The third quarter of 2019 will forever remain important for Nash – and we believe for the whole blockchain industry – as it saw the public opening of our trading platform. Users across the globe can now trade cross-chain with the same performance characteristics of centralized exchanges but in decentralized fashion, retaining control of their funds. During the quarter we continued execution efforts and renewed our focus on business goals, culminating in several milestones that we expect to deliver during Q4.
The launch of our MVP platform represented a huge achievement for Nash. We have proven the feasibility of three core products: zero-knowledge funds management (initially for ETH and NEO), a fiat ramps marketplace and, crucially, our high-performance, non-custodial solution for cross-chain trading.
With our platform live, Nash is now entering a new phase of operations with a focus on continuous improvement. Feedback threads in the Nash Community have led to a first round of iterations, including a number of interface improvements that will go live over coming weeks. The first 40 days of operations saw 21 backend deployments and 30 frontend deployments. The following design screens show some of the visual developments:
Nash is continuing to refine our development and deployment processes in the light of feedback from our retrospectives. We are adopting new tools and procedures to improve our already excellent execution standards.
A number of exciting Q3 developments will be concluded in Q4 2019, which will see the first major expansions of our MVP.
We will be carrying out various measures relating to liquidity and volume on the exchange. Firstly, this means expanding our liquidity program from the NEO/ETH, NEO/USDC and ETH/USDC test markets to additional markets on the exchange. Moreover, further markets will be added over the coming weeks and several markets will be reconfigured in November. Starting at the end of October, we will also be launching our “best price” program, which will use analytic tools to ensure that spot prices on Nash compete with those on other leading exchanges.
On the mobile front, we will be entering the second phase of our strategy. Our wallet and portfolio app will be available in November. This app brings secure funds management tools from the Nash web platform to mobile devices, offering easy access to accounts. The third phase of this strategy will see integration with payment features, before the final phase enables trading functionality within the mobile app.
Third-party fiat ramps are being expanded with the integration of additional partners. Higher limits and SEPA support should become available in the EU in November.
Last but not least, Nash is continuing to work on integrating Bitcoin. As a first step, Bitcoin wallets will be made available in October and integrated with our fiat providers. Our trading protocol will achieve a technological first: non-custodial, cross-chain Bitcoin trading with the same performance as our current ETH/NEO solution.
During the last quarter, Ethan Fast’s new Applied Research team completed our initial specification for account security and API key improvements with 2-2 threshold signatures, a form of multi-party computation (MPC). This will allow Nash to introduce a second-generation authentication protocol to provide valid blockchain signatures. Users will be able 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. As a result, users’ own login credentials represent a less significant security risk. In addition, the Research team continued to work on a specification for improving the robustness and security of user master seeds.
The team plans to move forward with implementing these specifications during the fourth quarter.
Security and DevOps
The SecDevOps team, led by Samuel Hagan, focused during the third quarter on monitoring, debugging and modifying production to reduce outages. Major achievements were:
- Adding infrastructure to support four additional blockchains.
- Enhancing developer productivity and reducing costs by migrating development environments to a dedicated Kubernetes cluster.
- Improving incident response times by implementing additional system metrics/alerts.
The team was also joined by one new engineer with over five years’ experience in software development. Our new engineer was responsible for building backend infrastructure for a peer-to-peer marketplace that scaled up to 3 million users within three years and also worked on setting up cloud-native infrastructure using Kubernetes and Terraform for a large-scale news platform.
In the fourth quarter, the SecDevOps team will be restructured, with engineers being assigned to specific product teams to handle associated DevOps work more efficiently.
Settlement and Portfolio
The Settlement and Portfolio team, led by Thomas Saunders, met a number of major goals during the third quarter:
- Launch of our cross-chain decentralized settlement protocol for ETH/NEO.
- Upgrade of the staking contract to offer unlimited staking.
- Numerous improvements to transfer reliability.
- Introduction of advanced monitoring and support tooling to the settlement system.
The team has the following goals for the fourth quarter:
- Wallet support for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dogecoin.
- Implementation of our Bitcoin trading protocol.
- Updates to client libraries.
Trading and Accounts
Luciano Engel’s Trading and Accounts team focused during the third quarter on our platform launch and the beginning of operations. A multitude of tweaks, bugs and performance improvements were identified and deployed to production – a process that is still ongoing. In addition, the team worked with feedback from the Nash Community to improve the overall trading experience on the exchange. Improved working processes should accelerate the development and implementation of new features in the fourth quarter.
The team was also recently joined by one new senior software engineer. Our new engineer comes to us after spending a number of years building backend and internal tools for a global credit card and blockchain company that has grown from 100,000 to over 1 million users.
Payments and Mobile
Over the third quarter, the Payments and Mobile team, led by Chris Hager, achieved major development goals in both areas.
September saw the release of our KYC mobile app, which received thousands of downloads and excellent reviews. The team also began work on the next phase of the app (wallet and portfolio), which will include funds management and asset monitoring tools. Requirements for the interaction between mobile and web accounts have been finalized, as has the initial specification for push-based multi-factor authentication on mobile.
Marketing, Communications and Design
Nathaniel Walpole’s Design group achieved several significant goals during the third quarter:
- The Exchange UI was redesigned based on community feedback and analysis of the most popular screen sizes among our users.
- Further feedback led to improvements on balance information, streamlining the way users understand their balance breakdowns and the ability to navigate to relevant areas of the platform.
- Huge improvements to the staking UI will allow users to sort in-progress and completed stakes, as well as break down dividend statements into more digestible information. Users can now see a clear overview of information for dividends (including USD values) while also being able to obtain details for individual assets and days.
- Designs for the second phase of the mobile app (wallet and portfolio) have been completed, tested, refined and implemented for both iOS and Android devices.
- Assets for our social channels have seen continuous improvement.
Design goals for the fourth quarter include:
- Ongoing improvement of the Nash platform based on user feedback.
- The third phase of the mobile app (payments).
- Design of MPC-based withdrawal limit functionality for institutional clients.
Marketing and Communications
The Marketing and Communications team, led by Carla Paiva, continued to improve internal processes to increase content output on social media, including the launch of a LinkedIn strategy focused on business-orientated content marketing. Major achievements of the quarter were:
- Preparing the Nash launch campaign, which included producing videos to be used in the future as part of our advertising strategy.
- Updating our knowledge base, including a new design, introductory tutorials and multiple FAQs for common problems.
- Securing multiple interviews with media outlets, including well known YouTubers, radio stations and magazines.
- Arranging participation in the Barcelona Trading Conference.
- The launch of our new blog at blog.nash.io.
- Further community engagement, including an AMA with CryptoDiffer, our Community stickers campaign and our Instagram socks giveaway.
- Sponsorship of another conference: OWASP Allstars 2019.
- Development of new swag for use in marketing campaigns.
- Organization of our recent Lisbon development sprint and Quarterly Report event.
- Finalization of our early MVP marketing strategy, which will begin with both a “Community activation program” and follow-up on our referral program once the next round of exchange updates are deployed.
During the fourth quarter, the team will continue work on video materials and the development of future strategies based on close analysis of initial results and user behavior. In addition, the team has produced a roadmap for the translation and localization of the Nash platform, with the first translated versions set to go online during Q4.
The launch of the Nash platform saw our support team face new challenges and prove that they can already significantly outperform industry averages. As might be expected, tickets received during Q3 increased by more than 300% over Q2. Nonetheless, our average resolution time improved from 50 hours to 19.9 hours and continued to fall to 10.7 hours. The industry averages 18.4 hours. When considering business hours within Q3, our first reply time was just 42 minutes, with full resolutions being achieved in 53 minutes. 80.7% of tickets were solved in the initial response. Average live chat serve time was 29 seconds, with chats averaging 8 minutes and users reporting a 95% satisfaction rate.
In Q4, we will continue to improve support tooling, deploy more customer satisfaction surveys and increase service-level agreement targets with the aim of competing with the very best customer service currently available.