As a company focused on bringing the promise of blockchain technology to fruition, Blockchains is presently developing its core technology platform for Web3.0, which will focus on digital asset custody and digital identity management. Additionally, we are building a software development kit with multiple tools that will allow third-party developers to create applications to broaden our platform.
In June 2019, Blockchains acquired slock.it, a leading innovative German blockchain development company. The acquisition allowed us to significantly accelerate our development efforts, and the integration of the two companies has proceeded as expected. In the coming months, we plan to release our first proof of concept, provide more details about our platform, and announce a branding initiative to reflect that Blockchains, LLC, and slock.it GmbH are functioning as a fully integrated, single company.
Innovation Park and Smart City
Now that we have made substantial progress on our core platform, we are increasing our focus on land development in northern Nevada. While we have been working with consultants and potential partners, we are now seeking to hire in house, beginning with a Senior Director of Land Development. There are myriad components to the planning and development of a city’s infrastructure, such as securing utilities and master planning. We have acquired water rights in Innovation Park, and we are talking to multiple parties about potential projects that can bring a sizable amount of additional water to the park and surrounding areas. Further, our memorandum of understanding with NV Energy remains in effect, and we are engaging in confidential discussions with NV Energy about multiple energy and blockchain projects.
All our technology development is done with an eye toward future integration with major technology research and development at our land in Innovation Park – and eventually the blockchain-based smart city. A smart city built from the ground up is a long-term vision that requires extensive planning and resources, a vision that is and always has been a 10- to 15-year project. We are considering raising capital through opportunity zone funds for development in Innovation Park and the smart city.
Blockchains hired its first Nevada employee in February 2018. Since then, we have maintained a staff of approximately 70 employees in the state. Today, we have 67 full-time employees and 5 open positions in northern Nevada, and our European operations have 52 employees and 3 open positions.
As with any acquisition, during the integration process it was necessary to evaluate our combined workforce. As a result, over the past six months we have eliminated nine positions. During that same period, we have hired nine employees at our Nevada headquarters, including two directors and a vice president. Our founder, Jeffrey Berns, will assume the role of president, as David Berns has left the company.
Blockchains, like any organization (especially startups), will continue to evaluate the company’s operational needs. To date, Blockchains has only eliminated positions that are not essential to the business. We are committed to hiring employees who have the skillset to move our vision forward in a rapidly changing ecosystem.
Last year’s outlook on Blockchains’ 2021 workforce was, in hindsight, very optimistic and is likely no longer feasible; however, we are taking significant action to demonstrate our commitment to workforce development in the state. Blockchains has embarked on an education initiative to create a skilled junior blockchain developer workforce by providing blockchain curriculum support to Nevada’s dually enrolled high school students. We are also working with Nevada Industry Excellence and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to create a post-secondary Blockchain Certificate Program through Nevada Technology Academy. By creating these education and employment pathways for Nevada, we intend to create positive economic change for the betterment of the community.
Lastly, many have asked about the status of the distributed collaborative entity. We are continuing to work internally and with outside professionals on methodologies for distributing ownership and voting control of the company over time to investors, employees, and various other stakeholder groups in the blockchain ecosystem. As we are generally still a pre-revenue company, we have sufficient time to explore and develop many creative solutions to accomplish these goals.
We are proud of the substantial progress we have made on the blockchain technology product side. We are looking to release our Web3.0 platform in 2022, the same year we intend to break ground in Nevada.