NEM Ecosystem – Future Governance and Plans

NEM Ecosystem - Future Governance NEM Ecosystem – Future Governance and Plans – Foreword by Jaguar0625

Today is an inflection point in the history of NEM. As many of you are aware, the Symbol launch requirements have been opaque and never fully defined. The lack of a specific and holistic plan has led to frequent unexplained delays that have been disappointing to all. This is partially due to a lack of accountability and ownership. None of the three existing NEM entities (foundation, studios, ventures) could own the roadmap entirely because each had overlapping responsibilities and dependencies. Unfortunately, this led to some important tasks falling through the gaps.

In order to address this, the three NEM entities were tasked with evaluating the root cause of these problems and identifying a way to fix them. The culmination of this work was a proposal to restructure the NEM ecosystem that has been presented to and approved by the Core Team (including the Core Devs).

The following post is a joint statement from all of the affected organizations. While I am somewhat ambivalent about creating a single “too big to fail” organization, I think it is warranted at this time in NEM’s history. A more centralized approach will break down all of the silos among the entities and let everyone focus on the same ultimate goal: LAUNCHING Symbol.

I have confidence in the new leadership team, and I ask you to give them a chance. Ultimately, we all want the same thing: to launch a Symbol public chain and set it up for future success.

NEM Ecosystem – Future Governance and Plans



This announcement affects all members of the community, all NEM entities and the Core Team. It is made on behalf of the Core Team, NEM Foundation, NEM Studios and NEM Ventures.

Symbol is launching later this year. The work to make this happen requires appropriate support and governance to ensure it is completed efficiently, effectively and reliably. The entities have worked diligently towards this goal, but there have been many challenges. Below is the outline for how this will be more effectively performed going forward.

In short, by mutual agreement between the NEM entities and the Core Team, the three existing NEM entities will move into a single common governance framework, NEM Group. This change does not reflect on the performance of anyone. It is a positive, collaborative step to ensure Symbol is best supported through to launch and beyond. It is also an appropriate structure to help NEM engage open source and enterprise projects post launch.

The new governance approach has three immediate priorities, and plans to address each:

  • Formalise and centrally organise the software development, consulting and treasury management capabilities of the existing entities to be more efficient and operationally effective. This underpins the other two priorities.
  • Create a formal and publicly visible project plan (and roadmap), within 10 days of this announcement, for what is required to get to Symbol’s launch, including anticipated timelines and where the community can help.

An initial baseline of the remaining technical and non-technical work is complete. It is clear that a Q2 2020 launch is not possible, even optimistically.

  • Engage the NEM community. Over time, the community has understandably become disengaged. A plan will be put in place within 1 month of this announcement with recommendations for how to rectify this. It will include opportunities for the community (existing and new members) to get more involved in Symbol’s launch and future milestones. It will encompass specific tasks and incentives.

Each of these points will have a follow up post in the coming weeks to explain them in more detail. Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions are also occurring to clear up any questions.

In regards to leadership, the NEM Group management team will be sourced from existing entities and will include the Core Team.


Symbol has been under development for several years, as community members are well aware. A lot of work is complete, however there remains significant technical and non-technical work to complete before launching Symbol. This work will help ensure Symbol is a robust and production ready blockchain that can support existing projects, attract new enterprise partners and foster open source contributions to the NEM ecosystem.

Launch Plan

An initial survey of the remaining work has been completed, and it is clear that a Q2 2020 launch is not possible. Aspirational dates have been given in the past, but never a committed date backed by all entities and the Core Developers. The work required to launch has progressed. However, it has been challenging for anyone to obtain a holistic view of that work and to coordinate multiple teams with different goals. This is frustrating for the community and stems in part from not having a detailed, all encompassing and publicly available plan of work, coupled with an appropriate governance structure to ensure delivery to the plan.

In short, not creating and tracking a holistic launch plan and roadmap based on planned work has made reporting on progress difficult. This will be rectified immediately with a baseline taken of what has been done and a plan for what is needed to launch. This plan will be visible to the community and actively updated as progress is made. Work has started on this already.


Various operational challenges have surfaced over the past few years in the organisational design and governance of NEM entities. With the benefit of hindsight and learnings, those problems can be resolved with a more optimal structure moving forward. There is technical, regulatory and business development work that still needs to be completed in order to launch Symbol that will be delivered more effectively with a more streamlined governance model.

In addition to the challenges outlined above, the wider macro impacts of Co-Vid19 and the financial markets have naturally absorbed much of the world’s attention. There is a window of opportunity to address these challenges as a project in order to better set up a successful Symbol launch, without impacting the timeline for launch.

All of the governance challenges outlined above can be addressed in parallel with the remaining work required for launch. Now is the perfect time to reevaluate what is being worked towards and how best to get there.

All of the NEM entities have been in discussions with the Core Team for some time on the best way to move forward. This plan is the mutually agreed approach.

The Legal Structure

The three existing entities will be merged (and restructured) into a new framework. The NEM Group will provide a common governance layer across all activities, ensuring the effective coordination and alignment of efforts and reporting. There is a tentative agreement that multiple members of the Core Team will join this governance group. Further details on this will be announced shortly.

Most of the community are familiar with the current ecosystem structure. It can be seen here: With this plan, the ecosystem will be restructured as follows:

NEM Ecosystem - Future Governance

  • NEM Group – The parent/holding company. The board will set the strategy and budgets and ensure the subsidiaries are working towards shared objectives.
  • NEM Software – A merged and expanded product development team seeded with NEM Studios and NEM Foundation developers. Software will also run the business development arm of NEM Group for enterprise projects, led by an experienced enterprise leader to be named later.
  • NEM Trading – Responsible for managing all of the group’s finances in a central place and ensuring subsidiaries adhere to budgets. It will perform a corporate treasury function and will manage the digital assets held by the group to allow activities such as liquidity management, exchange support and token lending.
  • NEM Ventures – Will continue primarily in its current form as the venture capital and investment arm of the ecosystem, but within the new governance and management structure. Ventures will also assume responsibility for the strategic partnerships signed by the NEM Group, in an account management like function.

The Management Team

The NEM Group Ltd. will have a board of directors that is responsible for defining a common strategy and measuring deliverables across the subsidiaries. This board will include:

  • David Shaw – Chief Executive Officer
  • Iain Wilson – Chief Financial Officer & MD of NEM Trading
  • David Mansell – Chief Operating Officer
  • Niko Mäenpää – Chief Legal Officer
  • TBC – Software Company President/Managing Director (Head of Enterprise)
  • Nate D’Amico – Chief Technology Officer
  • Dave Hodgson – Chief Investment Officer and MD of NEM Ventures
  • Jeff McDonald – Core Team and Brand Ambassador/Key Spokesperson
  • TBC – Tentative agreement with multiple other core team members, to be announced shortly, when finalised

Some of the names above will be known and some less so to the community. There will be a subsequent forum post shortly to introduce the new management team, including details on their experience and why they’re in these roles.

At this time, we would like to announce that Alexandra Tinsman, President of the NEM Foundation, has decided to step back from operational leadership. She will be taking a well earned 6 month sabbatical (paid) after the long hours of running the NEM Foundation.

Immediate Next Steps

The following tangible steps will occur immediately and the community should expect to be able to measure and hold the team to accountable for these:

  • Detailed Launch Plan and Roadmap, within 10 days:
    • The delivery of a full plan and roadmap to Symbol launch. This will include detailed deliverables so the community has a full line of sight into what has to happen and by when in order to achieve a successful launch. This will be a living document.
    • Regular NEM Forum updates on the plan, with a focus on progress and what is happening. This will include any changes to the plan or delivery challenges, which will inevitably happen, as this is the nature of implementation. The community will be informed of any changes, why they occured, what the new plan moving forward is and how they can get involved.
  • Community Engagement Initiatives:

Within 1 month:

  • Share a strategy to increase community engagement with the Symbol launch plan. This will include incentivisation and ways to attract prospective supporters to the ecosystem.

Within 3 months:

  • Organise and facilitate focus sessions with key groups (via native speakers) to effectively capture feedback from the community. Learnings will be shared with the wider community, and the groups will be given additional information and support to help with dissemination of information to various stakeholders.
  • Implement voting and decision making plan to enable the community to express preferences in relation to product, marketing, tokenomics and other decisions. This will introduce more of a DAO approach to project direction. The initial votes will be planned, announced well in advance and held on a regular schedule with the plan that this becomes an ongoing, self sustaining, decentralised process
  • Communication: NEM Group will ensure that everyone is aware of what is happening and has access to all public information promptly. This will include, at minimum:
    • Regular AMAs with the team, starting 2-3 weeks after the first one (below).
    • Forum posts shared on an ongoing basis, with additional focus and detail to be determined based on areas of key interest discovered from the AMAs
    • Several interviews with Alexis Trujillo on NEM Español. He will relay information, ask questions and hold people accountable on behalf of the NEM community.

Ask Me Anything Sessions

The initial AMA sessions are scheduled for Thur 09 April 2020 on Twitter at the times below:

  • UTC 6am in English – covering the Asia Pac + Australasia time zone
  • UTC 11am in Japanese & English – covering Japanese time zone and language
  • UTC 3pm in English (optionally Spanish) – covering Europe, USA and Latam time zone

Submit questions with @NemberAma or #NemberAma

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