On 10 October 2017, the founders of City of Zion (CoZ), an open-source community dedicated to blockchain development, announced a revolutionary project in their weekly report. The “Neon Meta Exchange” (NEX, now known as Nash) promised new technology that would vastly improve the security and performance of digital asset exchange. It also proposed an ambitious and unprecedented path to fundraising: a registered European security issued on a public decentralized ledger.

One year on, Nash has come a long way:

  • Our innovative decentralized exchange architecture is nearing completion and we aim to launch this year.
  • We’ve broken new regulatory ground by registering our token as a security.
  • A fantastic community has gathered around our product and secured us the funding to make our vision a reality.
  • Our company has now grown to over 20 people – and the longer we work together, the stronger our team becomes!

In this first annual report, we’d like to offer a review of our progress and a glimpse of the explosive start our company has enjoyed.

We also have some announcements to make.

Firstly, during a recent development sprint in Vienna, we decided to implement a planned security upgrade to our matching engine before going live. The Nash matching engine will now launch as a distributed system. The novel architecture we have developed will also permit a future transition to a fully decentralized matching engine. We believe that decentralization is the best guarantee of security and did not wish to compromise by including a centralized component in our exchange at launch. Hence, when the Nash Exchange launches, we will be offering a product superior to the one described in our whitepaper.

Secondly, we’ll be having a birthday party! On 27 October, at an event in Amsterdam, we will celebrate one year of Nash with cocktails and a live AMA with the founders. For those unable to attend, a livestream will be available. Keep watching our Twitter for more details!

An explosive start

A little over one year after our project was announced, Nash is poised to launch the fastest, most user-friendly decentralized exchange in existence. Our development team has worked tirelessly to implement our revolutionary protocols and our award-winning designers have made no compromises in creating an accessible interface.

The blockchain space moves rapidly, yet even by these standards Nash has made exceptional progress.

Our technical advances have been complemented by legal innovation. Both are necessary to achieve the “Nash Vision” we set out in a showpiece article from July.

If decentralized technology is to gain mass adoption it must be legally compliant. Public ledgers of transactions promise a future of open, honest finance – but this must also be achieved within existing legal structures. This is why we decided to register our token as a security. After a long and thorough review by the Financial Market Authority (FMA) of Liechtenstein, our application succeeded in August, paving the way for further regulatory innovation related to blockchain. We published a report on the process here.

Our ICO was unprecedented in terms of legal compliance. But it can also claim to be one of the fairest ICOs to date. We sought to follow CoZ’s guidelines for responsible ICOs and pioneered a lottery system to guarantee a wide distribution of Nash Exchange tokens (NEX). The success of our ICO was thanks to our fantastic community, and we’re glad to have allowed as many to participate as possible.

Throughout the year, the Nash founders traveled the world to spread our vision and promote our product. Beginning with the Ontology Network launch, we gave presentations at NEO DevCon in San Francisco, the Beyond Blocks summit in Tokyo and a variety of other blockchain events. We’ve consistently engaged the online community, giving regular interviews with cryptocurrency YouTube channels.

Nash also made an impact outside the cryptocurrency world. On 2 May, Nash co-founder Fabio Canesin joined NEO’s Da Hongfei and others for a detailed presentation to the European Parliament about the possibilities of blockchain technology.

Nash’s Fabio Canesin presents to the European Parliament alongside NEO’s Da Hongfei.

Later that month, our founder Fabian Wahle also gave a presentation at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. We’ve given television interviews and the CNBC show Advancements ran a segment on Nash.

Lights, camera, action! Nash featured on CNBC’s Advancements.

Our first year also saw our first partnerships. In February, we announced our agreement with Red Pulse, a Chinese event-driven research firm, who will use Nash’s payment service to integrate their token with the traditional economy. Recently, we also partnered with Phantasma Chain, this time to facilitate online payments, and with nOS as their exclusive native exchange dashboard.

The company itself has grown considerably over the last year. Right now, Nash has 23 internal team members and approximately the same number of external consultants. Starting next week, we’ll be publishing quarterly reports on our new hires to keep investors informed about how we’re using our funds.

Let us give you a better idea of how our team works together.

A global team

Nash wants to bring borderless finance to everyone. But our commitment to borderlessness is also clear in the makeup of our team. The Nash founders live on three continents: Europe, North America and South America. As the company has grown, we have gained team members in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

With team members on every inhabited continent, Nash can claim to be a genuinely global company, true to our vision of an economy connected across the world.

Having a global team also presents its challenges. All Nash team members work remotely. The technology to coordinate remote work is well established: businesses today regularly make use of cloud-based platforms, online workboards and messenger applications. But what about the human element? Working together doesn’t just mean uploading tasks in time. It means collaborating with others to generate new ideas and share responsibilities. This requires communication in the oldest sense – from person to person.

As a small but global company, Nash must do everything we can do cultivate meaningful personal relationships within our team.

In February 2017, the whole Nash team gathered for the first time in Thailand. We discussed the company structure and worked on our product and strategy.

Team-building exercises in Thailand (the ‘Nash Olympics’).

Shortly after Thailand, the Nash team convened for a second time in March, in Boston. This second gathering coincided with a CoZ workshop in Cambridge, MA, and gave us the opportunity to collaborate on the details of our ICO platform and process. We also met members of the community, with the Nash founders offering workshops on developing for NEO.

Presenting to the community in Boston.

Most recently, in September, we met in Vienna, Austria. A full report follows below.

While delegations of Nash team members have made presentations across the world, these full company gatherings are essential to building the team relationships required by the challenges of remote work. We enjoy working together – and this is absolutely key to our success.

The Nash dungeon in Vienna.

As the Nash team continues to grow, we will strive to welcome new members and make them feel comfortable working remotely with colleagues across the globe. By providing a supportive environment for our team members to exercise their individual freedom, our company benefits from the diversity of their talents and ideas.

And we look set to keep on growing. Our timeline of the year gives a sense of just how far we’ve come – and how far we’ll go in the future.

From 0 to 70,000: Timeline of the year

Viennese Nash, new and improved

The Nash team, now grown even larger, gathered for the third time in Vienna, Austria. From 10–21 September, we scheduled a development sprint to accelerate completion of the exchange platform.

And we took a big decision.

In the original Nash whitepaper, we proposed to deliver a centralized off-chain matching engine first of all. This would be protected by the same rigorous security monitoring, audits and deployment protocols used by centralized exchanges such as Coinbase and Binance. This off-chain matching engine would not directly control user funds, but mediate the results of trades and update the decentralized settlement layer.

Nash is dedicated to bringing distributed finance to everyone. We are working to increase the speed and usability of systems built upon decentralized architecture, such as blockchains. This is because we believe in the revolutionary potential of such systems. They offer vastly improved security over centralized solutions, which ultimately entail a single point of failure. Moreover, centralized systems are open to exploitation via corruption or high service fees.

However rigorously we could monitor our matching engine, a centralized component within Nash would stand in fundamental contradiction with our goal of achieving a decentralized financial system.

This is why, from the start, our matching engine was designed with a view to increasing its decentralization. Before Vienna, we had plans to implement the first security upgrade after launch. Now, to avoid any compromises, we are implementing this upgrade before the exchange goes live.

The founders hard at work.

The Nash matching engine will launch as a distributed system employing a binary agreement protocol. Multiple instances of the matching engine must reach agreement in order for a trade to be written to the blockchain. It is now significantly more difficult to compromise Nash, since any potential attack must target multiple points of our system.

Furthermore, the novel architecture we have developed will permit a future transition to a fully decentralized matching engine employing a consensus protocol. In addition, while the entire distributed system will be under the control of Nash at launch, we will look to improve decentralization by entrusting the operation of elements of the system to other parties in the future.

These improvements to security do not alter the speed with which Nash can process transactions. When the exchange launches, it will hence be superior to the product described in our whitepaper.

A film about Nash, shot during the sprint in Vienna and featuring interviews with our team, will soon be released by Neo News Today.

In the meantime, we hope to see as many of you as possible on 27 October in Amsterdam. Come and wish Nash a happy birthday together!


Can’t make it to Amsterdam but think you can help us out? We’re hiring!