When we launched our Instagram channel in February, we declared 2019 the Year of Nash. While later than initially planned, the release of our trading platform in September proved the viability of our revolutionary cross-chain technology. For the first time, users could trade digital currencies in a performant, non-custodial manner, all while enjoying simple, user-friendly interfaces. This technology also allowed third-party liquidity providers to integrate programmatically with Nash for the first time, demonstrating that we provide what is so far the only available industry solution to the liquidity capital efficiency problem faced by decentralized exchanges.
It’s hard to overestimate how far Nash has come in 2019. A huge number of developments took place. We’d like to take this opportunity to offer a review of the year – and then turn our eyes to the future.
The Nash team is fully dedicated to building an enterprise that gives solid returns to its community. Our mission is to distribute finance for everyone. We want to empower the world to invest in, trade and manage digital assets. Building great products is just the start – we also focus on driving compliance to make finance transparent through decentralization.
To achieve these broad goals in 2019, it was essential to continue displaying leadership in compliance. We have developed and deployed compliance systems built from the ground up and ready for tectonic regulatory shifts in regions such as California and the European Economic Area, and relating to global cross-border transfers. In 2020, we will continue to lead innovation in non-custodial solutions, bringing the first industry solution for the integration of third-party custodians into a decentralized platform.
On the product side of our business, the fast pace of iteration seen in the last quarter of 2019 will only accelerate in 2020. With the introduction of Bitcoin trading and a revamped authorization system based on multi-party computation threshold keys, the platform will achieve general availability (GA) during the first quarter.
The GA trading platform will mark the end of our MVP phase and will see a renewed focus on user-centered design as we will continue to enhance the user experience of our products. At this point, our engineering focus will be placed on our payments solution, completing our original vision. The allocation of company resources and the features to be added to our various products will continue to be determined by user testing. Nonetheless, these are expected primarily to build upon the core trading platform technology available at GA.
It is no secret that 2019 saw a downturn more severe than the industry expected at the end of 2018. This was exacerbated by the fact that several large-scale projects expected to hit the market in 2019 are still in heavy development. The new year of 2020 brings great expectations regarding the digital asset market – however, in case the market continues the downward trend begun in 2018, Nash is committed to continuing the structural and process improvements of 2019 to keep the company financially viable without any loss in engineering capacity.
2019 began with some major news: NEX rebranded to Nash at our quarterly report event in January. Although the move was prompted by a legal dispute, it gave our design team the opportunity to rework our brand and improve on our existing assets. Over time, the new Nash brand has proven popular and has served to consolidate our image, expressing core principles such as trust, reliability and ease-of-use.
Soon after, 17 February set another significant marketing milestone. At NEO DevCon in Seattle, we launched our new website and referral program, making the Nash brand widely visible and providing a proper showcase for our products.
At DevCon, we also announced our beta testing program, which ran from 31 March to early May. Beginning with closed testing of prototypes by selected Nash Community members, we gradually opened up more features of our beta platform to greater numbers, obtaining invaluable feedback in the process.
During the summer, Nash opened applications for both national currency partners and token listings. Currency partners are licensed providers who offer users the ability to buy and sell digital assets using national currencies – so-called “fiat ramps”. By making use of third parties, Nash was able to bootstrap our offering, providing users with crucial functionality that complements our non-custodial trading and funds management tools.
On 9 September, after much anticipation, the Nash web platform opened to the public. This was a major step towards achieving our vision of user-friendly decentralized finance. At launch, users were able to enjoy trading across the Ethereum and NEO blockchains via our revolutionary off-chain matching engine. The platform also launched with funds management tools for these blockchains, as well as an Ethereum fiat ramp in the USA and the ability to stake Nash Exchange tokens (NEX).
A first version of our companion Nash Mobile app, offering tools for completing identity verification, received glowing reviews from users.
Improvements to Nash have been rolled out constantly since launch. The first 40 days after 9 September witnessed a total of 21 backend and 31 frontend deployments. These included the addition of a much sought-after dark mode, tripling the speed of order placement and cancelation, and updating our staking contract, allowing users to create an unlimited number of NEX stakes. On 7 November, we were proud to add non-custodial Bitcoin wallets to our funds management tools, and on the same day new legal developments let us open our doors in California.
Our listings and partnerships have also continued to expand since launch. On 1 October, Nash was able to add Moonlight (LX) to the Exchange, followed on 19 November by Chainlink (LNK).
21 November saw our first currency parter offer US users the opportunity to purchase Bitcoin and receive it directly to their personal wallets. We also integrated two additional currency partners who offer fiat ramp services in Europe. It should, however, be noted that the public availability of fiat ramps depends not only by Nash but also our partners’ ability to offer their services. Nash is committed to continue adding more partners and improving the availability and price of these services during 2020.
In parallel to these developments, our mobile team worked hard on our companion app, whose second phase went live on 30 November. In addition to the original KYC functionality, this major update transformed the app into a multi-chain wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum and NEO, giving users access to their Nash accounts any time, anywhere, and offering tools for tracking the performance of their portfolios. Our four-phase strategy for mobile product development was presented in our Lisbon Q3 report.
Nash Mobile has also seen continuous improvement, with important UX updates being pushed consistently during 2019 Q4.
Open-source development has played an essential role in the history of blockchain technology, and the Nash founders have strong roots in this culture. This has been reflected in various releases made throughout the year. In the name of transparency, we published the source of our staking contract on 26 January, and since then we have been providing tools to help developers interact with Nash. These included our TypeScript SDK and sandbox environment, which went live shortly before the platform, and our Python API, released on 2 October. Recently, we also released a simple market-maker bot designed to serve as a bootstrap to work through our Python API. Given the positive reception of the bot, in 2020 we will transform it into an industrial-grade open-source offering, significantly lowering the bar for people who wish to begin with algorithm trading.
The launch of our platform in September was also accompanied by the preparation of extensive support materials by our Marketing and Communications team, including a series of user guides that were recently supplemented by walkthrough videos. Contributing to our extensive support center was our newly founded customer success team, who provide support worldwide during business hours (both CEST and EST) via email and live chat. Our team has got off to an excellent start, resolving tickets much faster than the industry average and reporting a 95% satisfaction rate.
Throughout 2019, the Marketing and Communications team undertook various initiatives to establish the Nash brand within the digital finance space. We have produced and participated in numerous events across the globe and produced original content, including articles on our blog, which was revamped in August with a new design. In addition, Nash has been featured in well known media outlets, with pieces appearing in Forbes, Bitcoin.com, Crypto Briefing, Live Bitcoin News, News BTC and CoinDesk, among others.
Besides the news articles on Nash that have appeared throughout the year, our co-founders have given interviews to a variety of publications and YouTube channels. In print, these included Finance Magnates, CryptoGlobe, TechFunnel, CryptoSlate, AiThority and ValueWalk. On YouTube, we spoke to Crypto Beadles, The Crypto Lifestyle and twice to BlockchainBrad.
Our media presence was bolstered by appearances at conferences throughout the year. These included invitations to participate at the Romania Blockchain Summit on 21–22 June and the Barcelona Trading Conference on 10–11 July. Nash also sponsored a number of events alongside other major tech firms, including the MIT Bitcoin Expo in March, the OWASP Allstars security conference in September and the ACM conference on Advances in Financial Technologies October. In May, we presented to VC investors at Consensus, the world’s leading blockchain conference.
Nash continued to engage our investors and community in person in a series of international quarterly report events. These were held in Amsterdam, London, Boston and Lisbon. As of 2020, reports will no longer be held in person, but presented online – a move that allows us to guarantee live-streaming for the whole community. A single annual event will continue to give investors an opportunity to meet the team.
2020 is set to be another exciting year for Nash, promising various upgrades to our products that will bring them closer to their full potential.
One long-awaited addition will be Bitcoin trading pairs on the Nash Exchange. We announced the finalization of our specification for Bitcoin integration in March. Our engineering team is currently working on implementing this protocol, which uses Bitcoin’s hashed time-locked contracts (HTLCs) and other scripting primitives to form a state channel solution similar to the Lightning Network. Bitcoin trading on Nash will represent a genuinely revolutionary advancement in blockchain technology. It will also permit the integration of popular related chains such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dogecoin.
Nash will continue to expand our services in 2020. The launch of Nash Pay will see us provide a payments solution offering automatic currency conversion via the Nash Exchange. In addition, we are currently working on a second-generation authentication protocol that uses multi-party computation (MPC) to provide valid blockchain signatures. This method will allow users to set limits on account withdrawals over specific time periods. Even if a user’s account is compromised, it will be possible to limit the amount an attacker can withdraw. This second-generation protocol provides an alternative to hardware wallets that is more secure and at no cost to the user.
Besides these major additions, Nash will continue to refine our products. We will be implementing new metric tools that will assist us in improving user experience, besides continuing our testing processes. The first improvements to staking and the exchange design, which we revealed in our Lisbon report, should be available early in the new year. Further currency partners will be integrated, and Nash will also open our own fiat ramp!
Last but not least, Nash Mobile will continue to expand. This includes both integration with Nash Pay and the addition of trading functionality, transforming our mobile app into an all-in-one solution for digital assets.
The successful roll-out of these features will see Nash grow into a platform whose essential functionality can rival existing centralized solutions within traditional finance.
If we continue the hard work and innovation of 2019, we are confident our solutions can make digital assets available to everyone.
You can stay up to date with Nash by following our Twitter and Instagram. We also encourage all Nash Exchange token (NEX) holders to join our community platform, where they can talk directly with the team and receive reliable answers to questions.