair to state that there has not been enough credit that has been given to Tinsman for her leadership. Not only has she saved NEM from essentially dying a slow death (due to insolvency), she has also provided a model for transparency and governance that other projects in the cryptocurrency space could benefit from adopting.
Below are some notable accomplishments by Alexandra Tinsman during her short tenure as NEM Foundation President thus far:
- Alexandra Tinsman essentially revamped and remodeled the NEM Foundation so that it would manage its finances in a significantly more efficient manner. This has derived from a restructuring of the NEM Foundation’s priorities, goals, and organizational composition in a way that has resulted in the Foundation being able to save money and use the money that they do spend in a more efficient manner.
- The level of transparency that the NEM Foundation has adopted since the time of Tinsman’s inception as president is night and day different from what it was previously. Alexandra Tinsman has successfully revamped the Foundation to make it much more responsive, polished, and organized as well as consistent in its communications to the NEM community. In this way, Tinsman has remained true to her word to bring greater transparency to the Foundation as a whole.
- Alexandra Tinsman showed incredibly bravery and integrity in directing the Foundation to divulge details about its financial state at the end of January (2019). As many in this space know, the NEM Foundation certainly was not required to divulge this information to the broader crypto community (and the NEM community, specifically). Tinsman perhaps could have even opted to only recent a select portion of financial information about the NEM community that omitted details about the organization’s financial troubles. But that isn’t what Tinsman did. Instead, she took on the responsibility of informing NEM investors of the truth, even though she knew that truth would result in widespread backlash, criticism, ridicule, and ire. The team was also tempered in its response, abstaining from unnecessary hyperbole or minimization of the situation. The team was also careful to note that they were not in a state of panic or uncertainty, but rather they were patiently looking for solutions. The press release also showed a high level of poise and mature restraint in resisting the temptation to guarantee solvency. If anything, the NEM community should always refer to the NEM Foundation’s handling of this situation if any outsiders are wary of Tinsman’s leadership skills. There are Fortune 500 CEOs that could not have handled that situation with the same tactful, strategical precision that Alexandra Tinsman used.
- Under Tinsman’s direction, the NEM Foundation (as well as Tinsman herself), were extremely quick to respond to any and all media scrutiny following the NEM Foundation’s voluntary disclosure of their financial status. As noted above in this report, it took less than 24 hours for the team to formulate a cogent response to questions, concerns, and skepticism from the crypto community at large.
- Under Tinsman’s direction, the NEM Foundation has not only displayed an unparalleled level of true transparency (in the crypto space), they have also been (successfully) proactive in curating an adequate solution to resolve their financial issues as well as other dilemmas they have faced.
- Tinsman has done more than just address the NEM Foundation’s financial troubles; she has also spearheaded the revitalization and revamp of the NEM Foundation to run in a much more practical and efficient manner. As noted in one of the earlier NEM announcements, the project’s burn rate was so great that insolvency would have been inevitable had it not been for a complete financial remodeling. It now appears that the NEM Foundation has been able to resolve this issue and that their new model for financial accountability will ensure that they avoid such issues in the future.
- Under Tinsman’s lead, NEM has successfully published an updated roadmap for ‘Catapult’. Not only was Tinsman able to set a definitive time frame for when this would be completed, she ensured that the NEM team made good on their promise by delivering even earlier than expected.
Alexandra Tinsman Has Changed the Culture of NEM
Readers should note that this piece is not overstating Tinsman’s accomplishments.
What Tinsman is doing is revolutionary in the crypto sphere. Currently, most projects are devoid of transparency. The few that are transparent in some way rarely complement this characteristic with a sense of accountability that conveys that the team feels some sense of responsibility for the fate of its investors.
On the contrary, Tinsman has changed NEM’s philosophy to account for its investors. Unlike other projects that have created immense separation between themselves and their respective communities, Tinsman has closed that gap and embraced the more traditional setup seen in regulated markets where companies consider the opinions of their stakeholders and deliver regular reports that update them on the status of their investment.
Also, by releasing the updated Catapult roadmap as promised, Tinsman has established the precedent that NEM, under her leadership, can be relied upon to deliver on its promises. This is a critical factor in assessing the viability of a project for investors and potential developers in the cryptocurrency space.
This report was written as a PSA to the community on behalf of NEM. Not because the author is tied to NEM in any way (the author was not paid by NEM or any affiliated entity and has never held the currency before and would not benefit or be adversely affected by the project’s success/failure), but because the truth is the only narrative that should exist in the community.
It is rare that we at Zerononcense have a chance to cover positive developments in the crypto community. With the plethora of scams, incompetent management teams for crypto projects, and general lack of professionalism that has been allowed to run rampant in the crypto sphere, NEM’s revitalized structure, leadership, and community guidance should be given more attention.
Unfortunately, due to the slew of negative headlines that followed the project’s public disclosure of their financial difficulties in late January 2019, many in the community decided to write off NEM.
However, it appears that the community did so without taking into account how much of a game changer effective leadership can be.
In closing, the author finds it important to remind readers that this piece should not serve as financial advice of any sort. However, the author does want to state that NEM is worth observing throughout 2019. This project is far from ‘dead’ and it appears that Alexandra Tinsman is on a mission to help NEM finally embrace its full potential.
Zerononcense wishes the best of luck to Alexandra Tinsman on her journey.