Lisk, a public blockchain app platform, has been in existence for roughly 18 months. The company launched in May 2016, after co-founders Max Kordek and Oliver concluded, after working with Crypti, that the blockchain industry lacked developer adoption. Thus, Lisk was born. Their ICO sold 14,000 BTC, worth roughly US$6 million at the time.
Lisk is seen as a promising project by many but has been criticized for taking too long to release new updates and developments. With an SDK – the meat that sells the project – not yet released, investors were eager for this Lisk Berlin Meetup to include a big reveal about a (soon) release date. Rebranding, meanwhile, started in May 2017 and investors have been eagerly awaiting its completion date.
Anticipation for the Lisk Berlin Meetup
Lisk livestreamed the event on YouTube on November 22. The markets counted down to the start of the presentation with whispers of announcements about anything from immediate Software Development Kit (SDK) releases to Google buyouts. Hopes were up, after all.
It had been announced only hours before that Lisk would be listed on Binance. In the 4 months since its launch, Binance has become one of the top 10 exchanges, amassing over 600,000 users in 180 countries [source: Lisk marketing lead Thomas Schouten]. Investors were keen to have the listing followed up with some extraordinary announcement or other, making Lisk the coin of the hour.
Reality, however, contained no such exciting news. Depending on which camp you’re in, anyway. To Lisk loyalists, the event proved that Lisk is dedicated to quality over speed.
What You Can Expect from Lisk in 2018
Lisk was introduced as a blockchain ecosystem, named the “Lisk City”. Lisk JS and Lisky, two cardinal components of the Lisk ecosystem, were announced to anticipate reaching their respective versions 1.1 and 2 by April 2018.
JS and Lisky
JS as an ecosystem toolkit will introduce modularization and encryption. Lisky, a Command Line Interface (CLI) wrapper, is an exciting addition. It uses command lines to assist developers with automation and scripting, making the platform much easier to use.
Max Kordek expanded on the developmental updates, reminding the audience that their promise to make Lisk secure, usable, and accessible is still their guiding principle. He added that in the past there had been misconceptions about Lisk being a single tool when, in fact, it is a tool collective.
Desktop and Web Apps
After going into more detail around Lisk JS and Lisky, he addressed the upcoming desktop and web apps which will form a key component of the upcoming changes. They will be designed to support Lisky by improving its ease of use. Developers will be able to manage their apps on the network, making changes to elements such as the description, the name, add pictures, etc., in the normal client, without having to access the command client.
Kordek told the audience that fundamental issues inherent to the blockchain technical environment have to be tackled. He went on to explain that as part of their mainchain/sidechains offering, they are working to create a decentralized exchange for the thousands of different tokens they anticipate once Lisk is in full operation. Envisioning “one ecosystem of tokens”, tokens would be transferrable between sidechains via the Lisk mainchain, making it a truly decentralized platform.
Kordek added that this functionality would be available in September or October 2018. He explained that they wanted first to encourage app expansion across the ecosystem, while at the same time prevent scams and bad apps on the platform.
He said that building a great blockchain app takes time, and in order to build a quality product, so it should. By putting a “virtual stop” on the time in between the launch and the introduction of a decentralized exchange, standards could then be introduced to make the platform secure and allow trustworthy founders and developers to create a great product.
Good Things Take Time
Kordek spoke on the timelines for the rebranding, which they’re calling a relaunch. It’s not just a new design, he said, but “something sophisticated”.
They’re reinventing concepts in the industry that have proven not to work correctly; for instance, the Lisk Nano and Explorer (which will be discontinued as individual projects) will be integrated in the desktop and web apps as “an entirely new and fresh product.”
He reminded the room that there are no benchmarks for what they were doing as it is a completely new move, and added that instead of rushing to fail thousands of times along the way, they were taking their time to ensure security, usability, and scalability.
Kordek said of the changes:
I know what it looks like, it’s going to be really amazing.
The Lisk Relaunch
Kordek announced the relaunch date as February 20, 2018. The date is further away than was expected, and he said that the reason for this was because they are focused on every single step, every page, detail, and piece of content, pushing for quality along the way. He mused about the continued evolution of the developmental journey, saying that it was sometimes worth it to throw away weeks of work in order to get something better.
He revealed that a big launch event is being planned for the relaunch day, where 200-300 people will get to see Lisk’s new features first-hand, adding that organization of this event will take up much manpower.
Ultimately one of Lisk’s goals is to be more visible to developers in the crypto space. To that end, they have been working with a Netherlands-based marketing consultancy firm to improve analytics and SEO, and continue to learn how to best communicate Lisk and properly showcase information and data.
A key aspect of their reinvention is a wallet with great UX that would “get everyone on the street to just use it”. In future, they plan to introduce a mobile wallet to really push mainstream usage.
Kordek told the audience that the company is “hiring like crazy” and listed some of their key job openings, including a front-end and backend Quality Assurance (QA) testers and a software architect. He also announced that they would start building out their science team, with the first mathematician joining them in December 2017. This team will later expand to 5 members.He concluded that Lisk is a leader in the blockchain revolution, and the company has taken on the responsibility of defining blockchain for developers. A lot of things have already been done, he said, but they’re taking their time to get it right.
The Market’s Response
There was some disappointment from investors, who had expected a big reveal during the presentation. The price of Lisk dropped by 22.39% during the presentation. On social media, talk was rife with urges to sell Lisk “while you still can”.
However, for investors with a long-term vision of what Lisk can achieve, the response to the news has been largely positive.
On Reddit, u/LiskFTW said:
“I find it interesting that the non-Dev’s are all upset at the Relaunch date of 2/20/18, and the Dev’s are all stoked about the December launch of part of the developer kit.
As an investor, this tells me that they are prioritizing the actual product, not hype or pumping this coin. Make the Dev’s happy and we all make a bunch of money in the future.
I’m here long-term. Hodl baby.”
We also checked in with the accountant Invest in Blockchain previously featured as having taken out a loan to go all-in on Lisk to get his thoughts about how the news was affecting his bottom line. He said that while the news was disappointing, he understood and accepted the reasoning.
“He [Max] is a perfectionist like me. He wants to be the best in the business, even if things come out late. It’s better to build a quality product rather than just another platform.”
When asked if he thought Lisk’s movements are too slow in a fast-moving crypto industry, as is claimed by some social media users, he exclaimed: “It’s not too slow. Quality things take time. I get it. I have been there. And the industry is still in early stages, you know. When next year he manages to pull out something amazing, that product will be long-lasting.”
Lisk Elite Delegates
We spoke to Reddit user Carbonara, a Lisk Elite delegate who had attended the meeting alongside about 10 other Elite delegates.
Responding to social media claims that the price drop had been the result of whale manipulation, he said that if this were the case, there would be transaction chains to prove it, as blockchain’s very defining characteristic is to prevent things from being hidden.
Instead, he said, it had been the result of attacks from a small amount of people, saying that people follow the Lisk movement on Reddit without understanding the entirety of the concept behind it. This made it easy to point fingers, and Elite delegates were often an easy target in the blame game.
With regards to the proposed timelines, he said:
“I completely agreed with what Max has said. The city concept is not something that you can build in 7 days. I have a lot of trust of Lisk and HQ, and this is the reason I’m supporting the community with new developments. if you really want to build a good project, [Lisk] can build it. It wouldn’t make sense if they rush and fail.”
Speaking out on the market response, he added:
“There was of course a drop in price, but this is the crypto market. For me what really matters is the product and I am very excited. The future is bright. I believe in Max’s capabilities, I believe in the team, and I know they’re building out something amazing.”
We also spoke to Matteo Ferrari, developer of the Sapiens project, who is awaiting the release of Lisk SDK to kick off his startup. He is of the opinion that while the delay is at face value not the best news, the reasoning behind it is solid:
“No one likes postpones and delays, but Max had a very good point: security. Even if I’m not happy to wait [until] probably Q3 2018 to start my project, I appreciate the way they’re approaching the problems. It’s a fast-growing startup and at the beginning they said, immaturely, some dates about SDK and re-branding that they weren’t sure about. Even if [the] market seems unhappy about the postpones, I believe they’re going in a good direction.”
While Lisk’s announcements may not have not lived up to market expectations (do any, really?), it’s clear that of the two camps, stakeholders who believe in the power of Lisk are behind the company all the way. They respect Lisk’s courage to take things slow in order to do it well, in an environment where things can go too fast too soon and end up badly for everyone concerned (think Mt Gox. or the DAO hack).
With security, usability, and accessibility as their guiding light, Lisk has the potential to stand head and shoulders above products that launch too early, for the sake of it. Going forward, community communication will be crucial so that the community continues to feel that the delays are as a result of well-thought through decision-making, and not technical incompetence.
So if you’re feeling disappointed, hodl it right there: give Lisk a chance to shine!