An Interview: “If the ICO Bubble Bursts, I Don’t See It Hurting ARK”
Making a blockchain ecosystem to encompass all blockchains that can communicate between each other and paying minimal fees for all that may sound like a lot of work. However, that’s exactly what ARK is working on.
ARK is an interoperable blockchain and platform that aims to simplify creation of a blockchain that can be connected to the ARK ecosystem. It is working on cross chain communication systems, allowing blockchains to communicate with each other.
They are also minimizing fees to optimize performance. For example, right now, to change Bitcoin into Ethereum, you have to buy or mine Bitcoin, take it to an exchange along with their fees plus the network fees, then transfer that new Ethereum, again with all those fees. ARK only has the transfer fee between the networks.
Cryptonews.com talked to Travis Walker, ARK co-founder and board member, about all things currently going on with the project and his view on the ICO space.
What are your future goals, mid-term?
Mid-term you're looking at three months, long term is a year. There is no way to predict that far in the future in crypto at the moment. But our goal right now is to build our ecosystem up and advance the technology, and get people to see that we are actually the WordPress of the blockchain world.
Does the price fluctuation of ARK affect your business?
No, it doesn't affect us. For our ICO [initial coin offering], we even offered refunds at the end of it because we're not monetarily focused. We just want to build and we're very dedicated to the project. How the markets fluctuate has no impact on how fast or how much we develop.
ARK price chart:
Why you chose France to register your business entity here?
Well there's a couple of different reasons. First, we don't want to go the non-profit route. We want to be regulated, to make it legit. We're not a church. We're not trying to go offshore. It's just too much of a headache.
And when we found out that our lead developer is actually based in France and has the right connections, the right lawyers, and the government is very interested in what we're doing - it just turned out to be the right choice, especially when France was so open to learning more about blockchain technology.
Speaking of developers, are you looking for new ones?
We're always looking for somebody. We usually hire within the community, so if anyone is looking for any kind of position in the blockchain industry, join our community and show initiative. We will actually reach out to you.
The ARK project is already launched. We're just making more and more improvements. We have a core team, but since we’re open source, we have hundreds of community developers that are always working with us.
There is a project called Cesirae that announced that they are using your technology. What other adoption examples do you have?
There’s a project called KAPU that’s storing archaeological records on the blockchain using ARK. There is another project called Blockpool, they’re active in the music industry. Then there’s Persona - identity management, KYC/AML [know your customer / anti money laundering] on a blockchain. Then there’s the decentralized exchange called Blockport that’s going to be using ARK.
The technology is 100% open source. We’re focused on making it work for everyone, before we actually go out and push our product.
Do you have any idea when you’re going to focus on things other than the technology?
We'll go one step at a time. We don't give dates - we have percentages on our roadmap. Since this is all new technology, never been done before, there’s no way to put a date on anything. If we hit a road bump, then we need to extend the date, and we don’t like doing that.
So as we build the technology up, we just knock it down one step at a time until we get to the spot where we feel comfortable that we can branch out even more.
How does ARK compare to projects like AION or Cosmos?
We have a saying: ARK has no competitors, we only have future partners.
When you look at it, we’re the only project that’s actually done interoperability between different chains, different algorithms, different protocols, if you will.
We have working two-way cross chain communications between Bitcoin. We’re working on Litecoin and Ethereum and there's more coming. You can actually issue a smart contract on Ethereum from ARK without touching Ethereum itself. All of this has been done with ARK. The other people just talk about it, they hype it and they build these partnerships without having anything actually done.
What do you think about the ICO bubble?
Crypto in general isn't in a bubble but the ICO world might be. There is absolutely no reason an ICO needs more than 35 million dollars just to build an app. That’s just ridiculous. Look at EOS: four billion dollars, are you kidding me? It’s hard to not see it as a bubble.
I personally hope this bubble will burst soon, because I’m sick of seeing so many scams come out and people falling for it. Many of these projects don’t need a blockchain at all. They raise money just through the hype.
When you tell potential business partners that you raised money through an ICO, do they look at you differently? Does it hurt your business?
No, because we did it differently than everyone else. We didn’t even call it an ICO - we called it a token exchange campaign, where we just offered our tokens for other tokens. We didn’t accept any fiat. Like I mentioned earlier, at the end we just offered refunds to everyone. We only raised 750,000 dollars worth of tokens at that point in time, and we were planning to stretch that amount out for a decade, if need be.
If the ICO bubble bursts, I don’t see it hurting ARK. Everyone still needs a blockchain. People will be looking for solutions instead of raising hundreds of millions of dollars. They can just pick up an ARK blockchain and have their solution ready.
Next year, you’ll look at the Top 50 of coinmarketcap and it’s going to be completely different. The number of coins will definitely grow, and that’s not a bad thing. Everyone has their own use case, their own little blockchain world, but what’s going to pop is this ridiculous ICO structure.
Do you have advice on how to spot crooked ICOs?
Do your own research, but don’t judge solely on the whitepaper. I mean, look at TRON. They straight up copied three projects into their whitepaper, one by one, simply plagiarized it, and look at how big it still is. I would rather judge the project by their willingness to be open, honest, show you the code, and show you they’re doing something in the background - not just building a PR team.