The last few days have been a rollercoaster, and the community deserves an apology and an explanation.
This has been a big weekend for the NEO ecosystem. Firstly, Ontology, a new public platform for distributed trust networks had its sneak peek in Shanghai. Secondly, we revealed a big development contest together with Microsoft China, with big prizes and invitations to NEO DevCon in Silicon Valley. Thirdly, a few members from our largest community organization, City of Zion, released their whitepaper for NEX, a decentralized exchange which we believe adds exceptional value to our ecosystem.
For us in the NEO Council, these are all big events and important additions to the NEO ecosystem. We wanted the community’s attention, which was why we released a cryptic message on Friday afternoon.
Prior to releasing the “announcement of an announcement”, we had specific discussions concerning the impact this approach would have. Observing projects that used similar marketing strategies, we knew that the community would expect big news, such as an announcement of a large partnership. Eventually, we concluded that the announcements over the course of the weekend will be comparable to a large partnership, and decided to go ahead with the teaser.
We have heard your voice, and understand that the community would prefer it if we refrain from using this marketing approach in the future.
What we did not expect was that people would start to speculate on China regulations. For us, it is natural that regulations would come from the government, and not from an open source project. Throughout Saturday, rumors spread further whilst the NEO Council was occupied with the Ontology reveal and China Open Source Conference.
On Sunday, it came to our awareness that the community had expectations of regulation changes. We stated explicitly in our Slack channel that there will be no announcements regarding regulations and denounced any messages claiming so. Photoshopped pictures that spread false rumors were quickly denounced as well.
We would like to reiterate that NEO is an open source community project, and compliance is a core design philosophy for this project. It is a big leap to go from being regulatory compliant, to a point where regulations are changed to comply with the NEO platform. We urge the community to adjust their expectations accordingly, as speculation of NEO becoming the ‘official’ cryptocurrency of China is a misrepresentation of our true goal, which is to build an ecosystem within the existing legal frameworks.
The “new” thing we wanted to reveal on Monday was the development competition organised with Microsoft and our DevCon in Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, the competition website template was leaked on Friday, removing the element of surprise for the community, and leaving us with an awkward announcement.
Upon reflection, we acknowledge there are many things we could have done better to minimize the damage.
- We should have put an end to the speculation sooner. Once the competition details leaked, we should have formally announced the competition.
- We could have made it clear to the community when the announcement would be made, and quickly confirmed when all the news had been released.
- Members of our team should have had the self-awareness to not place themselves in a position where they may fuel further speculation.
We would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the community for the events that occurred over the past few days, and to anyone who felt let down by our team.
We are currently evaluating our communication strategies in detail, and working hard to improve so that similar issues never occur again.
We have also heard the community’s concerns regarding Ontology as a potential competitor to NEO. Ontology will be a strong enabler for NEO’s vision of a smart economy, and we invite the community to join the Ontology AMA on NEO Reddit to have all your questions answered.
The Ontology AMA will start this Thursday the 23rd of November at UTC 3:59 PM, and more details found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/NEO/comments/7e9w2b/ama_from_today_november_20th_ontology_network_a/
Finally, we’d like to end on a positive note and say how excited we for what the future has in store for NEO. There are many exciting projects coming to the NEO ecosystem, and many exciting events on NEO’s horizon. We stay firmly committed to our goal of building the new smart economy, and recognize we can’t do that without you, the community. We know how lucky we are to have you on our side, and we definitely do not take your support for granted.