The NEM Foundation is mapping out its survival plans in real time after obtaining a funding injection of roughly $8 million last month and laying off most of its staff.
The request to release 210 million XEM (the native token of the NEM blockchain) from reserves was approved by key members of the community on Feb. 20. In a post published Friday, NEM Foundation leadership laid out how the first installment of 25 million XEM (about $1.05 million at the current price) will be spent.
“I think this is a vote of confidence that the industry is moving forward and that we're ready to pivot to a very new way of working," NEM Foundation president Alexandra Tinsman told CoinDesk in an interview Friday.
The move comes after major cutbacks at the foundation, which at its peak in 2018 employed 150 and had a physical presence in 20 countries.
Tinsman confirmed Friday that the foundation had laid off about 100 people – a mix of consultants and full-time staffers – over the past month. The funding proposal published in early February estimated that "88 staff (69%) will be made redundant" by the planned restructuring.
"It’s in the best interest of companies to be fiscally responsible with their platform, their products and their teams," Tinsman said. "We need to be product-focused and that’s what we’ve done. This is a sign of good things to come.”
NEM is launching soon its Catapult blockchain engine, which is designed to power both private and public networks. "The tech itself is doing things that no other blockchain has done before," NEM Foundation interim CTO Jeff McDonald told CoinDesk Friday.
Stepping back, the NEM Foundation announced in January that it was in dire financial straits. The newly elected Tinsman told CoinDesk at the time that the foundation was facing layoffs and severe budget cuts "due to the mismanagement of the previous governance council."
Tinsman's leadership team presented a funding ask to the NEM community in early February. Ninety percent of the 573 people who voted supported the foundation's request to tap into the blockchain's XEM reserves. The injection of 210 million XEM is meant to fund the foundation's operations through Feb. 20, 2020.
The NEM platform is primarily used to facilitate the development of enterprise blockchain apps. Its XEM token is currently the world’s 19th largest cryptocurrency, according to CoinMarketCap.
NEM Foundation president Alex Tinsman speaks at SXSW 2018, photo via NEM/Facebook
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